What are the roles of the saints in Heaven?


Can anyone in Apologetics sort out this issue please, which has arisen in the Spirituality Forum. The thread can be found on:

I think the key issues needing to be addressed are:
*]If a prayer to a saint or saints/angel(s) is worded presenting theological error(s), should that wording be corrected to present the correct theological position? I think it should be amended especially so as not to convey to non Catholics especially a wrong theological impression of Church teaching re praying to the saints. I certainly do not think that theologically correct prayers need be worded in a cold strict theological manner (this may have well been the concern of the Opening Poster). Prayers can still be warm and loving and remain theologically correct. The prayer I quoted by Methodius to Our Lady in my Post into the Spirituality thread on the 24th. February is a truly beautiful prayer to Our Lady and quite theologically correct……….nothing ‘cold’ about it.[/LIST][LIST]
*]If a prayer is theologically incorrect it is simply an incorrect theologically worded prayer that needs some amendment to my own way of thinking, as per 1. above. I am not saying it is a less powerful prayer because it is theologically incorrect. “Man judges by appearances but God knows the heart”.[/LIST][LIST]
*]My own concept is that all good has its origin and source in God who also brings it into effect through ‘answered prayer’ perhaps or however God may choose to bring it into effect – i.e. perhaps through the prayers of a saint or saints at the request of some living person. Hence, yes of course, the saints do act on our behalf and I never meant to put this in question.[/LIST][LIST]
*]Hence firstly and primarily, all thanksgiving and praise is due to God and then to the saints as perhaps the agent or channel of God’s Blessings. By “act independently” my meaning is act independent of God’s Goodness and Will – and this quotation I found puts my own thoughts well:[/LIST]

[FONT=Times New Roman]http://ascensioncatholic.net/TOPICS/beliefs/saints/Sainthood.htm
Wording of Prayers, A Potential Problem. *…………………When a non-Catholic reads some of these prayers he/she **

[quote]may have a problem with them because they often imply that the saint (or Mary the Mother of Jesus) is the one who is the source of spiritual blessings and has the power to release or withhold them

***. Despite the sometimes poor choice of words the intent is never to imply that anyone other than **

God is the source of all spiritual blessing and that anyone other than Jesus is our sole mediator before God

**. …………………

5 Personally, God being able to do all things, I think that God thus is free to appoint some particular role, stewardship or duty, to some saint in Heaven as he has appointed stewardship to guardian angels for those they guide, guard and protect here on earth.
Personally, I do think of my own patron saint as having a special duty from God to pray for me and watch over me along with my Guardian Angel, as well as being a role model for me.

Comments and links appreciated. And I think I have presented the issues, they have become clouded to me as the thread (link given above) unfolded. And this may well be my own poverty. But I think we may be going round in circles in the thread in Spirituality saying the same things differently……….sharing the same thought – and indeed Catholic thought and teaching - but expressing it in different ways. I am hoping a thread into this Apologetics Forum will settle the issues whatever intrinsically they are and state with clarity what Church teaching is………I am hoping I have summarized the issues fairly above and without confusing them.

Blessings this Lent – Barb:)


Laudatur Jesus Christus.

Dear Barb:

Thank you for starting this thread.

Could you please clarify the issue by posting an example of a prayer which would need correction under this standard?

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner



Great Saint Joseph, prostrate at thy feet with feelings of unlimited confidence we beg thee to bless the Novena that I began in thy honor. I will meditate upon thy virtues; grant that I may learn fully to appreciate them. The knowledge of them will be the source of great confusion for me because of the poverty and destitution of my soul. Great dispenser of the heavenly treasures, assist me in my poverty, help me to display thy virtues in my own soul. “Thou art never invoked in vain,” says the seraphic Theresa of Jesus; be thou to me what thou hast been to that Spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; graciously hearken to me as thou didst hearken** to her.**

Hi John…Personally I would rather not introduce another aspect of an issue. Could we presuppose that if such prayers do or have existed then it would be best to amend them?The above prayer in using the term “great dispenser of heavenly treasures” does given the potential mpression that St. Joseph can act independantly and a slight amendedment in the prayer would clearly call upon St. Joseph’s intercessionary prayer and not convey or imply or allow any wrong impressions. From the quote I gave:

[FONT=Arial] …may have a problem with them because they often imply that the saint (or Mary the Mother of Jesus) is the one who is the source of spiritual blessings and has the power to release or withhold them.

I need to give time for an assignment for school and to go on a search is time consuming. It is becoming too time consuming for me…my own concept and my only one I wanted and want to address personally is that the saints intercede for us and do not act with their own “power to release or withhold” blessings. As I have said before, we are just going round in circles because the underlying issues I think we agree on and in accord with what The Church teaches i.e. that saints intercede to God on our behalf…and why keep going round in circles and if we do, then I have nothing more to contribute.
The next move and a useless one could be to question that the prayer above does give the wrong impression, which becomes a pedantic and useless (to me:) ) type of issue. If a prayer is in any way open to misinterpretation then a very slight amendment would not alter the beauty of the prayer and remove any potential to give a wrong impression. Already again the issue is becoming ridiculous to me and more involved. And that is the potential suggestion only perhaps that such prayers do not and have never existed.

I have nothing more to say on the subject of saints and intercessory prayer and have laid out I think as best I can what I believe and The Church teaches about praying to our saints.

Blessings - Barb:)


Sorry to throw a monkey wrench in things, but I just want to state for the record that there is a school of thought (to which I happen to belong) that doesn’t think we should dumb down things just so we don’t have to explain them to belligerents or to those who have an impoverished religious lexicon and are resisitant to expanding it. Properly understood, there is nothing wrong with the above prayer. It just takes a little patience to explain to the ignorant (ignorant in the technical sense, that is, not informed in this particular matter).

Explaining this to a person with an open mind can be a wonderful evangelation opportunity. For someone with a closed mind, however, nothing you say will convince them, no matter how much you water or dumb it down.

Just my two cents, but I felt I needed to add it. :slight_smile:




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