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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Intercessory Prayer & the Saints

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ROB:

Where do we ever see person praying to another human being in the Bible?

FATHER JOE:

We see plenty of instances where people pray together and where prophets pray over their people. Catholicism sees almighty God as the proper object of all prayer. Obviously we are not going to notice much in the way of praying for sanctoral intercession while the gates of heaven are closed and the righteous dead are still awaiting their Savior in the limbo of the fathers. I am often amazed that Christians still interpret so very much with the eyes of the Old Testament instead of the New.

ROB:

Please don’t say tradition or something like that.

FATHER JOE:

In other words, you want me to accept your terms from the very start and deny a basic element of Catholicism and true Christianity. The New Testament itself arises from Sacred Tradition. This font of revelation did not disappear after the complete Bible was composed and compiled by the Catholic bishops at Hippo.

ROB:

Think about what you are saying.

FATHER JOE:

The trouble is that YOU are not thinking enough about what you are trying to say. None of us come to God alone.

ROB:

How God ever forget to tell us such an important part of our faith?

FATHER JOE:

God did not forget anything. The trouble is that bigots dismissed the authority instituted by Christ, threw out Christian traditions going back to the apostles, and then settled on an edited version of the Bible missing books.

ROB:

How can it never be in the Bible? Do you ever ask yourself why? Or do you just believe because it’s tradition.

FATHER JOE:

I already said the Bible is not silent. When Catholics pray to the saints, they are asking that they pray for and with them. We do not pray to them as deities. This is the same intercessory prayer that was realized among the Jews and later in the community of the Church. In Christ, all are alive. Do you argue that the saints are asleep or that they cannot hear us? Have you no appreciation of the communion of the saints? Look at the petition or supplication of the Hail Mary Prayer: “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” Is your faith so personalized that you will allow no one, walking on earth or among the blessed of heaven, to pray for and with you?

The Catholic practice is based upon a profound hope in the resurrection. Here are some pertinent verses in the Bible where supplication is offered for others: 1 Timothy 2:1; Matthew 18:19-20; James 5:13-16; Ephesians 6:18; Isaiah 62:6; Philemon 1:1-25; and Job 1:1-22.