Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | February 7, 2010

Reflection for 5th Su in OT

Is 61, 1-8; Ps 138, 1-8; 1 Cor 15, 1-11; Lk 5, 1-11

“And to enlighten all men, that they may see what is the dispensation of the mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God, who created all things: That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church,” (Eph 3, 9-10)

One of the more powerful verses which talks about the relationship between the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant is in these 2 verses. The thought of this comforted me as I was researching on Church History back in the days when I was just beginning to come back to my Faith.

In 1854 the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined by Pope Bl Pius IX. In 1858 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception. The Church in Heaven learns from the Church on earth.

I know there are protestants who falsely believe that you don’t need Saints and you can skip on the Blessed Virgin Mary, however the Biblical teaching is clear that intercessory prayer is encouraged…

“Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or distress? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? or the sword? (As it is written: For thy sake we are put to death all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.) But in all these things we overcome, because of him that hath loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8, 35-39)

The first thing that people need to understand is that death does not separate us as Catholics. The Saints in heaven are alive in Christ they’re active and completely hear our prayers. To deny this is to limit the power of God, and who are we to limit how God can function? If we understand that the Saints aren’t dead, then intercessory prayer makes complete sense. It is absolutely against Church teaching to conjure up spirits like in ouija board or seances.

“I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:” (1 Tim 2, 1-5)

The protestants miss the 4 verses before the 5th verse. In the first verse St Paul commands that we pray for one another. That’s right, we’re supposed to intercede for each other, and who are we to limit this to earth, how much more efficacious this would be if they were dead (see Rom 8, 39), God is pleased with Saintly intercession, we’re not meant to be alone in the journey towards heaven.

St Cyrprian tells us “Nor is that kind of title to glories in the case of Celerinus, our beloved, an unfamiliar and novel thing. He is advancing in the footsteps of his kindred; he rivals his parents and relations in equal honours of divine condescension. His grandmother, Celerina, was some time since crowned with martyrdom. Moreover, his paternal and maternal uncles, Laurentius and Egnatius, who themselves also were once warring in the camps of the world, but were true and spiritual soldiers of God, casting down the devil by the confession of Christ, merited palms and crowns from the Lord by their illustrious passion. We always offer sacrifices for them, as you remember, as often as we celebrate the passions and days of the martyrs in the annual commemoration. Nor could he, therefore, be degenerate and inferior whom this family dignity and a generous nobility provoked, by domestic examples of virtue and faith. But if in a worldly family it is a matter of heraldry and of praise to be a patrician, of bow much greater praise and honour is it to become of noble rank in the celestial heraldry! I cannot tell whom I should call more blessed,–whether those ancestors, for a posterity so illustrious, or him, for an origin so glorious. So equally between them does the divine condescension flow, and pass to and fro, that, just as the dignity of their offspring brightens t

heir crown, so the sublimity of his ancestry illuminates his glory.”

The Early Catholics got the concept of the Communion of Saints which is alluded to in the OT.

In our First reading, we see the line that’s used in the Sanctus “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory, Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. The Angels and Saints are singing this song in heaven while we here on earth sing this song. In the preface dialogue, we say with All the Angels and Archangels we sing without ceasing, it’s the power of the Communion of Saints. We are never alone lest we forget that….The Saints here and answer our prayers…We remember in this Mass to go to the Saints for intercession, they’re far closer to God than we are.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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Responses

  1. As St. Paul pointed out, we are surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses" cheering us on as we run the race. Those witnesses are the saints in Heaven who are cheering us on by their prayers & intercession. If the body of Christ is 1 (Churc millitant, suffering & triumphant) as Scripture says & I can ask 1 part of that body, Church Millitant, to pray why not the Church Triumphant? After all by rejecting them aren't we doing what Paul said not to do, tell 1 part of the body that we don't need it?

  2. Al, Indeed so, we're surrouned by cloud of witnesses (Heb 12, 1) and those in heaven rejoice over the repentant sinner :). Your analogy is exactly right, we're ignoring a part of the Body of Christ if we can't ask part of it to pray for us 🙂 We need all parts to function


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