serving massachusetts, new hampshire, maine and vermont

Intercession, by Pope Shenouda III

INTERCESSION

1. The difference between the mediation of the Lord Jesus

Christ and the intercession of the saints

2. The intercession of the saints is merely praying for us

3. God requests people to ask the intercession of the

righteous

4. Do angels and saints know our condition on earth?

5. The greatness, knowledge and ministry of the saints

6. Other examples of the greatness of the saints

7. The saints who have departed are still living

8. Examples of the intercession of the angels

9. The saints’ favour with the Lord

10. Objections and replies

11. The spirituality of asking the prayers of the saints

12. Intercession is a living reality

 

 

Intercession

Our Protestant brethren reject intercessions of the Virgin

Mary or of the angels or of the saints they base their rejection

on Saint John the Apostle: “… we have an Advocate with the

Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John.2: 1) and the words

of the Apostle Paul: “For there is one God and one Mediator

between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Tim.2: 5).

 

(1) In fact there is a fundamental difference between the

mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the intercessions of

the saints

 

The mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ is an atonement,

which means that He mediates for the forgiveness of our sins,

being the Atoner who paid our debts on our behalf. His

mediation means that He says to the Father: “Do not count their

transgressions because I have carried their iniquity” (Is.53: 6).

Thus He stands as a Mediator between God and men; or

rather, He is the only Mediator between God and men; He

fulfilled God’s Divine Justice and granted people the

forgiveness of sins, by dying for them.

 

This is what St. John the Apostle meant when he said: “And

if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus

Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our

sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”

(1John.2: 1,2). Here, the atoning mediation is very clear. It is a

mediation for the sinner: “If anyone sins”, and this sinner needs

atonement. The only One who offered this atonement was Jesus

Christ the righteous. Hence He can mediate for us through His

blood which was shed for us.

 

The same meaning is given in the words of St. Paul the

Apostle about the Lord Jesus Christ being the only Mediator

between God and men. He says: “For there is one God and

one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1Tim.2: 5,6). The Lord

Jesus Christ mediates for us as the Redeemer who sacrificed

Himself and paid the price of our sins.

This type of mediation is utterly unquestionable. It is

attributed to Christ only, whereas the intercessions of the saints

has no connection with atonement or redemption. It is

intercessions for us to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

(2) The intercessions of the saints for us are merely

praying for us; they are of the pleading type, which is

completely different to Christ’s atoning mediation

 

This is sanctioned by the Holy Bible which says: “…pray for

one another” (Jas.5: 16). The saints themselves asked people to

pray for them. St. Paul said to the Thessalonians: “…pray for

us” (2Thess.3: 1) and asked the Hebrews the same request:

“Pray for us” (Heb.13: 18). He also said to the Ephesians:

“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the

Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and

supplication for all the saints – and for me” (Eph.6: 18,19).

 

The request to pray for one another is countless in the Holy

Bible. If the saints ask us to pray for them, shall we not ask

them to pray for us? If we ask the prayers of those who are still

in their spiritual combats, 44 subject to sufferings like

ourselves”, shall we not ask the prayers of the saints who

completed their striving and departed to Paradise, living with

Christ? Or have these saints been demoted after their departure

from earth to Paradise so that we are only allowed to ask their

prayers when they are on earth and forbidden to do so when

they are in Paradise close to God? If we ask the prayers of

human beings, is it too much to ask the prayers of the angels?

 

(3) God requests people to ask the intercession of the

righteous

 

God Himself asks that, accepts it and paves the way for it to

happen. I will give you some examples of such intercessions

that God accepted:

 

(a) The story of our father Abraham and King

Abimelech. Abimelech made a mistake and took Sarah,

Abraham’s wife, into his palace. He did so with a clear

conscience because Abraham said that she was his sister. The

Lord came to Abimelech in a dream, threatened him with death

and said to him: “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he

is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live”

(Gen.20: 7). God could have forgiven Abimelech as soon as he

returned Sarah to her husband. However, He put a condition

for His forgiveness: Abimelech would be forgiven and would

live provided that Abraham would pray for him. Thus God

asked for the intercession of Abraham and made it a condition

for forgiving Abimelech.

 

(b) The story of Job and his three friends. In the same

way, the Lord conditioned the intercession and prayer of Job

for his three friends so that He would forgive them. Concerning

this, the Holy Bible says: “…the Lord said to Eliphaz the

Temanite, ‘My wrath is aroused against you and your two

friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My

servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls

and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for

yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for

you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to

your folly’ ” (Job.42: 7,8).

 

In both events God Himself spoke to the erring person.

However, He did not grant him forgiveness directly but

conditioned the forgiveness to the prayer of the saint for the

sinner so that the sinner might receive forgiveness and the saint

would be venerated in the eyes of people. God not only accepts

this mediation but rather asks for it.

 

(c) The intercession of Abraham for Sodom. God could

have punished Sodom without letting Abraham know about the

matter. Abraham did not intervene on his own accord, but the

Lord revealed the matter to him, involved him in it, gave him an

opportunity to plead for the people of Sodom and accepted his

intercession. God willed that this event be recorded to exalt

Abraham in the eyes of all people and to show us how He

venerates His saints. The Holy Bible says: “And the Lord said,

‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing’ ” (Gen.18: 17).

Then the Lord presented to Abraham the subject of Sodom,

gave him the opportunity to intercede for its people in the hope

that there existed in the Country fifty or forty or thirty or

twenty or ten righteous persons for whose sake the Lord would

not destroy the whole Country.

 

The mere fact that the Lord would not destroy the Country

for the sake of the righteous who lived in it gives us an idea not

only of Abraham’s dignity but also of the dignity of those

righteous in front of the Lord. The Lord said: “If I find in

Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the

place for their sakesIf I find there forty-five, I will not

destroy itI will not do it for the sake of fortyI will not do it

if I find thirty thereI will not destroy it for the sake of

twentyI will not destroy it for the sake of ten” (Gen.18: 26-

32).

 

The phrase ‘for the sake of” has its divine value which

signifies that God saves persons for the sake of others and it is

also a clear proof of the mediation of the righteous for the sake

of sinners. The Lord accepts this mediation without the

beneficiaries asking for it.

 

(d) The intercession of Mosses for the people of Israel.

God willed to destroy the people because they worshipped

the golden calf. Yet He did not do it directly but revealed the

matter to Mosses the Prophet, gave him a chance to intercede

for the people and accepted his intercession.

In the same way that Abraham said to God: “Far be it from

You”, Mosses said to Him: “Turn from Your fierce wrath, and

relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham,

Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your

own self. ” Then the Bible says: “So the Lord relented from the

harm which He said He would do to His people” (Ex.32: 7-14).

 

(e) The departed have greater favour with God. The

above are examples of prayers of living persons for the sake of

living persons. As for the departed, they have greater favour

with God to the extent that He has mercy on people for their

sake even without them praying. How much more then if they

do pray for someone?

 

Examples of this are the merciful and compassionate works

God did for the sake of His servant David. When Solomon

sinned, God decided to tear his kingdom away from him, but He

said about the division of the kingdom: “Nevertheless I will not

do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; but I will

tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear

away the whole kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son

for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of

Jerusalem which I have chosen” (1Kin. 11: 12,13).

 

The Lord repeated the same words in His speech to

Jeroboam: “Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of

Solomon and will give ten tribes to you (but he shall have one

tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of

Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of

Israel). However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his

hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for

the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept

My commandments and My statutes” (1Kin.11: 31,32,34).

In one chapter the Lord repeats the phrase ‘for the sake of

My servant David” three times. That is why the Psalmist

prayed to Him, saying: “For Your servant David’s sake, do not

turn away the face of Your Anointed” (Ps. 132: 10).

 

If David has such favour with God, how much more has the

Virgin Mary, the angels, John the Baptist who is the greatest

born of women, and the martyrs who were tortured and tasted

death for the sake of the Lord?

 

Therefore, since we ask the prayers of our fellows on earth,

why do we not ask the prayers of those whom “shine like the

brightness of the firmament” (Dan 12: 3)? And why do we not

ask the prayers of those who fought the good fight, finished the

race and kept the faith (2Tim 4: 7)?

 

If intercession, which is prayer, is considered mediation,

and if every mediation is unacceptable, then every man’s

prayer for the sake of another is an unacceptable mediation

since we have only one Mediator!

 

In refusing the mediation in prayers, on the pretext that the

relationship between God and man is a direct one which in the

Divine love does not need the prayers of others, then the

Apostle would be wrong (far from it) in saying, “pray for one

another” (Jas.5: 16)!

 

Accordingly, prayers for the sake of others which are

mentioned in the Holy Bible are meaningless and not in

accord with the Divine love!

 

Because God loves people, He does not need others to pray

to Him for the sake of His children to remind Him of His

Providence and Paternal love!

Those who think in this way misunderstand the Divine

design when God asked Abimelech to let Abraham pray for him

(Gen.20: 7) and when He asked Job’s friends to let Job pray for

them (Job.42: 8).

 

The prayers of men for each other (whether they have

departed or are still striving in the flesh) is a manifestation

of the mutual love which exists between humans; a proof of

man’s belief that those who have departed are still living

and that their prayers are accepted by God, and an

indication that God venerates His saints.

 

God permits intercession for the benefit of men and this

intercession rears a bridge between the inhabitants of heaven

and those on earth. Heaven is no longer an unknown and

frightful place to people but they have come to believe in the

work and love of the saints’ souls.

The following are important questions frequently asked by

those who deny intercession:

 

(4) Do angels and saints know our condition on earth?

Do the souls of the saints know our condition? Do our

prayers reach them?

We reply in the affirmative. The proofs are:

 

(a) There is no doubt that knowledge in heaven is

greater than that on earth. It is surprising that someone asks:

Do saints in heaven know our news and our prayers on earth?

The Apostle Paul replies, saying: “For now we see in a mirror,

dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I

shall know just as I also am known” (1Cor.13: 12).

So in the next world our knowledge will increase and many

secrets will be revealed to us when we take off this body which

binds the soul. There, the knowledge of the soul will expand

and go beyond the sphere of limited knowledge to a wider

sphere. To this knowledge will be added the knowledge

revealed by God to the souls, namely, anything that is enclosed

within the sphere of the Divine Revelation.

 

(b) The knowledge of the angels is shown clearly in the

Lord’s words: “…there will be more joy in heaven over one

sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who

need no repentance” (Lk.15: 7).

This means that the news of the earth reaches the inhabitants

of heaven, whether the angels or the souls of the saints. They

know who repents and who needs repentance, and they rejoice

over the repentance of one sinner. Unless they know the news

of the earth, how could they rejoice?

c) The angels know our prayers because they carry them to

God’s throne. There are numerous text-proofs in the Book of

Revelation. It is written: “Then another angel, having a golden

censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much

incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints

upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the

smoke of the incense, with the prayers of all the saints, ascended

before God from the angel’s hand” (Rev.8: 3,4). Here we see the

prayers of the saints ascending before God from the angel’s hand

and censer. So how can the angels not know our prayers?

 

Likewise, the twenty-four priests know our prayers and

ascend them before God. In the Book of Revelation, it is

written: “…the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each

having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the

prayers of the saints” (Rev.5: 8). This is proof that they know the

prayers which they ascend to God.

Similarly are the angels of little children of whom the Lord

Jesus Christ said: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these

little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see

the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matt.18: 10).

 

d) The story of Abraham, the rich man and Lazarus

(Lk.16). Our father Abraham said to the rich man: “Son, remember

that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise

Lazarus evil things” (Lk.16: 25). How did our father Abraham

know the evil things which Lazarus endured? How did he know

the good things the rich man received? How did he know that the

rich man’s family “have Mosses and the Prophets”, when he had

departed from earth hundreds of years before Mosses and the rest

of the prophets? How did he know all that? How could Abraham,

of whom the Lord said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My

day, and he saw it and was glad” (John.8: 56), not know?

 

(e) A testimony from the souls of the martyrs: St. John says

in the Book of Revelation: “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw

under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word

of God and for the testimony for which they held. And they cried

with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, until

You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the

earth?’ And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was

said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both

the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would

be killed as they were, was completed” (Rev. 6: 9-11). Therefore

the martyrs know, after their death, that the Lord has not yet

avenged their blood. They cried with a loud voice to God, saying:

“How long will You let the evil prevail on earth? Until when are

You going to let the strong in body destroy Your children? Until

when will they keep on shedding this blood?” How do they know

all these things? They do know, and when the number of their

fellow servants are completed, they will know.

 

(f) The amazing story about the Prophet Elijah (2Chr. 2l): It

is written in the Book of Chronicles that King Jehoram killed all his

brothers, walked in the ways of King Ahab, built high places on the

hills of Judah, caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute

themselves and led Judah astray. Then he received a letter from

the Prophet Elijah who had departed from earth and ascended to

heaven many years before. The letter he received from the Prophet

Elijah read: “Thus says the Lord God of your father David:

Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your

father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the

way of the kings of Israel… the Lord will strike your people”

(2Chr.21: 12-14). How did that happen? How did Elijah, after his

departure from earth, know what was happening? How did he

send his letter to Jehoram?

 

(5) The greatness, knowledge and ministry of the saints

(a) During his lifetime, Samuel the Prophet was consulted

about a lost donkey. It was said about him: “…there is in this city a

man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he says surely

comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way

that we should go” (1Sam.9: 6). If the man of God, while he was

on earth, knew the unseen, how much more would his soul know in

heaven!

(b) When Elisha was on earth, he perceived what Gehazi did in

secret when he accepted the gifts from Naaman the Syrian (2Kin.5:

25-27).

(c) One of the officers of the King of Aram said about Elisha

to his master the king: “…but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel,

tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom”

(2Kin.6: 12).

(d) Elisha perceived, at the time of the famine, that the King of

Israel had sent a messenger to kill him (2Kin.6: 32). If Elisha,

while still in the flesh, had the gift of knowing secret things, how

much more would he know in heaven after putting off his body?

(e) Likewise, St. Peter the Apostle knew what Ananius and

Sapphira did in secret. He disclosed it to them and punished them

(Acts 5: 3,9).

(f) Also, St. Paul knew that after he would leave, savage wolves

would come in among the Ephesians and would not spare the flock

(Acts 20: 29).

If the Apostles knew that much while they were still in the flesh,

how much more would the Lord reveal to them in heaven!

These saints have knowledge and have a message for

people. Their life, which started on earth did not end with

their departure to heaven. We ask them to intervene more than

we ask those who are still striving on earth like ourselves and have

not yet departed.

 

(6) Other examples of the greatness of the saints

(a) The bones of the Prophet Elisha were capable of

performing a great deed. They were a blessing and brought a

dead person back to life by mere contact, without prayer; they

were only bones with no life in them (2Kin.13: 21). How much

more effect would Elisha’s soul have in heaven? Undoubtedly

his soul is more powerful than his bones; having more

knowledge and having more favour with the Lord! How much

more effect would the souls of saints similar to Elisha, have in

heaven?

(b) If the handkerchiefs and aprons which touched Paul’s

body had the blessing of healing many sick and of driving out

many demons (Acts 19:12), how much more blessing would his

soul and the souls of saints similar to him, have in heaven?

 

(7) The saints who departed are still living

The Lord explained this fact when He said: “…have you not

read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of

Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is

not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt.22: 31,32).

Therefore those saints are still living. Why should we consider

them dead and not ask their prayers?

We should not forget as well the appearance of Mosses and

Elijah with the Lord Jesus Christ on the Mount of

Transfiguration. Moses died fourteen centuries before the birth

of Christ and is still living just as Elijah who was taken up to

heaven. Their souls did not die; they are in Paradise and they

see more than we do.

 

(8) Examples of the intercession of the angels

There are two examples in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah:

(a) The intercession of the angel for the sake of Jerusalem: The

angel prayed and said: “O Lord of hosts, how long will You not

have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against

which You were angry these seventy years?” (Zech.1: 12) If the

angel interceded for Jerusalem even without the latter asking him

to, how much more will he intercede if you ask him for his prayers?

(b) The intercession of the angel of the Lord for the sake of

Joshua the high priest: The angel stood against Satan who was

going to bring an accusation against Joshua, and said to him: “The

Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem

rebukes you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zech.3:

1,2)

(c) Another example is in the Book of Genesis: An angel of

the Lord guarded and saved Jacob. Jacob talked about him

when he was blessing Ephraim and Manasseh and said: “The

Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads”

(Gen.48: 16).

(d) We should not forget that the Holy Bible said about the

angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to

minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (He.1: 14) This

means that they have a work to perform for the people on earth.

 

(9) The saints’ favour with the Lord

(a) We ask the intercession of the saints because of the great

favour they have with the Lord who loves them and puts them

in charge of merciful deeds for the sake of men. Also because of

the greater knowledge and extensive capabilities their souls

enjoy after leaving their bodies.

(b) Whilst talking about the saints’ favour with the Lord, we

mention that God sometimes associated His name with their

names. He said: “I am the God of your father – the God of

Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex.3: 6).

(c) That is why the saints used to remind the Lord of His

saints so that His compassionate and merciful heart would be

moved immediately on hearing their names and remembering

His promises to them. In interceding for the people of Israel to

be saved from perishing, Moses the Prophet said to the Lord:

“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to

whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will

multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven’ ” (Ex.32: 13).

(d) We recall that when King Hazael of Syria oppressed the

Israelites, the Holy Bible says: “But the Lord was gracious to

them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of

His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not

yet destroy them or cast them from His presence” (2 Kin. 13:23).

(e) On the subject of the saints’ favour with the Lord, we

present the example of God’s reproach to Aaron and Miriam

when they criticised Moses. The Lord came down in a pillar of

cloud and said to Aardn and Miriam in front of Moses: “If there

is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to

him in a vision, and I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My

servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him

face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees

the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak

against My servant Moses?” (Num.12: 68)

(f) Another example of the saints’ favour with the Lord is the

Lord’s words to His Apostles: “He who hears you hears Me, he

who rejects you rejects Me” (Lk.10: 16) and “If anyone serves

Me, him My Father will honour” (John.12: 26).

 

(10) Objections and replies

(a) It is said that in asking the intercession of the saints, we

pray to them. We reply that we do not pray to the saints; we

only ask their prayers and their support for us. Our talk to the

Virgin Mary is not a prayer to her but it is a filial talk from

children to their mother; a sort of confiding the secrets of our

hearts to her and not praying to her. We kindly request her

intercession for us as she is the Queen who sits at the right hand

of the King.

(b) It is said that intercession is a sort of mediation. We see

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nothing wrong with that, as God Himself accepted mediation

and He demanded it. He asked Abimelech to let Abraham pray

for him so that he would live (Gen.20: 7), and He asked Job’s

friends to let Job pray for them lest He treat them according to

their follies (Job.42: 8). He allowed Abraham to plead for

Sodom (Gen. 18) and allowed Moses to plead for the sake of

the people of Israel. He listened to them and accepted their

pleadings.

 

(11) The spirituality of asking the prayers of the saints

(a) Asking the intercession of the saints implies belief in the

life to come; belief that the departed are still living and have

their work to perform; belief in the constant relationship

between heaven and earth, and belief in venerating the saints

who are venerated by God Himself.

 

(b) Intercession is a fellowship of love between the members

of the One Body. The Church is the body, Christ is the Head

and all of us, whether on earth or in heaven, are members of the

One Body. Love, prayers and fellowship are peretually

exchanged between the members of the One and same Body.

We plead for the departed in our prayers and they intercede for

us through their prayers; it is an inseparable relationship.

It is regrettable that people who object to intercession seem

adamant to destroy this fellowship. They resist our for the sake

of the departed and their prayers or intercessions for us? Does

the love relationship between God the Father and every believer

contradicts the existence of love relationship between God’s

children? Did the Lord Jesus Christ not ask the Father: “…that

they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;

that they also may be one in Usthat they may be one just as

We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made

perfect in one” (John.17: 21, 23)?

 

(c) Intercession is beneficial. Whoever denies it loses its

benefits and gains nothing in lieu. Those who believe in

intercession benefit from the love relationship between them

and the saints. They benefit from the mere connection with the

souls of those who have departed. They add to their own

prayers the more profound and powerful prayers of those

abiding in the next world, without any loss on their part.

However, those who deny intercessions of the saints lose this

relationship and these prayers without gaining anything in stead.

They lose a simple and an uncomplicated belief manifested by

those who celebrate the feasts of the saints, visit their churches

and ask their prayers. How would they cope with meeting

these saints in the next life after, while they have refused to

venerate them or ask their prayers and intercessions?

(d) Intercession entails meekness of heart. The person who

asks for intercession is a humble person. He is not conceited

about his personal relationship with God, but takes the position

of the sinner and the weak who requests the intercession of

others for his sake. Vice versa is he who denies intercession. He

might pompously ask: “What is the difference between me and

those saints? The relationship between me and God is too

strong to need intercession”! He raises himself to the rank of

the saints, martyrs and angels.

Those people will be reproached by the Apostle’s words: “Pray

for us” (Heb.13: 18) and “…praying always with all prayer and

supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all

perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph.6: 18).

 

(e) Intercession is proof of God’s justice in the principle of

equal opportunities. If God permits Satan to fight His children,

tempt them in false visions and dreams and torments them, so,

according to His justice and the principle of equal opportunities,

He permits the angels and the souls of the righteous to help His

children on earth. Thus God’s justice is manifest in the

intervention of the souls of those abiding in the next world in

the life of men.

If God permitted Satan to harm Job, He also permits angels

to bandage the injuries of men and to minister to His children

without them asking. How much more if they pray for it! “Are

they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those

who will inherit salvation?” (Heb.1: 14)

So long as the angels are sent forth for this purpose why

should we not ask their intervention to help us while they are

near us?

 

(12) Intercession is a living reality

The intercession of the saints for us is not merely a theological

research text-proved from the Holy Bible, but it is a living reality

we experience. It is a living history through the generations,

narrating the amazing relationship between those who departed and

those who are still living on earth. It is a living contact with the

saints who truly pity our state more than we do to the extent that

sometimes our problems are solved for us due to their intercessions

for us without our request or prayers. They understand more than

we do and they apply the verse: “Rejoice with those who rejoice,

and weep with those who weep” (Rom.12: 15) more than we do.

Intercession is proof of the bond between the members of the

Church on earth and the members of the Church in heaven. It is

one Church: one part of it is on earth, which we call Church

Militant and the other part is in heaven which we call Church

Triumphant. Both of them pray for each other.

 

Those who reject the intercession of the saints are in fact

disregarding the marvellous miracles that occurred and are testified

to by people, through the prayers of the saints on the occasion of

their feasts or in their churches and monasteries. It appears that

such dogmatic arguments in theology may of resulted in denial of

factual history and day to day facts of life.

 

It suffices to mention the miracles which occurred by the

appearance of the Virgin Mary in her Church at Zeitoon.

Whether to Christians or Moslems, and which were

documented by the people’s oral and written testimonials. Also

the miracles which occur in the name of St. George, Archangel

Michael and other saints. All these should be sufficient to

convince our Protestant brethren in coming to terms with the

reality of the intercessions of the saints.

 

Read the life-stories of the saints and you will come to

know about the intervention of the angels and saints in

people’s lives.

 

You will see how they appear, foretell, give

promises and guidance and bring good news of the birth of a saint

from a barren mother or of God’s choice of a saint for His ministry.

As far as these people are concerned, the subject of their

relationship with the saints is not a one day and night acquaintance

but it is ages-long relationship. It is a relationship we can never

destroy. It is a relationship between people, the angels and the

saints. This is why many of these people find it difficult to

understand the Protestant stance of rejecting the inseparable bond

between the Church on earth and its members in heaven.