This blog is a supplement to www.stgregorioshosur.com - the website for St.Gregorios Syrian Orthodox Church and Mission Centre, Hosur, India - and brings you latest updates along with articles on Christian living and news.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XIX


Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
In Heaven and On Earth (III)

And those in heaven who offer to God our prayers aren’t just angels, but humans as well. John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of  God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8).

The simple fact is, as this passage shows: The saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XVIII

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints?  I
In Heaven and On Earth (II)
Source - Malankara World

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of  Revelation, we read: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XVII

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints?  
In Heaven and On Earth (I)
Source - Malankara World

The Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us.

Thus in Psalms 103, we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!" (Ps. 103:20-21). And in Psalms 148 we pray, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the
heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!" (Ps. 148:1-2).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XVI

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Answer to those who ask "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" (VI)
Source - Malankara World

In addition to our prayers directly to God and Jesus (which are absolutely essential to the Christian life), there are abundant reasons to ask our fellow Christians in heaven to pray for us.

The Bible indicates that they are aware of our prayers, that they intercede for us, and that their prayers are effective (else they would not be offered).

It is only narrow-mindedness that suggests we should refrain from asking our fellow Christians in heaven to do what we already know them to be anxious and capable of doing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XV

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Answer to those who ask "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" (V)
Source - Malankara World

Having others praying for us thus is a good thing, not something to be despised or set aside. Of course, we should pray directly to Christ with every pressing need we have (cf. John 14:13–14).

That’s something the Syrian Orthodox Church strongly encourages.

In fact, the prayers of the Mass, the central act of  Syrian Orthodox worship, are directed to God and Jesus, not the saints.

But this does not mean that we should not also ask our fellow Christians, including those in heaven, to pray with us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Praying to the Saints - X IV

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Answer to those who ask "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" (IV)
Source - Malankara World

Also, God answers in particular the prayers of the righteous. James declares: "The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.

Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit" (Jas. 5:16–18). Yet those Christians in heaven are more righteous, since they have been made perfect to stand in God’s presence (Heb. 12:22-23), than anyone on earth, meaning their prayers would be even more efficacious.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XIII

 Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Answer to those who ask "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" (III)
Source - Malankara World

Since the practice of asking others to pray for us is so highly recommended in Scripture, it cannot be regarded as superfluous on the grounds that one can go directly to Jesus.

The New Testament would not recommend it if there were not benefits coming from it. One such benefit is that the faith and devotion of the saints can support our own weaknesses and supply what is lacking in our own faith  and devotion.

Jesus regularly supplied for one person based on another person’s  faith (e.g., Matt. 8:13, 15:28, 17:15–18, Mark 9:17–29, Luke 8:49–55). And it goes without saying that those in heaven, being free of the body and the distractions of this life, have even greater confidence and devotion to God than anyone on earth.




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XII

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Answer to those who ask "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" (II)
Source - Malankara World

Praying for each other is simply part of what Christians do. As we saw, in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul strongly encouraged Christians to intercede for many different things, and that passage is by no means unique in his writings.

Elsewhere Paul directly asks others to pray for him (Rom. 15:30–32, Eph. 6:18–20,  Col. 4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1), and he assured them that he was praying for them as well (2 Thess. 1:11). Most fundamentally, Jesus himself required us to pray for others, and not only for those who asked us to do so (Matt. 5:44).

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Praying to the Saints - XI

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Answer to those who ask "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" (I)
Source - Malankara World

Some may grant that the previous objections to asking the saints for their intercession do not work and may even grant that the practice is permissible in theory, yet they may question it on other grounds, asking why one would want to ask the saints to pray for one. "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" they ask.

The answer is: "Of course one should pray directly to Jesus!" But that does not mean it is not also a good thing to ask others to pray for one as well. Ultimately, the "go-directly-to-Jesus" objection boomerangs back on the one who makes it: Why should we ask any Christian, in heaven or on earth, to pray for us when we can ask Jesus directly? If the mere fact that we can go straight to Jesus proved that we should ask no Christian in heaven to pray for us then it would also prove that we should ask no Christian on earth to pray for us.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Praying to the Saints - X

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Overlooking the Obvious (III)
Source - Malankara World

The problem here is one of what might be called a primitive or even childish view of heaven.

It is certainly not one on which enough intellectual rigour has been exercised.

A good introduction to the real implications of the afterlife may be found in Frank Sheed’s book Theology and Sanity, which argues that sanity depends on an accurate appreciation of reality, and that includes an accurate appreciation of what heaven is really like.

And once that is known, the place of  prayer to the saints follows.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Praying to the Saints - IX

 Why do we Venerate the Saints? 
Overlooking the Obvious (II)
Source - Malankara World

If being in heaven were like being in the next room, then of course these objections would be valid.

A mortal, unglorified person in the next room would indeed suffer the restrictions imposed by the way space and time work in our universe.

But the saints are not in the next room, and they are not subject to the time/space limitations of this life.

This does not imply that the saints in heaven therefore must be omniscient, as God is, for it is only through God’s willing it that they can communicate with others in heaven or with us.

And Boettner’s argument about petitions arriving in different languages is even further off the mark. Does anyone really think that in heaven the saints are restricted to the King’s English? After all, it is God himself who gives the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues.

Surely those saints in Revelation understand the prayers they are shown to be offering to God.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Praying to the Saints - VIII

Praying to the Saints - Why do we Venerate the Saints?
Overlooking the Obvious (I)
Source - Malankara World

Some objections to the concept of prayer to the saints betray restricted notions of heaven. One comes from anti-Catholic Loraine Boettner:

"How, then, can a human being such as Mary hear the prayers of millions of Roman Catholics, in many different countries, praying in many different languages, all at the same time?

"Let any priest or layman try to converse with only three people at the same time and see how impossible that is for a human being. . . . The objections against prayers to Mary apply equally against prayers to the saints.

For they too are only creatures, infinitely less than God, able to be at only one place at a time and to do only one thing at a time.

"How, then, can they listen to and answer thousands upon thousands of petitions made simultaneously in many different lands and in many different languages? Many such petitions are expressed, not orally, but only mentally, silently.

How can Mary and the saints, without being like God, be present everywhere and know
the secrets of all hearts?" (Roman Catholicism, 142-143).