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Friday, May 18, 2012

Veneration of Saints


“There is only one God, and one mediator between God and men, man Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 2:5).  Then, why do we ask saints to intercede for us? Can they hear our prayers? Are they alive there in heaven as Catholics believe or ‘sleeping’ here in the dust, as anti-Catholics teach?

We all admit the fact that Jesus is the only mediator; it doesn’t mean that we cannot or should not ask our fellow Christians to pray with us and for us! In fact, “Prayer of the righteous is very powerful” (James 5:16).

The saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church are those who lived the Bible heroically. (Not simply preachers). By declaring someone as saint, the Church proclaims publicly that they practiced virtues in their lives as taught by Jesus and all must try to imitate them.

In different Christian groups great preachers are considered as most anointed, but Catholic Church considers those who practice gospel values in their lives as most anointed! They are those who interpreted the Bible not only in words, but in their very lives! They are the heroes of the Church.

In AD 400 St. Augustine taught, worship is always given to God as it is expressed in the Greek word ‘Latria.’ But the veneration of saints is considered ‘dulia’ which is ‘honor’ that we give to saints and angels.

Bible Says Saints Are To Be Venerated

Saints are venerated as they reflect the glory of God. John 17:22 – “The glory which you have given me, I have given to them.” St. Paul says God honors those who are righteous. Romans 2:4-11 – “For he will give every man according to his works. Those patiently do good works, seek glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life… glory and honor to everyone who does good.” Romans 13:1-7 instructs to “respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”

Saints Can Intercede For Us

The Greek word for witness is ‘martus’ as it is used in the New Testament. In the Bible, we have the evidence that those who suffered martyrdom, are helping us in our needs before God: “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of ‘witnesses’ let us also lay aside every weight” (Heb. 12:1).  We see the prayers of saints are offered to God. (Revelation 5:8) – “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and with golden bowls of incense which are the prayers of the saints.”  Saints are aware about what is happening here on earth: Revelation 12:10-12 – Saints in heaven say, “woe to you earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, he knows his time is short.”  Saints see what is happening here on earth.  Jesus himself said the saints and angels in heaven are watching us.  “Despise not these little ones because their angels are always seeing the face of the heavenly father” (Mat. 18:10).   “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7).   It all shows the presence of saints and angels in heaven.

Veneration of Relics of Saints

Do the relics of martyrs and saints have any power from God? Why do we keep it and venerate it? Does the Bible support this Catholic practice?

Throughout the centuries it was a Christian practice to give reverence to the relics of saints. It has a strong Biblical foundation.  2 Kings 2:14 – Then he took the mantle of Elijah and struck the water, saying: “Where is the Lord, God of Elijah?”  When he had struck the water, the water has parted to the one side, and to the other.  And Elisha went over. - The mantle of Elijah becomes an instrument of God’s miracle.  Luke 8:43-47 – A woman suffering from flow of blood for twelve years was healed when she touched the fringe of his garment.  Mark 6:56 – They might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many has touched it, all were made well.  Acts 5:15-16 – They carried the sick to the streets as Peter came by so that at least his shadow might fall on some of them…and they were all healed.  Acts 19:11-12 – God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul. Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken  to the sick, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them.

Incorruptibles

Incorruptible dead body of Saint Bernadette (1879)


 Incorruptible dead body of Saint Vincent de Paul (1660)


 Incorruptible dead body of Saint Catherine Labouré (1876)


Incorruptible dead body of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1333)


Incorruptible dead body of Saint John Vianney (1859)


Incorruptible dead body of Blessed Pope John XXIII (1963)


Foolishness of “Souls Sleeping” Theory!

‘The dead are sleeping until the Last Judgment Day’ is a theory made by non-Catholics to deny the intercession of saints and prayer for the dead! For them souls are not immortal. To support their claim, they quote: “But the dead knows nothing, and they have no reward” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).  But the same book says (Ecc. 12:7): “Dust return to earth, and spirit return to God who gave it.”  So, it is clear that souls are immortal.  New Testament reveals the souls are not sleeping.  Souls of martyrs are praying before God: “Holy faithful Master, how much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death on the inhabitants of the earth?” (Rev. 6:9-10).  If the martyrs are sleeping, how can they pray like this before God?

(Luke 16:19-31) – In the story of Lazarus  and the rich man, Jesus says, both Lazarus, the rich man and Abraham are alive.  We don’t see,  after death, they started to sleep. The rich man even asks God to allow him to visit his five brethren on earth who are alive.  1 Peter 3:18-19 states: “Christ… being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, went and preached to the spirits in prison.”  If the spirits in prison, who are dead and ‘know nothing,’ how can Jesus go there and preach to them?  2 Cor. 5:6-8 – “We are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.  I am willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”  Absent from the body shows our death.  After death, we are present before God, as Paul believes.  When we die our soul is ‘not starting to sleep,’ but ‘departing’ from the body, to the Lord.  When Rachel died her soul ‘departed’ (Gen. 35:18).  It is made clear when Jesus promised the thief: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”(Not after the Day of Judgment) - Luke 23:43.  During the transfiguration of Jesus in Mount Tabor “Moses and Elias, were talking with him,” as seen by the apostles.  Moses and Elias were dead long ago.  How can they speak to Jesus if they are sleeping?(Somnambulism).  So the belief, ‘souls sleep’ has no biblical foundation at all.


NEXT: CATHOLICS 'WORSHIP' IDOLS?






2 comments:

  1. SAINTS are fruits of GOD's holiness who is the full expression of all holiness.(Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8) They responded the 'call' of the all Holy LORD, "For I, the LORD, am your God; and you shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I AM holy."(Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 1Pet.1:16) As Abraham did walk and become blameless in the presence of the LORD,(Gen. 17:1) so were the saints as well. They walked and became blameless in God's presence through the merits of Christ in the Holy Spirit. (Rev. 14:13; 22:14)
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  2. Being part of ONE Body of Jesus Christ, (Romans 12:4-5) does not end on persecution and death. It continues into God's Kingdom in Heaven in HIS all holy presence.(Rev. 7:9-10) The departed righteous souls; since, they are already victorious in their lives here on earth Jesus gives them power or authority to rule with an iron rod over nations. (Rev. 2:26-28) This what St. Paul said, 'co-heirs' with Christ.(Rom. 8:16:17) Because they are already perfected by the blood of Christ, (Rev. 7:14-17) their prayers are even more heard in Heaven before the throne of God, for they (prayers) are being placed in a golden bowl (Rev. 5:8) means that their prayers are very precious in the presence of the Almighty. That is why Saint James says, "the fervent prayer of a righteous is very powerful in effect,(James 5:16-17) for 'The Lord is far from the wicked but the prayers of the just HE hears. (Prob. 15:29)

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