Science tests faith: Well known investigative reporter Michael Willesee rediscovers his faith in his 50s, through his personal experience and live reporting of miracles within the Catholic Church. In 1998 he made a report entitled Signs From God on the appearance of stigmata displayed by a woman, Katya Revas, in Bolivia among other miracles. Scientists put these miracles to the test live on TV hosted by the Fox Broadcasting Company.
Taken from the Prologue from Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O.
The Soul of the Apostolate
EX QUO OMNIA,
PER QUEM OMNIA,
IN QUO OMNIA
O God, infinitely good and great, wonderful indeed are the truths that faith lays open to us, concerning the life which Thou leadest within Thyself: and these truths dazzle us.
Father all holy, Thou dost contemplate Thyself forever in the Word, Thy perfect image — Thy Word exults in rapt joy at Thy beauty — and, Father and Son, from Your joint ecstasy, leaps forth the strong flame of love, the Holy Spirit.
You alone, O adorable Trinity, are the interior life, perfect, superabundant, and infinite.
Goodness unlimited, You desire to spread this, Your own inner life, everywhere, outside Yourself. You speak: and Your works spring forth out of nothingness, to declare Your perfections and to sing Your glory.
Between You and the dust quickened by Your breath, there is a deep abyss: and this, Your Holy Spirit wishes to bridge. Thus He will find a way of satisfying His immense need to love, to give Himself.
And therefore He calls forth, from Your bosom, the decree that we become divine. Wonder of wonders! This clay, fashioned by Your hands, will have the power to be deified, and share in Your eternal happiness..
Your Word offers Himself for the fulfillment of this work.
And He is made flesh, that we may become gods.
And yet, O Word, Thou hast not left the bosom of Thy Father. It is there that Thy essential life subsists, and it is from this source that the marvels of Thy apostolate are to flow.
O Jesus, Emmanuel, Thou dost hand over to Thy apostles Thy Gospel, Thy Cross, Thy Eucharist, and givest them the mission to go forth and beget for Thy Father, sons of adoption.
And then Thou dost return, ascending, to Thy Father.
Thine, henceforth, O Holy Spirit, is the care of sanctifying and directing the Mystical Body of the God-man.
Thou deignest to take unto Thyself fellow-workers, in Thy function of bringing, from the Head, divine life into the members.
Burning with Pentecostal fires, they will go forth to sow broadcast in the minds of all, the word that enlightens, and in all hearts the grace that enkindles. Thus will they impart to men that divine life of which Thou art the fullness.
O Divine Fire, stir up in all those who have part in Thy apostolate, the flames that transformed those fortunate retreatments in the Upper Room. Then they will be no longer mere preachers of dogma or moral theology, but men living to transfuse the Blood of God into the souls of men.
Spirit of Light, imprint upon their minds, in characters that can never be erased, this truth: that their apostolate will be successful only in the measure that they themselves live that supernatural inner life of which Thou art the sovereign PRINCIPLE and Jesus Christ the SOURCE.
O infinite Charity, make their wills burn with thirst for the interior life. Penetrate and flood their hearts with Thy sweetness and strength, and show them that, even here on this earth, there is no real happiness except in this life of imitation and sharing in Thine own life and in that of the Heart of Jesus in the bosom of the Father of all mercy and all kindness.
O Mary Immaculate, Queen of apostles, deign to bless these simple pages. Grant that all who read them may really understand that, if it please God to use their activity as an ordinary instrument of His Providence, in pouring out His heavenly riches upon the souls of men, this activity, if it is to produce any results, will have to participate, somehow, in the nature of the Divine Act as Thou didst behold it in the bosom of God when He, to Whom we owe the power of calling thee our Mother, became incarnate in the virginal womb.
 Liturgy. Fifth antiphon of Matins for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity – quoted from 1 Cor 8:6.
 Factus est homo ut homo fieret dues (St. Augustine, Serm. 2 de Nativ.).
 Deus, cujus Spiritu totum corpus sanctificatur et regitur. Liturgy.
The grace one obtains in life, and therefore sanctity, depends upon participation in Christ, for He is the God-man, the only mediator to the Father. For this reason, Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). At the same time, however, this implies effort on our part, to freely respond to Him in the means of grace He gives us, especially in the sacraments. This can only take place in and through dying to ourselves:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3-5)
Indeed, this is the condition of Christian discipleship:
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:23-25)
Accordingly, one obtains new and everlasting life in Christ – by becoming sons in the Son:
“So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship.” (Romans 8:12-15)
In practical terms, Pope Pius XII outlines for us in his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi (On the Mystical Body of Christ – ie., those of us Baptised into Christ) what these imply in our lives:
For although our Savior’s cruel passion and death merited for His Church an infinite treasure of graces, God’s inscrutable providence has decreed that these graces should not be granted to us all at once; but their greater or lesser abundance will depend in no small part on our own good works, which draw down on the souls of men a rain of heavenly gifts freely bestowed by God. These heavenly gifts will surely flow more abundantly if we not only pray fervently to God, especially by participating every day if possible in the Eucharistic Sacrifice; if we not only try to relieve the distress of the needy and of the sick by works of Christian charity, but if we also set our hearts on the good things of eternity rather than on the passing things of this world; if we restrain this mortal body by voluntary mortification, denying it what is forbidden, and by forcing it to do what is hard and distasteful; and finally, if we humbly accept as from God’s hands the burdens and sorrows of this present life. Thus, according to the Apostle, “we shall fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in our flesh for His Body, which is the Church.”
The thoughts and imagery of the mind often serve as channels through which sin enters into one’s life. For this reason, St. John of the Cross teaches the benefits of purging the mind and memory in “forgetting them and emptying itself of them” (Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book III, Chapter 6). He lists three benefits of this:
1. In the first place, the soul enjoys tranquillity and peace of mind, since it is freed from the disturbance and the changeableness which arise from thoughts and ideas of the memory, and consequently, which is more important, it enjoys purity of conscience and soul. And herein the soul has ample preparation for the acquiring of Divine and human wisdom, and of the virtues.
2. In the second place, it is freed from many suggestions, temptations and motions of the devil, which he infuses into the soul by means of thoughts and ideas, causing it to fall into many impurities and sins, as David says in these words: ‘They have thought and spoken wickedness.' And thus, when these thoughts have been completely removed, the devil has naught wherewith to assault the soul by natural means.
3. In the third place, the soul has within itself, through this recollection of itself and this forgetfulness as to all things, a preparedness to be moved by the Holy Spirit and taught by Him, for, as the Wise Man says, He removes Himself from thoughts that are without understanding.
One can go about this by dropping of, and detaching from, unnecessary thoughts and images of the mind – the interior forum of private discourses.
It is necessary also to safeguarding the senses, especially that of sight and hearing, in order to safeguard the interior peace, ensuring that no impure speech or discourse enters or arises out of one’s being.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
As a being who is both spiritual and material, consisting of both body and soul (CCC 362-368), one is bound to experience the paradox of having angelic and animalistic parts to himself. Part of this is in experienced, to some degree in our struggle with temptation, but most profoundly in suffering, and especially in suffering involving love – we are able to donate (give) ourselves to the other in ways that are truly human and spiritual, yet this opens us up to hurts that would not have come otherwise, when a genuine form of love is spurned, not understood, or, worse still, abused. When this happens – especially in childhood – one can recoil into oneself, and stop loving, for the fear of being hurt.
Yet this is not conducive to one’s flourishing and fulfilment, especially in one’s destiny and ultimate purpose of living – to give oneself for the sake of the other. In Scriptural terms, the same is outlined in the two greatest commandments, the fulfilment of all law: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”, and, “[y]ou shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). These are the greatest and guiding principles for our lives.
What, then, can one do to fulfil the aim of our lives in such a sorrowful state, of recoiling in on oneself? One in this state is afraid to love and so, in compensating, one is also prone to resorting to lower loves, which, divorced from the order of the higher love, is sinful and damaging to authentic love. In such an instance, it is often not enough to simply be told that one must do this and that – in fact, it can be downright unhelpful and unproductive. In fact, the point of reference must be changed. It is not primarily what we must do – since it is in relation to others that we operate, often in fear of further hurt, it is in reference to the ultimate Other that we must perceive all others and, yes, ourselves also. What we must do is secondary – it comes out of what is first, which is the contemplative gaze on the the One, our reference point.
As Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity testifies, “[w]e shall not be purified by looking at our miseries, but by gazing on Him who is all purity and holiness.” And He makes Himself available to our sensible dimension in the person of Jesus Christ. By gazing at the crucifix, and realising the call on all the Baptized to imitate Him in the cross, (Romans 6:4-8), denying oneself so as to live with Him in His resurrection, we come to face sufferings and self-denials not in a passive state, as a victim, but with our assent and will, to accept it for the sake of Him who calls us to imitate Him, in His love for us, and so as also to remain in His love (John 15:9-11).
However, this dimension is but one side. We must also accept not as divine vengence, but as a mark of filial love, for in this, we are made adopted children of the Father who loved us with an everlasting love (Romans 8:11-17). Accepting the cross is to accept one’s lovableness in Christ (since this is earned not by us, but by Christ), and love itself. This is necessary to accept first, since one cannot give what one does not have – if one does not realised or cannot accept that he is eternally loved, one cannot love neither the infinite God nor persons made in His image and likeness.
And so, the crux is as follows. If God is the author of reality, and thus the ultimate measure of all created realities, we do not regard merely human standards as the final word, nor any immediate reality in front of us, since it is limited in every way by space, time, and dimension. The purpose of our lives can be realised in, firstly: a) accepting the cross God gives us; b) and yet in joy, since we must also accept that, in the cross, we are worthy to be loved (since God is the judge of that – not us nor any other created persons). Out of this, firstly, we can deny ourselves the temptations of sin, in order to remain in the love of Christ and so, in Him, as beloved children of the Father who loved us into creation. In the same movement – and most importantly, as the primary aim and purpose of our lives – we can begin to love God, and our neighbour for the love of Him, with the totality of our being, to give ourselves with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength to God.
It is in this paradox – to accept the cross is to accept love – that one can find true rest, willing (actively with one’s whole being, and not in passivity) both the suffering of the cross and, at once, the consolations from being worthy of love in Christ’s sonship (which we likewise accept with equal strength and totality – naturally giving us spiritual joy), one can uphold harmony in one’s own being, in the spiritual and material reality of one’s existence as human being.
Here is part two of the Being Frank posts clarifying the Catholic concept of asking the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary through exploration of the Biblical types she fulfilled.
< Saintly Interccession • The Blessed Virgin Mary >
To expand on what others have written, here’s a (long-ish) summary of the typologies pertaining to Mary. A type is a symbol which points to its fulfillment. As St. Augustin said, “New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New”. Examples include: Jesus as the Second Adam; Manna and spotless lamb prefiguring Christ, and ; circumcision and ccrossing of the Red Sea prefiguring baptism. The fulfilment in New Testament are found to be greater or more perfect, and more universal. They reveal the true meaning of the types.
Mary is the fulfilment of at least three types:
1. Arc of the Covenant
2. Davidic Queenship
Here, she is referred to in her fulfilment of these. It’s also notable that all of the following can be deduced from these in the Bible alone (although, of course, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Magisterium are necessary to validate them):
• Mother of God – Theotokos, “God bearer”
• Perpetual Virginity
• Immaculate Conception
• Assumption of Mary
Here are the keys used for clarification:
[T] – Type
[F] – Fulfilment
1. Arc of the New Covenant
[T] The old Arc of the Covenant contained:
1. manna (bread from Heaven)
2. Aaron’s rod (symbolising priesthood)
2. 10 commandments (God’s word in stone).
[F] The New Arc of the Covenant, the Virgin Mary, contained within her:
1. True Bread of Life from Heaven
2. the Eternal Priest after the order of Melchizedek
3. Word of God incarnate
The following parallel passages from the Old Testament foreshadow the New Arc:
[T] 2 Sam 6:9 – David says: “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”
[F] Luke 1 – Elizabeth says: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
[T] 2 Sam 6:11 – “And the ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household.”
[F] Luke 1:56-58 – “And Mary remained with her about three months (house of Zechari’ah). Now Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had shewed his great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her”
[T] 2 Sam 6:14 – “And David danced before the LORD”
[F] Luke 1:41 “the babe leaped in her womb”
The implications of Mary being the Arc of the New Covenant are many, including:
• Powerful intercession in battle:[T] As the Arc was in physical battle, [F] Mary fulfills this in spiritual warfare, in fulfilment of Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
• Holiness: [T] The Arc was made from acacia wood and pure gold with precise, calculated instructions (Exodus 25:10-22), the perfection of which, by the way, is shown by its conformity to the divine proportion. We also know how holy the Arc was – so much so that a man died touching it [F] (alluding also to perpetual virginity). Imagine how much holier Mary, the fulfilment of this type, is. God himself designed her to be the perfect carrier of His only Son, imbuing her with the Sanctifying grace at the moment of conception – this is what we call the Immaculate Conception.
2. Queen Mother
See the article Chris links to in #27 for a more comprehensive coverage on this one.
In the Old Testament tradition, owing to the sheer number of wives that Kings often had, the Queen was not the wife of the King, but the mother. Part of the job description for the Queen was to intercede on behalf of the people. This can be seen in 1 Kings 2:13-23:
Then Adoni’jah the son of Haggith came to Bathshe’ba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably.” Then he said, “I have something to say to you.” She said, “Say on.” He said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the LORD. And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Say on.” And he said, “Pray ask King Solomon–he will not refuse you–to give me Ab’ishag the Shu’nammite as my wife.” Bathshe’ba said, “Very well; I will speak for you to the king.”
So Bathshe’ba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adoni’jah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.” She said, “Let Ab’ishag the Shu’nammite be given to Adoni’jah your brother as his wife.” King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Ab’ishag the Shu’nammite for Adoni’jah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother, and on his side are Abi’athar the priest and Jo’ab the son of Zeru’iah.” Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adoni’jah his life!
So we observe that the Queen Mother:
1. Sits on the right hand of the King (a position of honour and influence)
2. The King honours her
3. Her requests are given guarantee to be granted.
And so we pray to our Queen Mother – “Hail, Holy Queen” – because:
1. She is more exulted than Bathsheba because of the perfect honoring she receives from her Divine Son
2. She fulfils the duty of her office more perfectly. She is, together with her spouse the Holy Spirit, our advocate. Her intercessory prayers are therefore very powerful. This is her role as the Mediatrix, which was most notably fulfilled by being the channel through which the Saviour would come into the world.
3. New Eve
We know that Jesus is the New Adam, but the Early Church also believed that Mary is the New Eve, a co-redeemer. Jesus did not descend onto the Earth alone (which he could very well have done) but chose to implicate Mary in the plan of salvation to bring life, just as the original Adam had a partner in the fall to bring death. And so the words of Scripture are fulfilled also for the Second Adam: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” (Genesis 2:18). Thus, she is the co-redemptrix per excellence, as the helper ordained for the Second Adam in the work of redemption.
[T] Eve, through her disobedience, brought about eternal death.
[F] Mary, through her obedience (”let it be to me according to your word” – Luke 1:38), undid the disobedience of Eve to bring about eternal life.
[T] Eve gave to Adam (”man”) the forbidden fruit to bring about death
[F] Mary gave to man (”mankind”) the fruit of her womb (Luke 1:42) in order to bring about life.
Following this pattern, we can deduce that:
[T] Eve returned to dust (Gen 3:19)
[F] Mary was taken into Heaven (Rev 12).
[T] Adam and eve were created without the stain of original sin but lost it through their disobedience
[F] Just as New Adam was created without original sin, Mary was also (as a helper fit for him), and through their perfect obedience (culminating at Calvary, where both hearts were pierced for our sake) maintained this throughout their lifetime. This is the dogma of Immaculate Conception.
[addition] I’ve found a better one to quote from this site:
Eve, the O.T.”Type” Mary, the N.T. “Antitype”
Created without original sin, Gen 2:22-25……Created without original sin, Luke 1:28,42 *1
There was a virgin, Gen 2:22-25………………..There is a virgin, Luke 1:27-34
There was a tree, Gen 2:16-17…………………….There was a cross made from a tree, Matt 27:31-35
There was a fallen angel, Gen 3:1-13……………There was a loyal angel, Luke 1:26-38
A satanic serpent tempted her, Gen 3:4-6……….A satanic dragon threatened her, Rev 12:4-6,13-17
There was pride, Gen 3:4-7…………………………There was humility, Luke 1:38
There was disobedience, Gen 3:4-7……………….There was obedience, Luke 1:38
There was a fall, Gen 3:16-20……………………There was redemption, John 19:34
Death came through Eve, Gen 3:17-19………….Life Himself came through Mary, John 10:28
She was mentioned in Genesis 3:2-22………….She was mentioned in Genesis 3:15
Could not approach the tree of life Gen 3:24…Approached the “Tree of Life”, John 19:25
An angel kept her out of Eden, Gen 3:24………An angel protected her, Rev 12:7-9
Prophecy of the coming of Christ, Gen 3:15….The Incarnation of Christ, Luke 2:7
Firstborn was a man child, Gen 4:1…………….Firstborn was a man child, Luke 2:7, Rev 12:5
Firstborn became a sinner, Gen 4:1-8………….Firstborn was the Savior, Luke 2:34
The mother of all the living, Gen 3:20………….The spiritual mother of all the living, John 19:27
Returned to dust, Gen 3:19………………………..Taken to Heaven, Rev 11:19,12:1
*1. Since Eve was created without original sin as well as Adam, then the realities of these Old Testament “types” had to be without original sin also. We know that Jesus had no original sin, and so Mary, the New Testament reality of Eve had to be without original sin also, or else she was inferior to her “type”. See “The Immaculate Conception” on this website.
[T] The name “Eve” signifies that she is “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).
[F] New Eve is the new Mother of all those who are alive in Christ . When Jesus gave Mary to the beloved disciple at the cross to be his mother, He gave her as a mother to all of us (John 19:27); note that he is mentioned by this title rather than any particular name – the ‘beloved disciple’ is each and every one of us. Being one of the seven last words on the cross, he spoke universal words (not the particulars and the domestic, along the lines of, “oh, I forgot about mum. John, look after her). She is our mother, because she is the mother of Christ, and the Body of Christ is the Church. And because she is our Mother, we honour her, as God tells us to (Exo 20:12).
4. The Woman of Revelation, Our Mother
Here is the culmination of all the previous types, where (in case you missed them previously!) all is revealed in glory.
The Lady of Revelation is not only Jerusalem and the Church: “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). The child who she gives birth to is an actual person, as is the dragon. It stands to sense that the Mother is also an actual person who gave birth to the child – Mary:
• [F] Arc of the New Covenant: revealed in Rev 11:19 (a verse before the one above – keep in mind that chapters were put in place later)
• [F] Queen Mother: Jesus is the Davidiac King, so Mary must be the Davidiac Queen Mother. This is confirmed by her coronation in the Heavens with the twelve stars. (Revelation 12:1)
• [F] New Eve: We see here that she is the mother of all Christians: “Then the dragon was angry with the woman , and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12 :17). This confirms Christ’s words to us: “behold your mother!” (John 19:27).
The mystery of Mary’s greatness adds (only for our perception, of course) to the glory of God in manifold ways as a sign of His overabundant love and grace. What king so majestic, so perfect in charity, so generous and glorious would fail to honour and glorify his own mother, restrict our love for her? Indeed, Mary’s perfection does not diminish the glory or worship due to God, but “magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46). The abundance of grace which God has ordained to allow Himself to be moved beyond justice and beyond logic, beyond His hour that “has not yet come” is indeed beyond astounding – should we not be stupefied by this staggering overabundance of grace, in Cana as well as in the present? Let us entrust ourselves and the fate of all the world to her who Christ Himself has given to us, that all may be drawn closer to Christ and rest in His salvation.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us.
Arc of the Covenant, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Mary, Mother of Christians, pray for us.
< Saintly Interccession • Blessed Virgin Mary >
[Here is the first of the two posts in a Being Frank thread. It clarifies the concept of asking the Saints in heaven to intercede, which is a prerequisite for the second part; understanding the intercession we receive from our mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary]
< Saintly Intercession • The Blessed Virgin Mary >
I think the question of intercession of angels and Saints in heaven necessarily precedes the understanding of Mary’s role. Here are some Scriptural basis for this practice help our separated brethren understand this Catholic and Orthodox (and some Anglican, I understand?) practice, since the Holy Writ is a sure common ground between all Christians.
The Protestant understanding seems to be that Saints in heaven cannot be called to intercede, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). This one needs to be read in context, however, because it is Christ Himself who calls us into communion in Him, with all that this implies.
The preceding verses in the very same chapter call for intercession from the Church and, further, specifically endorses it in its goodness and acceptability in God’s sight. So the principle of sole mediatorship does not exclude human intercessors:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (I Timothy 2:1–7)
This is the case because saints are the Body of Christ – we participate in Christ’s mediatorship:
and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22–23)
The Church becomes one with Christ through spiritual marriage:
I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. (II Corinthians 11:2)
Thus, Christ and the Church are one flesh, as husband and wife are:
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:6)
Christ is our forerunner on our behalf, and is our eternal high priest in heaven:
where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz’edek. (Hebrews 6:20)
The Church is also in heaven, since death cannot separate us from Christ or His Body:
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)
Hense, the Saints in heaven are, though without body until the resurrection, alive in Christ:
And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:26–27)
For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)
I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God (Revelation of John 20:4)
Christ intercedes for us, since intercession is a priestly ministry:
Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us (Romans 8:34)
Thus, the Church on earth and in heaven share in this intercessory ministry in our royal priesthood through her belonging in the eternal priesthood of Christ – our mediatorship through Christ’s sole mediatorship, in His Body:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9)
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men (I Timothy 2:1–7)
Catholics call the heavenly Church “the Church Triumphant”, and the earthly Church “the Church Militant” – the one body consists of many parts, and one part cannot say to another, “I have no need of you” (which goes both ways – those in heaven need us out of perfected love, and those on earth need them for their closeness to Christ) or, indeed, “because you are dead, you do not belong to the body”. Those worthy of honour – those who have run the race (1 Corinthians 9:24) and are crowned in glory (James 1:12, II Timothy 4:8, 1 Peter 5:4, Revelation 2:10) – are given honour (as opposed to worship, which is due to God alone), so that the whole body may rejoice together:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
(I Corinthians 12:12–27)
We therefore honour them and follow their example, that we too may be holy and worthy of imitation:
for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedo’nia and in Acha’ia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedo’nia and Acha’ia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God (I Thessalonians 1:5–9)
The communion of saints is powerful, since we are united through the one Body of Christ and the one Spirit of God:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call (Ephesians 4:4)
Thus they lovingly bear our burdens through intercession, as we honour them in return:
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10)
It is not a false and unholy communion through necromancy, which is forbidden by God (Deuteronomy 18:10-11) and thus also the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2116), but true and holy communion through the Body of Christ and the spirit of God. Hence, the Church in heaven are aware of the Church on earth, in the one Body of Christ through the one Spirit:
[the passage speaks of those who have died in faith, mentioned in Hebrews 11]
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)
because love is stronger than death:
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death… (Song of Solomon 8:6)
“O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” (I Corinthians 15:55)
Thus, they are aware of our requests – our need for their assistance – so that this call for those in the Body of Christ still applies:
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
Just as they were appealed to on earth:
I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, (Romans 15:30)
Brethren, pray for us. (I Thessalonians 5:25)
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power (II Thessalonians 1:11)
The Church in heaven are the saints perfected in holiness (here lies evidence for purgation which occurs to the saints after death and before heaven), and so their prayers have great powers:
nothing unclean shall enter [heaven] (Revelation of John 21:27)
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:22–23)
The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. (James 5:16)
We also see this in John’s vision of heaven, where the angels and the 24 elders (possibly representative of the people of the Old and the New covenant – 12 sons/tribes of Jacob and 12 Apostles/new covenant saints) – who are like the angels – offer up saints’ prayers (presumably from the earthly Church) mixed with the incense, just as priests symbolically do today during liturgy. We see that this assists them to rise up to God:
And another angel came and stood at the altar 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. (Revelation of John 8:3–4)
For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Mark 12:25)
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 full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (Revelation of John 5:8)
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