Saturday, October 20, 2007

A funeral for a friend....

The Hidden counsels of God
A. On Suffering

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish,
to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is
their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them and found them worthy of Himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as
sacrificial offerings he took them to Himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and His care is with his elect.
~Wisdom 3:1-9

The Lady Next Door has been memorialized today, our daughter played beautifully, the lunch afterward was delicious, but the best part of all were these words from God. How great thou art! that He gives us such counsel, such confidence, such reasurance that we will be with Him in eternity so long as we love, search, and live for Him! AMEN, Alleluia!

6 comments:

james hastings said...

Hi,

I came across your blog while out Blogwandering. I am a Christian based in the UK.
I wonder if I might raise a question about something which appears in your comments - praying to saints. I ask in all sincerity, not to be offensive in any way.
Can you tell me exactly how saints in heaven hear prayers? A saint like Padre Pio must receive millions of prayers every day in different languages. Does he hear every single one and then take them to Jesus? How exactly, do saints hear prayers?
I can ask my friend in England to pray for me as I approach an exam. I can ask my friend in America through the internet and email, to offer a prayer also. But someone in Australia who does not know me or know my need can only offer the prayer "for anyone about to sit an exam."
Surely only God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient?

Blessings

James

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Absolutely! lovely post..

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

May she rest in peace.

James, We are not told 'how' exactly the saints hear our prayers, only that they do- you see this in Sctipture in revelation that the saints bring our petitions to the throne of God.
Jesus also said that our guardian angels do the same.
God pours out His graces and from that we can call on our brothers and sisters in the Church Triumphant (heaven) to pray for us.
Their closeness to God is a great comfort to those of us on the road still-they will not forget to pray for us and their prayers are so much purer for being in the very sight of God.
Does that begin to answer your question?

james hastings said...

Hi Whitestone.....

Thanks for your comments.
To encourage me to pray to the saints, I used to told the story of a man who wanted a job in a factory. Rather than approach the owner directly, he went to talk to his cousin who already worked there and asked him to take his petition to the owner.
Or, as a teenager, I was told that if I wanted to stay out late at a party, it was always best to take my request to my mother who would present it to my father and soften the blow!
Well, these are nice stories for human relationships.
But remember Jesus addressed God as 'abba' or 'daddy.'
The more we think of God as a stern ruler out to get us, the more we need saints or Mary to take our requests. We don't feel worthy to go directly to God, the Supreme Being, the Infinite Unknowable Creature!
The problem with devotions to saints is while they may give us a warm glow, they really are diversions.
When you have a personal relationship with Jesus, devoid of all clutter, you can call God 'abba' - not that you deserve to, but because He wants you to.
Can you imagine people living at the time of Jesus seeking Him out. But His followers said, 'no, you can't go directly to Him, set up an altar to one of His disciples or apostles and learn all about that person and ask him to take your prayers to Jesus. Light a candle and put flowers round an altar to Matthew or Mark or Luke.'
Jesus is as present today as He was when He walked earth. Yes, I ask Christians to pray for me but I don't set up a devotion to another Christian. I admire Billy Graham, but I'll never place flowers before his image.
Billy Graham would not want that. He would say: 'Listen to Jesus when He said - come to me all you who labour.'
Whitestone - what an invitation! All the rest is diversion.

Blessings

James

phatcatholic said...

James,

For someone who isn't out to convert, you sure are spreading your message around. Perhaps you are hoping that you'll find a Catholic you can actually convince?

On my blog I responded to much of what you have written here. But there are a few new points that I would like to address. Your words will be italicized:

To encourage me to pray to the saints, I used to told the story of a man who wanted a job in a factory. Rather than approach the owner directly, he went to talk to his cousin who already worked there and asked him to take his petition to the owner.
Or, as a teenager, I was told that if I wanted to stay out late at a party, it was always best to take my request to my mother who would present it to my father and soften the blow!


These stories are just variations of the same one you told me about the white house, only with the added information that they were told to you when you were young, instead of being stories you made up to prove your point. It doesn't matter either way. None of them properly reflect Church teaching. If these stories were indeed taught to you as a child, then you have been improperly catechized --which is often the case with people who leave Catholicism.

The Church has never taught that Jesus can only be sought indirectly, nor has she taught that prayers to the saints should replace or be more important than prayers to God himmself. You simply will not find such errors in any of her authoritative sources of doctrine.

You're tearing down a strawman my friend.

The more we think of God as a stern ruler out to get us, the more we need saints or Mary to take our requests. We don't feel worthy to go directly to God, the Supreme Being, the Infinite Unknowable Creature!

The Catholic Church is just as opposed to that type of mentality as you are. She doesn't even use such arguments in defense of praying to the saints.

Again, more strawman argumentation.

The problem with devotions to saints is while they may give us a warm glow, they really are diversions.
When you have a personal relationship with Jesus, devoid of all clutter, you can call God 'abba' - not that you deserve to, but because He wants you to.
Can you imagine people living at the time of Jesus seeking Him out. But His followers said, 'no, you can't go directly to Him, set up an altar to one of His disciples or apostles and learn all about that person and ask him to take your prayers to Jesus. Light a candle and put flowers round an altar to Matthew or Mark or Luke.'


40 years as a Catholic and you are still ignorant of what the Church teaches. You are not even engaging our actual arguments. We don't look at the saints that way.

The saints in heaven aren't diversions, or obstacles, or clutter. They are role models for a Pilgrim Church, they are the great cloud of witnesses who cheer us on as we run the race for that imperishable wreath. As holy men and women who have already won the prize, they are rooting for us with their prayers to God, so that we may receive it too. How could they possibly stand in the way of God when they want nothing more than for us to win the prize as they have? Your analogies, wich you think prove your position, actually make no sense whatsoever in light of what the Church actually teaches.

Jesus is as present today as He was when He walked earth. Yes, I ask Christians to pray for me but I don't set up a devotion to another Christian. I admire Billy Graham, but I'll never place flowers before his image.
Billy Graham would not want that. He would say: 'Listen to Jesus when He said - come to me all you who labour.'
Whitestone - what an invitation! All the rest is diversion.


All Catholics are doing is obeying the commands of Peter and Paul when they tell us to honor our fellow members of the Body and really anyone who holds a dignified place:

Rom 13:7 Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Eph 6:2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise)

Phil 2:25,29 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphrodi'tus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy; and honor such men

1 Pet 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

As for Billy Graham, what if you were to come upon his grave? Would you not place flowers on it, out of respect for him and the Godly life that he lead? What Catholics do in veneration of the saints is nothing different.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Ebeth said...

Thank you, Phat Catholic!!
And to this, I quote what I wrote on the MOMS prayer list I facilitate weekly in my parish about praying to saints:

To the thief on the cross to his right, Jesus said, "Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."Lk 24:43. He didn't say someday, or at the end of time, he said today. Even in Wisdom 3:1-9, it speaks of those who have passed through death are in peace, that God has brought them to him and they shall "dart about as sparks through the stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples." There seems to be too much said in the Bible to think that we lay "asleep" waiting for the end of time. Also, remember that saints are NOT mediators, they are our comrads and friends with God already, so their prayers are just prayers as we pray for each other on this list. Jesus Christ is our "one mediator" Human comfort comes from the old saying, "There is power in numbers." So, why not pray for each other...even those who have passed through the time barrier?