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Is it Biblical to Seek the Intercession of the Saints?

Christians worship God alone. However, Christians do show honor to the Virgin Mary and the saints. When Christians recite the Apostles Creed (and the Nicene Creed) they profess a belief in the “communion of the saints”. This is the Church’s understanding of the relationship between the members of the Church on Earth and the members of the Church in heaven.

“Communion” refers to the bond formed by all who share life with Christ in baptism. By sharing life with Christ, we are connected to Him, who has life that will never end. In addition, we are connected to all who share that same divine life with Christ. This is the beautiful image of the vine and braches (Jn. 15: 1-5) that our Lord uses in the gospel to explain His communion with each member of the Church. The Church is a living body (Rom. 12:5). Each Christian who is in “communion” with Christ is in communion with all the members of the Church. As the life that flows from the vine through the branch is divine, and will not end, death does not cut our communion with Christ or the members of the Church. Death cannot separate Christians from Christ or one another (Rom. 8:35-39). Therefore we on Earth have an unbreakable communion with Christ and the saints in heaven. 

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The Crippled and Sick Cured at the Tomb of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. detail of painting by Gentile da Fabriano. ca. 1425

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This supernatural “communion” forms the Church into God’s one family. Like any family, we are united in a bond of mutual love and concern for each other (Rom. 12:10 / Gal. 6:2). Like in any family, the siblings in need turn to the siblings who can aid and assist those in need. The saints in heaven are not dead, but alive, so we turn to them for aid. Further, they are now freed from all sin. Their love and concern for us on Earth is done with pure love and compassion. Scripture testifies that the saints stand at the throne of God, assisting the people on Earth with their prayers and intercession (Rev. 5:8 / Rev. 8:3). Also, the martyrs in heaven cry out for justice and the conversion of sinners on Earth (Rev. 6:9-11), showing that the saints in heaven have an awareness of events in this world, and a clear concern for our needs. From their place in glory, the saints assist us with their prayers to the Lord.

All prayer in the Church has God as its true object and focus. When we pray seeking the intercession of the Virgin Mary or a saint, we are really praying to God, through that saint. We are asking that saint to intercede for us - to actually take our petition and place it before God. This is powerfully taught by St. Paul, who commands Christians to intercede for one another in their prayers (1 Timothy 2:1-8), and often asks the Church members to pray (intercede) to God on his behalf (Rom. 15:30 / 2 Thess. 3:1). Perhaps the most famous image in the gospels is that of Mary’s plea (intercession) for her son to work a miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (Jn. 2:1-11). Scripture testifies that the Son could not refuse the intercession of His Mother, and worked a miracle. 

The scriptures teach us that the saints in heaven are alive, and before the throne of God, they will intercede for us. May their intercession help us on our journey to heaven.