March 4, 2015 | WEBBIZ Thank you for joining us today. We hope you have been enjoying these reflections. If you have missed a reflection and would like to read it you can click here. TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE: 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 FULL OF INCENSE, WHICH ARE THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS; St. Michael Radio did a blog about praying to the saints in the past that you can find here. The Catholic Church has a patron saint for just about everything. What a gift the Church has given us! Many of us have our cell phones set on speed dials so if something happens, we can quickly get a hold of a family member/loved one with just a touch of a button (or more realistically, a touch of a screen). Likewise, the Church has given us a speed dial for our family members in heaven too! At Mass, we recite the Apostles’ Creed. After confessing “the holy catholic church,” the Apostles’ Creed adds “the communion of saints.” In a certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding: “What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?” The communion of saints is the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 823: The Church … is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as ‘alone holy,’ loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.” The Church, then, is “the holy People of God,”290 and her members are called “saints.” Throughout Christian history, members of the Church have called upon the saints to pray for them. I will give many examples of this at the end of the blog. So today, ask your patron saint (click here if you don’t have one), to pray for you. Ask your patron saint to walk with you through this lenten journey. For we are all one body in Christ and the Church is made of the holy People of God and her members are called “saints”. St. Michael the Archangel – Pray for us! Examples of Early Christians asking for the intercession of saints: Hermas (The Shepherd 3:5:4 [A.D. 80]) “[The Shepherd said:] ‘But those who are weak and slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?’” Clement of Alexandria (Micellanies 7:12 [A.D.208]) “In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]” Origen (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]) “But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep” Cyprian of Carthage (Letters 56 : 5 [A.D. 253]) “Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” Anonymous (funerary inscription near St. Sabina’s in Rome [A.D. 300]) “Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins” Anonymous (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]) “Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger” Methodius (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305]) “Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for to you do I turn again. You are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs to the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing Mother, with the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of you . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father—the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness” Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]) “Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . “ Hilary of Poitiers (Commentary on the Psalms 124:5:6 [A.D. 365]) “To those who wish to stand [in God’s grace], neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting” Ephraim the Syrian (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]) “You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him” Ephraim the Syrian (The Fear at the End of Life [A.D. 370]) “Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day” St. Basil (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]) “By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name” Pectorius (Epitaph of Pectorius [A.D. 375]) “Aschandius, my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember your Pectorius in the peace of the Fish [Christ]” Gregory of Nazianz (Orations 17 [A.D. 380]) “May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock . . . gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand” Gregory of Nyssa (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian [A.D. 380]) “[Ephraim], you who are standing at the divine altar [in heaven] . . . bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom” John Chrysostom (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]) “He that wears the purple [i.e., a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tentmaker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead” Ambrose of Milan (The Six Days Work 5:25:90 [A.D. 393]) “May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ’s benign countenance” Jerome (Against Vigilantius 6 [A.D. 406]) “You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard. . . . But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?” Augustine (Against Faustus the Manichean; Sermons 159:1; Homilies on John 84; The City of God [A.D. 400-419]) “A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers” “There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended” “At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” “Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ” IDEAS TO HELP YOU MEMORIZE BIBLE VERSES EACH DAY: ASK FOR THE GRACE TO REMEMBER THE VERSE THROUGHOUT THE DAY. ASK YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL TO HELP YOU REMEMBER THE BIBLE VERSE THROUGHOUT THE DAY BEFORE UNLOCKING YOUR PHONE OR SENDING A TEXT MESSAGE, EACH TIME REPEAT THE BIBLE VERSE. BEFORE SENDING AN EMAIL OUT, REPEAT THE BIBLE VERSE. WHILE BRUSHING YOUR TEETH IN THE MORNING AND AT NIGHT, REPEAT THE BIBLE VERSE. EACH TIME YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, BEFORE YOU START IT, REPEAT THE BIBLE VERSE. BEFORE PRAYER BEFORE MEALS WITH YOUR FAMILY, REPEAT THE BIBLE VERSE. SEND THE BIBLE VERSE TO YOUR SPOUSE, KIDS, OR FAMILY THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS A REMINDER. START EACH PRAYER THROUGHOUT THE DAY WITH THE BIBLE VERSE. EACH TIME YOU WALK THROUGH A DOORWAY, REPEAT THE BIBLE VERSE. PLEASE HELP US BY SHARING THIS WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS! WE WILL BE HAVING A REFLECTION EACH DAY, SO PLEASE COME BACK TOMORROW!