06 Nov Chapter 20: Mediation, Intercession, and the Communion of Saints
Read~ Chapter 20: Mediation and The Communion of Saints
The teachings contained in this chapter are based on Holy Scriptures, the Tradition of the Catholic Church [especially the First and Second Vatican Councils, The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Fathers of the Church (especially St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine)], the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (especially Saint Pope Paul VI, Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis). All Apostolic Encyclicals and Letters are found on the Vatican Website: Vatican
God’s eternal plan to create and save people as a community
God created a community of people who interact: It is obvious that God created a community of people, not only individuals. The interaction between individuals within the community has been studied by many philosophers and theologians. When two subjects, both in the image and likeness of God, and both transcendental by nature, relate to one another, the contact between freedoms and untouchable human dignities is always challenging. Relationships on many levels are established and boundaries are set in order to keep peace and create respect among individuals.
God created a community of people to be saved: the two parallel orders of creation and salvation: Unlike animals, human beings have spiritual and intelligent souls that enable them to relate to the world using their freedom and subjective awareness. Human persons are aware of themselves, others, and God. As they live their complicated lives, all individuals are invited to help and love each other because all of them share the same fate. That is what God established in the ethos of creation (the logic and functionality of creation). On the other hand, salvation is parallel to creation: there is an interaction between human persons on the level of salvation just as it exists on the level of creation. These two orders go hand and hand completing each other because the same God who created the human family wants to save it too. God the Creator and God the Savior are One and the same God. As God was creating the first parents, God had already envisioned the Incarnation of Christ to save what he created. Every human person is a part of God’s creation and salvation, no exception. In this sense The Catechism teaches: “But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, ‘the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery’ is offered to all men.” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 22)
God’s plan is the salvation of all people: In the Old Testament, God called the people of Israel collectively: “Israel, you are my son.” Israel is the child of God collectively as people. Culminating in the New Testament, Jesus Christ called the Twelve Apostles and founded the Catholic Church. The term “Church” in Greek is Ekklesia which means “a called-out assembly or congregation.” (Acts 11:16) The Church is Catholic (universal) and, consequently, God’s plan from the very beginning is to create a community of people and save them all as a Church. The Catechism teaches: “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.” (CCC, 946)
God’s eternal plan includes mediation
God’s plan includes mediation: There is no question that “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) However, many of our brethren in non-Catholic circles don’t pay attention to the theology of mediation. They assume that, “Christ has saved us; there is no need for intercession on the part of humans.” This theory will not work according to Scriptures. It is true, “Christ has saved us,” but, at the same time, there is much more to it then that. The theology of intercession and mediation is all over the Bible because it is a part of God’s plan. The reason behind it is the fact that God created members of a human family who are capable of interacting with each other and with God. They are also capable of influencing each other and their relationship with God in the same exact sense in which St. Paul teaches the Galatians that we “bear one another’s burdens.” (Gal 6:2)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives an outstanding summary of the theology of mediation by teaching: “God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures’ co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God’s greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.” (CCC, 306)
Following God’s mediators is following God: To enter human history, God often uses messengers to display his will. Listening to them is listening to God himself.
~ The angel Gabriel who spoke to Zachariah and Mary made sure they knew that he was speaking on behalf of God himself.
~ Not listening to the messengers of God implies not listening to God himself. When the people of Israel complained against God and Moses in the desert, God allowed them to be bit by snakes. When they repented, they “came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.” (Numbers 21:7)
~ The angel who was roaring like a Lion speaks on behalf of Christ (Revelation 10:3)
Mediation is possible because the Church on earth, in Purgatory, and in heaven are One Body of Christ
The Church is the body of Christ: In the Letter to the Colossians, St. Paul teaches that Jesus Christ “is the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians, 1:18) As the Body of Christ, all members must interact by necessity of creation and salvation since all members of the body need each other: the hand cannot say to the foot, “I don’t need you” and the ear cannot say to the head “I don’t need you.” Neither can the ear reject the help of the eye, etc.… In that sense St. Paul teaches that “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9) Even though individuals maintain their identity and personal rewards, they still interact to help each other. God invites the entire human race of all times to help each other reach a universal salvation. And that’s what we call “communion of saints.”
God’s plan is One Mystical Body of Christ alive in the Holy Spirit: St. Thomas Aquinas summarizes this theology by saying: “Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others. . . . We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head. . . . Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments.” (Symb., 10) We are God’s coworkers for the salvation of all. All the members of the Church, in relation to each other and to Christ, are like one living body. Saint Pope Paul VI teaches: “The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 5) In the same way the spirit of the human person keeps them alive, so does the Holy Spirit animate the body of Christ. All members in relationship to each other and to Christ are connected through the Holy Spirit.
Different forms of communions: The communion of saints involves communion of faith, communion of the sacraments, communion of charisma, communion of material goods, and communion in charity (see CCC, 949-953). It is a communion among the people; communion with the Head, Jesus Christ; communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As a summary of the concept of communion, Pope Benedict XVI teaches: “…No man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone…So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other – my prayer for him – can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God’s time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded.” (Spe Salvi, 48)
One Church but three different states of communions of saints: The people on earth, the people in purgatory, and the people in heaven are not three churches. They form One Church that has three different states. At the end of time these three states will be reduced to only one state sharing the glory of Jesus Christ. Vatican II teaches in this regard: “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself Triune and one, exactly as he is.” (LG, 49) What is amazing about the communion of saints is that it works in every direction: everyone is helping everyone. The Catechism says: “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” (CCC, 958) St. Pope Paul VI gave an outstanding summary of this by teaching: “We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are attaining their purification, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion the merciful love of God and His saints is ever listening to our prayers, as Jesus told us: Ask and you will receive. Thus it is with faith and in hope that we look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” (Pope St. Paul VI, CPG, 30)
Mediation: The living intercede for the living (earthly Church intercedes for the earthly Church)
Intercession in the Old Testament: The sole fact that God asked prophets, kings, and messengers (including angels) proves that mediation and intercession are part of the beginning of God’s revelation.
~ Abraham was interceding on behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah when God wanted to exterminate these two cities because of their sins. Abraham kept trying to stop God from doing that and God was listening and fulfilling Abraham wishes.
~ When God reveals himself to Moses, Moses interceded for the people saying: “If I find a favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.” (Exodus 34:9)
~ How many times did God stop from punishing the Hebrews because Moses asked him to?
~ Moses pleads with God not to destroy his people when they made a golden calf to worship (Exodus 32)
~ Moses asks God of a favor to forgive the sins of the people: “Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance’.” (Exodus 34: 8-9)
Intercession in the New Testament: We have mentioned that we cannot add to the salvation of Jesus Christ because the Person acting in Christ is divine and therefore all his actions have an infinite and eternal value. Therefore, every action Jesus did on earth is meant to remain valid forever in heaven throughout history of humanity.
~ In John 2, the Virgin Mary intervened at the feast of Cana in Galilee to have Jesus change the water into wine.
~ The Apostles interceded on behalf of the synagogue leader asking Jesus to heal his son (Luke 7:1-10)
~ Jesus heals the daughter of the Canaanite woman when his disciples pleaded with him (Matthew 15:21-28)
~ Jesus raised Lazarus at the prompting of his sister Martha. In many other instances in the New testament, Jesus acted because people interceded. Intercession is in Scripture and God will not change the truth of his eternal Word.
~ Philip brought Nathaniel to Jesus by inviting him ‘come and see.’ (John 1:45-51) As a result, Jesus called Nathaniel to follow him. God’s will in the vocation of Nathaniel was communicated by Christ with the help of Philip. God, in his divine wisdom, uses human mediation to display and fulfill his plan.
~ How can anyone deny this truth when St. Paul tells the Ephesians: “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles-assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.” (Ephesians 3:1-3)
~ St. Paul urges Timothy to pray and intercede for the authorities that they may do the will of God: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1)
~ St. Peter confirms this theological truth by writing: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Mediation: The Virgin Mary and the saints intercede for the living (the heavenly Church intercedes for the earthly Church)
God is the God of the living: God is the God of the living not of the dead. God established one Church, part of it is on earth and part shares God’s eternal life. Therefore, all those members of the Church that are with God, the living God, are alive in God. Even though they are in heaven, they are still members of the one Church Jesus established. The heavenly Church and the earthly Church are one and the same Church and all of them make up the body of Christ. Therefore, they are still capable to help, pray, and intercede for each other as the members of the one body of Christ as St. Paul taught. That’s what God planned to do at the moment of creation of humanity.
~ Moses ask God not to punish his people when they made a golden calf by invoking the help and memory of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who were already dead enjoying God’s eternity. The praying of the living Moses were answered because of the intercession of the dead forefathers. Moses said to God: “Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” (Exodus 37:12-14)
~ When Jesus was delivering the parable of the Rich and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, the rich man asked Abraham if Lazarus could go and help his brethren not to come to the place of torment where he was. Abraham’s answer was that the rich man’s brethren have the help of Moses and the prophets and they should listen to them. Such a request implies the possibility of Moses and the prophets who are already dead to help and intercede for the living.
~ The Book of Revelation describes the ‘prayers of the saints’ (Revelation 5:8) as they sing a new song to the lamb who is capable of opening the scroll revealing God’s plan. The saints’ prayers are done on behalf of the living as it is also confirmed when in front of God’s throne the angel “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 8:3-4) The Book of Revelation is not only emphasizing the glory that the saints give to God because of Christ’s redemption, but also their ‘prayers’: These prayers are rising before the throne of God interceding for humanity.
~ The Bible is full of instances where God helps human persons using his messengers, the angels. These angels are created by God to intercede and watch over us. Jesus actually warns us never to despise any person because their angels are in the presence of God: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10) . But angels are still creatures. Therefore, at their intercession, God is intervening to save humanity.
Intercession and mediation are possible because of the continuity between our state on earth and our state in heaven: The reason behind mediation consists also in the continuity between earth and heaven. Whereas many people believe when the human person dies, they become in a static condition, the Catholic Church have always taught that our state of being in heaven is dynamic. Our being, actions, and awareness in heaven are extension and actually a perfection of what we are on earth. Therefore, how can someone ask someone else to ‘pray for them’ on earth and, at the same time, deny that the person in heaven is not capable of ‘praying for them’ because they are dead. God is the God of the living not of the dead. Our being is heaven is a perfection of our being on earth, not a discontinued existence. Vatican Ii gives a summary of this mystery by teaching: “It is supremely fitting, therefore, that we love those friends and coheirs of Jesus Christ, who are also our brothers and extraordinary benefactors, that we render due thanks to God for them and suppliantly invoke them and have recourse to their prayers, their power and help in obtaining benefits from God through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Redeemer and Saviour. For every genuine testimony of love shown by us to those in heaven, by its very nature tends toward and terminates in Christ who is the crown of all saints, and through Him, in God Who is wonderful in his saints and is magnified in them.” (Lumen Gentium, 50)
Jesus Christ is still the Only Mediator between God and humanity: The mediation of Christ is essentially different from the mediation of Mary and the saints. His mediation is ontological because he is one with the Father: Christ redeemed humanity from sin and death. His mediation coincides with our salvation because he is the only Savior. The mediation of Mary and the saints is a sharing in Christ’s mediation. They draw their mediation from Jesus’ mediation, cooperate with it to foster it. Their mediation does not add anything to the mediation of Christ. That was God’s plan from the beginning. Vatican II summarizes this theology by saying: “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” (Lumen Gentium, 49)
Jesus listened to Mary on earth and he will listen to her in heaven forever, because Jesus does not change his course of action: If Jesus accepted mediation on earth from people, he will not change His mind in heaven. Heaven, in fact, is the ultimate perfection of the earth not its negation. Did Mary ask him to do the miracle at Cana in Galilee? Yes. Was Jesus ready to start his public ministry? No. Did Jesus do the miracle? Yes. Why would Jesus do a miracle on earth when his Mother asked him to, and then change his way after his resurrection? Jesus will never change his course of action: he listened to Mary on earth; he will continue to listen to her in heaven. In fact, “taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role, but by her manifold acts of intercession continues to win for us gifts of eternal salvation.” (Lumen Gentium, 62)
In simple words, St. Pope Paul VI describes all the merits of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and all the saints as if they were a pot of grace from which, by God’s decision and providence, the Church is allowed to share these merits and graces with people. Above all, the merits of the Virgin Mary goes beyond all creatures because she is the only one ‘full of grace’ and called blessed among all generations. Saint Pope Paul VI says: “This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission in the unity of the Mystical Body.” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 5)
Like no other Supreme Pontiff before him, St. Pope Paul VI boldly emphasized the mediation of the Virgin Mary as being established by God because her being the Mother of the Church. In the same way she cooperated in the birth of Christ, she cooperates in the birth of the body of Christ, the Church: “We believe that the Most Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, the Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.” (Solemn Profession of Faith, 30 June 1968, 15)
At Cana Mary comes to the aid of the human person: The Gospel of John, 2 is not a mere incident. It is God’s word that reveals God’s plan of action. God’s divine providence places Mary in the midst of human needs. She, at the same time, asks her Son to do the miracle but also reveals his Messianic power and the redeemer of mankind. The human dimension of Mary asking Jesus “they have no wine” assumes a permanent character: Mary comes to the aid of human needs is an icon to be places in front of the eyes of the Church forever. St. Pope John Paul II says: “This coming to the aid of human needs means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christ’s messianic mission and salvific power. Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself “in the middle,” that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she “has the right” to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession.” (Redemptoris Mater, 21)
Mary’s intercession fosters the messianic power of Christ: When Mary came in between the servants and her Son, she did not do it just to prove and discover the power of her motherly intercession. By inviting Jesus to do the miracle, she was implicitly manifesting his divine power as the messiah. Such a power is the only solution for the salvation of humanity. it starts here on earth and continues endlessly in heaven. St. Pope John Paul II teaches: “Mary ‘intercede’ for mankind. And that is not all. As a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that salvific power of his which is meant to help man in his misfortunes, to free him from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon his life…The Mother of Christ presents herself as the spokeswoman of her Son’s will, pointing out those things which must be done so that the salvific power of the Messiah may be manifested” (Redemptoris Mater, 21)
Maternity of Mary in the order of grace and her mediation: It is obvious in the Gospel of John that the intercession of Mary to perform the first miracle happened because she was the mother. Her identity as the “Mother of Jesus who was there” and her role telling the servant to “do whatever he tells you,” cannot be separated. The human need for the power of Jesus is being extended to Mary’s role in heaven. Because of this extension of her role in the dimension of heaven, Vatican II speaks of a parallel between her human motherhood of Jesus and her mother in the order of grace toward the Church. Vatican II teaches: “This motherhood in the order of grace flows from her divine motherhood. Because she was, by the design of divine Providence, the mother who nourished the divine Redeemer, Mary became ‘an associate of unique nobility, and the Lord’s humble handmaid,’ who ‘cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls.’ And this maternity of Mary in the order of grace. . .will last without interruption until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect.” (Lumen Gentium, 61-62)
Having established that the mediation of creatures is a part of God’s plan of creation and salvation, this mediation varies between creatures depending on their role in God’s plan and their degree of holiness. There is creature higher then the Virgin Mary ever (remember that Christ assumed a true human nature from her but the person acting is Divine and therefore he is not a creature). She was so united to Christ that he became flesh of her flesh and that makes her his “associate of unique nobility.” (Lumen Gentium, 61) This is how Vatican II summarizes the relationship between Mary’s Divine Motherhood and her mediation: “Mary’s maternal function towards mankind in no way obscures or diminishes the unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its efficacy, because ‘there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2:5). This maternal role of Mary flows, according to God’s good pleasure, ‘from the superabundance of the merits of Christ; it is founded on his mediation, absolutely depends on it, and draws all its efficacy from it.” (Lumen Gentium, 60)
The merits of the saints are a treasure to be used by the Church in granting graces to the sinners: Saint Pope Paul VI teaches that the Church’s treasury “is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy.” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 5) Vatican II gives a reason for this concept of mediation by teaching that even though “no creature could ever be classed with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer, the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise among creatures to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this unique source…. (and thus) the one goodness of God is in reality communicated diversely to his creatures.” (Lumen Gentium, 62)
Mediation: The living praying for the dead (earthly Church intercedes for the heavenly Church)
God is God of the living not the dead The mission of the earthly Church is to pray for all those who passed away. You might think, “they’re already dead and judged by God. How can my prayer help them?”
~ We know from the Gospel of John that Martha asked Jesus to do something about her dead brother Lazarus. Jesus, God himself, raised him from the dead at the prompting of Martha and the crowd granting her intercession even though her brother was already dead (John 11).
If you believe that God has no sequence of time, God looks at the entire human history in a “one shot deal” and encompasses, understands, controls, and sees every single event in human history from the beginning of creation until the end of time. Therefore, God sees the prayers for the dead before they die and applies all prayers to them at the moment of their death. At the moment of his death St. Dominic said to his brethren: “Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.”
My mom died in 1971. When I offer the Sacrifice of Mass for her today (2018), my prayers are present in front of God before my mother died because God is outside of time. Therefore, all the prayers that were offered for her before and after she died are present in front of God and were applied to her salvation at the moment of her death. Our job is to ceaselessly pray for those who passed away because they have no more chance to amend their lives. The prayer of the Church is the only hope they have. St. Theresa of Lisieux, talking about her prayer life, once said: “The Creator of the Universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of his blood.” (The story of a soul) And, at the end of her life, confirmed that she wants”to spend heaven in doing good on earth.” (The Final Conversation) The Virgin Mary in all her apparitions that are approved by the Church, keeps inviting the Church to pray the Rosary constantly for the souls in Purgatory.
Explaining the effects of Christ’s redemption in human history through the Holy Spirit, Pope Benedict VI says: “Hence, the connection is clear between the salvific mystery of the Incarnate Word and that of the Spirit, who actualizes the salvific efficacy of the Son made man in the lives of all people, called by God to a single goal, both those who historically preceded the Word made man, and those who live after his coming in history: the Spirit of the Father, bestowed abundantly by the Son, is the animator of all (cf. Jn 3:34).”
Mary’s journey Beyond time: Mediation
Why does God invite creatures to cooperate with him: In creating humanity, God’s plan was to save it too. As God creates and saves, he intended creatures to share in his power. Such a cooperation proves the ultimate goodness of the Creator who invites his creatures to extend in space and time his eternal plan of creation and redemption. In the same way God invites human beings to share in his power of creating other human beings (Eve said:”I have conceived a son with the help of the Lord”), God also invites human beings to share in his power of saving others (St. Paul said “we are God’s co-workers for the salvation of all”). Commenting on Christ’s priesthood and his mediation in front of the Father, Vatican II teaches: “No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.” (Lumen Gentium, 62)
Mary, our mother in the order of grace, extends her Son’s redemption in the Church: Mary’s cooperation in the work of our only Savior, Jesus Christ, must continue in the Church. The work of Christ is not an event in the past and, therefore, his mother’s work cannot be an event in the past either. Since Jesus redeemed humanity using his human nature taken from Mary, Mary will continue to be present in the Church as the Mother of the Redeemer until the end of time. Vatican II teaches: “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” (Lumen Gentium, 62)
Mary’s mediation draws its power exclusively from Christ: Mary does not add anything to the supernatural redemption accomplished by Christ; she just shares in it and fosters it like no one else. The wedding at Cana in Galilee is the most evident example of Christ doing the miracle of changing water into wine at the request of his Mother. Vatican II wisely explains: “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 60)
Conclusion: Mediation is a part of God’s plan
negating Mediation contradicts the Bible: In every page of the Bible, God sends messengers to communicate his plan and his will to his people. We can’t count how many were these intermediary people who executed God’s will. Even till the last book of the Bible we read: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” (Revelation 1:1)
Final note ~ God’s plan of creation and Incarnation is rooted in Mediation: They are mistaken those eliminate the truth of a concrete and real interaction between God and humanity, and the interaction among human persons. Mediation is the interaction between the human and the divine on behalf of the human. Jesus is a personal God who became fully human with all the ramifications of human relationships. He is a concrete God and, because he was an authentic man, he established real relationships with humans. Therefore, listening to petitions and granting favors is part of this interaction. The entire Old and New Testament reveals God’s way: God granted many of his prophets and beloved favors when they interceded. One should never lose sight of the fact that Jesus Christ is still the only Savior of humanity. All mediation, Mary’s and that of the saints, are in line with this unique mediation of Christ.
Reference: watch the series on “A vast company of witnesses: The Communion of Saints in Catholicism
Capítulo 20: La Mediación y la Comunión de los Santos
Las enseñanzas en este capítulo se basan en las Escrituras Sagradas, la Tradiciones de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (CCC)), los Padres de la Iglesia (especialmente San Thomas Aquinas y San Agustín) él Magisterio de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente San Papa Pablo VI, San Papa John Paul II y Papa Benedicto XVI).
Dios creó la Comunidad de Personas. Las dos Órdenes Paralelas de Creación y Salvación: Es obvio que Dios creó una comunidad de personas, no solo individuos. La interacción entre individuos dentro de la comunidad ha sido estudiada por muchos filósofos y teólogos. Cuando dos sujetos, los dos en la imagen y semejanza de Dios y ambos trascendentales por naturaleza, se relacionan con otros, el contacto entre las libertades y las dignidades humanas intocables es siempre un reto. A diferencia de los animales, los seres humanos tienen un alma inteligente que les permite relacionarse con el mundo utilizando su libertad y conciencia subjetiva. Se establecen relaciones en muchos niveles y se establecen límites para mantener la paz y crear respeto entre individuos. Todos los individuos están invitados a ayudarse y a amarse uno al otro porque todos comparten el mismo destino. Eso es lo que Dios estableció en el ethos de la creación (la lógica y la funcionalidad de la creación). La salvación es paralela a la creación. Estas dos órdenes van juntas y se completan porque el mismo Dios que creó la familia humana también quiere salvarla.
El Plan de Dios para Establecer la Comunión de los Santos: En el Antiguo Testamento, Dios llamó colectivamente a las personas de Israel: “Israel, tú eres mi hijo”. Israel es el hijo de Dios colectivamente como personas. También vemos eso en el Nuevo Testamento cuando Jesucristo llamó a los Doce Apóstoles y fundó la Iglesia Católica. La palabra “iglesia” en Griego es ekklisia que significa “asamblea o congregación llamada (Hechos 11:16)”.
¿Por qué haría eso Jesús? Porque la salvación es universal y está destinada a ser para todos. La salvación y los sacramentos deben ser celebrados en la iglesia como una comunidad, y esta iglesia es el cuerpo de Cristo. Como el cuerpo de Cristo, como enseña San Pablo, todos los miembros deben interactuar por necesidad de la creación y la salvación. San Pablo confirma que la mano no puede decirle al pie: “No te necesito”, ni el oído puede rechazar la ayuda del ojo, etc. No es así como Dios quiso que fuera la salvación. Y eso es lo que llamamos “comunión de los santos “.
Dios estableció la iglesia como una comunión de santos. Significa que, de acuerdo con el plan de Dios, hay una interacción que siempre tendrá lugar dentro de todos los miembros de la comunidad de la iglesia. Esa interacción incluye amor, respeto, y ayuda. De nuevo, San Pablo enseña que somos colaboradores de Dios para la salvación de todos.
Dios es el Dios de los vivos, no de los muertos. Dios estableció una Iglesia: parte de ella en la tierra y otra parte comparte la vida eterna de Dios. Por lo tanto, todos los miembros de la iglesia que están con Dios, el Dios viviente, están vivos en Dios. Aunque están en el cielo, todavía son miembros de la única iglesia que estableció Jesús. En la divina providencia de Dios, estas dos partes de la misma iglesia pueden ayudarse, y eso es lo que llamamos la comunión de los santos.
El Papa Juan Pablo II y la Acción Moral: Cuando una persona realiza un buen acto, influyen todos los miembros de la iglesia aquí y en el cielo. Pero una acción malvada también influye negativamente la creación entera. El Santo Papa Juan Pablo II enfatiza que hay comunión de santos y también comunión de pecado. La gente puede vivir el mundo entero con ellos a través de buenas acciones o bajar el mundo entero con ellos a través de acciones malvadas. Necesitamos crear conciencia de que nuestra identidad y nuestra misión en la iglesia católica juegan una parte importante en la salvación de todos.
La disertación doctoral del Santo Papa Juan Pablo II fue “La Persona que Actúa”. Afirma que, no solo somos personas que actuamos, sino que somos sujetos con conciencia de sus acciones. Cómo avanzamos en la vida, debemos recordar que viviremos por un corto tiempo, pero estaremos muertos por “mucho tiempo”. Así que realmente necesitamos desarrollar una conciencia de quiénes somos y qué estamos haciendo en nuestras vidas en la tierra y cómo estamos influyendo en el cuerpo de Cristo, la Iglesia.
Santa Teresita de la Pequeña Flor, al darse cuenta de la importancia de su trabajo, identidad, misión y oraciones para los demás miembros de la iglesia, deseaba vivir una y otra vez hasta el fin del tiempo para cooperar con la redención de la humanidad.
¿La Comunión de los Santos Implica que la Redención de Cristo no era Suficiente? ¿Fue la salvación de Cristo suficiente para redimir a la humanidad? Por supuesto. ¿Puedo agregar a esa redención? No. ¿Puedo compartir y cooperar en esa redención? No podemos agregar a la salvación de Jesucristo porque la Persona que actúa en Cristo es divina y, por lo tanto, todas sus acciones tienen un valor infinito y eterno. Sin embargo, Dios, en su divina providencia, nos permitió compartir esa redención. San Pablo dijo: “Somos colaboradores de Dios para la salvación de todos”. Dios ha ejecutado mi salvación de la manera perfecta. Sin embargo, aún puedo compartir, cooperar y contribuir porque eso era el plan divino de Dios desde el principio.
La Mediación de la Virgen María y los Santos como parte del plan de Dios: Por desgracia, muchos de nuestros hermanos en círculos no católicos no prestan atención a la teología de la comunión de los santos. Asumen que, “Cristo me ha salvado y estoy completamente bien”. Eso no funcionará de acuerdo con las Escrituras. Sé que “Cristo te ha salvado”, pero, al mismo tiempo, somos colaboradores de Dios para la salvación de todos.
Hemos mencionado que no podemos agregar a la salvación de Jesucristo porque la Persona que actúa en Cristo es divina y, por lo tanto, todas sus acciones tienen un valor infinito y eterno. Por lo tanto, cada acción que Jesús hizo en la tierra debe permanecer válida para siempre en la historia de la humanidad. En Juan, 2, la Virgen María intervino en la fiesta de Caná de Galilea para que Jesús convirtiera el agua en vino. Los apóstoles intercedieron en nombre del líder de la sinagoga pidiéndole a Jesús que sanara a su hijo. Jesús levantó a Lázaro por indicación de su hermana Marta: “Si estuvieras aquí, él no habría muerto”. Si Jesús aceptó la mediación en la tierra de las personas, no cambiará de opinión en el cielo: sus acciones siempre tendrán valor eterno.
Fe, Acción y Libertad: St. James enseñó que la fe sin acción está muerta. No puedes simplemente creer en Jesucristo y asumir que eres salvo sin actuar en tu fe. La Biblia entera se basa en un código moral donde Dios nos invita a hacer el bien y evitar el mal. Creer en Jesús es el primer paso, actuar según la voluntad de Jesús nos llevará a una unión con Dios. Jesús confirmó fuertemente que no aquellos que dicen Señor Señor entrarán en el reino de la desesperación; pero los que hagan la voluntad de mi Padre entrarán en el reino de los cielos. Creer en Jesús no significa nada porque los demonios también creen en Jesucristo y no son salvos. Ellis began actuar de acuerdo con el plan de Dios y, por lo tanto, fueron eternamente condenados.
Cuando las Cartas a los Romanos y a los Efesios declaran que eres salvo por medio de la fe, simplemente están enfatizando el primer paso esencial: adherirse a Jesucristo en obediencia a la fe. De ninguna manera implican que creer en Jesús y no hacer nada acerca de eso sea suficiente para la salvación. La fe en Jesucristo nos salvará mientras lo vivamos.
Tenemos una auténtica libertad y un código moral para seguir: “no matar; no cometer adulterio … “. Estas son las cosas que Jesucristo le dijo al joven cuando le preguntó:” ¿Qué debería hacer para heredar la vida eterna? ” No podemos simplemente creer y asumir que somos salvos sin hacer nada. La comunión de los santos es nuestra fe en la acción beneficiando a todo el cuerpo de la iglesia. Nuestros hermanos en el cielo que comparten la gloria de Dios siempre oraran por nosotros. Ellos no están muertos. Dios no es Dios de los muertos. Él es el Dios de los vivos. Ellos son nuestra familia celestial que, de una manera que nunca podemos entender y comprender, oran por usted y por mí, rogándole a Dios constantemente misericordia, protección y salvación. Siempre serán esa parte de la iglesia que es poderosa, intercediendo por todos nosotros hasta que nos unamos en el cielo.
¿Orando por los Muertos? La misión de la Iglesia de Dios es orar por todos los que an fallecidos. Podrías decirme: “Ya están muertos, ¿Cómo puedo orar por ellos?”
Hoy estamos en 2018. Mi madre murió en 1971. Si crees que Dios no tiene una secuencia de tiempo, Dios mira a toda la historia humana en un “trato único” y abarca, entiende, controla y ve cada evento en historia humana desde el comienzo de la creación hasta el final de los tiempos. Por lo tanto, Dios ve las oraciones por los muertos antes de morir y les aplica todas las oraciones en el momento de su muerte.
Mi madre murió en 1971. Cuando ofrezco el Sacrificio de la Misa para ella hoy (2018), mis oraciones están presentes delante de Dios antes de que mi madre muriera porque Dios está fuera del tiempo. Por lo tanto, todas las oraciones que se le ofrecieron antes y después de su muerte están presentes delante de Dios y se aplicarán a su salvación en el momento de su muerte. Nuestro trabajo es orar sin parar por aquellos que fallecieron porque no tienen más oportunidad de enmendar sus vidas. La oración de la iglesia es la única esperanza que tienen. La Virgen María en todas sus apariciones invitó a la Iglesia a rezar el Rosario constantemente por las almas del Purgatorio.