Catholics/Prayers received by Saints


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My question concerns prayers to the saints.  We are taught the saints in heaven can hear our prayers and that it pleases God and is an act of faith in itself that we should seek their intercession.  At the same time we are to believe the saints exist in a state of complete peace and happiness.  But I have always found it a bit difficult to reconcile these two ideas.  If we are pouring out our troubles to the saints in heaven, how could those saints not on some level be troubled themselves to hear of our troubles?  And if they are on some level troubled, how can this be reconciled with their existing in uninterruptted joy?

In the first place:

It is important to remember that the peace and joy the saints experience is NOT determined by external states of affairs but by their full, complete and total communion with Christ. In other words---the peace the saints have is an INTERIOR peace--that comes from integrity (wholeness.) The peace the saints have is not a peace that comes from an external state of affairs being all fine.  That kind of peace is a worldly peace.  It is a peace that comes form the absence of conflict, the absence of war, etc.   

Just as God's holiness means that God is always in perfect possession of Himself, so too those who have the holiness of God within (the saints) likewise are in perfect possession of themselves.  In this way--just as God is NOT moved by the affairs of the world as we are (due to his Holiness) so too the saints experience the affairs of this world in the same way that God does.  

Understand what I am saying: I am NOT saying God does not care, I am NOT saying the saints do not care.  What I AM saying is that due to their perfect holiness, (the holiness of the Saints is God's holiness within them) due to the fact that they are in perfect possession of themselves, due to their perfect interior disposition the affairs of mankind and the troubles of mankind do not effect them as they effect us.  

When Jesus talks about giving peace that the world cannot give--that is exactly what he means.  The peace that God gives is NOT a worldly peace.  The peace that God gives transcends EVERYTHING.  This is why the gift of peace for someone on Earth gives them a peace in which their sufferings and state in life do not matter.  The gift of peace allows us to rest in God--WHATEVER is going on around us and perhaps allows us to see our sufferings from the perspective of God--transitory and fading--thus in the end not really important.   

Hence, the saints in heaven because the rest in God experience this peace through the full, total and complete communion with Christ. They are not disturbed by anything because they rest in Christ--and Christ is all that matters.  

In the second place:

In addition to being in perfect peace, the saints being in heaven see things from GOD'S perspective, not MAN'S perspective.  That means the saints see and understand the troubles of human affairs from God's perspective and they see how everything works according to the plan of God whereas WE on earth do NOT. This is also why the saints would not be troubled by the affairs on earth as we would.  


God says all things are possible with and through him. Again, because the saints do everything with, through and in Christ perfectly and completely (being in heaven) they are able to hear the prayers of many people at once and direct their prayers to God for these concerns.  


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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