Monday, June 14, 2010

ECFs On Praying to Saints

On Praying to, with and for the Saints
 

Hippolytus of Rome
"[Appealing to the three companions of Daniel] Think of me, I beseech you, so that I may achieve with you the same fate of martyrdom."  On Daniel, 11:30 (A.D. 204).

Clement of Alexandria
"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]" (Miscellanies 7:12 [A.D. 208]).
 
Origen
"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" (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]).
 
Cyprian of Carthage
"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" (Letters 56[60]:5 [A.D. 253]).
 
Anonymous
"Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins" (funerary inscription near St. Sabina’s in Rome [A.D. 300]).

"Pray for your parents, Matronata Matrona. She lived one year, fifty-two days" (ibid.).

"Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger" (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]).
 
Methodius
"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" (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305]).

"Therefore, we pray [ask] you, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away" (ibid.).

"And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful, do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with you, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, ‘You are the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God’" (ibid.).
 
Cyril of Jerusalem
"Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is set forth." (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).
 

Ephraim the Syrian
"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" (Commentary on Mark [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" (The Fear at the End of Life [A.D. 370]).
 
The Liturgy of St. Basil
"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" (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]).
 
Pectorius
"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]" (Epitaph of Pectorius [A.D. 375]).
 
Gregory of Nazianz
"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" (Orations 17[24] [A.D. 380]).


Gregory of Nyssa
"[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" (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian [A.D. 380]).
 
John Chrysostom
"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" (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]).

"When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies . . . but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power [in God]" (Orations 8:6 [A.D. 396]).

"Thus might you console us; but what of the flock? Would you first promise the oversight and leadership of yourself, a man under whose wings we all would gladly repose, and for whose words we thirst more eagerly than men suffering from thirst for the purest fountain? Secondly, persuade us that the good shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep has not even now left us; but is present, and tends and guides, and knows his own, and is known of his own, and, though bodily invisible, is spiritually recognized, and defends his flock against the wolves, and allows no one to climb over into the fold as a robber and traitor; to pervert and steal away, by the voice of strangers, souls under the fair guidance of the truth. Aye, I am well assured that his intercession is of more avail now than was his instruction in former days, since he is closer to God, now that he has shaken off his bodily fetters, and freed his mind from the clay which obscured it, and holds intercourse naked with the nakedness of the prime and purest Mind; being promoted, if it be not rash to say so, to the rank and confidence of an angel." On the Death of his Father, Oration 18:4.

Ambrose of Milan
"May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ’s benign countenance" (The Six Days Work 5:25:90 [A.D. 393]).

Augustine
"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" (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).

"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" (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

"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" (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

"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" (The City of God 20:9:2 [A.D. 419]).
 
Jerome
"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?" (Against Vigilantius 6 [A.D. 406]).
 
Bibliography
http://www.scripturecatholic.com/saints.html#tradition-I

http://www.catholic.com/library/Intercession_of_the_Saints.asp

5 comments:

  1. I don't know whether this thread is meant to be a response to me. The last thread on prayer to the dead, focusing on Lactantius, was directed at me. I'll respond to this one as well, even though I don't know how much you had my position in mind.

    Why did you title your post "ECFs On Praying to Saints" when some of the passages aren't about that subject? Praying with the dead isn't the same as praying to them, for example, nor is praying to angels the same as praying to the dead.

    Most of the passages cited are irrelevant to my position. I don't deny that we find prayer to the dead in some of the fathers from the fourth century onward. And prayer by the dead or with the dead is a different subject than prayer to the dead. Origen believed in the former two while condemning the third category, for example.

    The passages from Methodius most likely weren't written by him. The work being attributed to him seems to be inauthentic.

    See my recent exchange with another Roman Catholic, by the screen name of Christine, in the thread here for a further discussion of such issues. In the Lactantius thread, you told me that you had read my exchange with Christine. If you've read it, then why are you repeating arguments here that were refuted there? Why do you think the passage attributed to Methodius is authentic? Why are you citing passages on topics other than prayer to the dead?

    Concerning Hippolytus and catacomb inscriptions, see here. In that article, I cite the following from the conservative Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott:

    "The invocation of the saints is first attested by St. Hippolytus of Rome, who turns to the three companions of Daniel with the prayer: 'Think of me, I beseech you, so that I may achieve with you the same fate of martyrdom.' (In Dan. II, 30)." (Fundamentals Of Catholic Dogma [Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1974], p. 319)

    I explain, in that article, why Ott's use of Hippolytus is inconclusive. But notice that he claims that Hippolytus is the first source. Why do you think Ott doesn't see such invocations of the dead in the earlier sources you've cited?

    You also aren't interacting with the ante-Nicene sources I cited in support of my view, aside from Lactantius, in my discussion with Christine. Nothing you've posted above refutes my position.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jason,
    I've told you, I'm not going to attempt to interact with a vague reference to a rather involved conversation you had with someone else. If you wish to bring up specifics, I'll deal with specifics. In short, leave Christine out of it. If you wish to quote passages you wrote to her, fine.

    More later...

    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jason said: I don't know whether this thread is meant to be a response to me.

    Yes, in a sense this posting was directed as a response to you. There were a couple (and only a couple) entries which were not really on target, I removed those. For those which remained, I have added some highlighting (bold and italics) to portions which I feel directly relate to what we've been discussing.

    Jason wrote: I don't deny that we find prayer to the dead in some of the fathers from the fourth century onward.

    Good! I'm glad you do not deny the obvious! However, several of the quotes came from the THIRD CENTURY. The Methodius quotes are part of the FOURTH CENTURY wherein you already concede from that time forward (at least) we find patristic references to praying to the Saints.

    Again, I repeat, I am not going to deal with vague references to your conversation with Christine.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Jesus said to them, 'Surely the REASON WHY YOU ARE WRONG IS THAT YOU UNDERSTAND NEITHER THE SCRIPTURES NOR THE POWER OF GOD.
    For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?
    **HE IS GOD, NOT OF THE DEAD, BUT OF THE LIVING. YOU ARE VERY MUCH MISTAKEN." (Mark 12:24-27)

    Just like the Saduccees, one who says the saints are ONLY a bunch of "dead people", is wrong. I happen to believe my Lord Jesus. He says they are alive. I believe Him. It is that simple.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd

    ReplyDelete

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