Katholisch Leben!

The Jesus Brothers

kathpedia.com: Heilige

Als Heiliger wird ein in religiöser Hinsicht vollkommener Mensch bezeichnet. Die Heiligen werden verehrt (cultus duliae). Die Gottesmutter jedoch hochverehrt (cultus hyperduliae) und Gott angebetet (cultus latriae), vgl. Anbetung.

 

Doppelkonzept


Die Theologie hat ein Doppelkonzept der Heiligkeit: Das Heilige schlechthin ist hierbei Gott, wobei der Jesus Christus durch seine besondere Beziehung zum Vater auch die Heiligkeit in den Menschen bewirken kann.

Heilige im umgangssprachlichen Sinn zeichnen sich also dadurch aus, dass sie bereits eine höhere Stufe der Gnade erreicht haben, die aber prinzipiell für jeden Gläubigen als Glied der Kirche möglich ist. Der Theologe Wolfgang Beinert drückt es kompakt so aus: „Sie die Heiligkeit des Einzelnen wird in der Taufe begründet als seinshafte Qualität und entfaltet sich in der personalen Annahme des göttlichen Rufes durch Übernahme der Gesinnung Jesu in einem moralisch heiligen Leben (vgl. Eph 1,4; 5,1; Phil 2,5; 4,8; Kol 1,22; I Petr 1,15f; 2,9; Tit 1,7-9 u.ä.)

 

Kategorien


Heilige sind oftmals Märtyrer, Bekenner, Menschen mit einem "engelsgleichen Leben" (ein radikal asketisch-jungfräuliches Leben als ständiger Kampf gegen die Verführungen des Satans), große Lichtgestalten der Christenheit (Kirchenlehrer, Könige, Ordensgründer, Päpste)

Die Heiligen werden als Mittler zu Gott verehrt und als Fürsprecher vor Gottes Thron angerufen. Besonders verehrt wird hierbei die heilige Maria, die Mutter Gottes.

 

Präfationen von den Heiligen
(Präfationen im Wochentagsmessbuch)


I. Die Glorie der Heiligen und die Gläubigen


In Wahrheit ist es würdig und recht, Dir, Herr, heiliger Vater, allmächtiger, ewiger Gott, immer und überall zu danken. Die Schar der Heiligen verkündet Deine Größe, denn in der Krönung ihrer Verdienste krönst Du das Werk Deiner Gnade. Du schenkst uns in ihrem Leben ein Vorbild, auf ihre Fürsprache gewährst Du uns Hilfe und gibst uns in ihrer Gemeinschaft das verheißene Erbe. Ihr Zeugnis verleiht uns die Kraft, im Kampf gegen das Böse zu siegen und mit ihnen die Krone der Herrlichkeit zu empfangen durch unseren Herrn Jesus Christus. Darum preisen wir Dich mit allen Engeln und Heiligen und singen vereint mit ihnen das Lob Deiner Herrlichkeit: Heilig, Heilig, Heilig ...

 

II. Die Heiligen und wir


In Wahrheit ist es würdig und recht, Dir, Vater im Himmel, zu danken und das Werk Deiner Gnade zu preisen. Denn in den Heiligen schenkst Du der Kirche leuchtende Zeichen Deiner Liebe. Durch das Zeugnis ihres Glaubens verleihst Du uns immer neu die Kraft, nach der Fülle des Heiles zu streben. Durch ihre Fürsprache und ihr heiliges Leben gibst Du uns Hoffnung und Zuversicht. Darum rühmen Dich Himmel und Erde, Engel und Menschen und singen wie aus einem Munde das Lob Deiner Herrlichkeit: Heilig, Heilig, Heilig ...

 

Literatur


Ferdinand Holböck, Das Allerheiligste und die Heiligen, Eucharistische Heilige aus allen Jahrhunderten der Kirchengeschichte, Christiana Verlag Stein am Rhein / Schweiz 1979 (1. Auflage; Kirchliche Druckerlaubnis, Salzburg, Jacob Mayr Weihbischof und Generalvikar).
Ferdinand Holböck, Heilige Eheleute, Verheiratete Selige und Heilige Christiana Verlag Stein am Rhein 2001 (2. Auflage; Kirchliche Druckerlaubnis Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat Salzburg 21. Juni 1994 (Zl. 780/94-ATHME), ISBN 3-7171-0709-7
Wilhelm Hünermann, Der endlose Chor, Theresia Verlag (Nachdruck; 1200 Seiten; Einblicke ind die wichtigsten Heiligen und Seligen)
Alfred Läpple, Mit den Heiligen durch das Jahr, Das christliche Kalenderbuch der Namenstage und Kirchenfeste, Ludwig Verlag 2000 in der Econ Ullstein List Verlag München. ISBN 3-7787-3860-7
Arnold Angenendt, Heilige und Reliquien. Die Geschichte ihres Kultes vom frühen Christentum bis zur Gegenwart, 2. Aufl. (C.H. Beck) München 1994.
Peter Mann (Hsgr.), Die Heiligen. Alle Biographien zum Regionalkalender für das deutsche Sprachgebiet, Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag Mainz 1975 (Mit kirchlicher Druckerlaubnis: Mainz, den 8. September 1975 Generalvikar Martin Luley).
Georg Popp (Hsgr.), Die Grossen der Kirche, Männer und Frauen der Kirche, die jeder kennen sollte, Arena Verlag Würzburg 1964 (Kirchliche Druckerlaubnis Bischöfliches Ordinariat Würzburg).
Theodor Schnitzler, Die Heiligen im Jahr des Herrn'#, Herder Verlag Freiburg 1979 (3. Auflage; Imprimatur Coloniae die 27. dec. 1978 – Nr. 94658 I.78 Hubert Luthe vicarius episcopalis).
Konrad Kirch/Adolf Rodewyk, Helden des Christentums Bd. 1-3, St. Benno Verlag Leipzig 1957-1958 (Kirchliche Druckerlaubnis Bautzen, Dr. Hötzel Generalvikar).
Hans Hümmeler, Helden und Heilige, Borromäus Verein Bonn 1958 (Imprimatur Coloniae, die 16. m. Martii a. 1954, Jr. Nr.: 967/I/54 Teusch vic. glis.)
Wilhelm Schamoni, Das wahre Gesicht der Heiligen, Wahlband der Buchgemeinde Bonn 1938 (Imprimatur Paderbornae, d. 18. Novmbr. 1937 Nr. 8555 Vicarius Generalis Gietse).

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/Heilige)

 

kathpedia.com: Verehrung und Anrufung der Heiligen

Gemeinschaft der Heiligen


Die Heiligenverehrung hängt eng mit dem Begriff der „Gemeinschaft der Heiligen“ zusammen, die alle Christen im Apostolischen Glaubensbekenntnis bezeugen. Unter „Gemeinschaft der Heiligen“ (Communio Sanctorum) versteht man zwei Dinge: Zum einen genießen die Glieder des Leibes Christi Gemeinschaft in den „heiligen Dingen“ wie zum Beispiel dem Glauben, den Sakramenten, der Liturgie. Zum andern haben sie eine reale Gemeinschaft mit Christus und untereinander in der Taufe, so dass das, was ein jeder in und für Christus erduldet oder tut, allen zu gute kommt. Diese Einheit in der Kirche als Leib Christi geht über Zeit und Raum hinaus und endet nicht mit dem Tod.

Die Bibel gibt uns die Zusage, dass die im Herrn verstorbenen im Himmel von Gott Ehre erhalten: „Kostbar ist in den Augen des Herrn das Sterben seiner Frommen“(Ps 116,15). Dies dürfen wir als Aufruf verstehen, sie ebenfalls zu ehren. Und gerade weil sie im Leben ihre Treue zu Gott bewiesen haben können sie uns als Vorbilder und Ratgeber auf unserem Weg zur Vollendung beistehen. In der Verehrung der Heiligen übt die Katholische Kirche eine Tradition aus, die in ihren Anfängen selbst begründt liegt; schon den ersten Christen war diese Einheit eben "heilig" und stets gegenwärtig:

Als zum Beispiel im Jahr 150 n.Chr. Polykarp, der Bischof von Smyrna, den Märtyrertod erlitt, wurde ein Brief über dieses Martyrium an alle Kirchen versandt. Darin heißt es: „Denn ihn (Jesus Christus) beten wir an, weil er der Sohn Gottes ist. Den Märtyrern aber erweisen wir als (den) Schülern und Nachahmern des Herrn gebührende Liebe wegen ihrer unübertrefflichen Zuneigung zu ihrem König und Lehrer.“ (MartPolk 17) Die Gemeinschaft der Heiligen drückt sich hier sehr schön in einer Gemeinschaft der Liebe aus. „Keiner von uns lebt sich selber und keiner stirbt sich selber.“ (Röm. 14,7)

In der Verehrung der Märtyrer und Heiligen verwirklicht sich das, was Paulus in 1. Kor. 12,26f. schreibt: „Wenn darum ein Glied leidet, leiden alle Glieder mit; wenn ein Glied geehrt wird, freuen sich alle andern mit ihm. Ihr aber seid der Leib Christi, und jeder einzelne ist ein Glied an ihm.“ Folglich können wir die Heiligen nicht ignorieren, sondern müssen ihnen die “gebührende Liebe“ erweisen.

 

Tote Heilige?


Offensichtlich gibt es unterschiedliche Vorstellungen über den Zustand der Verstorbenen. Der hl. Paulus schreibt: „Euch aber lasse der Herr wachsen und reich werden in der Liebe zueinander und zu allen, wie auch wir euch lieben, damit euer Herz gefestigt wird und ihr ohne Tadel seid, geheiligt vor Gott, unserem Vater, wenn Jesus, unser Herr, mit allen seinen Heiligen kommt.“ (1.Thess 3,12f; siehe auch Judas 14; Sach 14,5) Diese Stelle bezeugt, daß die Heiligen schon vor der Wiederkunft Christi in Gemeinschaft mit Ihm leben.

Dass die Seelen der vollendeten Gerechten tatsächlich seit der Zeit des Neuen Testaments im Himmel sind bezeugt uns mit aller Deutlichkeit der Hebräerbrief. Dort wir im 12. Kapitel die enge gottesdienstliche Gemeinschaft der Christen mit Gott, mit den Engeln und mit den „Geistern der vollendeten Gerechten“ beschrieben: „Ihr seid [bereits] vielmehr zum Berg Zion hinzugetreten, zur Stadt des lebendigen Gottes, dem himmlischen Jerusalem, zu Tausenden von Engeln, zu einer festlichen Versammlung und zur Gemeinschaft der Erstgeborenen, die im Himmel verzeichnet sind; zu Gott dem Richter aller, zu den Geistern der schon vollendeten Gerechten, zum Mittler eines neuen Bundes, Jesus, und zum Blut der Besprengung, das mächtiger ruft als das Blut Abels.“ (Hebräer, 12, 22-24)

 

Totenbeschwörung?


Es gibt Gruppen, die weniger ein Problem in der Verehrung als vielmehr in der Anrufung der Heiligen sehen. Dabei wird oft das Buch Deuteronomium angeführt, wo es heisst: „Es soll bei dir keinen geben, der seinen Sohn oder seine Tochter durchs Feuer gehen lässt, keinen, der Losorakel befragt, Wolken deutet, aus dem Becher weissagt, zaubert, Gebetsbeschwörungen hersagt oder Totengeister befragt, keinen Hellseher, keinen, der Verstorbene um Rat fragt“ (Dtn 18,10f). Ist das Anrufen der Heiligen Totenbeschwörung?

Gott verbietet hier die Beschwörung von Toten im Rahmen von okkulten Praktiken, um Auskünfte aus dem Jenseits zu erhalten. Das Volk Gottes soll so etwas nicht tun, sondern sich ganz auf Gott verlassen und auf die von Ihm gesandten Propheten hören. „Du sollst ganz und gar bei dem Herrn, deinem Gott, bleiben. Denn diese Völker, deren Besitz du übernimmst, hören auf Wolkendeuter und Orakelleser. Für dich aber hat der Herr, dein Gott, es anders bestimmt. Einen Propheten wie mich wird dir der Herr, dein Gott, aus deiner Mitte, unter deinen Brüdern, erstehen lassen. Auf ihn sollt ihr hören“ (Dtn 18,13ff).

Es gibt also einen klaren qualitativen Unterschied zwischen der okkulten Handlung und der Anrufung der Heiligen: Im einen will sich der Mensch stolz Zugang zu Informationen verschaffen, die vor ihm verborgen sind. Er umgeht also die von Gott gesetzte Ordnung und handelt gegen dessen Willen. Im anderen nimmt de Mensch demütig Zuflucht zu einer geliebten Person, damit diese bei Gott Fürsprache einlege. Hier spielt sich also alles innerhalb der von Gott gewollten "Gemeinschaft der Heiligen" ab, die sich ja auch schon in diesem Leben einsetzen, miteinander zur christlichen Vollendung zu gelangen. In diesem Kontext ist auch Mt 17,1-9 zu verstehen, wo Jesus selbst auf dem Berg der Verklärung mit den propheten Mose und Elija redet.

 

„Himmlische Gebetsgemeinschaft“


Von der Bibel erfahren wir, dass die irdische und die himmlische Welt nicht völlig voneinander getrennt sind; so bezeugt sie zum Beispiel die Anteilnahme der Engel an unserem Schicksal, wenn Jesus sagt: „Ich sage euch: Ebenso herrscht auch bei den Engeln Gottes Freude über einen einzigen Sünder, der umkehrt.“ (Lk 15,10)

Ebenso finden sich Bibelstellen, in denen die Fürbitte der Engel bei Gott ausdrücklich beschrieben wird: „Da sagte der Engel des Herrn: Herr der Heere, wie lange versagst du noch Jerusalem und den Städten Judas dein Erbarmen, denen du nun siebzig Jahre grollst? Der Herr antwortete dem Engel, der mit mir redete, in freundlichen Worten, Worten voll Trost.“(Sach 1,12.13)

...oder ähnlich: „ Wenn dann ein Engel ihm [dem Todkranken] zur Seite steht, / ein Mittler, einer von den Tausenden, / dem Menschen zu verkünden, was recht ist, wenn dieser sich erbarmt und spricht: / Erlös ihn, dass er nicht ins Grab absteige, / Lösegeld hab ich für ihn gefunden! [...]“ (Ijob 33,23.24)

Im Buch Tobit finden wir einen weiteren Anhaltspunkt: „Ich bin Raphael, einer von den sieben heiligen Engeln, die das Gebet der Heiligen emportragen und mit ihm vor die Majestät des heiligen Gottes treten.“ (Tob 12,15);

In der Offenbarung des Johannes kehrt dieses Bild zurück: „Und ein anderer Engel kam und trat mit einer goldenen Räucherpfanne an den Altar; ihm wurde viel Weihrauch gegeben, den er auf dem goldenen Altar vor dem Thron verbrennen sollte, um so die Gebete aller Heiligen vor Gott zu bringen. Aus der Hand des Engels stieg der Weihrauch mit den Gebeten der Heiligen zu Gott empor.“ (Offb 8,3-5)

Die Engel und Heiligen im Himmel verbinden sich also mit den Gebeten der irdischen Christen (den in der Taufe geheiligten) und verstärken diese durch ihr eigenes Gebet.


Ebenso finden wir in der Schrift die bereits bei Gott vollendeten Heiligen die für das Gottesvolk beten. So sieht etwa Judas der Makkabäer in einer Vision, wie zwei verstorbene alttestamentliche Heilige fürbittend bei Gott für die Juden eintreten: „Er hatte folgendes gesehen: Ihm war der frühere Hohepriester Onias erschienen, ein edler und gerechter Mann, bescheiden im Umgang, von gütigem Wesen und besonnen im Reden, von Kindheit an in allem aufs Gute bedacht; dieser breitete seine Hände aus und betete für das ganze jüdische Volk. In gleicher Haltung erschien dann ein Mann mit grauem Haar, von herrlicher Gestalt; der Glanz einer wunderbaren, überwältigenden Hoheit ging von ihm aus. Onias begann zu reden und sagte: Das ist der Freund seiner Brüder, der viel für das Volk und die heilige Stadt betet, Jeremia, der Prophet Gottes.“ (2 Makk 15,11-16).

Auch Jeremia selbst geht davon aus, dass Fürbitte der Heiligen für die Juden möglich ist. So schreibt er: "Doch der Herr sprach zu mir: Selbst wenn Mose und Samuel vor mein Angesicht träten, würde sich mein Herz diesem Volk nicht mehr zuneigen. Schaff sie mir aus den Augen, sie sollen gehen." (Jer 15,1).

Auch im Neuen Testament finden wir die Fürbitte der bei Gott Vollendeten: „Als es das Buch empfangen hatte, fielen die vier Lebewesen und die 24 Ältesten vor dem Lamm nieder; alle trugen Harfen und goldene Schalen voll von Räucherwerk; das sind die Gebete der Heiligen.“ (Offb 5,8; 6,9-10) Offenbar sind sich die 24 Ältesten (ein Bild für die vollendeten Gerechten, die überwunden und den Siegeskranz erhalten haben, vgl. Offb 4,4) unserer Gebete bewusst und treten fürbittend für uns ein.


Katholische Christen sind der Auffassung, dass wir engste Gemeinschaft nicht nur mit Gott, Jesus und dem Heiligen Geist haben, sondern auch mit den Heiligen im Himmel. Sowohl die noch kämpfende Kirche auf der Erde als auch die triumphierende Kirche im Himmel gehören zu dem einen ungeteilten Leib Christi. In ihm sind sie eins. Innerhalb dieser engen Gemeinschaft ist es selbstverständlich, dass die Heiligen an unserem Leben Anteil nehmen bzw. wir sie um Fürbitte anrufen.

 

Ein Mittlerproblem?


Es ist ein häufig genannter Einwand gegen die Anrufung der Heiligen, dass durch sie die alleinige Mittlerschaft Christi (Vgl. 1Tim 2,5) beeinträchtigt würde.

Die Heilige Schrift bezeichnet jedoch sogar die Engel als „Mittler“ (siehe dazu Ijob 33,23). Dehalb scheint dieser Einwand unangebracht.

Zum einen kommt Christus eine einzigartige Stellung als Mittler zu, weil er alleine zugleich Gott und Mensch ist; Er ist die einzige Brücke zwischen beiden, der Gott-Mensch Jesus.

Zum andern ist Christus der Mittler des Neuen Bundes (siehe dazu Hebr 9,15; 12,24) und als solcher einzig, genau wie Mose der Mittler des alten Bundes war (Gal. 3, 19-20).

Jemanden zu bitten für einen zu beten verletzt die Mittlerschaft Christi nicht. In 1Tim 2,1-4 ruft Paulus dazu auf, für einander zu beten und bezeichnet dies als recht und Gott wohlgefällig. Die Katholische Kirche lehrt, dass Gott allein die Quelle allen Segens und aller Gnade ist, der Geber aller guten und vollkommenen Gaben. Sie lehrt, dass aller Einfluss, den die Heiligen besitzen, von Gott kommt und auf ihn zurückzuführen ist. Wie der Mond sein Licht von der Sonne borgt, so „borgen“ sich die Heiligen ihr Licht von der Sonne der Gerechtigkeit, Jesus Christus. Auch die Heiligen bitten den Vater, durch den Sohn, im Heiligen Geist.

In den offiziellen liturgischen Gebeten wird das sehr deutlich: Eine Anrufung der Heiligen wird stets begleitet von einem Gebet um Erhörung zum Vater, das mit den Worten endet: „Durch Christus unseren Herrn“.

Die Heiligen um Fürbitte anzurufen ist gemäß der Lehre der Katholischen Kirche „gut und nützlich“, nicht jedoch verpflichtend oder gar heilsnotwendig.

 

Warum nicht nur direkt zu Jesus beten?


Natürlich sollte man vor allem direkt zu Jesus beten. Wenn aber mehrere für die selbe Sache beten kann das ein Erweis dafür sein, dass es um eine für die Beter wichtige Angelegenheit geht. Die Fürsprache der Heiligen im Himmel soll dies noch verdeutlichen und zudem die Macht des Gebetes erhöhen.

Gott beantwortet insbesondere das Gebet der Gerechten. Dies bezeugt Jak 5,16-18: "[...]betet füreinander, damit ihr geheiligt werdet. Viel vermag das inständige Gebet eines Gerechten." Die bereits bei Gott Vollendeten sind wahrhaft gerecht und stehen direkt in Gottes Gegenwart, so dass ihre Gebete zu Recht als besonders kraftvoll angesehen werden.

 

Zeugnisse der Alten Kirche


Unterhalb des Petersdoms sind bei archäologischen Ausgrabungen sehr alte Graffiti-Inschriften gefunden worden, die auf die Zeit zwischen Mitte des 2. und des 3. Jahrhunderts datiert werden können. In einem Buch von Umberto M. Fasola „Spuren auf dem Felsen - Petrus und Paulus in Rom, 1980, S. 136“ heißt es dazu: „Man kann die vier ersten Buchstaben des griechischen Namen Petros und Reste einer an ihn gerichteten Anrufung lesen.“ Ähnlich hat man nach 258 n. Chr. in der Sebastianskatakombe in Rom eine Vielzahl von Graffiti-Inschriften gefunden, in denen sowohl Petrus als auch Paulus angerufen werden.

Die früheste schriftlich fixierte Heiligenanrufung findet man jedoch bei Hippolyt († 235), der sich in seinem Danielkommentar an die drei Gefährten Daniels mit der Bitte wendet: „Gedenket meiner, ich bitte, damit auch ich mit euch dasselbe Los des Martyriums erlange.“ (In Dan II, 30)

Die Erzählung eines christlichen Mädchens, das in seiner Bedrängnis zuerst Gott Vater und Christus um Hilfe bittet, dann aber auch Maria anruft, findet sich bei Gregor von Nazianz (+ 390): „Als jene aber das Böse gewahrte und die Nachstellung erkannte …was tut sie, welche Gegenlist wendet sie an gegen den Urheber der Bosheit? An allem anderen verzweifelnd nimmt sie zu Gott ihre Zuflucht und wählt zum Beschützer gegen das verhasste Begehren ihres Bräutigams …Christus, welcher auch Geistern gebietet und die Versinkenden hält und auf dem Meer wandelt und die Legion Geister in die Tiefe sendet …die Jungfrau Maria fleht sie an, der bedrohten Jungfrau beizustehen.“(Oratio XXIV/PG 35, 1181)

Ambrosius (+397) erklärt: „Die Engel sollen angerufen werden, die uns zum Beistand gegeben sind, angerufen werden sollen die Märtyrer, auf deren Schutz wir sozusagen, wie es uns scheint, einen leiblich verbürgten Anspruch erheben dürfen. Sie können für unsere Sünden bitten, die sich im eigenen Blut gewaschen haben …“(De viduis, IX, 55/PL 16, 264)

Auch der Märtyrer und Bischof Johannes Chrysostomos (+407) bezeugt die altkirchliche Heiligenanrufung. In seiner 1. Homilie zum 1. Thessalonicherbrief schreibt er: „Da wir nun dieses wissen, so lasst uns weder die Fürbitte der Heiligen gering achten, noch auch unsere ganze Hoffnung auf dieselbe bauen: dieses, damit wir uns nicht der Trägheit hingeben und leichtfertig in den Tag hineinleben; jenes damit wir uns nicht eines großen Nutzen verlustig machen. Nein, wir wollen sie anrufen, damit sie für uns beten und uns die hilfreiche Hand reichen mögen; zugleich aber uns selbst der Tugend befleißigen …“ Und in seiner 5. Homilie heißt es: „Damit will ich aber nicht sagen, dass wir die Heiligen nicht anrufen sollen, sondern nur, dass wir nicht gleichgültig werden sollen und uns nicht gehen lassen, dass wir nicht einschlafen und nicht ausschließlich anderen die Sorge um unser Seelenheil überlassen dürfen.“

Diese und ähnliche Zeugnisse sind uns durch die Tradition der Kirche in grosser Zahl überliefert.

 

Fazit


Die Verehrung und Anrufung von Engeln und Heiligen zwecks Fürbitte bei Gott steht nicht in Widerspruch zur Heiligen Schrift und ist seit den Anfängen des Christentums gut bezeugt. 75% der gesamten Christenheit (Katholiken, Orthodoxe, Ostkirchen, teilweise Anglikaner) bauen auf diese Tradition.

(Quelle: http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/Verehrung_und_Anrufung_der_Heiligen)

 

Was heisst das eigentlich, "heilig"?

Das hebräische Wort für heilig ist "kodesh" und bedeutet, dass jemand von Gott für heilige (also besondere) Zwecke von den anderen Menschen getrennt, also beiseite gestellt wird. Menschen werden für geistliche Opfer "beiseite gestellt".

Wie sollen diese Opfer aussehen? Sehen wir uns die Psalmen an (53,7-23, Einheitsübersetzung):

«Höre, mein Volk, ich rede. Israel, ich klage dich an, ich, der ich dein Gott bin. Nicht wegen deiner Opfer rüg ich dich, deine Brandopfer sind mir immer vor Augen. Doch nehme ich von dir Stiere nicht an noch Böcke aus deinen Hürden. Denn mir gehört alles Getier des Waldes, das Wild auf den Bergen zu Tausenden. Ich kenne alle Vögel des Himmels, was sich regt auf dem Feld, ist mein Eigen. Hätte ich Hunger, ich brauchte es dir nicht zu sagen, denn mein ist die Welt und was sie erfüllt. Soll ich denn das Fleisch von Stieren essen und das Blut von Böcken trinken? Bring Gott als Opfer dein Lob und erfülle dem Höchsten deine Gelübde! Rufe mich an am Tag der Not; dann rette ich dich und du wirst mich ehren.» Zum Frevler aber spricht Gott: «Was zählst du meine Gebote auf und nimmst meinen Bund in deinen Mund? Dabei ist Zucht dir verhasst, meine Worte wirfst du hinter dich. Siehst du einen Dieb, so läufst du mit, du machst dich mit Ehebrechern gemein. Dein Mund redet böse Worte und deine Zunge stiftet Betrug an. Von deinem Bruder redest du schändlich, auf den Sohn deiner Mutter häufst du Verleumdung. Das hast du getan und ich soll schweigen? Meinst du, ich bin wie du? Ich halte es dir vor Augen und rüge dich. Begreift es doch, ihr, die ihr Gott vergesst! Sonst zerreiße ich euch und niemand kann euch retten. Wer Opfer des Lobes bringt, ehrt mich; wer rechtschaffen lebt, dem zeig ich mein Heil.»

Warum hat Gott überhaupt Tieropfer zugelassen?

Er wusste um die Neigung der Menschen zum Götzendienst. Wenn sie also schon opfern wollten, dann wenigstens zu Seinem Ruhm!

(Quelle: u.a. Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn: First Epistle of Peter (CDs))

 

Katholiken beten zu Maria und den Heiligen. Damit beten sie zu Toten und das wird in Dt 18,10-11 verboten!

Ok, lesen wir hierfür Mt 22,31-32: "Habt ihr im übrigen nicht gelesen, was Gott euch über die Auferstehung der Toten mit den Worten gesagt hat: Ich bin der Gott Abrahams, der Gott Isaaks und der Gott Jakobs? Er ist doch nicht der Gott der Toten, sondern der Gott der Lebenden." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Die Heiligen, die vor uns gegangen sind, sind lebendiger, als wir das heute sind. Wie wir in diesem Vers lesen, ist Gott der Gott der Lebenden und nicht der Toten. Damit werden Abraham, Isaak und Jakob aber zu den Lebenden gerechnet! Dt 18,10-11 verbietet es, Geister aus der Unterwelt (dem Sheol) heraufzubeschwören, um mit ihnen zu sprechen. Das ist aber nicht das, was die Katholische Kirche lehrt oder praktiziert. Was wir tun, ist, Brüder und Schwestern aus der Kirchengemeinschaft - dem Leib Christi -, die das himmlische Ziel schon erreicht haben, zu bitten, für uns zu beten.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

kathpedia.com: Märtyrer

Das Wort Märtyrer kommt von griech. martus=Zeuge.

Im christlichen Sinn sind Märtyrer Menschen, die ein Martyrium erleiden, d.h. die sich eher töten lassen, als ihrem Glauben an Jesus Christus abzuschwören. Als erster der Märtyrer (protomartyr) gilt der Hl. Stephanus, ein Diakon der Urgemeinde, der wegen des Vorwurfs der Blasphemie in Jerusalem gesteinigt wurde.

Unter den Heiligen der Kirche bilden die Märtyrer die eine Gruppe, die Bekenner (confessores) die andere. Die Märtyrer werden traditionell mit einer Palme in der Hand bzw. mit einer Krone auf dem Kopf dargestellt. Ihre Attribute in der Kunst sind meist die Instrumente ihres Martyriums. So wird etwa der Hl. Laurentius meist mit einem Rost dargestellt, die Hl. Katharina von Alexandrien mit einem Rad, der Hl. Paulus mit einem Schwert.

In Seligsprechungsprozessen ist für die Seligsprechung einer als Märtyrer anerkannten Person kein Wunder notwendig, für ihre Heiligsprechung jedoch schon. Auch Menschen, die sich zwar zu Christus bekehrt haben, aber noch ungetauft sind (Katechumenen), werden, falls sie wegen ihres Glaubens getötet werden, von der Kirche als Märtyrer anerkannt. Zudem gilt dieser Tod gleichzeitig als Ersatz für die Taufe, im Sinne der Reinigung von der Erbsünde und von persönlichen Sünden sowie der Hineinnahme in die Kirche Jesu Christi (Bluttaufe).

Das Blut der Märtyrer gilt von alters her als "Samen" der Kirche. Martyrologien, etwa des Hl. Polykarp oder der Hl. Perpetua und Felicitas, waren von den ersten Jahrzehnten der Kirche an ein fester Teil des christlichen Schrifttums und sollten die Hingabe und Opferbereitschaft der Christen stärken. Das Zeugnis jener, die für Jesus Christus zu sterben bereit sind, ist bis heute oft das stärkste Mittel der Mission.

Auch in späteren Jahrhunderten dienten Geschichten der christlichen Märtyrer öfters als literarische Inspiration für unterdrückte Minderheiten. So bildeten im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert in England Romane über die Verfolgung der Christen in der Antike und der Katholiken im England des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts einen festen Bestandteil der Literatur der damals von der protestantischen Mehrheit oft verachteten und misstrauisch beäugten Katholiken. (siehe etwa: J. H. Newman: Callista, N. Wiseman: Fabiola, R. H. Benson: Come Rack! Come Rope!, By What Authority?)

Im Roman Quo vadis des polnischen Schriftstellers Henryk Sienkiewicz ist wiederum die Parallele zwischen den verfolgten Christen der Antike und den von den protestantischen Preußen und den orthodoxen Russen unterdrückten katholischen Polen unübersehbar.

(Quelle:  http://www.kathpedia.com/index.php/M%C3%A4rtyrer)


 

The Communion of Saints

Paul's letters clarify how the Apostolic Church under the influence of the Holy Spirit spoke of believers as "saints," whether living or dead.

Paul asked the saints to pray for him and to imitate him.

Faithful people in the Post-Apostolic Church in the Apostles Creed defined the confessional response to faith in their creed: "We believe in the communion of saints."

Through Baptism we pass "from death to life; death no longer has dominion over us." Christians must believe that there is no real distinction between the believer in human life and after human life. Saints, living or dead, are indistinguishable before God.

If we can pray for and with saints in this life, we can pray for and with those saints after human life.

And as Paul asked saints to imitate him as he imitates Christ, the Church encourages Catholic Christians to imitate the holiness of the saints as they imitated the holiness of Christ and the Father.

As a hem of a garment, the shadows of saints, and clothes of the saints were used devotionally in the Apostolic Church, so relics and images of the saints are devotionally encouraged by the Church today.

First among saints by the fullness of grace which was hers is the Mother of Jesus, Mary.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

A Biblical Portrait of Saint

The word in the Bible for "saint" or "saints" is the word (hagios) also translated "sanctified" or "holy ones." The root word hazo, means "to venerate." Hagios means to be separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God.

Hagios is used of God (Lk 1:49; Acts 3:14; Mt 1:18, etc.). It is a word used of men and things (1 Tim 1:9; 1 Pet 2:5,9, etc.)

When Paul uses the word "saint" in the singular, he refers to a state into which God calls men with His grace.

Phil 4:21
Give my greetings to every holy one (hagion) in Christ Jesus.

In its plural form, Paul uses the word to refer to all believers. For Paul, the word is not applied only to persons of exceptional holiness, nor to those having died characterized by an exceptional life of saintliness.

Eph 2:19
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones (hagios) and members of the household of God,
Rom 12:13
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.
Rom 16:15
Greet Philologus, ... and all the holy ones who are with them.
1 Cor 16:1
Now in regard to the collection for the holy ones, you also should do as I ordered the churches of Galatia.
1 Cor 16:15
I urge you, brothers--you know that the household of Stephanas is the firstfruits of Achaia and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the holy ones--

It is Paul who calls all his fellow believers "saints," and not just the notably holy ones. Paul also uses the term for both those who are living and for those who are dead.

2 Thess 1:9-10
These (who do not acknowledge God nor heed the good news) will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, when he comes to be glorified among his holy ones (hagiois) and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, for our testimony to you was believed.
Jude 14-15
Enoch, of the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied also about them when he said, "Behold, the Lord has come with his countless holy ones (hagiais) to execute judgment on all and to convict everyone for all the godless deeds that they committed ..."

This practice of Paul corresponds to one of the earliest creedal statements of Christian faith: The Apostles Creed: "I believe in the communion of saints." Communion of saints refers to the bond of unity among all believers, both living and dead, who are or have been committed followers of Jesus Christ. In the eyes of God, in eternity, the distinction between His People who are "living" or who are "dead" is not at all important.

Mk 9:4
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
Mk 12:26-27
"As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, 'I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled."
Lk 23:43
He replied to him (the crucified thief) "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Rom 12:5
... so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.
On the Church, No. 49, Vatican II
At the present time some of (Jesus') disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory beholding "clearly God himself, three in one, as He is."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1474
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.


(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

In 1 Timothy it says that Jesus is our sole mediator, yet we pray to Mary and the Saints. Is that going against the Bible?

1 Tim 2:5 reads as follows: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..." "You see," we Catholics are told, "there is only one mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ. Therefore, praying to the saints goes against the Bible because you are making them mediators between God and man, you are diminishing Jesus' role as the sole mediator!"

Is that an appropriate interpretation of that passage? No, it's not and let's see why not.

In the O.T. we see that Moses, Abraham, and Job interceded on behalf of others... that's mediating between God and man. We know that it is okay to ask others here on earth to pray and intercede for us.... that's mediating between God and man. So, I think, once again, we have a situation where a passage of the Bible is being misinterpreted and misunderstood.

There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, but as members of the Body of Christ, He allows us to share in His mediation.

Also, Scripture tells us that we have only one foundation, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11); but, Scripture tells us that there is more than one foundation (Eph 2:19-20). Scripture tells us that we have only Lord, Jesus Christ (Eph 4:4-5); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one lord (Rev 19:16). Scripture tells us that we have only one Judge, Jesus Christ (James 4:12); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one judge (1 Cor 6:2).

Contradictions in Scripture? No! Not when these passages are all properly understood in context. Jesus is the only foundation; Jesus is the only Lord; and Jesus is the only Judge. But, we are members of Jesus' Body. Therefore, we are able, according to the graces given by Christ, to share in Jesus' role as foundation, as lord, and as judge, and in other aspects of Christ, as well. Another example, as a father I share in God's role as Father, by His grace. And, so also, we, and the saints in Heaven, and the angels in Heaven, can share in Christ's role as Mediator.

(Source: Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni. http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute#1. Used with permission)

The Canon of Holiness

Our words "holy" and "holiness" come from the Hebrew (qadosh and qodesh) from the Greek (hagios, hagiosyne) and the Latin (sanctitas, sacer, sanctus). Essentially holy means what is divine and pertains to God. It is His most intimate essence in which He radically transcends all that is created; totally Other. Holiness extends to whatever is in relationship with the divine; it includes the idea of separation and opposition to what is profane and common; it expresses the idea of belonging to or being possessed by God.

Lev 11:44
For I, the LORD, am your God; and you shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy. ... Since I, the LORD, brought you up from the land of Egypt that I might be your God, you shall be holy, because I am holy.
Lev 19:2
Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.
Hosea 11:9
For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you.
1 Peter 1:15
As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, "Be holy because I (am) holy."
Heb 12:14
Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Thes 4:3
This is the will of God, your holiness ...
Matt 5:48
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

As Paul writes, in each individual, sanctification takes place through faith and baptism.

Rom 15:16
... to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit.
1 Cor 6:11
That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Paul continues ... sanctification through faith and baptism makes one belong to God.

Rom 6:19,22
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. ... But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

The Role of the Saints

The saints are presented to believers as role models whose lives are worthy to be imitated.

Heb 6:12
... so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.
Heb 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us
1 Cor 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Phil 3:17
Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us.
Council of Vatican II, On the Church, No. 50,
For when we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for seeking the city which is to come (Heb 13:14; 11:10). At the same time we are shown a most safe path by which ... we will be able to arrive at perfect union with Christ, that is holiness. In the lives of those who shared in our humanity and yet were transformed into especially successfully images of Christ (2 Cor 3:18), God vividly manifests to men his presence and his face. He speaks to us in them, and gives us a sign of his kingdom, to which we are powerfully drawn, surrounded as we are by so many witnesses (Heb 12:1), and having such an argument for the truth of the gospel.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

The Intercession of the Saints

As part of their belief in the role of the saints as professed in the Apostles Creed, Roman Catholic Christians petition the intercession of the saints.

The apostle Paul frequently asked other fellow believers in Jesus to pray for him.

Col 4:3
At the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison.
Rom 15:30
... join me in the struggle by your prayers to God on my behalf,

James asks presbyter believers to pray over other believers.

Jam 5:14
Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord

Prayer appears to be the normal way for believers (saints) on earth to support one another. Probably all of us have asked another Christian, as Paul did--another saint in the Body of Christ--to pray for us when we had a need.

Catholic Christians believe that as we can ask a fellow Christian -a saint- to pray for us, we should be able to ask prayers from the saints already united to the Lord in heaven. If the prayers of certain Christians here on earth seem to possess special power because of their great faith witness or holiness, how much more powerful and effective might not the prayers of those of the communion of saints in heaven who are fully united to God.

How Do Saints Hear Us?

It is frequently asked, and reasonably so, how can the Saints know and hear so many countless intercessory prayers from so many Christians worldwide petitioning them. The question is really one of knowing, not hearing. It is important for us to remember the fullness of revelation regarding our state of being after our human life is completed. Principle among scriptures revealing our future life is the revelation of the essential nature of God Himself. Jesus often spoke of His Father (Abba) and of His Holy Spirit.

Matt 28:19
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.
John 10:38
...but if I (Jesus) perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize (and understand) that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.

The New Testament speaks often of the unity of the Godhead.

John 14:10-11
Do you not believe that I (Jesus) am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing His works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.

John also speaks of our union with the Father and Jesus as a fellowship a word from the Greek koinonia which is translated "community" meaning "in-union-with."

John 1:3
What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is most specific about our final relationship with Him. He calls it a one-ness.

John 17:11
And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.
John 17:21-22
... so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

The Trinity is a foreshadowing of our eternal life--a oneness with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We will share the life of the Godhead; as He knows so shall we know. The Saints already in union, at-one-ness with God share his life and his knowledge.

Paul put it succinctly.

1 Cor 13:12
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

John also had an insight that reflected our destiny.

1 John 3:2
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

The Canonization of Saints

The word "canon" comes from the Greek word kanon meaning a standard or measuring rod.

The custom of canonization began in the early church by popular acclamation. Hence the custom of calling all the apostles "Saint."

The Roman Catholic Church since the 10th century has officially applied the standard of holiness of life to certain individuals who lived exemplary Christian lives and through a lengthy process of prayer and study have declared that the individual is in heaven.

Contrary to the belief of some, the Church does not "create" saints, but simply applies the standard of gospel holiness to those God permits the Church to know are in heaven with Him. One principle way for God to affirm the presence of an individual in heaven with Him is through the performance of miracles through the intercession of that person.

Current Canonization Process

On September 12, 1997, through the Vatican Information Service, the Holy See Press Office in Vatican City made public the following note on canonical procedure for causes of beatification and canonization:

1. Canon norms regarding the procedure to be followed for causes of saints are contained in the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister, promulgated by John Paul II on January 25, 1983.

2. To begin a cause it is necessary for at least 5 years to have passed since the death of the candidate. This is to allow greater balance and objectivity in evaluating the case and to let the emotions of the moment dissipate.

3. The bishop of the diocese in which the person whose beatification is being requested died is responsible for beginning the investigation. The promoter group: diocese, parish, religious congregation, association, asks the bishop through the postulator for the opening of the investigation. The bishop, once the nulla osta (no impediment) of the Holy See is obtained, forms a diocesan tribunal for this purpose.

Witnesses are called before the tribunal to recount concrete facts on the exercise of Christian virtues considered heroic, that is, the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude, and others specific to his/her state in life. In addition, all documents regarding the candidate must be gathered. At this point he/she is entitled to the title of Servant of God.

4. Once the diocesan investigation is finished, the acts and documentation are passed on to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The public copy used for further work is put together here. The postulator, resident in Rome, follows the preparation of the summary of the documentation that proves the heroic exercise of virtue, under the direction of a relator of the Congregation. The Positio undergoes an examination (theological) by nine theologians who give their vote. If the majority of the theologians are in favor, the cause is passed on for examination by cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation. They hold meetings twice a month. If their judgment is favorable, the prefect of the congregation presents the results of the entire course of the cause to the Holy Father, who gives his approval and authorizes the congregation to draft the relative decree. The public reading and promulgation of the decree follows.

5. For the beatification of a confessor a miracle attributed to the Servant of God, verified after his/her death, is necessary. The required miracle must be proven through the appropriate canonical investigation, following a procedure analogous to that for heroic virtues. This one too is concluded with the relative decree. Once the two decrees are promulgated (regarding the heroic virtues and the miracle) the Holy Father decides on beatification, which is the concession of public honor, limited to a particular sphere. With beatification the candidate receives the title of Blessed.

6. For canonization another miracle is needed, attributed to the intercession of the Blessed and having occurred after his/her beatification. The methods for ascertainment of the affirmed miracle are the same as those followed for beatification. Canonization is understood as the concession of public worship in the Universal Church. Pontifical infallibility is involved. With canonization, the Blessed acquires the title of Saint.

Biblical Description of Miracles

Three Greek words are used for the word miracle:

Semeion: a "sign" (used 78 times). Semeion was an event with divine significance. Jesus speaks of His resurrection as a "sign."

Matt 12:39
He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet."
Teras: a "wonder" (used 16 times). It is also used in combination with semeion. Teras means something very unusual, out of the ordinary, amazing, or astonishing.
John 4:48
Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."

Dunamis: a "power" It is sometimes used of ordinary power, but is often translated "miracle". It is often used in combination with semeion and teras. Dunamis emphasizes the source of the event.

A biblical definition can be drawn from a systematic study of the aforementioned words. A miracle is an unusual event ("wonder") that conveys and confirms an unusual (divine) message ("sign") by means of unusual power ("power").

A miracle is called supernatural because the effect is beyond the productive power of nature and implies supernatural agency. Thus St. Thomas Aquinas teaches: "Those effects are rightly to be termed miracles which are wrought by Divine power apart from the order usually observed in nature" (Contra Gentiles, III, cii) ... "and they are apart from the natural order because they are beyond the order or laws of the whole created nature." (Sacra Theologica I:102:4)

In ordinary language: that which is beyond the present knowledge and power of the medical or physical sciences.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Images and Relics of the Saints

Catholic Christians operate from an Incarnational Principle: they sometimes make use of statues, images, medals, relics, and other objects to call to mind their relationship with the communion of saints of the past. These "religious objects" are used to simply recall to mind the example of a particular saint and to remind us of their nearness to God and their power to intercede for us on earth.

Mk 5:27-29
She (the woman with a hemorrhage) had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured." Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
Acts 5:15
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
Acts 19:11-12
So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

The Incorruptibles

As an affirmation to our faith, and not the reason we believe, we recognize miraculous events concerning the bodies of some saints whose souls have gone to be with the Lord. The physical remains of some saints have been preserved in physical states not in the common natural order. Some saints whose bodies have been preserved without artificial means include: St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. Catherine Laboure, St. John Vianney, Sr. Theresa Margaret, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Francis Xavier, St. Louise de Marillac, and Blessed John XXIII.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Praying to the Saints / Praying for the Dead

Christians from the earliest centuries of the Church have expressed their communion with those who have died by praying for the dead.

Inscriptions in the Roman catacombs indicate that the early Christians honored and prayed for their deceased relatives and friends.

Tertullian (211)
Wrote that Christians offered prayer and the Eucharist for the deceased on the anniversaries of their death.
St. Augustine (354 - 430)
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.

It is not uncommon that non-believers see the Roman Catholic devotion to the Saints and the dead in general as falling under the prohibition of necrology as found in the Hebrew Scriptures. These people are not aware of the New Life of the Christian who has been called out of this life. They are not dead, but alive!

Rom 6:3-4
Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
Col 2:12
You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

The early Christians, in praying for their dead were expressing their belief that departed brothers and sisters underwent a purification after death ("purgatory"). Their prayers were prayers that God would have mercy on them during this time of healing and purification.

Many people who do not share the Catholic Christian faith life have difficulty with the appearance that in their prayers, Catholics appear to pray to the Saints, to Mary, as one prays to God. This "praying to" appears to them to indicate a worship of the Saint as if giving to the Saint or Mary what is due to God alone.

However, earliest Christianity has always defined prayer as conversation, as in conversation with God. Conversation, as any other act of communication ( e.g., talking, conversation, yelling, etc.), requires a sign of the direction of the communication: one talks to someone, communicates with someone, prays to someone, converses with someone, yells at someone, etc. Hence, praying to God, a Saint, the Virgin Mary indicates simply the direction of prayer communication. It is more a matter of grammar and understanding communication than acknowledging the worship of the receiver.

From the earliest of Church Councils (the Council of Rome, 993; defined by the Council of Trent) the distinction was made between worship and honor. Catholics believe that worship is due to God alone. Catholics honor those saints who have gone before us as a sign of faith and victory in living the Christian life.

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Praying to the Saints?


Q:    In 1 Timothy it says that Jesus is our sole mediator, yet we pray to Mary and the Saints.  Is that going against the Bible?

A:    1 Tim 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”  “By praying to the saints, you Catholics are going against the Bible because you are making them mediators between God and man, and Jesus is our sole mediator ” 

Well, let’s look and see why that interpretation doesn’t hold scriptural water.  In the O.T. we see that Moses, Abraham, and Job interceded on behalf of others – that’s mediating between God and man.  Plus, we know that it is okay to ask others here on earth to pray and intercede for us – that’s mediating between God and man.  Once again, we have a si tuation where a passage of the Bible is being misinterpreted and misunderstood.  

There is indeed only one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, but as members of the Body of Christ, He allows us to share in His mediation.

Scripture says that we have only one foundation, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11); but, Scripture says that there is more than one foundation (Eph 2:19–20).  Scripture says that we have only one Judge, Jesus Christ (James 4:12); but, Scripture tells us there is more than one judge (1 Cor 6:2).  

Contradictions in Scripture?  No   Not when these passages are read in context.  Jesus is the only foundation and Jesus is the only judge.  But, we are members of Jesus’ Body.  Therefore, we are able, according to the graces given by Christ, to share in Jesus’ role as foundation and as judge, and in other aspects of Christ, as well.  Another example, as a father, I share in God’s role as Father, by His grace.  And, so also, the saints in Heaven can and do share in Christ’s role as Mediator.

So, yes, Jesus is our sole mediator, but anyone who is a member of Jesus’ body, shares in His role as mediator and this is especially true of the saints in Heaven who are perfectly united to Christ.

(Source: Dr. John Martignoni, http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/. Used with permission)



MARY FAUSTINA KOWALSKA

MARY FAUSTINA KOWALSKA

1905-1938

 

Sister Mary Faustina, an apostle of the Divine Mercy, belongs today to the group of the most popular and well-known saints of the Church. Through her the Lord Jesus communicates to the world the great message of God's mercy and reveals the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God and on the attitude of mercy toward one's neighbors.

She was born on August 25, 1905 in G»ogowiec in Poland of a poor and religious family of peasants, the third of ten children. She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish Church of Ðwinice Warckie. From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience, and also her sensitivity to the poor. At the age of nine she made her first Holy Communion living this moment very profoundly in her awareness of the presence of the Divine Guest within her soul. She attended school for three years. At the age of sixteen she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in Aleksandrów, ºódï and Ostrówek in order to find the means of supporting herself and of helping her parents.

At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation. After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission. Called during a vision of the Suffering Christ, on August 1, 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sister Mary Faustina. She lived in the Congregation for thirteen years and lived in several religious houses. She spent time at Kraków, P»ock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.

Externally nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life. She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life. She was recollected and at the same time very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbor. Although her life was apparently insignificant, monotonous and dull, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.

It is the mystery of the Mercy of God which she contemplated in the word of God as well as in the everyday activities of her life that forms the basis of her spirituality. The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God's mercy helped develop within Sr. Mary Faustina the attitude of child-like trust in God as well as mercy toward the neighbors. O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let Your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life (Diary 1242). Sister Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church which she loved like a Mother and a Mystic Body of Jesus Christ. Conscious of her role in the Church, she cooperated with God's mercy in the task of saving lost souls. At the specific request of and following the example of the Lord Jesus, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal. In her spiritual life she also distinguished herself with a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.

The years she had spent at the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as: revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, the gift of bilocation, the reading of human souls, the gift of prophecy, or the rare gift of mystical engagement and marriage. The living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the Angels, the Saints, the souls in Purgatory — with the entire supernatural world — was as equally real for her as was the world she perceived with her senses. In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr. Mary Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God (Diary 1107).

The Lord Jesus chose Sr. Mary Faustina as the Apostle and "Secretary" of His Mercy, so that she could tell the world about His great message. In the Old Covenant — He said to her —I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart (Diary 1588).

The mission of Sister Mary Faustina consists in 3 tasks:

– reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God toward every human being.

– Entreating God's mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You, the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one's life to God and practiced active love of one's neighbor.

– The third task in Sr. Mary Faustina's mission consists in initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy which undertakes the task of proclaiming and entreating God's mercy for the world and strives for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by the Blessed Sr. Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to display an attitude of child-like trust in God which expresses itself in fulfilling His will, as well as in the attitude of mercy toward one's neighbors. Today, this movement within the Church involves millions of people throughout the world; it comprises religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, brotherhoods, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individual people who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr. Mary Faustina.

The mission of the Blessed Sr. Mary Faustina was recorded in her Diary which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it, she recorded faithfully all of the Lord Jesus' wishes and also described the encounters between her soul and Him. Secretary of My most profound mystery — the Lord Jesus said toSr. Faustina — know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me (Diary 1693). In an extraordinary way, Sr. Mary Faustina's work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy. It delights not only the simple and uneducated people, but also scholars who look upon it as an additional source of theo-logical research. The Diary has been translated into many languages, among others, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak.

Sister Mary Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and by innumerable sufferings which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of just thirty three on October 5, 1938 with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. The reputation of the holiness of her life grew as did the cult to the Divine Mercy and the graces she obtained from God through her intercession. In the years 1965-67, the investigative Process into her life and heroic virtues was undertaken in Krakow and in the year 1968, the Beatification Process was initiated in Rome. The latter came to an end in December 1992. On April 18, 1993 our Holy Father John Paul II raised Sister Faustina to the glory of the altars. Sr. Mary Faustina's remains rest at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Kraków-ºagiewniki.


(Source: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/documents/ns_lit_doc_20000430_faustina_en.html)






HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER

MASS IN ST PETER'S SQUARE FOR THE CANONIZATION
OF SR MARY FAUSTINA KOWALSKA

Sunday, 30 April 2000

 

1. "Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus, quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius"; "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever" (Ps 118: 1). So the Church sings on the Octave of Easter, as if receiving from Christ's lips these words of the Psalm; from the lips of the risen Christ, who bears the great message of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the Apostles in the Upper Room:  "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.... Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20: 21-23).

Before speaking these words, Jesus shows his hands and his side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world:  "The two rays", Jesus himself explained to her one day, "represent blood and water" (Diary, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 132).

2. Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a solider on Calvary pierced Christ's side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it (cf. Jn 19: 34). Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3: 5; 4: 14; 7: 37-39).

Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified:  "My daughter, say that I am love and mercy personified", Jesus will ask Sr Faustina (Diary, p. 374). Christ pours out this mercy on humanity though the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person-Love. And is not mercy love's "second name" (cf. Dives in misericordia, n. 7), understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and, especially, in its immense capacity for forgiveness?

Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy.

Jesus told Sr Faustina:  "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy" (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.

3. What will the years ahead bring us? What will man's future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sr Faustina's charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium.

However, as the Apostles once did, today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen Christ, who shows the wounds of his Crucifixion and repeats:  Peace be with you! Humanity must let itself be touched and pervaded by the Spirit given to it by the risen Christ. It is the Spirit who heals the wounds of the heart, pulls down the barriers that separate us from God and divide us from one another, and at the same time, restores the joy of the Father's love and of fraternal unity.

4. It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called "Divine Mercy Sunday". In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that "man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called "to practise mercy' towards others:  "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5: 7)" (Dives et misericordia, n. 14). He also showed us the many paths of mercy, which not only forgives sins but reaches out to all human needs. Jesus bent over every kind of human poverty, material and spiritual.

His message of mercy continues to reach us through his hands held out to suffering man. This is how Sr Faustina saw him and proclaimed him to people on all the continents when, hidden in her convent at £agiewniki in Kraków, she made her life a hymn to mercy:  Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo.

5. Sr Faustina's canonization has a particular eloquence:  by this act I intend today to pass this message on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren.

In fact, love of God and love of one's brothers and sisters are inseparable, as the First Letter of John has reminded us:  "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments" (5: 2). Here the Apostle reminds us of the truth of love, showing us its measure and criterion in the observance of the commandments.

It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God's love. Looking at him, being one with his fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!

To the extent that humanity penetrates the mystery of this merciful gaze, it will seem possible to fulfil the ideal we heard in today's first reading:  "The community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather everything was held in common" (Acts 4: 32). Here mercy gave form to human relations and community life; it constituted the basis for the sharing of goods. This led to the spiritual and corporal "works of mercy". Here mercy became a concrete way of being "neighbour" to one's neediest brothers and sisters.

6. Sr Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary:  "I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbours. All my neighbours' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbour" (Diary, p. 365). This is the degree of compassion to which love leads, when it takes the love of God as its measure!

It is this love which must inspire humanity today, if it is to face the crisis of the meaning of life, the challenges of the most diverse needs and, especially, the duty to defend the dignity of every human person. Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God's eyes; Christ gave his life for each one; to everyone the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.

7. This consoling message is addressed above all to those who, afflicted by a particularly harsh trial or crushed by the weight of the sins they committed, have lost all confidence in life and are tempted to give in to despair. To them the gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from his heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope. How many souls have been consoled by the prayer "Jesus, I trust in you", which Providence intimated through Sr Faustina! This simple act of abandonment to Jesus dispels the thickest clouds and lets a ray of light penetrate every life. Jezu, ufam tobie.

8. Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo (Ps 88 [89]: 2). Let us too, the pilgrim Church, join our voice to the voice of Mary most holy, "Mother of Mercy", to the voice of this new saint who sings of mercy with all God's friends in the heavenly Jerusalem.

And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope:  Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!   

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/homilies/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20000430_faustina_en.html)

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