Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


This site is the funniest thing I have seen in AGES.....and that's saying I must flip out and absolve something.....SOLA FIDE!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

For we are Justified by both Faith AND Works

Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Please don't look upon the title of this post with scorn, for it would miss the point of what I am going to say here. For indeed I agree with the Lutheran view that we are justified by Grace alone through Faith alone as a result of Christ alone. If that is the case....what do I mean by the statement that we are saved by both faith and works? The works I'm talking of Evangelicals believe save us also....for they are the works of Christ in all His earthly life, death and resurrection.

Indeed, it is Christ's work in fulfilling the Law perfectly and His death on Calvary's Cross that makes it possible for us to be forgiven as He is the paschal lamb, and through His resurrection death has been conquered!

What is important to know about justification and salvation, is that while you are saved upon your justificaiton, you only begin upon the path set before you by God. Think of it this way. You are living when you are conceived, but you don't fully "live" in this world until you develop and mature. The same analogy can be shown with our spiritual lives. We are justified by the faith we are given by the Holy Spirit, and indeed this is not our work, but following that true faith gives birth to good works. In James, we are told that faith without works is strange! Does this mean that it is possible for faith to die contrary to what the Calvinists teach concerning apostasy (falling away), yes! Hebrews 6:4-6 declares "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentence, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace (NIV)."

It is possible for us to fall away! But what if I falter in my faith, was baptized in Christ, then declare myself to be an atheist and leave the church....can I be saved again and reenter the fold? Of course! For indeed, the one unforgivable sin is declared in the Gospel of St. Matthew 12:22-32 and the Gospel of St. Mark 3:22-30 and that is "blaspheming against the Holy Spirit." In other words, it is the defiant rejection of the Holy Spirit who imparts the saving grace of Christ that is unforgiveable, not because God is a hateful God but because He loves his creatures enough to not FORCE love on them. Contrary to the Calvinist understanding, He does not predestine some to salvation and others to damnation. He predestines some for salvation as indeed he predestined St. Paul to do His work, but that does not mean He predestines all the others for damnation! Christ's sacrificial atonement was not for the elect, but for all the world (the Gospel of St. John 3:16, 1 John 2:2) and thus is His mercy shown.

From those who might be lost, I'm painting a picture for of a journey. The common goal of the Reformation (or I should say Martin Luther) was not to split from the Roman Church (for indeed, he did not wish to splinter the Body of Christ more than it already was), but to reform it's errors concerning the authority it gave itself which it put as equal to Scripture, and its subsequent overstep of boundaries declaring such things as the existence of Purgatory where the actual sins of a departed believer are cleansed by expitiatory punishment, the attribute of the saints with power without recognizing Christ as the source of those powers and gifts, and the claim that to be justified in the sight of God one must have faith and do good works (of which the concept of Purgatory and the suffering of a person due to their sins which were not undone by enough good works before they enter Heaven came into play).

But indeed, I will caution that as justification means salvation, it does not mean that you will remain in Christ throughout your whole life. The equivalent is going on a hike and assuming that because you have started the journey you will finish it at the goal. Indeed the life of a Christian involves another process, that of Sanctification, where we become "more Christlike" by growing closer to Christ and the reception of Grace through the Sacraments, Scriptures, and Prayer. We as Christians should focus more attention on helping others start the journey, but also to continue it.

Dischord over the salvation of other Christian groups is shear nonsense, and is what the Devil truly craves. For one group to say that another group is not saved usually boils down to what others say is required of salvation. Well let's see. Faith in the resurrected Christ and His Sacrifice are required, as well as the acceptance of WHO you should have faith in (hence the importance of the Trinity as three persons in one God, not three gods, but one having different persons who do not mingle) lest you feel the Muslim god can forgive your sins (for he is declared to be one, thus denying the Christian Trinity).

You are not judged by your doctrine, but by your faith in Christ! By this definition, the Protestants are saved (not Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses because the prior declare a different and truly heretical Christology and the latter because of their denial of the divinity of Christ and acceptance of the resurrected Christ not as God but as the Archangel St. Michael), the Evangelicals are saved, the Eastern Orthodox are saved, and (horror of horrors) the Roman Catholics are saved. For those who believe in Mary as co-Redemptrix however, it is indeed highly questionable and their salvation is akin to skating on paper thin ice with the thinnest possible blades while carrying an elephant on your back.

For those reading this who are not Christians and who feel offended by what I'm saying, please understand that I am not saying there is no hope for you, for indeed in Christ there is hope and He is waiting with open arms. Please also understand that I am not offended by your saying that I am going to hell because I don't worship the Muslim god, or the Jewish god, or that it doesn't matter, we'll rot in the ground because their is no God. These are your beliefs and what you say you feel and believe as fact. If you are offended at anything you should be offended that I am not delcaring this as my opinion but as fact. As I told an agnostic friend of mine who was worried about acceptance among Christian friends because of his lack of faith I told him it is not up to us to judge, but God.

I hope that the Christians reading this will redouble their efforts to learn what it really means to live the light of Christ everyday. I hope they understand that Satan and his armies are out there in the world waiting to devour anyone who they meet, and that our divisions only help him. We should not sacrifice truth for unity, but neither should we ignore our similarities and remain in disunity on the fundamental issues. The chess game has begun, and the white is scattered with no clear plan for victory, while the black has jumped ahead several moves and has a clear, cohesive plan.

Please do not let the Body of Christ be broken because we let our sinful egos get in the way.

Glory be to God the Father, the Son (+), and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever, amen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Remembering Jaroslav Pelikan

This is somewhat late in coming, but I feel compelled to mention that a great scholar and Christian has gone into glory with the Father in Heaven. Jaroslav Pelikan was 82 years of age when he passed away as a result of Lung Cancer. His profession at the end of his life was that of History Professor at Yale University. He had done much for the program and indeed, much for Christianity in general.

Pelikan grew up a Lutheran and in 1998 "converted" to Eastern Orthodoxy with his wife. He wrote many books that dealt with issues of Christian history and doctrine, including the monumental, five volume work "The Christian Tradition" which covers the history of doctrine from 100AD-this century.

His acute mind and writing will be missed by those who have been introduced to his works.

Monday, June 12, 2006

No Lois, You're Not a Terrible Person.....Horses are Terrible People :-).

Strange title, strange subject matter for me. I've been delving into some new theological territory recently. As stated earlier, I believe that the saints on earth may ask the departed saints for their prayers concerning various things. I then put the Hail Mary (Ave Maria) at the end of my last post to show my change of heart. But many of you who actually read this (from the minimal response I got....Tony :-)), most likely would have responded with gasps at my more Catholic leanings on this matter. Well, for those of you who think that all non-Catholics are non-denominational Christians who get together in buildings with no character and have praise bands, this might be news for you.

The Lutheran Church are those churches which agree with the Lutheran Confessions as found in the Book of Concord (which is indeed shorter than Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion" which most Reformed theologians will use as their founder...and for those who don't know, Reformed is usually [unless there are some I am not aware of] synonymous with "Calvinist") which is actually several works put together. There are the three main Creeds of Christianity which were settled upon by the early church (before 1000AD): The Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed (complete with Filioque action, which interestingly enough is not spoken in the Vatican during services as an act of ecumenism with the Christian east), and the Athanasian Creed (complete with stopwatch for the five minutes it takes to recite it :-)). There is then the Augsburg Confession and the Apology to the Augsburg Confession (that means defense of the Augsburg Confession), Luther's Smalcald Articles, the Small Catechism, Large Catechism, Treatise on the Power and Priacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord.

For those who don't know who Martin Luther is, you might have heard about that little thing called the Reformation in the middle 1500s and onward in Europe which "began" when he nailed 95 of his theses on a church door. The theses spoke against the sale of indulgences, which were pieces of paper which could be bought that would free yourself or a departed loved one from time in Purgatory (which is a purely Catholic idea within Christianity and is suppsoed to be a place where the actual sins of a person are cleansed. Whatever was not cleansed in life is cleansed in Purgatory). This angered Luther so much that he penned the Theses, and because the Pope had asked for indulgences to be sold, he took offense at Luther's "loud mouth" (even though, not knowing of the pope's wishes, Luther devoted his work to him), and eventually Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church as a heretic. Keep in mind, Luther was a priest, monk, and scholar.

He retained some Catholic ideas. Some can be found in the Book of Concord, and some can be found in his other writings, most notably "Bondage of the Will" and "Freedom of a Christian." Some Catholic ideas that were retained are:
1. The use of the liturgy
2. The concept of Sacraments (though in a much different and more narrow concept).
3. The view of Mary as the Holy Mother of God (Theotokos, which is the Greek term for her).
4. The sign of the Cross being made (which is why if you go to a Lutheran church, you might see the Invocation written:"In the Name of the Father, and the Son (+), and the Holy Spirit..." The + is the sign of the Cross.
5. The concept of the Real Presence of Christ within the bread and wine of the Eucharist (though the concept was made less Aristotelian by denying the concept of Transubstantiation....and no, we do not accept Consubstantiation, which is what the actual definition of Transubstantiation is at least as far as I understand it).
6. The importance of personal Confession and Holy Absolution.
7. The regular (usually weekly) practice of the Lord's Supper.
8. The retention of the Apocrypha as useful though not necessarily Scripture (though in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession when the invocation of the saints is brought up Melancthon responds by saying that the practice is not found in Scripture "except in the dream in 2 Maccabees," thus suppossedly saying it is Scripture).
9. An altar.
10.A deep reverence for church history and tradition (if you can find a good church), and a philosophy that is not iconoclastic (i.e. we face a processional crucifix, we have a statue of the resurrected Jesus flanked by Michael and Gabriel on our altar, etc.).
11. In some churches you will find laity and clergy who ask for the intercession of saints and who still celebrate the different saints' feasts.

What you won't find in the Lutheran Church are:
1. Purgatory....none, zilch, nega-megatori.
2. Seven Sacraments (you'll find Baptism, Communion, and in some cases Absolution).
3. No Pope (Bishop of Rome).

What you MIGHT find in the Lutheran Church are:
1. Individuals with pious opinions that it is not evil nor non-effective to ask the saints for their prayers.
2. People who still consider the Saints of the Eastern and Western Churches as people whom God blessed and who should be revered.
3. Individuals who don't believe the Genesis 1 Narrative to be history (not that I hold this view, nor do I hold the view that it is ONLY history).
4. Individuals who believe that the Gospels can be put together to form one cohesive story or individuals who believe that the Gospels are four different takes on the same story (I'm the former).
5. Varying ideas concerning the end of time.
6. People saying the Pope or the office of the Papacy will be the Antichrist (I claim the fifth :-)).
7. People who don't respect church history.
8. People who think Catholics are going to Hell (nice example of "Judge not, lest ye be judged").
9. People who believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin(this is possibly the ONLY Marian doctrine I do not agree with).

This is a little different from what many of you probably thought. I'm sure many people from CRU thought that to be Lutheran was to be Protestant but just a "little Catholic." Many Catholics call Lutherans "JV Catholics" or "Catholic Lite." The Catholics are more correct in this matter :-). I also don't like the term "Protestant" at all since my religion is not determined by how against the Catholic Church I am. I prefer the terms Lutheran, or Reformed Catholic, Christian, or even Evangelical which is the term Luther originally wanted to use since he did not wish the Christian church on earth to be broken apart......boy, that really didn't work. Because of him we now have about a thousand (yes over exaggeration) splinter groups that think such things as "Reprobation" and "Limited Atonement" ;-) (that was for you guys Bish and Derek

I've been taking a pounding for my thoughts on the departed saints at Why? They believe that I am going against the Book of Concord, and as a result I would not be a good candidate for a Lutheran Seminary because I would be "taking up space." Now, why is it I believe what I do? Is it expressly stated in Scripture? No, but neither is the exact terms which the church fathers used to defend the divinity and separate natures of Christ from heresies, but no orthodox (little o) Christians would argue with that.

Luther himself made a comment that if a teaching of the Church was not mentioned in Scripture and didn't contradict Scripture, it should not be discarded (at least not blindly), and that is why we still use the liturgy in worship or make the sign of the cross! But what of Scripture? Well, as I have argued before, there are the 24 elders in Revelation (8:5) bringing a bowl to God's feet which contain the prayers of the saints (and I also commented about how these are not the saints on earth as those who are sealed seems more likely). The 24 elders are most likely the OT patriarchs and the Holy Apostles. There is also the transfiguration which has Elijah who is not dead but was taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot talking to Moses (not explicity mentioned, but they were talking and it stands to reason that they would have not ignored each other) who not only died, but we are told in Dueteronomy that God buried him Himself! It has also been mentioned that this is a "vision" and if that is the case, you still have heavy symbolism. There are the dead rising from the grave when Christ died, but wating till His conquering of death when He ressurrects to go and appear in the town (the idea that they didn't talk to people who saw them seems like nonsense to me). There is the aforementioned 2 Maccabees. There are then theological arguments. For starters, we are told that all believers in Christ form one body....the Body of Christ (BoC). This includes those who have "finished the race" (Hebrews 12:1), and stand "around" us as a "cloud of witnesses." In James we are told (some would now make this a command, for the language is thus used in that manner) that we are to pray for our fellow saint on earth for his troubles. If this is a command we must keep in life, why not keep it when we die and shuffle off this mortal and sinful flesh? Surely the state of the church on earth would be revealed to them by the Holy Spirit since they are held together in the BoC by Him.

So we have saints praying for us in Heaven, and one unbroken body of Christ. The question now (and indeed in Lutheranism the most vexing and most important one) is that we are not told nor shown an example that we should invoke the departed saints....but we are also not admonished from doing so. So while we may, since it is not from Scripture it cannot be done without certainty, so it is done without full faith, and prayer works only with faith (this is the counter-argument). However, we are told that Christ's body is not broken (and you thought the idea of His physical body not being broken when it was taken down from the Cross which is where He sacrificed Himself for the sins of all only applied to prophecy fulfillment :-)...since when did God not have multi-purposes for what He does?), and in the absence of the physical and sinfully weak flesh, how much more alive in Christ are the departed saints! When we ask them to pray for us it is no different than asking a friend on earth to pray for us, except we know that the departed saints are united to us by the power of the Holy Spirit and since they are no longer sinful they will not forget to pray, nor will their prayer be unrighteous (see James for this reference to the mention of the prayer of the righteous is effective).

Some would also argue against this and say it "is not necessary" even if this theological point were true since we can pray right to Christ. But this is not a good argument. It is not necessary to eat and drink earthly food when dealing with concepts of Heaven and eternity, but we do it anyway. It is not necessary to ask that our Father's name be hallowed even though we are told to pray it by Christ himself in the Lord's Prayer. It is not necessary to conclude His prayer with "for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen" but we do it anyway. It is not necessary for those who have received salvation to progress on the path of Sanctification (or Theosis in the Eastern Church) after Justification since Justification is all that is "necessary." This chipping down of the fullness of our faith for reasons of pure functionality ignores the work of the Holy Spirit working to inspire and guide those theologians and fathers before us, who knew more and who prayed much more often than we do. It destroys our rich tradition which (as long as it is not contrary to Scripture or given equal authority with it) defines and protects us from heresy within and without. The destruction of our tradition is much in line with what the Devil has planned!

To end this post, a brief quote from Saint Augustine concerning the concept of Sola Scriptura (when used PROPERLY): "The mediator (Jesus Christ), having spoken what He judged sufficiently first by the prophets, then by His own lips, and afterwards by the Apostles, has besides produced the Scripture which is called canonical, which has paramount authority, and to which we yield assent in all matters of which we ought not to be ignorant, and yet cannot know of ourselves. (from City of God).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hail Mary Full of Grace

For a Lutheran, the title of this blog seems odd....almost as though I'm "un-Reforming" back to Rome. Perhaps this is correct, perhaps it isn't. I am most assuredly still Lutheran. I am still within the Missouri Synod. Let me now defend my position and discuss why it is under attack by some and defended by others. I have been told officially by the synod that because the doctrine is not expressly biblical, it can be a matter of personal, pious opinion, but not to be officially urged or endorsed in others.

Let me start with several theological statements which have clear teachings in Scripture and expounded in the creeds by those who were present during the first seven ecumenical councils which nearly all orthodox (little o) Christians accept:
1. All believers are united in Christ (Eph. 2:19-22, Rom. 8:9, Rom. 12:4-5, Eph. 4:3-6, Col. 1:18, etc.).
2. The Church, whose head is Christ Jesus is held together by the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:3-6, Rom. 8:9, etc.).
3. The Church of Christ cannot be broken and we are all one body through the Spirit ("As each of us has one body with many in Christ we who are many form one body"-Rom. 12:4-5).

From these three points one can understand and accept the third article of the Apostle's Creed: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the ressurection of the dead, and the life everlasting. Amen. The explanation given in the Luther's Small Catechism is: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true."

But is this explanation complete? Take a good long look at one phrase within the creed....communion of saints. What does that mean? The explanation here is that it is the whole Christian church on earth. But Scripture asserts that the body of Christ is unbroken forever because we are one body(1 Cor. 12:25-27)! If this can be agreed upon that Scripture teaches this, then the way is clear to move on to my point.

St. Paul encourages the saints on earth to pray for each others' infirmities, and indeed the Epistle of James says that "The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest"-James 5:15-18 NRSV. We see from this that we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. We also see that faithful prayer is effective (though in what manner this has to do with it affecting God's final decision is another matter which is discussed elsewhere in Scripture).

So: We are told to pray for the saints on earth. We know we are connected to the departed saints by the power of the Holy Spirit with Christ as our head. Can the departed saints hear our prayer? Many if not most Protestants would say no, the dead do not hear our prayers and many would argue they are not concerned with us, citing the time when Saul asked the Witch of Endor to summon the spirit of Samuel. This is found in 1 Samuel 28:3-24. We were also told not to bring up the dead. However, (unless my translation NRSV is off) the language used by Samuel in his response to Saul is not, you know the rules, but he was angry because Saul had called him up and "Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy?" He is not mad at him for bringing him up but that he brought him up after the Lord turned his back on Saul. It stands that if Saul was still within the Grace of God Samuel would not have had a problem with it, though obviously without the use of witchcraft.

Is there a biblical mandate against praying TO the saints? Yes there is. Christ is the one mediator for us, and prayer is directed towards God alone. However, the asking of intercessory prayer within the power of the Holy Spirit is not directed solely at the saint but through the saint to God while you yourself pray to God as well. It is the asking of saints throughout the body of Christ to join in prayer with you. Is it necessary, most likely not. Is it not allowed for? No, it is.

For starters, let's discuss what most people think of when they hear "intercession" or "invocation" of the saints. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church basterdized an early church belief that the saints prayed for us after their earthly death. Their prayers were powerful as James says because they have been freed from their sinful flesh and are alive in Christ and united to us via the Holy Spirit. A brief list of fathers who I know believed in the intercession of the saints is St. Augustine, St. Basil the Great, St. Cyprian, Gregory of Nyssa, and St. John Chrysostome. The bastardization began with the invention of Purgatory, a location where souls of Christians go after they are in the Church to have their actual sins cleansed (Christ has removed Original Sin through His sacrifice). It was also thought that since we are full of sin, those saints who have gone before us and attained full glorification and are in Heaven could pray for us and the souls of our dead loved ones in Purgatory. We were not good enough to pray to God Himself according to this theology. This further went on to lead to the concept of indulgences which led to the idea that you could pay to get into Heaven, or that you had to behave yourself in order to enter Heaven and this was on your own without God. Further, the intercession of the saints whom the church had simply honored and venerated were made into beings with divine abilities and who were to be worshipped, and thus began the "Cult of the Saints" (I know this is a VERY brief history of the development of these doctrines and I do not specifically go into the application of their merrits on those who pray to them which I do not accept....I'm not writing a book here :-)).

I am referring to the invocation of the saints as practiced in the early church. They pray for us because they are connected with us in the communion of saints and nowhere in Scripture is the instruction to pray for each other to stop when one dies on earth and enters into Heaven.

What of Scriptural evidence? Well, we have the body of Christ being unbroken. We are connected to the saints and we are instructed to pray for each other which would include having the departed saints pray for us, for is it not written: "There was to be no want of unity in the body; all the different parts of it were to make each other's wellfare their common care. If one part is suffering, all the rest suffer with it; if one part is treated with honor, all the rest find pleasure in it. And you are Christ's body, organs of it depending on each other" (1 Cor 12:25-27). Upon earthly death, we are not departed from the rest of the saints, for indeed during the death of the Apostles it does not follow that Christ would tear an organ off and throw it away to be later reattached. In fact it should be noted that upon His death Christ was unbroken in physical body, obviously fulfilling prophesy but also mirroring how earthly death does not break the body of Christ.

Let us look at three other examples: 1. The Crucifixion of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, 2. The resurrection of Lazarus, and 3. The Transfiguration of Christ.

1. In the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, when Christ dies, we are told that the saints who fell asleep rise from the tomb bodily (among other very miraculous signs). When Christ rises from the dead three days later, the formerly dead saints appear to people in the city. Now several members on have told me that this does not mean they "talked" to the saints living on earth, but this is foolishness as I'm sure they weren't zombies who walked around aimlessly.

2. When Christ raises Lazarus from the tomb Lazarus again can talk and interact with people even though he will die again. It seems that through Christ death is reversible even on earth. A formerly dead saint is talking to living saints.

3. At the transfiguration of Christ, two individuals appear to Peter, James, and John on the mountaintop; Moses and Elijah. One of the members of Lutherquest informed me that because the disciples do not speak with them, it should close the book on the subject of interaction with departed saints, but this is far from the truth. For starters, the disciples were too surprised to react, but this is a smokescreen. Look at who appears. Moses died, but Elijah never did! He will die after he appears before the end of the world as the Revelation to Saint John says. Here we have a living saint (though whether he is on earth or not is not unquestioned) conversing and interacting with a departed saint THROUGH CHRIST with whom all things are possible.

These three passages should show that it is not so cut and dry as to claim that it is specifically spoken against, and its practice in the early church shows that it was a widespread practice. It has been argued that this is an ancient pagan practice, but I'm sure that Saint Paul writing to the church in Rome would have addressed this if it was so prevalent in a manner like, "Do not be like the foolish Gentiles who pray to their dead thinking they will help them, but instead pray to Christ alone for only He is capable of helping you." This is not the case.

As for the three instances I have shown you, it is not as blatant an institute of Christ as Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, but it could be interpreted that He is indeed allowing for it. I still hold that to deny the prayers of the saints in Heaven for the saints on Earth in general is to deny the power of the Holy Spirit to keep the body of Christ as one and introduces two limitations, one to God and one to the saints themselves. One limitation is that earthly death breaks the body of Christ, and the other is that the saints in Heaven still have their earthly senses rather than their spiritual one through Christ who shows them what He wills.

As to the idea that individual saints can be asked to pray for us, that is more open to interpretation. It should without a doubt not be condemned outright. The question now is do we simply feign ignorance because it is not mentioned in Scripture, or do we look to the Fathers who through the power of the Holy Spirit preserved the Word of God and the Truth of Christ from a multitude of heretics. I choose to believe that the Holy Spirit did not take a 1400 year vacation between the end of the New Testament and the Reformation. What do you pray for? Are we the church of Luther or Calvin but the Church of Christ?

Prayer: In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Guide my conscience to the truth of your Word. Help me to realize and revel in my connection to the saints who have run the race and who are my witnesses along with all the church on earth. Blessed Virgin, pray for me so that I may meet life as you did, with unwavering faith in God and His holy and divine plan. Grace and peace be to all the company of Heaven and earth. I pray this that it is not my will that is done dear Lord, but yours. I pray this through the power of the Holy Spirit which keeps me in the One True Faith, now and forever, Amen.