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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
34- The saints' favour with the Lord
(9) The saints' favour with the Lord
(a) We ask the intercession of the saints because of the great favour they have with the Lord who loves them and puts them in charge of merciful deeds for the sake of men. Also because of the greater knowledge and extensive capabilities their souls enjoy after leaving their bodies.
(b) Whilst talking about the saints' favour with the Lord, we mention that God sometimes associated His name with their names. He said: "I am the God of your father - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Ex.3: 6).
(c) That is why the saints used to remind the Lord of His saints so that His compassionate and merciful heart would be moved immediately on hearing their names and remembering His promises to them, and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. In interceding for the people of Israel to be saved from perishing, Moses the Prophet said to the Lord: "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven' " (Ex.32: 13).
(d) We recall that when King Hazael of Syria oppressed the Israelites, the Holy Bible says: "But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence" (2 Kin. 13: 23).
(e) On the subject of the saints' favour with the Lord, we present the example of God's reproach to Aaron and Miriam when they criticized Moses. The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and said to Aaron and Miriam in front of Moses: "If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision, and I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?" (Num.12: 68)
(f) Another example of the saints' favour with the Lord is the Lord's words to His Apostles: "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me" (Lk.10: 16) and "If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour" (John.12: 26).
(10) Objections and replies
(a) It is said that in asking the intercession of the saints, we pray to them. We reply that we do not pray to the saints; we only ask their prayers and their support for us. Our talk to the Virgin Mary is not a prayer to her but it is a filial talk from children to their mother; a sort of confiding the secrets of our hearts to her and not praying to her. We kindly request her intercession for us as she is the Queen who sits at the right hand of the King.
(b) It is said that intercession is a sort of mediation. We see nothing wrong with that, as God Himself accepted mediation and He demanded it. He asked Abimelech to let Abraham pray for him so that he would live (Gen.20: 7), and He asked Job's friends to let Job pray for them lest He treat them according to their follies (Job.42: 8). He allowed Abraham to plead for Sodom (Gen. 18) and allowed Moses to plead for the sake of the people of Israel. He listened to them and accepted their pleadings.
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