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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Leaning on the Saints

I have to travel to the mid West tomorrow to lend a hand with my family. I will be calling on St. Joseph to lend a hand with my travels, as he is a good patron saint of travel having managed to get the Holy Family safely to Egypt...on a donkey, no less. Although I wonder if they actually had a donkey. They may have just walked the whole way. No one was around with a camcorder to record the trek.

Anyhow, I won't be calling on St. Joseph out loud, unless there is a lot of turbulence, which brings me to today's question:
An anonomous person asked this: Can saints hear my prayers if I pray silently? I know God can, but can the saints? I was wondering about it too. I am leaning toward yes but I am not completely sure about that. What do you think? If you can get around to answering the question.

That person was not anonymous to the saints, ironically.

Lean all the way over to yes. I'll give you a shove if need be. If you pray silently for the saints intercession, the saints hear you.

We don't know how it works, but we know it does work. For one thing, praying for the intercession of a saint is how a person becomes a saint in the first place. I'm sure all the people who prayed for the intercession of Mother Teresa didn't stand on the corner hollering up to her. But prayers were indeed heard, as Mother Teresa is now "Blessed Mother Teresa."

Think of it this way. Mother Teresa has no ears. She left her ears here when she died. She'll get them back eventually, but she doesn't need them now. She won't need them later either, she'll just have them anyhow. So you wouldn't need to talk out loud to a person who didn't have any eardrums for the sound to bounce off.

And yet somehow, Mother Teresa "heard" the prayers of a woman who needed to be cured (I think she had a tumor or something) and Mother Teresa asked Jesus if He could help out and Jesus said, "Mother Teresa, you were so fantastic down there yourself, in the face of tremendous sorrow and suffering and despite all the nasty things Christopher Hitchens said about you. I'd be happy to do just about anything you ask me to do."

Blammo! Tumor gone. (A miracle has to be instantaneous.)

Perhaps you've heard of Danny Thomas? You wouldn't have if St. Jude wasn't able to hear him. Mr. Thomas was a struggling comedian with a family. He was just about to give up his dream of a life in showbiz when he stumbled into to St. Jude's Church and asked St. Jude to help him decide what was the right path. Mr. Thomas was ready to go sell shoes based on St. Jude's answer. The next time Mr. Thomas went onto the stage he was a huge hit and the rest is history. That's why Mr. Thomas started his giant children's hospital: to say thank you to St. Jude.

I have to believe that Danny Thomas didn't stand in the middle of St. Jude's Church and pray out loud to be a successful stand up comedian and start a television empire. What dirty looks the old ladies would have shot him if they had gotten wind of that! But we can tell that St. Jude, who has no ears, either, heard Danny Thomas.

So there you go. As I said, we don't know how it works. We Catholics have a saying for these kind of questions: "It's a Sacred Mystery." "Sacred Mystery" is "Catholic" for "let it go."


Anonymous said...

The problem with that theory is that you then pick and choose what parts of the Bible you believe, and what parts you just leave out, saying it didn't happen. Very scary. The bible is totally true, and the absolute authority of life...and it all points to Jesus, whom by the way is the only Mediator between man and God! That is clearly what it says (1st Timothy 2:5)...oh, wait, unless that is one of the parts we leave out, or say is wrong? Maybe thats why you are praying to Saints/Mary instead of Jesus? Please everyone seek the truth! The truth is all in the Bible...read it... you, me, anyone can read it and understand most of it pretty eaisly. It was after all, written for us to read, trust, and obey. Start in Matthew, or James (New Testament) Also visit www.WayoftheMaster.com for Truth! God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Interesting Blog! I found a news website that seems geared only towards Catholic/Christian/Biblical events and such...it seems to be very informative and has some articles on questions...please tell me what you think...if it's okay as far as you can tell. Thank you! Have a safe jurney! Oh, the page I found is www.BiblicalNews.blogspot.com

Sister Mary Martha said...

Sorry, it's not a theory. For the umpteenth time we do not pray to the saints...which if you actually read what I had to say you would have noticed that the saints have to ask Jesus, too, just like me and you. We ask the saints for intercession, which is a very fancy way to say we ask the saints to pray for us.

If you have a problem with this I have to ask you: do you ever ask someone to pray for you? You'd better stop. At least according to your theory.

Anonymous said...

Safe travels, Sister.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, SMM, for infusing humor into the absolute truth of the faith. I am praying for charity for others when I explain the faith to other Christian's of Protestant persuasion (and, I lump all of them who broke from Rome, broke from themselves in a continuous cycle into that term). Will you intercede for me? I rely on the prayers of others and the saints, God love 'em!!

There is a difference between checking out a Catholic site to see what we believe and question our belief in a respectful way because they want to know, and, conversely, there is a way to question where it's not really a question, but an argument to convert us from THE TRUTH handed to us by Christ, to the half-truth kick-started by Martin Luther (and further eroded through time, regardless of good intentions).

I'll be praying for your safe travels, SMM. God bless you!!

RobKPhD said...

I didn't know the Danny Thomas story. I knew about the St. Jude hospital he founded, but did not know of the story behind it. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

Safe travels, Sr.! I hope all goes well with your family. Don't forget the bug spray!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister,

I hope you have a safe journey.

Here's a question you might think is silly. Maybe I'm being scrupulous, I don't know. Is it okay to say your nighttime prayers and then read a book? My mom said I should say my prayers "as soon as I wake up, before my feet hit the floor and last thing I do before I close my eyes at night." The problem is that I like to read in bed but, I often fall asleep reading thus not having examined my conscience or said my prayers. Is falling asleep without saying your prayers a venial sin? It seems disrespectful to say my prayers and then pick up a book to read. What do you think?

P.S. I love being able to ask these kinds of questions without having to bother my priest with them. Hope you don't think this is too goofy.

buckeyepride said...

Pardon me, but MY "friends in Christ" don't come to me and tell me that what I believe is "very scary" in a smarmy, sarcastic manner. My "friends in Christ" have the decency to approach topics about which we disagree with respect and courtesy rather than with a "holier than thou" smart mouth. Also, my "friends in Christ" are smart enough to know that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, so they don't talk down to me as you did, particularly when they are trying to persuade me to believe as they do.

Please come back here anytime. I'm sure SMM welcomes your visits, as do the rest of us. But don't drop in for the sole purpose of issuing some self-righteous, condescending statement of moral superiority, particularly when you don't have a clue what we have been discussing and you obviously haven't any knowledge of the topic.

SMM was more charitable in her dismissal of your uninformed argument than I have been, but then again, she's a nun so it's to be expected.

Andrew Cruze said...

"Your friend in Christ!" seems a slight bit contradictory, doesn't he? He talks about leaving bits of the Bible out and then tells readers to start halfway through it.

But that's not why I'm commenting.

Sister, it's great to hear you're coming to the midwest! I hope you enjoy your time here. If you're gracious enough, I'm sure we'd all enjoy hearing about your travels upon your return.

Unknown said...

A big LOL on the "Sacred Mystery" definition!!! I struggled for YEARS because of my temperament and scrupulosity with some things and could just not advance in my faith life. Although, I have not put it in those words - it's perfect and I can't wait to share it with others!

Have a safe and restful trip, SMM - I've always hated to fly (my arms get so tired!) so can relate. I hope your family business goes well.


Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

YFIC, it's advisable, when decrying Catholic doctrine, to know what that doctrine actually is.

I suggest the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, and the writings of The Popes.

Kasia said...

One slight correction:

Danny Thomas stumbled into St. Dominic's church here in Detroit, where there was a statue to St. Jude, and he asked St. Jude to help him.

I believe the story goes that he prayed "If you help me I will make your name famous." (But I don't know for sure, because as SMM pointed out, I don't think he shouted it out at the corner of Warren and Trumbull for St. Jude and anyone else to hear. He might have whispered it as he was praying...)

Sorry to nitpick - I only know that because St. Dominic's closed recently as part of our ongoing merging/clustering process, and the statue was a major bone of contention. In fact, I believe everyone was saying "I want it!" "No, I want it!" so eventually our Cardinal did what any good father would do: he said "Fine then; I'll take it!" So it's probably in the Cathedral somewhere. I'll have to ask around...

Melanie said...

Thank you for youe answers, SSM. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Sister, Would you or do you have to sign a letter that you are practicing Catholic. Seems to be the topic on the internet. Does reading Sister Blogs count for being a practicing catholic?

Sister Mary Martha said...

I've always thought of myself as a "practising" Catholic. I never seem to get it completely right.

Amy said...

Talking about changing the Bible, shall we discuss what Luther did to the Bible and how he changed it?


Sister, here is a questions for you. I keep hearing about the upcoming motu propio about the Tridentine Mass. I have heard it said about that one of the reasons that the Pope (of course this is from speculation) is considering bringing back the traditional mass is that it could help relations with the Eastern Orthodox church. So here it goes... what are the differences? I know there was a schism about 1000 years ago but what is the whole can of worms? What is the difference now?

Thank you, and I hope you have a safe trip!

Andrew Cruze said...

That's a great question, Mrs. V. I've been following this story as well and would love the Sister's take on it. I'm afraid I, too, am lost. There was a church a few miles from my home as a child that broke from the Vatican II because it refused to stop saying the mass in Latin. We used to pretend it was haunted, but I'm guessing hauntings is not what separates the Latin mass from the mass we say today. What is?

Thanks and, again, I hope you enjoy your time here in the Midwest!