The Advocation of the Saints

There is only one Mediator and Advocate between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2.5). His mediation and mediatorial work are absolute and unique. Ontologically, there can be only one Advocate and Mediator for the whole of mankind because Jesus Christ alone is the Hypostatic Union, God made Man, the God-Man, the Word made Flesh, who unites divinity and humanity in His One Person. He is the Bridge between God and Man. But Our Lord invites all those who are organically and supernaturally united to Him in His Mystical Body to share, to participate in, His one unique intercession. This is true, not only of Our Lady and the Saints in heaven, but of every Christian who has ever lived or ever will live. 'Brethren, pray for us' (I Thessalonians 5.25).

When we pray, and especially pray for one another, we are not displacing the unique mediation of Our Lord, but taking our place in it and exercising it as living members of Christ. Our Lord's Messianic Offices of Prophet, Priest, and King are communicated to us in Baptism and Confirmation, and we become in the order of grace 'kings and priests unto God and our Father.' We are bold to say 'Abba, Father,' 'Our Father who art in heaven.' Every baptised, chrismated, and Eucharistised Christian is a true and full partaker of Christ's divine sonship, and shares fully in His life, His ministry, His one and unique advocacy and mediation. We become true adopted children of the Father, sons in the One Son, filii in Filio. This filial life of Christ infused into us does not replace, but activates in our own sphere, His one eternal priesthood. 'Brethren, pray for us' (II Thessalonians 3.1).

This mystery of participation in the one priesthood of Christ is shared by the Church Militant, the Church Expectant, and the Church Triumphant. What Our Lady and the Saints do in their prayers before God is exactly what we do as well. When we ask the Saints for pray for us, it is precisely the same as when we ask our friends and neighbours, fellow Christians, to pray for us. Such advocation is at the heart of all intercessory prayer. To advocate the Saints is the same action in kind as to advocate one's spouse or sister - the principle is always exactly one and the same. The prayers of the Saints in heaven, the Holy Souls in the Intermediate State, and the faithful on earth are simply intercessory prayer - and as such please God, Who is pleased to have us pray this way as the supreme sign of our Communion with the Holy Trinity and with one another. The Church is nothing less than the very communion and mutual life of the Blessed Trinity, into which we are invited by grace. The request for such prayers from one to another, even across the veil of time and space, serves to be the very basis of the Communion of Saints, the Communion of Holy People and Holy Things. 'Pray for us' (Hebrews 13.18).

We would not want to say, for example, that because Uncle Aubrey and Aunt Patty pray for us that somehow they are weakening Christ's High Priesthood or detracting from Christ because they pray for others in His Name. They are subjective or secondary intercessors in the one true Intercessor, relative advocates and mediators praying in and through the one absolute Mediator and Advocate. 'Cousin Bobby, pray for me.' 'Holy Mother of God, pray for us.' Both requests are identical in nature and in practice. We are commanded to pray for one another, and in so doing, the Church and her members are incorporated, and incorporate their prayers, into the Perfect Prayer of Our Lord to His Father, the eternal adoration and worship of the Son towards the Father in the Spirit. What applies to us in this regard applies also to the Saints in glory, for in no way do they differ from us, except that they have passed through death and judgement into the Age to Come. They remain forever one with us in prayer before the Throne of Grace, the Throne of God and of the Lamb which was slain from the foundation of the world. O ye Spirits and Souls of the Righteous, bless ye the Lord: * praise him, and magnify him for ever.