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How do the Saints Hear us?

THESIS 1: We See the Objects of Creation in the Beatific Vision.

Major: In the Beatific Vision, we see the Divine Essence.

This is evident from the direct witness of Sacred Scripture, “Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God,” (Mt 5:8); “Follow peace with all men and holiness: without which no man shall see God,” (Heb 12:14); “they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads,” (Re 22:4); “We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known,” (1 Co 13:12); “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven,” (Mt 18:10); “Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God: and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.” (1 Jn 3:2)

By the theologians, this is called the “primary object” of the beatific vision. None, but a pernicious heretic would deny this, for, even Protestant Divines recognize this (e.g., Turretin, IEC, 20.8)

Minor: In the Divine Essence we see the objects of his creation.

First, this is proved from Sacred Scripture.

First, the Psalmist sings, “in thy light we see light.” (Ps 36:9) Now, “light” is spoken of under the aspect of truth, the first causatively, i.e., wherein God is the revealer of truth to us (naturally in the agent intellect and supernaturally in the light of grace/glory), the second is taken objectively, i.e., truth. Thus, the text may be rephrased, “in thee, we know truth,” which confirms the premise.

Second, St. John writes, “That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world,” (Jn 1:9). Now, this cannot be speaking after the manner of supernatural revelation, for, there are many without such. Rather, this is speaking of the natural mode of revelation, wherein we are enlightened to know natural things by God. In this text, the “true light” is speaking of the Divinity formally, i.e., light (truth) itself, and, secondly, causatively, i.e., causing truth in us. The second may be described as “lumen de lumine” (light from light), i.e., a created participation in the light of God. Now, such a participation is also granted in our intuitive vision of God.

Third, St. Paul writes, “For we know in part: and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.” (1 Cor 13:9) Now, concerning the objects of faith, there are many other objects than the Divine essence itself. Now, the impressed species of this knowledge cannot be acquired through our sensitive faculties, for, we are without bodies before the resurrection of the dead, therefore it must acquired through the current object of our knowledge, i.e., the Divine essence, ERGO…

Fourth, St. Paul writes, “For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things.” (Ro 11:36) Now, this proves a threefold causality in God’s relations to creatures, first, that he is exemplar cause (causa exemplaris), wherein all things are patterned after his beauty, second, that he is efficient cause, in that he created them (causa efficiens), and, third, that he is the final cause (causa finalis). Now, the effect is in some sense (although in diverse modes) contained in its cause, i.e., in knowing truth itself, we know various truths which are patterned on truth itself, caused by truth itself, and tend to truth itself.

Fifth, “I say to you that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.” (Lk 15:7) (minor premise, “now…essence,” may be supplied from the third biblical proof), ERGO…

Sixth, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Re 6:9–10) (minor premise, “now…essence,” may be supplied from the third biblical proof) ERGO…

Second, this is proved as a consequence from other articles of the Faith.

First, from the nature of beatitude itself. For, beatitude is the complete satiation of one’s intellectual and volitional faculties. Now, in this, we licitly desire to know other truths, such as the nature of the hypostatic union, the workings of Divine providence, etc.. (minor premise, “now…essence,” may be supplied from the third biblical proof) ERGO…

Further, as the Sacrae Theologiae Summa expresses, “Since beatitude is also freedom from all evil, for the blessed there is no sorrow either of the body or of the soul, no sadness, no fear of sinning (Rev. 21:4), no error or judgment affirm­ing something false, no ignorance or lack of knowledge due to their state.”

Further, “Since beatitude perfectly satisfies the rational appetite, all efficacious desires of the blessed will be fulfilled, as theologians commonly teach; of course an unfulfilled desire, as causing pain, cannot take place in the blessed.”

Second, from Divine Simplicity. All that is in God is God with only a virtual distinction between the various attributes of God, in accordance with our reception of that knowledge (with a fundamentum in res). Therefore, in intuitively seeing the essence of God, we see the entirety of such and not disparate parts. Now, there is a Divine intellect, ERGO…

Third, from the relation of nature to grace. Grace does not destroy nature, rather it perfects and elevates it to a supernatural level. Now, we have natural relations, interests, etc.. ERGO, grace perfects and elevates these natural relations, interests, etc., in our beatitude. Now, these are objects of our knowledge, ERGO…

Fourth, from the mode of Divine knowledge. As Pohle writes, “According to the axiom: Ens et verum convertuntur, truth is co-extensive with being. Now, whatever is, is either God, or something external to God. The things external to God can be divided into two classes: the possible and the actually existing. We know from the preceding thesis that God has an adequate knowledge of all divine being by reason of His comprehension of His own Essence. As for the two classes of extra-divine beings, the possibles depend on the Divine Essence as their exemplary cause, while the actually existing things depend on the same not only as their exemplary but also as their efficient and final cause. As, therefore, God comprehends His own Essence, which is the exemplary, the efficient, and the final cause of all things outside of Himself, so by virtue of His comprehensio sui He must envisage these things one and all in His own Essence.” (God: His Knowability, Essence, and Attributes, 334–335) Otherwise, God would be dependent in knowing on creatures (which is absurd). ERGO, in the Divine Essence created things are seen.

This is called by the theologians the “secondary objects of the beatific vision,” or, more broadly speaking, accidental beatitude.

CONCLUSION: ERGO, we see the objects of creation in the beatific vision

THESIS 2: We Hear Those who Ask for Our Intercession in the Beatific Vision.

Major: We see the objects of creation in the beatific vision.

Proved under Thesis 1.

Minor: People ask for the intercession of the saints.

Self evident.

Conclusion: ERGO, the saints, having the beatific vision, know of those asking for their intercession

THESIS 3: The Saints will Intercede for those who Ask for their Intercession.

Corollary. Let us suppose that the major premise above has not been adequately proved, and one only affirms that such knowledge as is licitly desired, no more, no less, is granted to the saints who have obtained their reward (as more reserved Catholic theologians argue, c.f., Catholic Encyclopedia, Heaven). Granting such a premise (one which I would gladly grant in argumentum), the conclusion still inescapably follows. For, in beatitude, charity is perfected in the will, as St. Paul writes, “Charity never falleth away.” (1 Co 13:8) In charity we desire the good, both itself, for ourselves, and for others. In desiring the good of others, we desire to aid them in their need. Now, praying for someone is aiding them in their need. ERGO, the saints will desire to hear requests of those in need for help, which brings us, by another path, to the second thesis.

Major: The saints, having the beatific vision, know of those asking for their intercession.

Proved under thesis 2

Minor: The will, perfected by perfect charity, perceiving those pleads under the aspect of good, will ascent to the request.

This is evident.

Conclusion: The saints will intercede for those who ask for their intercession.

Limits of the Thesis

Before concluding, the limits of what has been proved above must be noted. For, all that was proved was that if one asks for the intercession of a saint, the saint will intercede on their behalf. Under the principle that what is good and not illicit may be practiced, i.e., libertas possidet (c.f., Theologia Moralis, Bk. 1, 26), we may conclude that one should ask for the intercession of the saints. Yet, others, holding to the principle that whatever is not explicitly licit (or is virtually contained AND clearly and necessarily follows in what is explicit) may not be practiced would find fault in this reasoning (the best work against such is Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Bk. 2). [1]

[1] N.b., this is a book which is written by a heretical author. This will be a near occasion of sin to anyone who is not well prepared for reading such a book. Please do consult with your spiritual director and submit yourself to him in reading heretical books. Only read such when absolutely necessary, or if you are in a particular situation.

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