Saturday, January 26, 2013

Does veneration of saints "take away from Christ"?

If you are a Catholic, perhaps you've heard, or if you are a non-Catholic, perhaps you've said something like this forum poster regarding prayer to or veneration of Mary and the saints like this one: "Praying to saints takes away glory from God."

I touched on part of this topic earlier in Praying to Saints: A Visual Aid. I was recently reminded of a passage in Scripture that prompted me to build upon this topic:
And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads." And I said, "Who are you, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting." (Acts 26:14-15)
Jesus associates the members of his body with himself. Consider if a critic, using the same reasoning as the opening paragraph above, said, "I am persecuting Christians, not Christ. My focus is not on Christ." But according to Christ himself, that is not accurate, for Christ bears such solidarity with his members, that he told Saul that Saul persecuted him.

The critic may respond that persecution and veneration are not valid comparisons. But if we insist upon that, we end up saying Christ has solidarity with his members when they are persecuted but not when they are honored. That would certainly be a peculiar idea without reason. It is especially unfounded when we consider what Scripture says about the togetherness of the body in good times or bad:
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)
Jesus also gives at least one other example in Scripture where he associates in the same way with those who are treated both well and poorly.
"And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?" And the King will answer them, `"Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." ... Then they also will answer, "Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?" Then he will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me." (Matthew 25:39-40, 44-45)
In the above Matthean passage, Christ expresses the ultimate solidarity with the members of his body whether they are persecuted or ministered to. Feeding a hungry member is to feed Christ. Forsaking a hungry member, is to forsake Christ.

Though it is possible to venerate to excess, to even idolize another Christian, proper veneration is a worthwhile cause. For if we justly venerate members of the body, Christ tells us we venerate him.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Novel "First Unseen" coming soon

For those who don't know, my novel First Unseen is projected for release around February 2013. I've set up an author website at Visit the site for more information and to stay abreast of release details!