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Most Merciful - Seqram

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November 5th, 2012


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10:54 pm - Most Merciful
It's strange, given my current state of belief, but I find myself often pondering and wanting to write about religious ideas, but not necessarily from the outside.

So the other day I get a phone call (recorded) from someplace telling me that the anniversary of the death of Rachel (the Biblical matriarch) is approaching (how they know this I don't know), and that it is a most auspicious day for getting prayers to come true.  "If you can pick up the phone [presumably to donate money to them], you can make anything happen."

I had thought that Jews generally don't go in for the "praying to saints" thing.  There's one God, that's whom you pray to, nobody else.  I think that's one of Maimonides' Thirteen Articles, in fact.  I have once or twice come across some highly poetic and metaphoric prayers that address themselves to God's Attribute of Mercy directly, as if it were a separate entity, but that's by far the exception and not the rule, and also still technically God.

So, pondering the idea of praying-to-saints, though... The idea, from what I've seen, is you ask St Whatever to intercede on your behalf before God, convincing God to do whatever it is you need.  Now hang on a second.  You're trying to convince St Whatever to take your part and (help) grant your desires instead of addressing God directly because, what, because you figure St Whatever is more merciful than God?  I've seen the prayers; they try to arouse the saint's pity and compassion... are the saints really more merciful or compassionate than God?  Doesn't that fly in the face of a lot of theology?  The idea of a saint being more merciful than God would probably sound blasphemous to a Muslim, at least; should it to a Christian?

I've heard in religions like Voudou, there's the notion that although God is all-powerful, he's also awfully busy, and if you want results you're better off addressing one of the lesser minions who can accomplish what you need.  That could be an answer, I guess, but it still flies in the face of much of mainstream Christian theology.  God who cares about the fall of a sparrow can't be bothered to listen to my request?

Is this ever addressed in Christian thought?  Especially Catholic, since they seem to be bigger on praying to saints than other denominations.  Anyone with thoughts?

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