To intercede means to intervene in favor of someone. We believe in the intercession (or mediation) of the saints as a truth desired by God and revealed by the Gospels.
Some deny this intercession in basing their arguments on Paul’s words: “For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all.” (1 Timothy 2,5-6) Therefore, intercession with God would be reserved to Christ alone.
Those who deny the intercession of the saints do not fail to intercede themselves for others. To be logical with themselves, they should stop praying for others.
And yet, Paul pushes us to intercede for all; in fact, he writes to Timothy: “My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone —petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving— and especially for kings and others in authority… To do this is right, and will please God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2,1-3). Paul prays for Timothy and the believers themselves, and asks them to pray for the others and for himself:
“Night and day I thank God… and always I remember you in my prayers…” (2 Timothy 1,3)
“I have never failed to thank God for you and to remember you in my prayers. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of Him. May He enlighten the eyes of your mind…” (Ephesians 1,16-18)
“Pray all the time… Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all the saints; and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and speak without fear and give out the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6,18-19)
“Be persevering in your prayers… Pray for us especially…” (Colossians 4,2-3)
“And their prayers for you, too, show how they are drawn to you on account of all the grace that God has given you.” (2 Corinthians 9,14)
“We pray to God that you will do nothing wrong… What we ask in our prayers is for you to be made perfect.” (2 Corinthians 13,7-9)
“I thank my God… and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy.” (Philippians 1,3-4)
“My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more…” (Philippians 1,9)
The Apostles James and John also recommend intercession:
“So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and this will cure you; the heartfelt prayer of a good person works very powerfully.” (James 5,16)
“If anybody sees his brother commit a sin that is not a deadly sin, he has only to pray, and God will give life to the sinner…” (1 John 5,16)
The intercession is made either to Jesus Christ, or directly to the Father Himself because of our faith in Jesus. Therefore, the fact that Jesus is the unique Mediator, does not prevent our intercession beside Him for others, and He will intercede beside the Father for us. Better still, Christ gets his faithful to intercede themselves directly beside the Father, because of the love they have for Him. This comes out clearly in Jesus’ words: “The Father will give you anything you ask Him in my Name” (John 15,16). The direct intercession of the disciples of Christ beside the Father is evident.
Jesus not only gets his people the power to intercede directly beside the Father, but reveals to them that by believing in Him, He will no longer even have to intercede for them. In fact, He says: “When that day comes, you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father Himself loves you for loving Me…” (John 16,26-27).
The saints who preceded us to Heaven, as well as the angels, are alive and active; they can and intercede for us (See the text: “The survival after death”). One must be without humility and without love to refuse or disregard their intercession while admitting the intercession of oneself. As for us, we accord more importance to the interventions of Mary and Joseph of Nazareth, of Peter of Capernaum, of Paul of Tarsus, and of Muhammad, than any earthly intervention.
Intercession is an expression of unwavering love and solidarity. We are united by common prayer and reciprocal intercession to all true believers, those who still live on earth and those -known or unknown to us- who have preceded us to Heaven. It is the “Communion of the Saints”. It is the union of the Heavenly and earthly societies gathered around the Christ in one family, since God is OUR Father. Pray, supplicate the Father, intercede for one another, which means to love one another and to be one in Christ: “One for all, all for one”. Jesus prays ardently for this union (John 17,21). Love, solidarity, understanding, compassion, inevitably lead to supplication in intercession, as James says in 5,16. And Paul specifies: “…This is what is good and what is pleasing to God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2,1-4). How many mothers, fathers, holy persons who are deceased, have saved their children and their beloved by their tears placed beside the Father…
In Cana, the Virgin Mary intervened beside Jesus so that He would change the water into wine. She had sympathized with the guests who, in this cheerful nuptial atmosphere, had no more wine “to toast” in honor of the new spouses. She was generously granted, Jesus having accepted to change the divine plan by advancing his hour (John 2,1-11). Mary intercedes, with stronger reason, when the circumstances are painful for her people. She sympathizes with them, feels their pain, justifies their situation and always obtains what is right for them… at the opportune moment. She is the “Compassionate Intercession”; the Father and the Messiah never refuse her anything, since what she asks, is always heading in the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Much can still be said and written in favor of the intercession of the saints. What has been explained here is sufficient enough to enlighten a pure heart who searches with detachment, without contention or fanaticism, the one and only truth revealed by Jesus Himself and by his Apostles after Him.
Finally, let us recall what Jesus kindly says to all those who never asked anything from the Father, nor interceded for anyone: “Whatever you will ask the Father in my Name He will give it to you. Up to now you didn’t ask for anything in my Name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be perfect” (John 16,23-24).
Since the intercession of believers on earth beside the Father is so powerful, all the more so is that of the saints who preceded us to Heaven with the Father.