Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Intercessors of the Lamb

I write, being recently inspired by our Pope's general audience address on Prayer. Our beloved Pope touches on many things in his address but I would like to focus on one part which is closest to my heart- the efficacy of Intercession. 

He starts with the Old Testament. Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in practices so disgusting to the Lord, that he was forced to raise his hand against it in perfect justice and pay those citizens the wages of sin, death. Total annihilation! The last time God did something like that was during the Great Flood. Even then, He repented and swore never to destroy earth because of man's sinfulness. Yet here He was again, speaking of destroying the citizens and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. I can not imagine the filth of those nations to induce God to pour out his wrath in such a measure upon them!

But suddenly, God revealed another side of his nature- his infinite Mercy. God's perfect justice meets his perfect mercy when a sinner repents, changes heart and chooses righteousness. God will not punish the innocent with the wicked but his divine justice seeks a goodness to base his mercy on. He needed one, just one righteous man to implore mercy for behalf of the unrighteous.

It is never that a sinner is not allowed to plead his own case, but it is that he cannot. Sin blinds the sinner (Gen 19:11). He does not see his own guilt or does not consider his doings as evil, and therefore is unable to repent. Into this gap, Abraham, who knew most closely the heart of God, stepped in. This is the place where the unforgettable dialogue between man and God takes place.

Abraham asks, if righteous God would destroy the city if 50 innocent men were living in it. God relents on the plea of a righteous man. "I will spare... I will not destroy... I will not do it". He forgives the entire guilty population for 50 innocents! As Abraham continues to plead with God and the number dips, 45...40...30...and finally 10; the greater the mercy of God grows.

This is the power of intercession. Abraham, our father in the faith, set an example for intercessors of all time. To not only understand in a deeply intimate way the intention of God to save suffering mankind but also to lend our voices and hearts to His desire.

If the sinner cannot ask for mercy, then the good man must ask on his behalf.
"To pray for those who are in mortal sin is the best kind of alms giving. For the love of God always remembers such souls when you pray."
           St. Teresa of Avila