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How can the saints answer the petitions of so many people at once? I can't explain it, besides time not working the same way it does here. But how can the saints make epic feats of intercession happen? An explanation, proably wrong, is that a soul in heaven being united with Christ and sharing in His divinty has similar characteristics of God such a knowing what's going on on earth and who's asking for prayers. So if its true, do saints know the future, etc?
Interesting question.  I think it's been said that the saints do not have the same kind of knowledge as God.  That is, they don't see everything and know every thought of every person.  They know what God allows them to know, which presumably includes when people on earth are speaking to them.

But how do the most popular saints deal with all the numerous and simultaneous requests?  As you say, perhaps time does not work the same way it does here.  Time is part of the physical world.  And we know that God is outside of time.  But are the saints?  At first we might think that they don't have their bodies back yet, so perhaps they are outside of time in the same way for now.  But that's not true of all of them.  The Mother of God has her body in heaven, at least.  It's hard to imagine how a human body could exist in anything resembling an earthly way without some kind of time, some kind of sequence.  So perhaps it's like time dilation - they see (or can see) everything happening here very slowly.  Or in heaven perhaps their abilities are enhanced to such a degree that they can process and respond to a vast number of things very quickly.

Basically, I don't think anyone knows the answer, but it's not hard to come up with some possibilities.  Though I have the feeling the actual answer isn't anything we could come up with.
(03-01-2011, 05:57 PM)randomtradguy Wrote: [ -> ]How can the saints answer the petitions of so many people at once? I can't explain it, besides time not working the same way it does here. But how can the saints make epic feats of intercession happen? An explanation, proably wrong, is that a soul in heaven being united with Christ and sharing in His divinty has similar characteristics of God such a knowing what's going on on earth and who's asking for prayers. So if its true, do saints know the future, etc?

In Question 12 of the first part of the summa theologiae, St Thomas asks about how God is known by us, both in this life and in the next. In article 6 of this question he shows that those in heaven are granted the vision of God to different degrees; in article 7 he shows that God cannot be comprehended by the blessed in heaven (i.e. they cannot have complete knowledge of his essence); and in article 8 he shows that those who see God's essence do not see all that is in God's essence (i.e. they do not see all that God has prepared in creation).

However, in reply to the fourth objection of article 8, that not to see everything in creation in the vision of God would frustrate the natural end of man (which includes apparently limitless curiosity) Aquinas answers that the blessed in heaven see enough of this knowledge in order to satisfy their natural desires.

Perhaps one might argue that what Aquinas teaches is consistent with the saints in heaven knowing just enough of what's going on in earth to meet the requirements you suggest.


Thank you good sir.