Who do you think that prayer is to?
No,you are correct. We do pray to saints. We pray in petition or devotion (a desire to emulate their lives), but never in worship. They are not God. Nor are they equal to Him. They do no mediate in the sense that Jesus mediates with the Father, but being in total presence of the Holy Spirit, they perfect our prayers and bring them before the throne of the Lamb.
Also, there is an immense--really an infinite gulf--between how we pray to the saints and pray to God. Our highest prayer is not the personal prayers we say every day, but rather the Mass...and the Mass is always offered to God the Father and never ever ever to any creating being, and that includes the angels, Mary, and the saints.
Thank you for posing the question.
Eph. 3:14-15 tells us we are all one family ("Catholic") in heaven and on earth, united together, as children of the Father, through Jesus Christ. Our brothers and sisters who have gone to heaven before us are not a different family. We are one and the same family. This is why, in the Apostles Creed, we profess a belief in the "communion of saints." There cannot be a "communion" if there is no union. Loving beings, whether on earth or in heaven, are concerned for other beings, and this concern is reflected spiritually through prayers for one another.
If you read the prayers posted at your link, you will notice that they are intecessory - "please pray for us", "please intercede for us" - etc. Asking the saints to pray for us is no different from you asking a coworker, neighbor or friend to pray for you. In Rev. 5:8, the prayers of the saints (on heaven and earth) are presented to God by the angels and saints in heaven. This shows that the saints intercede on our behalf before God, and it also demonstrates that our prayers on earth are united with their prayers in heaven.
Dozens of times in the King James Version of the Bible the word "pray" clearly means not "worship," but "ask" (the following are just the first 3 examples that turn up):
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree
And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Our beloved dead are alive in the Lord, and love us more dearly, and speak to the Lord more freely, than when they walked this earth. So, for instance, I can ask my departed mother's prayers now, even more confidently than I could when she lived here in my own home.
Or as I might even ask you, friend: "Please say a prayer for me."
Now, now, pillut . . .
we are supposed to ignore the RC’s rubber dictionary and rubber Bible.
prayer means prayer except when it doesn’t.
Intense adoration, reverence, veneration . . . = worship except when they don’t.
And, yes, one could construe RC theology to be a variation of THE MATRIX version . . . 5 or 6 or maybe even version 666 perhaps depending on the variation involved.
But mostly I think it’s another variation on humanity’s very human tendencies to politically control things; manage things; decide things . . . even supposed truth.
My mother passed away this morning and my Baptist sister was telling me how she’s an angel now, I didn’t want to disagree with her but just agreed that, God willing, she is with Him now and also with us still.
We Catholics believe that we are no more separated from the saints than we are from the living, breathing humans on this earth. Through the power and presence of God they are aware of us and they hear our prayers. They have no power outside of God, they aren’t demi-gods that we worship but humans who have led the way and have attained what we hope to attain through the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I believe what we are talking about is intercession. We ask them to intercede for us with Jesus.
dittos, to all the explanations you received.
Thank you for that fantastic link to prayers to the saints.
Read them. “A Treasury of Prayers RELATED to the saints” (as in, “associated with them”), not “A Treasury of Prayers TO the saints”
Each and every one is directed to God, or, beseeches the saint to pray with the petitioner.
To Blessed Gianna Molla: 0 Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me, make me only know Your Will...
to John Neumann: O Jesus, who on earth commanded and practiced a hidden life, grant that in these our days of pride...
to John Neumann: ...Ask for us the graces necessary to help and to serve the poor...
to Juan Diego: Pray for us
to Juan Diego: Help us to pray
to Junipero Serra: ...This we pray through Christ our Lord.
I’m a convert to the Catholic faith from the bible belt. One thing I believe helps understanding is to realize that in Catholic teaching the saints are alive and with God. Understanding the full teaching of the Communion of Saints along with intercessory prayer is good way to frame the issue for those wishing to know.
thanks for your post.
I came here from a link on a different thread. And, just now, I realized I replied to post you made five years ago - and it was post 5 on a thread of close to thousand posts.
The internet is forever I guess. My apologies for the time warp.