Skip to comments.Essays for Lent: Praying to Saints
Posted on 03/23/2012 8:28:11 PM PDT by Salvation
Praying to Saints
by Sebastian R. Fama
There seems to be a great deal of confusion among non-Catholics concerning the Church's teaching on praying to the saints in heaven. It is alleged that by praying to them we equate them with God. This is false. But why pray to them, when we can pray to God? Don't the Scriptures tell us that we have but one mediator, and that is "Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)? It is true that intercessory prayer is a type of mediation but not the type exclusively performed by Jesus. Hebrews 9:15 tells us that Jesus "is the Mediator of a new covenant." When the saints in heaven pray for us they are no more mediating a new covenant than we are when we pray for each other.
To pray means to ask, not to worship. We do not pray to the saints instead of God. We pray to God and ask that the saints pray for and with us. Are we not to "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2), and to "pray for one another" (James 5:16)? Were we not "all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13)? Are not the saints in heaven still members of that body?
We know that "the prayer of a righteous person has great power" (James 5:16). Who could be more righteous or pray more fervently than those already perfected and in the Lord's presence? We know that they care for us, "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:7). And finally we see that they present our prayers along with their own to Jesus: "The four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Revelation 5:8). Also, "And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Revelation 8:3-4). Note that incense represents our prayers, and that the angels and elders in heaven present our prayers to God.
In Matthew 18:10 we find, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven." What do you suppose that the little ones' angels would be doing on their behalf before God? Praying for them is the only logical answer.
Demonstrating early Christian belief, Origen wrote in the year 233, "But not the High Priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep" (On Prayer 11).
Mary receives special honor because she, who once cared for the physical body of Christ, now cares, through her intercession, for the mystical body of Christ (the Church). Devotion to Mary differs, just as devotion to family differs, from devotion to God. In no way does it imply equality with God. Even the Protestant reformers saw this as being consistent with Scripture. Martin Luther wrote in a prologue to the Magnificat, "May the tender mother of God herself procure for me the Spirit of wisdom profitably and thoroughly to expound this song of hers." John Calvin, working on his "Institutes of the Christian Religion," wrote, "We cannot celebrate the blessings given us in Christ without commemorating at the same time how high an honor God has granted to Mary when he chose to make her the mother of his only Son." Ulrich Zwingli stated, "The more honor and love for Christ, the more also the esteem and honor for Mary."
As for the title of Co-Redemptrix, it must be noted that the Church did not give her this title but agrees with the theology behind it. The title comes from tenth century theologians who explain that redemption was accomplished in three steps: (1) The Incarnation, when the Word was made flesh, (2) The performance, Christ's death and resurrection (the essential sacrifice which redeemed man), and (3) The application, whereby redemption is communicated to believers. Jesus alone accomplished the second step. Mary cooperated in the first and third steps. Indeed we are all commanded to participate in the third step: "Make disciples of all nations" (Mark 28:19). In 1 Corinthians 3:9 we are referred to as "God's co-workers." Does that make us equal to God? Does our work have the same value as His? Of course not! We merely work with God for the furtherance of His kingdom. It is only in this sense that we can be co-workers or co-redeemers with Christ.
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For Further Study
The Early Church Fathers on Intercession of Saints in heaven (Free)
Books - Any Friend of God's Is a Friend of Mine by Patrick Madrid.
CD - Friends in High Places by Tim Staples
The Intercession of the Saints [Church Fathers]
Seminarian may owe his life to Cardinal Van Thuan's intercession
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] Benedict XVI at Angelus: Mary's mission of salvation and intercession continues..
Relevancy of Defending Life: Experience of a Culture of Death (Intercession, Fathers of the Unborn)
Pope: Let us invoke the intercession of Mary for world peace and for all priests (Cath Caucus)
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Communion of Saints: The Intercession of the Saints
Catholic Caucus: The Spiritual Combat: Ch 50. ...THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS AND THE ANGELS
Catholic Caucus: The Spiritual Combat: Ch 48. A METHOD OF PRAYER BASED ON THE INTERCESSION OF...
The Intercession of the Saints for a Little Girl (Neat Little Story, Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on Intercession of the Saints - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Asking by praying Ping.
No confusion at all...
To pray means to ask, not to worship. We do not pray to the saints instead of God. We pray to God and ask that the saints pray for and with us
Problem is, we know that your statement is not true...We have posted numerous Catholic repetitious prayers from Catholic sites on the internet that show the prayers...And some of them are from your popes...
You ask saints to perform miracles...Without the aid of God...You guys even plant graven images of the saints in the ground to help with your real estate sales...You carry them dangling off your car mirrors for the same reasons others use talismen...
Many of you plant graven images of Mary in bathtubs and put those altars in your front yards...
Why would you deny it??? The proof is everywhere...
Mary receives special honor because she, who once cared for the physical body of Christ, now cares, through her intercession, for the mystical body of Christ (the Church). Devotion to Mary differs, just as devotion to family differs, from devotion to God. In no way does it imply equality with God. Even the Protestant reformers saw this as being consistent with Scripture.
Oh c'mon...There aren't any Reformers who thought your religion's view of Jesus' mother was consistent with scripture...It's nowhere to be found in scripture...
I’m giving an account of something I heard a Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church say on the radio. Deacon Colin Donovan displays Christian Charity very well. (Charity = ‘Love God above all things & love your neighbor as yourself.’) >My Christian Charity is NOT as great as the Deacon’s. >Please remember, the Deacon said everything with Love.
A belligerent Protestant man called the Deacon on the radio & asked, “Why do you Catholics pray >to the Virgin Mary, she’s not God.” The Deacon said, “We pray to Mary because she does NOT have a >telephone. If she had >telephone, we’d all call her up & asked her to pray for us. It’d be like a Protestant Church that has a >prayer line by telephone. God tells us there is only >ONE Church that includes ALL the souls in Heaven, purgatory & those of us here on earth in a state of Grace.
The Deacon went on to explain the offering of prayers by the Saints in the Book of Revelations. & How through prayer we here on earth talk to God & the Saints in Heaven. The Deacon had a very polite conversion with the Protestant. & The Protestant didn’t sound belligerent at the end. (We’ll know on Judgment Day whether a Heart was converted.)
The Deacon explained ONE Church very well & we all pray. The Saints in Heaven don’t need our prayers, But >we need theirs. (+The Deacon explained the Souls in Purgatory are also in the need of prayer.)
Anywho, that explanation by the Deacon has been a real >gift to me. I’m NOT so irritated when a cell phone rings in Church (I turn mine off). I laugh inwardly in a >good way & think, ‘Maybe Our Blessed Mother is calling on her phone to see if we are ALL OK as that’s the way ALL moms be!’
Sounds like you might have heard Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers. Very dynamic, yet kind speaker.
Essays for Lent: Justification
Essays for Lent: Tradition
Essays for Lent: Scripture Alone
Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
Essays for Lent: Papal Infallibility
Essays for Lent: The Pope
Essays for Lent: The Church
Essays for Lent: The Bible
Essays for Lent: The Trinity
Essays for Lent: Creationism or Evolution?
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Even if saints did hear and respond to prayers, which they do not, there is absolutely no need to come to The Father by any means but directly through The Son. God is not too busy, nor limited in any way as to hearing or being able to respond to our prayers. Nor is He lacking in any way in compassion towards us. It is He who gave up His own life for us, dying a tortuous death on the cross because of His vast and immeasurable love and compassion for us poor, lost humans. He is fully able to relate to us as humans. He understands what it is like to be tempted.
Since we can go to The King directly it would not be wise to go to an underling, especially when He has let us know that there is no other mediator but Himself, who is both man and God, so thereby He is our one and only and perfect mediator. I cannot imagine attempting to pray to a saint when I have Almighty God's full and loving ear at any given time.
Prayer is God's way of having loving communion with us. He wants us to call out to Him. Prayer builds our relationship with Him and build our faith in Him. He is the one with whom we have to do.
True. I’m sure that those who have gone before us aren’t aware of what is going on here on earth. There are scriptures to suggest this. If our loved ones knew all the problems we deal with - they would shed many tears on our behalf. However, there is NO sadness in heaven - therefore, it is useless to ask God to have them pray for us - since they aren’t aware of what is going on.
Asking for those who have gone before us diminishes the power of Jesus Christ - in whom all power is given in heaven and on earth. It places dead saints on an equal basis with the Son of God. Shame on Catholics for assigning deity to someone other than Jesus. He is the only ONE who died for our sins and the only one capable of living a sinless life. We are all sinners saved by grace -
This is heresy to believe that God will ask a mere mortal to intervene on our behalf. Twisting scriptures is also wrong - read it in the book of Revelation/
Correction - I meant to say that those who have gone before us are NOT aware of what is going on here on earth.
To pray means to ask, not to worship.
My artificial knee became infected and had to be removed. After many weeks of IV antibiotics I had a new one placed three weeks ago. I asked my friends and family ( some of them Catholic) to pray for me. I did this by asking them once in a simple straight forward manner using one sentence only.
Please, very respectfully, can you see why Protestants would confuse Catholic practices regarding saints and Mary with worship?
And why would someone want to keep reading...You already told us that your religion teaches that you don't pray to saints and Mary and that has been proven not to be true so many times that I can't count 'em all...
And now you suggest we read even more of this junk put out by your religion???
Actually, I've already read most of that stuff and it is as full of untruths and distortions as what you tried to foist on us...
Please pray for me.
Is that the one sentence you want?
Our bodies die and remain here on earth — dust to dust.
However, our souls are judged at the moment of death — they are fully alive. Then Christ, the judge, will say to them “Begone — and they are sent to hell.” “Come” — and they go with him to heaven. Or “Wait awhile and be purified.” and they are sent to Purgatory but know they are heaven bound.
The souls in Purgatory and heaven, being alive, do know everything that is happening on earth, especially with their loved ones.
They can pray for us. We can ask them to pray for us.
One last time — THE SAINTS ARE ALIVE! (Remember at the Last Judgment, we will all be reunited with our bodies.)
One last time THE SAINTS ARE ALIVE! (Remember at the Last Judgment, we will all be reunited with our bodies.)
Perhaps you can explain why Christians would be judged twice...
In the record of the rich man and Lazarus, it would be good for you to note that the rich man did not communicate with Lazarus...
There is no doubt that the saints are alive in heaven, but they do not play a role in what happens here other than to cheer us on. In all the 66 books of The Bible find one example of anyone praying to other than God except of course those who worshiped idols and false gods. Just one example. Most all of the book of Psalms is prayer and not a single one to other than the LORD God. In all the New Testament not one prayer to a saint. Remember when Jesus was asked about prayer and He gave us The LORD's prayer to show us how we should pray. He never, never told us to pray to the dead saints, who yes are living souls in heaven, but to us here on earth they are considered in a very real sense dead.
Can a rational person not recognize that if we were to pray to those who have died and are in heaven that The LORD would have told us to do so in His Word and that in the vast amounts of writings in The Bible there would be examples, actually if a normal part of the life of earthly saints (all believers are saints), many examples of people talking to the invisible dead, praying to them or/and asking them to pray for them. This is just so wrong on so many levels.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.