I’ve often wondered how you could pray to someone who has died, how could they hear you in Heaven? I would think only
God could possibly hear all the prayers.
How was Saul able to call Samuel through the witch of Endor?
Elijah and Moses, who had died, conversed with Jesus at the Transfiguration.
In the the Catholic tendency to almost deify Mary, it is taught by Catholics*,
as Christ was sinless, so Mary was;
as the Lord remained a virgin, so Mary;
as Christ was called the Son of God, indicating ontological oneness, so Mary is called the Mother of God (which easily infers the same, and is not the language of Scripture);
as the emphasis is upon Christ as the Creator through whom God (the Father) made all things, including Mary, so it is emphasized that uniquely to her, Jesus owes His Precious Blood, shed for the salvation of mankind, (the logic behind which can lead back to Eve);
as Catholics (adding error to error) believe Christ gave His actual flesh and blood to be eaten, so it is emphasized that Mary gave Him this, being fashioned out of Mary's pure blood and even being kneaded with the admixture of her virginal milk, so that she can say, "Come and eat my bread, drink the wine I have prepared" (Prov. 9:5);
as Scripture declares that Christ suffered for our sins, so Mary is said to have done so also;
as Christ saves us from the condemnation and death resulting from the fault of Adam, so it is taught that man was condemned through the fault of Eve, the root of death, but that we are saved through the merits of Mary; who was the source of life for everyone.
as the Lord was bodily ascended into Heaven, so Mary also was;
as Christ is given all power in heaven and in earth, so Mary is surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven.
as the Father made Christ Lord over all things, so Mary is enthroned (all other believers have to wait for their crowns) and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things;
as Christ is highly exalted above all under the Father, so Mary is declared to be the greatest saint of all, and as having a certain equality with the Heavenly Father;
as Christ ever liveth to make intercession for the saints, so is Mary said to do so;
as all things come from the Father through the Son, so Mary is made to be the dispenser of all grace;
as Christ is given all power on Heaven and on earth, Mary is said to have (showing some restraint) almost unlimited power;
as no man comes to the Father but through the Son, so it is taught that no one can come to the Son except through Mary in Heaven;
and as the Lord called souls to come to Him to be given life and salvation, so (in misappropriation of the words of Scripture) it is said of Mary, He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord; that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary.
And as Christ is given many titles of honor, so Mary also is, except that she is honored with more titles than the Lord Himself.
Finally, although (technically) Mary is not to be worshiped in the same sense that God is worshiped, yet the distinctions between devotion to Mary and the worship of God are quite fine, and much due to the psychological appeal of a heavenly mother (especially among those for whom Scripture is not supreme), then the historical practice of Catholics has been to exalt Mary above that which is written, (1Cor. 4:6) and thus, "By the sixteenth century, as evidenced by the spiritual struggles of the Reformers, the image of Mary had largely eclipsed the centrality of Jesus Christ in the life of believers." (Robert C. Broderick, ed., The Catholic Encyclopedia, revised and updated; NY: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987, pp.32,33)
The practice of praying to departed saints and Mary was one that developed, helped by pagan influences, as while Scripture provides no example of any believer praying to anyone in Heaven by the Lord, this was a practice of pagans, including to the Queen of Heaven. (Jer. 44:17,18,19,25). The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that a further reinforcement of this idea, was derived from the cult of the angels, which, while pre-Christian in its origin, was heartily embraced by the faithful of the sub-Apostolic age. It seems to have been only as a sequel of some such development that men turned to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. This at least is the common opinion among scholars, though it would perhaps be dangerous to speak too positively. Evidence regarding the popular practice of the early centuries is almost entirely lacking..., (Catholic Encyclopedia > Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary) but which it imagines came from the apostles who never exampled or instructed it, but who instead showed that the believer has immediate access to God in the Divine Christ, (Heb. 10:19), who is the all sufficient and immediate intercessor between God (the Father) and man. (Heb. 2:17,18; 4:15,16) To the glory of God
I would also like to say that while Roman Catholics condescend to using Scripture in attempting to substantiate to evangelicals that what they hold to is Scriptural, yet in reality neither the Mariology of Catholicism or assurance of doctrine is based upon the weight of Scriptural warrant, but it rests upon the premise of the self-proclaimed authority of Rome, with her assuredly infallible magisterium (which infallibly defined herself as being infallible, when speaking in accordance with her infallibly defined scope and subject-based formula), which is held to be able to provide such assurance.
Therefore any appeal to Scripture by Roman Catholic apologists as if it could provide assurance of truth is ultimately in order to convince souls that this is not the way to obtain certitude, and instead their goal must be to convince souls to make a fallible decision to place implicit trust in the assuredly infallible magisterium (AIM) of Rome, as if it were God (though Roman Catholics must discern which pronouncements, of out many candidates, are infallible).
Recognized Roman Catholic authorities and other web apologists will sometimes admit that, as the Catholic Encyclopedia states, "no direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture" for the Immaculate Conception, and which understatement also applies to PV.
While Catholic authorities such as Cardinal Newman have attempted to explain the lack of Scriptural support by asserting that Christians have never gone to Scripture for proof of their doctrines, till there was actual need, from the pressure of controversy, (Anglican Difficulties, London, 1885, II, 54), the reliance upon Scripture to establish truth claims in Scripture does not allow the lack of support for these Marian excesses.
Ratzinger acknowledged that Mary, in the gospel tradition is quite marginal. (God and the world; p. 296) unlike to souls like Peter and Paul, the latter of whom sees relative little emphasis by Catholics, especially as compared with Mary. And because Scripture does not say what the Catholic wants it to say about Mary, and due to the second class (at best) status of Scripture for Catholics, what the Catholic must attempt to do is to defend a tradition by wresting texts of Scripture to support it, often going to extrapolative extremes, and which actually demeans Scripture, rather than honoring it like as he does the Catholic Mary.
Scripture no where states or teaches an exception for Mary as regards not being a sinner, or for her being a perpetually sinless virgin and having a sexless marriage (contrary to its description: Gn. 2:24; Mt. 19:4,5), who is ascended to Heaven, and who is already crowned (which happens after the resurrection) and enthroned as Queen of Heaven with almost unlimited power, including having the ability to process virtually unlimited prayer requests, (the Holy Spirit provides zero examples of prayer to anyone in Heaven but the Lord, or in its instructions on who to pray to), and who is even set forth by some notable Catholics as a more immediate and superior recourse for help than Christ Himself,
Such an absence of real substantiation is contrary to the manifest practice of the Holy Spirit in stating similar and even lesser exceptions to the norm by notable subjects, from the blood of righteous Abel, (Gn. 4:10; Mt. 23:35) to the age of Methuselah, (Gn. 5:27) to the strength of Samson, (Jdg. 4:4,16; 16:12,29,30) to the number of toes of the Philistine giant, (2Sam. 21:20), to the special diet of the Baptist, (Mt. 3:4) to Joseph being a just man, (Mt. 1:19) to the supernatural transport of Phillip, (Acts 8:40) to Jesus being sinless, which He is said at least twice to be. (2Cor. 5:21; 1Pt. 2:22)
In addition, as such claims for the Catholic Mary are (sometimes extreme) exceptions to the norm, then the burden of proof is upon the Catholic to established them, and not upon us, any more then we must disprove the existence of the Mormonic angel Moroni.
As evangelical apologist Steve Hays argues, "If the evidence is uncertain, then our position should be uncertain; not: our evidence is uncertain; therefore, it's certain that Mary was a lifelong virgin. If the evidence is uncertain, then that hardly warrants a certain conclusion.
Yet some of the Mariology referred to is approved teaching, some of it even being dogma, while the lack of censure of other claims can amount to implicit approval.
In a rare instance of a mild form of reproof of excessive Marian exaltation, no less a devotee of Mary than Cardinal Ratzinger at least recognized that the title Co-redemptrix departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings (see comments on Co-redemptrix below), Yet as regards Scripture, this is also true of other aspects of Catholic exaltation of Mary, which depart too greatly from the sober and balanced descriptions given of Mary in Scripture, showing how she was a holy saint and a virgin, but not going beyond into the extremes of Catholic devotion, in which the Roman Catholic apologists add to their transgressions in their attempts to find support from Scripture by many unwarranted extrapolations.
*Catholic ascriptions to Mary (supplementary to this link):
The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven. Iucunda Semper Expectatione, Pope Leo XIII, 1894
Moreover, one must remember that the Blood of Christ shed for our sake and those members in which He offers to His Father the wounds He received, the price of our liberty, are no other than the flesh and blood of the virgin, since the flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary, and however much it was exalted in the glory of His resurrection, nevertheless the nature of His flesh derived from Mary remained and still remains the same FIdentem Piumque Animum; de Assumpt. B. V. M., c.v., among the Opera S. Aug;
The blood that Redeemed us on the cross came from her veins. Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel..., by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakisp, Volume 1, p. 623
But by her compassion for her Divine Son she had to suffer, as He did, all the consequences of sin. It was not only during the Passion that Jesus and Mary suffered for our sins, for all their lives that heartrending vision was before them in every detail, and never for a moment forgotten. The Reign of Mary, Vol. 40; Issue 48
Mary is our Lady and Queen because she, the new Eve, has shared intimately in the redemptive work of Christ, the new Adam, by suffering with Him and offering Him up to the Eternal Father. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott, Part 3. cp. 1 (Tan Books & Publishers, Inc., 1974). Imprimatur: +Cornelius, Ep. Corgagiensis et Ap. Adm. Rossesis, October 7, 1954;
"We were condemned through the fault of one woman; we are saved through the merits of another woman. Just as Eve was the root of death for everyone, so Mary was the source of life for everyone. (Ten Series of Meditations on the Mystery of the Rosary, by John Ferraro, Nihil Obstat - John C. Hogan, Diocesan Censor
Imprimatur (1) - Richard Cardinal Cushing Daughters of St.Paul, 1964).
"After God, it is impossible to think of anything greater than His Mother." - p. 83 ^
"As Mother of the Word Incarnate, Mary was elevated to a certain equality with the Heavenly Father." - p. 83 ^
..to her, Jesus owes His Precious Blood...Next to God, she deserves the highest praise....no creature, can ever be compared to her: "To what shall I compare thee, or to whom shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem." (Lam. 2:13) [another verse taken out of context, as it refers to the affliction of Jewish mothers in general due to the judgment upon Jerusalem]
..all graces of the Precious Blood come through Mary. No grace is given without her intercession. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-098.html
We know, too, that united to the Divinity in the Eucharist there is Jesus' Body and Blood taken from the body and blood of the Blessed Virgin. Therefore at every Holy Communion we receive, it would be quite correct, and a very beautiful thing, to take notice of our Holy Mother's sweet and mysterious presence, inseparably united with Jesus in the Host....the blood of Jesus is the maternal blood of Mary...
Go with this ineffable chaste thought to the banquet of God and you will find in the Blood of the Son the nourishment of the Mother.
..in Jesus is always the Immaculate flesh and the Virginal blood of His Most Holy Mother which penetrates into our hearts and inebriates our souls.
What is needed is a mother who may eat this supersubstantial Bread, transform it into her milk, and in this way feed her poor children. This mother is Mary. She nourishes herself with the Word and transforms It into the Sacred Humanity. She transforms It into Flesh and Blood, i.e., into this sweetest of milk which is called the Eucharist."..
"O Christian who comest full of faith to receive the Bread of life, eat It worthily, and remember that It was fashioned out of Mary's pure blood." Mary can quite rightfully beckon to us and speak to us in the words of the inspired prophet, "Come and eat my bread, drink the wine I have prepared" (Prov. 9:5)...
Thus every time we go to Holy Communion, something sweet to recall is that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Bread of Life produced from Mary with the flour of her Immaculate flesh, kneaded with the admixture of her virginal milk. http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/virgin-eucharist.htm
"The union between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit is so inexpressible, yet so perfect, that the Holy Spirit acts only by the Most Blessed Virgin, his Spouse. This is why she is the mediatrix of all graces given by the Holy Spirit. And since every grace is a gift of God the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit, it follows that there is no grace which Mary cannot dispose of as her own, which is not given to her for this purpose." Manteau-Bonamy, Immaculate Conception, 91; F.X. Durrwell, The Holy Spirit of God (Cincinnati: Servant Books, 2006), 183-185.
Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
That depends on whether or not you believe that these people are alive in Christ or not.
If you believe that Christians who have passed from this world are alive in Christ, then asking them for their prayers is no different from asking any loved one for their prayers.
If you believe that they are dead for all time, as the pagans did, then it makes no sense at all.