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Old Jan 29, '09, 5:01 am
Mary Alonyo Mary Alonyo is offline
New Member
Join Date: November 8, 2008
Posts: 21
Religion: Evangelical Christian
Default Should we pray to Mary and the saints?

My boyfriend asked me "Where in the bible does it say its okay to pray to Mary ( The mother of Jesus)"

I expended the question to include all saints, because i think- if you're going to pray to any saint at all, Mary should be high on your list, if not number one! so, I'm really asking-

from where has the church derived the understanding of devotion to the saints?

We understand that Jesus is the one mediator between God and man and that christians participate in that mediation through their prayers and sacrifices united to His.

the way my bf and i perceive the catholic understanding of prayer is this, for example: (-> means "Prays to")

catholic-> St. Anthony-> Mary-> Jesus-> The Father

OUR church's prayer trail goes more like this

me and bf-> Jesus-> Father

( Jesus is always the only one "Between" us and The Father, even if i am praying for my bf, I would only really be praying with him, to jesus, i would never be the one considered "To Jesus through my gf", like Catholics say of Mary- "To Jesus, through Mary"

We know of the book of Revelation where the saints in heaven pray, but we cant think of any place where we are told to pray to anyone other than God, or given examples of doing so. Moses pleaded on behalf of the people before God and God changed His mind because Moses was his friend, closer to God than the people, but Jesus is the friend God has given us to reconcile us to Himself.

we have no problem believing that our brothers and sisters who share the glory of God in heaven, with God, pray for us, its in the bible. this does not imply to us that we should pray to them to pray for us some more.

i imagine that they pray for us in the same way we pray for those in purgatory? i'm not aware of anyone seeing purgatory all the time or hearing the voices of the souls asking them to pray, yet prayers go up for that part of Christs' body. Is it because the saints are more united to Christ that they "know in full"?... is this the full knowledge that Paul speaks of when he speaks of spriritual gifts and knowing then if full, what we know in part, now?

the evidence of people praying to saints in the past... doesnt really speak to us, as they could have been in error, as christians are able to be, in all generations.

a feeling that i have towards the church is that sometimes, the church says things are okay because the christians on the ground do it, so christians on the ground continue to do it because the church has gone on to declare that its okay. eg- processions, gifts to statues, praying to the saints. I dont know where i have been taught this but, an understaning i also have of the church is that the church allowed non- christian practices into the practice of christianity, to help people transition more easily into the faith and convert, diluting the pure and simple faith.

my boyfriend and i truly desire to serve and bring honour to God in the way/s HE graciously provided for us, to be reconcilled to HIMself.

I dont understand why a church that is supposed to be the protectors and preservers of the truth, would allow the world to effect her

please help us to understand.

love, always
Old Feb 3, '09, 2:41 pm
Fr. Vincent Serpa Fr. Vincent Serpa is offline
Catholic Answers Apologist
Join Date: May 4, 2004
Posts: 4,937
Default Re: Pray TO saints? Pray to Mary?


We need to clarify what we mean when we say we pray. The prayer of “latria” is what we ordinarily mean by “worship” and is the highest form of prayer. Jesus began His prayer with it: “Hallowed be Thy name.” Catholics are not allowed to pray to anyone but God in this way. Only God is God. This is the ultimate truth and a matter of justice. We owe God this acknowledgement of who He is. This form of prayer automatically leads to the prayer of thanksgiving. Everything we have, including our existence and the blood that He shed for us, is the result of His generosity.

Then there is the matter of the prayer of petition—which is what most people mean by prayer. In In Luke 11:9 Jesus says: “Ask at it shall be given to you. Seek and you will find…” He obviously wants us to ask for what we need. When we love people, their needs affect us and we are moved by compassion to help them. In a very real sense, their needs become our own out of the charity we have for them. Now there is no doubt that Jesus is the only way to the Father. He alone is the perfect mediator between God and Man because He is both. All our prayer to the Father must go through Him. Catholics have believed this for over 2000 years.

Jesus also expects us to love our neighbor and to sacrifice for him as with the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37. 25). What better thing can we do for each other that to pray for each other? Certainly such prayer does not inform Jesus of something He doesn’t already know. Nor does it change His mind. But is does enliven the love we have for each other and mirrors the love He has for us. Everyone wins!

The saints are our brothers and sisters. So we ask them to pray for us as well. Now here we are not worshiping them. We are appealing to their charity. The sticking point here is that this is also called prayer. In old English it was common to ask a favor by saying “I pray thee” for whatever the person wanted.

In Shakespeare we read:

“I pray thee cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
as water in a sieve.”

Certainly, this is not worship. This is the context in which “pray” is used with the saints. We are simply asking a favor.

So each one of us goes individually to the Father through Jesus. But we also go together with each other, including the saints, to the Father through Jesus.

The only sense in which we go to Jesus through Mary is that He came to us through her. His human link with us is the humanity He received from her.

So I think you and the Catholic Church are really on the same page when we all understand what we are saying.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O. P.

Last edited by Fr. Vincent Serpa; Feb 4, '09 at 10:50 am.

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