Explaining saints and Mary prayers

Can somebody please explain why we offer up prayers to saints and Mary to interseed for us to Jesus? I have no answer for this to my protestant friends. Why would we offer up prayers to anybody but God? Can we just cut out the middle men and pray directly to God? We aren’t obligated to pray to Mary or the Saints are we?

I know there is biblical reference to praying to saints but do we have to?

I’ll refer you to Fr. Jeff:
Also see James 5:16.

No, we’re not obligated to go through Mary or the saints.

However, ask your Protestant friends if they ever ask anyone for prayers. Do they ever ask for their pastor to pray for them, family, friends? Okay, why do they need a middleman? Why don’t they go directly to God?

This is called “intercessory prayer”. One is asking for prayers on behalf of another person. Sometimes, this works, because of our sinful state, God might not be as inclined to listen to us as to someone in a closer relationship with him, for example.

We, Catholics, believe when we “die”, we really are still alive. So, in the same way I can ask you to pray for me, we believe we can ask someone who “died” to pray for us. In fact, we believe it’s actually more advantageous to ask someone in heaven for prayers than a sinful person on earth.

So, for example martyrs, who we believe are in heaven, we believe it is acceptable to ask for their prayers.

Now, in the same way the Blessed Virgin Mary, intervened for the couple at the Wedding at Cana, we believe she intervenes for us before Christ.

It is a little like how a child who can’t get his way with his father will get his mother to intervene. When the mother intervenes, the father will often listen. It’s a little like that.

Is intervention absolutely essential? No. However, it can be easier to go through an intermediary. When God communicated even to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he went through an angel, who relayed the message.

That’s just how God operates. We didn’t invent this system. God did.

Now, at the Wedding of Cana, Christ listened to the Blessed Virgin Mary, granted her request! She carries great weight with Our Lord. I would not dismiss her intervention or that of the saints, either.

I believe we are obligated to turn to Mary as well as God, not to Mary as though God,
but Mary is part of God’s plan in the role of mediation, redemption, and salvation.

Many Protestants misinterpret the scripture verse about having no mediator between God and man.

Ask your Protestant friends if they have ever asked someone to pray for them- a family member, a pastor, etc. The same logic applies. Why ask a pastor to pray for you? Why do you pray for others?

They will probably respond saying, “Well, at least they are alive. We don’t pray to the dead. That’s a sin, you know?”

There are 2 things wrong with that:

  1. The pastor is still a “mediator” between man and God according to the logic of their own argument.

  2. Mary and the saints are not dead. They are alive in Heaven with God. In fact they are more alive than we are! Seems to me their prayer would be quite effective :slight_smile:

Great explanation, Thank You, God Bless and a Holy Blessed New Year, Memaw

I don’t believe we are “obligated” to turn to Mary

God did, so why not us. The Church teaches, "To Jesus thru Mary. Maybe you should study up on some of the things the Blessed Mother said at Fatima and Lourdes. Not to turn to her would be a big mistake, especially when we realize that she would not be able to come to us if God hadn’t sent her. Food for thought!!, God Bless and a Holy Blessed New Year. Memaw

As others have posted, we are **not **obligated to go to the Saints or Mary and the Church does not oblige us to. Some faithful believe To Jesus through Mary, but it is not a formal teaching of the Church. Saints like de Monfort and Kolbe certainly had a zealous devotion to Mary and believed that she is the Mediatrix of All Graces, but a very large percentage of Church leadership and faithful do not subscribe to it.

Memaw’s post includes references to Fatima and Lourdes. Both of these are considered private revelations by the Church and the faithful is not obligated to believe either.

To the original question, I always answer this way… Our prayers are to God and are like a song. The Saints (including St Mary, she is a Saint of course) sing with us in perfect harmony and amplify our song so that it is heard and is a beautiful sound to God’s ears (if he has ears of course!)… This is how I think of prayer at least. I pray with the Saints, no to them. To pray means to ask, so I ask God for my petition and ask the saints to join me in that petition… I should add that I only ask God for one thing… that is that I align my thoughts and deeds to his will. He does not change his mind… and everything is as it should be.

I try to always think of this great quote by St Ignatius of Loyola…“Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you”

The Saints are great spiritual companions…

In my time here at CAF, I’ve never seen someone cause such controversy among Catholics as much as Mary does. It isn’t as if devotion to Mary sprung up suddenly and in more recent times. Mary was venerated as early as the end of the first century to the first half of the second century as seen by the many depictions of Mary in frescos in the Roman catacombs. The early Church Fathers had much to say about her. If we as Catholics believe as the Church teaches us, that the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from teaching error on matters of faith and morals, then why can’t we trust her equally with regards to her teachings about Mary? Time and time again, when threads are started about her, more than one poster will say something along the lines of; “But Mary’s not necessary to our faith.” And it’s always said in a way that seems to imply that she’s not that important. And I can’t help but think; I wonder what Our Lord would have to say about that?

The CCC says this about her; * 971 “All generations will call me blessed”: ** "The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. From Merriam-Webster Online; * in·trin·sic. adjective \in-ˈtrin-zik, -ˈtrin(t)-sik. : belonging to the essential nature of a thing : occurring as a natural part of something. * The Church has always taught about Mary’s uniqueness. I always reflect on the way we’re introduced to Mary in the Gospels. The words of the Archangel Gabriel’s salutation says it all for me; ***“Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you!”**…Now that is one powerful greeting don’t you think? No one that I can recall receives such high praise. Yes indeed, she’s important all right! And how very blessed we are to have her. Our Mama Mary…what a Gal!

Peace, Mark ***

With all due respect Mark, where in this thread has anyone said that Mary is not necessary to our faith or that she is not important? I just reread back through and did not see anything to that effect??

Could it be that you are confusing prayer and personal devotion with the her place in salvation history? No one is saying to get rid of Marian devotion, are they?

Praying to Saints: A Visual Aid. :wink:

Can you provide the information for the ‘large percentage’ that do not believe that? Special devotion to Mary, whether very deep or mild, has been the ‘norm’ for most Catholics I’ve met in my life.

To clarify, I was referencing a very specific devotion and belief - Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces; not special devotion in general. Anyone who prays the Mass on Sunday proclaims the intercessory role of Mary, Joseph and the remainder of the Saints. So of course, the norm for Catholics is belief in Saints.

Are you asking for reference to info related to Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces?

I don’t believe I ever used the words “obliged, obligated or oblige” in what I said. Don’t think the Church uses them either. But you seem to like to put great emphasis on it. The Church has given us many beautiful devotions over the Centuries and puts GREAT emphasis on devotion to Mary and the Saints. Notice de Montfort and Kolbe both have the word Saint before thier names and they both had a great devotion to Mary. If I’m not mistaken all the Saints I’ve ever read about did too. Every Pope, including Francis, since Fatima occured, has stressed listening to Our Lady at Fatima. It has been promoted by the Popes more than any other approved apparition of Our Lady. Don’t you think it would be bit foolish for us to ignore Her? We probably have done to much of that already and that may be why our world is in such a sad shape today. Oh and by the way, I think I will try to follow the example of the Saints and not the " very large percentage of Church leadership and faithful that do not subscribe to it." A very large percentage of Church leadership and faithfull led many astray after Vatican II and we’re starting to come out from under it all. I pray we keep going in the right direction. God Bless, and a Holy, Blessed New Year, Memaw.

God Bless you Memaw, but sheesh… this isn’t personal…

If you reread the original post in the thread, it asks if we are obligated… that’s where that came from…I didn’t suggest that you used the words obligated or any of its derivatives. Several contributors commented one way or the other. That is what this conversation is contemplating… it’s not my emphasis.

As far as I can tell no one is suggesting that we ignore her… where is that coming from?? I try to pray to God with Mary and Saints everyday and suggest the same to those I encounter.

Are you suggesting that Fatima and Lourdes are not considered private revelations by the Church?

I’m glad you are trying to follow the example of the saints. There are many, many saints with a vast diversity of heroic virtues… I’ll stick with them too.

Relative to the comment about VII, the Church has had leaders that led people astray as long as it has existed… I’ll leave that comment at that. However and again the point was not about special devotion to Mary and Saints anyway… as I said, it was directed to a very specific devotion and pious belief… Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces. Please don’t twist the words.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

No one has suggested this. But as I heard Colin Donovan, Vice President for Theology at EWTN say on Catholic Answers Live a little while back, why wouldn’t you believe in them? The Church surely does. And if the Church believes in them, and Mary did in fact appear at these places, then I would find it quite odd that God would choose to send Mary if she weren’t very important to the faithful and his Church…Yes they’re private revelations…that have stood the test of time. Blessed Pope JPll on a pilgrimage to Lourdes said;* “Kneeling here, before the grotto of Massabielle, I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This cave, where Mary appeared, is the heart of Lourdes." * Blessed Pope JPll also credited Mary for saving his life when an assassin’s bullet darn near took his life on the 13th of May 1981, 64 years to the day that Mary first appeared at Fatima. During his fifth pastoral voyage to Poland the Pope consecrated a new church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. He said in his homily: *“The history of this shrine is also linked with the event which took place in Saint Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. At that time I experienced mortal danger and suffering, but also the great mercy of God. By the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima my life was given back to me.” * So this argument about Lourdes and Fatima being private revelation, and therefore not being worthy evidence doesn’t appear to hold water. It’s very obvious to me that the Church is a staunch advocate of both of these “private revelations.” And we haven’t even gotten into what Pope BXVl or other popes have said…and for that matter, the countless priests, bishops and cardinals as well.

Peace, Mark

Great, we agree then.


As a former Catholic, I hear this question from Catholics quite a bit. I became a Christian in 1986 after leaving the RCC in 1979; I then developed a deep love for God’s Holy Word, the Bible. God’s Word stated clearly in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 " 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time," Notice the words “ONE” in naming how many mediators there are. Mary isn’t a mediatrix as paragraph 969 of the RCC Catechism tells you. Your Catholic friends will tell you that this is just asking for intercessory prayer. You wouldn’t pray to me to ask me for intercessory prayer, and you shouldn’t be praying to anyone except God! Also the Bible is explicit in telling us NOT to pray to those who have died. This would be necromancy.



My goodness, now where did I ever say or even “suggest” that Fatima and Lourdes were not considered private revelations??? Not sure I’m the one doing the twisting! As for the title “Mediatrix of All Graces,” ( you brought it up, no one else refered to it) the Church has used that title for Our Lady and again I will go with the Church and the Saints, not the leaders and faithful that disagree. God Bless, and a Holy Blessed New Year, Memaw

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