How does Mary hear our prayers?


#1

I can understand how praying to Mary could be effective and that honoring her is appropriate. What I don’t understand is how Mary or any other Saint could hear prayers. I know God is omnipresent and omnipotent, etc. I have no trouble believing He hears all prayers from everyone, everywhere, at all times. But the Saints or Mary don’t have those same attributes do they?
Constance :confused:


#2

Because those in Heaven (i.e. the Saints) are outside of time, there is no past or present by their perception–only one great present. We can’t understand why this is because we are mortal beings and bound by the limits of time.

The saints are not believed to be omniscient as God is, however we believe it is by God’s will that the saints be allowed to hear our prayers. We see in Scripture references to prayer of the saints, most notably Revelation 5:8

And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints

(Douay-Rheims Bible)

Hope this helps. For more, check out Praying to the Saints
on Catholic Answers.

-ACEGC


#3

Hi Constance!

I hear this question often, and I point to Hebrews 12:1 for a good answer.
**
1 And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: **

Do you know of any race with more import than the race that we run for our eternal souls? Have you ever seen a race where the spectators (witnesses) were stoic concerning the ones racing? Do you suppose that this great cloud of witnesses, who have already won their race and are triumphant members of the same Body of Christ that we are, would not love us enough to intercede for us?
Is it not clear that these witnesses are witnesses because of the power of God?

This applies to the Blessed Virgin, and all the saints.
Recommended reading from the mainpage library:
Praying to the Saints and The Intercession of the Saints
Pax tecum,


#4

First of all, we know from the Bible that the Saints do, in fact, hear us.

Heb 11-12 clearly states that they surround us as witnesses. In fact the Greek word used for ‘witness’ means to give testimony to a judge. What Judge are they giving testimony too?? - There can be only one Judge, God Himself, and they are speaking to Him on our behalf.

We also know that none omniscient creatures can and do understand prayers. The angel in Revelation 8:3 bring the prayers of the All the saints to the Throne of God.

This angel is clearly not omniscient, but had all the prayers of the saints in his possession.

God is clearly Omniscient and has no need for angels and saints to intermediate between us and Him, in fact, He has no need of ‘assistants’ at all. He needs no angel to carry prayers to him, or saints to witness on our behalf but chooses to use them anyway.

The Angels and Saints hear us, that is clear. How is a mystery known only to God, but it occurs none the less.


#5

In the words of my teens, “This is too cool.” Thanks for such quick and understandable responses! God Bless you all!
Constance :slight_smile:


#6

[quote=Constance]I can understand how praying to Mary could be effective and that honoring her is appropriate. What I don’t understand is how Mary or any other Saint could hear prayers. I know God is omnipresent and omnipotent, etc. I have no trouble believing He hears all prayers from everyone, everywhere, at all times. But the Saints or Mary don’t have those same attributes do they?
Constance :confused:
[/quote]

Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience. I suppose if they dealt with the prayers one at a time (in a continuous present) but that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself :thumbsup:


#7

[quote=Vincent1560]Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience. I suppose if they dealt with the prayers one at a time (in a continuous present) but that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Well Vince, ole buddy, just because you don’t see how it’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. With God all things are possible. Nothing precludes us from sending prayers on a direct path as you prefer (I would wager that a vast majority of my prayers are directed to God), and Catholics are not required to pray through the saints, but I find it rather comforting to know I have a whole communion of saints pulling for me all the samel…whether I need them or not. :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=Vincent1560]Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience. I suppose if they dealt with the prayers one at a time (in a continuous present) but that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself :thumbsup:
[/quote]

So then I guess you disbelieve Hebrews 12:1, huh? Oh well…


#9

[quote=Constance]What I don’t understand is how Mary or any other Saint could hear prayers.
[/quote]

Because God said so.

– Mark L. Chance.


#10

[quote=Vincent1560]Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience…
[/quote]

To begin to see how this is possible, you have to fully come to an important realization about a simple truth – one that most people haven’t really thought through completely. This simple truth is the fact that heaven is a completely different place (or state) than what we know in this life. Most people make the mistake of thinking of heaven as being similar to Earth, only better —same physical, spatial, and time rules, etc. This is demonstrably false if we think about what we know of the nature of God and of eternity, and the descriptions of heaven we find in Scripture, especially in the book of Revelation, most notably in the last two chapters.

Armed with this info, try to rethink your position on this. Also, this short article may be helpful:
catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp

that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself

As far as being a burden to them, if they CAN help us in our need, it would be a joy for them, as it would for Christians on earth. Also, as any Father, God would be overjoyed that his children are helping their younger siblings :thumbsup:


#11

[quote=Vincent1560]Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience. I suppose if they dealt with the prayers one at a time (in a continuous present) but that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Vincent, Omniscience means knowing everything. The saints do not need to know everything to hear our prayers. God simply allows them to hear any prayers directed to their intercession. Have you never asked someone close to a great person to put in a good word for you? That is the point of our praying to Mary and the other Saints. It’s no burden for them - they love to help us.


#12

A hundred years ago people would have said that it was impossible for people on one continent to watch and hear an event going on on another continent, like the Olympics. That would have been thought of as omniscience, especially if you could transfer instantly from one event to another as you pleased. Now its commonplace.

The same for speaking. A leader can speak to hundreds of millions of different people at the same time, in their homes right across the world, via radio and TV. Any time before a century ago this would have been seen as a semi-divine power. But it is accomplished by human technology.

How much more can God do than little humans.


#13

[quote=Vincent1560]. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience.
[/quote]

You are really underselling the concept of ‘Omnisciece’. God, as THE Omniscient being, knows the location, history and future of each of the smallest sub atomic particle he ever created. And that, by definition, isn’t even a fraction of what He knows.

So could you clarify exactly why such knowledge would be required for the saints to hear our prayers.

As I mentioned above, the angel of Rev 8 had all the prayers of all the saints in a censer to bring before the throne.

If a single angel could hold the prayers of every holy person, does it therefore follow that angels must be omniscient?


#14

[quote=Brendan]You are really underselling the concept of ‘Omnisciece’. God, as THE Omniscient being, knows the location, history and future of each of the smallest sub atomic particle he ever created. And that, by definition, isn’t even a fraction of what He knows.
[/quote]

Even if a being knew all that actually exists – past, present, future, physical, spiritual etc – that would still not be an omniscient being. Omniscience means knowing not only all that actually is, but all possible things – all that might have been, all that could be, all that would have been, etc. So God for example would know all “alternative histories” as well as all of actual history. All of us, not just Mary, but all of us, will have access to complete knowledge of all of actual history with the Last Judgment – down to the last particle and even down to the last thought as all will be made known at that point. But even then that would not make us all omniscient as there would still be more to know.

And if we admit ourselves on earth to not be omnsicient, then we should also admit ourselves on earth to not have the mental capacity to be able to judge whether it is compatible with God for God to grant this or that person this or that knowledge or power or grace. Let’s leave that to God :thumbsup:


#15

[quote=Vincent1560]Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience. I suppose if they dealt with the prayers one at a time (in a continuous present) but that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Because they are still alive. They are not dead. They are still a part of the Body of Christ. In Romans 8:35-39 it speaks to the fact that death cannot separate us from Christ. In Gal 6:2 we are taught, as Catholic Christians (the original Bible Christians) to bear one another’s burdens. In 2Th 1:11 we are reminded that “we always pray for you” and in Eph 6:18-19 we are taught about “making supplication for all the saints and for me”.

Catholic doctrine on Mary and Saints is firmly rooted in the Holy Scripture, which later the Church, which in Timothy 3:15 is described as the pillar and bullwark of the truth, gathered together and gave to the world as a book…The Bible. That is why Catholic Christians do not consider themselves Children of the Book…we are Children of the Word Incarnate.


#16

[quote=Vincent1560]Thats one of the larger objectans I have to Catholic doctrine on Mary and the Saints. I don’t see how it is possible without ominscience. I suppose if they dealt with the prayers one at a time (in a continuous present) but that seems like an unnecessary burden for them when we can send our prayers straight to the man himself :thumbsup:
[/quote]

A very important reason for this is that in heaven, there is no time. The saints and Mary do not have the power of God, but that doesn’t make it impossible to be able to hear everyone’s prayer. We, as humans cannot understand this, but it’s very different in Heaven than here on Earth.


#17

[quote=nMbR1BaRlOwGiRl]We, as humans cannot understand this, but it’s very different in Heaven than here on Earth.
[/quote]

How do you understand this then?

Could you please provide the source of your information.

Thanks,
Richard


#18

[quote=Constance]I can understand how praying to Mary could be effective and that honoring her is appropriate. What I don’t understand is how Mary or any other Saint could hear prayers. I know God is omnipresent and omnipotent, etc. I have no trouble believing He hears all prayers from everyone, everywhere, at all times. But the Saints or Mary don’t have those same attributes do they?
Constance :confused:
[/quote]

I hear she has phenomenal bandwidth! :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

[quote=Richard_Hurtz]How do you understand this then?

Could you please provide the source of your information.

Thanks,
Richard
[/quote]

I never said I did. That’s where trust in God comes in, because we’re never going to understand everything. I had a lot of problems with this in the past. I’m the kind of person that has to understand everything. If I don’t get something, I go nuts. I didn’t understand how Catholics can believe all of this without understanding it. I asked around, and no one seemed to have any answers, which is most likely because they don’t understand it either. I prayed and prayed about it, asking God to help me understand. And if you’ve ever had God answer one of your prayers, you’ll know how obvious His answers are if you’re open to Him. Well, he answered me a couple times. Every time He “spoke” to me, He told me to trust Him. I admit, it’s still very hard, but I know that I’m really never going to understand everything, and God is the only one with all the answers. He knows what He’s doing, and if he wants me to remain Catholic, then with Catholicism, comes praying to the saints. I’m sure a lot of people know more than I do about all of that, but I’m just letting you know that you’re never going to understand all of it. God didn’t intend for us to understand everything, so we’re not going to. He does want us to keep searching, though, so by all means, keep looking for answers. I always am. So I guess if you want my source of information, it would be experience and mostly God. Just always remember to trust Him.

God Bless,
~Jaclyn~


#20

[quote=Richard_Hurtz]How do you understand this then?

Could you please provide the source of your information.

Thanks,
Richard
[/quote]

Perhaps I can help…

The Apostle St. John, being “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10) conversed with those assembled in heaven just as Catholics and Orthodox and even Protestants converse with the angels and saints today, as a very apostolic practice.

St. John, one Sunday on Patmos, spoke to angels (Rev 1:2), and Jesus (Rev 1:17-18), and to the elders (Rev 5:5) and to the souls of the martyrs (Rev 6:9). We can be certain from St. John’s testimony that the creatures in heaven are not dead, but are surely living creatures. We can also be certain that the angels and heavenly elders alive in heaven offer to God the prayers of the holy ones (Rev 5:8; 8:3).

In fact, by the power of God, St. John somehow heard every created thing in heaven and on earth without having to be omnipresent like God (Rev 5:13 - “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea”). It seems one doesn’t need to be omnipresent when *God is the vine between the branches *and can, by his almighty power, allow any of his creatures, even a mere human like St. John, to hear what all of God’s creation is saying.

Likewise, it seems from St. John’s testimony that those living angels, creatures, elders, and souls in heaven were quite aware, as was St. John, of what was happening all over the world. This all occurring prior to the Final Judgment. There doesn’t seem to have been any such thing as soul-sleep according to St. John’s testimony. Not only were living son’s of Israel in heaven (Rev 7:4-8), but there was a “great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev 7:9-10).

Like the Psalmist (Ps. 103:20-21, Ps. 148:1-2), St. John doesn’t seem to believe that directly conversing with the angels and heavenly hosts is somehow heretical or impossible. Neither do Catholics.


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