Images of Saints/Blessed Mother/Jesus Christ: Do we really need them?

How important are these Images to us Catholics? Do we really need them?

Your comment on ths will be very much appreciated, tnx

“Need” as in necessary for salvation? No.

“Need” (for an individual) as a help, a reminder of loved ones? Depends on the individual how much this is ‘wanted’, but again, not necessary for salvation. But then again, owning a Bible–or even reading it–is not strictly ‘necessary’ for salvation, yet few would give up their Bible and go back to the ‘old days’ of having their pastor ‘preach’ the word to them.

“Need” is a word used to mean many things. Strictly speaking, to exist on earth people ‘need’ very little beyond food, shelter, etc. but that doesn’t mean that they cannot have a ‘wanting’ for other things. Most of us have, for example, holy cards of Christ, the Virgin, and saints, with memorial prayers for our parents, spouses, and friends. The images can help (visually, emotionally) to focus our minds on God as we ask for His grace, healing, love, etc.

Do we ‘need’ to have them? No. . .but the fact is, we DO have them. We have treasuries of great art–paintings, sculptures–of Christ, the Virgin, and the Saints. These works of art were made above all to give glory to God, and a secondary effect can–and does–exist in that these ‘images’ in and of themselves, for many, many, people, ‘focus’ those people onto prayer and other contemplation and openness to God. Are we to engage in a mass iconoclassic ‘image-burning’, melting down works of art lest people be ‘confused’ (as some would think) by ‘idols?’ I think not.

For many Catholics–for many and varied reasons–the images and their effect for good upon us in helping us to focus on God–are a source for good. Thus, important. Who would not want others to be ‘focused’ on God, or grudge them a ‘tool’ which helps them?

“Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1192)

Sacred images are not absolutely necessary but I and many others find them are very helpful.

I need these reminders as much as I need the family photo album. Neither pave the way to salvation, but neither am I willing to part with pictures of my children, parents, wife, brothers, sisters, etc. or the images of my spiritual family. God bless.

Do we need them? Nope.

Do they help us out? Greatly!!! The more I see them them more I am reminded of God’s love for us. They are worth their weight in gold!

How can we then relate having images of Saints in Worshipping God in Spirit and Truth

Can you further explain your question. Having pictures of saints doesn’t take worship away from God.:shrug:

correct…

however, the bible-verse may tell us the non-indispensability of images in worshipping God insofar as truthfullness of our worship in God is concerned…

The author of Hebrews says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7) The images of Saints are simply visual aids intended to help us fulfill this command, to remember those who have gone before us who worshiped God in Spirit and Truth, to consider their holy lives, and ultimately to imitate their faith.

We are one family

**Ephesians 3:14-15 **

14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,

15from whom every family in heaven **and on earth derives its name,
**
Images and Statues

Deut. 4:15 - from this verse, Protestants say that since we saw “no form” of the Lord, we should not make graven images of Him.

Deut. 4:16 - of course, in early history Israel was forbidden to make images of God because God didn’t yet reveal himself visibly “in the form of any figure.”

Deut. 4:17-19 - hence, had the Israelites depicted God not yet revealed, they might be tempted to worship Him in the form of a beast, bird, reptile or fish, which was a common error of the times.

Exodus 3:2-3; Dan 7:9; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32; Acts 2:3- later on, however, we see that God did reveal himself in visible form (as a dove, fire, etc).

Deut. 5:8 - God’s commandment “thou shall not make a graven image” is entirely connected to the worship of false gods. God does not prohibit images to be used in worship, but He prohibits the images themselves to be worshiped.

Exodus 25:18-22; 26:1,31 - for example, God commands the making of the image of a golden cherubim. This heavenly image, of course, is not worshiped by the Israelites. Instead, the image disposes their minds to the supernatural and draws them to God.

Num. 21:8-9 - God also commands the making of the bronze serpent. The image of the bronze serpent is not an idol to be worshiped, but an article that lifts the mind to the supernatural.

I Kings 6:23-36; 7:27-39; 8:6-67 - Solomon’s temple contains statues of cherubim and images of cherubim, oxen and lions. God did not condemn these images that were used in worship.

2 Kings 18:4 - it was only when the people began to worship the statue did they incur God’s wrath, and the king destroyed it. The command prohibiting the use of graven images deals exclusively with the false worship of those images.

1 Chron. 28:18-19 - David gives Solomon the plan for the altar made of refined gold with a golden cherubim images. These images were used in the Jews’ most solemn place of worship.

2 Chron. 3:7-14 - the house was lined with gold with elaborate cherubim carved in wood and overlaid with gold.

Ezek. 41:15 - Ezekiel describes graven images in the temple consisting of carved likenesses of cherubim. These are similar to the images of the angels and saints in many Catholic churches.

Col. 1:15 - the only image of God that Catholics worship is Jesus Christ, who is the “image” (Greek “eikon”) of the invisible God.

Scripture Catholic
scripturecatholic.com/sacramentals.html

Yes Todd Easton,

Can you please clarify what it means by Worshipping in Spirit and Truth…

In Spirit?

In Truth?

yes fellowChristian,

tnx for those verses…

So how does this verses don’t take away our worshipping God in Spirit and truth?

Well, we aren’t worshiping on Mt. Gerizim or in Jerusalem anymore. Jesus entered into the heavenly temple, the real McCoy. So, what is up there? Well, there is an altar, a throne, angels, a bunch of saints all worshiping, etc. I find the altar and the angels especially helpful visual aids, myself. All I can hear then is “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Oh, obviously Jesus is up there, too! I love Catholic churches. They totally draw me into the whole thing.

There are other things it could mean, but this is especially what statues and objects bring to mind.

Q:Can you please clarify what it means by Worshipping in Spirit and Truth?

John 4:24
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

IMHO- Knowing,loving and serving God without thinking about our fleshly desires. His word is truth and Paul tells us…

**
1 Timothy 3:15**
15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth

The church is the pillar and support of the truth.

Philippians 3:3
3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

Romans 2:29
29But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Colossians 2:11
11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;

Romans 6:6
6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

Galatians 5:24
24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Colossians 3:5
5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Perhaps you could explain how images and icons do (in your estimation) take away our worshiping God in Spirit and truth?

They serve to remind us (to supply for our defect) of the saints who have gone before us. We do not pray to an image, certainly! But we can pray in the midst of them, before them.

If we take these images as ‘something that have power in it,’ then in whatever angle we look at it, these images definitely take away our worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth…

Well then, don’t do that. :slight_smile: That’s not how Catholics (nor Orthodox) use images, icons, statues, or crucifixes. They have no power in them. They serve as visual reminders and as expressions of our faith.

Any Catholic that does that is deficient in their understanding of the use of sacred images and needs fraternal correction, because that is superstition. There is no inherent “power” in statues and objects, and that is what the Church teaches.

Now you will see people kneeling before a statue or holy picture and praying, but that is not worshipping the object or attributing any power to it, they are using the object as a visual aid in their prayers to God through the intercession of a saint or Mary or to God directly. Catholics know this very well, it is too bad that others don’t believe them and render false judgment and tell lies about them.

If a person has problems with the use of sacred images, then I suggest they don’t use them.

Man needs reminders. Images remind us of who we are, what we should strive for, and why we do what we do. So I’d say they’re pretty important.

Fredms3,

I mean no disrespect and certainly, I am not accusing you of anything; however, I happened to look at your profile and there you say that you are Catholic. How is it that you have no idea about prayer within the communion of saints? I know of no Catholic that takes “these images as something that have power in it.”

Are you by any chance married? Do you have children? Do you have pictures of your spouse and/or children? If you do… are you then an idolater? Well, it’s the same for Catholics. Our family is not just our wife, husband, mother, father or children. We include all the saints and Mary as our family as well. The Bible says that we are all one body united in Christ and since we are a Bible believing Church, we accept God’s word as Truth.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.