Mary as an intercessor?


#1

I am trying to learn more about the catholic faith. I had some questions about this issue and would appreciate some honest answers. Here is the response that I first received.
"you ask a good question. There are at least three issues that you raise in your questions, but these issues do not belong on this thread. If you need answers to the questions then it might be a good idea to start a new thread:

issue 1 What is meant by the term "intercessor"
issue 2 Why is Mary recognized as an “Intercessor” (please read John chapter 2 and if you still do not get it, then ask again)
issue 3. How can Mary be an intercessor after death? This is an issue that relates to what is meant in the Scripture by death. This is a separate issue from the first two issues and requires its own thread."
I did read John chapter 2 and I still don’t get it. Also I would like an explanation of the other two issues as well. Thank you in advance for your response. I really would like to have an educated understanding of this issue.
:tiphat:


#2

[quote=HilaryJ]I am trying to learn more about the catholic faith. I had some questions about this issue and would appreciate some honest answers. Here is the response that I first received.
"you ask a good question. There are at least three issues that you raise in your questions, but these issues do not belong on this thread. If you need answers to the questions then it might be a good idea to start a new thread:

issue 1 What is meant by the term "intercessor"
issue 2 Why is Mary recognized as an “Intercessor” (please read John chapter 2 and if you still do not get it, then ask again)
issue 3. How can Mary be an intercessor after death? This is an issue that relates to what is meant in the Scripture by death. This is a separate issue from the first two issues and requires its own thread."
I did read John chapter 2 and I still don’t get it. Also I would like an explanation of the other two issues as well. Thank you in advance for your response. I really would like to have an educated understanding of this issue.
:tiphat:

[/quote]

All of us should be intercessors. Every Christian should use intercessory prayer. Mary did so by asking Jesus to take care of the situation at the wedding. Jesus did so. In heaven Mary continues to pray for us. Why shouldn’t she? She is in the presence of God, still loves us, and so asks him to give us what we need. Just because you are in heaven doesn’t mean you stop loving others and asking God to bless them. If anything you are more inclined to pray for others. I hope this helps.


#3

I understand, and believe that we should pray for one another. I guess I just don’t understand how Mary can even hear your prayers since she is in heaven. Also if you can offer your prayers to God via Jesus directly why pray to someone who is dead. While I understand praying for our living brothers and sisters, I just don’t understand the concept of prayer to anyone other than God, much less the how. Thanks again.


#4

What scripture(s) support Mary as an intercessor? I have found references to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Is the term “intercessor” thought of as the only avenue?

LAUS DEO

BIC


#5

[quote=HilaryJ]I understand, and believe that we should pray for one another. I guess I just don’t understand how Mary can even hear your prayers since she is in heaven. Also if you can offer your prayers to God via Jesus directly why pray to someone who is dead. While I understand praying for our living brothers and sisters, I just don’t understand the concept of prayer to anyone other than God, much less the how. Thanks again.
[/quote]

First of all, when we say “pray” to Mary we don’t mean “worship”. The word “pray” used to have two common meanings. Now it has primarily one. It used to also mean to “make a fervent request or entreaty” or, “To ask (someone) imploringly; beseech.” So, we simply asking Mary to pray for us. That’s it. We’re asking her to intercede to God on our behalf through prayer, just like you would ask me or I would ask you. The difference is (and the reason to ask for her prayers) Mary is so much holier than you or I, that one would imagine her prayers to have much more efficacy than ours.


#6

Remember, Hilary, that God is God of the Living. . .not the dead.
That statement right there, coupled with Paul’s epistles and the testimony of the gospels, shows us that we are the living, and that, dead to sin, we live in Christ. Do we only “live in Christ” on this earth? Of course not! He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Those who have died, or, as Paul himself says, “fallen asleep in Christ”, are, and have been understood to be since apostolic times, still united to God’s Church. They are members of the Church Suffering or the Church Triumphant, as opposed to those of us actually living today, who are members of the Church Militant. As we are members of the body of Christ, which is made up of many parts.

At the Last Judgment, we shall all become members of the Church Triumphant. Then, no longer as “through a glass darkly” but “face to face”, no longer knowing partially but fully knowing, we shall be joined to those saints already in heaven to praise our Lord and God. Since we know from scripture in Revelation that the prayers of those in heaven are offered to God and heard (in the bowls and censures) and that the prayers of those on earth are heard as well (Jesus tells us this. . .“ask, and you shall receive. . .”), how could those in heaven, partakers of the Beatific Vision, united to God, not be aware of the prayers of those on earth? How could they, fully sharing in God’s presence and fully able to rejoice and praise Him, NOT join with those of us praying and praising God while here on earth??

It seems to me that those who think that people “in heaven” are somehow not aware of those “on earth” have limited God. That they think that because they don’t see, hear, or feel those in heaven the way they do those on earth, that the people in heaven likewise can’t see, hear, or feel those on earth. The saints are in heaven with GOD ALMIGHTY, united to God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, and all-mighty–yet somehow their union is so limited, and God’s power so limited, that the saints are completely cut off from what those on earth are imagining is the experience in heaven? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Here we are, on a sphere in a small galaxy, subject to a 3 dimensional time/space area. Limited, imperfect, by the words of Scripture.

There the saints are, in heaven, limitless, unbounded, perfect, unsubjected to time/ space, by the words of Scripture.

Yet our “earthly” experience is presumed to be more full, more rich, more aware of God and more united to Him than the experience of those who have actually died, been judged, and are experiencing perfect unity with God Himself???

It does not compute. . .


#7

Hilary, people in heaven are not “dead.” Having entered eternal life, they are more alive than we are. As for Mary or any other saint being able to hear us, when Protestants (or more usually, anti-Catholics) wish to deny the possibility of communication between those in heaven and us on earth, they usually cite Luke 16:26, where Abraham tells the rich man: “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.” Yet Abraham (who is a saint), is having a cozy little chit-chat across the “great chasm.” Since this parable is told by Our Lord himself, it certainly points to the possibility that there is communication in the Communion of Saints. (Perhaps the concept of the Communion of Saints is foreign to you? If so, we can look at that as part of this thread.)

The fact that there is communication between the rich man (a.k.a. Dives - Latin for “rich man”) and Abraham also points to the identification of Hades (where Dives is) as a place other than hell – but that’s another issue also.

Using this parable as a template, we can safely assume that the souls in heaven, perfected in love, and no longer in the body as we know it, are in true communion with us who still struggle on earth. They are fully “in Christ” and in him they are surely aware of us and care for us just as he is and does. Any “power” attributed to Mary or the other Saints comes because of their union with Christ. All is Christ.


#8

[quote=BIC]What scripture(s) support Mary as an intercessor? I have found references to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
[/quote]

BIC, at Cana, Mary “intercedes” for the hosts of the wedding when she tells Jesus they have no wine. When he balks, she goes to the servants and bids them “do whatever he tells you.” In other words, she uses her influence on behalf of those who need the help of Jesus.

[quote=BIC]Is the term “intercessor” thought of as the only avenue?

[/quote]

Are you asking if the word “intercessor” needs to appear in Scripture in order for an intercession to have occurred? If so, then the answer would be no. The word need not be used for the action to have taken place. Is that your question?


#9

I wish to address Mercygate’s points about the Saints not being dead. (Please bear in mind I am a Catholic although I have issues with my faith at the moment and am seriously contemplating leaving the Church permanently).

How do we know if the Saints are dead? As in how do we know if they entered eternal life? Only God can look into you and know if you are saved and yet Catholics pray to people who may not be in Heaven. I don’t know what I think about this personally yet, I just think it opens up more thinking on this issue.

Mary the Mother of Our Lord is almost certainly in Heaven as she was the perfect example of christianity. But what about some of the other saints? How can one be sure their prayers are heard? Salvation is an often questioned issue and as a Catholic I have been taught it is never guaranteed. So how do we know if all these saints who are prayed to have indeed entered eternal life and are answering our prayers?


#10

All I can tell you is that my son was a drug addict for 5 years. We did everything the police, courts and drug councilors told us to do. I also prayed for him. Nothing seemed to work. Then one night at Adoration I felt that Jesus told me to let him go and turn him over to Mary. I did this and he has been clean for over a year. I continue to pray for him but my mind is a peace knowing that Mary is looking out for him. He does not yet belive she is, but I know that someday he will.


#11

[quote=mercygate]Are you asking if the word “intercessor” needs to appear in Scripture in order for an intercession to have occurred? If so, then the answer would be no. The word need not be used for the action to have taken place. Is that your question?
[/quote]

Hi Mercygate

Here is where I struggle with Mary as an intercessor. We ask each other to pray for us i.e… family , friends…etc… But to pray to something dead (speculation on how or if she is used at the present time), does GOD need help? up there? I do agree she is blessed among women and she demonstrated her hospitality to her guest. (Cana) but sometimes it seems Mary is elevated beyond what GOD may desire? (speculation on my part). I use John The Baptist as an example

Luke 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

How can one elevate Mary or any other Saint. Who is the least in heaven is the greatest.

hope this make sense

BIC

LAUS DEO


#12

[quote=BIC]Hi Mercygate

Here is where I struggle with Mary as an intercessor. We ask each other to pray for us i.e… family , friends…etc… But to pray to something dead (speculation on how or if she is used at the present time), does GOD need help? up there? I do agree she is blessed among women and she demonstrated her hospitality to her guest. (Cana) but sometimes it seems Mary is elevated beyond what GOD may desire? (speculation on my part). I use John The Baptist as an example

Luke 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

How can one elevate Mary or any other Saint. Who is the least in heaven is the greatest.

hope this make sense

BIC

LAUS DEO
[/quote]

That passage in Luke is saying that anyone in heaven is greater than anyone in earth. Is Mary in heaven? The angel called Mary “Full of Grace” so I would say she is. Is it ok for her to pray for you? As I stated in an earlier post:

First of all, when we say “pray” to Mary we don’t mean “worship”. The word “pray” used to have two common meanings. Now it has primarily one. It used to also mean to “make a fervent request or entreaty” or, “To ask (someone) imploringly; beseech.” So, we are simply asking Mary to pray for us. That’s it. We’re asking her to intercede to God on our behalf through prayer, just like you would ask me or I would ask you. The difference is (and the reason to ask for her prayers) Mary is so much holier than you or I, that one would imagine her prayers to have much more efficacy than ours.


#13

[quote=teresas1979]I wish to address Mercygate’s points about the Saints not being dead. (Please bear in mind I am a Catholic although I have issues with my faith at the moment and am seriously contemplating leaving the Church permanently).

How do we know if the Saints are dead? As in how do we know if they entered eternal life? Only God can look into you and know if you are saved and yet Catholics pray to people who may not be in Heaven. I don’t know what I think about this personally yet, I just think it opens up more thinking on this issue.
[/quote]

How do we know that the Saints are in heaven?

This is determined by a process known as canonisation. You should have heard of it.

The Church maintains a canon (list) of those heroic and examplary departed Christians who are known to be in the direct presence of God in heaven. These are the canonised saints.

A Saint is proposed for listing (canonisation) on the basis of the life that person has lived on earth, and their witness to God. There is a formal process that takes many years in which the proposed Saint’s life is minutely examined, to see if anything unworthy may be found that would preclude their Sainthood. That is not all. To be absolutely sure that no mistake has been made, at least one proven miracle is required that has been obtained from God through the intercession of that Saint.

Once all the procedures have been gone through, the Church is sure that person is a heavenly Saint whose intercession may be requested.

Mary the Mother of Our Lord is almost certainly in Heaven as she was the perfect example of christianity. But what about some of the other saints? How can one be sure their prayers are heard? Salvation is an often questioned issue and as a Catholic I have been taught it is never guaranteed. So how do we know if all these saints who are prayed to have indeed entered eternal life and are answering our prayers?

Hopefully the above information helps answer your question.


#14

Axion

Yes I understand the process of canonisation (at least most of it!) but what I was trying to get at is that there have been some saints whose lives have since been called into question - St Christopher is a good example.

There has been more speculation about him to the point where many have seen him as a fraud - I don’t know the Church’s official stance on this but a priest refused to bless a St Christopher medallion. How can we be SURE the Church is without error in canonisation if hundreds of years later a saints “sainthood” is called into question?

As I said I don’t know the official position on St Christopher so forgive me if I have spoke out of turn


#15

[quote=Axion]How do we know that the Saints are in heaven?

This is determined by a process known as canonisation. You should have heard of it.

The Church maintains a canon (list) of those heroic and examplary departed Christians who are known to be in the direct presence of God in heaven. These are the canonised saints.

A Saint is proposed for listing (canonisation) on the basis of the life that person has lived on earth, and their witness to God. There is a formal process that takes many years in which the proposed Saint’s life is minutely examined, to see if anything unworthy may be found that would preclude their Sainthood. That is not all. To be absolutely sure that no mistake has been made, at least one proven miracle is required that has been obtained from God through the intercession of that Saint.

Once all the procedures have been gone through, the Church is sure that person is a heavenly Saint whose intercession may be requested.

Hopefully the above information helps answer your question.
[/quote]

This is pure speculation isnt it. Man does not know the will of GOD or another mans heart. So how can this be proven?

BIC

LAUS DEO


#16

[quote=Tmaque]That passage in Luke is saying that anyone in heaven is greater than anyone in earth. Is Mary in heaven? The angel called Mary “Full of Grace” so I would say she is. Is it ok for her to pray for you? As I stated in an earlier post:

First of all, when we say “pray” to Mary we don’t mean “worship”. The word “pray” used to have two common meanings. Now it has primarily one. It used to also mean to “make a fervent request or entreaty” or, “To ask (someone) imploringly; beseech.” So, we are simply asking Mary to pray for us. That’s it. We’re asking her to intercede to God on our behalf through prayer, just like you would ask me or I would ask you. The difference is (and the reason to ask for her prayers) Mary is so much holier than you or I, that one would imagine her prayers to have much more efficacy than ours.
[/quote]

Greetings

How do you know that Mary is in council with GOD? Is this something that you want to believe so its true?

BIC

LAUS DEO


#17

[quote=BIC]This is pure speculation isnt it. Man does not know the will of GOD or another mans heart. So how can this be proven?

BIC

LAUS DEO
[/quote]

I would agree with this statement. No matter what examinations we can make about the outer workings of men, we cannot ever fully know the inner workings of their hearts. Only God Almighty knows this. I still don’t understand why we need to pray that those already in heaven would pray for us. If they are truly saints and know what is going on on Earth, wouldn’t they do this anyway. Also if I can take my prayers directly to God, the only one who can answer them why would I pray to anyone else?
Thanks


#18

[quote=BIC]This is pure speculation isnt it. Man does not know the will of GOD or another mans heart. So how can this be proven?

BIC

LAUS DEO
[/quote]

NOT SO…
Matthew 7:16 By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.


#19

[quote=HilaryJ]I understand, and believe that we should pray for one another. I guess I just don’t understand how Mary can even hear your prayers since she is in heaven. Also if you can offer your prayers to God via Jesus directly why pray to someone who is dead. While I understand praying for our living brothers and sisters, I just don’t understand the concept of prayer to anyone other than God, much less the how. Thanks again.
[/quote]

Hi Hilary! :wave:

I think the term “pray to” may be thowing you off. To “pray to” someone in heaven is simply to ask him to pray for you, exactly like you may ask me. We do offer our prayers to God via Jesus, but not our prayer REQUESTS. No one asks God to pray FOR them, but to answer their prayers. Prayer REQUESTS are made of fellow Christians, be them in the body or out.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#20

In St. John’s Revelation we find the Saints interceding and that they are very aware of what’s happening on earth. Two such examples: In Rev. 5:8 (also Rev. 8:3-4) the elders stand before the throne of the Lamb, before the altar in the heavenly sanctuary. They sing hymns of praise and offer up the prayers of the saints on earth, prayer which rises like billowing clouds of incense. In Rev. 6:9-10 the martyred saints are praying imprecatory prayers against their murderers, urging the Lord to avenge their deaths.

This demonstrates that their life in Glory is not one of stasis or passivity, but that they are actively engaged in the life of Glory and all that pertains to it. If they are calling for vengeance (according to the Will of God, since they will not pray against His Will) – and a definite activity, how much more so will they be active by His Grace in praying that God’s Holy Will be accomplished in the lives of His people who yet remain on earth? Divine charity is not lessened, but increased in Heaven.

There is also Hebrews 12:1-2: “With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies before us.”

Hebrews 7:22-25: “This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

What is true of Jesus is true of us (by Grace) and for us who believe in Him. That is why there is a “cloud of witnesses” hovering around the living.

It is because of their (the Saints) incorporation into the Person of Jesus Christ that they (and the saints on earth) are able to participate in His righteous prayer. (It’s important to have a deep sense of Christ’s indwelling in His Body, the Church, and in each member of that Body; without that sense it’s difficult, then, to “see” the interconnectedness of all the members with the Head and with each member no matter if they are on earth or in Heaven.)

Further, we also know from Scripture that the angels watch over man (including the Son of Man: Mt. 4:11 & Lk. 22:43); therefore they are aware of man’s needs (not on their own power, of course, but by the power they are given by God). Since the angels are to be subject to us, why would the power of men and women in glory now be less than that of these angelic servants of God?

The experience of Catholics in our Communion in Christ which we enjoy with our Blessed Mother and our brothers and sisters the Saints, testifies to an ever deepening awareness and love of God. Far from distracting us from love of the Most Holy Trinity, our unity within the Communion of Saints only fosters greater attentiveness to living faithfully in His Light. “I reassure anyone who cares: Devotion to Mary brings us closer to Christ and does the job more quickly than ignoring her does,” (Fr. Mateo, “Refuting the Attack on Mary”, Catholic Answers).

continued. . .


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