May Convert...but...A few questions first (Part 1) Praying to saints


#1

Okay, here’s my deal. I want to convert to Catholicism, because I’m tired of attending Protestant churches week after week to only experience 3/4 of the sermon is music. I barely learn anything and it appears to be consistent. It is as though at this point no one goes to learn, rather to listen and have a great social hour. I gave up on my youth group, considering it only lead to who was dating who and why young Johnny broke up with young Susie.

Therefore, I would prefer to leave somewhere truly feeling as though I had just worshipped. It probably shouldn’t, but the visual appeal of the building of a typical Catholic church also fuels desire to convert. When I went to one for a funeral once, I literally felt as though I entered the house of God. The formality, tradition, sincerity, and ancient practices really got me interested in Catholicism.

Alright, now that you understand why I’m interested, I have a few problems.

  1. Praying to saints - I’ve always been taught only to pray to God

Please understand that I’m not challenging you. I want these issues clarified. I want them to work. To be a part of the original church, the very church that Jesus himself commanded to be built is very comforting. I want to be a member of the church that can trace back to the very first followers of Jesus Christ. That is just so amazing to me. Just sit and think about it. All of you are already members of the very first church dating back 2,000 years ago. Please clear these issues up so I can be too.

Would I be accepted?


#2

Permit me to give you very short answers. Myself or someone else can expound on these.

Praying to Saints means asking for their intercession to pray for you. It is the same as when Paul asks people to pray for him in the Bible. We pray to saints because as members of the Body of Christ, they no longer cease to be able to pray for us once in heaven.

(Edited to deal with one topic)

You certainly would be accepted. I’m sure someone who has been through the Rite of Christian Initiation in the Church can guide you to where you can learn about joining the Catholic Church.

You have my good prayers in your journey. :slight_smile:


#3

Hi

I am an Ahmadi a peaceful Muslim.

I understand from some friends here that Protestantism and Catholicism are two different religions . I don’t nesessarily agree with them.

If you are not satified with the Protestantism, why don’t you become a free soul and give an equal chance to other Revealed Relgions also and excecise your free will in a logical and reasonalbe manner.

Thanks


#4

Prayer to the saints is not worship. It is asking for intercession in the same way that you might ask me to pray for you[See Eph 6:18-19]. Likewise, scripture tells us in Hebrews 12:23 that the saints in heaven are the souls of “just men made perfect.” Furthermore, we are told in the book of James that the “prayer of the just man availeth much.” Clearly, the souls of the just men made perfect are those that we would like to have praying for us. Any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine.

(Edited)


#5

All your questions are either common misconceptions of what Catholics believe or they are easily answered and I’m sure someone will do so. It is wise of you to want answers and not to just jump into something. Be assured we know Mary isn’t divine, the pope is protected by the Holy Spirit only from teaching false doctrine, and the fate of unbaptised babies is in the hands of a merciful God.

Of course you would be accepted.:stuck_out_tongue:


#6

I could never be anything but Christian. In any other religion God never cared enough about me to die for me and grant me a chance at paradise. Why would I want to worship such an uncaring and unloving God? Practicing any other religion would be…empty and pointless…to me. No religion can ever compare to the Truth of Christianity. Anyone who prays and seeks God’s will would never be led away from it.


#7

The full answer on confessing sins to a priest.

In the book of Genesis we read all about the fall of Adam and Eve and about Cain killing Able. While God knew exactly what had happened and what sins had been committed, God still asks Adam and Eve [see Gen 3:11-14] what they had done. Again, when Cain kills Able in Gen 4:10, God asks Cain “What have you done?” God wants us to confess and it is therefore necessary for us to do so.

So where does the priest fit in? In Leviticus 5:5-6 we have a solid prefiguring/foreshadowing of confession and this is carried over into the New Covenant. In Lev. 5:5-6 it says, “When a man is guilty in any of these, he shall confess the sin he has committed, and he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord for the sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.” Note how the penitent must confess and take his sin offering to the priest, and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin. This requires knowledge of the sin on the part of the priest.

In the New Testament we have a number of verses that refer to the authority to forgive sins. In Matthew 9:6-8, we read “But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic --“Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men." Notice how scripture says that such authority had been given to men. This is significant and is not merely a coincidence. This is the inspired word of God.

The question of authority and power to forgive sin is given obviously to Jesus and this is further affirmed in Matthew 28:18 where we are told, "And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

So just how is this authority transfered to the apostles and their successors? In John 20:21-23 "Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” This is an incredible set of verses. They are rich in meaning and power. Notice that Jesus sends the apostles in the same way that the Father sent Him. The Father sent Jesus with all power and authority which included the power to forgive sins. So also Jesus sends the apostles. Jesus breathes on the apostles and says, “receive the Holy Spirit.” There is only one other time in all of scripture where God breathes on man, and that is in Genesis when God breathes life into Adam. This is a significant moment in the upper room and it is at this moment that Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven: if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”

Later in the new testament scriptures we find additional verses that speak to confession and reconciliation. The most significant are the following:

2 Corinthians 5: 17-20
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

James 5:14-15
Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters [priests] of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (“presbyter” is the root word from which we get the term priest)

James 5:16
Therefore confess you sins to one another….

Matthew 18:18
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (In Jewish culture and faith the power to bind and loose carries a juridical dimension and has application to the forgiveness of sin)


#8

Dear HomeRun,

May God Bless your searching!

You truly have a sincere heart.

about your Protestant family, yes, salvation is possible for them if they just follow their conscience.

God only expects persons to do their best to seek out Divine Truth, and God’s Help to live it as best as they can.

Toward that end, Jesus can save people in such a condition if they are not Catholic or even not Christian. There can be many obstacles that can prevent a person from being able to fully accept Catholic doctrine that are not due to any serious fault of their own. In such instances, Jesus can save them despite their PARTIAL errors. These conditions can include (and this is a very common one) innocent misconceptions,

… (and while we’re on that, Mary is not Divine. THe angels are morally perfect, but not Divine. They are only FINITELY morally perfect, but the amount of love they have for God is only finite measure, as opposed to God, whose Love is Immeasurable. So then Mary was, by God’s preventative and ongoing grace, preserved from sin. Her love is God was always perfect but only, even now, FINITE, like the angels)…

innocent ignorance, or psychological or emotional wounds.

Therefore, there will still be hope for your Protestant loved ones. So don’t despair.

about praying to saints, I have good long article on this, on my site:

Intercession of the Saints

The Pope is not impeccable (he can not only sin but go to hell.)
He is infallible in teaching, but only for the sake of the Church, not himself. But despite the fact that God protects the papacy from formally teaching error in the supreme sense, the pope could still commit mortal sins and end up in hell. But Christ will not allow his sin to interfere with our ability to get the formal truth on faith and morals without error.

About the ferventness of Protestants, you might read this:

Protestants can be Holier

I pray God bless you, homerun. you will surely get all the answers you need to come home here.

Peace be with you.

In His Love,
scott
:slight_smile: :gopray:


#9

I was baptized a Protestant, embraced Orthodoxy. I had a lot of problems too.

  1. Praying to saints - I’ve always been taught only to pray to God

Look at Job. God TELLS the “friends” to have JOB pray for them. (Job 42:28). Similar with Abraham and Abimelech (Gen. 20:7). Had their been ten righteous in Sodom, the whole city would have been saved for their sake, per Abraham’s intercession, as God overlooked the sins of the Kings of Judah for the sake of their father David (I Kings 15:4-5).

And when Christ heals the paralytic, He sees THEIR faith, and tells the paralytic YOUR (sing.) sins are forgiven.

(Edited)


#10

Dear HomeRun,

It is good that you are looking into this, and I think that you will get very good answers here. Part of your problem has to do with misconceptions, which you can work out here and in the Spirituality and Apologetics sections.

Probably a good thing you are not looking into Orthodoxy, it is like Catholicism on steroids for some of these matters.

God speed to you as you work your way through these issues, grow in Faith and find your way into genuine Apostolic Christianity.

With prayers,*
Michael*


#11

This thread has been edited and pruned in order to deal with only one of the each of the OP’s 7 questions as per the Forum Rules.

My apologies to those who made excellent answers (and there were many!) that were lost in the process. Please feel free to locate the other 6 threads split off from this one and repost your answers.

You can easily find them by clicking on the OP’s name and then selecting “find all posts by…” from the list.
God bless you all.
MF


#12

Hi HR! :wave:

One thing that is often misunderstood (or sometimes completely misrepresented) about this is that prayer to the saints is not synonymous with worship or adoration. We Catholics adore and worship only God in the Holy Trinity, but we venerate and ask for the intercession of the saints.

It all comes down to an understanding of the Communion of Saints (Yeah, those are the notes on another John Martignoni Bible study. :slight_smile: ) and here is the link to the FREE MP3 download.

God bless you on your journey of faith! I’ll be praying for you.:signofcross:


#13

Welcome to the forums! :smiley:

I just converted myself, I’ve been Catholic for a full two weeks now! :extrahappy: I also came from a Protestant church, so dealt with many of the same issues as you are.

The thing that helped me the most in dealing with the Saints is the book “My Life With the Saints” by James Martin. It was helpful to read about how someone else relates to the Saints.

The way I think about it is we often ask other people to pray for us. As Catholics, we don’t think this stops because people die, in fact we think it is even better because now there are people in the very presence of God who can pray for us.

Also when I’m asking someone to pray for me, I will often ask someone who can understand what I’m going through. For example, if I’m dealing with crazy kids at work, I will often ask one of my other teacher friends, but if I’m dealing with crazy family, I will talk to my friends who also have crazy family to deal with. The same is true with the Saints. Often when I’m dealing with my crazy boys at work, I will pray to St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, because I figured she was patient in dealing with her son during his wild days, so she can identify with me dealing with “my” crazy boys.


#14

[SIGN]Hoorah Karen![/SIGN]


#15

Thanks! :smiley: I’m loving it. I’m quite certain that being Catholic is the coolest thing ever! :smiley: :thumbsup:


#16

Intercessory Prayer of Saints
Rom 15:30 - join me by your prayers to God on my behalf
Col 4:3, 1Thess 5:25 - pray for us
2Thess 1:11 - we always pray for you
2Thess 3:1 - finally, brothers, pray for us
Eph 6:18-19 - making supplication for all the saints & for me
Tob 12:12 - angel presents Tobit & Sarah’s prayer to God
Ps 148 - David calls upon angels
Zech 1:12 - angel intercedes for Jerusalem
Mk 12:25, Mt 22:30 - men in heaven are as the angels
Rev 5:8 - those in heaven offer prayers of the holy ones to God
Mk 12:26-27 - he is God of the living, not of the dead
Mk 9:4 - Jesus seen conversing with Elijah & Moses
Lk 9:31 - Elijah & Moses aware of earthly events
Rev 6:9-11 - martyrs under altar want earthly vindication
Heb 12:1 - we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses
Lk 16:19-30 - departed rich man intercedes for brothers
Rev 20:4 - saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
Wis 3:1-6 - the souls of the just are in the hand of God
2Macc 15:7-16 - the departed Onias & Jeremiah pray for the Jews
Jas 5:16 prayers of righteous man
1 Cor. 13:12 - I shall understand fully
1 John 4: 20-21 - whoever loves God must love his brother
1 Cor 12:21 - parts of Christ’s Body cannot say to other parts, “I do not need you”.

Source: http://www.geocities.com/thecatholic…heatsheet.html

Let’s look at Rev 5:8

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;

Now, since those in heaven do not yet have their physical bodies, the only way they could be “holding” bowls of the prayers of the saints on earth is mentally.

That’s intercession. We don’t stop caring for one another once we are perfected in heaven.

catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9209fea1.asp


#17

Unfortunately, Eastern Orthodoxy has watered-down the ancient Christian tradition by rejecting the authority Christ bestowed to Peter and his successors to “feed his lambs” and “strengthen his brethren”.

geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/easternorthodoxy.html

HomeRun, be aware that if different liturgies appeal to you, there are many Eastern rites that are in communion with the Pope and the Catholic Church. However, I find the Latin rite to be very beautiful.


#18

One thing it helps to understand is that the primary definition of the word “pray” is "entreat, implore —often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea " and “to make a request in a humble manner” (depending on how you’re using the word). Using the word to exclusively describe talking to God is inaccurate, but is unfortunately the colloquial use of the word now. It’s primary use is sadly seen as archaic in modern society.

Prayer, asking or entreating, need not be limited to God. We may pray, ask or entreat, of a Saint or of a next door neighbor. In fact, this is what we are encouraged to do. 1 Timothy 2:1 says “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone”. We are called to pray and intercede for our fellow Christians. I ask my family to pray for me all the time. Praying to Saints just means that we don’t stop asking our fellow Christians to pray for me after they’ve gone to Heaven.


#19

Here is an example that I like to use with regard to the intercession of the Saints:

When I am in trouble here on earth, I can make a choice to trust only God, or I can make a choice to trust that God will send me the helpers that I need. (Saints are God’s helpers, right?)

If my car breaks down, which is more likely to be effective? Praying only to God for help, or praying to God, and calling my auto service to send someone to help me? (I hope you picked #2.) Does the fact that I called my auto service for help mean that I was “worshipping” them? (I hope you said, “No.”) If I say “thank you” to the mechanic and give him a little tip in addition to his wages, am I “worshipping” him?

When we pray to the Saints, we are doing several things, and none of them are the same thing as worshipping God.

Sometimes we praise the Saints for their virtues. There is nothing the matter with praising people for their virtues. In fact, manuals on effective communication tell us that praise and encouragement are extremely important for others. (The greatest gift you can give to your child is to tell him what you like about him. Obviously, or at least I hope, we don’t worship our children.)

Other times, we ask them for various kinds of spiritual help. It’s okay to ask other people for help. The Saints are not bound and gagged, unable to move or to assist us, and we know that various Saints have certain favourite causes that they support. St. Anthony, for example, loves to help people find lost objects. St. Jude loves the challenge of impossible situations. St. Gianna has a special love of unborn children. Etc. So we can pray to these Saints to help us in these kinds of situations.

And other times, we ask them to pray on our behalf to God. I hope you are in the habit of asking others to pray for you - and since the Saints love us with perfect brotherly/sisterly love, it makes good sense for us to ask for their prayers.

We can do all this because we believe firmly that good Christians do not remain dead - they are raised to eternal life in Heaven, and are even more alive right now than we are!!

There are those who will try to tell you that the Saints can’t hear you, or that the Saints don’t have this kind of power - and when I hear that sort of thing, I just have to wonder to myself what sort of Heaven those people believe in. Isn’t Heaven supposed to be better than here? So, if we can and should help each other here on earth, then there is absolutely no reason for the Saints not to be able to do so even more. :slight_smile:


#20

doesnt Job end at verse 42:17?

Anyway, how can saints hear people praying to them simultaneously? Do they have some sort of omnipresence?


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