Prayer to the Saints


#1

I apologize if this is the wrong Forum. This may belong in Spirituality.

I was raised Lutheran, although my father was a Salvationist (Salvation Army) and I was recently attending a Fundamental/Evangelical church before God started calling me to the Roman Catholic Church (via friends, books from Scott Hahn, Jame Akin, Karl Keating, Peter Kreeft and the Surprised by Truth series).

I have a lot of anti-catholic history, including being raised to believe Roman Catholics worshiped idols and saints which was an abomination.

I long to celebrate Eucharist and am convinced of the tradition of the Church. One thing that I am still struggling with prayers to Mary and the Saints.

I understand praying to the Saints as ‘conversation’ with the Saints that are now with God and they can intercede for us, just like I ask friends in a prayer group to intercede for me, the difference is the Saints are already Sanctified and they have powerful intercession. This makes sense and I have prayed asking for intercession.

The stumbling block for me is the priority. It seems as if there is a preference to pray to Mary and the Saints over praying to the God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Can somene help here?:confused:


#2

I’m a recent convert to the Catholic Faith and I find I do just the opposit. I rarely pray to the saints. I do though, pray often to Mother Mary, for it was She who introduced me to Her son Jesus Christ. :thumbsup:
I have alot of problems with my son, so for me, praying to St. Monica makes sense, after all, her son gave her grief for over 30 years, now look at him, St. Augustine.

Alot of us just find comfort in knowing that saints who enjoy the presence of God in heaven, had the same kinds of troubles in their life while on earth, and look where they ended up! :smiley:

Don’t be put off with all us Catholics praying so much to saints, thats why we have them. What great role models :thumbsup:


#3

[quote=LostAndFound]I apologize if this is the wrong Forum. This may belong in Spirituality.

I was raised Lutheran, although my father was a Salvationist (Salvation Army) and I was recently attending a Fundamental/Evangelical church before God started calling me to the Roman Catholic Church (via friends, books from Scott Hahn, Jame Akin, Karl Keating, Peter Kreeft and the Surprised by Truth series).

I have a lot of anti-catholic history, including being raised to believe Roman Catholics worshiped idols and saints which was an abomination.

I long to celebrate Eucharist and am convinced of the tradition of the Church. One thing that I am still struggling with prayers to Mary and the Saints.

I understand praying to the Saints as ‘conversation’ with the Saints that are now with God and they can intercede for us, just like I ask friends in a prayer group to intercede for me, the difference is the Saints are already Sanctified and they have powerful intercession. This makes sense and I have prayed asking for intercession.

The stumbling block for me is the priority. It seems as if there is a preference to pray to Mary and the Saints over praying to the God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Can somene help here?:confused:
[/quote]

This may very well be a hangover from you anti-catholic days. At the next Mass you attened, count the Prayers to God and the ones to Saints. If you Pray the Daily Office, count the Prayers to God and the ones to Saints.


#4

First know that you can pray straight to God everytime if you want. But don’t worry because although you will hear a lot of prayer to the saints, especially Mary, you will always hear more to God. (at least in my own experience). Besides that, it never offends God for you to pray to his mother or the holy ones and ultimately he knows your thoughts anyway. If you asked your friends to pray for you everyday of your life, ten times a day, it would probably never seem like you were putting them before God. It would just be more prayer power for you. The only difference with the saints is that we can’t physically talk to them on earth so we have to “pray” to them to ask the same of them. Because Jesus is the head of the body, any prayer to the saints goes through Him first, unifying His body.


#5

As a revert to the faith, I completely understand what you mean. There are some people who **seem **to pray more to the Blessed Mother and the saint than to God. The only thing you need to worrry about is yourself. Look at the Mass. The prayers are directed at God, asking for help of ALL the faithful. And when you pray, feeling the way you do, try what I always used to do. Whenever I have a prayer request, I go to God first. Then I may go to Mary, or another Saint.

I did say used to do. Why? Because I sincerely prayed for another child for almost a year. (I now have 15, 11 and almost 3!) I would pray to God, then sometimes, His Blessed Mother and the Saints. I finally got to the point where it hurt so much that I could no longer go before God and ask once again. I cryed, literally, to my Mother. As a mother I felt she must have understood. The joy of carrying a child. Asked her to pray for me when I could not. Carry my prayers to Christ for me. As you can see, from the above, I was blessed with another beautiful child who is now almost 3. I give all glory to God for He answered it. But I give credit to the prayers of Mary for my beautiful boy. It was the request of His mother that He listened to. I think God was trying to show me how honoring His mother takes nothing away from Him. I am slowly moving closer and closer to Mary, and find with each step towards her, I take 2 to her Son.

I am sorry I rambled a bit, but I pray it helps you in your walk.
God Bless
Maria


#6

When I was being instructed in the Catholic Faith there were so many aspects of the Faith that I had to learn…

As I recall, looking back over the past years, (41), when I expressed concern over praying to the Saints and Mary, the priest who was instructing me told me not to be too concerned for now, just go straight to Jesus.

I followed that for a few years, as that is what I was most comfortable with being a former Baptist. Then I met a woman who had devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus and to St. Therese, the Little Flower. This led me to step out and start my first Novena to the Sacred Heart, which I prayed for many years.

Much later, ‘the seeds’ of St. Therese would come to fruition when my father was dying…. He was a fallen away Catholic. Someone had sent him in a prayer to St. Therese and he began asking for her intercession. Hence, I began my first devotion to a Saint.

It was at this point in my life (5 years in the Faith) that I started to really explore the Saints, (late bloomer). Our Lady began to mean much more to me, I started praying the Rosary more and more… I started to really get into the richness of the Faith…I began to understand the meaning of suffering…(in a big way).

Everyone is different…the main thing to remember is that Mary and the Saints will ALWAYS lead you to Christ.

(Just an aside, I remember Mother Angelica saying that sometimes the Saints “pick us out” as is the case with ”The Little Flower”, who according to Mother A, is known for this. Has anyone else experienced this?)

:slight_smile:


#7

Any Scripture to support praying TO someone else other that God? What foundational teaching in the Bible is used for this practice? How do you feel this lines up with instructions such as the LORD’s prayer, or passages that state it is the Holy Spirit who interceeds for the saints? Why do you believe this doesn’t belittle Christs self-sacrifice removing the veil so that all may come to the Father?

Again, what didactic or narrative passages do you use, if any, for this practice of praying to/for the dead?


#8

We as believers are members of the body of Christ. We do not become separated from Christ’s body when we die, so Mary and the Saints can still pray for us; indeed, since they are free from sin their prayers are even more effective.
Praying to Mary and the saints does not ‘belittle’ Jesus any more than asking our friends and fellow churchgoers to pray for us does.


#9

I think it helps to remember that Saints are those who God
has infused such abundant grace, *His * grace, that they inherit some of His
power (and are thus capable of miracles). But it’s God’s power, His grace which he freely gave to them, and which they more
perfectly attained than many, because they so closely
’followed’ and ‘imitated’ Christ. They are not in *competition * with
God. They are His servants, and if you read some of their stories, you will realize that all of them showed extreme obedience to God.
They would not desire, nor could desire (being in God’s presence),
to take away from His glory. Contrarily, it is God who wants to give to them a participation in His glory (as he does all of us). It’s just that Saints did
it sooner (during their lifetimes) than most of us.
They are wonderful role models and friends, and not to be viewed as taking ‘anything’ away from God. On the contrary, they
magnify His glory! They are human beings, after all, who achieved what God wants of us all!!!

An apologist (?) once wrote:

"Catholics do not believe that God is parsimonious in
sharing his glory. He made us in his image and intended his
glory to be reflected through his creatures. A dubious logic
argues, "If God alone is all-glorious, then no one else is glorious
at all. No exaltation may be admitted for any creature, since this
endangers the exclusive prerogative of God. God shares his
glory with no one!"
Jesus, however, corrects this misunderstanding as he prays
to his Father: "The glory which thou hast given me I have given
to them (the disciples) that they may be one even as we are one.“
God’s glory rests on Jesus, and through Jesus on his followers
see Jn 17:1, 22). When this glory in God’s people is seen, others
are drawn to God, not diverted from God.
The principle is not hard to understand: the glory of the king is
revealed in the glory of his court. The greater the king, the greater
those who surround him at court. As Thomas Howard has put it:
What king surrounds himself with warped, dwarfish, worthless
cratures? The more glorious the king, the more glorious are
the titles and honors he bestows. The plumes, cockades,
coronets, diadems, mantles, and rosettes that deck his retinue
testify to one thing alone: his own majesty and munificence.
He is a very great king, to have figures of such immense dignity
in his train, or even better, to have raised them to such dignity.
These great lords and ladies, mantled and crowned with the
highest possible honor and rank, are precisely his vassals. This
glittering array is his court! All glory to him and, in him, glory and
honor to these others.”

When we pray to the Saints, begin "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, keeping in mind that they are presenting our petitions before the throne of Jesus,
requesting, on our behalf, our requests. They are more ‘in tune’ and ‘connected’ with
God, as they have achieved salvation. So, with this in mind, we know that God is the
ultimate goal. The Saints are in union with God, and certainly not a hinderance. Take advantage
of prayer to Saints and Mary. They are wonderful, loving family members who love God above all, and only
wish to help attain heaven for each of us!!!


#10

[quote=LostAndFound] I long to celebrate Eucharist and am convinced of the tradition of the Church. One thing that I am still struggling with prayers to Mary and the Saints.

The stumbling block for me is the priority. It seems as if there is a preference to pray to Mary and the Saints over praying to the God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Can somene help here?:confused:
[/quote]

Fear not. Our priority as Catholics is very clear. We are required to come together to offer God praise, thanksgiving, and worship every Sunday. At the Mass, we offer none of those things to the saints, even though Mary and the saints are mentioned rather often. Although we are taught that honor of Mary and the saints is appropriate, we are not required to pray to them.

In fact, I think that if you read the prayers of the Mass through, and notice the difference in treatment given to the Trinity vs. Mary and the other saints, you will have a clear illustration of the answer to your question, one that might be useful in demonstrating this difference to questioning non-Catholics:

In particular:
Go to the Penitential Rite: "I ask you, my brothers and sisters, the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, and all the angels and saints to pray for me to the Lord, our God…"
Go on to the Gloria: all glory to God, Father, Son, and Spirit…not Mary or the saints.
Go on to the Creed: again, Mary is honored for her special place in salvation history, but there is no worship of her, neither of the communion of saints.
Go to the Eucharistic prayer… again, the place of Mary and the saints is crystal clear. They intercede, they witness, but they do not ever receive worship.

I think this will convince you that your stumbling block comes from a fear that is unfounded… which, if true, would be a real stumbling block, indeed!


#11

About a month ago, I started praying the Litany to St Joseph on a daily basis.

(1) It is very much a prayer directed ultimately to God;
(2) It is a great reminder of many virtues that we should strive for in terms of placing God’s will before our own.
((3) It was a nice way of increasing my Latin vocabulary.)


#12

[quote=facedown]Any Scripture to support praying TO someone else other that God? What foundational teaching in the Bible is used for this practice? How do you feel this lines up with instructions such as the LORD’s prayer, or passages that state it is the Holy Spirit who interceeds for the saints? Why do you believe this doesn’t belittle Christs self-sacrifice removing the veil so that all may come to the Father?

Again, what didactic or narrative passages do you use, if any, for this practice of praying to/for the dead?
[/quote]

You question the reasons for intercessory pray by Mary and the Saints. Please note that in Eph 6:18-19 we read, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me,” and in 1 Tim 2:1 we read, “FIRST OF all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men,” In James 5:16 we are also told to “pray for one another.”

Now, it is clear from scripture that we are to engage in intercessory prayer. Moreover, the apostle James tells us that “the prayer of a just man availeth much.” In the book of Hebrews 12:22-23 it says that, “…you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” If the prayers of a just man availeth much, surely the prayers of “just men made perfect” will be of even greater effect.

You refer to all these people as “dead.” This is contrary to scripture. Jesus, himself, says in Matt 22:32 “‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” Those in heaven are more alive in Christ than we are. We also read in the Gospels that Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor. At the transfiguration Jesus is seen and heard speaking with Moses and Elijah.

The Catholic bible also contains the entirety of scripture. In 2 Maccabees 12:38-44 we read about prayer for the dead. In chapter 15 verses 11-16 we read about intercession by the saints.

Catholic understandings in this area are the most compatible with scripture, and are fully patterned on what we know of the heavenly members of the body of Christ. This practice in no way changes or modifies our understandings of the Holy Spirit nor does it belittle Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It’s important to keep in mind that we are all members of the body of Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 8:33-39, “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Those who are part of the body of Christ in heaven are still connected to those that are members of the body of Christ on earth.

And yes, through Jesus, they are in some ways aware of what is happening on earth. Those in heaven are as Jesus tells us, “like angels.” And scripture tells us in Luke 15:10, " Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Obviously, those in heaven know something about what’s happening on earth. The bible gives us numerous examples of angels interacting with men. The book of Revelation 6:9 also cites an example of the martyrs being aware that God has not yet avenged their blood. This is not an exhaustive list of passages but it is sufficient to show that this is all part of God’s divine plan. God’s plan works only for good and everything within it magnifies and glorifies the Lord. None of it detracts from God in any way.


#13

Pray tell, don’t even those who reject prayer to the saints regularly pray to friends and family to pray for them? Many who argue that Christ, as the one mediator, must hold that position ALONE quite often give prayer requests to others. The objection is not knowing hypocrisy, just a misunderstanding of what it is to pray. Over time, the verb “to pray” has come to be used exclusively in context with conversation with God, and in the Catholic usage, also the saints. Most have forgotten the archaic sounding phrases such as “pray tell,” “prithee,” etc., which place it in its true context. If you really have a problem with going to anyone other than Christ, then if you are going to be honest about it you need to stop asking fellow human beings to pray for you as well.

Since Pax covered Scriptural evidence quite well (thank you, by the way) I would also like to mention a compelling extra-biblical source, the practice of some of the earliest Christians. Evidence in the catecombs reveals that the persecuted Christians of ancient Rome celebrated their Mass on/over the tombs of the martyrs in order to also avail themselves of the martyrs’ intercession. This practice was continued in the Church through the use of the altar stone - containing under every altar in the world a relic of a saint.


#14

[quote=LostAndFound]I apologize if this is the wrong Forum. This may belong in Spirituality.

I was raised Lutheran, although my father was a Salvationist (Salvation Army) and I was recently attending a Fundamental/Evangelical church before God started calling me to the Roman Catholic Church (via friends, books from Scott Hahn, Jame Akin, Karl Keating, Peter Kreeft and the Surprised by Truth series).

I have a lot of anti-catholic history, including being raised to believe Roman Catholics worshiped idols and saints which was an abomination.

I long to celebrate Eucharist and am convinced of the tradition of the Church. One thing that I am still struggling with prayers to Mary and the Saints.

I understand praying to the Saints as ‘conversation’ with the Saints that are now with God and they can intercede for us, just like I ask friends in a prayer group to intercede for me, the difference is the Saints are already Sanctified and they have powerful intercession. This makes sense and I have prayed asking for intercession.

The stumbling block for me is the priority. It seems as if there is a preference to pray to Mary and the Saints over praying to the God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Can somene help here?:confused:
[/quote]

Well, in truth, the only reason and the only way they can here you is because God allows it. It all goes through the head, which is Christ, and you’re asking them to intercede for you. Lot’s of people make prayer to saints a conflict of interest (if you pray to Mary, you’re not praying to God, or if you honor St. Francis of Assisi, that’s honor you’re not giving to God, etc). It doesn’t work like that. All of it goes through God. If God didn’t allow them to do what they do, which is here prayers 24/7 from different people all over the world in different languages, then that would be the case.

Hope that helps!


#15

There’s lots of ways to answer this question. I hope this helps.

It’s not that we don’t go to God directly. We do. However,

  1. As scripture says, we are to pray for each other, and the prayers of a righteous person avail much. Therefore, it’ makes sense to ask someone we know is more righteous than we might be at the moment, to pray for us. And who do THEY [Mary and the saints] pray to, on our behalf? God

Next, it’s good to look at the definitions of “pray.”

  1. Webster’s 1913 Dictionary (Pray) ______________________

"n. & v. 1. See Pry. v. i. 1. To make request with earnestness or zeal, as for something desired; to make entreaty or supplication; to offer prayer to a deity or divine being as a religious act; specifically, to address the Supreme Being with adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving. [imp. & p. p. Prayed ; p. pr. & vb. n. Praying.] And to his goddess pitously he preyde. - Chaucer. When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. - Matt. vi. 6. I pray I beg; I request; I entreat you; - used in asking a question, making a request, introducing a petition, etc.; as, Pray, allow me to go.

I pray, sir. why am I beaten? - Shak. v. t. 1. To address earnest request to; to supplicate; to entreat; to implore; to beseech. And as this earl was preyed, so did he. - Chaucer. We pray you . . . by ye reconciled to God. - 2 Cor. v. 20. 2. To ask earnestly for; to seek to obtain by supplication; to entreat for. I know not how to pray your patience. - Shak. 3. To effect or accomplish by praying; as, to pray a soul out of purgatory. **To pray in aid a -[size=2] (((( http://www.netacc.net/~mafg/unity/smile.gif[/size] ))) To call in as a helper one who has an interest in the cause **b - A phrase often used to signify claiming the benefit of an argument. See under Aid."


Mary and the saints have an interest in our cause. Therefore, why not ask them specifically to pray for us? You know their prayers are going to be powerful. They see God face to face.


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