Praying to saints/Mary


#1

Hello…this is my first post, although I’ve been lurking here for a while now. You guys/gals are awesome! So knowledgable yet friendly to all.

Anyway, enough of the kissing up :slight_smile:

On another forum, I’ve somehow become engaged in a discussion with non-Catholics. Of course, they are bombarding me with questions/problems with the church. So far, I’ve been able to patiently handle most of their points (thanks to a lot of info here and at www.scripturecatholic.com, thanks for the link!), but the one question that has me stumped deals with praying to Mary and the saints. I can give examples of people asking others to pray for them and others, but I was asked if there are any references in the bible where a request was made to a person in heaven. I’m stumped so far. Any suggestions?

Dave W


#2

[quote=dwolstro]Hello…this is my first post, although I’ve been lurking here for a while now. You guys/gals are awesome! So knowledgable yet friendly to all.

Anyway, enough of the kissing up :slight_smile:

On another forum, I’ve somehow become engaged in a discussion with non-Catholics. Of course, they are bombarding me with questions/problems with the church. So far, I’ve been able to patiently handle most of their points (thanks to a lot of info here and at www.scripturecatholic.com, thanks for the link!), but the one question that has me stumped deals with praying to Mary and the saints. I can give examples of people asking others to pray for them and others, but I was asked if there are any references in the bible where a request was made to a person in heaven. I’m stumped so far. Any suggestions?

Dave W
[/quote]

i don’t know of an incident like you are asking about…

but i do know that in Rev. 8: the angle is seen offering the prayers of men to God…

then in Rev. 5: 4 and 20 elders fell down before
the Lamb “having every one of them harps, and golden
vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”

does this help??

:slight_smile:


#3

Eph 6:18 says to pray to all the saints (in heaven).

I know there are references to praying to the osuls in heaven, I have not yet found them though.


#4

Thanks for the quick replies! In reading Ephesians 6:18, though, it sounds more like Paul is saying to pray for the holy ones rather than to them.

18 With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones
19 and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

I’ll have to check out the Revelation verses…

Again, thanks for the quick replies…much appreciated.


#5

Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. (Daniel 3:86, a deuterocanonical verse)

Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will! (Psalm 103:21-22)

Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! (Psalm 148:2)


#6

This question really deals with the results of the Incarnation. We have to keep in mind that when the NT was being written there wasn’t a wholesale persecution of Christians by the pagan world. And before the Incarnation the understanding of God by the Hebrews wasn’t incarnational. To them, God was a pure spirit and the dead were either just dead or they were resting in Abraham’s bosom–with no direct contact to God himself.

But, when the Son of God was conceived in the Virgin’s womb and incarnated as a human being, the understanding of God and our relationship with him fulfilled by the message of Jesus. He told those who didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead that the dead are not dead but are alive in God for God is the God of the living not of the dead.

With the redemption man’s relationship with God was restored so that we now can be with God in heaven. Those Christians who have gone before us are alive and aware and living outside of time in the eternal now, which is why they can hear us and can help us with their intercession.


#7

[quote=dwolstro]Thanks for the quick replies! In reading Ephesians 6:18, though, it sounds more like Paul is saying to pray for the holy ones rather than to them.

I’ll have to check out the Revelation verses…

Again, thanks for the quick replies…much appreciated.
[/quote]

That’s what I thought at first to. However, if “holy ones/saints” does in fact refer to even those in Heaven, then I think that regarding those who are in Heaven, the verse could only mean prayer to them, because they certainly don’t need us to pray for them, seeing as they are with God and all their needs are met. This is how I think of it, in my own words: bringing our prayers to them because our prayers are for them. Maybe that’s what the verse intended to convey.


#8

If that was confusing, let me try to clarify (I’m examining this whole verse from a grammatical point of view, which is probably a mistake anyway because I don’t have the slightest grasp of new testament greek or aramaic, or any ancient language). BTW, sorry for running this into the ground.
For an example if you were praying the act of contrition at confession, you’re praying to Jesus because it is for Him to forgive you your sins, throught the priest of course. Grammatically speaking, at least within the bounds of modern English, the prayer is to Him and forHhim at the same time.


#9

Basically, “supplication for all the saints” could have also meant “supplication to all the saints.”


#10

One interesting thought that I have encountered in doing some reading/research regarding the intercession of the saints pertains specifically to Luke 16:19-31. It is Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus. In it, we see both men having died–the rich man goes to a place where he is “tortured in flames” and Lazaraus (the poor beggar) goes to the bosom of Abraham. In Jesus’ account (which he never categorizes as a “parable”–important to note), the rich man, while in flames, appeals to Abraham to relieve him from the torture and warn his earthly family that they would not end up in the same place.

So, how does this apply to the intercession of the saints/Mary?

First, we see from Jesus’ perspective that God does indeed allow some sort of communication among his children after death.

Second, we see from Jesus’ perspective a situation in which someone apart from heaven, can appeal to someone in a state of “consolation” (perhaps not heaven, considering this account is told before the Resurrection) even after that person in the state of “consolation” has died.

Third, we see from Jesus’ perspective the possiblity of God allowing a saint who has passed on (dead is not the best word, since we are speaking about a state of eternity and Jesus’ has won for us the rewards of eternal LIFE) to intercede on behalf of someone who has not yet entered a heavenly state.

And lastly, this story is not met at all with any sort of balking or contention from the Jews and disciples listening to Jesus. This may imply that the idea of the intercession of the saints (such as Moses, Abraham, and the prophets) was not a point to which anyone listening objected. Jesus speaks of this account as though it were a natural communication that and we have no indication that this was a foreign idea to those who heard about it.

When we pray to the saints and Mary asking for their intercession, we are merely mirroring this same idea we find in Jesus’ story. We look to those whom we believe to be in eternal communion with God and we ask for their help and intercession as God allows. We do not communicate/pray to them apart from God for we know that it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that we can even have communion with the saints!


#11

[quote=Della]This question really deals with the results of the Incarnation. We have to keep in mind that when the NT was being written there wasn’t a wholesale persecution of Christians by the pagan world. And before the Incarnation the understanding of God by the Hebrews wasn’t incarnational. To them, God was a pure spirit and the dead were either just dead or they were resting in Abraham’s bosom–with no direct contact to God himself.

But, when the Son of God was conceived in the Virgin’s womb and incarnated as a human being, the understanding of God and our relationship with him fulfilled by the message of Jesus. He told those who didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead that the dead are not dead but are alive in God for God is the God of the living not of the dead.

With the redemption man’s relationship with God was restored so that we now can be with God in heaven. Those Christians who have gone before us are alive and aware and living outside of time in the eternal now, which is why they can hear us and can help us with their intercession.
[/quote]

Della, this is a great explanation. Thanks for sharing that.


#12

[quote=CollegeKid]Basically, “supplication for all the saints” could have also meant “supplication to all the saints.”
[/quote]

Thanks, CK. This makes a lot more sense.


#13

[quote=JaneFrances]One interesting thought that I have encountered in doing some reading/research regarding the intercession of the saints pertains specifically to Luke 16:19-31. It is Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus. In it, we see both men having died–the rich man goes to a place where he is “tortured in flames” and Lazaraus (the poor beggar) goes to the bosom of Abraham. In Jesus’ account (which he never categorizes as a “parable”–important to note), the rich man, while in flames, appeals to Abraham to relieve him from the torture and warn his earthly family that they would not end up in the same place.

So, how does this apply to the intercession of the saints/Mary?

First, we see from Jesus’ perspective that God does indeed allow some sort of communication among his children after death.

Second, we see from Jesus’ perspective a situation in which someone apart from heaven, can appeal to someone in a state of “consolation” (perhaps not heaven, considering this account is told before the Resurrection) even after that person in the state of “consolation” has died.

Third, we see from Jesus’ perspective the possiblity of God allowing a saint who has passed on (dead is not the best word, since we are speaking about a state of eternity and Jesus’ has won for us the rewards of eternal LIFE) to intercede on behalf of someone who has not yet entered a heavenly state.

And lastly, this story is not met at all with any sort of balking or contention from the Jews and disciples listening to Jesus. This may imply that the idea of the intercession of the saints (such as Moses, Abraham, and the prophets) was not a point to which anyone listening objected. Jesus speaks of this account as though it were a natural communication that and we have no indication that this was a foreign idea to those who heard about it.

When we pray to the saints and Mary asking for their intercession, we are merely mirroring this same idea we find in Jesus’ story. We look to those whom we believe to be in eternal communion with God and we ask for their help and intercession as God allows. We do not communicate/pray to them apart from God for we know that it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that we can even have communion with the saints!
[/quote]

Thanks, JF. I was thinking of this story as well, but couldn’t come up with how it fit. Your explanation straightens it out…


#14

I am new at this and it is my first post! I am just wondering and confused…where doed the Bible give the idea that we are supposed to pray to Mary at all? [FONT=Arial]Thanks for any info!! :slight_smile: [/FONT]


#15

[quote=Phil467]I am new at this and it is my first post! I am just wondering and confused…where doed the Bible give the idea that we are supposed to pray to Mary at all? [font=Arial]Thanks for any info!! :slight_smile: [/font]
[/quote]

Here’s a question for you, and its a serious one, but where does the bible explicitly say that every Christian practice must be spelled out in the bible?

Anyway, to answer your question, the Bible says that prayers of the righteous availeth much, and who more righteous than those in heaven. So when we “pray” to Mary, we are asking her to pray for us, because we know that Jesus always grants the will of his mother (i.e. the wedding of Cana, and the fact that the King, Jesus, always grants the wishes of the Queen, who is Mary by virtue of being the kings mother).

Therefore, it’s logical, and has always been practiced by Christians. Also, Jesus gave Mary to all Christians with his dying words on the cross to Mary and St. John (woman, behold your son, son, behold your mother), and his words would only make sense if it was for Christians of all generations.


#16

[quote=Phil467]I am new at this and it is my first post! I am just wondering and confused…where doed the Bible give the idea that we are supposed to pray to Mary at all? [FONT=Arial]Thanks for any info!! :slight_smile: [/FONT]
[/quote]

It doesn’t. But Christian tradition, handed down from the earliest days of the Church, does.


#17

But what about these verses that clearly say Christ is the ONLY mediator between us and God?

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

How do these verses teach that Mary is the mediator???


#18

[quote=Phil467]But what about these verses that clearly say Christ is the ONLY mediator between us and God?
[/quote]

Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you? Isn’t this using a HUMAN as a mediator between you and God? Understand that the there are only two differences between asking Mary to pray for you rather than having your Uncle Charles pray for you 1) Mary is closer to God (she is His mother, free from sin, experiencing the beatific vision), and 2) is outside of time, meaning that she can make a LOT more prayers than any friend you have on earth.


#19

[quote=Aaron I.]Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you? Isn’t this using a HUMAN as a mediator between you and God? Understand that the there are only two differences between asking Mary to pray for you rather than having your Uncle Charles pray for you 1) Mary is closer to God (she is His mother, free from sin, experiencing the beatific vision), and 2) is outside of time, meaning that she can make a LOT more prayers than any friend you have on earth.
[/quote]

Asking a human to pray for me is using that human as another “mediator” between me and Christ…According to Paul Christ is still the mediator between that other person and God, I don’t ask that person to pray to Mary…also, if Mary was without sin, then why did she need a saviour??


#20

[quote=Phil467]Asking a human to pray for me is using that human as another “mediator” between me and Christ…According to Paul Christ is still the mediator between that other person and God, I don’t ask that person to pray to Mary…also, if Mary was without sin, then why did she need a saviour??
[/quote]

You display a misunderstanding of Catholic teaching, but it’s a common misunderstanding. If Mary prays for me, she is praying to God through Jesus, so Jesus is still the only mediator between God and man. It is just as if I had asked a friend on earth to pray for me, except that Mary has completed a holy life and is with God in Heaven. The prayers of the righteous are effective, and what human being is more righteous than the vessel chosen to bear the incarnation of God?
Yes, Mary needed a savior. No one denies this. She was saved by the grace of God through Christ’s death just like anyone else. But, by the grace and sovereign choice of God, she was saved from the moment of conception, born without the taint of original sin. Consider this quote from a Catholic Answers tract available on this site (catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp)::slight_smile:

Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.

This is a complex doctrine, and I suggest you read in its entirety the tract I linked above.


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