To better understand why a Catholic prays to Mary, saints and angels, I went to a book by one of Rome’s “church doctors”, “St.” Alphonsus de Liguori, called The Glories of Mary. In chapter 5, under, “Mary, Our Mediatress: The Necessity of the Intercession of Mary for our salvation”, we find the so-called scriptural evidence for prayers to Mary, saints and angels. Let’s examine his “evidence”. Liguori said:
“It is not only lawful but useful to invoke and pray to the saints, and more especially to the Queen of saints, the most holy and ever blessed Virgin Mary in order that they may obtain us the divine grace, is an article of faith, and has been defined by general Councils, against heretics who condemned it as injurious to Jesus Christ, who is our only mediator, but if a Jeremiah after his death prayed for Jerusalem; if the ancients of the Apocalypse [that’s the book of Revelation in the Christian Bible] presented the prayers of the saints to God; if a St. Peter promises his disciples that after his death he will be mindful of them; if a holy Stephen prays for his persecutors; if a St. Paul prays for his companions, if, in fine, the saints can pray for us, why cannot we beseech the saints to intercede for us?”
Let’s look at the first reference Liquori used. He said, “if a Jeremiah after his death prayed for Jerusalem” Now…let‘s stop right here….Bible readers may be confused as to where in the scriptures does Jeremiah pray for Jerusalem after he is dead. You won’t find it in the Christian Bible, because Maccabees was not written by a prophet, and it contains several errors. Rome uses the apocrypha in the vain attempt to discredit God’s true word, as they use 2 Maccabees 15:14 to prove one may pray to saints. A man named Onias had a vision of Jeremiah who hands him a sword of gold. Onias claims that Jeremiah “prayeth much for the people” and is a “lover of the brethren”, yet you won’t find anyone praying to Jeremiah, so it really fails to make Liguori’s point, as does the next scripture he uses in Rev.5:8,
“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”
Again, there is no evidence here that the prayers in the golden vials were prayers offered TO Mary and saints. As a matter of fact, it says, “the prayers OF saints”, not “the prayers TO saints”. Rome has a habit of changing words from “and to or” or “on to at” or “are to in” or “in to on”. So you really have to closely examine the verses that Rome gives to supports her doctrines. I guess Rome doesn’t care that God said “…Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt.5:18) So…change as the may, the word of God will still stand.
Let’s continue looking at Liguori’s scriptural proof for prayers to saints. He said, “…St. Peter promises his disciples that after his death he will be mindful of them…" (2Pet.1:15) Let’s look at the verse he used and we’ll back up a couple to better understand what Peter is really saying. Starting at verse 12, we read:
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.”
These verses in no way indicates that Peter is promising that after his death he will be mindful of them. It’s actually saying the opposite of what Liguori says. Peter is simply telling them that he would not neglect to keep reminding them of things they already knew so that after his decease they would remember the things he taught. It is the people, not Peter that is mindful of the things said. This is a deliberate twisting of the scriptures.
Liguori uses Stephen praying for his persecutors and Paul praying for his companions as proof that one can pray to saints. This again is a twisting of scriptures. Not only were Stephen and Paul both living at the time of their prayers, but both men were praying to God. Whether or not the saints that are in heaven pray for the living saints on earth does automatically grant permission for any man to start praying to them. Prayers are always to God alone and God alone!!