[quote=skattas]Hi, I’m a Born Again Evangelical with some questions on the Catholic faith. Been pretty busy, but I finally have the chance to ask my first question. Now, I know a lot about Mary and the Catholic belief on why you pray to her for intercession and so on, but as many people who know my faith, know that we believe otherwise.
Here is where we come from: Heaven is a place of pure peace, solitude, and perfection, free from the troubles the world brings about. I’m sure many of you believe that as well, so I think this is a good starting point.
My problem arises when this is contradicted by the notion of being able to talk to and ask those who have passed on (Mary, the Saints—people who were exactly that…people), and concern them with the troubles of the world. With this said, another problem arises: why would I pray to Mary or any other, when I can talk freely to Jesus himself? The way I look at it is: ‘Why would I talk to the bouncer when I know the owner of the club?’. God is a loving Father. All I know is that a loving father would welcome his child to come speak to him directly. Jesus does not need extra persuasion from his mother to do something for his child. Mary will not tell him anything the all-knowing Father wouldn’t already know. He is the source of all knowledge, generosity, empathy, and kindness. No one can add to what the Lord knows and sees. God’s decisions are final and just…because of his infinite wisdom and love. In this respect, what benefit is there in believing that Mary or any of the saints could have more of an impact than your own personal prayers, or of those still alive?
Well, I’m sure that the questions and topic will expand from this point on, sorry if it’s a little confusing!
Thanks again for listening everybody, and for helping.
God Bless you all."
Hi Skattas, welcome! I can understand your concerns, as I have a similar background as you in Evangelical wing of Protestantism. I have been a Catholic now for about three years. I’ll attempt to address your questions.
We definitely know that heaven will be free from sin and it will be peaceful and joyous. But it is an incorrect assumption that Christians in heaven aren’t aware of what is going on here. This should not detract from the peace and joy they have because they are able to see things without the filter of their own sin nature. They have perfected faith in God’s love and sovereignty. Hebrews 12:1 indicates that we have a great cloud of witnesses (those that have gone before us and, specifically, the heros of faith mentioned in chapter 11) who surround us. The picture that is created here is we have a cheering section of saints that watch eagerly as we run the race.
Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4 indicate that all the saints are praying during the time that the judgment seals are opened. Why are they praying? What are they praying about? They are petitioning God for something. If saints are unaware of anything outside the perfection of heaven, saints activities would be limited to praise and worship. The fact that they are petitioning implies to me that they are engaged in intercessory prayer for those on earth.
We are admonished to pray for one another. (Col. 4:2-3) James 5:16 also says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you can be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
So why ask saints to pray for us?
- The same reason we might ask friends in our Bible study to pray for us.
- The saints in heaven are far more righteous than any of us are here on earth. Therefore, their prayers are more effective. (Js. 5:16)
Why can’t we just pray to Jesus? We can and must! And we should be going to Jesus far more frequently than asking saints to pray for us. (Just as it would be inappropriate to constantly ask your Bible study leader to pray for you at the expense of your own personal devotion time with Christ.) But, in balance, it is beneficial to ask others to pray for us.
I should also mention that asking a saint to pray for us is a one way communication. We should not seek any communication directly from them. That is forbidden in scripture.
Hope this helps.