Who do you pray to?

I am considering conversion to Catholicism. So I have several questions and this seemed like the right place. I have heard from my pastor’s wife that before she became Assemblies of God, she was taught by the Catholic church that she should pray to the saints instead of praying directly to God or Jesus which is what most protestant denominations teach. She mentioned something about Novena’s also. Any insight would be appreciated. I think she converted pre-Vatican II since a lot has changed and she understands that. I have plenty of other questions but I’ll save them for later.

Greetings curiousgirl.

Make no mistake, The Catholic church teaches that we worship God and God alone! He is the source of Grace and salvation and nothing or no-one else. The Catholic catechism (with criptural proof) absolutely explains this.

Saints - The church permits us to pray *through * the saints to god because they were/are earthly examples of how a faithfull Catholic should live his/her life. They are just chanells or roads if you like that lead to god. When we pray to them, we are asking them to pray/interceded for us to God because of their blessed state. That’s all. We do not pray to them because we believe they are equal to god, we pray to them because we know they can pray for us to God! It’s like me asking you to pray for me to god for an intention that i have or for my health etc (except your not a saint).

Praying directly to god - What a great topic because you actually do pray directly to God when you are in a Catholic Church! He is present to us in the eucharist, he is right there in front of you! The church does not say anything about having to pray through the saints to get to god, It only strongly recommends it however (especially devotion to the Blessed virgin, mary - mother of god). You are not sinning if you choose not to pray throygh the saints but it is such a blessing to have then anyway!

Novenas - are certain prayers that are said for a set time (usually nine days) to a particular saint for a particular intention. It goes back to what i said above, you are asking them to intercede or pray for you to god for your intention. That’s all.

Hope that helps?

Think about it like this. You ask your family members and friends to pray for you, right? Well that’s what Catholics do with the saints, we ask them to pray for us. They’re not dead, they’re truly alive in Christ and in his presence.

Of course, we still have to pray directly to God, but asking others (including saints) to pray for us is recommended.

That makes sense. I’m just trying to find out as much as I can before I make my choice. What my pastor’s wife told me was that she had to pray novena’s-sounded like she wasn’t given a choice? I’m not sure.
Thank you, K

Novenas are still prayed - one could think of the days of prayer before the Descent of the Spirit at Pentecost as the first (?) novena.

It is a mistake - to put it no more strongly - to suppose that Catholics “should pray to the [S]aints instead of praying directly to God or Jesus”: this may well be what Catholics have done, or have supposed they were to do, but it is theologically & doctrinally a serious error, if a very natural one.

It is an idea easy to disprove, from the Church’s own practice no less. One of the more recent Catholic devotions is to the Divine Mercy: its object is the Mercy of God in Christ. An older one is the devotion to the Sacred Hreart of Jesus. Others include devotion to
[LIST]
*]The Five Wounds of Christ
*]The Precious Blood of Christ
*]The Blessed Sacrament
[/LIST]And that is only scratching the surface. People have different “attractions” in devotion, just as they have different talents, abilities, vocations, friendships. One of these attraction is that by which all things are (so to speak) “seen” in the context of the Will of God. Others see everything in the light of their attraction to the Glory of God. Just as different people, or the same people at different times, are attracted to the friendship of different Saints. Some are attracted to the Bible. And so on.

There are many devotions to the BVM - but they are not the only Catholic devotions. Devotion to the BVM is one of the more obvious “Catholic particulars” sets Catholicism apart from most kinds of Protestantism: but the fact of the emphasis on the centrality of Christ that is one of the vital features of Protestantism does not mean that Catholicism is not equally centred on Christ. It certainly is. That this is often far from self-evident, comes in part from the eagerness both Christianities have at times shown to emphasise what they do not have or appear to have in common.

To find what sort of prayers Catholics pray, have a look at the Prayers before Mass, & at those before Confession. And at the kinds of prayer suggested for morning & evening. The Psalms are prayers to God; and all the Sacraments, of which the Mass & Confession are two, are the offering, by the Church gathered together in public, of the prayer she owes to God as her Father, Creator, Saviour & Lord. Only God can receive this prayer - to offer Mass to any mere Saint, however exalted in grace, is not only sinful but is (in fact) not even possible. For how can a mere creature accept the unlimited devotion which God alone is able to accept as His due ?

Another part of the public prayer of the Church - that is what the Liturgy is: the offering by the Church gathered together in public in the Tri-une God of the adoration & Glory which befits His Name - is the Liturgy of the Hours. By this, the day is sanctifed & the time redeemed.

Hope that helps.

I"ll confess that I went a long way towards this Catholic way of thinking (prayer to the saints being akin to intercessory prayer by friends and family for us - always intereceding with God). However, the more I study it out in the Bible, the more concern I have for this practice. Doesn’t the bible make it clear that we are not to converse with the dead? (that is a rhetorical quesiton - that is made very clear in many verses in scripture).

While I agree that that the dead saints understand what is happening on earth and can pray for us of their own volition (Revelation), I don’t think we are too pray to and ask for intercession by decesased believers (at least scripture appears to suggest otherwise). I believe we should pray to God.

Blessings,

Brian

I pray to God and since the “prayers of a righteous man availeth much” I ask those of the Church Triumphant to pray for me as well.

God bless

That’s the thing Brian, they are not dead they are alive in christ in heaven! Their bodies may be dead at the moment but their spirit has entered the kingdom of god!

I prayer to the Father God in the name of Jesus Christ.He is the one and only mediator. This doesn’t mean others can’t pray for you, like your family on earth or your family in Heaven.:wink:
Peace be with you

Very interesting, its sounds similar to Sufism. Do you all pray together at mass and don’t you also pray to Jesus?

.
A real Catholic has a personal relationship with Christ who is our only mediator between man and God. Only God is good and only God has suffered and obtained our salvation on the Cross, taking on Himself and experiencing in Himself all the weight of sin.
The Pastors wife has slandered the Church and said something really bad. The Catholic Church that she mentiones as her teacher is not the Catholic church but maybe one or two rotten apples,people who lived in a misunderstanding, if they exist at all.
A Catholic prays directly to Jesus Christ, to God the Father and to the Holy Spirit the far majority of his prayer time… this should be also clear in the Mass where God is the absolute centre of attention.
We are allowed to ask for the intercession from Mary and the saints, but these are creatures and we are never to put them in the place of God nor place His attributes on them, such as His sole ability to save, justify, open heaven etc.
Some Catholic poetry and songs have a confusing element when it comes to saints and devotion in my personal oppinion, but one thing is clear: the Church teaches that you can be a perfectly fine Catholic and never speak to the saints at all.

Peace to you.

Brian. Have you read the Book of Tobit or the Book of the Maccabees?
And you are absolutely right… we are not to converse with the dead. We are not to practice spiritism. That’s a seriuos sin according to all Christianity.
But we can ask a saint to pray for us, and if God deigns to send us an angel or saint to tell us something, He can do so.
I want to, in that connection, remind you of Jesus on Mount Tabor, who was witnessed in conversation with two of the prophets from Hebrew Scripture.
It has become increasinly clear to me from reading a lot of books from Evangelical, Protestant and Orthodox Christians, that there, just like in Catholic saint-litterature, are testimonies about saints that appear in dreams or visions to convey something from God…
In other words… we dont seek out to converse with a saint who has gone ahead, but God is free to use angels and saints to tell us something…

Hope that helps.
Shalom to you…
and its cool to see a Messianic Jew among us. I have many times attended a messianic congregation in Yerushalaim, and I loved it so much :slight_smile:

Some things have changed, but not prayer. Intercessory prayer doesn’t take the place of prayers to God. In every Mass, the people pray the Our Father. As far as I remember, that predates VII.

When we pray “to” the Saints, it’s like asking other people to pray for us.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…”

I don’t see anything in scripture that encourages us to pray to the dead, or that the dead are in a position to hear our prayers. It seems to me most of us all come face to face with God at one time.

Through Jesus, we are invited into direct relationship with God. WHy would I want the dead to pray for me, if I can talk to God directly?

I pray to Father God, in the name of Jesus Christ, the **one and only **mediator.

You never pray for a sick friend or ask someone else to pray for you? :shrug:

Hi curiousgirl!

Welcome to CAF. IMHO, if you are serious about your possible conversion, you should probably find the nearest parish offering RCIA. Before starting the actual process to confirmation you can sit in on what’s called, Inquiry. This is ‘before’ you commit to anything at all and it is a “question and answer” stage. The purpose as I was told, is to discern whether you are called to catholicism. You can learn all you’ll need to know to make the decision there.

There a qualified people there to answer your questions and of course you’ll always have access to a priest in the parish as well (not that you don’t now, I just called one up one day). The folks associated with RCIA love the Lord and want nothing more than to answer your questions and resolve any doubts you may have.

Again, welcome and God Bless!

Peace Be With You,

HC

**Edit: I don’t know if it is appropriate to say so, but I was never evangelized in RCIA. They let me go at my own pace without pushing me to do anything. In fact, it was stressed that although in our point of view, all are called to Christ’s Church, all are called in His time.

You don’t think that these Saints, who have lived their entire lives for Christ, might have a relationship with or understanding of God’s will that you lack? Maybe one of the Saints sees a major problem or potential blessing in your life that you can not see right now, and just by asking for that help in prayer you could discover something life changing.

No disrespect meant, to a non-Catholic I can see why the intercession of the Saints can be so hard to understand.

Just try to put Christianity in perspective. It has existed for 2,000 years, and produced some phenomenal human beings over the generations. Unless you believe that God has indeed given you every bit of virtue, knowledge and prayer in existence, wouldn’t the help of these great men and women be welcomed?

To me, being Christian and rejecting the wisdom and prayer of the Saints would be like becoming a lawyer and not studying the great legal minds of history. If you want to be like the best (Christ), get help from those who came the closest.

I had the same thought…

Yes, Christ is the only mediator, so we pray TO him directly and ask others to pray for us as well. Problematic?

I don’t see anything in scripture that points to the dead being in a position to intercede for the living.

I know all kinds of Saints who are alive today who I am in community with who pray for me. I think this what God wants for His people, that we are involved in each other’s lives, praying for each other along with other hands on support and encouragement.

I believe God wants us to come directly to Him. Petitioning the dead to pray for us seems like we are asking them because they hold sway over God, like if we ask them, then we can manipulate God into doing what we want Him to - that seems wrong to me. God wants our sincere and devoted hearts - He wants us to seek HIM directly.

I don’t get the sense from reading scripture that the dead are listening in on our prayers or that they are available to to accessed for prayer. The dead seem to be either in heaven and then are likely consumed with the presence of God, or they are not conscious in the afterlife - that is how it seems to me from scripture and my own experience. Praying to the dead is something that seems to be an add on from the church over time, not something evident through scripture.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.