Why dont you just Pray to God?

Hello all,

I myself do not identify as a Catholic but I have many family members and friends that do and am trying to better understand where some of the Catholic traditions come from. One of my biggest questions is the praying to saints for healing, help, etc. Even the Hail Mary. Where Biblically can this principal be found? My belief is that Christ ask us to come to him to know HIM personally and develop a relationship and that we are to worship no-one else…isn’t praying to others as if they have the Power of God contradicting this? Genuinely asking, I don’t understand.

Any guidance is appreciated, thank you.

This question is one that so frequently comes up on this forum, and among non-Catholics. I strongly suggest you do a search and read other threads.
The short answer is that Catholics do NOT worship the saints or the Virgin Mary. Catholics worship God ONLY. Please take this answer to heart, as it is a HUGE misconception among some Protestants. Catholics venerate or honor (NOT worship!) the saints and Mary because these human beings are holy, with God in heaven, and can help us get closer to God. Don’t you sometimes ask your family members, or spouse, for advice or help? We do the same with the saints. The “veil” between the living and the dead for Catholics is very thin. The saints in heaven–all our relatives, friends, etc. who have died–are with us all the time. We pray for them and they pray for us. If you have a close family on earth who care for each other, why would those loving relationships go away at death? Rather, if a loved one or a friend is in heaven with God they are perfected in charity for those on earth; they are MORE loving and caring to us than they ever could be while still on earth. So we talk to them, honor them because they “made it”, and ask them for their help and wisdom.
The “veil” between earth and heaven is much thicker for most Protestants who have completely lost the beautiful Catholic teaching of the “Communion of Saints.”

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No, no, no.

We believe only God is God, and only He has the power of God. The saints and angels are righteous, and as Scripture tells us, the prayer of the righteous are strong.
What we call praying to the saints is the asking of the saints to pray for us to God. Scripture admonishes us to do this with our brothers. But, we believe in Heaven, and hence that the saints are alive in Heaven.

This is an extremely important difference between Catholicism and many protestants: we believe that Creation declares the glory of God, and gives Glory to God; God is not in competition with creation for Glory.
Hence, when we give honor and what not to the saints, and especially the mother of God our Lord Jesus Christ, we are proclaiming the Glory of God. For instance, if we say Mary was incredibly humble, it is to say God has done a great work in gifting her with the virtue of humbleness.

The Bible shows praying in Heaven in Revelation.
But, Jewish tradition includes praying to the righteous. Some sects believe only the prayers of their version of saints is heard by God!
But, the important thing to remember is that the Catholic Church did not simply read the Bible and come up with its doctrines. Rather, the Bible describes the founding of the Church. Not all the Sacred Tradition is in Scripture.

Also, you can ask anyone to pray for you. Indeed, you can say, “pray tell me love,” or such. Prayer is not worship. Sacrifice is worship.

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I guess my question again goes back to Biblically, is there anything Biblically that directed us to do this? I absolutely go to friends and relatives for help, but they are actually here with me and they guide me in decisions and coping with life, etc. To go to others, those who have passed, to get closer to God as opposed to just building a relationship with God himself isnt very clear to me. If we need help I feel the best way for help is to go to the provider, God.
Are there any verses that could possibly help me understand ?

@Mack26
When we pray to Mary and the Saints for help, we are not asking them to directly solve our problems. Rather, we are asking them to pray for us and with us. Take, for example, the second half of the Hail Mary: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” Some prayers sound like we’re asking Mary and the Saints to directly solve our problems, but that is a language issue, not a theological one. In other words, as prayers were originally composed and written in one language and then translated into other languages, because of our differences in how we word things and understand some words, the meaning of the prayer can be twisted if we take the literal translation. And in some cases, because contemporary English can be crazy sometimes, even if the prayer wasn’t translated from another language, its meaning can still seem a little wonky.

Although we are not explicitly told to ask for prayers from Mary and the Saints in the Bible, we are often told to pray for one another. St. Paul asks us to pray for him and for others (1 Timothy 2:1-2, for example). We as Catholics also believe that we are one body (Romans 12:5), the mystical body of Christ, and that death does not end that (Romans 8:38-39). Even the Saints whose earthly lives have ended are still a part of the body of Christ, and therefore pray for us while they’re in Heaven. We ask for their intercession because, as James 5:16 says, the prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. And who is more righteous than those who are in Heaven? According to Revelation 21:27, nothing unclean will enter Heaven. Therefore, those who inhabit Heaven are righteous, even more so than us who are on Earth. That makes their prayers powerful and effective, even more so than our own! Revelation 5:8 and other passages in the same book show us how those in Heaven pray for us and are aware of the situations on Earth.

We Catholics do not worship Mary or the other Saints, we only worship God. We venerate (respect and honor) Mary and the Saints, but we only give God adoration. All that Mary and the Saints have is from God, so it would be foolish to worship anyone but God (aside from the fact that it would be a direct violation of the first commandment!). By admiring Mary and the Saints, who are perfected by God’s own grace, we are admiring God’s masterpieces. When we admire God’s work, all admiration we show towards His creations goes towards Him, because He is, indeed, the One who made them. I draw a lot, and whenever someone admires my artwork, I am always flattered. Mary and the Saints do not have any power in and of themselves. If they have any power at all, it is because God is sharing His power with them - not because they deserve it, but because God is gracious.

Oh, and as a side note, we do pray directly to God as well!

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@Mack26
Here is a good link that shows some evidence from the Bible and the early Church Fathers for Communion of Saints:
http://catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/Documents/CommunionOfSaints.pdf

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You may “feel” the best way to go for help is directly to God, but even the earliest Christians and for 2000 years the Catholic Church has shown us that we live in a huge world of friends in high places who are eager to also help us learn about, and love God. The earliest Christians prayed to the saints and venerated the Virgin Mary, who was given to us by Jesus from the Cross as our mother. 2000 years of millions of Catholics have attested to the incredible goodness and power of such intercession. God is super generous; venerating his masterpieces does not in the least detract from his glory and power but adds to it since the saints completely reflect his own power and glory. Think about it.
Upon meeting Elisabeth the Virgin Mary exclaimed that every generation to come would call her Blessed. Yup, we sure do!

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The saints are also actually there, like your relatives and friends. Hopefully your relatives and friends are numbered among them.

Let me ask you a question: whose light do we shine?

Also Catholicism is not sola scriptura. The Bible describes our founding, we were not found on the Bible.
However, the Bible in revelation includes those in Heaven praying as well as several scriptures showing the prayer to angels. Revelation says
Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

In Matthew 18:10, Jesus says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

In Tobit 12:15, the Archangel Raphael says, “I am Raph′ael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.”

http://shamelesspopery.com/6-biblical-reasons-to-pray-to-angels/

The prayers of the righteous are strong. It is better to pray for someone in love than to pray for yourself in selfishness, no? Your prayers, your dirty little prayers, can be lifted up and cleaned by the saints and even the Blessed Virgin Mary and lifted up to God.

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Right. Though you do not have to but if you want to and that is the Catholic position, if you want to, you can ask the Virgin Mary, who is Jesus mother, to help you to grow closer to Jesus, to have that personal relationship with him and to be able to worship him only.

Mary brings you to Jesus, not to herself.

If you do not need Mary to do rhat, well fine and good. You are under no obligation to do that, it is not a sin on you.

But for many of those who ask Mary’s intercession do find it helpful for them.

Look at it this way - we as Christians do and must believe in intercessory prayer - ie prayer by Christians for each other. Have you.ever asked a family member, friend or your pastor to pray for you?

Scripture contains many accounts of the faithful praying for each other. The Our Father sets the example in that it is a prayer for ‘us’ and our collective needs, and not just for ‘me’ as the individual praying. And we are commanded by Our Lord so to pray.

Now Catholics believe that the ability - and the duty - of righteous Christians to pray for each other does not end at death. We believe - as scripture says - that the faithful never truly die but are alive in Christ always - even more fully alive than while on Earth. And so still willing and able to pray for their fellows on Earth as they did while among us.

When Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church around 500 years ago, sadly for them their universe actually shrank and became constricted. As a Catholic I don’t understand why someone whose beloved relative (mother, spouse, dear friend, etc) died would just write them off or stop thinking about them! That seems to me both cold and completely at odds with the love of God and of neighbor that we are bound to observe. Do the dead, to Protestants, just go to heaven and have a big party celebrating among themselves, completely forgetting those on earth? Rather, the doctrine of the Communion of Saints for Catholics teaches that all of us–the Church triumphant (those in heaven); the Church suffering (those in Purgatory); and the Church militant (those still fighting the good fight on earth)–are bound together in love. Our dead are very, very close to us. We bless and glorify God in his angels and his saints. Again, it is a beautiful teaching. We are not alone!
If you are so inclined and would like an imaginative, literary–and deeply accurate–depiction of the role of the Communion of Saints in helping us to heaven, read Dante’s Divine Comedy. It is all in that book.

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OF COURSE we pray to God first and foremost. But when you are in need of prayer don’t you ask family and friends to pray for your need. Well when we pray and ask Mary or The Saints to intercede for us we are doing that exact thing. They take our prayer and add theirs to it and bring it directly to Our Lord because they are as alive there in Heaven with Him as they were here on Earth, even more so. They see the face of God, they are in His presence. I am more than happy to ask them to add their prayers to mine and bring it to Him. They can do NOTHING unless it were made possible for them to do so from God.

We don’t worship or adore Mary or the Saints, we honor them because they are our spiritual Mother and our spiritual ancestors who have given us the best example of how to follow Christ. We have their pictures and statues in our homes and Churches to show that we honor them, Just as you carry pictures of your loved ones in your wallet or hang pictures of them in your home. NOT EVER WORSHIP or ADORATION that is reserved ONLY for God. But we do love them, honor and cherish all they’ve done in paving the way to help show us how to live as a follower of Christ,

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Dear Mack26,
Okay. We do pray to God, as Jesus taught w The Our Father. We use that format to say our prayers to God.
If I was sick and we were friends, I’d ask you to pray for me. Well, our deceased family members are not dead. They are alive in heaven. We can ask them to continue our prayer for us before the Fathers throne.
The Saints are special ppl who lived Holy lives for God. We read stories about their humble lives. Many were martyred. We ASK THEM, to continue our prayer before Gods throne.
Example: Dear God, Ive been ill. Could You help me heal? By Your stripes, I am healed! In Jesus name.
St. Jude, Patron Saint of incurable diseases, hear my prayer. Please continue my prayer before Gods throne. In Jesus name. One of tests, for a Holy person of the church,to pass for Saintgood is: Has someone rec’d Answered prayer from invoking help from that Holy Person. If our prayers were answered by St. Jude, and God healed me, He is voted to He a Saint.
I hope this helps you.
in Christ’s love
Tweedlealice

Okay, I understand what you are all saying. That makes sense. But saints are not omnicipant (sp?) , as only God is. So how can they help with all the prayers. If we all right now pray to Mary for example, how can she hear all of us and help ALL of us with our Prayers at the same time?

Because new powers are given them by God. As Jesus stated, those close to him will do many greater things than we can conceive of. The saints can indeed hear and respond to all who pray to them, through the grace of God. Mystery? Yes, it is to us because we are time bound and very limited human beings. Not so in heaven! St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Faustina, two 20th century saints (among many others) stated that they knew their help for us would really begin once they got to heaven–what they could do on earth, despite all their efforts, was minuscule in comparison.

It’s a mystery. We won’t understand it all until we get to Heaven.

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God is not bound by time or space. Neither are those in heaven. It is simply impossible to wrap our minds fully around this fact, but what a glorious thing awaits us! Let’s make sure we don’t constrict God’s generosity, magnitude, bountiful joy and goodness, by thinking he would not share his powers abundantly with those who have honored him on earth!

We only pray to the saints to ask them to intercede (or pray, if you will) for us.

Do not you ask your friends and loved ones (and even strangers) to pray for you? Have others asked you to pray for them?

Why then would we not ask the holy ones who are with God to pray to Jesus on our behalf.

But, we do also pray directly to God.

Peace!

Those in Heaven are not just like someone in another house.
But even if they were limited in what reached them, God or an angel can deliver to them the prayers of the Church.

Mack26. It is a great question. Thank you. I am a reformed Christian raised in the Catholic Church as a young boy but moved on over 35 years ago.

The answer you seek here, you will not get on this site. There is no biblical bases to pray to people who’ve passed on. And your point is a good one, human beings are not all knowing, and even fallen angels do not know everything about everyone. Satan has
limited knowledge about human beings as do the holy angels.

Only God is worthy enough to answer millions of prayers all at the same time. And you, if you are a Christian, have the right to go directly into the throne-room of God, (in prayer) where our Master awaits your petition. He loves you deeply and wants to show Himself strong towards you if you will come.

Here is a verse of encouragement for you.

"Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:13-14.

Blessings to you.

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