Prayers to Mary…

Dear Briana,

Q. I understand that ‘praying’ to Mary and the saints has to do with asking them to ask God things for you, what I do not understand is how this is better than directly asking God?

A. I don’t know. It just is. Our Lord likes for us to pray for one another. If we were only supposed to pray directly to Him then scripture would not exhort us to pray for one another. Where in Scripture does it say that we must only pray for ourselves and directly to God at all times?

Q. Also even though you do not worship Mary or the saints where did anyone ever get the idea that praying to dead people, yes dead people because that is ALL that Mary or any of the saints is, dead, is going to help anything?

A. We do not think of them as dead. I am sorry that you lack the faith to realize that even though our bodies die, our souls are alive and immortal, in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. Therefore, since their souls are ALIVE, they are able to intercede for us.

Q. Nothing makes the saints or Mary holy in any way except that human beings decided they wanted to be.

A. No, it is not that easy to be declared a Saint with a capital “S”. The life of the person is examined with a fine-toothed comb. Writings, witnesses, friends and relatives are consulted if still alive. But then two supernatural miracles must occur as a result of a person asking for the intercession of the person to be elevated to Sanctity.

These miracles are not just lightly accepted the way a lot of people talk about, “it was a miracle!” The disease or disorder must be verifiable by medical, scientific records, doctor reports, lab work, X-rays, etc. The person must have been praying to this individual and then be cured. The cure also must be medically/scientifically verified with physician testimony, lab reports, X-rays etc. It must be determined beyond doubt that something supernatural occurred.

Q. Jesus also died but the difference is that he came back to life afterwords.
A. Jesus’ body was resurrected. But His spiritual being never died. He is God. He cannot die. And it is the same with our souls. Our bodies die but our soul is immortal. At the end of time all bodies will be resurrected and reunited with their soul in Heaven or Hell.

Q. The scripture verse above that Star posted is extremely relevant and in my opinion too much over looked in our society today.

A. The scripture verse: Jesus said, “No One Comes To the Father, But Through Me”: John 14:6
Of course, this is true. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection made it possible for man to be reconciled to God. Not Mary or any of the Saints. I think you seem to have some misinformation about what Catholics believe. Protestantism is riddled with misinformation about the Catholic Church.

Q. So what I would like to know is how it is possible to justify the belief that Mary and the Saints can do anything at all for you and whether or not Catholics view them as holy?

A. Yes, since we believe that they are ALIVE in Heaven, as evidenced by miraculous signs through their intercession, we believe that they can join their prayers with ours to our Lord. They do not, by their own merely human power, answer our prayers. We do view them as Holy. But we are all supposed to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is holy.

Q. One last point I would like to make is that there are many graven images of the Virgin Mary, one in almost every Catholic church, as well as images of the saints, and that even if you yourself do not worship Mary many people out there actually do.

A. I would say that you are wrong. Have you ever asked a Catholic if they worship Mary? Did they actually say, “Yes”?

Protestants are taught that Catholics worship Mary and the Saints. They have no pictures or statues in their churches. Therefore when they go to a Catholic Church, because of the biased teaching they have received, they jump to an uncharitable conclusion that Catholics worship Mary, etc. Any Catholic who actually does worship anyone other than God is a HERETIC!!! Pure and simple. No Catholic is EVER taught to worship anyone other that God.

Q. This tradition began in the 11th century when St.Bernard began a cult completely dedicated to the worship of Mary.
A. You are mistaken.

Q. It is completely ungrounded in scripture that any dead person can intercede between you and God.
A. Where does scripture assert what you say here? Where does Scripture say that a person who’s body has died cannot intercede for other members of the Body of Christ? Where does Scripture say that a person who has died is dead, dead, dead, until the end of time or whatever it is you believe about the soul?

7 Responses to Prayers to Mary…

  1. John Dornheim says:

    It is a mistake to conclude that Protestant churches do not have statues or pictures. Some do, some don’t. Lutherans tend not to pray to saints but with them.

  2. bfhu says:

    That is true. Anglican Churches have statues too. I think. Our saints pray with us too.

  3. I have a joke to explain why we Catholics dig Mary:

    Ever ignore a Jewish mom when trying to get close to her son (or Son)?


  4. If we want to beg a favor of a president or a king, then we first appeal to his friends to smooth the way for us, and to add their prayers — and consequently their weight — to our requests. The saints do this for us with God.

    Besides which: all the honor that we pay to saints goes ultimately to God, because it is He Who made them what they are, and because we honor them for His sake, as His friends.

  5. NTWrong says:

    I don’t agree with your arguments. To me, this is false teaching.

    You comment, “Our Lord likes for us to pray for one another.” Agreed, which means it would be fine for Mary to pray for you. I have no problem with that, so it might be OK to ask Mary to pray for you. But that is _not_ the same thing as praying _to_ Mary.

    You ask, “Where in Scripture does it say that we must only pray … directly to God at all times?”

    Scripture tells us that God the Creator is set apart from his creation, and warns us never to confuse the two. If we put a created thing in the place of God, we commit idolatry. It is correct to pray to God because God is Creator, Lawgiver, and Savior. To pray to Mary (or any of the saints) is to put a created thing in the place of God — even though you deny that it amounts to worship.

    (I hasten to add that we are all idolaters to some degree — none of us is 100% pure from this sin.)

    The Gospels tell us to meet in Jesus’ name (Matt. 18:20), to baptize in Jesus’ name (Matt. 28:19), to cast out demons in Jesus’ name (Mark 9:38; Luke 10:17), to proclaim forgiveness in Jesus’ name (Luke 24:47), to believe in Jesus’ name (John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18), promises that God will send the Spirit in Jesus’ name (John 14:26) promises that we will have life in Jesus’ name (John 20:31), and — most importantly, in this context — tells us to pray in Jesus’ name (John 14:13-14, 15:16, 16:23-26).

    The Christian faith is grounded in Jesus’ name, not Mary’s name. When Roman Catholics direct their prayers to Mary, they are putting Mary in a place that is reserved for Christ.

    Theologically, as I understand it, Roman Catholics believe that Mary and the other saints have such a superabundance of merits that God is more likely to hear their prayers; or even, that they can share some of their merits with ordinary folks like us. This latter idea, in particular offends me: it is Jesus who shares his merits with us, or imputes the righteousness of God to us — not Mary or any other saint. It is Jesus and Jesus only who makes us worthy of the Father.

    I know it isn’t easy to be recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church (although I believe the process has speeded up recently). But no matter how difficult it is to be canonized, canonization still doesn’t elevate Mary or any other saint to anything like a place of equivalence to Christ.

    Again, I know that you don’t worship Mary, and you seek to maintain a careful distinction between Mary and Jesus. Nonetheless, by praying to Mary, and viewing Mary as having a superabundance of merits which elevate her above ordinary folk — perhaps even believing that Mary can impute some of her superabunant merits to us — well, Roman Catholic doctrine blurs that line between Creator and created in a way that is troubling.

  6. NTWrong, a couple of points:

    — Mary does have a superabundance of merits which elevate her above ordinary folk, won for her by the Blood of the Cross and given to her by God in anticipation of her Son’s Passion and Death. She was given this superabundance of merit because it was necessary for her mission as the Mother of God. She is as full of grace as it is possible for a creature to be, but, due to the limits inherent in a creature, this is as nothing compared with God. Furthermore, she is capable of doing nothing that is not consistent with the will of God. Mary is never at cross-purposes with God. Every orthodox Catholic knows all this, and therefore is not putting Mary in the place of God by acknowledging her superabundant merits.

    — There is a difference between prayer and worship. The two terms are often conflated; but there is a distinct difference. An essential act of worship is sacrifice. Sacrifice requires a priest. The only sacrifice truly worthy of God is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, in which He is both Priest and Victim. At Mass, the priest offers the identical sacrifice: the Mass is Calvary, re-presented in an unbloody manner in accordance with Christ’s command at the Last Supper: do this in memory of Me. This is the worship that is due to God, and that is why we need priests. We do not offer sacrifices to Mary or the saints, though the August Sacrifice of the Mass may be offered in their honor.

    If you are really interested in exploring these issues, and if you have the opportunity to do so, I would recommend that as part of your study, you attend a traditional Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Nothing throws the theology of worship into sharper focus like the Tridentine Mass.

  7. Don says:

    In Revelation 5:8 we are told by St. John, that at least the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders are offering “golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of God’s people.” Here we see that the saints in heaven offer up to Christ the prayers of the faithful upon earth.

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