Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our Blessed Mother Mary and The Other Saints *And A Writers Conference*

**There's going to be a Catholic Writers Conference in Valley Forge in August. Click here for more info.**
Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

The other day a friend asked me to pray for her family friend who was going through a particularly brutal time. I said to her, "Why would you ask such a thing? I'm just a human like yourself. Take your prayers directly to God." I'm just kidding! Of course I added my prayers to hers and those of the others who were praying for this person. Why wouldn't I? I'm sure you would too.

So why do some people think it's odd when Catholics ask Mary and the other saints to pray for us? Just because they have died doesn't mean they're no longer part of the Body of Christ. In fact, isn't it written "...the prayer of the righteous man availeth much"? (James 5:16) Now you must trust me on this, the saints are wayyyy more righteous than I am.


One Mediator

I suppose some folks object to praying to Mary and the saints because they worry that we're thinking of them to be like deities, but that can't be further from the truth. We are inspired by them and identify with them because they struggled on earth just like we are struggling. In most cases they struggled more. And they remembered that God is number one, even the ones who started off as big ol' sinners.

So, we learn from them, are inspired by them, and ask them to pray for us.

But the Bible says "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. 2:5)

Does that mean nobody is supposed to pray for anybody else? Well, hold on. Let's back up a bit. Literally. If we go backwards in the same letter you get this passage:

...I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority, that we may be able to lead undisturbed and tranquil lives in perfect piety and dignity. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-5)

So you see, if we look at the whole picture, not just the one sentence, we see what Saint Paul is saying- that praying for others does not interfere with Jesus's role as mediator.

You know, it's always a good idea to crack open your Bible when anybody spouts out a quote so that you can read the whole passage, not just what they're quoting. You got to get the context to understand the entire picture.



Saint Stuff

Do you have a photo of Mom on your mantel? Do you keep a lock of Baby's hair in a scrap book? Maybe you still have Dad's basketball trophy or the medal Grandpa received for serving in the armed forces.

Statues of saints do not constitute idol worship. We in the Catholic Church do not worship saints nor their statues, pictures, or even their relics. Images are visual reminders. Humans are physical beings and as such, we respond to images, smells, and other physical sensations.

Let's think of Mary. If God can find her admirable enough to be the mother of our Savior, she is surely a worthier subject for a painting than a barn in winter or a pair of kittens in a flower pot.

At the Bible Christian Society web site, you can find more on this topic.

A two minute bit-
http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute#15

Free audio cds and tapes. See the one called, "Communion of Saints."

Or as a free download:
http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/download

Or check out the article at Catholic.com:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace.

Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Where did we get this prayer? The Hail Mary is based on passages in Luke- specifically Luke 1:28-35, 42-48.
The words were drawn from the Angel's greeting to Mary, and Elizabeth's words when Mary came to visit her. Should we not also honor our Lord's mother?And we see from the Wedding at Cana that Mary will intercede.

Okay, that got long- next time we'll talk about relics. :)

3 comments:

  1. "So, we learn from them, are inspired by them, and ask them to pray for us"

    Here's my take on this: I learn by their examples and I am inspired by their works of mercy, however, they have passed on from this life and I can't fathom asking them to pray for me when "they are dead" Now, in the case of Mary, there is nothing on the bible that states how she died, if she didn't and was taken to heaven great! but, we don't ask Moses or Isaiah to pray for me!? correct? So, why asked them to pray for us? For the life of me, I just don't get it.

    I see their lives as a great example to follow, for example, Mother Teresa! This woman gave up her life for Christ as did Mary, the apostles and all the prophets before them, but I am not going to pray to any of them.

    Statues of Saints, I don't mind at all like you, I see them as a visual reminder of how they were. I think is cool, but Protestants see them as idol worshiper.

    At another thing I don't get is Purgatory. I have heard priest and other people explained it and how they based it on the bible and each time, they lose me even more.

    I'm still a devoted Catholic and I believe in the core beliefs, but these two, I do question and decide not to take a part of everything else i'm good with.

    Thanks for article!!!

    God Bless,

    Sandra Seaman

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  2. one more thing: why pray to Mary when I have Christ who died for me. She didn't. Her sacrifice was great and pain unbearable, but again, she didn't die for me, Christ did. This is why I don't pray to her or recite the rosary. God gaves us ONE mediator not two.

    My mom and I have argued over this for years and neither of us have yet come to an understanding. She calls me a "bad Catholic."

    Sandra.

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  3. Wonderful feedback. I can see where my post was lacking. Now I'll blab on in in the comments secion. I hope it all fits. LOL

    I suppose I shouldn't really call saints "dead," after all, He is the God of the living, not the dead. They are no less part of the Body of Christ than we are.

    So, why pray to them? They are more righteous, having been perfected and given special Graces by God. They become "sharers in the divine nature," (2Pt1:4).They have probably more love than your average earthly guy and can probably pray more whole heartedly- In Luke 15 it says they have great joy in Heaven when a sinner repents. They are interested in us.

    I don't see why you can't ask Moses or Isaiah to pray for you. Jesus hung out with Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, so I don't suppose the O.T. saints are out of bounds to us.

    Purgatory- I'll do a post on that soon. I put a bright pink sticky note on my cupboard. People will think I'm nuts. LOL

    When we say "pray to the saints" we mean it kind of in the old sense of "to ask," as in, "I pray you, madam, may I draw water from your well?" What we are doing is asking them to pray to God for us like we would a friend on earth.

    It all goes through Jesus, though. Everything is through Him, with Him, and in Him. We can't pray to the saints without Jesus.

    John Martignoni made a great analogy. He said it's like when you prick one hand with a pin with your other hand. The impulse must go through the brain and the brain tells the hand it was poked and to react. The hand with the pin is us. The hand being poked is the saints and Jesus is of course the brain. The two hands cannot communicate without the brain. Well, John Martignoni explained it better, but you get the gist I hope.

    Mary always points us to her Son. To pray the Rosary is to journey with the mother and witness the Son's life. He gave Mary to us when He died on the cross. "Behold your mother. Behold your son." He wasn't just giving her and John to each other, he was giving her to the church. That's us. We are the church.

    Mary was with Jesus at many important times- his birth, death, his first miracle.

    Yes, Jesus is the one mediator between God and us. Amen! :) Jesus is the only one who is both God and man. Mary, like us, is a creature.

    But the Bible does show that God listens when we various creatures pray for each other. He doesn't seem to want us alone drifting like islands tethered to just Him. We are a body with many parts and a building with Him as the key stone. I think He wants us to interact with each other and help each other. The parts don't break off when they become saints. They just get better.

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