Sunday, 1 November 2015

Praying to Saints and the "dead"


Today, I wish to talk about something that is perhaps a little controversial, especially amongst non-Catholics: praying to Saints to intercede for us, and praying for the dead.

As Christians, we believe that our souls live on after our death. And that we shall be with God in Heaven, unless …. OK – no need to go there for now.

So if our deceased relatives and friends are in Heaven with Jesus; should we pray for them as some people do?

They are already in a happier place than down here on earth. Are we praying for God to look after them? He is already doing that. Are we praying to them and asking them to intercede with God on our behalf?

Well, here’s a subject for a debate if there ever was one.

There are people who believe we should not pray to anyone but God alone. So praying to dead relatives (or Saints) to intercede for us is perhaps a step too far.

Or is it?

As Christians, we believe that people like Mary, the mother of Jesus, Joseph, his earthly father, Peter and the other disciples are all in Heaven with God.

Is it wrong therefore to speak to them and say something like: Peter, in your moments of torment and confusion, you denied Christ three times; I’m sure you understand how I feel right now that my Faith is weak. Please help me in increasing and maintaining my Faith. (Or words to that effect).

Is it wrong to relate to a particular person (Saint) who once lived on earth and to communicate with them as we would with God?

In doing so we are not by-passing God, going behind His back, to obtain favours that He would not approve of. We are perhaps, in our human way, relating to someone human like us, who has lived on this earth like us, who has found favour in the eyes of God.

Having spoken or prayed to these individuals, the next question is: Do they respond?

How do you explain the many instances of miracles that happened, and still do, in the name of Saints?

I am thinking about Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje as well as other miracles performed as a result of prayers said to people like Padre Pio, Pere Charbel Makhlouf and others.

Did these people have anything to do with the miracles performed? Did God grant the miracles of healings asked for in their name? Or did these people (Saints) themselves perform the miracles (i.e. their living souls)?

Remember, the Disciples performed miracles when here on earth – so why not perform them in Heaven?

Certainly questions for interminable debates. Yet, at the end of the day it all boils down to one’s beliefs and one’s Faith.

If we really believe that our departed relatives live on – then why not speak to them in prayer? Why not tell them what kind of day we’ve had? Why not ask them to speak to God on our behalf?

Is it truly that far-fetched a proposition?

12 comments:

  1. WELL, Victor, my friend, you may have opened a can of worms. I will only say this---what scripture are you using to back this up? I use Jesus as my example and did He ever pray to anyone but The Father?

    Bottom line---we all believe Jesus is the answer and He is a part of the Holy Trinity. THAT is the most important common belief!

    I never argue religion, and find your rational interesting.

    I will leave it there!
    Sabbath Blessings, Friend!

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    1. Thank you Lulu for partaking in "the can of worms". Yes, this is a very controversial matter. And yes, you are right in saying that Christ only prayed to His Father - it would have been very odd and wrong if He prayed to His mother Mary, father Joseph and the Disciples. And yes, you are very very right in saying that Jesus is the answer and He is part of the Holy Trinity.

      Oh ... one more thing you are right in ... I have NO SCRIPTURE whatsoever to back what I am saying.

      So ... where do I stand? Here's my logic; if logic it is:

      The Disciples when on earth did perform miracles. They did this through the power of God not their own power. God often allowed miracles to happen as a means of showing that He had them in His favour.

      So what happened when they died? People like St Peter, Matthew, Paul and the others? Are they alive in Heaven with God? Or are they kept in glass cabinets as trophies in the everlasting battle between God and the devil?

      If they are alive, and presumably able to listen to us in prayer, is it really wrong if we ask them "to put in a good word for us" with God? Very much like you and I asking for a referee to say something about us when we apply for a job or membership of an exclusive club.

      Is it significant, perhaps, that Christ's first miracle, in Cana, was at the request of His mother? Is this an indication that He will listen to us through her?

      How else can we explain the many miracles that happened and still do in places like Lourdes, Fatima and elsewhere when praying to Saints? Are they all false?

      Finally, and this is just me thinking aloud, Lulu; with no scripture whatsoever to back me. I presume that God has great love for Mary for agreeing to be Christ's mother. I presume He loves Joseph His earthly father; and all the Disciples and followers of Christ many of whom were martyred for their beliefs. If God loves all these; will He really punish me and send me to hell for daring to love them and pray to them?

      As I said, I have no scripture to back my thoughts or theories.

      God bless you; and thank you sincerely for taking the time to write about this.

      Delete
  2. Hi Victor! I was just thinking about this today. I had such an overwhelming presence of my mom today at mass. She died in 2010, and I just knew that she was with me, and that I could pray through her.

    Then I wondered why I would pray through her, when I can pray 'right to the source'. But you know, God sent His Son. He's used to spreading around His presence and power. Why wouldn't He want to use His Son and the saints, and my mom?

    It was a very comforting thought.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you Ceil. Praying for you and your Mom.

      You know, I often pray FOR people who comment here. I pray TO God or Jesus and say something like "God please bless Ceil ..."

      Why is it OK for me to pray for people, and for people to ask me to pray for them; and somehow it is not OK to pray to St Peter, or any other Saint? When doing so, we are not praying TO them as Deities, we are praying TO them so that they may pray FOR us to God and Jesus. Similarly, there's nothing wrong in praying to our deceased loved ones and asking them to intercede for us.

      God bless you and yours.

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  3. Awesome post, Victor! I think this is my favorite one from you thus far. GOD bless you! :-)

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    1. Thank you Tai.

      I often post humourous posts here. They attract new readers who hopefully read my more serious posts and get to learn about God's love. My Christian posts can sometimes be controversial; but I hope they encourage discussion and learning from one another.

      Praying for you.

      God bless.

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  4. May the souls of all the departed be with God. May all souls be led to heaven, especially those in most need of His mercy.

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  5. I say the very same thing to people, and to my CCD students. What could be wrong about praying for our departed saints or asking for their prayers? I say the same thing about Mary. I ask folks if they believe she went to heaven, well, that would mean she is still alive, right? Don't we ask our friends to pray for us all the time? And who closer to our Lord than she?
    And, one of my favorite hymns. :)

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    1. Hello Kelly,

      How nice of you to visit me and to comment here. Thank you. We look forwards to your many returns.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  6. I have to admit, Victor, that I'd never heard of this until you mentioned it in one of your other posts. I grew up in the Catholic church and you know how some like to hide the bibles from the regular folk, (ha ha) so I thought maybe I missed something.;-)

    I do lean more toward what Lulu is saying here, but understand the thought process on praying to the saints so that they can intercede on our behalf. It does feel a bit odd, but I don't think it is wrong unless you start praying to them like you pray to Jesus. I do feel like some people have skirted over to the 'idol' side of the isle on the matter here. Saints are saints. They are NOT part of the Holy Trinity. And that's my two cents.

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    1. Kim, your two cents are worth a fortune. The Catholic Church has a lot to answer for in creating confusion, obfuscation and doubts about the very Faith it is supposed to defend and protect.

      Yes, over the years a lot of people have prayed to Saints, and lit candles and placed flowers by their statues as if they were Gods. This is very very WRONG. Saints are NOT part of the Trinity and should not be worshipped as such.

      The Church has not clarified this and correct those amongst its congregation who have gone astray.

      Praying to Saints is no different to me asking you to pray for me to God - put in a good word for me.

      No wonder non-Catholics are confused about this. It's the Catholic Church's fault, I feel.

      God bless you Kim.

      P.S. I always finish my comments by saying "God bless you" - by this I am asking/praying to God that He may bless that person. It is NOT me blessing you on His behalf.

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God bless you.

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