St. Anthony Messenger

Why Pray to Mary and the Saints?

Why do Catholics pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to various saints? Is there anything in the Bible to back this up? Can’t this be considered idol worship? Why not pray directly to God?

The mother of Jesus Christ and the other saints have no meaning or power independent of God. Catholics and many other Christians venerate the saints as ongoing examples of what a life generously open to God’s grace can look like in a great variety of circumstances.

Jesus was a celibate, first-century man—and fully God—who faced certain situations and challenges that no longer exist in the 21st century. We pray to Mary and the saints because they encourage us to be holy now.

In Hebrews 12:1‚àí2, we read: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. ”

In the previous chapter, that author extols the faith of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets (vv. 1‚àí32). “Women [of faith] received back their dead through resurrection ” (11:35a). Similar praises of women and men who exemplified great faith are found in Sirach 44:1‚àí50:24 and 2 Maccabees 15:12‚àí16.

The great variety of holy men and women refutes any suggestion that faith was once easier than it is now. It is possible in every social class, century, and geographic area.

In the eighth century AD, especially in the Byzantine Empire, the objection arose that praying to Mary and the other saints (represented by icons) is a form of idol worship. At the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, this assertion was rejected—with the clarification that adoration is given to God alone, that veneration is given to the saints, and that a unique veneration is given to the Virgin Mary.

Saints are not some court of final appeal, where petitioners can receive from them what God has declined to give. Officially recognized deceased saints encourage us to become living saints.

With this understanding, prayers to Mary and the other saints are a win-win situation, taking nothing away from God, but rather, prompting the person who prays to be as open to and to cooperate as generously with the grace of God as this saint did.

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5 thoughts on “Why Pray to Mary and the Saints?”

  1. The bible says that the dead have no knowledge or contact with the living..why do the Catholics pray for the dead who’s spirit is in the presence of the Lord. They no longer need our prayers.

    1. We adore Jesus Christ and only venerate the Saints and the Mother of God.
      We do not pray for them to do miracles for us. We ask them to pray to God the same way that we may be asked by a friend or congregation to pray for a injured or sick relative.
      Yes, they have died on this earth, now, we assume there in heaven and are closer to God to than us. Who better to ask to pray for us then God’s Jesus Christ’s holy mother?
      If, they are nothing now, then what will we be when we die?
      I promise and friends said but she’s dead and now she’s nothing.
      Really? The mother of God on earth is nothing? This young woman was chosen by God Almighty as worthy to bear his son to redeem us as well as to teach us.
      And some would call her nothing?

      1. She is in heaven with all other believers who died in Christ.
        She also needed Jesus as her savior, but she can do nothing for you now.

  2. I understand very well what you mean but when you say that those who are with the Lord are more qualified to pray to the Father than we who are alive, isn’t that a form of disrespect to the Holy Spirit?
    Because, by the help of the Holy Spirit, we have been made sanctified and qualified to connect to the Father, the Bible clearly states ask your father who is in heaven for anything as long as it’s His will, not ask someone else who you feel is more holy than you to ask the Father on your behalf, that era has passed in the old testament, where a priest would intercede for the people, Jesus Christ the Son of God has paid the price already, therefore through Jesus who is the Way, we can have direct access to the Father.
    Imagine if you need something from your earthy father, and anytime you want to ask him for it, you always tell your mother to pass the information to him, how do you think your father would feel about your relationship with him?
    Put yourself in your father’s shoes. Thanks.

  3. if saints can hear the prayers of each and every faithful person in every corner of the earth, then does this mean, saints are omnipresent people too like God? Also, with the thousands of people praying to the deceased saints every second, every minute of the day, then you could just imagine how busy these deceased saints must have been doing nothing but pray, pray, pray in heaven to help pray for those people praying on earth? an eternity of praying? not my idea of how saints spend the afterlife. just unbelievable.

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