Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Praying" to the Saints

I've discussed this idea here before, but a Catholic e-pal of mine posted a blog entry that really took the idea of praying to the saints down to the nuts and bolts. I was going to link it, but didn't know how to link to ONLY this entry because I didn't want it to get lost as she wrote additional entries.

So many thanks, RNW, for distilling this issue down to its essence:



Middle English, from Anglo-French prier, praer, preier, from Latin precari, from prec-, prex request, prayer; akin to Old High German frāga question, frāgēn to ask, Sanskrit pṛcchati he asks

transitive verb 1 : entreat, implore —often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea 2 : to get or bring by praying intransitive verb 1 : to make a request in a humble manner 2 : to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving

I have have been discussing, or rather mostly watching a discussion of Catholics and Saints lately. And I would like very much to answer a few questions...or perhaps set the record straight.

When a Catholic says "praying to St. [Really Holy Person], what they they really mean is (or should mean) "I am asking St. [Really Holy Person] to pray with me and for me. Notice the 'and' there; it's important. We are asking the Saint to pray in communion with us. It's that first definition that Catholics have in mind when they speak of praying to a Saint. There is no adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving that is due to God that is given to a Saint.

We do not think that the Saint is divine.

The Saint is NOT a mediator.

The Saint is an intercessor. Just like your Aunt Sally is an intercessor when you ask her to pray for you or when your Aunt Sally asks you to pray for her. If your Aunt Sally told you that she was having difficulties and asked you to pray for her, would you answer "You should go right to God!! Don't be asking me to pray for you." You are not a mediator for Aunt Sally, nor is she one for you....you are INTERCESSORS, so please stop quoting me the verse about "one mediator between God and man." Believe it or not, I know that one.

And I've covered this before but Saints are not dead either. They are alive in heaven. When you [general non-Catholic you, not necessarily you specifically] tell me that the reason I should not ask Saints for pray is because they are dead, what you are really saying to me is that you don't believe in a life in heaven after we die. To me that seems a staggering denial of the Resurrection of Jesus....just a thought.

And Catholics, you could help our non-Catholic brothers and sisters by simply saying, "I asked St. [Really Holy Person] to pray with me."


If you would like to read more thoughts on Catholicism written by a convert from evangelical Protestantism, see the Catholic Postscripts link under "Blogs of Interest" in the sidebar; it's down a little ways. RNW is expert at explaining doctrine in a way that's profound yet has a funny bone, too.

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