Why Pray to Mary and the Saints?

Not having been raised Catholic, I can relate to the question that is often asked, “Why do Catholics pray to Mary?” A good way to respond to someone asking that question is to first explain the Catholic understanding of the Communion of Saints. People questioning the idea of praying to a saint perceive that those who are dead in Christ are disconnected from those on earth, so to pray to someone who is dead seems like a useless proposition. Non-Catholics are quick to pray for one another, but to pray for the dead or ask the intercession of those who are dead is not only foreign, it’s a bit suspect.

Painting by Pietro Perugino (1497), sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

So in order to explain why we pray to Mary and the saints, they need to understand that there is a connection between the Body of Christ that is already in heaven and those who are still on earth. Though a person is no longer living on earth, that does not mean they are not living. Catholics understand that we have a relationship with those who are living in heaven, and that during the Mass heaven and earth connect.

Once that difference is explained, you can make the connection that praying to Mary or the saints is like asking a friend here on earth to pray for you. Catholics also believe that a saint in heaven has a better connection to Christ, since they are right there with him.

Part of the problem of explaining the communion of saints to non-Catholics is that the Bible that they use does not have the books that mention praying for the dead and asking for the intercession of angels, so trying to quote those Scriptures will not be accepted.

However, there are some verses in Revelation that talk about the prayers of the saints. For example, Revelation 5:8:

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding   a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

And Revelation 8:3-4:

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

 Of course for those in heaven there is no need for prayers, so the prayers of the saints are for those on earth. If saints are praying for us, why not implore them with something specific? That is how we on earth ask each other. If the Body of Christ is not separated, then it would be wrong to say we can’t ask members of the Body of Christ in heaven to pray for us, because that would be a denial of the unity of Christ.

It can also be helpful to point out the role of Bathsheba in the Old Testament as the Queen Mother to Solomon, who interceded for people on their behalf. So too the Queen Mother of heaven can intercede for us.

One through Love

Romans 8:35-39 talks about all of us being together in the love of God. If nothing can separate us from God’s love, how can we be separate from one another who are held together in God’s love?

In Mark 12:24-27, Jesus talks about the resurrection and proclaims that God is a God of the living, not of the dead and that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still live. This Scripture verse reinforces that those who die in faith are not dead. If they are not dead, then they are part of the kingdom of heaven, which is both in heaven and on earth. And so it follows that if we are connected, we can ask for the prayers of those in heaven who are part of God’s kingdom.

So once you can show people that it is biblical to pray to the saints, then you can easily point out that since Mary is the mother of Jesus, surely she can intercede for us as well.

It is a great blessing to have a host of heaven to pray for us as we labor and struggle here on earth.


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Emily Cavins

Emily received her BA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Minnesota and is a tour leader of annual pilgrimages to Israel and other Bible related destinations. Her most recent publication is Lily of the Mohawks: The Story of St. Kateri, the first Native American Saint from North America. She is the developer of the “Great Adventure Kids” bible study materials. She co-wrote the “Walking Toward Eternity: Making Choices for Today” Bible Study Series One and Two with her husband, Jeff. She is also the author of “Catholic Family Night,” a series of lessons covering all three liturgical reading cycles with one lesson per week throughout the entire year. Emily lives in Minnesota with Jeff, her husband of over 30 years.

  • KGOMOTSO MOABI

    Mary was not assumes into heaven either so its really weird,no scripture in the bible claims that?
    Being caught up in Mary and saints,you have Jesus the closest being to God and you would rather call on Mary and the saints?

  • Jose Samilin

    TO SUSAN D HARRIS, THIS WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTION IF MARY (AS DEAD) CAN HEAR US, ON QUESTION OF NECROMANCY AND ETC. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME AND KINDLY UNDERSTAND BELOW. Thanks again to Catholic Answers. to whom all credits be due, helping us understand our faith through their research. The historic Christian practice of asking our departed brothers and sisters in Christ—the saints—for their intercession has come under attack in the last few hundred years. Though the practice dates to the
    earliest days of Christianity and is shared by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, the other Eastern Christians, and even some Anglicans—meaning that all-told it is shared by more than three quarters of the Christians on earth—it still comes under heavy attack from many within the
    Protestant movement that started in the sixteenth century.

    Can They Hear Us?

    One charge made against it is that the saints in heaven cannot even hear our prayers, making it useless to ask for their intercession. However, this is not true. As Scripture indicates, those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth. This can be seen, for example, in
    Revelation 5:8, where John depicts the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God under the form of “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” But if the saints in heaven are offering our prayers to God, then they must be aware of our prayers. They are
    aware of our petitions and present them to God by interceding for us.

    Some
    might try to argue that in this passage the prayers being offered were
    not addressed to the saints in heaven, but directly to God. Yet this
    argument would only strengthen the fact that those in heaven can hear
    our prayers, for then the saints would be aware of our prayers even when
    they are not directed to them!

    In any event, it is
    clear from Revelation 5:8 that the saints in heaven do actively
    intercede for us. We are explicitly told by John that the incense they
    offer to God are the prayers of the saints. Prayers are not physical
    things and cannot be physically offered to God. Thus the saints in
    heaven are offering our prayers to God mentally. In other words, they
    are interceding.

    One Mediator

    Another
    charge commonly levelled against asking the saints for their
    intercession is that this violates the sole mediatorship of Christ,
    which Paul discusses: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator
    between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

    But
    asking one person to pray for you in no way violates Christ’s
    mediatorship, as can be seen from considering the way in which Christ is
    a mediator. First, Christ is a unique mediator between man and God
    because he is the only person who is both God and man. He is the only
    bridge between the two, the only God-man. But that role as mediator is
    not compromised in the least by the fact that others intercede for us.
    Furthermore, Christ is a unique mediator between God and man because he
    is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15, 12:24), just as Moses
    was the mediator (Greek mesitas) of the Old Covenant (Gal. 3:19–20).

    The
    intercession of fellow Christians—which is what the saints in heaven
    are—also clearly does not interfere with Christ’s unique mediatorship
    because in the four verses immediately preceding 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul
    says that Christians should interceed: “First of all, then, I urge that
    supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all
    men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a
    quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is
    good, and pleasing to God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved
    and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1–4). Clearly,
    then, intercessory prayers offered by Christians on behalf of others is
    something “good and pleasing to God,” not something infringing on
    Christ’s role as mediator.

    “No Contact with the dead”

    Sometimes
    Fundamentalists object to asking our fellow Christians in heaven to
    pray for us by declaring that God has forbidden contact with the dead in
    passages such as Deuteronomy 18:10–11. In fact, he has not, because he
    at times has given it—for example, when he had Moses and Elijah appear
    with Christ to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt.
    17:3). What God has forbidden is necromantic practice of conjuring up
    spirits. “There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son
    or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a
    soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a
    wizard, or a necromancer. . . . For these nations, which you are about
    to dispossess, give heed to soothsayers and to diviners; but as for you,
    the Lord your God has not allowed you so to do. The Lord your God will
    raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your
    brethren—him you shall heed” (Deut. 18:10–15). TO BE CONTINUED….

    • Jose Samilin

      CONTINUED FROM ABOVE:
      God thus indicates that one is not to conjure the dead for
      purposes of gaining information; one is to look to God’s prophets
      instead. Thus one is not to hold a seance. But anyone with an ounce of
      common sense can discern the vast qualitative
      difference between holding a seance to have the dead speak through you
      and a son humbly saying at his mother’s grave, “Mom, please pray to
      Jesus for me; I’m having a real problem right now.” The difference
      between the two is the difference between night and day. One is an
      occult practice bent on getting secret information; the other is a
      humble request for a loved one to pray to God on one’s behalf.

      Overlooking the Obvious

      Some
      objections to the concept of prayer to the saints betray restricted
      notions of heaven. One comes from anti-Catholic Loraine Boettner:

      “How,
      then, can a human being such as Mary hear the prayers of millions of
      Roman Catholics, in many different countries, praying in many different
      languages, all at the same time?

      “Let any priest or
      layman try to converse with only three people at the same time and see
      how impossible that is for a human being. . . . The objections against
      prayers to Mary apply equally against prayers to the saints. For they
      too are only creatures, infinitely less than God, able to be at only one
      place at a time and to do only one thing at a time.

      “How,
      then, can they listen to and answer thousands upon thousands of
      petitions made simultaneously in many different lands and in many
      different languages? Many such petitions are expressed, not orally, but
      only mentally, silently. How can Mary and the saints, without being like
      God, be present everywhere and know the secrets of all hearts?” (Roman
      Catholicism, 142-143).

      If being in heaven were like
      being in the next room, then of course these objections would be valid. A
      mortal, unglorified person in the next room would indeed suffer the
      restrictions imposed by the way space and time work in our universe. But
      the saints are not in the next room, and they are not subject to the
      time/space limitations of this life.

      This does not
      imply that the saints in heaven therefore must be omniscient, as God is,
      for it is only through God’s willing it that they can communicate with
      others in heaven or with us. And Boettner’s argument about petitions
      arriving in different languages is even further off the mark. Does
      anyone really think that in heaven the saints are restricted to the
      King’s English? After all, it is God himself who gives the gift of
      tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Surely those saints in
      Revelation understand the prayers they are shown to be offering to God.

      The
      problem here is one of what might be called a primitive or even
      childish view of heaven. It is certainly not one on which enough
      intellectual rigor has been exercised. A good introduction to the real
      implications of the afterlife may be found in Frank Sheed’s book
      Theology and Sanity, which argues that sanity depends on an accurate
      appreciation of reality, and that includes an accurate appreciation of
      what heaven is really like. And once that is known, the place of prayer
      to the saints follows.

      “Directly to Jesus”

      Some
      may grant that the previous objections to asking the saints for their
      intercession do not work and may even grant that the practice is
      permissible in theory, yet they may question it on other grounds, asking
      why one would want to ask the saints to pray for one. “Why not pray
      directly to Jesus?” they ask.

      The answer is: “Of
      course one should pray directly to Jesus!” But that does not mean it is
      not also a good thing to ask others to pray for one as well. Ultimately,
      the “go-directly-to-Jesus” objection boomerangs back on the one who
      makes it: Why should we ask any Christian, in heaven or on earth, to
      pray for us when we can ask Jesus directly? If the mere fact that we can
      go straight to Jesus proved that we should ask no Christian in heaven
      to pray for us then it would also prove that we should ask no Christian
      on earth to pray for us.

      Praying for each other is
      simply part of what Christians do. As we saw, in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul
      strongly encouraged Christians to intercede for many different things,
      and that passage is by no means unique in his writings. Elsewhere Paul
      directly asks others to pray for him (Rom. 15:30–32, Eph. 6:18–20, Col.
      4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1), and he assured them that he was
      praying for them as well (2 Thess. 1:11). Most fundamentally, Jesus
      himself required us to pray for others, and not only for those who asked
      us to do so (Matt. 5:44).

      Since the practice of
      asking others to pray for us is so highly recommended in Scripture, it
      cannot be regarded as superfluous on the grounds that one can go
      directly to Jesus. The New Testament would not recommend it if there
      were not benefits coming from it. One such benefit is that the faith and
      devotion of the saints can support our own weaknesses and supply what
      is lacking in our own faith and devotion. Jesus regularly supplied for
      one person based on another person’s faith (e.g., Matt. 8:13, 15:28,
      17:15–18, Mark 9:17–29, Luke 8:49–55). And it goes without saying that
      those in heaven, being free of the body and the distractions of this
      life, have even greater confidence and devotion to God than anyone on
      earth.

      Also, God answers in particular the prayers
      of the righteous. James declares: “The prayer of a righteous man has
      great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with
      ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three
      years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again
      and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit” (Jas.
      5:16–18). Yet those Christians in heaven are more righteous, since they
      have been made perfect to stand in God’s presence (Heb. 12:22-23), than
      anyone on earth, meaning their prayers would be even more efficacious.

      Having
      others praying for us thus is a good thing, not something to be
      despised or set aside. Of course, we should pray directly to Christ with
      every pressing need we have (cf. John 14:13–14). That’s something the
      Catholic Church strongly encourages. In fact, the prayers of the Mass,
      the central act of Catholic worship, are directed to God and Jesus, not
      the saints. But this does not mean that we should not also ask our
      fellow Christians, including those in heaven, to pray with us.

  • Mary

    Emily, Solomon did not honor Bathsheba’s request. The man Bathsheba was interceding for was the same man that Solomon had put to death. Stop kidding the catholics and start telling them the truth.

  • Mary

    Praying to Mary is idolatry.

    • SusanDHarris

      Actually it’s necromancy and is forbidden in the Bible. I really love many aspects of the Catholic faith, but Mary was NOT a supernatural being. She was mortal. She is dead. Talking to her is WRONG. It’s like waiting for Houdini’s message to come through.

      • Transmuto

        What do you mean she is dead? so she is not in Heaven? are people in Heaven dead?

        • Donnie Braschio

          To the thief on the cross, Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” If you recall Jesus’ parable on Lazarus the beggar, he was in “Abraham’s bosom”. When the rich man asked Abraham to let Lazarus go back and warn his family about the place of suffering, there was no acceptance given. There was no intercession offered. This concept of saints who have died being intercessors is not seen anywhere in accepted canon.

          • Donnie Braschio

            Also, there is tge concept that once we die we rest from our labor (see Heb. 4:3, Heb 4:11, Matthew 25:23) . Our intercession, our struggles of life are over and we await the resurrection of the body spoken of in various passages in the New Testament when Jesus returns. We as Christians await that great hope of the coming of Christ, along with all saints (those having received Christ’s atonement).

    • Jose Samilin

      TO MARY ANG SUSAN D HARRIS IN THIS FORUM, KINDLY BEAR WITH ME, ONCE AND FOR ALL, to
      explain concerning Idolatry and Worship. (I would be borrowing from
      Catholic Apologetic organization, Catholic Answers, Inc, for whom all
      credits be due) In my initiative to explain I would encourage open
      heart and mind, and not allowing malice in our heart but pure love of
      our fellowmen. The word “worship” has undergone a change in meaning in
      English. It comes from the Old English weorthscipe, which means the
      condition of being worthy of honor, respect, or dignity. To worship in
      the older, larger sense is to ascribe honor, worth, or excellence to
      someone, whether a sage, a magistrate, or God.

      For
      many centuries, the term worship simply meant showing respect or honor,
      and an example of this usage survives in contemporary English. British
      subjects refer to their magistrates as “Your Worship,” although
      Americans would say “Your Honor.” This doesn’t mean that British
      subjects worship their magistrates as gods (in fact, they may even
      despise a particular magistrate they are addressing). It means they are
      giving them the honor appropriate to their office, not the honor
      appropriate to God.

      Outside of this example,
      however, the English term “worship” has been narrowed in scope to
      indicate only that supreme form of honor, reverence, and respect that is
      due to God. This change in usage is quite recent. In fact, one can
      still find books that use “worship” in the older, broader sense. This
      can lead to a significant degree of confusion, when people who are
      familiar only with the use of words in their own day and their own
      circles encounter material written in other times and other places.

      In
      Scripture, the term “worship” was similarly broad in meaning, but in
      the early Christian centuries, theologians began to differentiate
      between different types of honor in order to make more clear which is
      due to God and which is not.

      As the terminology of
      Christian theology developed, the Greek term latria came to be used to
      refer to the honor that is due to God alone, and the term dulia came to
      refer to the honor that is due to human beings, especially those who
      lived and died in God’s friendship—in other words, the saints. Scripture
      indicates that honor is due to these individuals (Matt. 10:41b). A
      special term was coined to refer to the special honor given to the
      Virgin Mary, who bore Jesus—God in the flesh—in her womb. This term,
      hyperdulia (huper [more than]+ dulia = “beyond dulia”), indicates that
      the honor due to her as Christ’s own Mother is more than the dulia given
      to other saints. It is greater in degree, but still of the same kind.
      However, since Mary is a finite creature, the honor she is due is
      fundamentally different in kind from the latria owed to the infinite
      Creator.

      All of these terms—latria, dulia,
      hyperdulia—used to be lumped under the one English word “worship.”
      Sometimes when one reads old books discussing the subject of how
      particular persons are to be honored, they will qualify the word
      “worship” by referring to “the worship of latria” or “the worship of
      dulia.” To contemporaries and to those not familiar with the history of
      these terms, however, this is too confusing.

      Another
      attempt to make clear the difference between the honor due to God and
      that due to humans has been to use the words adore and adoration to
      describe the total, consuming reverence due to God and the terms
      venerate, veneration, and honor to refer to the respect due humans.
      Thus, Catholics sometimes say, “We adore God but we honor his saints.”

      Unfortunately,
      many non-Catholics have been so schooled in hostility toward the Church
      that they appear unable or unwilling to recognize these distinctions.
      They confidently (often arrogantly) assert that Catholics “worship” Mary
      and the saints, and, in so doing, commit idolatry. This is patently
      false, of course, but the education in anti-Catholic prejudice is so
      strong that one must patiently explain that Catholics do not worship
      anyone but God—at least given the contemporary use of the term. The
      Church is very strict about the fact that latria, adoration—what
      contemporary English speakers call “worship”—is to be given only to God.

      Though
      one should know it from one’s own background, it often may be best to
      simply point out that Catholics do not worship anyone but God and omit
      discussing the history of the term. Many non-Catholics might be more
      perplexed than enlightened by hearing the history of the word. Familiar
      only with their group’s use of the term “worship,” they may misperceive a
      history lesson as rationalization and end up even more adamant in their
      declarations that the term is applicable only to God. TO BE CONTINUED

      • Jose Samilin

        CONTINUED FROM ABOVE ON IDOLATRY AND WORSHIP.
        Continued: Wanting to attack the veneration of the saints, they may declare that only God should be honored.

        Both
        of these declarations are in direct contradiction to the language and
        precepts of the Bible. The term “worship” was used in the same
        way in the Bible that it used to be used in English. It could cover
        both the adoration given to God alone and the honor that is to be shown
        to certain human beings. In Hebrew, the term for worship is shakhah. It
        is appropriately used for humans in a large number of passages.

        For
        example, in Genesis 37:7–9 Joseph relates two dreams that God gave him
        concerning how his family would honor him in coming years. Translated
        literally the passage states: “‘[B]ehold, we were binding sheaves in the
        field, and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and behold, your
        sheaves gathered round it, and worshiped [shakhah] my sheaf.’ . . . Then
        he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said,
        ‘Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon,
        and eleven stars were worshiping [shakhah] me.’”

        In
        Genesis 49:2-27, Jacob pronounced a prophetic blessing on his sons, and
        concerning Judah he stated: “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your
        hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall
        worship [shakhah] you (49:8).” And in Exodus 18:7, Moses honored his
        father-in-law, Jethro: “Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and
        worshiped [shakhah] him and kissed him; and they asked each other of
        their welfare, and went into the tent.”

        Yet none of these passages were discussing the worship of adoration, the kind of worship given to God.

        Honoring Saints

        Consider
        how honor is given. We regularly give it to public officials. In the
        United States it is customary to address a judge as “Your Honor.” In the
        marriage ceremony it used to be said that the wife would “love, honor,
        and obey” her husband. Letters to legislators are addressed to “The
        Honorable So-and-So.” And just about anyone, living or dead, who bears
        an exalted rank is said to be worthy of honor, and this is particularly
        true of historical figures, as when children are (or at least used to
        be) instructed to honor the Founding Fathers of America.

        These
        practices are entirely Biblical. We are explicitly commanded at
        numerous points in the Bible to honor certain people. One of the most
        important commands on this subject is the command to honor one’s
        parents: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long
        in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Ex. 20:12). God
        considered this command so important that he repeated it multiple times
        in the Bible (for example, Lev. 19:3, Deut. 5:16, Matt. 15:4, Luke
        18:20, and Eph. 6:2–3). It was also important to give honor to one’s
        elders in general: “You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor
        the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord”
        (Lev. 19:32). It was also important to specially honor religious
        leaders: “Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron [the high priest],
        to give him dignity and honor” (Ex. 28:2).

        The New
        Testament stresses the importance of honoring others no less than the
        Old Testament. The apostle Paul commanded: “Pay all of them their dues,
        taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to
        whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due” (Rom. 13:7). He also
        stated this as a principle regarding one’s employers: “Slaves, be
        obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling,
        in singleness of heart, as to Christ” (Eph. 6:5). “Let all who are
        under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor,
        so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed” (1 Tim.
        6:1). Perhaps the broadest command to honor others is found in 1 Peter:
        “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1
        Pet. 2:17).

        The New Testament also stresses the
        importance of honoring religious figures. Paul spoke of the need to give
        them special honor in 1 Timothy: “Let the presbyters [priests] who rule
        well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor
        in preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). Christ himself promised
        special blessings to those who honor religious figures: “He who receives
        a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and
        he who receives a righteous man [saint] because he is a righteous man
        shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Matt. 10:41).

        So,
        if there can be nothing wrong with honoring the living, who still have
        an opportunity to ruin their lives through sin, there certainly can be
        no argument against giving honor to saints whose lives are done and who
        ended them in sanctity. If people should be honored in general, God’s
        special friends certainly should be honored.

        Statue Worship?

        People
        who do not know better sometimes say that Catholics worship statues.
        Not only is this untrue, it is even untrue that Catholics honor statues.
        After all, a statue is nothing but a carved block of marble or a chunk
        of plaster, and no one gives honor to marble yet unquarried or to
        plaster still in the mixing bowl.

        The fact that
        someone kneels before a statue to pray does not mean that he is praying
        to the statue, just as the fact that someone kneels with a Bible in his
        hands to pray does not mean that he is worshiping the Bible. Statues or
        paintings or other artistic devices are used to recall to the mind the
        person or thing depicted. Just as it is easier to remember one’s mother
        by looking at her photograph, so it is easier to recall the lives of the
        saints by looking at representations of them.

        The
        use of statues and icons for liturgical purposes (as opposed to idols)
        also had a place in the Old Testament. In Exodus 25:18–20, God
        commanded: “And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work
        shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub
        on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the
        mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim
        shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with
        their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the
        faces of the cherubim be.”

        In Numbers 21:8–9, he
        told Moses: “‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one
        who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze
        serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would
        look at the bronze serpent and live.” This shows the actual ceremonial
        use of a statue (looking to it) in order to receive a blessing from God
        (healing from snakebite). In John 3:14, Jesus tells us that he himself
        is what the bronze serpent represented, so it was a symbolic
        representation of Jesus. There was no problem with this statue—God had
        commanded it to be made—so long as people did not worship it. When they
        did, the righteous king Hezekiah had it destroyed (2 Kgs. 18:4). This
        clearly shows the difference between the proper religious use of statues
        and idolatry.

  • George

    Emily, I would appreciate knowing citations from the deuterocanonical books.

  • Jose Samilin

    Thanks Emily for a simple but vivid means to explain to all of us why we ought to pray to Mary, through the “Body of Christ.” Of course there are other approaches, like like understanding first the majestic role of Mary in the salvation history in relation to the New and Old Covenants, etc. But yours is the most simple way and most concern us as part of the Body of Christ, the Church and the Head is Jesus Christ itself.

    Let us get back to the question, why pray to Mary? In fact, the very people questioning this comes directly from Non-Catholics teachers or Pastors that rejected the Church established by Christ and profess mastery of the Scriptures but dimly understand what is in the Scripture truth about the “Body of Christ.” Emily’s way to enlighten us about the question that will led us to the answer and therefore, giving us understanding on this matter in Scriptures. If they have (sic) the mastery of Scriptures and proud to teach Bible truth, why then they openly question and trying to prove themselves right, its “idolatry,” Wrong!! The answer is these teachers and Pastors had already been rejected by them these passages in the Bible, so how could grace comes to them to be given by the Holy Spirit when the evil of sin had consumed them to reject Christ teaching in the Bible? Sorry to go a bit too far, but no that’s being part of it, a little jolt needed. Non-Catholics should face it ,”head-on in humility” otherwise, they were heading to the tendency of natural flesh without life.

    Yes, we are member of the Body of Christ but where do we belong on the three types of Body of Christ, which is the Church, namely; Church Militant, Church Suffering or Purgatory or purification and lastly the Church Triumphant and the cooperation of these three called the “Communion of Saints” We, the who are still living are the Church Militant, who are like in the military we are always struggling to fight against the attack of the evil ones.

    As explained by Emily above, please re-read Emily’s writings above and that answer why we ought to pray to Mary, most essentially, rather than going straight to Jesus which you cannot tolerate like the occasion of the Israelite in Mount Sinai.

    • SusanDHarris

      But wait …. all the Catholics say “We don’t PRAY to Mary.” Yeah. Right.

      • Jose Samilin

        Since you are interested on knowing answers to the many controvertial topics on Mary here is a website: catholic.com

        • SusanDHarris

          What I read online is often different than what someone tells me one-on-one. Like “We don’t pray to Mary” being oft repeated. I read – but cannot reconcile praying to a dead woman, though she is/was blessed among women.

          • Jose Samilin

            Susan, the answers were posted above. Thanks for this opportunity to explain our faith on Mary.

          • SusanDHarris

            I’m sorry. I really wish I could be Catholic cuz it’s so much more interesting than Protestantism. But they think saints have a better chance of getting through to Jesus “since they’re right there with him?” That is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard! It actually made me laugh out loud. Jesus is right here with me right now. I don’t need an intercessor that is in closer proximity like taking a space shuttle to heaven. Well I’ll leave you alone and good luck to you – but many people say you DON’T pray to Mary – the mortal dead woman who we aren’t supposed to pray to, yet you are at odds with many in your faith when you say you do. I think I need to go to something besides Bible Study for Catholics This stuff isn’t even logical. Thank you for responding.

          • Jose Samilin

            You’re welcome. I hope to have enlighten you with explanation on the biblical citation confronting the question of our faith. It is not really to abandon the faith would be the right answer when you are confronted with difficulties but to persevere to learn in order to overcome those difficulties, just like when you were saddled with difficulties in mathematics to find the right answer, you do not need to abandon it because the answer is right there, you just need to keep in studying it. Thank you Susan, more power to you in all your future endeavors and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.

          • Dan

            This theology debate can go on forever. Let me add from my experience. Having dabbled into occults including witchcraft and spritualism to undo witchcraft that was done to me, I’ll tell you praying to a deceased person is necromancy, whether saints or Mary. I’ve seen things way too many supernatural answers to prayers directed to saints or “dead ancestors” and I’ll confirm. You start praying to them, I doubt God is the one that answers, more like demons (familiar spirits). I say this from experience. I was baptized and raised Catholic and became secular for awhile and recently born again due to these experiences. Try fighting demons asking for Mary or the saints for help, doesnt work at all, the name of Jesus does. If fighting demons doesn’t clearly show what kind of prayers are effective then what does?

          • Renee

            Does everything have to be logical? What is Faith to you?

          • Donnie Braschio

            You are going through great task to defend something that is clearly the same as worship and making requests of Mary and the specific saints. Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are addressed to saints. In that case we can pray to all of them, not just to ones venerated by the RCC. You may say that is fine, but then that brings it all the more clear that this is a practice brought into the church from the ancient animist practices, ancestral incantations from all over the world, most every tribal group if we back far enough.
            Is this not what God was so angry with in the practices of the pagan nations in the the Old Testament, starting in Noah’s era?

          • Jose Samilin

            Donnie, as to worship, its fully explained above, the practice of incantation, etc,. were also discussed, and what else. Please, I do not need them to write here again. If anything more, kindly use my email: josesamilin181@yahoo.com

          • Donnie Braschio

            I read the diatribe. It is merely explaining away what it is: idolatry. No need to further discuss. I wrote above why the scriptures (and the early church, nor Hebrew practice which Jesus followed in earthly life) do not follow that pattern, which was derived purely from the Gentile practice of ancestral worship, end of story, no matter how you try to state it.

          • Jose Samilin

            Very good, Donnie, i understand
            that you persevere for your spiritual growth and as lay Catholic i will try to work with you, not only for your benefit but also in my own faith too. Firstly, on the question of worship, what is it to want me to clarify. Secondly, on Jesus practice while on earth, what is it today in our current generation have changed or is there a change after Jesus ascended t o heaven. I will only deal on Hebrew history of Jesus time but merely to bring connection of our present generation practice. So is that the thing you want? Or anything that bother you in the Catholic faith, so we could obey Christ teaching. Please let me know. The reason we need to localize or be specific so that I could be of help to you. Thanks.

        • John Wilson

          Jose. Jesus did not instruct us to pray to Mary. It’s not something that is remotely part of the Christian faith. While Mary was blessed among women, she too, still needed a savior. Jesus teaches us that nobody comes to the father except through him. The physically dead have done their time on Earth. They are with the father or they are dead in sin. Either way, they do not intercede for us. Praying to the dead is akin to witchcraft. The Bible teaches us that there is one intercessor between us and the father…period.

          • Jose Samilin

            John, I noted all your questions were discussed above, kindly help your self so that I do not need to repeat here. if anymore that bothers you, please contact me at my email: josesamilin181@yahoo,com.

  • maria spano

    I will love to make understand, all our brothers and sisters the beautiful, of the Catholic Faith, that we don’t worship ,Mother Mary all even the Saint’s

    • Jose Samilin

      True Maria, what a good feeling to have more friends from among our separated brothers and sisters in Christ especially if we could take our fellowship with them and have the chance to explain our veneration to Mary and the Saints citing those related bible passages as proof that we do not worship Many and that these prayers are divinely effective We ourselves should study these passages and try to develop ways to present it to them in a situation of humility and non-invasive.

    • SusanDHarris

      But it’s not a matter of WORSHIPING MARY, it’s that you talk to her at all. She is DEAD. It’s like trying to talk to anyone laying under a headstone.

      • Matthew Ludu

        Deuteronomy 18:10-13

        There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his
        daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells
        fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a
        necromancer ***or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these
        things
        is an abomination to the Lord.**** And because of these abominations
        the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless
        before the Lord your God,

        It states quite clearly talking to the dead is NOT permitted. So justying this by saying you are talking to Mary, who is dead as you quite rightly put…is not just wrong! but an abomination before God.

        I pray enlightenment for you sister in Christ.