MYTHS DEBUNKED: “I don’t need the saints. I pray to God directly.”

If that’s the case, then I do not want your prayers. Let me explain.

You are not being consistent. You believe you can pray for my intentions and be heard by God. In other words, you are convinced that by your very prayer you are attempting to mediate between God and myself on my behalf.

I do not criticize the principle of praying for others. I believe in that. But I do criticize you praying for me in violation of your own principles. If the Saints cannot be mediators by praying for me, nor can you. Your prayers would be futile; they could do nothing for me; and you would be wasting both of our time.

“If the Saints cannot be mediators by praying for me, nor can you. Your prayers would be futile; they could do nothing for me.”

We can’t tell God what to do

But let’s face it. We all accept the premise that God is willing give certain favors through the intercession of others. And if so, it is better to seek the intercession of the Saints since they are God’s friends.

By refusing the help of saintly intercessors we are limiting God on how He wishes to distribute his graces and gifts. Let’s think about this. I can decide to give you a gift myself, or to do so through a friend. In the latter case you do me greater honor by accepting it from my friend, than by refusing my way of giving it to you, and insolently demanding it directly from myself in person.

“I can decide to give you a gift myself, or to do so through a friend. In the latter case you do me greater honor by accepting it from my friend, than by refusing my way of giving it to you.”

Proof in Sacred Scripture

When the Catholic Church teaches us that prayer to the Saints is right and useful, it is God teaching us that truth through His Church. But the doctrine is clearly indicated in Scripture also.

Abraham prayed for Sodom (Gen. 18:23). And Moses went to speak to God on the behalf of the Jews (Exo. 32:30). God Himself said to Eliphaz, the Themanite, “My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends, because you have not spoken the thing that is right before me, as my servant Job hath … go to my servant Job, and offer for yourselves a holocaust: and my servant Job shall pray for you: his face I will accept, that folly be not imputed to you.” (Job 42:7-8)

Earlier in that same book we read,“Call now if there be any that will answer thee, and turn to some of the saints” (Job 5:1). His enemies meant that Job was too wicked to be heard, but they knew that it was lawful to invoke the Saints.

Long after the death of Jeremiah, Onias said of that prophet,“This is a lover of his brethren, and of the people of Israel: this is he that prayeth much for the people, and for all the holy city, Jeremias the prophet of God” (2 Mach. 15:14).

St. James says that “the prayer of a just man availeth much.” (James 5:16) If his prayer is valuable, it is worth while to ask his prayers. If you say, “Yes. That is all right whilst a man is still in this life and on earth,” I ask whether you think he has less power when in heaven with God? In Rev. 8:4, St. John says that he saw “the prayers of the Saints ascending up before God from the hand of an angel.”

“For you the doctrine of the Apostles Creed, “I believe in the Communion of Saints,” must be a meaningless formula.”

Conclusion

If I can ask my own mother to pray for me whilst she is still in this life, surely I can do so when she is with God! She does not know less when she rejoices in the Vision of God; she has no less interest in me; and she is not less charitably disposed towards me then.

We Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints, and are in communion with them. But for you the doctrine of the Apostles Creed, “I believe in the Communion of Saints,” must be a meaningless formula. Christ is not particularly honored by our ignoring those who loved and served Him best, and whom He loves so much.

(Source: Radio Replies, Fr. L. Rumble MSC & Fr. C. Carty MSC, 1937)

Semper Excelsius is a website for the defense of the Catholic faith through instruction and informative articles. Its focus is on explaining the rich history and traditions of the holy Roman Catholic Church, while defending her teachings against false assumptions and doctrinal errors.

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