Putting the sword to the "tyranny of relativism!"
Uk Catholic A truly beautiful tribute to Our Lady - she will love it and bless you.
Is it even necessary to pray to Mary and the saints? We could just go straight to Jesus, right? Why this pantheon of saints then?Q.B.
Q.B.First and foremost, it is not a "pantheon." A pantheon refers to gods, and we do not believe the saints are gods.Second, we Catholics do go straight to Jesus with our prayers all the time.Third, no it is not necessary to pray to Mary or the saints, but that doesn't mean we can't do it. Nor does it mean we shouldn't do it. In life, we do all kinds of things are that good and edifying, but not always necessary. So it is when it comes to praying with the Saints in heaven. It is Christian and it is Biblical. If you understood the Scriptures, and the teachings of the early Church, you would know that.Now I don't mean to come across as harsh, so please don't misunderstand. We Catholics in the Bible Belt are quite accustomed to people misrepresenting our religion. I am sure you are a sincere person who is sincerely asking. You are welcome to ask more questions so long as they remain sincere because you genuinely want to know. If however, by chance, you are here looking for a debate to prove some kind of point, please move on to some other blog. You've met your match here.
Hey Q.B.,Have you heard of the wedding feast of Cana? It's in the Bible. The Blessed Mother prompts Jesus to do something He initially seemed reluctant to do.There are other biblical examples, but Jesus does accept prayers from third-party advocates on our behalf. If you don't enlist such help, you're missing out!
QB,As a former protestant fundamentalist (Seventh Day Adventist) (I have shared my faith journey on this blog and others over the past year), for decades, i asked the same questions you ask here, in all sincerity. Several NT books cover the saints, especially the book of revelation (used by several denominations to villify Catholic Christianity to the point of employing terms such as 'whore of Babylon' and calling the CC body/church structure and those at the pinacle 'the lamb-like beast' etc along with misrepresenting Rev chs 13, 14 and 17). This is the background I have come from, having never known better of Catholic Christianity prior to the past few years, leading to an incredible faith transformation that culminated into my reception into the Marounite rite of the Catholic Church last October. All this to say I understand especially where you are coming from. As i see it (and I defer to TCK's greater knowledge here - his journey is like mine), we don't specifically pray TO the saints & Mary, but THROUGH them. Concerning iconography and statuary, these serve as focal points, not idols; that is, when one considers a piece of iconogrphy or a statue, stained-glass window representation or engraved freeze etc, one brings to mind the person, the life they lived, their contribution to Christianity etc; indeed, with icons, they have an entire language of their own that ascribes meaning to colours, placement of the saint, the turn of the head etc. one does not draw or paint an icon, but one rites an icon. TBC
Cont'd.,This is one of the big issues for many protestants of similar background to me, and even for Catholics who have never been taught the Biblical background to these things. I would heartily recommend the writings of the Catholic lay appologetics author and speaker Tim Staples; a former Baptist pastor, Staples provides exhaustive Biblical exposaes for the big ticket items e.g. 'call no man Father', 'mary', 'Images, Icons and Statues', Transubstantiation' etc. he has also written an excellent book 'twisted Scriptures' that goes into the way in which Protestant fundamentalism (especially calvinism) has 'misused Scripture e.g. the five solas etc. Finally, remember we can always petition the throne of Grace; nothing is stopping us. Re saints, think of it this way. We think nothing of asking friends, Bible study groups, prayer-meeting groups or even whole congregations to pray for us for particular issues, or pray for others. Intercessory prayer is natural as the day is long. When I call upon St. Charbel, for instance, to pray for me, it is akin to asking you to pray for me; we have the power of the courts of heaven at our disposal... may you be richly and wonderfully blessed as you wrestle with the sometimes difficult elements of Catholic Christianity, especially if you are from a protestant background, or are listening to/reading protestant/evangelical/fundamentalist/calvinist material. if you are having issues with Christianity itself, take heart and be of good courage; I recommend reading an amazing book by peter Hitchens (the Christian brother of the now late atheist Christopher Hitchens). Like his brother, PH was atheist from his teens up until around a decade ago, espousing views very similar to those of his late brother. This all changed dramatically for him; I would recommend 'The Rage Against God' by Peter Hitchens; he is an educated, experienced, intellegent man who defends his faith (in similar vain to Staples) from the viewpoint of the background he knows. he knows the currency of muscular atheism, used to pedal it, knows the arguments, and uses the intelectual bent adopted by muscular atheists to systematically disassemble their argument. if you only read a couple of books this year outside Holy Scriptures and Early Church Fathers etc, I would strongly steer you in the direction of 'Nuts and bolts' by Staples, along with The Rage AGainst God by Peter Hitchens (as well as Staples 'Twisted Scriptures'. Finally, a classic; God in the Dock by C. S. Lewis, plus the writings of a contemporary of his, Roger Pilckington.Blessings,Sarah,Australia.
Poor QB, you walked into a beehive!The good news is i keep bees as a hobby and happen to know they are freindly and never attack unless they feel threatened. They are wholly consumed with doing what God created them to do!My thought is that every Christian in the world who loves Jesus mediates. To mediate just means "to go between". When I teach my daughters about Jesus i stand between Him and them and teach them who He is. When my wife sacrifices herself so i can eat a good dinner, her action mediates God's love for me -and i find comfort in God's display of love for me through her.If Jesus did not come and be one of us, her action and my teaching would not have the redemptive effect they do have (since He came).When your preacher teaches you about the Bible, he stands between God and you with his biblical teaching. This is just how God created the Kingdom of Heaven on earth to operate. In His eternal humility, He uses creatures to do what He could easily do directly.When you try to preach the Gospel to someone you meet, you become like Jesus: you stand between God the Father and that person with the fire of the Holy Spirit. You and I are nothing without God. But as children of God we are wedded to Jesus our Savior and brother and we mediate with Him. He is the one Mediator. No one else. If he never came we would not know God well; we mediate with a small "m" because He IS the Mediator with a big "M".So we all mediate, it is impossible not to.As Catholics we believe that those who die in God's love are not dead or disconnected from us. They are, rather, more alive than ever and connected to us through God's action from heaven. When I ask their assistance it is because I figure they are good at something -like if i ask Mother Theresa to help me from heaven to speak well to a homeless person. I could have asked my wife but Mother Theresa can give me better help (i presume) than my wife on that particular point. That is just a small example and i hope it helps.
I think QB is trolling. Either that or he is seriously misinformed about the Church's practices. Thanks to Sir Knight for debunking the myths QB bandied about.We Filipinos feel very strongly about people daring to insult Mary. In fact, this is why we are the only people to call her Mama Mary. Insulting her is the equivalent of insulting our own mother. (This goes double for me since my mother is actually named after Mary.) Point is, you insult Mary, you insult Jesus Christ as well. If we Filipinos care so deeply about Mary, how much more does her own Son feel for her?On the plus side, the Philippines is set to have a second saint this October in the person of Pedro Calungsod. More people to intercede for us up there in heaven."For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much." -James 5:16bAD IESV PER MARIAM,Filipino Catholic.
I hope Q.B.'s question was sincere and, if so, he or she will benefit from all the sincere responses given above. Filipino Catholic also has a point. Our Lord must be terribly offended each time his mother is insulted. However, those who are not Catholic generally overlook what we owe her. Devotion to Mary is not a pious little practice but a life long response of love for that Immaculate Mother of Sorrows who gave us her Son. A distaste for holy pictures, icons and statues very likely contributes to "Mary blindness". Surely one cannot look at depictions of the Annunciation and Nativity, Our Lord meeting His Blessed Mother on the way to Calvary and her standing by His side under the Cross as He suffered and died for our salvation, without recognising her greatness expressed symbolically in images of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. One only has to look at the Miraculous Medal to see there in image what was stated in words at Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Douay Rheims). If a Protestant accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, surely he or she must also see that His mother - the Mother of God - has to be the greatest human being that has ever lived, and that our salvation wouldn't have been accomplished without her courageous, self-sacrificing co-operation. No-one has ever loved God as much as Mary His Mother; hence she is the greatest Christian model. Of course we honour her and endeavour to imitate her virtues! How could we be Christians and not do so.
Never forget that each time we honor Mary, we fulfill what was said of her in Luke 1:48b. "For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."AD IESV PER MARIAM,Filipino Catholic.
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