Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Praying to Mary explained
The problem is with the word pray. For you it is associated with a type of prayer that is for God alone. That is to say prayer of adoration and worship. The word pray means to ask for. The RSV reads in Is 5:3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard.” When we pray to Mary we ask her to pray for us. Mary isn’t an idol, she isn’t a goddess, she can’t answer prayer, she is the mother of God because Jesus is God. If I ask you to pray for me because I am about to go into open heart surgery you wouldn’t say why are you wasting time why don’t you go straight to Jesus. Of course not you would say something like of course I will pray for you. It is no different with Mary. Jesus is the divine healer and can do a much better job of healing than a doctor but why do you go to a doctor instead of Jesus alone? Prayer to a Catholic is spiritual communication with the body of Christ united to the head in heaven. On the mount of Transfiguration Jesus is engaging in a more perfect form of spiritual communication with Moses and Elijah who were dead in body but very much alive spiritually in Mt 17.
St Paul makes it clear that as members of the body of Christ we need to pray for each other. 1 Tim 2:1, Acts 12:5, Rom 15:30, 2Cor 13:7, Eph 6:18, Col 4:3, 1Thess 5:25, 2 Thess 3:1, Heb 13:18.
Yes Mary is no longer alive on earth but she is even more alive in heaven and united with her son. The lord spoke to Jeremiah concerning the people Jeremiah was with and he tells him that Moses and Samuel stood before him but he would not relent his heart concerning the people. Moses and Samuel were no longer living at the time.
Jer 15:1-2 Then the LORD said to me, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! And when they ask you, 'Where shall we go?' you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD: "Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity."'
We are all members of the body of Christ and earthly death cannot separate the body of Christ.
Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Jas 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
Who is more righteous than Mary being perfectly united with God in heaven? In revelation we see prayers from God’s people being presented to God from the 24 elders who were the patriarchs from the new and old testament.
Rev 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 God’s people;
Rev 8:4 and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.
In the old testament we see a forshadowing of asking Mary to pray for us.
1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king's mother; so she sat at his right hand. Then she said, "I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you."
Adonijah asked the queen mother to ask the king because he couldn’t refuse a request from his mother. How much more influence would Mary’s prayers have being queen mother of Jesus. Jesus on earth obeyed every request of Mary. Of course Mary wouldn’t ask Jesus anything contrary to the faith. It isn’t just to Mary it can be anyone who is in heaven. Many miracles throughout the centuries have happened because of asking saints to pray for them. St Lucy lived in the 3rd century. Her mom was miraculously healed after asking the virgin martyr Agatha to pray for her when she visited her remains.
This was the early church taught from the apostles as well.
Hermas (The Shepherd 3:5:4 [A.D. 80])
[The Shepherd said:] "But those who are weak and slothful in prayer hesitate to ask anything from the Lord, but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?"
Origen (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]
But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep.
Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D.
Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition