I mean this as nicely as possible, it might not sound that nice but understand the heart behind it is out of genuine curiosity. Why is it that Catholics pray to saints and Mary, yet in the Bible it clearly states that there is no other way to the Father except through Jesus and all else is idolatry? AND How is it the Catholic Bible has added in a few books when it states not to add or take away anything
No worries anon!
WARNING….this is going to be l o n g.
Let’s start with Mama Mary.
Growing up, I assumed Mary was central to every Christian’s faith. But as I got older and talked to some of my non Catholic friends, I realized that many Christians were uncomfortable by the role Mary plays in our faith. And I was amazed. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how anyone could misconstrue our love and honor for Mary as worshiping a false God…
I once read St. Louis de Montfort’s teaching on Marian consecration and it emphasizes that we must make a gift of ourselves, entirely (body, soul, our exterior goods, and our interior spiritual goods), to Our Lady… What? St. Louis makes it sound so extreme… no wonder Protestants think we worship Mary.As I read it, I started panicking: “Why would I do that? I thought I was supposed to give all of that to God? And if I do this, am I worshipping Mary instead of God?” Thoughts like this were racing through my head. Seeking answers, I continued reading and realized that the purpose of all of this was to belong entirely to Jesus through Mary. Hmm. Plot twist.Still, I wondered if the purpose of all of this was to belong to Jesus, why not go directly to Him? Why spend so much time asking for our Mother’s intercession?
To Jesus Through MaryWhen Catholics pray to Mary they are not worshiping her, rather they are honoring her and asking for her intercession on their behalf — in fact, more than praying “to” her, we pray “with” Mary, asking her to pray with and for us. St. Louis de Montfort uses an incredible analogy of a peasant requesting a favor from a king, to explain Mary’s role in our relationship with God: “It is as if a peasant, wishing to gain the friendship and benevolence of the king, went to the queen and presented her with a fruit which was his whole revenue, in order that she might present it to the king. The queen, having accepted the poor little offering from the peasant, would place the fruit on a large and beautiful dish of gold, and so, on the peasant’s behalf, would present it to the king. Then the fruit, however unworthy in itself to be a king’s present, would become worthy of his majesty because of the dish of gold on which it rested and the person who presented it.” We are that peasant — sinful and broken — wishing to gain the favor of the King. Mary, Queen of Heaven, willingly takes our messy, imperfect prayers and purifies, sanctifies, and beautifies them; placing them on a dish of gold before our King, Jesus.
As Jesus was dying on the cross “he said to his mother, ‘Woman behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Son, behold, your Mother” (John 19:26-27). In that moment, Jesus gave us his mother. We honor Mary, not only because she is our mother, but because God, himself, honored her. Out of all the women in the world, God chose Mary to bring his Son into this world. Mary gave God her unwavering yes, becoming a vessel for God’s plan for Salvation. From the moment of conception to the foot of the cross, she is the perfect embodiment of the obedience of faith (CCC 144). It is for this, that we hold Mary in such high esteem.
St. Maximilian Kolbe said: “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did and if anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his mother, he will not have Christ for his brother.” By loving and honoring Mary, we can grow in the ability to emulate her life — to make a complete and total gift of ourselves to God, to give God our ‘yes.’ Through Mary we can grow to know and love her son, Jesus, more deeply because she continuously directs our hearts to Him. “Mary, Mother of Jesus, give me your heart so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate, so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life,love Him as You loved Him, and serve Him as You served Him….” St. Teresa of Calcutta
Let’s face it, Mary’s role in the Church and in the story of salvation is quite important. It is by God’s grace we are saved, however Mary was the vessel in which grace (Jesus) entered this world. It is Mary who, without question, said yes to the angel when asked to bring into the world the son of God. It is Mary, along with her husband Joseph, who protected the savior when King Herod was looking to kill Him. It was Mary who, on behalf of the host at the wedding, interceded for them and told her son, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Mary was the first tabernacle, the first to have within her the true presence of Christ. She is the mother of Jesus Christ. She is the handmaid of the Lord (Luke 1:38). Her yes to God reversed Eve’s no to the will of God. God literally appointed Mary as the vessel in which salvation would be born into the world. The Church would be in error if she did not honor the mother of Salvation. Let us allow Mary to lead us to her son and with her, let us pray, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46-47).
I challenge you to place yourself at the foot of the cross and take these words as if Christ was speaking them to you. Because the reality is, He was. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27).
Just to make it very clear up front, Catholics and Protestants believe firmly in the command that we are to pray to God constantly, and without reservation. We agree on that. The Catholic Church does not and has never encouraged folks to take their attention or prayer off of or away from Jesus.When I pray to Christ for you, as your friend, it’s called secondary mediation. I am doing the same thing that the saints do for me when I ask them to pray with me to Jesus… to join their prayers to mine, en route to Christ. Since they’re closer to Him than I am, it actually makes even more sense for them to pray for me, than for my earthly friends to pray for me. Let me explain more…
It’s important to explain that there are different types of prayer. Prayer to God includes worship. Prayer with Mary and the saints includes honor, but not worship.
Meditation- Many people are confused about what “mediation” really is and quote
something like 1 Timothy 2:5– speaking about how Christ is the only Mediator
between man and God (which the Catholic Church agrees with, by the way). But
mediation in a more general sense is any one of us praying for or with each
other. This is what St. Paul encourages in the four verses immediately
preceding that verse about Christ as the one mediator (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Prayers
on our behalf to Christ by either saints living in Heaven, or friends living on
earth would be called a secondary mediation. St. Paul talks about this
throughout his epistles, like in Romans 15:30-32, Colossians 1:4, 9-10 and 2
Corinthians 1:10… (want a couple more? Try Romans 10:1, and 2 Timothy 1:3).
The saints in Heaven are alive and are perpetually in prayer. They are
absolutely living in Heaven, just as you and I live, but to an even fuller
extent, because they are back home with God. He is ‘the God of the living, not
of the dead’
(Mark 12:26-27). Since they are far closer to God than we are (2
Corinthians 3:18), as sinful humans walking the earth, their prayers are more
powerful. The saints in heaven are free of all sin, which is what hinders our
prayers (Matthew 17:20, 1 John 3:22, Psalms 66:18) and they are in total,
perfect union with God. We are still united with our saintly brothers and
sisters (1 Corinthians 12:21-27, Romans 12:5, Ephesians 4:4, Colossians 3:15),
as “death cannot separate us from Christ” (Romans 8:35-39).
As Christians we’re supposed to honor those worthy of it (Romans 12:10, 1 Peter 2:17) and the saints are absolutely worthy of it! To give honor is not the same as “adoration” which is only appropriate to give to God. It’s less a matter of praying to Mary and the saints as it is praying with or through them, to Christ. After all, the Mother of our Lord prophesied that ‘all generations will call me blessed’ (Luke 1:48). No other faith on earth fulfills this prophecy with the degree of faithfulness that the Catholic Church does. We honor Mary and the saints not because they desire it, but because they deserve it. Lastly, we are commanded to “honor father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). In honoring Mary … who was given to us as our spiritual Mother (John 19:26-27) … we follow in Christ’s footsteps and fulfill God’s command. Mary is the new Eve, perfectly obedient and mother to all the living. Christ proves this by calling Mary ‘woman’ at Cana (John 2) and upon the cross (John 19). This was not a sign of disrespect (since Jesus is sinless … Hebrews 4:16) but, rather, to demonstrate that Mary fulfills the prophecy in Genesis 3:15.The saints are literally praying harder for your salvation than any soul on earth. Pretty cool, huh?If you want to learn more about the communion of saints and the “goings-on” of prayer in heaven, check out Hebrews 12:1, 12:18-19 and 12:22-24 and Revelation 5:8, 14 and then Revelation 6:10 and 8:3-4.
Catholics DID NOT “add” books to the bible. Martin Luther took 7 books out of the Bible (1 and 2 Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Sirach, and Wisdom, and additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.) Catholic Bibles contain all the books that have been traditionally accepted by Christians since Jesus’ time. Protestant Bibles contain all those books, except those rejected by the Protestant Reformers in the 1500’s.