Saints and Fathers

 Barry wrote in my combox today – in response to my post entitled “Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?” – Resources about Communion of the Saints I thought I would respond briefly.

Barrry wrote: Would you please read the Lord’s prayer. Jesus prayed it. He was giving an example of how to pray. He didn’t pray to Peter, Paul, Mary, or John-who took care of Jesus’s mother and wrote Revelation. No, He prayed to His Father. This is Jesus Himself praying, should we not follow Him, as He asked Peter and His disciples to follow Him. This reference in 350AD is close to 270 years or more after the disciples died. The disciples who wrote the gospel. Do their words of what Christ told them mean nothing?

STEVE RAY RESPONDS BRIEFLY:

FIRST, thanks for writing Barry and God bless you. You start out with a seeming tone of condescension. Of course, I have read the Lord’s Prayer, in fact, I have it memorized :-)  By the way, we Catholics refer to John 17 as the Lords’ Prayer. What you call the Lords’ Prayer we usually refer to as the Our Father.

Card-85-Holy-Spirit-backSECOND, is it ONLY to the Father that we should pray? Is Jesus’ example restricting us from “praying” to anyone else? This seems to be your implication. However, should we also pray to Jesus? Is that allowed? And what about the Holy Spirit? Should we pray to him or is that disallowed? According to your statements above we should not pray to Jesus and the Holy Spirit! If you say we are allowed (and should) pray to the Holy Spirit you may be interested to know that nowhere in Scripture are we told to do that nor do we have an example of someone who does. Yes, most Christians would agree we should pray to Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well as to the Father.

THIRD, The words pray and worship are two different words with different meanings. Pray Is to ask for something, it means a petition or a request. Worship means to do just that, worship and adore. Worship is something reserved for the Trinity alone. Protestants tend to see pray and worship as synonyms which is one reason they often react so negatively to the reality of the intercession of the saints.

When we pray to Saint it is not worshiping them. It is asking them to intercede WITH us as we pray to God himself. God is the only one who can answer prayers.

15445tca0714_ChristGlorifiedFOURTH, when Jesus was on the earth the Saints were not yet in glory–heaven had not been opened yet. When Jesus ascended to heaven he brought the dead with him into the presence of God. From that point on they’re in the presence of God himself and can intercede personally for people still on earth (or do you think they can’t or don’t care?) 

Like I asked my mother who doubts the saints are aware of things on the earth and can intercede for us. “Do you think Dad has forgotten you, doesn’t care about you anymore or isn’t ask the Lord to bless you? Dad is sitting in his favorite chair having coffee with Our Lord Jesus waiting for you to arrive to love you better than ever before. In the meantime, he is praying for you and very intent on your well being. (Read my article, “Marriage in Heaven? Will We Know and Love our Spouses in Heaven?”

Transfiguration-1024x670FIFTH, we are commanded to pray for each other and to ask others to pray for us. We believe the church is one organic body not split up and divided. Those in heaven are part of the body of Christ like we are. We ask them to intercede for us just like I could ask you to intercede for me.

Even though right now I can’t see you or talk to you personally I can use technology to do it to ask you to intercede for me. I don’t know how spiritual technology works but I certainly trust the Scriptures and the Church. The Saints are very much alive in the presence of God and they are concerned about what’s going on down on earth (consider Moses at the Transfiguration in Luke 9:30-31). The Saints in the presence of God in heaven can easily request of God benefits on our behalf.

SIXTH, Believers have been asking for the prayers of the Saints since the beginning. All one has to do is look at the graffiti left in the catacombs to see where they said from the first centuries “Peter and Paul pray for us”. In the catacombs of St. Sebastian there’s one segment of wall covering the former tombs of Sts.  Peter and Paul. There are 614 requests for intersession scratched into the wall from the very first Christians. They were (praying=asking) for the intercession of these two great martyrs and saints.

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 11.30.10 AMThis is just scratching the surface. There is so much more to say but if you’re interested you’ll find the sources. If you’re not then I feel sorry for you. I am so happy that back in my former years as a Protest-ant it was just “Me and Jesus” but now the heavens have opened and I realize I am part of something much bigger, the Mystical Body of Christ with the Communion of the Saints. Blessed be God forever.

I recommend Patrick Madrid’s book Any Friend of God’s is a Friend of Mine.

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Soshestvie-vo-adWe had a great time on Wednesday discussing Old Testament saints. Where were they before Christ died and rose, did Mary have OT heroes, are Adam and Eve saints and much more. I hope you enjoy this podcast.

Click HERE to listen to the show. https://www.catholic.com/audio/cal/old-testament-saints#.Xb6zVgBoWJU.mailto

“The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions.” CCC 61

Questions Covered:

  • 16:11 – Are there people from thousands of years ago who didn’t know God who went to heaven?
  • 20:54 – How can someone (like Adam or Eve) become a saint without knowing Christ?
  • 23:34 – Do you consider Solomon to be a saint? Why or why not?
  • 31:08 – Why don’t we speak more about saints like Lazarus?
  • 34:54 – What sort of hope did the Old Testament saints have? Did they hope for heaven?
  • 37:22 – How did women enter the old covenant when the men were entered in by circumcision?
  • 44:18 – Where is it in the Bible that Lucifer thought he was the chosen one, but that Jesus was sent in his stead?
  • 46:15 – Is Eve considered to be a saint?
  • 48:53 – Were the people in Abraham’s day considered to be cavemen, or were cavemen before Abraham?
  • 51:05 – You used to be Baptist and lived a Christian life and believed you were saved. Now that you’re Catholic, do you still believe that?

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Kissing Statues

by Steve Ray on October 1, 2019

A while ago in Jerusalem I awoke to the loud and intrusive Muslim “call to prayer”, church bells ringing and horns honking. I read this email that came from the United Kingdom…

It read, “Hi Steve! I know you are a busy man. Please answer the above issue when the time permits you. I am a Catholic but I cannot accept the kissing of statues. It goes against my conscience.  I feel also it is against the bible teachings. Thanking you and awaiting your reply.”

I responded: Greetings from Jerusalem! I understand your sentiments and I don’t make a practice of going around kissing statues either though I have at times and certainly understand the reasoning and sentiment behind the action.

Notice the picture to the left. He is kneeling in front of a Bible. Is the man worshiping the Bible – he is kissing it after all. No, he loves the Word of God and is showing his love for God and his word. It is the same if a man kneels in front of a Bible while reading it.

Imagine your wife, if you’re married, is in a different country for a while and you miss her. Every once in a while you take an old picture of your wedding out of your pocket and look at it and think of her and it makes you miss her and love her. Once in a while you might close your eyes and kiss the picture as a means of demonstrating your love and devotion to her and your union together.

It’s no different with the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a saint or Jesus. It’s simply a way that people acknowledge and express their love and respect for the person behind the statue.

Just like you don’t fall in love with a picture and begin to worship the picture of your wife, so Catholics don’t love the statue or worship it; they are simply expressing their love and respect for the person behind the statue or that the statute represents.

There’s no need to read anything more nefarious into the action than that. It is simply an act of devotion and love for Mary, for Jesus, or for our brothers and sisters the saints who are alive in heaven.

Paragraph 1192 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Through sacred images of the Holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.” In other words, I as said above, we do not worship the image we love and honor the people they represent.

If you understand it this way you will be understanding it properly and you will do well.

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Birth of Mary in the Protoevangelium of James

September 8, 2019

In the early 2nd century the early Church held a document in very high regard. From this document we learn about the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her own birth. Since today is the Feast Day of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, I thought I would provide a link to the Protoevangelium […]

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At Auschwitz Today: St. Maximillian Kolbe the Martyr and Auschwitz

August 28, 2019

Since we are walking through the horror of Auschwitz today I wanted to share the story of one hero who gave his life in exchange for another man–a father and husband. St. Maximilian Kolbe was starved to death – and we visit his death cell today. Click here for the whole story and pictures… St. […]

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Maria Faustina and the Divine Mercy: A Short Biography & History

August 27, 2019

Since today we are praying the Divine Mercy at the bones of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska at the convent in Poland, I thought I would share this short biography and history. Click here for the whole story with pictures…. The Biography of St. Maria Faustina. (August 25, 1905 – October 5, 1938)
 An excerpt from Apostle of Divine Mercy, a […]

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Was Abraham Saved by Faith Alone? Are the Protestants Right?

August 25, 2019

Today (Monday) I will be on the radio with Gary Michuta at 1 PM at https://virginmostpowerfulradio.org/. Hope you can listen in. Our topic will be Abraham, Father of Faith & Works. I am looking forward to this live show. In honor of this event today I am posting this article on Abraham, a critique I made of […]

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Today in Niepokalanow, Poland: Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s “City of the Immaculata”

August 23, 2019

Niepokalanow, Poland: Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s “City of the Immaculata” Today we are in Niepokalanow where St. Maximilian Kolbe set up the “City of the Immaculata” and helped save Poland’s faith as it was about to descend into the tyranny of the Nazis and the Soviets. Today their Catholic Faith is exemplary. So, I thought I […]

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Steve “Appearance” on Catholic Answers Live – Martyrs!

July 25, 2019

Steve Ray discusses the Catholic Church’s history of martyrs who refused to deny Christ. Questions Covered: 18:20 – How can you historically prove that the writings of the martyrs are theirs? Do most Protestants believe that these writings existed and were true?  21:55 – How can we defend the bad practices of popes in the early Church?      […]

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Bloody Martyrdoms in Lyons – Feast Day of St. Irenaeus

June 28, 2019

In honor of the feast day of St. Irenaeus today I have reposted a blog from several years ago when we were filming our documentary on Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith. Here is the story… “We finished getting all our work done in Lyon for St. Irenaeus. It was very cold and windy — with snow hampering […]

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Last Days of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome

June 28, 2019

Happy Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul…. Join us in Rome, Assisi, Manoppello, and Lanciano the first week of December this year, in preparation for Christmas! (Click here for more info!) When I take my pilgrims to Rome one of my main objectives is to introduce them to the saints – especially Peter and […]

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Our Weekend Walk through Paris, Preparing for Our Soon-to-Arrive Group

June 2, 2019

Janet and I always arrive early to make sure everything is prepared and ready for our group. Since it’s been a while since we have visited this area of France we came early to scout out all the places our group will visit in Paris and to meet with our agent and guide. I hope […]

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Today is St. Justin Martyr’s Feast Day – Free Apostolic Fathers Timeline

June 1, 2019

Feast Day of St. Justin Martyr, June 1 Download a Free copy of the Apostolic Fathers Timeline This amazing Timeline drives home the point of how close these men were to Jesus and the Apostles. It demonstrates how Catholic the first Christians really were!  The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes of […]

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What Happened to the Apostles after the New Testament?

May 14, 2019

 

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Discovering the Place of Paul’s Shipwreck on Island of Malta on the Feast Day!

February 10, 2019

You would not have wanted to be with St. Paul today because February 10 is the Feast Day of the Shipwreck of St. Paul on Malta. I have been on ships in the Mediterranean many times and I make a practice each time of going out on the deck on a stormy night and imagining…. […]

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Free St. Paul Timeline – We are in Ephesus today

October 19, 2018

Since we are starting our St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise today, I thought I would share here a copy of my Timeline on St. Paul’s life and writings. Enjoy! Please print and share. Also get a copy of my DVD Paul, Contending for the Faith below filmed in 6 countries. Full study guide included.

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