21st Century Catholic Evangelization brought to you by the Evangelization Committee of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership

why do catholics pray to saints?

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Many non-religious people are puzzled when they hear about the Catholic Church and its practice of praying to Saints. Most of them think that Catholics are the only ones who do this, but this is not true.
Even today there are Catholics who are active in prayer groups, and they too keep their prayers with the same fervor as other believers.

silhouette of woman holding rosary while praying


Why is it that Catholics have a special relationship with the Saints?

This article will attempt to answer that question, and also go into the history of why the Catholic Church celebrates the martyrdom of its Saints.

“The saints who reign together with Christ offer up their own prayers to God for men. It is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, and help for obtaining benefits from God, through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Who alone is our Redeemer and Saviour”

https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08070a.htm

the saints can hear our prayers

The practice of praying to the saints dates to the earliest days of Christianity and is shared by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, the other Eastern Christians, and even some Anglicans.

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.”

Revelation 5:8

This shows that the saints are always aware of our prayers and when we make a prayer to saints we are asking them to pray to God on our behalf.
By asking the Saints to pray for us, we can “storm the gates of heaven”, We know that the Saints are in heaven side by side with Gold and we want as many voices as possible asking Him to help us in our time of need and ensure our prayer requests get through, the Saints are in heaven right now waiting to hear your prayers.

pray with the saints – not towards them

This is incredibly important, we are not praying directly to the Saints but asking them to pray with us, When we ask a saint to pray for us, our prayers and needs place us firmly in their hearts, and their hearts firmly in ours. This blessed interchange is a gift that we should receive with joy.
So remember, you should pray with the saints and ask them to pray to God on our behalf, but we should not pray and worship directly the Saints – as that honour only belongs to God and Jesus.

WHy some people claim catholics should not pray to the saints

One argument put forward is;

“How, then, can a human being such as Mary hear the prayers of millions of Roman Catholics, in many different countries, praying in many different languages, all at the same time?

Anti-Catholic Loraine Boettner

This kind of logic has been used by many proponents who think it is idolatry for Catholics to pray towards the Saints, but we can see this kind of logic is easily flawed.
The Saints are in heaven, not in our world, if the Saints were in our world then for sure it would be impossible for them to understand and hear millions of prayers, but it is fare to say in heaven the time/space rules of our world do not apply so of course St Mary in heaven can hear all our prayers.

Does God answer prayers made through the saints?

Paragraph 956 of the Catechism clearly answers this in the Intercession of the Saints

“Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped”

Paragraph 956

So it is clear to see why Catholics pray to the saints, they do it not as a form of direct worship but to use the Saints as messengers to pass our prayers on God directly.

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By 21stcath
21st Century Catholic Evangelization brought to you by the Evangelization Committee of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership