Actually….they we do. ūüėČ We also ask for intercession from others as well. In fact, just last night I asked some friends to pray for me. Not one of them refused my request telling me just to take it directly to God. They were all glad to intercede for me. This is sort of how it is with Catholics and prayers to the saints. When a Catholic says he or she is praying to a saint, what they really mean is they are asking for intercession from that saint. They are basically saying “St. So-and-So, pray for me”. Even in the Rosary, we ask Mary to “pray for us sinners”. This practice of asking the departed for their intercession dates back to the earliest days of the Christian Church. The confusion is often one of semantics and being unfamiliar with Catholic-ease. If not explained, this practice can be a cause of great concern among non-Catholics. (Just as an aside, the word “saint” can mean different things to different people. In the Old Testament, King David used this word to refer to the Jews. In the New Testament, Paul uses it to refer to believers. Catholics also use the term “saint” to refer to Christians who have run the race and achieved the crown of heaven.)

But isn’t Christ supposed to be our “one mediator”? (1 Tim. 2:5)

Absolutely! I don’t think I need to convince anyone here that in asking my friends to pray for me, they are not detracting in any way from Christ’s unique role as mediator between God and man. I also don’t think I need to convince anyone that having others pray for us is good and right. Paul exhorts us to intercede for one another:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ” 1 Timothy2:1-4

Saints in heaven are praying. We are told that in Scripture:

“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 the saints” Rev. 5:8

“And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.” Rev. 8:3-4

And also in writings from the Early Church Fathers (ECF’s):

“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?” Hermas, A.D. 80

“But not the high priest alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels…as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep.” Origen, A.D. 233

That those in heaven pray is supported in scripture and by the ECF’s. The choice to invoke them or not is completely mine. There is no mandate of the Church to seek the intercession of the departed. However, since I know this is true:

“The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” James 5:16

…and since I need all the help I can get, then I say why not?!? ūüėČ

July 2012 Update: ¬†Of all the posts on this blog, the one continues to garner the most attention. ¬†I am incredibly blessed to know this post has helped so many (whether they agree or disagree) have a better understanding of Catholic prayer. ¬†I wish I was able to dedicate time to answering questions that have come up in the combos. ¬†However, I just don’t at this season in my life. ¬†When I started this blog, I was the mother of 4 young girls. ¬†Now, I have three teenagers, a ten year old, and a toddler boy who I strive to keep from injuring himself every day. ¬†ūüôā ¬† If you are sincerely interested in digging deeper into this topic, may I suggest you take a look at my reading list. ¬†I had many of the same concerns I’ve seen voiced in the comments and those books were extremely helpful. ¬†Some good websites that also might be helpful are:

Please keep in mind that you will get the most accurate and thorough answers to your questions about Catholicism by reading articles/books written by Catholics themselves rather than those who think they understand Catholicism.

I continue to welcome your comments and questions but please understand that it’s unlikely I will be able to give you the thoughtful response your sincere questions deserve. ¬†I will delete any comments that are unkind or snarky.


I’m running a race on Saturday. ¬†It’s really not that long – 8K – but the significance of it is HUGE for me. ¬†It is the first race I’ve run in over 2 years. ¬†My first race since my pregnancy, ¬†bedrest and a c-section. ¬†The fact that I’m even up for running it feels like a tremendous victory to me.¬†For the past 8 weeks, I’ve been focused on preparing for the day – March 12th. ¬† It has been on my calendar for months and all my training was with this race in mind. ¬†The rigor of the training has been so satisfying. ¬†The date on the calendar has been so helpful for my staying focused. ¬†But, truth be told, I’m terribly afraid to face the day¬†after the race. ¬†Will I continue to willingly push myself so hard? ¬†Is my own health and fitness enough of a goal? ¬†If I’m completely honest, I have to admit, sometimes it just isn’t.

Until not too many years ago, I thought Lent was about giving up chocolate or sweets. ¬†And maybe for some, it is. ¬†But really, it has the potential to be so, so much more than that. ¬†Lent is, for my heart, what the past 8 weeks have been for my body – a season of focused preparation with my eye on the goal. ¬†This morning, I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief as we all arose to the beginning of this Holy season. ¬† Finally, finally, this sacred season that begins so late this year is here. ¬†This season that, through it’s discipline and structure, helps us see more clearly that which we truly long for. ¬†This season that helps us scrape away all the unnecessaries and distractions……..those things that “aren’t helpful to us”, as Fr. Buda said in this morning’s Mass…..so that we can see that which we’re really made for. ¬†Because, ultimately, heaven is our goal isn’t it? ¬†Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter are all just markers along the path. ¬†Sacred markers, but still not the true prize. ¬†The weightiness of deprivation that Lent can bring serves not only to make the joy of the Resurrection all the sweeter but also to remind me to stay focused on the True Prize the rest of the year as well.

How grateful I am for the gentle cadence of the liturgical year to provide steady rhythm and focus for this wandering heart.  God knows I need it!

(This post was originally published elsewhere last week but I thought it would be a nice addition to this poor neglected blog as well.)

….can be found here.

HT:  Elizabeth Foss

Holy Saturday

I vividly remember Holy Saturday of one year ago. It was April 7th, a beautiful spring morning….and there was SNOW on the ground! It was unbelievable. I took it as a sign of the incredible things to come later that day. ūüôā

I have no way of knowing how many of you who stop by here will be welcomed into the Church this weekend. But for those who are coming in, you have my constant prayers today and tomorrow. I still remember the butterflies in my stomach. For many, the butterflies may be accompanied by doubt. I’m praying against that for you. For some, there is grieving of friends you have lost along the journey. I’m praying for our Lord to supply your every need. God may be asking some of you to take a step of faith because it still doesn’t all make sense to you. I’m praying for you to know his strong presence with every step.

I have said it before but I’ll say it again. It. Is. Worth. It. You’ll not regret this decision – hard as it may have been to make. He will meet you in it.

He is waiting.

The apostles, saints, and martyrs of old are waiting.

We’re all (the Church Militant, the Church Expectant, the Church Triumphant) waiting……..to welcome you to the table.

Have a glorious Easter!

The Heart of Jesus

“The Heart of Jesus

is closer to you when you suffer

than when you are full of joy.”

Saint Margaret Mary

My family could really use a “Lazarus, come out” type of moment. Right now, my father-in-law – a vibrant, active, healthy, 77 year old man – lay in critical care after suffering a brain injury yesterday…..while playing tennis. Yes, that’s right, he was playing tennis. I would never have believed it’s possible to fall so hard on a tennis court that you crack your skull but now I know it has happened at least once. I also never new (before this, that is) that increased intercranial pressure is sometimes treated by removing part of the patient’s skull for a time.

Friday night, I had the privilege of being present when our priest administered Last Rites (also know as Extreme Unction or Anointing of the Sick) to my father-in-law. Thank you, Lord, that a practice I, a few years ago, would have dismissed as empty religiosity was a beautiful witness of the love, faithfulness, and mercy of God to the nurse working in the room while we prayed.

“This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.” Jn. 11:4

We have no idea what the outcome of the tragic situation will be but we are confidant that God is being and will continue to be gloried in it. Still, it’s hard enough to walk through something so tough, but I’ve also got to help our children walk through it. Would you please pray for us about that? And if your willing, leave a prayer in the comment box. That would really encourage my children. Thank you.