When Catholics talk about praying to Mary, a classic Protestant objection is "but I can go directly to Jesus!" To that, I'd say, "True, you could go to Jesus alone... but if you pray to Mary, you and the Virgin Mary can go directly to Jesus!" The "why not just go directly to Jesus" objection points to one of the real differences between Catholics and Protestants on this question: we Catholics believe that some people's prayers are more efficacious than others.
The daily morning offering, a Catholic spiritual tradition we can all make use of, serves as a reminder of the areas of Christian disunity, and serves as an unintentional advertisement for the need for prayer.
Given the rising tide of anxiety over the election and current events, I think it's worth discussing the idolatry of anxiety. What does it mean to say that anxiety is a form of idolatry? And how do we rid ourselves of this subtle idolatry?
Protestants tend to be opposed to praying to the Saints and Angels for two reasons: (1) it's offensive to the dignity of God, since we're going to someone besides Him; or (2) it's a waste of time, since we can go directly to God. This hints at the underlying issue - that Catholics and Protestants tend to think of prayer and Heaven very differently. So the core question ought to be: is the Catholic vision of prayer and Heaven true?
The famous comedian George Carlin was a fervent atheist, and had a particular disdain for Christian prayer. He argued that it was arrogant of us to ask the God of the Universe for anything. He’s got a Divine plan, and then we come along to ask Him for special favors. But Carlin also viewed prayer as either destructive or worthless. After all, God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God of the Universe, and He has a Divine Plan. If our prayers cause Him to change that plan, Carlin reasoned, we’re making things worse. If our prayers don’t cause Him to change His plans, what’s the point?
Did Pope Francis praise Lucifer and declare him the Son of God? Yes, but not the Lucifer you're thinking of.
Back in 2011, I wrote a series of reflections for the last seven evenings of Advent (tonight through the evening of December 23rd), focused upon the traditional “O Antiphons” tied to each night. Each one addresses Christ by a different title, based upon the Messianic prophesies in the Book of Isaiah. Most people are familiar with these titles […]
The Catholic Deuterocanon - the set of seven books accepted by Catholics and rejected by Protestants - clearly teaches the morality of praying to the Saints and praying for the souls of the deceased. But can we trust that the Deuterocanon is canonical? Evidence from Romans 9 -- a favorite passage amongst many Protestants -- strongly points to a "yes" answer.
Daniel Chorny, The Bosom of Abraham (15th c.) In regards to prayer and the Saints, Catholics do two things to which Protestants tend to object: Praying to the Saints: Asking the Saints to pray for us, etc. Praying for the Saints: Praying for the dead, commending their souls to God. Yesterday, I talked about some of […]
As Christianity Today acknowledges, prayers for and to the Saints date back to the early Church (in fact, these practices date back far earlier, even to Old Testament Judaism, but I’ll talk more about that tomorrow). Nevertheless, these practices are controversial within Protestantism. Today, I want to look at just one of them — prayer […]