Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Praying with Mary and the Saints

There is the spoke-and-hub model of the Chrisitan faith, where we each have an individual and personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus. Here, one can indeed pray directly to Jesus, totally unconnected from anyone else.

And then there is the drop of water in the ocean model, where each individual is diffused into the whole, such that each person’s relationship with Jesus is both singular AND communal. Here, one prays, not merely in isolation, but in communion with THE ENTIRETY of the Church, which includes ALL of the faithful, both here on earth AND those in heaven. Here, it is right and just and proper and preferable to invite the saints in heaven to join us in prayer, especially the one person in heaven who was closest, and still is closest, to Jesus by reason of her being His mother.

Besides, if we are one with Him, then His mother is our mother. And it is only fitting that we should love her as He loves her. Fully, totally, completely, as any good and faithful son loves his mom.

Moreover, just as, when you approach her, Mary always directs us to her Son (”do whatever He tells you”), so too did Jesus in the Gospel, whenever one approached Him, He always directed people to the Father. Indeed, He explicitly tells people to pray, not to Him, but pray to our Father in heaven. Thus, any prayers to Jesus are directed by Him to the Father.

Well, why not pray directly to the Father then? Actually, Catholics do. And I understand that we pray the Our Father (”the Lord’s Prayer”) far more than do our everyday Protestant brothers and sisters.

If praying with Mary and the saints, asking them to pray for us to Jesus, rather than praying directly to Jesus is wrong, it stands to reason — by that logic — that praying to Jesus is also wrong, rather than praying directly to the Father.

Of course, such reasoning is silly. It is all good and proper to ask Mary and the saints to pray for us, just as it is good and proper to pray to Jesus, as well as the Father, not to mention the Holy Spirit.

(cross-posted at "Beyond the Rhetoric: Why Not Mary?" at the Archdiocese of Washington Blog)

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