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Understanding Catholicism – Praying to Mary

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  • Understanding Catholicism – Praying to Mary

    Catholics, Orthodox (and some Anglicans) claim it is legitimate to pray to Mary and other Saints in heaven. Other Christians claim we should only pray to God.

    Who is right? Well, contradictory as it may seem - both are right, because both are using ‘pray’ in a different way.

    In Greek there are two words that we translate as ‘pray’, parakaleo and proseuchomai. Greek speaking Orthodox use parakaleo for addressing Mary & the Saints and proseuchomai for addressing God and. We have only the one word, “pray”, and hence the misunderstandings that arise in this.

    Parakaleo (Strong 3870):
    "to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation):—beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray."

    This is similar to the etymology of pray given in the Online Etymology Dictionary:
    c.1290, "ask earnestly, beg," also "pray to a god or saint," from O.Fr. preier (c.900), from L. precari "ask earnestly, beg," from *prex (plural preces, gen. precis) "prayer, request, entreaty," from PIE base *prek- "to ask, request, entreat"

    So pray means, at its root, ask earnestly, entreat, beg, request.

    If you read old English plays you will find phrases such as “prithee sir” (pray you sir) or “where are you going I pray”.

    Take these extracts from that great English writer, Jane Austen
    “But pray, Colonel, how came you to conjure out that I should be in town today?” (Mrs Jennings to Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility)

    "Oh! cousin, stop a moment, pray stop!" (Fanny Price to Edmund in Mansfield Park)

    Scripture itself uses the word pray in this manner:

    Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray (parakalo) thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. (Acts 24:4 - KJV)

    Wherefore I pray (parakalo) you to take some meat: for this is for your health (Acts 27:34 - KJV)

    It is in this sense of asking, requesting, petitioning, entreating, that Catholics ‘pray’ to Mary

    Proseuchomai (Strong 4336)
    "to pray to God, that is, supplicate, worship:—pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer."

    It is this word proseuchomai that is generally used for addressing God.
    But when you pray (proseuche), go to your inner room, close the door, and pray (proseuxai) to your Father in secret (Mt 6:6).


    Spirit & Truth Fellowship International (not Catholic) say about parakaleo & proseuchomai:
    "The Greek verb parakaleō (#3870 parakale,w) and its noun form paraklēsis (#3874 para,klhsij) have a very wide range of meaning. Further, they appear quite often in scripture (109 verb uses; 29 noun uses). The words’ basic meaning is to call to one’s side. “To call some one hither, that he may do something…to use persuasion with him” (Bullinger). The calling along can be meant to appeal or plead; encourage or urge; to comfort; summon or invite; only once is it applied to God and that by the Lord Jesus (Matt 26:53)."

    "The Greek verb proseuchomai (#4336 proseu,comai) and its noun form proseuche (#4335 proseuch,), like euchomai and euche, denote prayer in the more general sense. This means the content of the prayer may include various specific requests (aitema), supplications (deēsis), intercessions (enteuxis), etc. However proseuchomai and proseuche are only used as prayer to God (the prefix pros means towards)—whereas euchomai and deēsis are not restricted in this way (Trench, Synonyms). It generally “seems to indicate not so much the contents of the prayer as its end and aim” (Thayer)."

    To summarise:
    Catholics use one meaning of ‘pray’ (Greek parakaleo) when addressing Mary and a different meaning of ‘pray’ (Greek proseuchomai) when addressing God.




  • #2
    The problem with praying to Mary or the dead saints is the we have no idea whether or not they can hear us. We do know that God can hear us.
    Clyde Herrin's Blog
    Comment>

    • #3
      But praying to dead saints and Mary is to pray to dead which is prohibited in the bible
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by theophilus View Post
        The problem with praying to Mary or the dead saints is the we have no idea whether or not they can hear us. We do know that God can hear us.
        I appreciate your point but before addressing it I would like to clear up the issue of the meaning of 'pray' in the different contexts that I discussed in the OP.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by motirattan View Post
          But praying to dead saints and Mary is to pray to dead which is prohibited in the bible
          Perhaps you could point out where it is prohibited.

          Also, since you appear to have no other problems with the OP, can I take it that you accept the different meanings of 'pray' in the two contexts?
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by Bede View Post
            Perhaps you could point out where it is prohibited.
            Deuteronomy 18:11
            Originally posted by Bede View Post
            Also, since you appear to have no other problems with the OP, can I take it that you accept the different meanings of 'pray' in the two contexts?
            I accept the two meaning of pray but the Bible nowhere teaches or there's not even single story or any stuff in the Bible in which people pray to Saints. Make the Bible your authority.
            1 Conrinthians 4:6 states Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.

            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by motirattan View Post
              Dt 18:10-11
              “There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, 1or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”

              This says nothing about asking those in heaven to pray for us. It is a prohibition against conjuring up and consulting the dead about the future. Asking Mary to pray for us is very different from some sort of séance.


              Originally posted by motirattan View Post

              Deuteronomy 18:11

              I accept the two meaning of pray but the Bible nowhere teaches or there's not even single story or any stuff in the Bible in which people pray to Saints. Make the Bible your authority.
              1 Conrinthians 4:6 states Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
              “Do not go beyond what is written.” Do you mean like you have done above?
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by Bede View Post
                This says nothing about asking those in heaven to pray for us. It is a prohibition against conjuring up and consulting the dead about the future. Asking Mary to pray for us is very different from some sort of séance.
                Refer to this link:Is worship of saints / Mary biblical?
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by motirattan View Post
                  Why?

                  Can't you discuss this yourself?
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Romans 1:25: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Therefore worship the creater God not the creation Mary.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by motirattan View Post
                      Romans 1:25: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Therefore worship the creater God not the creation Mary.
                      This thread is about "praying" to Mary.

                      So far the only objection to the OP that you have raised has been shown to be false.

                      Do you have any other objections to what I wrote i n the OP?
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bede View Post
                        Do you have any other objections to what I wrote i n the OP?
                        No. The only exception is praying to Mary, dead saints,etc. Mary is blessed among women but that not mean that we should pray to her. Moreover, the Bible does not support praying to or through dead saints, Mary,etc.
                        Remember 1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by motirattan View Post

                          No. The only exception is praying to Mary, dead saints,etc. Mary is blessed among women but that not mean that we should pray to her. Moreover, the Bible does not support praying to or through dead saints, Mary,etc.
                          The Bible doesn’t forbid asking those in heaven to pray for us.

                          Moreover those that those who have gone before us into heaven are one with us. They are all part of the one body of which Christ is the head.
                          “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:12-13)

                          When they died to this life they did not cease to exist, their souls did not cease to be one with Christ, to be part of his body.
                          Jesus said: “..whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:26).
                          Therefore those who truly believe in Jesus never die. They are still part of His body.
                          Jesus does not have a body with dead bits in it.

                          Look at this another way. Jesus uses the image of the vine, with us as the branches.
                          “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:4-7)
                          Are those saints who die cut off from Christ and thrown into the fire? Or are they still abiding in Christ and still bearing much fruit? Is Jesus still doing for them whatever they ask?

                          “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (Jas 5:16). Are not those in heaven righteous & therefore their prayers powerful and effective?

                          Originally posted by motirattan View Post
                          Remember 1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus
                          Yes, and what is the relevance of that?

                          Paul asked other people to pray for him (Eph 6:19-20, Col 4:3, 1Thess 5:25, 2 Thess 3:1). If Paul’s asking other to pray for him doesn’t violate 1Tim 2:5 then why does our asking Mary to pray for us violate it?
                          Or do you think Paul was wrong?
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bede View Post
                            Paul asked other people to pray for him (Eph 6:19-20, Col 4:3, 1Thess 5:25, 2 Thess 3:1). If Paul’s asking other to pray for him doesn’t violate 1Tim 2:5 then why does our asking Mary to pray for us violate it?
                            Paul asked people who were alive to pray for him. Can you show any place in the Bible where Paul or anyone else asked someone who had died to pray for him?
                            Clyde Herrin's Blog
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                              Paul asked people who were alive to pray for him. Can you show any place in the Bible where Paul or anyone else asked someone who had died to pray for him?
                              That wasn't the point that I was making in response to motirattan. Either asking others to pray for us is a violation of 1Tim 2:5 or it is not. Whether the people being asked are alive on this earth or not is irrelevant.
                              Comment>
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