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Don Jeffrey wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How did the making of saints begin?
  • Who authorized it?
  • The Bible says not to repeat prayer so what is the deal with the Rosary?

Bible says do not pray to dead people.

  • Is asking saints (dead people) to pray for you a form of prayer since you cannot talk to dead people?

Thanks! I appreciate your time.

Don

  { How did the making of saints begin, why pray the Rosary when, and why pray to dead people? }

Mike replied:

Hi Don,

You said:

  • How did the making of saints begin?
  • Who authorized it?

If this is for a research paper, we cannot give you the answer but can direct you to the appropriate sources:

You said:

  • The Bible says not to repeat prayer so what is the deal with the Rosary?

Bible says do not pray to dead people.

  • Is asking saints (dead people) to pray for you a form of prayer since you cannot talk to dead people?

Well, you are incorrect on both accounts. The Bible does not say not to repeat prayers; otherwise, you would be calling Jesus a Sinner. Jesus Himself repeated the Psalms like all devout Jews did.

What He was against was vain repetition, meaning just saying words of a prayer, like the Our Father or Hail Mary or Glory Be or Apostles Creed:

  • without meditating on what you are saying or
  • without meditating on the mediation behind the prayer you are publicly saying aloud.

When Catholics pray the Rosary, we should be meditating inwardly on the mysteries of the Rosary.

Catholics do not pray to dead people. The Faithful and Unfaithfully Departed are more alive than you and I are right now but in a different state prior to the Second Coming of our Lord — either awaiting Heaven or Hell.

Many use the term praying to dead people erroneously. They are only dead in the sense that they have finished their earthly pilgrimage and are not physically alive on earth any more. Their soul has been separated from their physical body.

I ask for prayer assistance from my father and mother (who have passed) regularly.
In fact, I ask that my earthly family team up with members of the Holy Family.

I ask St. Joseph and my father to guide me with my finances while I ask Our Blessed Mother and my mother to guide me with food and clothing issues.

The Lord is pleased with this because it is solely His Grace working in them, not apart from Him.

I hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:

Hi, Don —

Jesus warned us against vain repetition when we pray. He didn't say you can't repeat a prayer.

If that were the case, what about when we sing and repeat a chorus or hymn several times.

  • Is that against the Bible?

After all, as Augustine wrote, When we sing, we pray twice.

Don, what you are doing is lifting verses out of context and trying to make them mean something that they don't mean. Jesus was speaking about people who purposely pray long prayers in public, repeating them so that they might be noticed by others and receive praise and be esteemed for their holiness by others.

The Rosary is a meditation on the life of Christ. The repeated prayers, are like background music as you meditate on the mysteries of Gospel. From the Annunciation of the Birth of our Lord to various events in His Life that speak of both His Humanity and Divinity as One Person to His Death, Burial, glorious Resurrection, Ascension into Heaven, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The last two Mysteries are about Mary, but they are still about Jesus as well because Mary is the first Christian — a symbol of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

The Rosary was devised by St. Benedict to fight a persistent heresy that denied the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, hence these meditations on the Life and Ministry of Christ, and the last five Mysteries revolving around the Body Of Christ, are all meant to reinforce and teach us about Jesus and His Mystical Body — the Church.

You need to remember that before the printing press, people couldn't go up the street to local Christian bookstore and buy a Bible so Christianity was transmitted through:

  • repeated prayers
  • through art work
  • through preaching, and
  • through symbols.

Heck, if ordinary folks could buy Bibles, they wouldn't be able to read them because many were illiterate. So our faith is found in our prayers. The repeated prayers in the Rosary are straight out of Scripture.

  • The Sign of the Cross is a reinforcement of our belief in the Trinity.
  • The Apostle's Creed is foundational to what we believe as Catholics.
  • The Lord's Prayer was given to us by Christ Himself in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 and
  • the Hail Mary, is essentially right out the Gospel According to Luke — the very words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary.

    At the end of the Hail Mary, we say the words Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

  • OK. What does this reinforce? <That Jesus was God in the womb of Mary.>

That's what the title Mother of God is all about. And it's a request for prayer.

  • Just because one is no longer on earth, but in the presence of God, doesn't mean they cease to be Christians does it?

Hence, as such, they can pray for us.

Hebrews 12:1 makes it clear that they can see us, referring to the dead Old Testament saints as a cloud of witnesses. Later in Hebrews 12, we see divine worship is united in Heaven and Earth where it says we are united to the spirits of right men made perfect, along with the Angels and in Revelation 5 verse 8 we see the 24 Elders in Heaven (symbolizing the Old and New Testament Church) falling down before God with bowls of incense in which they offer up and uphold our prayers before the Lord.

The Bible doesn't forbid asking fellow Christians in Heaven from praying for us — it forbids summoning the dead in order to tell fortunes and so forth. There is huge difference my friend.

Now as to the making of Saints. God makes saints. He is the one that saves and sanctifies us as we cooperate with grace. He gives us his grace through Faith in Christ Jesus so, in one sense, all those who believe are saints (or set apart from the world and set apart for God).

Then there are those who left this life and entered into glory. Everyone who is in Heaven is a Saint. Now the Church, led by the Holy Spirit, will sometimes recognizes that a particular person has definitely made it to Heaven and that God uses them to continue the work and ministry He called them to in his or her life.

There is a process, through which the Church confirms that God moved to perform miracles through that person's intercession. Obviously these people can only intercede by virtue of being in Christ. That's the same basis upon which earthly believers intercede for one another and the world. As St. James writes... the prayers of the righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16) so these folks, being in the presence of God, freed from self-concern and self-interest, have a better grasp of God's Will and can pray for it accordingly. Hence their prayers are powerful!

The Catholic view of salvation is that we are all brought into One Body . . . the Body of Christ.

You can't separate the Head, Jesus, from His Body, the Church, hence, when we pray in His Name according to His Will, then it is as though He prays. Praying in His Name is praying in the place of.

To use a legal analogy, it's praying with the legal power of attorney, but again, it must be according to His Will and those in His presence, for the reasons I've stated, are in a better position to know His Will!

I hope this helps.

John DiMascio

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