Q. Why do Catholics use “good luck charms” like medals and relics of the saints in order to perfom miracles? Why is that not superstitious?
A. It does sound superstitious at first. And perhaps there have been Catholics who used these things in a purely superstitious way. But we would not know for sure unless we questioned them.
Of course, the Catholic Church teaches that only God can perform a miracle. However, everyone will agree that He can perform these miracles any way He wants to. So He can act directly or indirectly. We know that He usually likes to work through people, like Moses-to free the people of Israel, Jacob and the people of Israel -to conquer the land of Canaan, Mary -to usher in the Messiah, etc. God could have just zapped it and gotten it done but He didn’t.
At other times He has acted through inanimate objects like the time in 2 Kings 13:20.
Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
When a dead man came back to life when he touched the bones of the long dead prophet Elisha.
And in Acts 5:15-16 miraculous cures occurred through Peter’s shadow.
As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
And, people who touched handkerchiefs that St. Paul had touched were healed (Acts 19:11-12).
God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
The miracles that occurred through the inanimate objects above showed the intercessory power of these saints of God. So, also today, miracles that occur when praying with an object related to one of the saints is simply a variation of intercessory prayer. The saint prays to God and He answers the prayer –or He doesn’t. It is not a slam dunk.
The historical facts and foundation of this practice is simply because, at various times and in various ways God Himself chose to act in supernatural ways in response to prayers and the use of medals and relics. So, apparently He doesn’t see anything wrong with the practice.
Filed under: Prayer to Saints |