Mary and the Saints are not Omnipresent



Karine,  Mary and the saints are not omniscient or omnipresent-they are not God! So they cannot hear every catholic that are praying…oups, sorry, asking intercessory prayer for them!

BFHU:  You are right. They, in their humanity alone, could never hear all the prayer requests that they get. But with God all things are possible.

Karine,   That is a very simple reply. Could you please elaborate on what you believe might be the process in which they gain the ability of hearing everybody and be present for everybody, with without being given divine abilities? And back it up with scriptures or other sources of your choice?

BFHU: Karine, I can no more tell you how the Saints are able to hear all the prayer request we make to them than I can explain how, Joseph accurately interpreted the Pharoh’s dream, Moses parted the Red Sea, or Elijah prayed down fire on his altar to God that burned up more than any ordinary fire. None of them were personally given divine abilities. Divinity empowered them. God worked through them. Why?

He didn’t NEED to use humans to accomplish what He wanted to do. But, we see all throughout the OT that this is His preferred Method of Operation. This has not changed. I am sure that you agree that God has the power to enable Mary and the Saints to hear our prayer requests. You are just not convinced He does this. That is fair.

Ask yourself why, since, “with God all things are possible,” that anyone can condemn the practice of asking our brothers and sisters in Christ who just happen to be alive in Heaven, to pray for us? What is really wrong with that?

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12 Responses

  1. One of the problems with the idea that we ought to pray to the “Saints” or Mary is that no one has ever been told by God that they should pray to anyone other than God. Christians are commanded to pray to the Father in Christ’s name. Second, there is only one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2: 5). Therefore, neither Mary nor any of the Saints can be mediators. Third, for God to use a man who is alive on the Earth, such as Moses or Elijah, to perform some miracle is not at all the same as the idea that God is delivering messages from people on Earth to the saints who have passed on so that they can in turn ask God to answer those prayers. Why would God deliver messages to them? They have entered into God’s rest. God is not a message boy. We Christians who are alive on the Earth have the privilege of being co-workers with God in the world. We pray to God. We are able to ask other Christians who are alive in this world to pray. We have access to the throne of God through Christ Jesus. None of the Apostles ever prayed to any dead saint. They never taught us to do so. James tells us to go to the elders of the church for prayers, not to those who are asleep in Christ. Furthermore, if you study the Catholic prayers to the saints from the past, you will find a number of them ask the saints to answer the prayers themselves, rather than merely asking them to make intercessory prayer on their behalf. At least one prayer I have heard to Mary is essentially worshiping Mary and telling her that all they need to do is please her to get her to pray on their behalf, and that just one word from her and all of their sins will be forgiven. They are essentially saying that they do not have to obey God or please Him or even honor Jesus, because if they suck up to Mary well enough to please her, just one word from her will be enough to compel God to forgive them all of their trespasses. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that Mary is not very significant. When Jesus was teaching and their was a great mass of people around Him so that Mary and His brothers could not get to him, word was sent to him that they wanted to speak with him. Jesus answered and said, “Who is my mother and who are by brothers?” Then he stretched forth His hand to indicate his disciples and said, “Behold my mother and My brothers, for whosoever will do the will of My Father in Heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother. At another point while Jesus was teaching, a woman in the crowd lifted up her voice and said, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the paps at which you nursed.” Jesus answered and said, “On the contrary, more blessed are those who hear the words of my Father and do them.” So Jesus downplayed Mary’s significance, and the Bible as a whole magnifies Jesus’ significance. Christians must pray to God in Jesus name, and we must not pray to anyone else.

    Lastly, in all of their very thorough teachings and exhortations to the church in which they give them all things that pertained unto life and godliness, and give them the Scriptures that are breathed by God, and that are able to make men of God perfect, and thoroughly equipped unto all good works, they never once mentioned being in subjection to the Pope or Peter. Paul taught that they should follow him (Paul) as he followed Christ (If Paul followed Christ they should follow Paul. If Paul did not follow Christ, they should not follow Paul.) But he never once teaches anyone that they should follow Peter. On the other hand, Peter does tell people that all of Paul’s letters are Scripture, and that if they wrest or fight with the things Paul wrote, they do so unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3: 15-16).

    Much more could be said.

  2. 2 Peter 1:3-4 states that we will share in the divine nature of God. Part of his divine nature is that he exists outside of time. If the Saints can exist outside of time, that would enable them to hear each and every petition we ask of them.

    As far as Joseph’s comments go: the body of Christ is indivisible, no? Are those who have already gone on to Heaven any less a part of the Body of Christ? No. Are they more glorious? Yes. If you can pray for me, then they certainly can. The “one-mediator” argument holds no water at all. If it did then me praying for you would be equally wrong.

    Revelation tells us in 8:3 that the angels give our prayers to God. While this isn’t a definitive answer on the saints who go before us, it does show that some of those in heaven offer our prayers up for us.

    I will admit that some take it too far, they turn it into “Saint Worship”. But that does not make intercession of the Saints wrong. Many things can become idolatrous, that does not mean that those things in and of themselves are wrong.

    The bottom line is that when done with the proper heart it does not undermine Christ as the one mediator. It professes the unity of the Body of Christ that we claim to believe in. And it works. The Bible tells us that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful. Who is more righteous than those living in heavenly glory? God hears their prayers for us and does answer them.

  3. Normbetland said- If the Saints can exist outside of time, that would enable them to hear each and every petition we ask of them.

    Please understand that is a very big IF Norm. Let’s stick to the facts, one of which is that God said that He is the only God, before Him was no God formed, nor will there be one after Him. The saints who are asleep in Christ are not omniscient nor omnipresent. For you to ask me to pray for you works because I can hear you, since you ask me face to face or by some other medium, and I have access to the throne of God through Christ Jesus, but the dead saints have entered into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1) and they no longer have the charge that we have. The Bible talks of us delivering the Gospel to the world rather than the dead saints for example. More importantly, since they are neither omniscient nor omnipresent, they cannot hear our prayers. The only way they would be able to, is for God to deliver our prayers to them somehow, that they may in turn petition God to answer those prayers. We have no reason to believe that God is delivering messages to the saints or that we should pray to them, and we have no biblical commandment, example, or suggestion that such is the case. If it were such a good thing to do we certainly would have been told to do so by Christ, the Apostles, or the Prophets. The Scriptures give us all things that pertain to life and godliness and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped unto every good work (2 Timothy 3: 16). Why did James teach that we should bring our prayer requests to the elders of the church and that we should pray for one another rather than pray to Elijah, to whom he pointed as an example, in that very passage, of a righteous man whose prayers were effectual? (James 5: 14-18) Now that Elijah is dead, would it not make even more sense, by your thinking, to pray to him since he is greatly glorified in Heaven? Especially considering how effective his prayers were while he yet lived on the Earth. Nevertheless, James does not even hint at the notion that praying to Elijah or even merely asking Elijah to pray for us is something that would be effective or good to do.

    Revelation is extremely figurative and symbolic, so the picture you mention of the prayers of the saints being offered up by Angel’s hand is extremely figurative and symbolic and not likely to be taken literally, especially considering the fact that God is omiscient and does not need anyone to tell Him what we have prayed. We can get into a deep discussion of Revelation also if you would like. It is very symbolic and we would do well to stay close to Biblical references and easy-to-understand passages to help us to understand the more difficult figures and symbols of Revelation. WE should try hard to avoid taking wing on flights of fancy.

    Thank you for your time. May God bless your continued study.

    • Joseph,
      It is NOT an “if” at all. The Saints are in Heaven and therefore in Eternity and outside of Time.

      We do not believe they are a god of any sort. We do NOT believe they are omniscient, omnipresent or anything other than perfectly human.

      You have decided that God is not able to enable the saints to hear our prayers. On what scripture? By your own doctrine of Sola Scriptura you cannot prove that asking for the intercession of the saints is forbidden.

      Your quote of 2 Tim3:16:
      The Scriptures give us all things that pertain to life and godliness and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped unto every good work (2 Timothy 3: 16)

      You have, in the tradition of Protestant men, misquoted this scripture. It does NOT at all say what you wrote:

      “The Scriptures give us all things …”

      Rather here is the NIV (a protestant translation)

      II Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

      Note that it actually says: All scripture… is profitable…etc. Absolutely!! I completely agree, as do all faithful Catholics.

      It does NOT say “The Scriptures give us all things that are profitable….” I know that this is the Go To verse to support Sola Scriptura but it just says nothing of the sort except when Protestants misquote it. this is not your fault, I was taught the exact same thing as a Protestant.

      Until you are actually able to prove the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, with scripture, you have no ground on which to critique the Doctrines of the Catholic Church, except the traditions of the Protestant ecclesial communities.

      • You forgot to finish the sentence which is in verse 17. It says,

        “16 All scripture is breathed by God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE COMPLETE, THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK.”

        What need then for your Traditions? Especially when they contradict the Scriptures that are breathed by God and make me complete and thoroughly equip me unto every good work?

    • Yes the Bible does teach that men are to proclaim the gospel but it likewise demonstrates much more. It demonstrates that at least some of the saints in heaven are sometimes aware of what is going on down here and do in fact spread the good news to us in the here and now.”At that, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth quacked; the rocks were split; the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy men rose from the dead, and these, after his resurrection, came out of the tombs, entered the Holy City and appeared to a number of people. (Matthew 27, 51-53) What was that all about if God clearly in his own designs or modus operandi does not chose to use not only angels but likewise his friends on earth or saints in heaven to share in his salvific designs for us here while we are alive as well as beyond the power of death? In Catholic doctrine this is called “the communion of saints” and is not much more than a reemphasis in the one family of God and the reality that Christ’s resurrection proves his victory over all of our nemesis including the limitations or the power of death over us. Death in essence does not really separate my deceased loved ones from me, nor me from them. How, why, where, when or in what manner this occurrs, I don’T know but it does occurr. In addition Luke 15:7 informs us, “In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance. How could that be if they have no awareness or stake or interest? What about guardian angels period who are charged to watch over, guide and protect us from demonic forces we need assistance with?

  4. Being in Heaven does not cause people to become transcendent. They do not cease to pass through time one moment at a time and begin to exist in all time simultaneously as God does.

    Please understand that when you add things that God did not give us we cannot put any confidence in it. For you to say that I cannot prove to you that your doctrine is wrong to your satisfaction so therefore you will treat your doctrine as if it is a fact is simply saying that you do not love the truth. You will believe it regardless of whether it may be shown to be true or not. When I show you Scripture that contradicts your doctrine you simply say that there is some remote possibility that you may interpret that scripture in some way that may allow your doctrine, so you will continue to hold onto it as if it is a fact. Don’t you see that you have no reason to put confidence in it to begin with? Don’t you see that you must put hope in a twisted interpretation of Scripture in order to have any hope at all that it might be an acceptable belief, and that this is the best you can hope for?

  5. JD: Being in Heaven does not cause people to become transcendent. They do not cease to pass through time one moment at a time and begin to exist in all time simultaneously as God does.

    BFHU:
    I find it interesting that you do not want to believe me when I say that the Saints are NOT transcendent. They are mere humans empowered by the power of God.

    JD: Please understand that when you add things that God did not give us we cannot put any confidence in it. For you to say that I cannot prove to you that your doctrine is wrong to your satisfaction so therefore you will treat your doctrine as if it is a fact is simply saying that you do not love the truth.

    BFHU: You do this as do all Protestants. They want to hold the Catholic Church bound to Scripture alone. And YET THEY HAVE NO SCRIPTURAL PROOF THAT WE SHOULD BE BOUND TO SCRIPTURE ALONE.

    JD: You will believe it regardless of whether it may be shown to be true or not. When I show you Scripture that contradicts your doctrine you simply say that there is some remote possibility that you may interpret that scripture in some way that may allow your doctrine, so you will continue to hold onto it as if it is a fact.

    BFHU: Interpretation is the crux of the issue. Do you have the ability to interpret scripture infallibly? Do your pastors? We do claim that ability, therefore I and all Catholics are NOT BOUND to your interpretation of Scipture, your pastor’s interpretation or any other Protestant’s interpretation. Sorry….

    JD: Don’t you see that you have no reason to put confidence in it to begin with? Don’t you see that you must put hope in a twisted interpretation of Scripture in order to have any hope at all that it might be an acceptable belief, and that this is the best you can hope for?

    BFHU: You are wrong. The interpretations of Scriptures and the beliefs of the Catholic Church (founded by Jesus Christ Himself) have been the doctrines of our faith for 2000 years. Protestantism and all the varied and contradicting doctrines among themselves, have only been around for about 500 years. Why should I, or any Catholic, trust a new religion founded by mere men trying to convince the world that they rediscovered the true faith? Sorry, but no thank you.

  6. I speak of personal experiences when I say that I have and do pray to Jesus’ mother. I have much respect for her and I fully consider her and other saints to be a part of my spiritual being. However, my first prayers and thanks be to God and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. I have much respect for Mary because she was the only women to be found with no fault. She was worhty enough to be Jesus’ mother then by all means she is worthy of being my heavenly mother. I pray to her often about my daughter and other female issues and I am always given an answer. I feel the connection and love w/Jesus’ mother. So, there is no doubt in my mind that she and the others can hear and answer our prayers. It is up to the individual’s faith as to what is heard and not heard. GOD BLESS!!!

  7. ok if i am reading the bible correctly the way we will get to heaven is when jesus comes back for us.so other than a select few how can heaven be full of people that have died. the bible often reffers to death as sleep. so we are asleep in jesus til he comes the second time..unless we are lucky to be alive when he does come again…i use to be catholic so alot of this is new to me… let the bible interpet itself….if it isnt in the scripture it cant be true…. seems i have been lied to for years by a certain group… GOD BLESS YOU ALL

    • Michael,
      At death our bodies die but our soul is immortal. Our soul goes immediately to judgement. Our bodies are resurrected when Christ comes again and our soul joined once more to our resurrected body. So our bodies do sleep.

      I know it is a Protestant tenet that the Bible is self-interpreting but I am afraid it simply is not. If it were, everyone who sat down and read the Bible would interpret it the same way. For instance, most Protestants and all Catholics, believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity; but Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses use scripture to deny the idea of the Trinity.

      The problem is that the Bible is a collection of writings of various genres. One thing it absolutely IS NOT is a book of systematic theology. So, all the various interpretations have spawned thousands of Protestant denominations in direct contradiction of Jesus’ desire and will that we all be one.

      You say,……if it isnt in the scripture it cant be true….

      Why do you say this? Where does this doctrine come from? Are you aware that this is a Protestant Tradition that has no support in Scripture? Is this not ironic…? The very doctrine used in an attempt to call into question the Catholic Faith, by asking “Where is that in Scripture?”; one of the foundational tenets of Protestantism is a Protestant oral tradition and not scriptural at all? There is NO SCRIPTURE THAT EXHORTS US TO HOLD THIS DOCTRINE!!!!

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