This week’s question: “Why should we ask the saints and Mary to intercede for us to the Father? Why can’t we just go directly [to God]?”
This week’s question was among several that were recently submitted, and it’s both timely (as we celebrated this past week the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and much-asked. So, as always, thanks for asking here!
You’ve actually asked 2 questions, so I’ll give 2 responses. First, to your second question (Why can’t we just [pray] directly [to God]?) the answer is, of course, that we can, and we should! Jesus said, “When you pray, say: ‘Our Father …’” So we should be praying directly to the Father.
But that’s not all. Notice the little word that comes before ‘Father’ in the Lord’s prayer. When we pray, we are not alone. God is “Our Father” (along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, of course – to whom we should also be praying). Jesus also said, “Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” So, what about when you seem to be alone? Can you still pray as a community of 2 or 3 or more?
The answer to that question is one of the answers to your 1st question. When we invoke the saints (the greatest of which is Mary) to intercede for us, we are placing ourselves in their community of prayer – what we call the Communion of Saints. As saints, they are always in the presence of God the Father – much like our guardian angels (whom Jesus promised “always look upon the face of my heavenly Father”). They are forever already closer to God than we are, so to enlist them in our prayers is a truly powerful act.
Here’s another reason for us to turn to Mary and the other saints when we pray. For most of us, to see the face of God directly would likely destroy us. It would be somewhat like staring directly into the sun (only infinitely more intense). Mary and the saints, however, can reflect that infinitely intense light of God’s perfect Truth-Beauty-Love in such a way that we are able to not only survive, but even gaze into it. In that sense, they are a little bit like the moon – reflecting a light from the sun that we can look into. As such, they can make God a bit more accessible for us mere mortals. I think those are 2 good reasons to ask them to intercede for us to the Father.
I know there are many others, but I’ve run out of room here. If you have more questions or a different way of looking at this one, leave a post on our Facebook page. And keep those questions coming! May God bless you this summer and always!