“There is only one God, and one mediator between God and men, man Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 2:5). Then, why do we ask saints to intercede for us? Can they hear our prayers? Are they alive there in heaven as Catholics believe or ‘sleeping’ here in the dust, as anti-Catholics teach?
We all admit the fact that Jesus is the only mediator; it doesn’t mean that we cannot or should not ask our fellow Christians to pray with us and for us! In fact, “Prayer of the righteous is very powerful” (James 5:16).
The saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church are those who lived the Bible heroically. (Not simply preachers). By declaring someone as saint, the Church proclaims publicly that they practiced virtues in their lives as taught by Jesus and all must try to imitate them.
In different Christian groups great preachers are considered as most anointed, but Catholic Church considers those who practice gospel values in their lives as most anointed! They are those who interpreted the Bible not only in words, but in their very lives! They are the heroes of the Church.
In AD 400 St. Augustine taught, worship is always given to God as it is expressed in the Greek word ‘Latria.’ But the veneration of saints is considered ‘dulia’ which is ‘honor’ that we give to saints and angels.
Bible Says Saints Are To Be Venerated
Saints are venerated as they reflect the glory of God. John 17:22 – “The glory which you have given me, I have given to them.” St. Paul says God honors those who are righteous. Romans 2:4-11 – “For he will give every man according to his works. Those patiently do good works, seek glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life… glory and honor to everyone who does good.” Romans 13:1-7 instructs to “respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”
Saints Can Intercede For Us
The Greek word for witness is ‘martus’ as it is used in the New Testament. In the Bible, we have the evidence that those who suffered martyrdom, are helping us in our needs before God: “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of ‘witnesses’ let us also lay aside every weight” (Heb. 12:1). We see the prayers of saints are offered to God. (Revelation 5:8) – “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and with golden bowls of incense which are the prayers of the saints.” Saints are aware about what is happening here on earth: Revelation 12:10-12 – Saints in heaven say, “woe to you earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, he knows his time is short.” Saints see what is happening here on earth. Jesus himself said the saints and angels in heaven are watching us. “Despise not these little ones because their angels are always seeing the face of the heavenly father” (Mat. 18:10). “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7). It all shows the presence of saints and angels in heaven.
Veneration of Relics of Saints
Do the relics of martyrs and saints have any power from God? Why do we keep it and venerate it? Does the Bible support this Catholic practice?
Throughout the centuries it was a Christian practice to give reverence to the relics of saints. It has a strong Biblical foundation. 2 Kings 2:14 – Then he took the mantle of Elijah and struck the water, saying: “Where is the Lord, God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water has parted to the one side, and to the other. And Elisha went over. - The mantle of Elijah becomes an instrument of God’s miracle. Luke 8:43-47 – A woman suffering from flow of blood for twelve years was healed when she touched the fringe of his garment. Mark 6:56 – They might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many has touched it, all were made well. Acts 5:15-16 – They carried the sick to the streets as Peter came by so that at least his shadow might fall on some of them…and they were all healed. Acts 19:11-12 – God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul. Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to the sick, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them.