Doctrine of Salvation from Divine Revelation
All the quotations of the Holy Scriptures in bold color are taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible, 1883.
The Catholic Church distinguishes between the three forms of veneration. Latria is the form of worship reserved for God alone. Dulia is the veneration reserved for the Saints. And hyperdulia reserved for the Blessed Virgin Mary. When we say we venerate the Saints, we mean to give them honor because of their excellence in virtues which become our models and because their powerful intercession with God. There is nothing strange about this because we do it everyday. Do we not give honor and respect to those who are more excellent than we? We respect and honor the President because of his excellent political position. We respect a physician because of his excellence in medical skills. We respect a scientist because of his excellent knowledge in his field. The greater the excellence, the greater the respect and the honor given to him. We honor a Nobel winner more than any other scientists. We even have different forms of address for people in various positions to show our respect: The Honorable John Smith, The Secretary of State; The Honorable John Smith, Mayor of Midwest City; His excellency, The Right Honorable John Smith, British Ambassador; etc.
Romans 13: 7 "Render therefore to all men their dues. Tribute, to whom tribute is due: custom, to whom custom: fear, to whom fear: honour, to whom honour." Justice requires our rendering honor to whomever honor is due. To honor a person is to recognize him as having virtue, for virtue alone is the due cause of a person being honored. Government officials and elected officials, although they may be wicked, are honored as representing the community. Prelates, although they may be wicked, are honored as standing in God's place. A fool should be honored if he represents the whole community or stands in God's place. In the same way, parents and superiors are honored on account of their having a share of the dignity of God who is Father and Lord of all. The aged should be honored because old age is a sign of virtue, though this sign fails at times. The rich ought to be honored by reason of their occupying a higher position in the society, but they should not be honored merely for their wealth for that will be the sin of respect of persons.
Societies honor their heroes for their heroic deeds by building statutes and memorials to remind people of them. On the statutes or in the memorials, the heroic deeds (virtues) are recounted. Human beings are different from the angels in that we receive information through the five senses. The most important are the eyes. We remember by seeing. Out of sight, out of mind. Statutes and memorials serve that purpose. In religion, statutes and pictures of Saints are used in the same way. They are used to remind people of these Saints of heroic virtues. When the believers pray to the Saints, they are not praying to the statutes which are inanimate, but to the Saints in Heaven to intercede for them before God. The statutes only represent the Saints and remind the faithful of their presence and their help. The Bible teaches that God approves the use and veneration of sacred pictures and images to stitmulate religious fervor.
Exodus 25:18. Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle.
Numbers 21: 8-9. And the Lord said to him: Make a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live. Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed. (Note: A brazen serpent... This was a figure of Christ crucified, and of the efficacy of a lively faith in him, against the bites of the hellish serpent.)
John 3:14-15. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
3 Kings 6: 29. And all the walls of the temple round about he carved with divers figures and carvings: and he made in them cherubims and palm trees, and divers representations, as it were standing out, and coming forth from the wall.
Hence men are not forbidden "to make to thyself a graven image," except when this is to be set up and adored as a god.
The Saints are powerful with God because they are united with God and constantly see God. The results have been numerous spectacular miracles everywhere throughout centuries. God approved these prayers to the Saints by granting miracles. Before the Catholic Church canonizes a Saint, two miracles attributed to the intercession of the Saint must be ascertained.
Romans 15: 30. I beseech you therefore, brethren, through our Lord Jesus Christ and by the charity of the Holy Ghost, that you help me in your prayers for me to God. We pray for each other all the time, why don't we ask the Saints to pray for us?
What is true to the Saints is also true to The Blessed Virgin for She is more excellent than all the Saints. She is "Full of Grace." She is Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Ghost. She is Queen of all Saints, of all Prophets, and of all Apostles. Let us see the power of Her intercession in the Bible. In a marriage in Cana, wine was running out.
John 2: 3-11. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water: the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
"Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye" shows plainly that his mother knew of the miracle that he was to perform, and that it was at her request he wrought it. Jesus said it was not yet His hour to show how powerful His Mother's intercession was. For even She could intercede to modify His plan "My hour is not yet come"(as She has repeatedly prevented the chastising Arms of Her Son from falling on mankind during the last three decades). We cannot judge from Jesus's seemingly harsh answer: "Woman, what is that to me and to thee?" because this was the Hebrew speaking manner. One needed to listen to the tone, and the countenance shown at the same time, which could only be known to those who were present, or from what had followed: for words indicating anger in one tone of voice, would be understood quite the reverse in another.
Moreover, would a good son refuse a mother's reasonable request? Mark 10: 18. No one is good but only God. Jesus Christ is God-man therefore He is good. The Blessed Virgin Mary conforms to God's will perfectly because She is Full of Grace. All Her requests are reasonable, otherwise She would have sinned. Sins include those acts which are inherently good (like eating) but are done in an unreasonable manner (eating excessively, sin of gluttony). Hence, Jesus Christ, Son of Mary, cannot refuse Her requests. Once She intercedes for somebody, Her request will be honored by Her Son. Just visit Her well-known shrines all over the world and see the testimonies. The miracles occured through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin are uncountable. That's why the Catholic Church has a prayer called The Memorare:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To Thee I come, before Thee I stand, sinful and sorrowfull. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy clemency, hear and answer me. Amen.
Try it, and you will see the results.
Created July 16, 1996. Sixth update January 2, 1997.