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25 August 2010

Praying to and through the Saints

Hail Mary full of grace! 
The Lord is with you. 
Blessed are you among women. 
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. 
Holy Mary, Mother of God, 
pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our deaths. 
The Ave is one of my favorite prayers. It was most recently re-inscribed on and in my heart as the only words of prayer to bring me comfort during a particularly painful medical procedure.
Yet I remember being exposed to Protestant communities that sneered at catholic religiosity as papist or pope-ish - and these were not good things.
I also grew up in churches that piously affirmed the communion of saints using the Apostles' Creed. And it has always puzzled me that some Christians affirm the eternal life of the holy dead and affirm the gospel that "God is not God of the dead but the God of the living," and yet balk at nurturing and maintaining their relationships with their ancestors and saint (prophets and martyrs and all the host of heaven...).
I wonder that folk who will ask the earthly living to pray for them will not ask the heavenly living to pray for them. I imagine that the saints and ancestors are more faithful in prayer than we are here and that their prayers are purer and more direct than ours here. I also note how many folk talk to their departed, particularly at grave sites but do not consider that prayer.
I think people do not know what is prayer.
Pious protestations that prayer is reserved for God alone aside, prayer is simply conversation.
It seems that the former meaning of the word pray - simply to ask - seems to have morphed into to speak only to God, with no thought of what we are saying or what we mean.
I am so grateful for those whose live are eternal who whisper my name in prayer.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, 
pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our deaths. Amen.

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