Date: 11/13/2003 11:45:27 AM
Name or Pseudonym: newbie
Subject: prayer is good
Peace to you.
We Catholics sometimes like to ask for prayers from our friends to our Lord. Our circle of friends include saints and deceased loved ones. We pray for them and with them. When we say that we pray to Mary and the saints, we are merely asking them to pray to God for us--it does not in any way diminish our direct access to Christ. We have merely enlarged our circle of prayer. What wonderful friends we have in Christ, Mary, and the saints!
Mary, through the grace of God, was kept free from sin. Therefore, she is not a sinner, but she was indeed saved from sinning. She is not God and no one claims that she is. But she is the queen of heaven, chosen by God and kept free from sin by God. Not only did God decided that she was special, He made her special, He elevated her stature.
OK, so the Catholic mass does not emphasize "Bible study". But outside of the mass, some parishes do have extensive bible study programs. The mass does have readings from the bible and pastoral reflection, which may guide your own reflection. But the high point of the mass is the Eucharist--the Lord Himself. Receive and be transformed. Then go pray (remember, "direct access to Christ").
Catholics have many different pathways to knowing the Lord -- the Bible is only one of those ways. Intense prayer is yet another.
Now what is a shame is that protestants have pulled away from the church that Jesus established and in so doing, fragmented Christianity. And the fragmentation continues as we now have numerous "non-denominationals". Indeed, anyone can now start a "church" ... scary. (yeah, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling.") But as he said, whomever is not against us is for us. Protestant churches have their merits, for sure, but they seem to have forgotten that Jesus desired that we be one.