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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Bible says there is just one mediator --Jesus. So why do Catholics use saints as mediators?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,     
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

 This Sunday's 2nd reading from 1 Timothy proclaims that, indeed, there is one mediator, and that is Christ Jesus:
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.
It would appear,then, that when we Catholics ask for the saints in heaven to intercede for us (that is, to mediate, or get in the middle of God and us) that we are usurping the role of Christ as the one mediator.  Why do we need to go through others, when Jesus is the one mediator?  

Do Catholics believe that Jesus needs help and can't get the job done without outside assistance?


Rather, Catholics believe that Jesus is All Sufficient and doesn't need the intervention of anyone, saint or sinner, to accomplish His will.

In fact, Catholics give a hearty Amen to the fact that Jesus is the one mediator.

However, we are all participants in the One Mediation that Christ offered humanity through His atoning death on the cross 2000 years ago.  So when the saints intercede (or mediate) for us, it is only because they are united in the Body of Christ, and it is His Mediation which accomplished everything.  We here on earth also mediate for each other when we pray for each other.  Prayer chains are a form of mediation, or of getting in between our loved one and God, presenting our petitions before the Eternal Throne of Heaven.

Indeed, when Catholics ask the saints to pray for us in heaven, and pray for each other's intentions, we are actually being very Scriptural and following the commands in the Bible.  In fact, in the very same reading which professes that Jesus is the one mediator, we also read St. Paul proclaiming:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
Is this not St. Paul asking for the mediation of his companion, Timothy, (and probably all of the early Christian community) in this verse?  

Everything that the Body of Christ accomplishes is done only through our union through Him, with Him and in Him.  

So when St. Paul says that he saves some souls (yes, he, St. Paul, says that he saves souls.  Not Christ:  To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.  I have become all things to all, to save at least some.-1 Cor 9:22), we know that he means it only through his union with the One Savior.

So when St. Paul says he became our spiritual father, (I became your father in Jesus Christ through the Gospel -1 Cor 4:15), even though Scripture says that there is only One Father (Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven--Matt 23:9), we know it is because of his union with the One Father.

When Sts. Peter and Paul cure the sick and even raise the dead (see Acts 9 and 20), we know that it is not of their own power, but it is rooted in the power that belongs to God alone.

So when we act as mediators through our prayer chains and though the intercessory prayers at Mass, or  when the saints intercede for us, it is not a usurpation of the One Mediatorship of Christ.  Rather, it is merely a participation in His Mediatorship.

As apologist Jimmy Akin says:  
Jesus is certainly the only Mediator in the sense that he his the only God-man, the only Person who serves as a bridge between the human and the divine in that way, as 1 Timothy 2:5 (the verse you quote) indicates.
However, Jesus’ unique role as the only God-man does not mean that nobody else gets to pray for us. This is clear if you read 1 Tim. 2:1-4, in which Paul says that we should all pray for everybody. So in the very same passage that Paul describes Jesus as the one Mediator, he also says that we should all pray and intercede for others. This is what Mary and the other heavenly saints do for us, just as people down here on earth do.
When you ask another Christian here on earth to pray for you, you are asking an earthly saint to intercede on your behalf. When you ask Mary to pray for you, you are doing the exact same thing, only it is a heavenly saint instead. Protestants ask earthly saints to pray for them; Catholics simply broaden this to all of the family of God and ask out heavenly brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us as well as our brothers and sisters here on earth.
In fact, we know they pray for us already because, if you read Revelation 5:8, you will see the twenty-four elders (who represent the leaders of the people of God in heaven) offering to God the prayers of the saints. Thus we have the heavenly saints offering to God the prayers of the earthly saints. Thus we only ask our heavenly brothers and sisters to do what they are already anxious to do on our behalf, just as our earthly brother and sister Christians wish to pray for us whenever we are in need.

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

One Mediator between God and Man

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15