We debunk the Protestant notion that we worship Mary or the Saints and show that worship alone belongs to the Holy Trinity, three Persons in One God - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Yet it is vital to realize that Jews sand Muslims do not worship the same God as conciliar 'popes' have heretically professed for though we are all descendents of Abraham, the Old Testament was fulfilled with the Coming of Christ and because Jews did not and will not accept Christ as the Son of God and Muslims have no time for the Son or the Holy Ghost, going so far as to demean the Son as merely a prophet on the same level as the mad maniac Mohammed who apostasized from the Church in the 600's with his own set of laws and rituals that are the very antithesis of all God stands for, they fall into the category our Lord spoke of in St. Mark 16: 16, "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned."
Editor's Note: This series is an effort to return to basics since too often we all make the holy Faith complicated, whereas in reality the truths and traditions of the Catholic Faith are quite simple. God doesn't complicate things, man does. Realizing the fact that, for many generations indoctrinated by conciliar ambiguities, it all seems so confusing, we are introducing this series which is an adaptation of an earlier series titled "Appreciating the Precious Gift of the Faith" in utilizing a combination of the excellent compendium of the late Bishop Morrow's pre-Vatican II Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith and Dom Prosper Gueranger's incomparable The Liturgical Year as well as the out-of-print masterpieces The Catholic Church Alone The One True Church(1902) and the Cabinet of Catholic Information (1903). Through prayer and discussions, we've decided to employ this revised series to simplify the tenets of the Faith for those who continue to wallow in what they think is the 'Catholic Church' out of obedience to a man and his hierarchy who long ago betrayed Christ and His flocks. This then, is an affirmation of the basic truths the Spotless Bride of Christ has always taught and cannot change or evolve as "living documents" for truth is truth. As we say every day in the Act of Faith, "We believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived." If you have been deceived, and the vast majority have been, then realize what you've been indoctrinated with over the past 50 years cannot be from God but from His adversary. Our advice: flee the conciliar confines as well as other man-made religions which do not teach these truths without compromise. Seek out a traditional chapel nearest to you. There is a list of churches you can absolutely trust at Traditional Latin Masses
In order to try Abraham's faith, God ordered him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. In perfect obedience Abraham was on the point of sacrificing Isaac, when an angel appeared and stopped him, saying that God was satisfied with his obedience. Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is an excellent example of charity. He prayed for his enemies while they were stoning him to death.
By the first commandment we are commanded to offer to God alone the supreme worship that is due Him. The first commandment requires us to worship and adore God, and God alone. We must render God exclusive adoration. He alone is the creator and sovereign Lord of Heaven and earth. We worship and adore Jesus Christ, because He is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God even as the Father and the Holy Ghost. This commandment forbids idolatry, false worship.
"It is written, the Lord they God shalt thou worship, and him only shalt thou serve" (St. Matthew 4:10). We adore God because He is infinitely exacted above us, and we are entirely dependent on Him as our Creator and our Father.
Exterior as well as interior worship is due to God, because our bodies, as well as our souls, belong to Him. Very often exterior acts serve to arouse and increase interior devotion. Our worship is interior when we adore God by inward acts of the heart and mind, such as acts of faith and love, without visible manifestations. Our worship is exterior when we accompany our interior worship by outward acts, such as vocal prayers and genuflections.
Without interior worship or devotion, external manifestations are worthless. "Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying: This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." We should render particular worship to God upon arising and retiring, on entering a church, during religious services, and when receiving the sacraments.
However, it should be our aim to worship God every moment of our lives, by consecrating ourselves and our intentions all to Him each day. Even while working, we should once in while pause to give a thought of love to God, and offer ourselves to Him.
Adoration of God includes public worship, that is, worship in which a number of persons participate. From the earliest times, God has given commands about public worship to be rendered to Him. Public worship edifies and gives good example to the different participants, so that they are encouraged to greater love of God. In public worship, we show ourselves a united body openly manifesting by visible signs our adoration of God.
Public worship is rendered in Mass, benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, processions, etc. Some signs of public worship are kneeling, genuflecting, making the sign of the cross, vocal and community prayers, singing of hymns, and sermons. A magnificent example of public worship is an international eucharistic congress.
We should honor and reverence creatures who reflect the perfections of God. Thus we venerate saints, and honor and love persons on earth; but we do not adore them. We worship God by acts of the virtues of faith, hope, charity, and religion.
True piety and adoration of God do not include a gloomy manner, a melancholy expression, and a hard exterior. True piety is cheerful, full of joy. "Serve God in gladness" (Psalm 99:2). They are mistaken who think that a forbidding demeanor, continual groaning and sighing, weeping, etc., are pleasing to God. They only serve to repel others. We should remember that of all creatures, God love most an innocent child. We shall not be mistaken in practices if we imitate Him.
In our devotions we should avoid all singularity and exaggerations; those only make piety ridiculous and subject to contempt. All devotions of extraordinary character, such a spraying with outspread or upraised arms, should be done in private.
Here are some examples of singularity that, if done in public, may do harm rather than good, and cause our religion to be looked upon with contempt. In a crowded public restaurant it would be out of place to stand conspicuously, make the sign of the cross, and say grace. It would be ridiculous upon hearing the Angelus bell while walking on the street, to kneel down and pray there.
Faith obliges us to make an effort to find out what God has revealed. If one is ignorant of his religion, he must seek instruction. Parents are strictly forbidden to send their children to anti-Catholic schools. It is forbidden to read, print, lend, give or sell, books or periodicals against faith or morals.
Faith commands us to believe firmly what God has revealed. We worship God by faith when we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed. Once we are sure God has revealed something, we must believe it. Faith does not require us to believe anything contrary to reason. Even if we cannot understand what is revealed, like the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, we act according to reason in believing it, for our reason tells us God cannot err, lie, or deceive nor be deceived.
We are asked to profess our faith openly whenever necessary. We are obliged to do so when we are challenged to make profession of it, or when an omission to do so would harm our neighbor or bring religion into contempt, or when we are questioned by lawful authority. We must never deny our faith.
Our Lord says: "Therefore everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge him before My Father in Heaven" (St. Matthew 10:32). Hope obliges us to trust firmly that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it.
We worship God by hope when we firmly trust that God, Who is almighty and faithful to His promises, will help us attain eternal happiness. To Him we look for eternal salvation and the means to obtain it. "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped" (Psalm 302).
Charity obliges us to love God above all things because He is infinitely good, and to love our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. We worship God by charity when we love Him above all things for His own sake, and others as ourselves for love of Him. Charity is the pure and true love of God, which includes all virtues, and all the commandments.
Religion obliges us to acknowledge God's infinite perfection, our complete dependence upon Him, our utter subjection to His will; and, to render Him due worship with all our faculties and acts of body, intellect, and will-adoring Him and praying to Him.
Veneration of Saints
We pay special honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary, because she is the Mother of God, and our Mother. God has exalted her above all other creatures. Her intercession is more powerful with God than that of any other saint. No man refuses his mother a favor; so God does not refuse any request of Mary. Christ even worked His first miracle in advance of His time, because Mary asked Him. Let us all love and honor the Blessed Virgin, for she is our Mother, whom Christ Himself gave us from the cross.
The first commandment does not forbid us to honor the saints in Heaven, provided we do not give them the honor that belongs to God alone. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and veneration of the saints, are not opposed to the commandment to adore God alone. We do not worship the saints; we only honor them as the special friends and servants of God. We adore God alone.
By venerating the saints we honor God Himself, Who is the cause of their holiness. Without the help of God, they would not have done anything holy. We do not adore saints. Should we not reverence those who reflect God's perfections? So we venerate the saints. Similarly we honor outstanding persons on earth; but we do not adore them.
We give to God the supreme honor and adoration, called latria. We render the saints our veneration, called dulia. To the Blessed Virgin we give special veneration, called hyperdulia, because she is above all angels and saints as the Mother of God. But even the Blessed Virgin we do not and cannot adore or worship. However saintly, not all the saints and angels together can approach the infinite holiness of God. We show honor to God when we venerate those to whom was granted grace to resemble Him.
A person who died in the grace of God and is already in Heaven is a saint. In the strict sense of the term, a saint is one solemnly declared by the Church to be in Heaven, and may be given public veneration. Before a person is declared a saint, rigid proof is required of a life of heroic virtue. Inquiry is made into his life, virtues, and writings. The preliminary investigation is usually not made unti at least fifty years after the person's death. The process goes through three stages which, if satisfactory, end in papal declaration for three degrees, with titles given of Venerable, Blessed, and Saint.
To one whose martyrdom or heroic virtue has been proved, the title Venerable is given; he may be accorded no public veneration. If the inquiry continues, this second stage is the process of Beatification; ending successfully, it grants a limited public veneration.
The cause for beatification is not opened unless the holiness of the person is outstanding and ascertained by competent authority, or unless the miracles worked are of an extraordinary character. Proof is required of at least two miracles worked at his intercession: these are unquestioned signs of God's approval. Yes, we follow all that came before Vatican II for we are Catholic after all.
If formal investigation proceeds into the third stage, that is the process of canonization. If satisfactory, it ends with a papal declaration giving the title Saint, with public veneration in the universal Church. For canonization proof is required of at least two additional miracles, subsequently worked by the beatified one. Canonization does not make a saint; it surely is not a permission for entrance into Heaven. It is merely an official declaration by the Church that a person is already in Heaven, worthy of public veneration and imitation. It is a formal proclamation of the state of a deceased person.
We honor the saints in Heaven because they practiced great virtue when they were on earth, and because in honoring those who are the chosen friends of God, we honor God Himself.
If we are eager to show honor to earthly royalty, how much more should we honor the saints of God, princes of Heaven! If we ask for prayers of our fellowmen on earth, how much more eager should we be to ask the saints, our friends in Heaven!
We can honor the saints by imitating their holy lives. The highest honor we can pay them is to imitate their virtues. By praying to them we honor them by praising them in word and song, and asking for their intercession. We may pray in private to anyone who we believe is either in Heaven or Purgatory. But we are forbidden to give public veneration to anyone who is not beatified or canonized.
We can honor the saints by showing respect to their relics and images. We also give the saints honor when we celebrate their feasts, or take them as our patrons and models.
When we pray to the saints we ask them to offer their prayers to God for us. This is what we call the "intercession" of the saints. If we are grateful for the intercession of a friend before an earthly superior, how much more so should we be for the intercession of saints before God! How many times have the saints obtained favors from God for men? And God likes this intercession: as He said, He would have spared Sodom for the sake of ten just men (cf. Genesis 18:32).
Experience has proved that much is gained by invoking certain saints in times of special need. It appears that God has given to individual saints powers to help us in special needs. Thus, we invoke Saint Joseph as the patron of a happy death; Saint Anthony when we have lost anything; Saint Blaise for diseases of the throat, etc. Many wonderful answers to prayer lead to the belief that the saints take particular interest in persons whose circumstances are the same as theirs were on earth.
We know that the saints will pray for us, because they are with God and have great love for us. The saints in Heaven are, with us, members of the Communion of Saints and therefore the Church, of one body belonging to Christ. "So we the many, are one body in Christ but severally members one of another" (Romans 12:5).
Members of the same body give mutual help to each other; the saints help us by their prayers before God. On our part, we honor and imitate them. The Church omits no opportunity to urge us to the veneration of saints. At Baptism we receive the name of a saint. At Confirmation we choose a saint's name, asking that particular saint to strengthen us in our Faith further. Each day of the year one or more saints are commemorated. Images and pictures of the saints are placed in the churches. Saints are invoked in the Mass, the litanies, and other public prayers.
The Church worships God, and honors the saints as friends and servants of God. So churches and altars are dedicated and consecrated to God alone although named after saints and placed under their protection. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered to God alone, although it may be celebrated in memory of the saints. In praying, we say to God, "Have mercy on us", but to the saints, "Pray for us", just as we would say it to a dear friend.
Relics and Images
How fitting that we cover today the topic of relics and images as part of the First Commandment so close to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross a few weeks ago. The true cross was found by Saint Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine the Great in the year 326. Her workmen, digging on Mount Calvary in search of the true cross of Christ, found three crosses. Two of the crosses were applied without result to a very sick woman. As soon as the third cross touched her, she was instantly cured.
The adoration of the Cross on Good Friday is part of the Holy Week devotions. The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is universally celebrated today, September 14, a day before we honor the Blessed Mother's role in this Triumph with the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The two go hand in hand, especially when we consider Our Lady's role as Advocate, Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces.
We honor relics because they are the bodies of the saints, or objects connected with the saints or with Our Lord. In a similar manner we preserve with reverence certain objects connected with our great men,--a sword, a coat, or books. Remains of the bodies of saints, the Cross on which Our Lord died, the nails that crucified Him are all relics. The clothes and furniture used by the saints are also held as relics.
Only those relics are authentic to which the name of the saint and the episcopal seal are attached; relics cannot be sold. God has often shown His approval of the use of relics by working miracles by means of them. "When it had been touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life" (4 Kings 13:21).
Relics deserve to be venerated. The bodies of the saints were temples of the Holy Spirit, and instruments by which God worked. They will someday rise glorious from the grave, and be united with the soul in heaven. God shows His approval of the veneration of relics by working frequent miracles at their application. In certain cases, the bodies of the saints have remained incorrupt, as those of Saint Teresa, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Catherine of Bologna, Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Catherine Laboure and Saint Bernadette. The blood of Saint Januarius, kept in a vial at Naples liquefies several times a year for certain periods. "God worked more than the usual miracles by the hand of Paul; so that even handkerchiefs and aprons were carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out" (Acts 19:12).
We honor relics when we preserve them with reverence, visit the places where they are deposited, pray before them, etc. Honor has been paid to relics from the earliest days of Christianity. When Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, was thrown to the lions, two of his companions came by night and gathered up his bones. When Saint Polycarp was burned alive, the Christians collected his ashes for veneration. And so on.
Most prized of all relics are relics of Christ's Passion, particularly of the cross on which He died. Some scoff at the relics of the cross, saying that there are too many to be genuine. But if all known pieces were put together, they would make a block only about 1/6 of a cubic foot. Today the twelve most famous portions of the true Cross range from 6.33 cubic inches to 33 cubic inches. The largest are to be found in Jerusalem, Brussels, Ghent, and Rome. Particles venerated are very small.
It is right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the saints, just as it is right to show respect to the images of those whom we love on earth. We cherish photographs of our family and friends. We cherish and honor our National Flag, not because of the cloth out of which it is made, but because of what it represents. In a similar manner we respect sacred statues and pictures.
The honor we pay sacred images and pictures is not idolatry, because we do not adore them. We honor sacred images in order to show our veneration for the persons they represent, not to adore them as gods. We make and use statues and pictures to remind us of Jesus Christ, Our Lady, and the saints. God Himself, after giving the First Commandment, ordered the making of statues to be placed in the Temple; and God cannot contradict Himself. Sacred images do not promote false worship.
Some of the benefits we derive from the veneration of sacred images are:
Our actions should always conform to the faith implied by the pictures we display. We have those holy images for holy purposes, to venerate the saints for God's sake, and to imitate their holy lives. We show veneration for sacred pictures and statues by placing them in our homes, in churches, in the schools. Jesus made a special promise to bless the house in which an image of His Sacred Heart is exposed.
We pray before them, adorn them with flowers, burn lights before them, and kiss them with reverence. We make visits and pilgrimages to the tombs or shrines of the saints. Similarly, on civil holidays, we show honor to our heroes by placing wreaths on their graves; we visit their homes, etc.
Above all other sacred representations, we venerate the crucifix most. It is the sign of our redemption. On the cross Our Lord died to save us from the consequences of sin. Such is the honor the Church pays the crucifix that she allows no sacrament to be administered, no Mass to be celebrated, no act of worship to be performed, unless in the presence of a crucifix.
Sadly this reverence and rigidity has been abused terribly over the past fifty plus years due to the New World Order (Novus Ordo) that has sought to deemphasize the trauma and sacrifice of the cross in order to placate those who might be offended by the bloody sacrifice of the cross. It reminds us of the time we attended our first PTA meeting at a Catholic school in San Diego when we were still trapped in the conciliar clutches. Blame it on ignorance, blame it on indifference. But we wised up fast as we looked around the classrooms for we couldn't find a single crucifix on the wall. Weren't we in a Catholic grade school? When we attended there were usually two crucifixes in a class room, one where the students could see Our Lord on the cross and one where Sister could see Him. But here there were no nuns, no one dedicated to the traditions of the Church but rather overly sensitive to the needs of non-Catholic children attending the school because they could afford the outlandish tuitions that used to be covered by the parish if that child was an active member of the parish. When we asked we were given the pat, politically correct excuse, "Oh, that's too traumatic for the children." Our reply: "Wrong, Catholics are weaned on the crucifix." The problem is that too many have sold out to secular interests and sacrificed their value of the true sacrifice on the cross. Needless to say, we pulled the kids from that school immediately and began homeschooling them. To this day there is a crucifix in every room of our home and it should be that way in every home. Plus, everyone should carry the crucifix with them wherever they go when they carry their Rosary with them.
We place the crucifix in the hands of the dying. It accompanies us to the grave. Every Christian home should have a crucifix prominently displayed. We do not pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints, but to the persons they represent.
The veneration we pay to sacred images and relics is not paid to the relic, picture, or statue itself, but to the one represented, God, or one of the saints or angels. In the same way when we kiss our mother's picture we do not give our affection to the paper, but to our mother. Disrespect to an image is disrespect to the one represented.
In venerating relics, sacred statues, and pictures, we do not believe that any divine power resides in them. They cannot, of themselves, work miracles. The numerous miracles worked through the use of relics were a result, not of the relics' power, but of God's, acting through them. The Gospels tell the moving story of the woman cured by touching the hem of Our Lord's garment. Yet even that sacred garment did not by itself work the miracle; Christ used His power, working through the garment. And so today relics continue to play a part in the working of miracles, in the suspension of the natural law, but always as mere instruments of Almighty God.
Catholicism Made Simple