Any friend of God is a friend of mine!

You know what? I really like Father Vincent Serpa, Dominican Chaplin for Catholic Answers. He rarely minces words and tells it like it is.

 What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between lighting a candle for a saint and lighting a candle for an idol?

What’s the differnce between a Hindu praying to Lakshmi and a Catholic praying to Our Lady of Perpetual Help?

I don’t see any difference.

Catholic Answers Apologist

Re: What’s the Difference?

Dear friend,

Lighting a candle before an image (picture or statue) of a saint gives evidence to anyone who should come after that someone has asked for the saints prayers. Idols are worshipped. We do not worship saints; we worship God alone.

In old English to pray is to ask for something. [Ever heard the phrase “pray tell?”] This is the only sense in which Catholics may pray to anyone other than God.


Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Let me present a few verses that show us that nothing separates us from God, not even death. And that because the prayers of the righteous avail much do to their origin and proximity is only logical to ask the saints for their help as we would any person here on earth. This all glorifies the power and mercy of Our God.


Mt 17:1-3 Jesus talks to Moses, Elijah
Mk 9:3 Jesus talks to Moses, Elijah
Lk 16:24 Father Abraham, have pity on me
1 Cr 1:13 Is Christ divided?
1 Cr 10:16-17 we, though many, are one
1 Cr 12:12-27 if one suffers, all suffer
Co 3:15 you were called in one body
Rm 8:35-39 death can’t part us from Christ
Rm 12:5 we are one body in Christ
Rm 12:5 individual parts of one another
Rm 12:10 love one another mutually
1 Th 5:11 encourage, build up one another
Ga 6:2 bear one another’s burdens
Ga 6:10 do good, esp. to household of faith
Ep 1:22-23 he is head of Church, His body
Ep 2:19 fellow citizens with the saints
Ep 4:4 one body, one spirit, one hope
Ep 4:16 one body, joined together
Ep 5:23 Christ is the head of the Church
Ep 5:23 Christ is Savior of the body
Co 1:18 He is head of the body, the Church
Co 1:24 Christ’s body is the Church
Co 3:15 members of Christ’s body
1 Th 5:10 those awake, asleep to live in J
He 12:1 surrounded by cloud of witnesses
1 Cr 12:21 members can’t reject each other

Dt 18:10-11 necromancy forbidden   
Gn 48:16 my angel … bless these boys  
Nb 12:13 Moses: God, I beg you, heal her  
Mk 12:26-27 God of living, not the dead  
Mk 9:3 Jesus converses with “the dead”  
Lk 9:31 Elijah, Moses discuss plan for Jesus  
Jb 42:8 Job will pray for you  
Rm 15:30 pray to God on my behalf  
Co 4:3 pray for us also  
1 Th 5:25 Brethren, pray for us  
2 Th 1:11 we always pray for you  
2 Th 3:1 pray for us and our mission  
Ep 6:18-19 supplication for the saints, me  
Tb 12:12 angel takes Tobit’s prayer to God  
Ps 148:2 David calls upon angels to act  
Zc 1:12 angel intercedes for Jerusalem  
Mk 12:25 men in heaven are as the angels  
Mt 22:30 men in heaven are as the angels  
AA 12:5 prayer to God to help Peter  
He 12:1 surrounded by cloud of witnesses  
Lk 16:19-30 dead intercedes for living  
Rv 20:4 saw the souls of those beheaded  
Ws 3:1-6 souls of the just in God’s hands  
2 Mc 15:7-16 departed pray for the Jews  
Ja 5:16 Prayers of just man avail much  
1 Cr 13:12 full understanding to come  
1 Jn 4:20-21 love God, love your brother  
1 Cr 12:21 parts of Body need each other  
Rv 1:4 angels bring grace from heaven  
Rv 5:8 those in heaven offer prayer to God  
Rv 6:9-11 martyrs want earthly vindication  
Rv 8:3-4 angel offers prayers of the saints

Thank you Veritas Bible for your compilation!

Here’s what the Church teaches:

954 The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘:

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.

955 “So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.

956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.

I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.

957 Communion with the saints. “It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself”:

We worship Christ as God’s Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord’s disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!

958 Communion with the dead. “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them.” Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

959 In the one family of God. “For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity – all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ – we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church.

I would also suggest the highly recommended book by Patrick Madrid Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine.

Seems pretty clear to me.


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