Hi my name’s Father Mike Schmitz and this is Ascension Presents. So I was recently talking with a man, he’s a missionary
with FOCUS: The Fellowship of Catholic University Students. This awesome guy;
he wasn’t always a missionary and actually he wasn’t even always Catholic. He wasn’t even always Christian. He became a Christian when he was 19 years old;
encountered Christ in this powerful way; but then in the course of the next few
years he kind of became a little bit – I guess what you’d say anti-Catholic. He had a number of things against the Catholic Church, and one of the
things yet against the Church was he said that he believed that we as
Catholics worshipped the saints. He said, “No, worship belongs to God alone.
I see all their paintings … “… I see the kneelers in front of the statues.
I see the candles in front of the icons, or in front of the paintings. It’s really clear, it’s really obvious, they’re worshipping those statues,
they’re worshipping those saints.” For us, we’re like, “No, not at all.” There’s probably, if you were raised Catholic, there was nothing in you that when you see a statue thinks, “Oh, I’m gonna bow down before that statue.”
You look at the statue think, “Oh hey, there’s a statue of—oh that’s St. Francis of
Assisi …” or “… there’s a painting of mother Teresa”
and you just think it’s a painting of a family member. You think it’s a statue of one of your older brothers or one of your older sisters. It has no more significance, no more weight,
no more desire to … impulse to worship that thing than when you see a picture
of your family. They’re simply reminders to us if
someone could say now someone could say, “What about, you know, God saying,
‘Don’t create a graven image to worship?'” We say, “You’re right, we’re not worshiping.” What about the graven image?
Now God didn’t completely prohibit making images. One, in the Old Testament, he conscripts the
Israelites to fashion angels over the top of the Ark of the Covenant. He tells Moses to make a bronze serpent on a staff and those who look at the
bronze serpent on that staff will become healed. In the New Testament Jesus is the
fullness of God revealed; and there was this big big heresy called the
iconoclast heresy way back in the day where the question was:
Should all images be destroyed? Should icons be destroyed or are those
icons—are those images—reminders to us of God’s goodness? The Church definitively came to the conclusion that—the Christian Church—came to the definitive conclusion that those images, not being worshipped, are simple reminders of God’s goodness. That’s why we talk about the saints so much;
because I’ve heard people also say, “Well, you guys you talk about the saints more than you talk about Jesus.” Now A) If that’s we’re doing, we need to stop that.
We need to talk about Jesus far more than anything or anyone else. But does it take away from the honor belonging to God if we talk about the saints? We all love testimonies don’t we? I mean I’m sure if you’re a Christian who’s not a Catholic you’ve gone to a thing when someone stepped up and said, “Here’s my life
before I met Jesus, then I met Jesus … Here’s my life after I’ve met Jesus.” You wouldn’t say, “Hey, sit down and stop talking about yourself. Only talk about
Jesus.” They’d say, “No no no, I’m talking about what God did in my life.” Look at what God has done in the life of an ordinary average person. He took their
ordinary life and he made it extraordinary. He actually even took a a broken destroyed life and made it remarkable
and phenomenal. That doesn’t take away from God’s honor any more than if you went to an art gallery and there with the artist standing next to their painting and you went on you said, “Oh my goodness look at this painting! This painting is incredible. Look at the colors and the detail and the creativity that went behind it.” The artist wouldn’t stand next the painting say,
“Hey hello over here why are you looking my painting? Why are you talking about how great my painting is?
I’m right here.” When you’re praising what the artist did
you’re actually praising the artist. The same thing is true when we talk about the saints. We’re not just talking about how good Joseph or Mary or Therese or whoever was. We’re talking about how amazing God is, that God took this
ordinary average person and made something extraordinary by His grace through them. Lastly, what about asking for the saints’ prayers? Isn’t that like kind of uh … um … prohibited in the Bible? Isn’t Jesus the one
mediator between God and man? Well we say, “Of course Jesus is the one mediator between God and man.” He is the one, the only one, who gives us access to the Father; but, as we all know, Jesus has enlisted a whole host of co-workers. Hasn’t he? Scripture even talks about this—we become co-workers with Christ, and in that, whenever you’ve taught someone about Jesus you were a mediator of the teaching of Jesus. Whenever you’ve prayed with someone, you were a mediator of God’s grace in a certain way. Whenever you even gave someone a Bible or shared a link to a video like this, you became a mediator, a part of God’s truth, part of God’s Word, part of God’s wisdom, part of God’s life. Now Jesus is the one
mediator between God and man of salvation, but again, as I said, he’s
enlisted a whole host of brothers and sisters—coworkers— and he’s commissioned us to be co-mediators
(and I say that in a very specific term)
with him. If you were to go to another Christian and say, “Hey, I’m going through a lot; would you pray for me?” They wouldn’t look at you and say, “I’m not going to pray for you. Go right to Jesus you talk to Jesus. I’m not going to talk to Jesus for you.” They would say, “Of course I will.” The same is true when it comes to the
saints, those who have died. We believe they are not dead. We believe they are alive with Christ. In fact, Revelation chapter four, five, six, and eight all talk about the fact that the saints in heaven right now are praying. They’re praying to worship God but they’re also praying for us here on this earth. It’s simply saying those of you who have died in Christ and are alive in him right now, please, you’re my brothers and sisters, you are more alive than anyone, please pray to our Lord on my behalf. The saints, every single one of them with their lives, with their death, with their words, with their actions, with their everything,
they point us more and more to Jesus. But to deny that we have brothers and
sisters in heaven would not give God more honor. It would not give God more glory, it would simply deprive us and the family that he’s given us. Last thing:
Early on, in the Christian Church, in about the 4th century Saint Augustine even talked about this. He says when it comes to the Saints we
give them “dulia” which means honor, veneration. When it comes to Mary, we give her “hyperdulia” which is this even more honor and veneration. When it comes to God we give him “latria”
which is worship. And worship belongs to him alone. This is all to praise God and he wants to bless us through his saints. From all of us here at Ascension Presents, my name is Father Mike.