Adoring Blessed Virgin Mary statue is exceptionally graceful. From Veronese Collection. Hand-crafted in Italy.
Of all Catholic devotional items, certainly one of the most distinctive, traditional – and pervasive – is the statue. For centuries statues have adorned Catholic churches, convents, rectories, homes, and cemeteries. They are cast, carved, or sculpted. They are made of marble or granite, ceramic or plaster, wood or bronze. Almost every sacred person in the Catholic tradition is depicted in a statue.
God did not forbid the religious usage of statues; He forbade the worship of statues. There is a difference between the two. In one Bible passage, we read of an instance when God commanded the making of statues, “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.” [Exodus 25:18-20]
Pictures and Statues of Saints remind us of their lives, their virtues and the blessings they received from God. The objects remind us that we can pray to the Saints in the sense of asking them to intercede before God on our behalf. For who is in a better position to obtain a favor from God than the Saints who are face to face with God? This certainly does not mean that we adore the Saints. Nor does it mean that we are praying to the Saints in the hope of obtaining the favors from them; the favors come from God through the intercession of the Saints.
We pray to Blessed Virgin Mary because we know her prayers are most powerful with God. We believe that she prays for us all the time and that every grace we receive from God is obtained in some way by Mary’s prayers. Needless to say we do not worship her as God. High though her position is she remains a human creature. She was redeemed by her Son although most perfectly redeemed of all. But we pray to her because we are all one family and this is what is meant by the Communion of Saints.