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Mary Mariasoosai wrote:

Dear friend,

I'm proud to be a cradle Catholic Christian. According to the Bible, God appears to be very angry when people have made or prayed to statues or images. Nevertheless, in our own Catholic Churches, we keep statues and images of God as symbols.

I just want a good explanation as to why we still continue practices that God, in the past, has not been happy with. A good answer would be appreciated.

Thank you very much.

May our LORD in heaven bless you.

Mary

  { Should we be making or praying to statues or images seeing it appears to make God angry? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Mary —

You are really asking two questions. One is, should images be made, and two, should they be prayed to.

As for the second question, I don't know about you, but no one ever taught me to pray to a statue. Anyone would have to be colossally ignorant to think that a piece of marble or plaster can hear their prayers.

What we do is pray to the saints that the statue depicts, much as a father, on an extended business trip, might pull family photographs out of his wallet, kiss them, and say I love you or gaze lovingly at the photo on his desk at work as he speaks to his wife on the telephone.

Answering both the questions, as I presented them, read Numbers 21:8-9 where God commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent and put on a pole so that those who gazed upon the brazen serpent would be healed from the snakebites God caused. Not only does God command an image to be made, but it becomes a cause for healing, and it becomes an image that Jesus uses
(John 3:14) to represent His death on the Cross, which will heal the nations. There is a tantalizing verse in Galatians 3:1 where Paul says,

"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?"

Galatians 3:1

It's not perfectly clear what Paul has in mind here, but the Galatians, being Gentiles, would not have seen the actual crucifixion. Therefore, someone reproduced — in a large way — the crucifixion for them. That could have been a crucifix.

Anyway to complete the answer, God also commanded other images to be made:

So the First Commandment does not forbid the making of images, it forbids the worship and idolatry of them, which we do not do.

One reason behind the First Commandment was because God had no form and so making an image of him, as so many of the surrounding countries did of their gods, made no sense.

With the incarnation, a new economy of images was inaugurated because God now has a form — the form of a man. God took on flesh, and can now be seen and portrayed.

There is an earlier post or two we have on this subject you may want to consult:

You might also want to look at these Catholic Answers tracts though they are not affiliated with us:

Eric

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