Question:

Your answer is what is getting to me the most. I pray day and night about it, and maybe this is one of my answers. I noticed Mary is more worshiped in South America than what she might be here. I have always felt funny about it. I was reading over some prayers to Mary and they do seem like a worship prayer. I just don't know what to do, think, or say. I want to share these thoughts to my dear grandparents whom I am extremely close to, but they are devout Catholics. I do know that they have accepted Jesus, so that is some sort of relief. I hope you understand what I am going through at 19 years of age, full time college student, parents divorced and still fighting, and then questioning the Catholic Church. No, I am not feeling sorry for myself because the Bible does say that if you pity yourself that is a window for Satan to attack you, and I know this from experience. I know God has been with me and my family through many many many prayers that have been answered, and through His great blessings He has bestowed on us. I am praying that I will soon find the truth, and I know God will show it to me as He does with everything that I pray for. Please pray that I may find the truth for myself. As God says that if two, three, or more people join in prayer together the Holy Spirit will be among them. It's so true.


Answer:

Do you recall the events on the mountain of Transfiguration? Jesus was seen talking to Moses and Elijah and the disciples, though given no instruction, took it upon themselves to suggest that a new religion be established honor Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. "Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4). It sounded good to these men, but it is not up to men to create a religion. It is man's duty to follow the religion God established. God gave His answer, "While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"" (Matthew 17:5).

Isn't this much the same as what has been done in the Roman Catholic church? Because it sounded good to men, they created a new "deity" in the form of Mary. They elevated her to the point that in their belief system she is greater in authority than God the Father or God the Son. You rightly see where this is leading and are disturbed by it. You wonder where to go for answers, but God's answer remains the same, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! "

Jesus stated quite clearly, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ... If you love Me, keep My commandments. ... He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. ... If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. ... " (John 14:6, 15, 21, 23). The New Testament is the revelation of Jesus Christ who is the Truth. If you are truly searching for the truth, then open up your Bible and start reading it. "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles -- if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)" (Ephesians 3:1-4).

Much that you know is what you remember others telling you and not what you have seen for yourself. I can tell because of how you come near to what the Bible actually says, but then miss it by a mile. You said, "God says that if two, three, or more people join in prayer together the Holy Spirit will be among them." But Jesus' actual words to his disciples are: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:19-20). The phrase "in My name" is an idiom stating that their gather was in keeping with Jesus' authority (or following Jesus' commands). The lesson "All in a Name" explains this further, if you are interested. It is not merely that two or three ask the same things but that two or three followers of Christ are asking for the same things that have been approved by Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry for the difficulties that you have experienced in your family. However, as you noted, those experiences are not you. For example, just because your parents divorced, it does not mean you have to follow the same wrong turn that they made. God hasn't left you, or anyone, without guidance. He has written down His will, but it is up to you to learn it and apply it to your life. I'm willing to help you as I can, but the decision to learn must be your own.