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[Originally posted 6/1/2005]

I find no Scriptural justification for the Roman Catholic practice of praying to various saints. “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

It seems like there is a particular saint assigned to every aspect of life.

The following article describing the apparent widespread practice of burying a plastic statue of Joseph to help facilitate real estate transactions borders on the bizarre.

A saint or something supernatural? Or just superstition? For most real estate agents, the statue of St. Joseph is none of the above: it’s a way of selling real estate. The father of Jesus surely didn’t think he’d find later fame by being buried in front of a home that’s for sale. Upside down, too.

But what in the world (or the netherworld) does a cheap piece of plastic hidden underground have to do with selling a home?

“I just sold a home and I feel that St. Joseph was a big help,” says Carol Studer, an agent at Eagle Harbor Realty.

In one sense it is difficult to argue against the experience of the numerous testimonies cited. On the other hand, where does God advise us to pursue such a practice that is akin to rubbing a rabbit’s foot? Even the Roman Catholic Church itself wisely distances itself from formally embracing this marketing ploy.

However, there are a number of Internet outlets that shamelessly are making a buck off this superstitious approach:

Saint Joseph Statue “ASK, AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE”. Is your Home possibly “a Little Too Unique” to appeal to the Average Family? Are you thinking that you might need “a little outside help” in selling it. Well… have we got the guy for you! There are more than 5000 Patron Saints listed in the Dictionary of Saints, chosen as protectors over different areas of life. The Good SAINT JOSEPH, was chosen as Patron Saint of the Home and Family. Folklore says that if you bury a Statue of Saint Joseph on your Property, and ask St Joseph, to intercede with his Foster Son Jesus on your behalf, it will facilitate the sale of your Home. FACT? FICTION? Who really knows? The tradition can be traced back hundreds of years to Theresa of Avila, who prayed to St Joseph for more land for Christian Converts, and encouraged Nuns to bury St Joseph Medals in the ground as a symbol of their devotion. Thousands of Testimonials seem to say, “IT DOES WORK”.

This wonder-working kit is offered for only $7.95 – quite an exceptional value when you consider the extraordinary results. But be sure to shop around to make sure you are receiving the best value. The Catholic Company offers a number of attractive alternatives.

Don’t get me wrong… I am not against prayer when it comes to major financial decisions like home buying or car buying (or minor financial decisions for that matter). But I do object to a rabbit’s foot type of mentality where we try to control and dictate the outcome to God.

Karen and I can testify to the Lord’s gracious intervention on our behalf when we purchased our current home in Catonsville over twenty years ago. We were certainly praying for a good deal based on our limited financial resources. The widow who chose our contract offer rejected a couple of others of significantly higher value because the Lord had somehow laid it on her heart that she wanted our family to have the house. (She thought that our little girl Jenny would be a good playmate for the girl across the street – which proved to be the case!) Our unsaved real estate agent said she had never seen anything like it in all of her years of home closings.

Our home displays a simple plaque that quotes from Proverbs 21:1 – “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” But you will not find a statue of Joseph buried near our front door. The Lord deserves all the glory! I am sure that Joseph agrees.