You may see it as animosity, but I definately hold none toward Mary. She was blessed to be the earthly mother of Christ, highly favored, but only human, with all our faults. I draw the line at praying to dead people, when clearly the Bible says there is 1 intercessor for us, and that is Christ the Lord, no one else can do anything for us.
I here where you are coming from, but the fact that Christ is the one mediator between God and Men, does not mean that Christians can’t pray for one another or that the Saints in Heaven can’t pray for us.
Christ is the one mediator between God the Father and men, but because of our Baptism, all of us, participate, in a “subordinate role”, in the priesthood of Christ. For example, in Catholic theology, and I would also say the Eastern Orthodox theology, when an individual is Baptized, they, like Christ, are annointed, priest, prophet and king.
St. Peter speaks of this when he writes “but you are a chose race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” (c.f. 1 Peter 2:9). So while the Catholic/Eastern Orthodox Church sees the ministerial/sacramental priesthood, which is a participation in the priesthood of Christ, as he is the eternal high priest, all the baptized participate in the priesthood of Christ in some way.
So, Christians, who are baptized into the Holy Trinity, and the Church, which is Christ’s body (c.f. 1 Cor 12: 12-14), all pray for the good of the rest of the body since if one part of the body suffers, all do (c.f. 1 Cor 12: 26).
So understanding the Church as the Body of Christ means all the baptized, those on earth and the saints in heaven. Since this thread deals with the Apostles Creed, there is a theological/doctrinal statement in that Creed which mentions the “Communion of Saints”, which in readers digest language, is the “Communion of all the baptized”.
So Catholic prayer on earth (e.g.,in Liturgy), for example, shows the doctrine of the COmmunion of Saints. For example, in the “confideor”, which is a penitential rite of the Liturgy, we hear “and I ask Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God”. In the Eucharastic Prayers of the Roman canon, particularly the Intercessions in Eucharistic Prayer II, we see intercessory prayer again
Some Protestant Christians, maybe not you, look at the passag from St. Paul in 1 Tim 2: 5, and conclude that intercessory prayer is unorthodox. However, if you look at the entire passage, that interpretation is incorrect. For example, St Paul writes “First of all then, I ask supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offerred for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quite and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the tuth” (c.f. 1 Tim 2: 1-4).
In another passage St. Paul states “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God” (cf. Col 1: 24-25)..”For this I labor and struggle in accord with the exercise of his power working in me” (c.f. Col 1:29)
So from these two passages, we see St. Paul asking for Christians to pray for everyone (c.f. 1 Tim 2) and St. Paul using his own sufferings as a form of prayer by uniting his sufferings with Christ’s, to strengthen the rest of the Church. A very Powerful!!! form of intercessory prayer.
In the Letter of St. James, we read “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and annoint [him] with the oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, an the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (c.f. James 5: 13-16).
Now in this passage, Catholics see many doctrines here. Clearly the first context is the Presbyters (Priests) were called to 1) Annoint with oil (Sacrament of Annointing of the Sick) and 2) Hear Confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession. However, it is also clear that praying for each other is commanded by St. James, similar to what St. Paul commanded, and in doing this, we are in now way taking from Christ’s role as the “sole mediator” for humanity before God.
In addition, there are numerous other passages where St. Paul is offering his own prayers to God for the good of the Church and/or asking the Church to pray for him (c.f. Rom 15:30; 2 Cor 1:11; 2 Cor 9:14; Eph 6: 18-19; Phil 1:9; Col 1:3; 1 Thes 5:25; 2 Thes 2:11; 2 Thes 3:1) and we see in St. Luke’s Gospel that the saints and angels in heaven rejoice when a sinner repents and returns into God’s grace (c.f. Luke 15:7; 15:10)
In addition, the early Church Fathers are unanimous in their consent to the practice of honoring the saints and asking them to pray for us and with us.
In closing, there is nothig unorthodox about honoring Mary, who even the angel Gabriel greated her with “Hail Mary full of grace”, some translations use “Hail most favored one” (c.f. Luke 1:25), and the saints, and asking them to pray for us and with us as both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (Liturgy of early Church and Church Fathers) attest.