This IS our Faith… What has long begun continues Lesson #6 to be mailed June 2nd. 2019

This IS our Faith…

What has long begun continues

Lesson #6 to be mailed June 2nd. 2019

 (Mark 16:15) (You!)Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”

Eph 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might:
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things beneath his feet
and gave him as head over all things to the church,
which is his body,
the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

 This week’s Lesson is “Mary, our Mom and Oh, so very much more”

          In our efforts to evangelize, I can just about guarantee you that you will encounter an all too common wrong understanding of Catholics relationship (“an obsession really”) with Mary. After all the bible clearly teaches: John 14: 6 “[6] Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me

This debate in our eyes as well as our Protestant friends centers on terminology. “The one who controls the terminology; controls the debate.” In Protestant terms the question will be phrased something like; “why do Catholics “WORSHIP” Mary? “

          This is another case of them being both right and wrong. So when I have encountered this objection the first thing that I do is explain that “Catholics don’t ‘worship’ Mary; that “Worship” is reserved for God alone. What informed and practicing Catholics do, DO is to “reverence” Mary as being the “Mother of God”. Luke 1:36. I then proceed to explain that they are correct grammatically in saying the “catholics do pray “TO” Mary; however it is far more revealing to say that Catholics pray “THROUGH” Mary, as ALL- Catholic-Prayers are intended to end with God.  

          Next, having given them pause to reflect on what has just been shared; knowing that it may not have yet fully registered with them, I explain that in our Catholic Catechism, we are taught to “Worship God alone.”

2134 The first commandment summons man to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him above all else.

2135 “You shall worship the Lord your God” ( Mt 4:10). Adoring God, praying to him, offering him the worship that belongs to him, fulfilling the promises and vows made to him are acts of the virtue of religion which fall under obedience to the first commandment.

2136 The duty to offer God authentic worship concerns man both as an individual and as a social being

          I suggest that they can GOOGLE the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church and search for numbers 2134, 2135, & 2136, if they doubt what I am sharing with them. At this point having gained the right to continue this discussion I generally proceed to explain that the BY FAR most common Marian Prayer is solidly Biblical. (All one needs to do here is remember that it’s all in Luke Chapter1.) And if one has a bible handy (even in the King James Version), we can recite the Hail Mary and point out where that is in the bible. Quite often “full of grace” is CHANGED to “highly favored one”, or some such intentional change; which then opens a door for a brief discussion about the KJB, as well as more contemporary “catholic” bibles have many textual changes; sometimes being as an intentional, to alter the meaning while at other times as a personal preference of the translation from the Greek or Hebrew terms used. I point out then that the Bible is a CATHOLIC-book, and explain why this is, which is not disputable. I generally then go on to explain that the Catholic-DOUAY Bible  predates the King James Bible in both its German and English translation gaining Brownie –points for my Biblical historical knowledge (such at least assumed by them). Yes I know that Wycliffe had his version of the Bible in German in the 13th Century; but it was highly regionalized and not a major influence on the world as where the Douay and the KJ -Bibles. I go on to explain that the Original Bible in a “Common Language” was the Latin Vulgate, in the late 4th Century. Latin was at the time the language of the “entire world” under the CONTROL of Rome, and the Romans language was “Latin.” … By the way “Latin” remains even now, the Official the official language of the RCC. This surprises many of them.

(Vulgate – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate
“The Vulgate (/ ˈ v ʌ l ɡ eɪ t, -ɡ ə t /) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that became the Catholic Church’s officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible during the 16th century. (Actually LONG before this date PJM) The translation was largely the work of Jerome, who in 382 had been commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina (“Old Latin”) Gospels then in use by the Roman Church.”) And this from a notable Non-Catholic Site) …

 The Hail Mary in the Bible

Hail Mary {Luke 1:28}

Full of Grace {Luke 1:28}

The Lord is with thee {Luke 1:27}

Blessed are you among women {Luke 1: 42}

And Blessed is the Fruit of your womb: Jesus {Luke 1:42}

Holy Mary {Luke 1:28}

Mother of GOD {Luke 1:35}

Pray for us sinners {Our Catholic Petition…All prayers END with God.}

Now and at the hour our death

Amen {I BELIEVE!}

          Returning to the original subject, it is important to stress that what Catholics Do; do is pray THROUGH Mary, Not Only “to Mary” which then should  lead to a conversation on WHY Catholics do that.

Here is how I explain this pious act; but you may have a better way? Mary and the Saints (capitol “S”) are those Souls found by the Church’s personal witness (Mt 16: 19) in the Early RCC; and in more recent centuries; through a formalized investigation that ALSO requires two miracles. As Miracles have to be “GOD-approved”, it is GOD who makes the final call; the final judgment of Recognized-Sainthood (canonization). So we can be assured that they are truly in God’s Presence.

          We take gain of the fact that they have direct and ready access to God. We do this by advantaging their access and our Fellowship with them thorough the “Communion of Saints” (All the Souls in Purgatory; in Heaven and here on earth) asking them to listen to our prayed for needs and wants, and then to personally present them to GOD on our behalf.  But wait! It gets EVEN BETTER! These Souls cannot refuse us as we are “family.” So they take our prayer-request and THEN ADD their own petitions on top of ours; GREATLY increasing the efficacy (effectiveness) of our prayers before personally presenting them to God for us. (THAT’s another WOW!!!)

          OK, we have now “jumped through the first few normal-objection- hoops”; but MORE will shortly follow… “Well it’s NOT in the Bible.” Here’s MY response (always with a BIG smile), “Sure it is I say; it’s right next to the term “BIBLE”… (pause); OH! That’s not in the bible either; WHY IS THAT? BTW, I did this at the past Easter Family get together. Then I ask for a Bible (knowing that they have several KJB’s near- by.)  I then turn to John 20 and 21: While saying something like; you may already know this…

John 20: 30-31 “King James Version w/ Apocrypha

John 20:30-31

30 And many other signs (teachings)  truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:31 But these are written , that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

And John 22:24-25 “King James Version w/ Apocrypha

John 21:24-25

24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did (taught) the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written . Amen.

          Me again: (“Did” here means BOTH “Did and Said/taught.)J; well look at that; even the bibles say’s “not everything is in the BIBLE.” (That usually does the “trick.”) And then I discuss the “Why” and how logical this is. The One True Church and Faith “birthed the bible.” The Early Catholic Fathers amidst very much debate; GUIDED by the HS, choose the OT’s 46 books, Then it was men known today to have been among the first “Catholic-Christians”; fiver of the Apostles (making multiple points), FIVE of whom are Apostles: Matthew; John; Peter; James and Paul. … MANY of the Apostles were widely scattered; written materials were scarce and COSTLY; there was an overwhelming degree of illiteracy in the general-populace, and the Church was under SEVERE persecutions from the Romans AND the Jewish Leaders. So the Early Catholic Church grew despite these obstacles with the Aid of the HS, and the staggering number of Catholic Martyrs whose Blood was the “fertilizer” used by Jesus to Grow His Church. 

The Four Marian Dogmas

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There are four dogmas stating Mary’s personal relationship with God and her role in human salvation .

1) Divine Motherhood

Mary’s divine motherhood was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in  431.

Various names are used to describe Mary’s role as mother of Jesus. She is called “Mother of God” which translates the more accurately stated greek term “Theotokos” or “Birthgiver of God.”

The Council of Ephesus (431) attributed to Mary the title, Mother of God. This needs to be read against the Council’s declaration that in Christ there are two natures, one divine and one human, but only one person. Indeed, according to the Council the holy virgin is the Mother of God since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh. This decision was further explained  by the Council of Chalcedon (451) which says with regard to Mary’s divine motherhood:

“…begotten from the Father before the ages as regards his godhead, and in the last days, the same, because of us and because of our salvation begotten from the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, as regards his manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten…”

Mary’s Divine Motherhood was not the object of an independent or exclusive dogmatic declaration. The statement is embedded in texts defining the person and natures of Jesus Christ. Thus, the dogma of Divine Motherhood becomes an integral part of the christological dogma. This does not diminish its definitive and binding character. The dogma of Divine Motherhood is generally accepted by all Christian denominations.

2) Perpetual Virginity

The expression perpetual virginity, ever-virgin, or simply “Mary the Virgin” refers primarily to the conception and birth of Jesus. From the first formulations of faith, especially in baptismal formulas or professions of faith, the Church professed that Jesus Christ was conceived without human seed by the power of the Holy Spirit only. Here lies the decisive meaning of expressions such as “conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary,” “Mary’s virginal conception,” or “virgin birth.” The early baptismal formula (since the 3rd century) state Mary’s virginity without further explaining it, but there is no doubt about its physical meaning. Later statements are more explicit. Mary conceived “without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after his birth” (Council of the Lateran, 649).

Although never explicated in detail, the Catholic Church holds as dogma that Mary was and is Virgin before, in and after Christ’s birth. It stresses thus the radical novelty of the Incarnation and Mary’s no less radical and exclusive dedication to her mission as mother of her Son, Jesus Christ. Vatican II reiterated the teaching about Mary, the Ever-Virgin, by stating that Christ’s birth did not diminish Mary’s virginal integrity but sanctified it . The Catechism of the Catholic Church ponders the deeper meaning of the virgin bride and perpetual virginity (499-507). It also maintains that Jesus Christ was Mary’s only child. The so-called “brothers and sisters” are close relations.

3) Immaculate Conception

The solemn definition of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is like Divine Motherhood and Perpetual Virginity part of the christological doctrine, but it was proclaimed as an independent dogma by Pope Pius IX in his Apostolic Constitution “Ineffabilis Deus” (December 8, 1854). Though highlighting a privilege of Mary it in fact stresses the dignity and holiness required to become “Mother of God.” The privilege of the Immaculate Conception is the source and basis for Mary’s all-holiness as Mother of God.

More specifically, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception states “that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege from Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, was kept free of every stain of original sin.”

This dogma has both a “negative” and a “positive” meaning which complement each other. The “negative” meaning stresses Mary’s freedom from original sin thanks to the anticipated or retroactive (here called preventive) grace of Christ’s redemptive act. By the same token, the dogma suggests Mary’s all-holiness. This “positive” meaning is the consequence of the absence of original sin. Mary’s life is permanently and intimately related to God, and thus she is the all-holy.

Although difficult to explain, original sin provokes disorderliness in thought and behavior, especially with regard to the primacy of God’s presence in our life. Consequently, in declaring Mary immaculately conceived, the Church sees in Mary one who never denied God the least sign of love. Thus, the dogma declares that from her beginning Mary was exceptionally holy and in constant union with the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit.

4) The Assumption

This marian dogma was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 on his Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus.

A distinction needs to be made between Ascension and Assumption. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Risen Lord, ascended into heaven, a sign of divine power. Mary, on the contrary, was elevated or assumed into heaven by the power and grace of God.

The dogma states that “Mary, Immaculate Mother of God ever Virgin, after finishing the course of her life on earth, was taken up in body and soul to heavenly glory.” This definition as well as that of the Immaculate Conception makes not only reference to the universal, certain and firm consent of the Magisterium but makes allusion to the concordant belief of the faithful. The Assumption had been a part of the Church’s spiritual and doctrinal patrimony for centuries. It had been part of theological reflection but also of the liturgy and was part of the sense of the faithful.

This dogma has no direct basis in scripture. It was nonetheless declared “divinely revealed,” meaning that it is contained implicitly in divine Revelation. It may be understood as the logical conclusion of Mary’s vocation on earth, and the way she lived her life in union with God and her mission. The assumption may be seen as a consequence of Divine Motherhood. Being through, with, and for her Son on earth, it would seem fitting for Mary to be through, with, and for her Son in heaven, too. She was on earth the generous associate of her Son. The Assumption tells us that this association continues in heaven. Mary is indissolubly linked to her Son on earth and in heaven.

In heaven, Mary’s active involvement in salvation history continues: “Taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside her salvific duty… By her maternal love she cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son who still journey on earth” (LG). Mary is the “eschatological icon of the Church” (CCC 972), meaning the Church contemplates in Mary her own end of times.

The definition of the dogma does not say how the transition from Mary’s earthly state to her heavenly state happened. Did Mary die? Was she assumed to heaven without prior separation of soul and body? The question remains open for discussion. However, the opinion that Mary passed through death as her Son did, has the stronger support in tradition.

Glorified in body and soul, Mary is already in the state that will be ours after the resurrection of the dead. END QUOTES

2020 ‘Catholic’ Dem candidate: Church is wrong on abortion, LGBT, all-male priesthood

By Doug Mainwaring

 

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4 Protestant Objections To Marian Dogmas Answered

Written by

Ashley Roberts

Here are some of the actual objections we have received from Protestants regarding some of the Marian dogmas, and our responses in turn:

  1. The Marian Dogma Of The Immaculate Conception

Mary was a sinner like us. In her Magnificat in Luke 2:47, she refers to her child as being her Savior. Only sinners need a savior.

The Magnificat by the Italian Early Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli, 1483AD.

I would agree with you in that Mary was saved from sin through Christ, her savior. However, just because Christ saved her from sin, it does not necessarily follow that she herself was infected with sin, and committed sin herself.

I will use an analogy to explain. Take a doctor who gives a patient a measles vaccination. The patient does not have measles and has never experienced any symptoms of it. In other words, they have never been infected with it. It is nonetheless true, however, that when they receive the vaccination, they are saved from measles, and their savior is the doctor.

The Catholic understanding of Mary being conceived without sin (known as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception) is the same. Thus, Jesus is Mary’s savior.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes this point in paragraph 491 when quoting Pope Pius IX’s words from 1854. He states, “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

The Church teaching is clear; Jesus was Mary’s savior. The cross impacts peoples of all times; past, present, and future.

So I agree, Jesus was Mary’s savior. The next question: was Mary a sinner like us? I would argue that she was not a sinner like us, but that she was, “preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

To argue this point I will use typology. The first typology I will use is Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant. I will examine the parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Old Covenant.

Mariology In The Bible—The New Ark

Firstly, what did the Ark contain? It contained three things: the manna bread from heaven, the stone tablets of the Law, and the staff of Aaron the high priest of Israel. What did Mary contain? She contained the true bread from heaven (John 6:58), the fulfillment of the Law, and the high priest of the new Israel.

We are told, in the Gospel of Luke, that the Ark of the Old Covenant journeyed to the hill country of Judea into the house of Obed-edom for 3 months before returning to David in Jerusalem, where David leaped for joy in the presence of the Ark. Similarly, Mary visited the house of Elizabeth and Zechariah in the hill country of Judea for three months where the baby inside Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy.

David says, “How can the Ark ever come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9). Similarly, Elizabeth says, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43). Where David shouts for joy in the presence of the Ark (2 Samuel 6:15), Elizabeth “exclaimed with a loud cry” (Luke 1:42). Where the Ark had God sitting above it, Mary is overshadowed by God (Luke 1:35).

It seems obvious, therefore, that Luke structures and words his gospel to show that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. But what else do we know about the Ark, and what implications do they hold for Mary, who is the new Ark?

The Ark was made of pure gold, and it brought with it the presence of God. Even when it is touched by Uzzah, he is struck dead. Mary, the new Ark was also made of the purest nature by her maker. She brings with her the presence of the Lord. Her womb is what the second person of the Blessed Trinity is relying on for life (what humility on God’s behalf!) Her womb is the dwelling place of God; a shrine to him.

How could Mary have been full of sin if this is the case? Conversely, the Angel Gabriel, in an older translation, calls her “full of grace” (Luke 1:28). Further evidence for Mary being the Ark of the New Covenant can be found in Revelation. Revelation 11 ends with talk of the Ark, and then the text immediately shifts to discussing Mary. John uses this technique to draw further parallels between Mary and the Ark.

Is it not fitting that God, who specifically instructed the old Ark to be constructed in the purest fashion, would make the Ark of the New (and even greater) Covenant also pure, without stain, and with a massively vital role?

Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant by Benjamin West, 1800AD.

The New Eve

The second typology I want to use is Mary as the “new Eve”.

I’m sure we’d both agree that Christ is the new Adam. Adam, a man born without original sin chose to do his own will, and so brought forth death and sin into the world. Christ chose God’s will, and so brought forth life and redemption. If there’s a new Adam, surely there’s a new Eve? I think Mary is the new Eve (as did the Apostolic Fathers).

Let’s look at the parallels. An evil angel appears to Eve and tempts her to do evil where she is presented with a free choice, but she passes this evil onto Adam, whose sin leads to a fallen world. A good angel appears to Mary and she chooses to accept God will’s by her own free choice.

Through her good choice, Christ—the second Adam—is able to redeem this fallen world. Eve is the mother of all the living, but Mary is the mother of all the redeemed. Mary is described as the mother of all those “who keep God’s commands and hold the testimony of Jesus” in Revelation 12:17. What else is an important feature about Eve? She was born without original sin. Mary was likewise preserved from it.

Many Protestants object to this, claiming that Romans 3:23 refutes it. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”. However, we know that Paul is not talking about literally everyone here.

Christ was born without sin, as was Adam and Eve. Many babies who die in the womb also never sin. We know, therefore, that there are exceptions to the rule.

Paul is making the point that all people, Jews and Gentiles have sinned. Jews are not different from Gentiles in this aspect. He is not categorically saying that every single person who has ever lived has sinned because that would be calling Christ a sinner and is simply untrue, even from a Protestant viewpoint.

  1. The Marian Dogma Of The Perpetual Virginity

The Roman Catholic Church claim that Mary remained a virgin all her life. However, Matthew 1:25 clearly contradicts this. Mark 6:2-3 shows Jesus had brothers and sisters. The argument that they could have been his cousins is fallacious and false as the text is clear. Acts 1:14 is the point at which some of his brothers, if not all, believed in the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:25 states, “But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” The objection here is that because the text says they didn’t consummate the marriage until a son was born, it is assumed that sexual relations began after the birth of Christ.

Even though it may appear obvious to us today, this is a weak and unjustified position to take when viewed historically. Allow me to explain.

The word “until” can be used in a variety of ways even in our modern English language. I might say, “God bless you until we meet again.” By saying this, I am not meaning, “May God stop blessing you the moment we meet again.” There are even clearer examples in Scripture itself where the word “until” is used without the opposite action happening after the event.

For example, in 2 Samuel 6:23 it says, “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no children until the day of her death”. This does not mean that Michal began having children after her death. There are other examples in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 15:25 reads, “For he (Christ) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet”. Again, this does not mean that after he has put all his enemies under his feet that Christ will no longer reign. We are told countless times in Scripture that Christ’s reign shall have no end.

In fact, John Calvin made this point himself and argued that Matthew 1:25 does not contradict the Marian dogma of perpetual virginity. It is therefore not a strong argument to use Matthew 1:25 as a case against the perpetual virginity of Mary.

The second Scripture you sighted is Mark 6:2-3. “On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is this not he a carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’”

I would make a couple of points here. The first I will make is to say that I disagree that the text is clear that Christ had brothers and sister. It may be clear in English, but this does not mean that it is clear in the Greek. The Greek word used for brother in Mark 6:3 is adelphos. The plural version of adelphos is used in Matthew 23:8. “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers (adelphoi)”. In this passage, Jesus is preaching to “the crowds and his disciples” (Matthew 23:1) so he is clearly not suggesting that the whole crowd are biological brothers.

We are also told that Lot and Abraham are “brothers” in Genesis 13:8, but we know this is not referring to them being biological brothers because, biologically, they are uncle and nephew. It’s worth noting that the Greek Septuagint uses this word adelphos when describing the relationship between Lot and Abraham.

Abraham and Lot Go Separate Ways by Bartolo di Fredi, the Italian painter of the Sienese School in the late 14th Century.

Furthermore, as the Catechism points out in paragraph 500, we know clearly that the “brothers” of Jesus mentioned in Mark 6:3 are not biologically related to Jesus. This is because we are told that these brothers (James, Judas, Joseph and Simon) have a different mother to Jesus.

After the crucifixion of Christ, “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee were watching on from a distance” (Matthew 27:56). James and Joseph are the same James and Joseph from Mark 6:3. In the first verse of the following chapter, Matthew describes the mother of these two boys as “the other Mary” (Matthew 28:1).

This clearly is not the same Mary as the mother of Christ, as Mary the mother of Christ is at the foot of the cross at this point.

Acts 1:14 uses that word adelphoi again to describe Jesus’ brothers. Since there is no evidence in the gospels of Jesus having biological brothers (as I have briefly discussed), it is very unlikely that Luke is talking about biological brothers here. Since the Gospel writers refer to Jesus’ brothers as very close friends, followers, or potentially more distant relatives, it would be very strange—and therefore very unlikely and inconsistent—that Luke is referring to Christ having biological brothers in Acts 1:14.

A Practical Reason Why She Remained A Virgin

So did Mary remain a virgin all her life? I’d say yes. My first reason for this is not particularly theological, but more practical.

Put yourself in the position of Joseph, Mary’s husband. Mary was overshadowed by the third person of the Holy Trinity and conceived the second person of the Blessed Trinity. She was a daughter of the Father, the mother of the Son, and the spouse of the Holy Spirit. God himself dwelt in her. Her womb was a tabernacle, the Holy of Holies in a sense.

If Joseph had sex with such a woman and conceived another child, surely this would defile Mary’s holy womb? I for one would not be comfortable taking the virginity of somebody like that.

Another argument is that Mary is the new Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark of the Old Covenant was touched and a man dies. This can be interpreted as a foreshadowing of the abomination that it would be if a man were to touch the Virgin Mary in a sexual way. As I mentioned before, John Calvin would agree with me on this point, as do the Church Fathers.

In conclusion, Mary remained a virgin all of her life. Like all the other Marian dogmas, it all adds up when you’re blessed with enough time to study it!

  1. When Did Mariology Begin?

The veneration of Mary did not take place until 431AD so how could the Roman Catholic Church have got it wrong for so long? Or did they? Was this yet a further creep of corruption within the Church?

Just because a practice or doctrine takes a while to develop, does not mean it is not true. In fact, many doctrines start off in what is called “seed form”.

Take the belief in hell, for example. Christianity has inherited that from Judaism. The doctrine of hell developed throughout the Old Testament. It started off being described as “the pit” before becoming known as an obscure place called Sheol. By the New Testament, with the help of Greek philosophy, we have somewhere known as Hades.

In fact, many Jews did not—and even today—are not totally sure whether they believe in an afterlife at all. This is a developed doctrine, but it is nonetheless a true doctrine.

Another more obvious and distinctly Christian doctrine would be the doctrine of the Trinity.

In the Old Testament, God clearly reveals himself as being one. However, there are hints of a Trinitarian God. For example in Genesis 1 when he says “let us make man in our image”, or in Genesis 18 where the LORD appears to Abraham as “three men”.

However, Old Testament figures would not have believed in the Trinity as we understand it today. In fact, even just after Jesus’ death the Trinity was not as clearly taught as it is today. Many groups strongly denied that Jesus himself was divine. It actually took over 200 years for the Catholic Church to define the Trinity at the Council of Nicaea.

So the Trinity is also a doctrine that took a while to be defined, yet it is still true. The Marian dogmas, like the Trinitarian doctrines, are also seen in seed form in the Scriptures and in the Early Church.

I have already shown using Scripture in Objection 2 how Mary is the New Eve and the New Ark of the Covenant, meaning she deserves veneration just as the Ark did. I will now show how she is the Queen of the New Jerusalem, before mentioning some quotations from the Early Church.

Queen Of The New Jerusalem

The kingdom of Jerusalem prefigured the new heavenly kingdom of Jerusalem. There are many aspects of this kingdom which foreshadow the New Covenant.

There is the king, who represents Christ. He was the head of the whole kingdom, and his authority was unquestioned. There was a prime minister, who foreshadows the papacy, and there was a queen.

However, the queen was not the wife of the king; rather she was the mother of the king. This structure began with King Solomon who positioned his mother, Bathsheba, as queen. This structure of a queen mother continued all the way through until the fall of the kingdom of Israel.

It, therefore, is logical to suggest that Jesus, the new Solomon, king of the New Jerusalem, has a queen mother in Mary. In fact, Revelation 12 describes Mary as wearing a crown “of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1).

Our Lady of the Star, Queen of Heaven Icon.

This view and veneration of Mary were also present from very early on within the Church. Athanasius of Alexandra wrote in 373AD, “It becomes you to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him Who granted you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Help us for the sake of the King, the Lord God Master Who was born of you. For this reason, you are called ‘full of Grace’…”

Irenaeus of Lyons, in 180AD writes “For just as [Eve] was led astray by the word of an angel, so that she fled from God when she had transgressed His word; so did [Mary], by an angelic communication, receive the glad tidings that she should sustain God, being obedient to His word. And if the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness of the virgin Eve.”

The evidence here suggests that devotion to Mary was present even within the first two centuries of Christianity.

Could this be corruption creeping in? Potentially, although this would contradict what Christ says about the Church, that it will be led into all truth (John 16:13), and that the gates of hell will never prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

It also seems very unlikely that this belief was wrong. It was the belief of those who knew the Apostles, and who lived in the same culture as them. It, therefore, was almost certainly the belief of the Apostles themselves.

  1. Praying To Mary

To pray to Mary (or through Mary as you stated) is a denial of Scripture. 1 Timothy 2:5 One God and One mediator. John 14:6 “No man comes to the Father but by me.” Nowhere in Scripture are we told to pray to the dead to intercede on our behalf.

St. John on Patmos seeing what he would later write in Revelation 5:8, “When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

 

This is not one of the Marian dogmas, but it makes sense to deal with it here as it is a common Protestant objection.

I disagree that asking the saints in Heaven to pray for us is a denial of Scripture. The argument you make is that only Jesus can intercede and pray for us. This is a common Protestant argument, although it is not consistent and even contradictory to Protestant practice.

For example, if you were to ask a friend to pray/intercede for you, you would be asking someone other than Christ to intercede for you. By your logic, this contradicts 1 Timothy 2:5. However, we know this interpretation cannot be correct, since we are instructed in many places in Scripture to pray and intercede for one another.

The other Scripture you mentioned was John 14:6, which states, “No one comes to the father except through me.” When I ask someone to pray for me, I am still coming to the Father through Christ because of his life and sacrifice. Whether you, a friend or a particular saint prays for me does not alter that fact. It is because of his sacrifice that I can come to the Father.

So why should we ask the saints to pray for us? The key to understanding this is by considering that the saints (people in heaven) can see us. The author of Hebrews testifies to this understanding in Hebrews 12 where, after he has described the incredible heroics of Old Testament figures in chapter 11, begins chapter 12 with, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”.

The message is clear: these saints see us, surround us, and are willing us on.

But Why Do We Need Their Prayers?

The next question is, “Why do we need saints to pray for us? Why not just go directly to God?” My answer would be that I agree that we should all go to God directly. We should pray to him, give thanks, confess our sins, and petition him.

At the same time, however, I would argue that the prayers of others joining ours are even more powerful than if we were just praying by ourselves. Why ask saints to pray for us? Well, James 5:16 says that “the prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

There is no one more righteous than those people who have died and have been fully sanctified by God’s grace. These people are saints, and so it makes sense to ask them to pray for us because their prayers are very powerful.

A Calvinistic objection to this would be to argue that all believers are equally righteous in God’s sight, however, Jesus does not seem to believe this. After Jesus makes clear that no one is to break any of the commandments of the Law, Jesus says, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Here Jesus clearly demonstrates that different people have different levels of righteousness, and encourages people to obey the law. He does not simply say, “When you invite me into your life, don’t worry too much about how you act because you are completely righteous.”

Rather he tells the crowds to strive towards it. Paul, along with the early Church Fathers, expands on this by strongly emphasizing that it is only by God’s grace that we can obey the Law, and not by our own merit so that no man can boast (cf Ephesians 2:8).

Some Direct Scriptural Support

So far in my argument, I have tried to show how praying to saints does not contradict Scripture, and I have shown a logical argument as to why we should ask them to pray for us.

However, there is even reference to the saints and angels praying for the people on Earth in Revelation 5:8: “When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Here we see the twenty-four elders presenting the prayers of the saints (“saints”, in this context, means the followers of Christ on Earth) to the lamb, who is Jesus. This lines up exactly with the idea that the saints and angels present our petitions to the Father through Christ.

I would also quote 2 Maccabees 15:12-16, but Martin Luther took that book out of the Bible in the 16th Century, and so you might not recognize its authority as a Protestant.

End Quoted

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

DEC 15, 2008  MARK ALESSIO

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“The friends of Christ refuse to admit subsequent marital relations between Joseph and Mary. Accordingly, those who denied the virginity post partum are not the friends of Christ; they are not true Christians.” (St. Basil the Great +379)

People of good will take a certain pleasure in seeing truth defended with conviction, with a combination of intelligence and fortitude that does not buckle in the face of error and opposition. Some subjects excite righteous passions more than others, perhaps. One of these is our own Blessed Lady — Mary, the Mother of God.

The virginity post partum (after the birth of Christ) of the Blessed Virgin is one of those doctrines that is cavalierly tossed aside by heretics of different stripes. Today, many so-called “fundamentalist” Protestants continue to misrepresent those Gospel verses which speak of the “brethren” of Jesus, verses which refer to His relatives, not to actual “brothers” and “sisters.” Thus, they choose to believe that Our Lady and St. Joseph had children after the virgin birth of Christ — in contradiction to the teachings of their own forerunners, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, who maintained at least enough presence of mind to uphold Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.

This particular assault on the Mother of the Savior is nothing new. The serpent in Eden heard God’s own prophecy about the “Woman” — the Mother of a Son — who would crush his head beneath Her heel. He has hated Her ever since, and naturally (or un-naturally, as the case may be), inspires others to do so. Our Lady is the very image of the Catholic Church. Her maternity brought forth the Redeemer; that of the Church brings forth the brethren of the Redeemer. Small wonder, then, that Mary — Virgin and Mother — should come under special attack.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Am I not here, who am your Mother?”

The heretic, Cerinthus (who flourished c. 100 A.D.), influenced by gnosticism, taught that Jesus “received” Christ at His baptism — as a power or revelation from the “unknown” Father — and that this Christ left Jesus before the Passion. In his Adversus haereses (Against Heresies), St. Irenaeus (+202), Father of the Church, recorded that Cerinthus “represented Jesus as having not been born of a virgin, but as being the son of Joseph and Mary according to the ordinary course of human generation, while He nevertheless was more righteous, prudent, and wise than other men.” Here is an early example of sacrilege hiding behind a professed “respect” for Jesus.

The second century A.D. saw the rise of a heretical sect known as the Ebionites (“poor men”), who adhered to the observance of the Jewish Law. Some Ebionites accepted, while others rejected, the virginal birth of Christ, though all rejected His pre-existence and Divinity. They also denied Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. In his History of the Church, Eusebius (+ c. 341) wrote, “The heresy of the Ebionites, as it is called, asserts that Christ was the son of Joseph and Mary, considering Him a mere man, and insists strongly on keeping the law in a Jewish manner.” Towards the end of the fourth century, they were regarded as Antidicomarianites (“opponents of Mary”), characterized by a denial of the formula “ever-Virgin Mary.” They were challenged by St. Epiphanius (+403), Father of the Church, who addressed them in his study and refutation of heresy, also entitled Adversus haereses:

“Is not the very name sufficient witness? Is it not enough to convince you, you quarrelsome fellow? Was there ever anyone who dared pronounce the name of holy Mary without immediately adding the title Virgin?”

The virginity in partu (during the birth of Jesus) and post partum (after His birth) are as zealously defended by the True Church as they are callously disregarded by those who spurn Her. The Lateran Council (649) proclaimed:

“If anyone does not properly and truly confess in accord with the holy Fathers, that the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin and immaculate Mary in the earliest of the ages conceived of the Holy Ghost without seed, namely, the Word of God Himself specifically and truly, Who was born of God the Father before all ages, and that She incorruptibly bore Him, Her virginity remaining indestructible even after His birth, let him be condemned.”

Pope Paul IV, in the ordinance Cum quorundam (1555), condemned as “depravity” and “iniquity” the belief that the Virgin Mary “did not always persist in the integrity of virginity, namely, before bringing forth, at bringing forth, and always after bringing forth.”

The great Fathers and Doctors of the Church had little patience with anyone who dared deny the Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God. St. Hilary of Poitiers (+368) referred to such people as “irreligious, perverted, knowing absolutely nothing of spiritual truth.” In his The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary, Against Helvidius, St. Jerome (+420) replied with gusto to that heretic, who had denied the Perpetual Virginity. He begins with:

“I was requested by certain of the brethren not long ago to reply to a pamphlet written by one Helvidius. I have deferred doing so, not because it is a difficult matter to maintain the truth and refute an ignorant boor who has scarce known the first glimmer of learning, but because I was afraid my reply might make him appear worth defeating.”

As for Helvidius himself, St. Jerome offers a colorful comparison by invoking the memory of the infamous arsonist of antiquity, Herostratus, who burned down the Ephesian Temple of Artemis (i.e., Diana), one of the wonders of the ancient world, in 356 B.C.:

“There are things which, in your extreme ignorance, you had read, and therefore you neglected the whole range of Scripture and employed your madness in outraging the Virgin, like the man in the story who being unknown to everybody and finding that he could devise no good deed by which to gain renown, burned the temple of Diana: and when no one revealed the sacrilegious act, it is said that he himself went up and down proclaiming that he was the man who had applied the fire. The rulers of Ephesus were curious to know what made him do this thing, whereupon he replied that if he could not have fame for good deeds, all men should give him credit for bad ones. Grecian history relates the incident. But you do worse. You have set on fire the temple of the Lord’s body; you have defiled the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost from which you are determined to make a team of four brethren and a heap of sisters come forth. In a word, joining in the chorus of the Jews, you say, ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? The word  would not be used if there were not a crowd of them.’ Pray tell me, who, before you appeared, was acquainted with this blasphemy? Who thought the theory worth two-pence? You have gained your desire, and are become notorious by crime.”

Why such passion over Our Lady’s Perpetual Virginity? It is understandable that Her virginity ante partum (before the birth of Jesus) should be so jealously safeguarded, for Her Son was and remains the Only-Begotten Son of God. Why express so much concern over Her life with St. Joseph after the birth of the Savior?

 

St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church

Firstly, in defending Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, we reject the sterile, utilitarian notion that She was nothing more than a “functionary,” used by God the Father to bear His Son, but with no further share in the life and mission of that Divine Son. We reject the notion that this marvelous Woman, the Immaculate Conception, was consecrated to the service of God for a limited amount of time only, after which Her desire to serve and give Herself to Him either waned or was discarded outright. In so doing, we defend also the integrity and honor of Her holy spouse, St. Joseph, after the manner of these words of St. Ambrose (+397), Father and Doctor of the Church (in De Inst. Virg.):

“But Mary did not fail, the mistress of virginity did not fail; nor was it possible that She who had borne God, should be regarded as bearing a man. And Joseph, the just man, assuredly did not so completely lose his mind as to seek carnal intercourse with the Mother of God.”

The Perpetual Virginity of the Virgin is not an “incidental” doctrine of the True Faith, neither is it so valiantly upheld solely to honor the Mother of the Redeemer. It is essential to an understanding of God’s plan for humanity, to a complete understanding of the very nature of the Catholic Church, founded by Christ as He walked the earth, and destined to become the means of salvation for each and every man and woman ever born into this “vale of tears.”

Jesus, The “First-Born”

In the Gospels, Our Lord is referred to as the “first-born” in two different, but complementary, contexts. He is “the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature” (Col. 1:15), proceeding from all eternity from the Father. Because He is both True God and True Man, He alone was able to pay the debt incurred by mankind at the Fall. As True Man, He could pay a debt owed by mankind to its Creator; as True God, this satisfaction, these merits, could atone for an offense committed against the eternal and omnipotent Creator. And so, Our Lord is “the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead” (Apoc. 1:5), the first to rise to immortal life.

However, Jesus Christ is also called the “first-born” of Mary: “And She brought forth Her first-born Son, and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Lk. 2:7). The Holy Trinity has decreed that the Church — baptized souls redeemed by Christ — would form Our Lord’s “Mystical Body.” The word mystical in this context does not refer to anything insubstantial, or subjective, as the word is used today to denote any number of allegedly non-Christian “religious experiences.” It refers to an intimate connection between God and men, a connection that, while made apparent to the world through the visible, hierarchical Church, is created and sustained by a “hidden” bond between Redeemer and redeemed: “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). The “Mystical Body” is not a metaphor; it is a diagram:

“He is the head of the Body, the Church” (Col. 1:18). “For as the body is one, and hath many members: and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free: and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink” (1 Cor. 12:12-13).

The Church does not merely “resemble” a human body; like a natural body, she is connected to and led by Her “Head.” Therefore, when grace is poured out upon an individual, it does not “enter” that person as though from a detached, external source, like a foreign substance that is “pumped in.” The transfer is “internal,” from the Head to the Body:

“Of His fullness we all have received, and grace for grace (Jn. 1:16)…. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you the branches” (Jn. 15:4-5).

The Scriptures refer to Catholics as the “brothers” of Jesus:

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made  under the law: that He might redeem those who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:4-6). “And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

Through the Incarnation, the taking upon Himself of our human nature by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, we share God as Father with Jesus. He tells us, in no uncertain terms, “You therefore shall pray in this manner: Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name” (Mt. 6:9). The “first-born” of every creature…Who became the “first begotten of the dead”…was and always will be the “first-born Son” of the Blessed Virgin. If the Incarnation created a unique bond between God and man (heirs indeed of God), and a unique relation of mankind to the Incarnate Word (He is the head of the Body, the Church), then it also created a unique bond between the redeemed and Our Lady, the Mother of our “Head” (Behold thy Mother).

Mary’s “Fiat”

When the youthful Virgin offered Her fiat to the Angel Gabriel — “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38) — She consented to become the Mother of the Redeemer. However, to imagine that such a consent was directed solely to the physical birth of the Redeemer, to the exclusion of any other considerations, is ludicrous. A mother does not await the birth of her child, so that she can “get it over with” and have nothing more to do with her offspring! Mary knew that Her Son was God. She knew the prophecies concerning the Redeemer, and of the Woman foretold in Eden, who would be by His side. Her fiat was a consent to bear the Redeemer, to raise Him, provide for Him, protect Him and serve Him as He desired to be served.

Mary’s fiat, then, was also an implicit acceptance of Her Spiritual Motherhood, Her motherhood “in the order of grace” of each and every member of the Church. Having consecrated herself — Her virginity, Her life, all Her actions — to the service of God, and having accepted the awesome Divine Maternity, She presented herself as the “handmaid” of the Lord. She is at His disposal. Unlike most people, who give only so much to God — in accord with their means and station in life — Mary placed Herself at His service totally, in all matters. So, when She said ‘yes’ to the Angel Gabriel, She said ‘yes’ to everything God was offering Her, all the joys, sorrows, and roles that were to be Hers and Hers alone. Thus, Our Lady consented — implicitly — to Her roles as Co-redemptrix, as Mediatrix of All Graces and as Spiritual Mother of the Church.

This “Spiritual” Motherhood is not a devotional “extra,” but a fact proclaimed by Christ Himself from the Cross: “Behold thy Mother” (Jn. 19:27). How momentous was this declaration? St. John recorded the scene, adding a very interesting gloss:

“Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, therefore, saw His Mother, and the disciple standing, whom He loved, He saith to His Mother; Woman, Behold thy Son. After that, He saith to the disciple; Behold thy Mother. And that hour the disciple took Her to his own. Afterwards  Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, said; I thirst” (Jn. 19:25-28).

In the midst of His Passion, Jesus gave Mary to the Church, represented by St. John. It was only then that all things were accomplished. The Savior who deigned to form one Body with the members of His Church was born of the Virgin, His Mother in the order of nature. How can it be that His Mystical Body will not also be born of this same Virgin, a Mother in the order of grace? In True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, St. Louis de Montfort (+1716) aptly pointed out:

(Inserted: I use this information often when explaining a Catholics devotion to Mary. I then expand on Christ PROCLAIMATION “I THIRST” and expand on the true meaning of the ASTOUNDING last words of Christ.  … What did Jesus mean to teach us with this final lesson?

Surely “I thirst” had MORE than the reality of a physical THIRST; after all He knew He would expire in moments; if not even seconds. Here is what Christ meant: “I THIRST” was a proclamation that despite of; perhaps more likely because of ALL that Christ had already done; had already accomplished; He still desire to DO MORE:  What was the “More?”

I believe that it took three forms: Christ left humanity (1) His Catholic Church (2) His Catholic Faith and (3) His Mother to be our “Intercessor-par-excellence.” No force on earth is better suited; more ideally suited to lead Souls to Her Son than is His Mother Mary. … Mary’s New Mission dovetails with our own: Get Souls to Heaven. End inserted PJM)

“One and the same mother does not give birth to the head without the members nor to the members with the head, for these would be monsters in the order of nature. In the order of grace likewise the head and the members are born of the same mother.

And therefore:
“God the Son wishes to form Himself, and, in a manner of speaking, become incarnate every day in His members through His Mother.”

There are no empty displays with God. If Our Lord, in the midst of His agony — during which a redeemed humanity was born — proclaimed Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood, then She is truly our spiritual Mother, and nothing less. And what does a mother do? She gestates, gives birth to, and nourishes Her offspring. This is what “Mother Church” does through Baptism, the Sacraments and sound teaching, and this ecclesial “maternity” is a mirror of the Blessed Virgin’s “spiritual” maternity, exercised in Her solicitude for sinful mankind, Her powerful mediation and Her dispensing of the graces won by Her Son on Calvary. Therefore, when the inspired texts speak of one “maternity,” they speak of both:

“The foundations thereof are in the holy mountains: The Lord loveth the gates of Sion above all the tabernacles of Jacob. Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God… Shall not Sion say: This man and that man is born in her? And the Highest Himself hath founded her” (Ps. 86).

“And there appeared a great sign in Heaven: a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered…. And the dragon was angry against the Woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Apoc. 12:1-2,17).

St. Augustine (+430), in his Treatise on the Creed for the Catechumens, writes: “In the Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle, we read that the dragon stood by the woman as she gave birth, ready to pounce upon her child. The dragon, of course, is the devil. The woman is the Virgin Mary who, preserving Her own virginal integrity, gave birth to the Virgin Head of the Church. In this, Mary symbolizes the Church. She, a virgin, brought forth a Son. Holy Mother Church, herself a virgin, constantly brings forth children, also remaining a virgin.”

If the same mother gives birth to both the head and members of a single body, then Our Lord gave us the same Mother that He knows and loves. He gave Her to us in all Her glory, in all Her grace, in all Her beauty… and in all Her virginal purity. He gave us, therefore, a Virgin Mother. This is why Catholics defend Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, not as though it were an abstract doctrine fit only for scholars to debate, but as a matter of both a mother’s honor and an aid to understanding the very nature of the Church. When the young Mary consented to become the Mother of the Redeemer, She implicitly consented to become the Mother of the Redeemed. The members of the Catholic Church are the spiritual children borne by Our Lady after having given birth to Her natural Son, Jesus.

The Blessed Virgin, as Mother of the Church — and St. Joseph, as well, as Universal Patron of the Church — would be given numerous offspring. But this family would not be their natural family. The womb of Mary — the first and most sacred of all Tabernacles — would not be home to any other child, after it had held the Living God for nine months. And Joseph… well, he knew, better than anyone else did, that his beloved wife was consecrated to God, body and soul, beloved by, and set apart for, the Holy Trinity like no one before or since.

No, the offspring of the Blessed Virgin would not be Her natural children, but Her supernatural children — i.e., the glorious family foretold to Abraham when God said: “Look up to heaven and number the stars if thou canst…. So shall thy seed be” (Gen. 15:5). This “seed” is identical to “the rest of Her seed,” the Church as described in St. John’s apocalyptic vision. The Virgin Mother of Christ is the Virgin Mother of the Church. The doctrine of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity is of a piece with this simple fact. It is not an incidental belief.

The Doctrine In
Our Lady’s Own Words

Detractors of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity would do well to consider the Annunciation narrative of St. Luke’s Gospel. Is it not curious that, at such a momentous, even troubling time, this young girl, Mary, should ask one question only, a question which, considering the circumstances, must have been of paramount importance for Her to give voice to it then and there: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” (Lk. 1:34)?

Mary was an espoused wife when She asked this question; She had been promised to a husband. Certainly, a young woman, awaiting only the solemnization of her marriage in a public ceremony, does not need to ask how she will eventually come to bear a child! We know enough of Our Lady’s character from Scripture and from Her approved apparitions to know that She does not speak frivolously, nor would She have asked a frivolous question of the Archangel. She did not say to Gabriel that She has not known any man, but that She does not know man:

St. Joseph: Chaste Guardian of the Virgin

In On the Holy Generation of Christ, St. Gregory of Nyssa (+ c. 394) provides this morsel of common sense: “For if Joseph had taken Her to be his wife, for the purpose of having children, why would She have wondered at the announcement of maternity, since She herself would have accepted becoming a mother according to the law of nature? But just as it was necessary to guard the body consecrated to God as an untouched and holy offering, for this same reason, She states, even if you are come down from heaven and even if this phenomenon is beyond man’s abilities, yet it is impossible for me to know man. How shall I become a mother without knowing man? For though I consider Joseph to be my husband, still I do not know man.”

If someone says, “I do not drink” or “I do not gamble,” he is stating facts about himself; he is making it known that he has made certain decisions in his life. The implication is not, “I do not gamble… but I will probably take up gambling in the future.” The point is to reveal an abiding decision. Our Lady had consecrated Her virginity to God. That is, She made a vow of virginity: I know not man – “I am consecrated to my God.”

One can imagine the protestations arising on this point from those malcontents who will insist on placing the Immaculata in carnal scenarios. The faithful Israelites of Mary’s day awaited the coming of the Messiah. The birth of every child brought that day closer and closer. Can a “vow of virginity” make sense, then, to a betrothed woman — of all people — when children were considered the greatest blessing of all?

“Behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb” (Ps. 126:3). “Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of thy house. Thy children as olive plants round about thy table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord” (Ps. 127:3-4).

A barren woman, conversely, was deemed to be under a divine malediction. The Scriptures say of Anna, the mother of Samuel, before she conceived her son: “And the Lord had shut up her womb” (1 Kgs. 1:5). St. Elizabeth, who was advanced in years at the birth of her son, St. John the Baptist, said, after he had been conceived, “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He hath had regard to take away my reproach among men” (Lk. 1:25). Would a woman given in marriage repudiate the possibility of raising a family, perhaps even the awaited Messiah?

Such arguments presume, rather arrogantly, to probe the spiritual depths of a human being. They assume that even gifted, blessed individuals must conform their reasoning, if not their very faith, to the opinions of their peers or to prevailing custom. These arguments simply do not apply to Mary, the Immaculate Conception. Sinless, Her intellect unclouded by anxiety or vain wonderings, She was able to place herself in God’s hands and at His disposal like no one else. She knew that a vow made to God — even a vow of virginity at a time when the Messiah was awaited — could only be turned to the good, for God will not incite or countenance a virtuous act or resolution if such an act will be detrimental to His plans: “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as according to His purpose are called to be saints” (Rom. 8:28). As for the vow itself, there is nothing odd about vows made to God, both by individuals and groups. Some vows were made for the purpose of receiving special favors from God:

“And he [Jacob] made a vow, saying: If God shall be with me, and shall keep me in the way, by which I walk, and shall give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and I shall return prosperously to my father’s house: the Lord shall be my God”  (Gen. 28:20-21).

Vows were also made by individuals or groups in the hopes of attaining greater sanctity and perfection. The “Nazarites,” described in the Book of Numbers (Chap. 6), made a vow “to be sanctified,” by which they would “consecrate themselves to the Lord.” The vow entailed abstinence from wine, from cutting the hair or shaving, from touching a dead body, as well as the performance of special rites, etc. Somewhat closer to Our Lady’s time, we find the Essenes, a Jewish religious group originating in the second century B.C., specifically advocating celibacy.

Are the opponents of Our Lady’s Perpetual Virginity asking us to believe that a group of people, conceived in sin, could consecrate themselves to the service of the Lord, but that the same could not be said of Her who was born without the stain of original sin, who loved God above all things from the very beginning of Her existence? Considering the Divine Maternity to which Mary was called, Her future role as Mother of the Redeemer, is it not even more likely that She, above all others, would be consecrated completely and totally to Him? With just how little regard for the awesome grandeur of God-made-Man do Our Lady’s detractors regard Her and Her immaculate womb?

On the contrary, the Blessed Mother, full of grace at Her very conception, recognized and loved this truth imparted to us by St. Paul: “Know you not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19). From the start, Her eyes, Her mind and Her heart were turned towards God, and Her actions followed suit: “Lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven, where neither the rust nor the moth doth consume…. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also” (Mt. 6:80). Why feign surprise at a vow of virginity when Our Lord Himself said:

“For there are eunuchs who are born so from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven. He that can receive, let him receive it” (Mt. 19:12).

The Blessed Virgin was able to “receive” such an invitation, to offer a life of chastity to God as a sweet oblation of love and humility. Mary set herself apart for God. In so doing, She was set apart for the Divine Maternity. By the ineffable mercy and love of God for mankind, She was also set apart for us, this Virgin Mother of Christ and Virgin Mother of the Church. There is a historical instance in which this beautiful connection between the Perpetual Virginity and the Spiritual Motherhood was made so clear, in the most exquisite of words — words which came from the mouth of Mary herself. This historical instance occurred in December of the year 1531, in words spoken to Blessed Juan Diego (+1548) by Our Lady of Guadalupe. When She appeared, She announced Herself in these words: “Know for certain, dearest of My sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God.” Three days later, Our Lady spoke these words to Blessed Juan, who was grieved over the illness of his uncle, Juan Bernardino:

“Listen and let it penetrate your heart, My dear little son. Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under My shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of My mantle? In the crossing of My arms? Is there anything else you need?”

We need merely heed the Virgin’s own words to understand how deeply the doctrine of Her Perpetual Virginity affects each one of us personally, how vital it is to a proper understanding of our relationship to God and to His Church. “I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary…. Am I not here who am your Mother?” There is nothing esoteric about this doctrine. In fact, it completes a simple diagram (the one shown on this page).

There is a unique relationship between Jesus and Mary, and one between Jesus and the Church. These are actual, independent relationships. On Calvary, Our Lord proclaimed Mary as Mother of the Church, a title which had been Hers from the moment She gave Her fiat to the Archangel, indeed from Her very conception. Therefore, the relationship between Mary and the Church must be understood also to be an actual, independent relationship, not something merely inferred from the other relationships, having no substance or character of its own. It is not a mere tangent, but a vital component of this visual representation — i.e., a “side” of the triangle. It is not a theory, deduced from the other relationships, but a meaningful one in its own right… as real as the words of Christ from the Cross.

Our Lady is a “type,” or model of the Church, which exists because Mary consented to bear its Head, Jesus. Like the Church, Mary is the “fruitful virgin,” a mother many times over — not in the order of nature, but in the order of grace. Because of this glorious, yet humanly warm, fact, St. Augustine could well ask:

“How is it that you do not belong to the Virgin’s birth, if you are members of Christ? Mary gave birth to our Head; the Church gave birth to you. Indeed, the Church also is both virgin and mother, mother because of Her womb of charity, virgin because of the integrity of Her faith and piety” (Sermo 192).

St. Jerome: “You [Helvidius have defiled the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost…”

This “womb of charity” also pertains to the Blessed Virgin. If we can speak of a Mystical Body of Christ, composed of Jesus and baptized Catholics redeemed by His Precious Blood, may we not speak also of a Mystical Womb of Mary? The Church baptizes, teaches, absolves — i.e., gives spiritual life to and nourishes souls. Our Lady is the Mother of this Church — She prays, intercedes, guides, admonishes when necessary. Because She united Her sorrows to those of Her Son on Calvary, which redeemed the human race, He has placed in Her loving hands those very graces which He won for us on the Cross, so that “every grace granted to man has three degrees in order; for by God it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us” (St. Bernardine of Sienna +1444). This is only fitting, for the Woman prophesied in Eden would not be a mere “spectator” at the immolation of the Lamb She had borne and reared for the great Sacrifice. This Sacrifice was His, indeed, but She had a place by His side, and Her sorrows will be treasured by Her Divine Son throughout eternity, even if they are too often ignored by mankind.

“I know not man…. I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary…. Am I not here who am your Mother?” This is the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin in all its depth and simplicity, truly something for which to give heartfelt thanks to God. End Quotes

          I shared all of the above for your possible edification. I TRY to take a shorter route and address Mary’  “ONE in Many Billions” uniqueness; not such the Creation of Adam and Eve has the universe seen a Soul; a person perfected AND perfected as is Mary.

          In an absolute sense it was NOT “essential” that Mary be conceived without any sin; BUT it was and it IS fitting, that as the Mother of our God (Luke 1:26-36) that God be birthed in a though PERFECTION; the WORK of HIS-hand.

Luke 1:26-36 [26] And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

[31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

           A frequent “yea but you Catholics make Mary “EQUAL” to God and THAT IS Idol worship”

          Here’s how I have handled that (truly ignorant as in uninformed) objection. Once again I ask for their bible and turn to Luke 1:46-55

[46] And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. [48] Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.[49] Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. [50] And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.

 

(DOUAY BIBLE explanation) [48] “Shall call me blessed”: These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin. Let Protestants examine whether they are any way concerned in this prophecy.

[51] He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. [52] He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. [53] He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. [54] He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: [55] As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever” End Quoted

          I point out that Mary knew well that She was but the “handmaiden” of Her Son/ Jesus/ God. We Catholics have the same understanding as does Mary. Sure she was completely unique; SPECIAL as was fitting for Her Role assigned to Her by GOD. I then point out that ALL of the SPECIAL titles; rewards and graces were INIATED by GOD; Mary as God’s “HUMBLE SERVENT”, HAD to and DID freely choose to NEVER, even in the slightest way, ever say “NO” to anything God asked of Her, or planed for Her. Mary is also unique in that She willed to accept EVERY grace GOD ever offered to Her. It was GOD who choose Her and Blessed Her; and it is Mary with the utmost-humility, accepted as was Her DUTY, everything that GOD planned for her. Mary was the antithesis of all other purely human beings.”

          Personally, I have seldom had to defend the Marian Dogma’s, except as I have indicated here above. Protestants seem to just what to know WHAT our explanations are. Unless you’re discussing with a Trained Pastor-theologian; what I have shared usually does the job. And with them; I stress Church Authority; telling them that I am NOT a trained theologian.

          To Jesus THROUGH Mary, Patrick

” Hi Patrick & Karen,

Just wanted you to know I read your book for the second time, or should I say studied it, and loved it even more.  I have all kinds of tabs and notes and highlights throughout. Thank you for all your work on it.”

Hope this finds you both well.

God Bless,”

https://www.amazon.com/CATHOLIC-CHRISTIAN-Patrick-Miron/dp/1490775595

by Patrick Miron (Author)

5.0 out of 5 stars    1 customer review

See all 3 formats and editions

 

 

 

 

Folks I’m  uncomfortable “pushing my book but I have

had a few people tell me it’s good for evangelization. So here’s the information:

 

Lk 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.”

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working4christtwo

I am an Informed and fully practicing Roman Catholic

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