Struggle with Marian Doctrinesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
What is the correct term for what Catholics do to honor Mary? If we only worship God, what do you call the "Hail Mary"s and other things if not worship. And what is the difference in definition between the honor given to Mary and the worship given to God? I think this whole thing with Marian doctrines is the single hardest thing for me to accept about Catholicism. I cannot understand how she can be honored without being worshipped, and I do not know how to do that. Perhaps help from Protestant converts to Catholicism would be good, because you probably went through this struggle?
Thanks and God bless!
-- Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 05, 2004
-- bump (email@example.com), February 05, 2004.
You said, "What is the correct term for what Catholics do to honor Mary?" ANSWER: I don't understand your question.
You said, "If we only worship God, what do you call the "Hail Mary"s and other things if not worship." ANSWER: We simply echo what was said to Mary by the Angel Gabriel in the "Hail Mary" and Elizabeth who prophesied under the anointing of the Holy Spirit when she said "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Surely you would not accuse Gabriel, or Elizabeth of worshipping Mary . . .?
You said, "And what is the difference in definition between the honor given to Mary and the worship given to God?" ANSWER: We honor Mary because Christ honored Mary. "Honor thy father and thy mother," is the commandment, and Christ fullfilled it perfectly. Honor and worship are two different things. Mary is a creature, and the worship of her is forbidden by the Church. We do not worship her, but we honor her as the mother of Christ. We imitate our Lord as He honors both His Father AND His Mother. Christ has two parents; one earthly, one heavenly. We cannot divorce Christ from his mom. She is linked to God like NO OTHER HUMAN BEING EVER HAS OR EVER WILL BE!
"I think this whole thing with Marian doctrines is the single hardest thing for me to accept about Catholicism. I cannot understand how she can be honored without being worshipped, and I do not know how to do that. Perhaps help from Protestant converts to Catholicism would be good, because you probably went through this struggle?" ANSWER: Don't you honor your father and mother like scripture commands us? Surely you know that scripture tells us to honor each other and to esteem each other more highly than ourselves . . .?
These are just a few quick things in answer to your question. Remember, there is no other human being who was with Christ from the beginning to the end. No one else who nursed Him, changed His diapers, wiped His tears. No other person raised God from a baby! It's an awesome thing to see Christ through the eyes of Mary. We owe her a debt of profound gratitude because "she believed and obeyed."
One thing you must also remember, in Catholicism, talking to the Saints is NOT a forbidden thing since we believe that the Saints are alive and well in heaven and are working right along side our Savior. They help us by our prayers. When we go to Mary, we go to the closest human being to our Lord, for as she was on earth, so she is in heaven! WHAT A PRAYER PARTNER! Our Lord's Mum is available to help us BY HER PRAYERS. And why wouldn't she be? She has a vested interest in the kingdom of God like no other human. Her Son was the sacrifice upon the tree. Her Son is the redeemer of mankind. Simeon said of her "A sword shall pierce your heart so that the thoughts of many shall be revealed." She suffered right alongside her son. NO ONE COULD HAVE POSSIBLY suffered with Jesus like MARY did!
A good book to read is Scott Hahn's "Hail, Holy Queen." Seeing Jesus through the eyes of Jesus is SO VERY VERY SWEET! It's all about Him. Everything she did from the moment of her obedient response to the angel to the very end of Christ's earthly life was ABOUT HIM! If she prays for us, it's because of HIM! Everything she does NOW is for HIM!
Hope that helps,
P.S. The underlying problem for Protestants with regard to Mary, is that in Protestantism the saints are all DEAD! They know nothing of what's happening on earth. They do not participate with Christ as He still travails over the earth. They are NONPRODUCTIVE. Catholicism teaches otherwise . . . the Saints ARE alive; they are productive; they are travailing with their Lord as He intercedes for us continually!
-- Gail (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 05, 2004.
The struggle w/ Mary gets a little easier when you realize that Catholics pray to and have prayers for all the Saints. Mary is probably #1.
-- Mark Advent (email@example.com), February 05, 2004.
Good questions. I think the terms you might be looking for are latria for the term we use for worship and adoration that is given only to God, dulia for the term of honor or veneration we give the saints, and hyperdulia for the special honor we give Mary.
If you have a problem distinguishing between worship for God and veneration given to Mary and the saints, you may want to think of it this way. We honor special folks like George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr, but we don't worship them. If one of these people had given birth to Jesus Christ, think of how much more we would honor them (but still not the woship and adoration we give to God). Now what if those people weren't dead, but alive in Christ. In fact, they are much more alive than we are because they are in complete union with Jesus in Heaven. We are all united in Christ, and death does not separate us from the love of Christ (see Romans 8:38).
Keep in mind, honoring or venerating someone is not worshipping them. The honor we give to Mary and the saints is based on what God has done for them. It is not because of their merits, but because of the wonderful things God has done for them and through them. In essence, our honor for Mary and the saints is really honor given to the works of God.
We WORSHIP God as the Creator and loving Father of all. We HONOR Mary and the saints as special people chosen by God who are now united with Him in Heaven. If they are still alive in a spiritual sense, and we are united to them in Christ, how else would we ask them to pray for us, if not through mental prayer, which is really an act of the will to communicate with them? Christ is the vine and we are the branches, including our friends in Heaven.
Also, don't forget that their intercession is only effective because of Christ. Even our prayers for each other only reach the Father through Christ and because of Christ.
I hope this helps. If not, forgive my crude analogies and explanations. The best thing to do, is to pray to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom and understanding regading this and He will answer you.
Take Gail's suggestion. Read "Hail Holy Queen" by Scott Hahn. It's well worth the time and is an easy read.
-- Andy (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 05, 2004.
I am going to give you a link to a page at the Internet site of one of the very best organizations that exist to help folks like you -- non-Catholic clergy and laity who are considering a conversion to Catholicism. Although I encourage you explore other pages at this site (The Coming Home Network) -- and even to arrange for personal help from someone who used to belong to your denomination -- the page I will link for you has links to about 35 very personal conversion stories. I'm sure that, within these stories, you will find several cases of Protestants who had to overcome the same kinds of difficulties (related to Mary) that you are now facing. Here is that link.
God bless you. I can tell that you would be an excellent Catholic.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), February 06, 2004.
I forgot to mention that, after going to that page, you have to scroll down a bit to get to the links to the conversion stories. JFG
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 06, 2004.
Sorry to have to follow up yet again, but I forgot to mention that the Coming Home Network site has an active discussion forum -- with several "sub-forums," one of which is dedicated to threads about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here is a direct link to that sub-forum. [It's not a fully public forum like this one, but you can read there without registering.]
-- (email@example.com), February 06, 2004.
Problem with your Sola Scripta stuff there Jay. Luther and Calvin used more than scripture. You can tell in Luther's writings that he used Augustine a lot. You can tell by Calvin's writings that he had read Jerome.
There are also Lutheran's that have a Hail Mary and a Rosary. Isn't that interesting.
Also how can God be the mediator between man and himself? Also you presume that we think of Mary as a mediator like Jesus. Mary and the saints are people that pray to God for us and with us. I cannot constantly pray to God for the grace I need but Mary and the saints can.
-- Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 06, 2004.
No, there's no problem with Luther and Calvin reading Augustine, cause Augustine was himself Sola Scriptura:
He said, in "City of God", Book XI, Chpt. 3:
"The Mediator (Jesus Christ), having spoken what He judged sufficinet first by the prophets, then by His own lips, and afterwards by the apostles, has besides produced the scriptures which is called canonical, which has paramount authority , and to which we yield assent in all matters of which we ought not to be ignorant, and yet cannot know of ourselves."
"For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life ...."
Augustine "On Christian Doctrine", Book II , Chpt.9 _____________________________________________________________________
Now, pertaining to protestants that say "hail Mary", and the like, well, I never said that there weren't confused protestants! lol!
I hear there are even some that are so confused that they convert to Romanism. Oh well, out of the pan, and into the fire eh ?
Even Augustine wasn't right in ALL matters of doctrine. But, he did attest to the truth in the above statement.
So the protestant and even St. Augustine , on occasion, proclaims the Bible to be the sole supreme ruler of faith.
In Christ Jesus (the ONLY Mediator between men and God),
jay (a gentile saint)
-- jay gentile (email@example.com), February 06, 2004.
Just so you'll know, Jay Gentile has been at this forum before . . .last year I believe. He is an anti-Catholic bigot who cannot be reasoned with no matter how logical the argument. I'm sorry if your very good response was deleted.
-- Gail (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 06, 2004.
Emily, the posts I deleted contained some discourteous comments. paul h, Jay was addressing the advantages of sola scriptura. His comments were related to the posts above. Often times, threads are derailed from the original topic. It isn't our responsibility as moderators to monitor and ensure threads stay on topic. If it is felt that someone is attempting to deliberately disprupt a thread their post will be deleted.
-- Ed (email@example.com), February 06, 2004.
John said: I can tell that you would be an excellent Catholic.
Thank you - you are always so kind to me :)
Now about that website you referred me to, I checked it out and it is great! You did tell me about it a month ago (here) when I first joined this forum and I looked into it a little, but I guess I was scared about it. Being called the "Coming Home Network" (ie. to the Catholic Church) scared me a bit because I haven't really let my intentions be known publicly (save for this forum). I guess I thought I would have to call them or contact them, and it felt like I was joining already, and I didn't feel ready to do that. But now I understand that I don't have to be ready yet and they can help me along with questions I have.
I found an article here that gave me just the answer for which I was looking. But it did raise one question in my mind.
The site said this: Hyperdulia, or special veneration of Mary, remains completely different and inferior to adoration that is due to God alone. Devotion to Mary is never to rival in nature or in degree the adoration proper only to God. While veneration of the Blessed Virgin will always be inferior to the adoration given uniquely to God, it will always be superior and higher than devotion given to all other saints and angels.
It said that Marian devotion should never rival devotion to God. So why are there *so many* shrines to Mary around the world, and many less shrines to Jesus? It seems that she is rivaling God for attention, even if the honoring is of a lesser degree than the worship given to God.
Thanks so much to all who helped me and God bless!
P.S. Gail there are posts there that are signed by someone named Gail and her writing style is similar to yours. Is this you?
-- Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 06, 2004.
oops, closing tags!
-- Emily (email@example.com), February 06, 2004.
Emily, You asked So why are there *so many* shrines to Mary around the world, and many less shrines to Jesus?
But this isn't true. EVERY Catholic church has a shrine to Jesus (it's the tabernacle). Jesus is physically present there and most churches allow some time for adoration. So there are thousands if not millions more shrines to Jesus than to Mary.
-- Glenn (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 06, 2004.
The Catholic mass is all about Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! We worship Him and Him alone. I have no idea about how many shrines there are to Mary. All I know is that every mass I have ever been to at any parish is all about HIM! However, we do have several special feast days in honor of her.
Truthfully, I didn't struggle too much with the Marian doctrines. She is in heaven what she was on earth. It's that simple. Her life on earth was devoted to, and centered around, Jesus. Her mission was to present the Holy Child to the world. Her mission is the same today. She is simply fullfilling the role that God the father gave her.
God Bless, and no that wasn't me on that other forum.
-- Gail (email@example.com), February 07, 2004.
You are right! She IS the same in heaven as she was on earth!
A sinner, saved by GRACE.
She was "blessed" to be chosen as the vessel to accomplish God's will, as are WE if we will do Romans 12:11
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE SERVICE."
In CHrist Jesus (the KING!),
jay (a gentile)
-- jay gentile (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 07, 2004.
Jay said: In Matt 11:11 Jesus says,
"Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Mary was "born of a women". Even Roman Catholic "tradition" teaches this.
Hi Jay, if someone read only that verse in all of Scripture they might be inclined to agree with you. However, Jesus was the one speaking, and He was born of a woman too. Surely you would agree that as God, Jesus is greater than John the Baptist?
I think the commentary on this a> website explains it well. Basically, John is great because of his task of declaring that the kingdom of God is coming very soon (with Jesus), BUT even the least in heaven is greater than him, merely because the least is actually in the presence of God in heaven.
-- Emily (email@example.com), February 07, 2004.
-- Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 07, 2004.
emily-- i understand your feelings about this topic. and i am in accordance with your skepticism.
i remember in grade school how we had to endure the "may crowning". it was a tedious service that was way too long for a child to bear in a suit. i thought it was ridiculous, parading a statue of mary around with a crown of flowers on it.
even way back then, at the age of 8 or so, i thought it was idolatry, and cult-like, without even realizing what those terms meant. and i thought it was stupid, and i still do.
im sorry, the more educated catholics here can say what they want-- but man should NOT need a mediator to God, the Hail Mary should not be said after confession for repentence, and is there REALY a difference between "worship" and "honouring" the way our church does it? no, there isnt.
im not denying the immaculate conception, or the assumption, or mary's special place in humanity, but the customs of our church just carry this "honoring" a little too far. thats my humble opinion.
-- jas (email@example.com), February 07, 2004.
I was blessed with excellent teachers growing up. My family also had a good grasp of Catholicism. I always understood the difference between honor and worship. Never had a problem with it.
I do however agree that the possibility exists, and has existed that some good Catholics cross the line due to lack of education and proper explanation.
-- Jim Furst (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 07, 2004.
That's why our precious Catechism is SOOOO important!
-- Gail (email@example.com), February 07, 2004.
Jay Gentile is a born liar and defamed the Church here in our forum multiple times in the past. His ostentations of biblical wisdom have as much value as nuclear waste.
Already he posts from Romans as if it were a protestant tract like Chic/k's. Romans' first verses extol the Church in Rome; already renowned for her faith in Saint Paul's day. (Rom 1:8) Doesn't this make JG think? Nothing has changed that in the following 2,000 years. He deserves no replies; just to be ignored and deleted, IMHO.
-- eugene c. chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 07, 2004.
Jas said, im sorry, the more educated catholics here can say what they want-- but man should NOT need a mediator to God, the Hail Mary should not be said after confession for repentence, and is there REALY a difference between "worship" and "honouring" the way our church does it? no, there isnt.
I'm with Jim, there is a big difference between "worship" and "honor" and the Church is careful to make this distinction. Those who can't distinguish between the two could fall into idolatry though. But our society honors all sorts of people without worshipping them. Why can't we also honor Mary without worshipping her? We honor Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, our mother and father, Paul, and all the Apostles without worshipping them.
Also, man does need a mediator to God, and that is Jesus and only Jesus. Mary and the saints pray for us, they are not our mediator to the Father. They pray in the name of Jesus just as we do. They intercede just as we intercede for each other when we pray for each other. If someone really is "worshipping" Mary, then the Church would brand them a heretic. The Church did this with Collyidians long ago who actually did pay idolatrous worship of Mary.
-- Andy (email@example.com), February 07, 2004.
I'm sure you have good intentions and really believe what you say about the Caholic Church. Don't believe everything you hear about the Catholic Church from anti-cathlics like Rick Jones, Chick Productions, or Loraine Boettner. Much of what they peddle is based on lies or half-truths. With a little research, you can find the truth. But you have to look. It's easy to label everything about the Catholic Church as being "cult-like and idolatrous" when you don't understand what the Church really teaches. Start with the Catechism, but read the whole thing about certain subjects, not just one-liners. I don't say you have to agree with it, but at least try to understand what the Church really teaches before deciding whether its wrong or not. I usually find that many of my "Bible-believing" friends have an incorrect understanding of what the Catholic Church really teaches about the sacraments, the Eucharist, and the priesthood. In fact, if what they believed the Church taught about these things were true, then the labels you use would indeed be correct. Sadly though, many of them learned about the Church from anti-catholics. I urge you to seek the truth. Many Bible verses are used against the Church, but when the truth is known, the Church does not contradict Scripture.
-- Andy (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 07, 2004.
Jay said: You should ask yourself, "Why are so many Bible believing fundamental Christians against the Roman Catholic[s]?"
Did it ever occur to you that this may prove their validity, since Jesus said that we as Christians will meet and cannot avoid persecution? Indeed, when even Jesus taught things that were hard to accept, people deserted Him! Jesus said that He is the bread of life and we must eat of His flesh and drink of his blood to have eternal life. It was a hard teaching, and many people deserted him because of it!
From John 6, KJV. Note sections underlined & bolded (I included the passage without breaks so that people can't say I took it out of context)
48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Look at v. 68. The disciples wouldn't leave the TRUE faith in Jesus. Why? Because He has the words of eternal life. So too, if anyone leaves the Catholic Church which teaches the TRUE faith, they no longer have the TRUE words of eternal life.
God bless and may God show you the real TRUTH of which you speak.
-- Emily (email@example.com), February 08, 2004.
Thanks, Ed. You are a good moderator and a stand-up guy.
-- eugene c. chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 08, 2004.
Thanks Eugene, your comments are appreciated.
-- Ed (email@example.com), February 08, 2004.
jas, I came to this site looking for information that would bring me understanding of the Catholic view of Mary. I am leaving this site feeling dirty and insulted. I consider myself(and my family) a born again Christian but do not feel your venomous and bigoted views of us are correct. I will not make the same assumptions of Catholics as you have of us born again Christians, even though your comments could lead me to that conclusion. I have not found the answers here that I came for as the hatred spoke too loudly. david
-- David (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 02, 2004.
A little of the dirt and insult david feels should be enough to keep him away, since he seems unwilling to learn any truth. If only it kept the wolves in sheep's clothes out; Jay G. at least.
Our undying love for Mary is absolutely Christian, no matter what they think. We know Jesus loves her as his very own, and exalted her in life and later in glory.
Abraham loved his son Isaac; but he worshipped God. When God asked him to decide between Himself and Isaac, Abraham was faithful to God. That is the main difference between worship and love. We are free to love every saint in the Church; and worship only God. This isn't rocket science. A child can realise the difference. The clear motive of all anti-Catholics to confuse the two actions is prejudice against the Catholic Church; not zeal for God's worship or for the commandments.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), March 02, 2004.
David, Jas, and Eugene,
While I am seriously considering becoming Catholic, I agree with David on this one (not knowing what David's post was to which Jas responded).
Jas, your comments were inappropriate, especially since you called David and "idiot" and made gross generalizations that may be true of some Protestants, but not necessarily about this particular man. You send mixed messages by bashing Protestants, then speaking of having "mercy to the misguided" that you supposedly learned in Catholic schools, but your previous comments in the post evidence the fact that you may not have heeded those lessons after all.
David, there are many good people in this forum, so please don't let this solitary experience tarnish your view of the place. I'm not sure what your original post said since it was apparently deleted, but nothing you could've said would merit such a response from Jas. Christians are not supposed to repay evil for evil, so even if he was offended by something you said, his behavior was improper. I'm sorry that you had this bad experience, but please know that I am a Protestant considering Catholicism and I struggle with the issues about Mary also.
Eugene, you said: A little of the dirt and insult david feels should be enough to keep him away, since he seems unwilling to learn any truth.
The goal of Christians should not be to keep people away, but to guide them into the truth. Just because someone resists the truth does not negate the fact that the job of Christians is to continue to show the truth with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15).
Eugene said: We are free to love every saint in the Church; and worship only God. This isn't rocket science. A child can realise the difference.
Eugene, I think you are being unreasonable, and I was insulted and hurt by this statement, that it would come from a Catholic. I am actively pursuing the Catholic faith, and the doctrines about Mary are the single hardest thing for me to understand and accept. Perhaps you are a cradle Catholic, or learned about these doctrines from a young age and had no problem accepting them.
Consider a Protestant's viewpoint who is seeking to convert (such as mine). All my life I saw a distinct division between God and people, putting God far above everyone else and all people on the same level. Now suddenly I am introduced to the idea that some people are on different levels than others (eg. Mary), and when she is elevated, that confuses me. I have a hard time figuring out how to honor her without worshipping her. This is a very real struggle of mine and also I have heard for many other converts from Protestantism, so please do not take it lightly.
-- Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 02, 2004.
She was elevated, but maybe it would help to look at exactly how and why she was elevated: she first counted herself as small before God and thought of herself only as His handmaiden. In other words, it wasn't some greatness of her own she was putting out there that merited her anything, but simply her willingness to serve God; that's what made her such a pleasing instrument in the hands of the Holy Ghost. She submitted her will, everything she had, and didn't count the cost because her first objective was serve Him; for that kind of loyalty, she was exalted:
Luke 1, 46-55:
And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy. As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Probably the best means of understanding these things is this: ask her to show them to you. She won't fail you. If you are by any chance worried that to pay attention to her is to eclipse her Son in any way, remember, if you go to her, she will lead you straight to communion with Jesus anyways. You point to her, she points to Him.
-- Emerald (email@example.com), March 02, 2004.
Emily, take heart, there are many personalities here with different perspectives. For the most part everyone tries to get along but the differences of opinion sometimes get out of hand. We squabble and we make up. The discussion of Religion is by it s very nature, very emotional, witness the totality of religious history and all that has happened over the years. Our Catholic discussions as revealed by our human weaknesses doesn't always portray us in the best light. We ultimately work things out. We should try not to hurt others feelings but it doesn't always work that way. When I first came here I was put off by the edgy replies I got. (also those given to many others) Its not hate, it's emotionalism. We get over it. I think we learn alot here. I hope David forgives us, understaneing the butting heads is simply a reflection of each of our passion.
-- Jim Furst (Furst@flash.net), March 02, 2004.
emily, you said:
I have a hard time figuring out how to honor her without worshipping her.
perhaps because i was so young and accepting when i was converted, this is easy for me to understand, but I will try to make it clear to you.
Do you respect your mother? How do you show this respect? do you turn to her for comfort when you're down, or help when you need? do you keep pictures of her and maybe a few things she's written or given to you? do you ask her to pray for you when you have fallen? are any of these things worship?
In these ways you respect your mother... so why not respect the mother of your Lord in the same way? Mary, as all saints, is alive in heaven right now, but unlike other saints she holds a special place in the heart of Jesus, her Son, who Himself gives her honor according to the commandments.
Furthermore, you mention that you always thought humanity was on the same level... but this is a faulty conclusion all around, even from a scriptural basis. Jesus even clearly stated that there would be a hierarchy in heaven (the least among you shall be greatest in heaven). Based on the sacrifices mary made, she wins first overall. Imagine watching your beloved innocent Son crucified in a manner unheard of, for the sins of people who would never even believe in Him? how much would it hurt you to watch your child crucified? now think of knowing that a large portion of the people your Son died for would not ever appreciate it...
Finally, you finish with some notion that you need to digest or approve of the marian doctrines. Of course its difficult for you, you come from a "tradition" where you pick your flavors of belief. News flash to all those "BORN AGAIN" traditions: there is no such thing as a personal relationship with your Lord and Savior which should "feel" right to each person. There is definitive truth, and not truth. You can't deny that fact.
Furthermore, and this is the part that bugs me about "BORN AGAIN" christians: you cannot be born again unless you have truly died to yourself. All your beliefs about what God is need to die. All your beliefs about where you stand, and heaven and hell, and angels and saints, and right and wrong, truth and falsity, all these beliefs must die. WHY? because they originate in YOU. God is the ultimate truth. Subject your will to God, emily and you will quickly see the truth behind catholic teaching and the clear distinctions. Stop letting your will come before God's.
So I guess its easiest to say Catholics have been born again, but with us the difference is that a true catholic has died to themselves to gain that rebirth.
-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), March 03, 2004.
Please try to understand, an oblique remark made about ''keeping away'' the person who felt ''insulted and dirty'' was intended to smart; but not you, only the one who called our work here something insulting and dirtying. I was sure he'd think it over after reading the rest of that post. You know better than to take literally an ironic phrase like ''keep him away''--?
I do find Jay Gentile truly unworthy of our tolerance here. He's the only LITERALLY unwelcome one. It can't be unreasonable, Emily; to denounce false motives when they're apparent. Let me ask you, an aspiring convert; can you truly believe that accusations of idolatry; Mariolatry for instance, or ''bowing to statues'' levelled at our faith by anti- Catholics, REALLY are motivated by love for God, or to uphold the commandments of God?
Unreasonable as it might seem to you, I don't think that's what motivates bigots. Anti-Catholics do this to try to defame the one Church they know has all of Christ's authority. Only by destroying the True Church can these self-ordained preachers claim any authority at all; since they know very well they don't have ANY apostolic origin. Not even the Holy Bible, which they think is the only infallible rule of faith, can be called their own. It came to us from the Catholic Church.
Pointing out these truths to folks like Jay Gentile is definitely confrontation. But it isn't unreasonable. It has to be done.
-- eugene c. chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 2004.
Paul H, Jim and Emerald give you good counsel above, with reference to our devotion to Mary. They are absolutely right, and you can accept their words as actually coming to you from the Holy Spirit. The Church teaches us, and the Holy Spirit fortifies our faith; and passing it on to you, we act FOR the Holy Spirit. Naturally, all are not gifted with the same graces. my style isn't very gentle; but in every forum there's room for some grumbling. Ours is a microcosm; and I'm the steep hill. Paul H. is the little donkey Mary rode on, coming into Bethlehem. --Emerald is the star shining above the cave. Jesus is Mary's Holy Son. How can we not be in love with her? Jesus is.
Marian doctrine doesn't DEMAND anything for Mary. It gives us our inspiration to care for her and love her and make her our model.
When we see how non-Catholics by & large are actually INDIFFERENT to Jesus' holy mother, no wonder we cry out at them. It just isn't right. Our Lord cannot possibly be pleased when the world looks at His mother with indifference and lack of respect.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), March 03, 2004.
Thanks for your responses - they were quite helpful. I especially liked your idea, Paul H, about being truly born again.
Paul H said: you cannot be born again unless you have truly died to yourself. All your beliefs about what God is need to die... WHY? because they originate in YOU. God is the ultimate truth... Stop letting your will come before God's.
Wow, what a concept - talk about real humility! I see exactly what you mean and it makes perfect sense to me. Protestants do pick and choose what "seems" right to them. Imposing my own "plan" for life is something I struggle with, so thanks for pointing out where my focus needs to be - on what God wants and what God says is right.
-- Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 2004.
This is going back a few days, but I really liked your line on Jesus being born of woman as well, I've never thought of it that way before! LOL, learn something new every day.
-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), March 03, 2004.
I think you're right; the distinctions of the gradations of dulia for the saints, hyperdulia for Mary, and latria for God can easily get blurry. For example, I kneel before the Most Blessed Sacrament (Jesus) and I also kneel before the statue of Mary. I make a sign of the cross before a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I also make a sign of the cross before a statue of Mary. I consecrate myself to Jesus and I also consecrate myself to Mary. I touch and kiss the statue of Jesus and I also touch and kiss the statue of Mary. I wear a crucifix and I also wear a Miraculous Medal (Mary). I pray the Liturgy of the Hours to God and I also pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I light a candle for Jesus and I also light a candle for Mary. I love Jesus with all my heart and I also love Mary with all my heart. etc.
For me, ultimately, it is an act of the will. I simply tell myself that what I am doing for Jesus is worship and adoration; and what I am doing for Mary is veneration and honor. Then I have a clear conscience.
All the best,
-- Jeff (email@example.com), March 04, 2004.
It seems my posting was misinterpreted. I believe it was Eugene that wrote: "A little of the dirt and insult david feels should be enough to keep him away, since he seems unwilling to learn any truth." The ironic thing about this statement is that is the very reason I entered the site "to learn any truth". I am not sure why the welcome was so cold but if I caused it I apologize. I was simply looking for answers not insult- is that too much to ask?
-- David (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 2004.
This was to be assumed; yet a statement like: ''I feel insulted, dirty-- '' because you find people not to your liking; -- that isn't an appeal to reason. Since we all fail in some ways to give good impression, it's only fair to allow others their chance. This is a thread about Marian devotion. The way to understand it is, asking why it came to be, does it please God, and is it worth having?
Worth arguing from the opposite side: How would it NOT please God? Is the opposition to it by non-Catholics justified? Are the objections to it based on real knowledge, or just prejudice?
If you believe you see answers from your private point of view, we would be interested. I know many members here are more than ready to discuss; but it ought to be YOU who takes the first shot.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), March 04, 2004.
Please understand that we, as catholics, are every day accosted in our beliefs. Ostricized and attacked non stop, if you will. So yes, we get a bit jumpy when it comes to new-comers.
This may or may not be caused by you. I dont recall reading your other posts. to gain our respect and kindness, there are several key things that you can do:
1) be respectful. This is our forum, for our beliefs.
2) Learn. We did not come here to learn about protestantism, so please dont try to teach it to us. If you come here, it should be to learn about catholicism. not to teach.
3) Understand. If we describe clearly why we believe a certain something, restating that you think it is wrong isnt going to do anything but make you look obstinate.
4) respect. there are people here who have dedicated years of their life to the study of religion. there are people here (ie- the moderator Paul M) who have dedicated their life to serving the church. This demands respect, even from one who believes differently.
Do these things and you should be okay. If you arent here to learn, you should seriously reevaluate what you are doing here... keeping in mind that no (i think) catholic has ever converted to protestantism because of something that a protestant typed here.
-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), March 04, 2004.
As directed here is my first shot:) I have read the postings so far and have a pretty good grasp of the reason for Mary's elevation in stature(sorry if my terminology is off) and the distinction between honor and worship. Why is it that Mary or any Saint is to be prayed to? I guess this may be a question of what happens after death. Do they hear our prayers? Do all believers that have gone on to heaven hear our prayers? Please do not be offended by my questions or the terms I have used I really am just trying to understand. David
-- david (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 2004.
Yes, the saints hear our prayers. Since they exist outside of time and space, they can hear every prayer that ever was offered, is now being offered, or ever will be offered.
Why do we "pray" to them? First, one needs to understand what "pray" actually means. "Pray" simply means "ask". There are a great many passages in scripture which illustrate this. For example:
Luke 14:18 - "And they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I must go and see it: I pray thee have me excused." The meaning is clearly, "I ask you to have me excused".
Acts 8:34 - "And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaks the prophet this?". One who doesn't understand the meaning of "pray" might wonder why this man was "praying" to Philip. But of course the passage makes perfect sense when we realize "pray" simply means "ask".
So, why do we "pray" to the saints? Why do we "ask" the saints to intercede for us? For exactly the same reason that we ask anyone else to intercede for us - our families, our friends, our church congregations. It is the calling of all Christians to pray for one another, and this calling to intercessory prayer does not end when we enter heaven.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), March 04, 2004.
You hear the words of Catholics today telling you SURE-- We have our saints in heaven who hear us; we ask them to speak to Jesus on behalf of somebody, or to obtain His blessings and his mercy. The next questions, if you will accept our word, should be: ''Do any prayers offered up to Mary and saints in heaven get responses? Can these friends we have there obtain Jesus' blessings and mercy? Do Catholics get answers?'' The honest truth is --Sometimes we receive what we pray for. It's been known time after time. God rewards His holy people for their faith. A prayer for help is pleasing to God, whether it reaches His ear directly, or indirectly through saintly intercession. It's ALL faith in Him. We implore HIM, through Mary and the saints and angels. He grants us what we pray for if it's in accord with His divine Will.
I suggest you give prayer to Our Lady a try personally; just between you and Mary! Pray yourself; for her help with your daily problems. Pray for your family to Our Blessed Mother; ask anything you wish from her. She has real power to obtain for you what God has known all along. But in the Person of His Holy Son, Jesus-- He was waiting for His Mother to ask Him. I mean it, David. Just the way it happened in John 2, :1- 10 --You will ask, WHY? Because Jesus loves her with all His heart. Find it out for yourself. I don't think there's even one faithful Catholic here in our forum who has not prayed to MARY, at some time; and received what he/she prayed for. I know I've been granted favors through her holy intercession. If this weren't true, I would not dare make up such a lie. God would be very offended if I spoke falsely; especially about the most Blessed Virgin.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), March 04, 2004.