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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

That's the Queen of Heaven, Just Ignore Her

Hallelujah! I am actually going to be on top of things today and point out to you all that today is the feast day of the Queenship of Mary!

Perhaps this information will upset some people, specifically, the separated brethren, who would like Mary to go sit down, as far as I can tell.  In as much as I vehemently disagree with that sentiment, I do understand why they feel that way. They don't want anyone between themselves and Jesus. I know this because I've had many conversations, while trying to explain Mary's place in our hearts, that ended with, "Well, I just pray to Jesus."

It doesn't matter if I patiently point out that they ask other people to pray for them.  Do they believe that Mary lives on in Heaven? Yes, they do. Then why not ask Mary, of all people, to pray for you, just like you'd ask me to pray for you?  Then comes the previously mentioned conversation ender. I usually mention that it doesn't make sense, in that case, to ask anyone to pray for them, ever.

So today I have a question for the separated brethren. I know you're reading, because I hear from you all the time and I welcome you. Here's the question: Where did you get this idea that we should ignore Mary?

As far as I can tell, the whole notion of dumping the saints as people to ask for intercession came from Martin Luther. I actually understand where he is coming from:
"Furthermore, how will you endure [the Romanists'] terrible idolatries? It was not enough that they venerated the saints and praised God in them, but they actually made them into gods. They put that noble child, the mother Mary, right into the place of Christ. They fashioned Christ into a judge and thus devised a tyrant for anguished consciences, so that all comfort and confidence was transferred from Christ to Mary, and then everyone turned from Christ to his particular saint. Can anyone deny this? Is it not true?"

It actually is not technically true, but I know why he feels that way.  We love our patron saints! If there are people out there praying to saints, that is a problem and that is the issue to which Luther refers. The truth is, we are not to pray "to" the saints, even though we refer to these prayers as such.

The biggest offender springs to mind: St. Anthony.  Technically we may be asking for his intercession to ask Jesus to help us find our keys, but it sure doesn't sound that way when we say, "Holy Tony, come around, something's lost that must be found."  I think if we are honest with ourselves, we somehow believe that St. Anthony will not bother Jesus with finding our keys. Anthony will just find them for us on his own.

So of course the separated brethren are confused. We are confusing.

But so are you, separated brethren, because Martin Luther, who started this particular ball rolling, believed almost everything we believe about Mary, including that she is the reigning Queen of Heaven. He believed that she was immaculately conceived (the Immaculate Conception, which means that Mary was born without original sin on her soul), that she was perpetually a virgin (even though a lot of modern Lutherans don't). He didn't seem to believe in the Assumption.

So how did Mary get pushed into the background? We can argue that St. Rose of Lima might not be the best example to follow when she made herself a hat of glass and spikes. But there is no argument to be found that Mary was not the perfect example of love, obedience, humility, strength and a life of grace. How does one on the one hand acknowledge that Mary is indeed the Queen of Heaven and on the other hand say, "Oh, her? Yes, she is the Queen here. Just ignore her."

Any ideas?

47 comments:

Melanie said...

A member of the Separated Bretheren would just like to point out that we don't think asking Mary to pray for us would work, because we don't believe that there's a direct line of communication there. Just because we can talk to Jesus doesn't mean we can talk to *anyone* in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
I can't thank you enough for your wisdom and wit. It is just an answer to my prayers! I was sitting here bawling my little eyes out, my heart crying, "If only I had a sister to talk to!" Hee hee, now I'm talking to a Sister! I am so blessed to be a wife and mom, but sometimes I get so lonely. With a husband, a brother, a brother in law, and a distant mother who favors her only boy, I prayed and prayed for a daughter. Well, God has a sense of humor...I have three boys! But I love them to bits, they're crazy and wonderful. I was raised in Evangelical churches that had very negative views on Catholicism, if you can believe that. I had to hide my desire to be a nun! It always felt right to talk to Mary, like she was the mother and friend I always yearned for. Thank you for shining some light on this in my heart. God bless you, and thanks for letting me prattle on. :)

Dual Role Grandma said...

I was told by some separated brethren who also happen to be relatives that despite the fact that Mary is alive, I was practicing necromancy, or communing with the dead. I explained further, but they didn't buy it. These are the same folks who don't believe Jesus literally when He said it was His Body and Blood, not crackers and grape juice. Go figure.

Jana said...

I am LDS. We revere Mary, and believe she was the best woman who ever lived. I think she gets less attention than she deserves.

Danielle said...

My parents are Greek Orthodox, and they celebrated the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on the 15th. Is this another Eastern/Western disagreement on dates like Easter?

Paige said...

I gave my Missouri Synod Lutheran friend Dr. Scott Hahn's "Hail, Holy Queen" to read after she said she wanted to know where in the Bible we get this stuff (I want to know where in the Bible she gets that we should get everything from the Bible, but that's another story.) She returned if after reading it and said "well, I can see how if you believe all that stuff you would believe she's worthy to pray to." She doesn't think Mary can hear us (or any of the Saints, for that matter) which I also don't really understand...

Anonymous said...

Hello. Here is a Catholic page with information on the Protestant reformers and Mariology:

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/general/mary.htm

My grandfather has a huge devotion to Mary. When the separated brethren at work would ask him about why he doesn't just go to Jesus, he'd say, when you were a kid and were in trouble, did you go first to your mother or your father? Invariably these guys (fellow workers in the factory) would say they went to their mothers first. My grandfather would say, and so do I.

abishag said...

Jana -

Thanks for your note. You reminded me that when I was younger, my LDS mother took me aside once and told me if I was worried about praying to my Heavenly Father, I could also pray to my Heavenly Mother. She's not Mary, I I know it's generally not in LDS doctrine to do such a thing, but it really helped me as a girl growing up, and I'm afraid did set me up for Marian Devotion :). I do wish the fellows in charge of the LDS church would revisit Mary. I too believe she gets a remarkably short shrift from a church that reveres motherhood, and a further emphasis on her would give a lot of comfort to women - and some men as well, as Anonymous' grandfather is right; a lot of people would go to a woman for comfort first.

Ladytats said...

@ Danielle, we Latin Rite also celebrated the Assumption of Mary on the 15th. It was a Holy Day, meaning we are required to attend Mass same as on Sundays.
Being crowned Queen is not the same, and not a Holy Day only a Feast Day, so there are special prayers at Mass if you choose to attend one.

Aubrey said...

Our pastor has mentioned more than once in homilies that if you go somewhere with your mother, and all of your friends talk to you but don't even greet her, you'd be sad (and so would she). So why do we think Jesus wouldn't feel the same when we ignore His mother? But he says it better....

Sister Mary Margaret said...

@Danielle,

As the previous poster started to explain, it is two separate yet related events. We celebrate when Mary was assumed into Heaven August 15th, then made the queen of it on the 22nd. Whether or not those are even remotely close to the actual dates is another story. Since Heaven exists outside of time, why/how could she wait a week between arrival and "coronation?" Likewise, we do not know the date of her birth, but we celebrate it on Dec. 8th. The liturgical calendar is quite interesting, but it is a bit confusing!

katney said...

Actually, we celebrate her birthday on September 8. Immaculate Conception is December 8.

Leroy William Skees said...

First to Melanie, you must forgive me, I am about to try and explain my earthly Father first. He was without doubt about the strongest Lutheran ever, NOT because I love him enough. For many years he felt the same as you all, he would not go near any of all Catholic images for fear a curse would be given him. I am serious ( not about curse being the exact word meaning ). On top of this, funny, he married a Roman Catholic. Yikes! Now you will call me crazy, but when one day he found himself seeking the guidance of a CATHOLIC Angel ( he read books, to include Catholic ), one I am certain was a sculpture within the Church. His entire life changed. ( He even converted over to looking at a Blessed Miraculous Medal and verifying that indeed it is the "Blessed Virgin Mary." Have you heard of Saint Brigid of Ireland, you must have. Kick me if you like but Saint Brigid of Ireland is a Pagan Saint, Yes, Pagan, and yet the Catholics adore her. Read about it. You will love the story!
--
For Danielle, Easter is admitted by Catholic to have originaly been a Pagan thing, just as Christmass is ( and other Holidays ) but no matter what it sprang from you have no need to fear celibrating it. Though it may be hard at times distuinguishing the great Catholic Holidays from the minor and trivial Catholic Holidays, some of which you may choose from, others you must celibrate, Easter has a beauty all it's own!
--
To Paige, again I will say, My father stuck to Lutheran *precept like super glue sticks to a naughty finger, but in all that this loving humble man ( I wipe a tear away ) one day found himself admitting to something as small as a blessed Blessed Virgin Mary Medal. Ha, ha! Oh yeah I am laughing!
--
Sister Mary Martha, I love your Blog, my apology for being so noisy.

Diane said...

hi! I love your post! I am an ELCA Lutheran and a Catholic friend told me once a long time ago that we don't pray to saints, we ask saints to pray for us, which I totally get. It's just that sometimes it sounds like people aren't making that distinction.

I love some of Luther's writings about Mary, particularly in his Christmas sermons.

However, you are right; I don't believe in the perpetual virginhood of Mary, even though Luther may have (I'll have to look that up). This has more to do with how I read the Bible and the fact that I can still hold Mary in pretty high esteem without her having to be a perpetual virgin.

I'm going to read your blog more often! thanks!

Word in the Hand said...

As a Roman Catholic child I got into trouble with my grandmother for saying that I wouldnt pray to Mary 'cos I was praying to God - I was five. But then I didn't understand about all the angels and saints that are 'there' somewhere. I made friends with St Francis and Clare, a few Teresas, and as I got older - Mary - she came down off her pedestal - that we put her on and is a friend, a sister and a mother. She is always a bit older and a lot wiser than me. She once said to me 'I may be perfect but I'm only human'.
In recent years I have introduced lots of separate brethren to Mary - they generally understand her better than I did.

Sister Mary Margaret said...

@Katney - Oh my! Of COURSE we celebrate our Lady's birthday on Sep. 8th. MY EARTHLY mother's birthday is on Dec. 8th (Sol. of the Immaculate Conception). Mom always appreciated her birthday being one of our Lady's biggest feasts.
Sorry for the confusion...!

Gigi said...

As a modern woman now in her "prime"(my neighbour told me that, I have no idea what it really means), I consider Mary to be a role model; not some distant, cold and removed icon. I see her as the embodiment of feminine loveliness, warmth and wisdom; with none of the tarnishment that being a strong woman today can imply. Why wouldn't I want her to intercede for me, woman to woman? Thanks for the charming post, as ever!

Helen said...

So sister....
I loved, loved, loved your writing on this but I dont believe that Our Heavenly Mother Mary could ever be pushed into a corner despite any persons convictions or belief. Mary crushes in her bare feet the serpent (Yaaayyy!) while others may gingerly step around or approach with hob nailed boots Mary has the power in all her humility and love to crush him with her bare feet. Imagine that! How wonderful!
You know, Mary knows the heart of her son Jesus so deeply and sometimes I think its good that Mary was silent and pondered all these things in her heart. Her feet quietly stepped through Via Dolorosa when other footsteps ran in the other direction. Mary stood ground when Jesus felt His great abandonment on the cross. "Behold your Mother" even if people ignore Mary Christ tells us, from the cross "BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER" are we listening?
(keep writing sister!!! I'm in Ireland and awaiting your next blog)
Ps again: I've had to prove "I'm not a robot" to send this message!

De Maria said...

Melanie said...
A member of the Separated Bretheren would just like to point out that we don't think asking Mary to pray for us would work, because we don't believe that there's a direct line of communication there. Just because we can talk to Jesus doesn't mean we can talk to *anyone* in Heaven.


Hi Melanie,

Well, I believe Scripture.
And Scripture says that the Saints are alive in Christ:
John 11:25 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

To confirm this, Scripture says that we, who believe in Christ are members of His Body:
Romans 12:5 (KJV)
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

So, unless you believe that Jesus is dead, you must believe that the Saints are alive. All of them. We don't fall off the Body of Christ when we die.

cont'd

De Maria said...

Cont'd

Those are just a few of the Scriptures which show that the Saints of God are alive. There are many more. In addition though, there are Scriptures which show that the Saints in heaven are aware of that which is happening on earth.

Luke 16:24 (KJV)
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

If you are familiar with the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, you know that Jesus recounts the story of three people who have died. And yet, they are conversing with one another. In addition, Father Abraham expresses knowledge of the condition of Dives' (aka the rich man's) brothers.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Notice that we are surrounded by witnesses. The term "witness" is here used as a double entendre. First of all, they witnessed their faith by their life. But if that were als, they would not surround us.

The fact that they surround us is evidence of the fact that "witnesses" is being used also in the sense of one who gathers information and reports it to another. These are spirits of men made perfect amongst whom we walk, right now (Heb 22-24).

You don't believe that they surround us, literally? Have you not read in Scripture:
2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Now, there are some who say that they feel confident that they are worthy to approach Jesus and the Father, without going through our advocates. Then you should read in Scripture:
Matthew 23:12
King James Version (KJV)
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Note the next verse that I will post, these men approached Jesus with confidence. What did Jesus say?

Matthew 7:21-23
King James Version (KJV)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

And then there are these fellows who approached the Father in prayer:
Job 42:8
King James Version (KJV)
8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

You can go on believing the carefully crafted fairy tales and traditions of men passed down by the Separated Brethren. As for me, I believe Scripture.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria said...

Dual Role Grandma said...
I was told by some separated brethren who also happen to be relatives that despite the fact that Mary is alive, I was practicing necromancy, or communing with the dead. I explained further, but they didn't buy it. These are the same folks who don't believe Jesus literally when He said it was His Body and Blood, not crackers and grape juice. Go figure.


I wonder what Jesus was doing on Mt. Tabor?

Matthew 17:2-4
King James Version (KJV)
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

Answer: Communing with the Saints. As we are called to do.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria said...

Diane said...
hi! I love your post! I am an ELCA Lutheran and a Catholic friend told me once a long time ago that we don't pray to saints, we ask saints to pray for us, which I totally get. It's just that sometimes it sounds like people aren't making that distinction.


Hi Diane,

I think most of the confusion, even amongst Catholics is with the word, "pray".

1st, pray is not always worship.
2nd. In the ancient sense, pray, means a request. Example: I pray thee, pass the salt.

Therefore, when we pray to the Saints, we are asking them for their intercession.

However, there is also a confusion as to the idea of what constitutes worship or adoration.

1st. Worship in the ancient sense, is not always adoration. For this, an example from Scripture is in order:
Joshua 5:14
King James Version (KJV)
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

Joshua, here, worshipped the Angel Michael, whom we know from Scripture is the Captain of the host of angels of God:
Revelation 12:7
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

In addition, we have examples of men calling judges, "Your worship". Therefore, worship due to angels and saints is a form of reverence which is due to anyone worthy of it. Beginning with our own parents. It is simply recognition that we recognize the position of those whom God has exalted.

Also, notice above that Joshua fell on his face before the angel. We also may kneel and perform other acts of obeisance before any Saint of the Lord. It is an expression of humility.

2nd. Adoration is the highest form of worship. It is reserved for God alone. We do not adore the Saints or the Angels. We adore the Holy Trinity.

You also said:
I love some of Luther's writings about Mary, particularly in his Christmas sermons.

However, you are right; I don't believe in the perpetual virginhood of Mary, even though Luther may have (I'll have to look that up). This has more to do with how I read the Bible and the fact that I can still hold Mary in pretty high esteem without her having to be a perpetual virgin.


I suppose. But the Church teaches that Mary is ever Virgin and Scripture says this about the Church:

1 Timothy 3:15
King James Version (KJV)
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Ephesians 3:10
King James Version (KJV)
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Therefore, I believe the Teaching of the Church.

I'm going to read your blog more often! thanks!

Great idea. I'm also glad I ran across this blog and will visit it often.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria said...

Hi, you asked:

Hello! Pop quiz! Who is the saint of the day?


St. Monica.

Give your answer in feet.

In my bare feet? I did.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Mph said...

What I've never been sure of is how Jesus telling one of his 12 apostles to behold his mother in Mary, and Mary to behold him as her son has been taken as Jesus telling us all to behold Mary as our mother.

Leroy William Skees said...

Diane...
I understand that most all Lutheran detest our having the Blessed Virgin Mary elivated but trust your Angel :) It is merely a toss up, which came first, the head side of the coin or the tail side. Hang in there!
Oh and there are Church that detest our Blessed Virgin Mary being *above our Jesus, just a comparison.
To others that have only Angels like those that serve the Blessed Virgin Mary, A Bird In The Hand...
Though I know of their being together and have asked they serve their Master only as they first chose they have not returned so much as a "Yeah". just as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap is said to have felt ( and I am not a big follower of his ) I believe "I am able to see" ( and I Leroy William Skees not actually having fully seen ) "and speak with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and my guardian angel, and that all people could do so." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pio_of_Pietrelcina ) ( This man let the very Angels rip his heart from him, thank God! ) There is a part of this that makes me sad, sort of a neglect by certain others, and I know you will 'read it out' of the text I type.
Giga, I have not seen but I believe "I am able to see and speak with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and my guardian angel, and that all people could do so." It is this SHARED belief that gives us comfort in it not being a cold myth and heartless Mother Goose story. You are fortunate.

De Maria said...

Hi Mph,

You asked,
Mph said...
What I've never been sure of is how Jesus telling one of his 12 apostles to behold his mother in Mary, and Mary to behold him as her son has been taken as Jesus telling us all to behold Mary as our mother.


There are several explanations for this. But for this, we have to go deeper into Scripture than Protestants are accustomed to do.

First, Scripture tells us to go beyond the letter to the Spirit of the Word:
2 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV)
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Because the truths of Scripture are spiritually discerned:
1 Corinthians 2:14
King James Version (KJV)
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So, let us go to the spirit of the text in question.

First:
John 19:26-28
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

Catholics are taught to read Scripture as though God was speaking to us. Now, are you a beloved disciple of Christ? To put it differently, are you a disciple whom Jesus loves?

Catholics would answer, "Yes" to that question and therefore accept Jesus command to take Mary as our mother and bring her into our home (i.e. heart).

For the second part of this explanation, you need to be aware of other verses in Scripture.
Genesis 3:15
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The seed of the Woman is not just Jesus. Let me show you:
Revelation 12:17
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Do you consider yourself someone who keeps the Commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus? If so, then you are seed or a child of the Woman. That Woman is Mary. And therefore, Scripture says that all who fight the good fight on behalf of God in Christ, are children of Mary.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Leroy William Skees said...

Any one here want to see THE LOVIEST IMAGES CONCERNING THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY?!?!
http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/11/our-lady-of-miraculous-medal-second.html

Russell said...

Greetings,

You said, “Why not ask Mary, of all people, to pray for you, just like you’d ask me to pray for you? The answer is because it is perfectly fine to ask people on earth to pray for you, but it’s NOT scriptural to ask those who have gone on.

You asked where we (Protestants) got the idea that we should ignore Mary. No one is ignoring Mary. But there is a very big difference between acknowledging Mary as a humble servant, as the Bible portrays her, and offering prayer (“hyperdulia,” to be exact) to her. If there were a biblical reason to do so, then Protestants would most likely be doing it also. But in Scripture, only God is prayed to.

You said that Catholics don’t pray TO the saints, but rather, they ask the saints to pray for them. But, according to official Catholic sources, it is a fact that Catholics are indeed encouraged to pray TO the saints (e.g., the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2679; the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11, p. 673; the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, online, under “Prayer”; Pope Pius IX’s “Ineffabilis Deus”). Anyone denying this is simply playing word games.

See this link on praying to the saints:

http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2011/02/praying-to-saints.html

See this link on the Immaculate Conception:

http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2011/05/was-mary-without-sin.html

De Maria said...

Hi Russell,

Its a small virtual world after all. I hope you've been well.

You said,

Russell said...
Greetings,

You said, “Why not ask Mary, of all people, to pray for you, just like you’d ask me to pray for you? The answer is because it is perfectly fine to ask people on earth to pray for you, but it’s NOT scriptural to ask those who have gone on.


That is not so. It is perfectly Scriptural to ask Mary for prayer or anything we want. The principal is perfectly Scriptural although not expressly written in Scripture.

1. Jesus Christ is our example. Do you deny it? If so, I will prove it from Scripture. If not, I'll move on.

2. Jesus Christ is the son of Mary. Do you deny it? If so, I will prove it from Scripture. If not, I will move on.

3. Now then, based upon those two Biblical truths, we conclude that we can ask Mary for anything. Because, Jesus, as the son of Mary, must have asked her for everything He needed in His life. Nourishment, clothing, love. In one word, EVERYTHING. Therefore, do the same as Jesus and you will be blessed.

There are more Biblical principals which bolster this teaching.

1. The Saints in heaven are alive. John 11:26
2. We are in communion with all the Saints. Rom 12:5
3. The prayer of the righteous is very efficacious. Job 42:7-9; James 5:16-17

You asked where we (Protestants) got the idea that we should ignore Mary. No one is ignoring Mary.

When do you praise Mary? When do you pray to Mary?

But there is a very big difference between acknowledging Mary as a humble servant, as the Bible portrays her, and offering prayer (“hyperdulia,” to be exact) to her.

There's a big difference between giving Mary the type of respect (hyperdulia) which the Scriptures demonstrate and the type of rejection of her which the Protestants offer. Read more.

If there were a biblical reason to do so, then Protestants would most likely be doing it also.

There is. But since the Protestants stand in rebellion to the Church, they also reject the Mother of the Church (Rev 12:17).


But in Scripture, only God is prayed to.

In Scripture, God the Father, Himself, sends an Angel to praise Mary. And God the Holy Spirit inspires a saintly woman to praise Mary. And Mary herself declares that all generations will praise her.

You said that Catholics don’t pray TO the saints, but rather, they ask the saints to pray for them.

Correct. In the sense that we don't adore the saints as though they were deities. We simply give the honor due to them. We know the difference between God and man.

But, according to official Catholic sources, it is a fact that Catholics are indeed encouraged to pray TO the saints (e.g., the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2679; the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11, p. 673; the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, online, under “Prayer”; Pope Pius IX’s “Ineffabilis Deus”). Anyone denying this is simply playing word games.

You. As most Protestants must play word games in order to justify their deficient theology and scholarship.

First, prayer has many meanings. It does not mean exclusively to worship. Look it up in a good dictionary.

pray verb \ˈprā\

Definition of PRAY

transitive verb
1: entreat, implore —often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea ....

See this link on praying to the saints:....

God permitting, I will see you there. More likely, I will copy your posts and rebut them on my own blog.

Good to hear from you though. You know what? Our debates on my blog are by far the most popular webpages that I have. Of course, you and I sort of padded the number, but even if I take out our own posts, they are the most popular.

Good to speak to you again,

Sincerely,

De Maria

Russell said...

Hello again De Maria,

It’ s good to hear from you.

You said:

“It is perfectly Scriptural to ask Mary for prayer or anything we want. The principal is perfectly Scriptural although not expressly written in Scripture.”

We can both agree that it is not expressly written in Scripture, but on what basis do you say that it is “perfectly scriptural”? What scriptural principle do we find that would suggest this?

I agree with the first two points of your syllogism (that Jesus is our example and that He is also the Son of Mary), but certainly not your conclusion (that, because of this, we can ask Mary for anything we want). It just doesn’t follow. The only thing this “proves” is that each person can successfully ask his own mom for things.

As far as the three points you used to bolster your argument, I agree with #1, that the saints in Heaven are alive, and with #3, that the prayer of the righteous is effective. But I have a problem with your understanding and usage of the concept of “communion with all the saints” in #2. In the chapter you mentioned (Romans 12), Paul is NOT speaking to, or about, the saints in Heaven, he is speaking about those on earth… he is telling them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), he is telling them to renew their minds (12:2), not to think of themselves more highly than they ought to (12:3), he speaks to them of their prophetic gifts (12:6-8). But none of this applies to the saints in Heaven. And all throughout the rest of the chapter, it is very obvious that the “communion” he is dealing with is between church members here ON EARTH, not any kind of communication with those who have gone on before us. So, you are taking this out of its context, and once again, your conclusion does not follow.

I mentioned that no one is ignoring Mary, and you said:

“When do you praise Mary? When do you pray to Mary?”

But this is a false dichotomy. You cannot say that a person only has those two options: Either, 1) ignore Mary, or 2) praise / pray to Mary. As I said earlier, we can “praise” Mary in the sense of acknowledging her role in obedience to God in being a humble servant and giving birth to, and raising, the Messiah. But avoiding praying to her does not equal “ignoring her.”

You said:

“There’s a big difference between giving Mary the type of respect (hyperdulia) which the Scriptures demonstrate and the type of rejection of her which the Protestants offer.”

Again, you’re using a false dichotomy. Just because we are not praying to her, or not constantly praising her, does not mean that we are “rejecting” her.

I had said that only God is prayed to in Scripture, and you mentioned as evidence against this that the angel Gabriel praises Mary, a saintly woman (Elizabeth) praises Mary, and that Mary, herself, declares that all generations will praise her.

Ok, that’s true, but you’re avoiding the point. I had said that only God is PRAYED TO… I didn’t say “praised.” You cannot find an example of someone in Scripture praying to Mary.

I gave you several official Catholic sources to prove that Catholics indeed PRAY TO Mary and the saints, and that anyone denying this truth is playing word games. But you simply ignored the evidence I presented and said that it’s Protestants who play word games. But where’s the documentation that I am playing word games? Your lack of an argument is very telling.

You mentioned looking up the definition of “pray” in a dictionary. That’s fine, but if you want the real meaning of biblical praying, we must look to the examples in the Bible, and these examples are also very telling. They are always directed to God, and Him alone.

By the way, I’m glad that our discussions have generated some interest in the cyber world.

Looking forward to your response.

In His Name,
Russell

De Maria said...

Hi Russell,

Russell said...
Hello again De Maria,

It’ s good to hear from you.


Same here.

You said:

“It is perfectly Scriptural to ask Mary for prayer or anything we want. The principal is perfectly Scriptural although not expressly written in Scripture.”

We can both agree that it is not expressly written in Scripture,


Correct.

but on what basis do you say that it is “perfectly scriptural”? What scriptural principle do we find that would suggest this?

Imitation of Christ. Christ was Mary's little boy. He requested everything of her.

I agree with the first two points of your syllogism (that Jesus is our example and that He is also the Son of Mary), but certainly not your conclusion (that, because of this, we can ask Mary for anything we want). It just doesn’t follow. The only thing this “proves” is that each person can successfully ask his own mom for things.

Only if you ignore the following principles.

1. We are all beloved disciples of Jesus.

We believe that on the basis that Jesus is God. God is love. And God loves all of those who obey His Word:
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

2. Jesus gave Mary to the beloved disciple (i.e. all of us) as mother.
John 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! ....

3. And the disciple whom Jesus loves, accepted:

John 19:27....And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

4. In addition we hold that Gen 3:15 is a veiled reference to the Virgin Mary. And her Seed is both Jesus Christ and any and every person who holds the Commandments and the testimony of the Gospel.

5. Same with Rev 12:17.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

6. Mary is held as our mother in the beginning of Scripture, in the middle and in the end. Therefore, it is powerfully implied in Scripture that Mary is the mother of all who believe in God.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd

As far as the three points you used to bolster your argument, I agree with #1, that the saints in Heaven are alive, and with #3, that the prayer of the righteous is effective. But I have a problem with your understanding and usage of the concept of “communion with all the saints” in #2. In the chapter you mentioned (Romans 12), Paul is NOT speaking to, or about, the saints in Heaven, he is speaking about those on earth…

It doesn't matter. The principle is spiritually discerned. There are many things which the human authors did not know that the Spirit was revealing:

EXAMPLE:
1 Cor 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

The fact that this verse is in Scripture means that it is from the Holy Spirit. Every verse of Scripture is inspired by God. Yet, based upon this comment, St. Paul did not realize that this letter would be considered inspired Scripture.

In addition, the principle that all who believe in Christ are alive in heaven, applies.
John 11:26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Also the principle in which you do not believe, that they are aware of that which happens on earth. The story of Lazarus and the Rich man clearly reveals Abraham, long dead, aware of what is happening on earth.

he is telling them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), he is telling them to renew their minds (12:2), not to think of themselves more highly than they ought to (12:3), he speaks to them of their prophetic gifts (12:6-8). But none of this applies to the saints in Heaven.

Well, its not like that is an isolated Scripture.

Let's break it down.
1. Jesus says that all who believe in Him are alive even though they die (John 11:26).
2. Luke 16:24-31 reaveals that the Saints in heaven are aware of the events on earth.
3. 1 Tim 2:1 commands all believers to make intercessions for everyone.
4. Heb 12:21-23 says that when we are baptized, we become citizens on Mount Sion with the Saints whose spirits have been made perfect.
5. Again, the principle of SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT applies (1 Cor 2:14).

Putting them all together, and there are more, we arrive at the conclusion that the Saints in heaven are ready, willing and able to intercede in our behalf.

And all throughout the rest of the chapter, it is very obvious that the “communion” he is dealing with is between church members here ON EARTH,

So, you are implying that "communion" with the saints ends here on earth? If I have understood you correctly, please provide the Scripture which supports that conclusion.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd

not any kind of communication with those who have gone on before us.

What does this say? Who are the men whose spirits have been made perfect?

Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

So, you are taking this out of its context, and once again, your conclusion does not follow.

Wait? But don't you believe in Sola Scriptura? By what authority then do you tell me that my interpretation is illogical? You believe in a personal interpretation of Scripture, remember?

Therefore, all you can do, to be consistent in your beliefs, is say, "Oh! Is that what you believe?"

If that isn't true, then tell me why are you putting yourself above Scripture? Why do you want me to believe you and not the Word of God that I read in the Bible?

I mentioned that no one is ignoring Mary, and you said:

“When do you praise Mary? When do you pray to Mary?”

But this is a false dichotomy. You cannot say that a person only has those two options: Either, 1) ignore Mary, or 2) praise / pray to Mary.


I don't follow? How do you not ignore Mary if you don't praise her?

As I said earlier, we can “praise” Mary in the sense of acknowledging her role in obedience to God in being a humble servant and giving birth to, and raising, the Messiah.

Hm? I see. Try that with your earthly mom. Or with your wife. see what they say. Try acknowledging their existence without expressing your love.

You see, we believe in faith AND works. its not enough to work without expressions of faith. It is not enough to express our faith, without showing it in our works. That is the teaching of Scripture.

But avoiding praying to her does not equal “ignoring her.”

Yeah, it does.

You said:

“There’s a big difference between giving Mary the type of respect (hyperdulia) which the Scriptures demonstrate and the type of rejection of her which the Protestants offer.”

Again, you’re using a false dichotomy. Just because we are not praying to her, or not constantly praising her, does not mean that we are “rejecting” her.


Hm? You don't believe she is worthy of your praise or prayer, therefore you are rejecting her.

I had said that only God is prayed to in Scripture, and you mentioned as evidence against this that the angel Gabriel praises Mary, a saintly woman (Elizabeth) praises Mary, and that Mary, herself, declares that all generations will praise her.

Ok, that’s true, but you’re avoiding the point. I had said that only God is PRAYED TO… I didn’t say “praised.” You cannot find an example of someone in Scripture praying to Mary.


Praise is a form of prayer. At least for us. Perhaps this falls under the category of a difference in interpretation of the word, "pray".

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd

I gave you several official Catholic sources to prove that Catholics indeed PRAY TO Mary and the saints, and that anyone denying this truth is playing word games. But you simply ignored the evidence

I agree that we pray to Mary and the Saints. I deny that we hold them equal to God or that we hold them up as idols, which is what you are implying.

I presented and said that it’s Protestants who play word games. But where’s the documentation that I am playing word games? Your lack of an argument is very telling.

I thought I presented a very cogent and powerful argument. Read my message again. I presented the dictionary definition of the word pray. I explained the Catholic explanation of the word pray. And I showed how you and all Protestants insist that pray means worship, but we don't hold you as authoritative. We have our own authority. The Church.

But again, since you don't hold to the authority of the Church, how do you claim to have the authority to tell us how to understand "prayer" and "worship"? By what authority do you hold yourself to be authoritative?

Therein lies one of the many inconsistencies of Sola Scriptura. Each one of you who believes in that lie holds yourself up as Pope. Sorry Russel, your opinion carries no weight here. I mean that in the most respectful way. Please do not be offended.

You mentioned looking up the definition of “pray” in a dictionary. That’s fine, but if you want the real meaning of biblical praying, we must look to the examples in the Bible, and these examples are also very telling. They are always directed to God, and Him alone.

How many examples must I provide? All you do is ignore what I say.
1. Scripture says, "Father Abraham, have mercy...."Luke 16:24
2. Moses and Elias talk to Jesus (Mark 9:4).
3. King David commands the angels to praise God (Psalm 148:2).
4. God sends an angel as intermediary between He and Mary (Luke 1:26-28).
5. The Holy Spirit uses a Saint as intermediary between He and Mary (Luke 1:41-42).
Etc. etc.

By the way, I’m glad that our discussions have generated some interest in the cyber world.

Looking forward to your response.


Thanks for the opportunity to exchange the Word of God with you.

In His Name,
Russell


We pray,

Sincerely,

De Maria

Russell said...

(Part 1)

Hi De Maria,

You said:

“2. Jesus gave Mary to the beloved disciple (i.e. all of us) as mother.”

Mary being the “mother of all of us” is unwarranted typology and pure eisegesis – Catholics read this into the text. In the Bible, whenever anyone tried to give someone in Jesus’ family special attention or more value than others, Jesus prevented this:

“And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.’ But He said, ‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’” (Luke 11:27-28)

“Then one said unto him, ‘Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.’ But he answered and said unto him that told him, ‘Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?’ And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, ‘Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.’” (Matthew 12:47-50)

These verses certainly don’t sound like statements that would encourage us to pray to Mary, or even encourage constant praise to her. Each time Jesus pointed out the importance of one’s relationship with God, rather than His own relationship with His mother. I believe this was included in Scripture because He anticipated the “excessive devotion” that would come later in the Catholic Church, and I believe that He wanted to warn us before it happened.


You said:

“6. Mary is held as our mother in the beginning of Scripture, in the middle and in the end. Therefore, it is powerfully implied in Scripture that Mary is the mother of all who believe in God.”

This is a false and unbiblical title dreamed up by deluded followers in order to justify the idolatrous practice of praying to her. Mary is indeed honorable, but Catholics have greatly inflated the honor due to her, even to the point of offering prayer to her. Then Catholics will try to justify this by trying to redefine the meaning of biblical prayer. But prayer is always an act of worship in Scripture.

By the way, I don’t believe that Mary was the subject in either Genesis 3:15 nor in Revelation 12.


You said:

“Also the principle in which you do not believe, that they are aware of that which happens on earth.”

And then you mentioned Abraham as an example.

But I never said that it is not possible for anyone in Heaven to be aware of the things that are going on here on earth. But the Bible never says that all saints know what is happening on earth. We cannot justify praying to the saints in Heaven, since we know so little of the level of their awareness of things on earth.

Russell said...

(Part 2)

You said:

“Let's break it down.
1. Jesus says that all who believe in Him are alive even though they die (John 11:26).”

True.

“2. Luke 16:24-31 reaveals that the Saints in heaven are aware of the events on earth.”

No, it reveals that Abraham was aware of certain things on earth. It never says that “the saints” (plural) were aware of these things. Maybe some of them are, maybe they aren’t. I never said one way or the other, because the Bible doesn’t say. But if these points are all the “proof” you can muster for prayer to the saints, then your argument is certainly weak, and if I were Catholic, I would be afraid to venture too close to idolatry. Speaking of God, the Psalmist says, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee…?” (Psalm 73:25) This is the biblical pattern.

“3. 1 Tim 2:1 commands all believers to make intercessions for everyone.”

You’re implying that 1 Timothy 2:1 is commanding all believers [including saints in Heaven] to make intercession. But an honest look at the context demonstrates that Paul is not speaking TO saints in Heaven, nor is he speaking ABOUT them.

You did the same thing in your last post by taking Romans 12:5 out of context. I pointed out your mistake, but you are doing it again with yet another verse.

“4. Heb 12:21-23 says that when we are baptized, we become citizens on Mount Sion with the Saints whose spirits have been made perfect.”

There is absolutely nothing here suggesting praying to these saints. In the context, the author is simply telling us that we can rejoice in approaching a new and better covenant.

“5. Again, the principle of SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT applies (1 Cor 2:14).”

I agree that discernment is necessary, but true spiritual discernment would not lead us to take things out of context. So, “putting them all together” and suggesting that saints in Heaven are “ready, willing, and able to intercede in our behalf” has not been proven here in the least.


You said:

“So, you are implying that ‘communion’ with the saints ends here on earth? If I have understood you correctly, please provide the Scripture which supports that conclusion.”

No, no, it is you who are making the positive assertion that there is some sort of “communion” (communication, even) between those saints on earth, and those in Heaven. So the burden is on you to prove this. De Maria, you and I have been through this “who bears the burden” issue before. You’re making the claim that it is scriptural, and we (Protestants) are simply saying that it is not in Scripture, so please show us where it is. So far, it has not been proven here.

Those interested may want to see this link:

http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2011/02/praying-to-saints.html


You said:

“Wait? But don't you believe in Sola Scriptura? By what authority then do you tell me that my interpretation is illogical? You believe in a personal interpretation of Scripture, remember?

Therefore, all you can do, to be consistent in your beliefs, is say, ‘Oh! Is that what you believe?’

If that isn't true, then tell me why are you putting yourself above Scripture? Why do you want me to believe you and not the Word of God that I read in the Bible?”

De Maria, I’m not following your logic here. I was simply pointing out that you had taken a verse out of context, and this was your response to that. But I am no more putting myself “above Scripture” by interpreting the Bible, than you are putting yourself above the Catholic Church by your interpretation of their beliefs. I hope that this misrepresentation of Sola Scriptura is not intentional on your part.

Russell said...

(Part 3)

You said:

“I don't follow? How do you not ignore Mary if you don't praise her?”

So, if you are not praising someone, you are automatically ignoring them? This is bad logic. As an example, I can speak civilly with you while neither praising nor ignoring you. I can like someone (Mary) even though I’m not constantly praising her. And I’m not ignoring her, either. So, your “either / or” dichotomy doesn’t apply.


I had said that we can give praise to Mary by acknowledging her biblical role, and you said:

“Hm? I see. Try that with your earthly mom. Or with your wife. see what they say. Try acknowledging their existence without expressing your love.”

The Bible says to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7). I honor my Mom according to biblical principles for honoring moms. I honor my wife according to biblical principles for honoring wives. I honor Mary according to the biblical description and biblical role of honoring Mary. I give proper “praise” to each of them, but I pray to none of them. This is what God expects of us.

You imply that there should be constant praise by us toward Mary… but constant praise (and prayer) should only be directed toward God / Jesus, and not a mere human.


You said:

“But again, since you don't hold to the authority of the Church, how do you claim to have the authority to tell us how to understand ‘prayer’ and ‘worship’? By what authority do you hold yourself to be authoritative?”

I would have to ask you the same question: By what authority do you hold yourself to be authoritative in interpreting what the Catholic Church teaches?

If you say, “By the authority of the Catholic Church,” then I would say that I interpret by the authority of Scripture, and not “my own authority.” You see, it doesn’t take some “special authority” to understand biblical prayer and worship. If you can interpret what the Church says, then why can’t I interpret what the Bible says?


You said:

“Therein lies one of the many inconsistencies of Sola Scriptura. Each one of you who believes in that lie holds yourself up as Pope. Sorry Russel, your opinion carries no weight here. I mean that in the most respectful way. Please do not be offended.”

De Maria, I know that you’re not intending to be disrespectful here, and you’re not offending me when you say these things. What bothers me is your (and many Catholics’) misunderstanding and misrepresentations of Sola Scriptura. If I am a pope because I interpret Scripture, then you would also have to be a pope when you interpret Catholic sources. We ALL must interpret our infallible sources, whether it is the Bible or the Church (although I don’t agree that the RCC is infallible).


Concerning your last five “examples” of people praying to someone other than God, NONE of those you mentioned say anything about prayer, nor do they represent the normal use of biblical prayer. As you said, the difference is in one’s definition. But your definition of prayer is not in Scripture.

I guess we’ll just have to let the reader decide who has the most reasonable argument…

In His Name,
Russell

De Maria said...

H Russell,

You said,
Mary being the “mother of all of us” is unwarranted typology and pure eisegesis –

I refer you to my previous message where I provided the Biblical basis for the doctrine.

Catholics read this into the text. In the Bible, whenever anyone tried to give someone in Jesus’ family special attention or more value than others, Jesus prevented this:

“And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.’ But He said, ‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’” (Luke 11:27-28)

“.... 

These verses certainly don’t sound like statements that would encourage us to pray to Mary, or even encourage constant praise to her.

Protestants say that because they don't understand the Spiritual aspects of Biblical Teaching. Mary is the one who perfectly did the will of the Father. Therefore in those statements, Jesus is explaining WHY SHE is His Mother.

Each time Jesus pointed out the importance of one’s relationship with God, rather than His own relationship with His mother. I believe this was included in Scripture because He anticipated the “excessive devotion” that would come later in the Catholic Church, and I believe that He wanted to warn us before it happened.

I believe that this was included in Scripture to highlight the excellence of Mary's faith which we should all emulate. Her complete submission and obedience to the will of God.


"Mary is the mother of all who believe in God.”



This is a false and unbiblical title dreamed up by deluded followers in order to justify the idolatrous practice of praying to her.


I provided the Biblical basis for our belief. Let us review that and compare it to your arguments.

Mary is indeed honorable,

Above all women. How is it that Protestants do not deem the motherhood of the Woman who bore Christ, their Saviour and ours, as the most greatest honor that could ever be bestowed upon a woman?

Don't you guys understand that God inhabited her womb? Is that somehow insignificant?

but Catholics have greatly inflated the honor due to her,

Really? Do you not realize that God, who created the universe with a word, sat on her lap and called her, "Mommy"? What mortal can give Mary any greater honor than that?

even to the point of offering prayer to her.

It isn't worship. Remember that we pray to the Saints as well. We offer them praise and ask their intercession because when we praise God's friends, we praise Him. This is what Scripture says:

Genesis 12
King James Version (KJV)
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

He said that of Abraham. How much more does it apply to the Mother of His Son.

Then Catholics will try to justify this by trying to redefine the meaning of biblical prayer. But prayer is always an act of worship in Scripture.

I gave you several instances where it isn't. I'll repeat one just so the readers can see what I'm talking about:
Genesis 12:13
Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

And that proves that prayer is addressed to anyone at anytime according to the Biblical understanding. It is the secular understanding which has changed and there is no surprise there. The English language probably changes faster than any other in the world.

By the way, I don’t believe that Mary was the subject in either Genesis 3:15 nor in Revelation 12.

This is not about you Russell. It is about what God means. Whether you believe it or not, it is still true. Both of those refer to Mary.

Cont'd

De Maria said...

Cont'd

Russell, you said:
Awareness of the Saints in heaven



And then you mentioned Abraham as an example.

But I never said that it is not possible for anyone in Heaven to be aware of the things that are going on here on earth. But the Bible never says that all saints know what is happening on earth. We cannot justify praying to the saints in Heaven, since we know so little of the level of their awareness of things on earth.


The Bible specifically says:
Hebrews 12:1
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

What more do you want?

Russell agreed with me...
(Part 2)

You said:

“Let's break it down.
1. Jesus says that all who believe in Him are alive even though they die (John 11:26).”

 True.
Great!

Then you said:


“2. Luke 16:24-31 reaveals that the Saints in heaven are aware of the events on earth.”



No, it reveals that Abraham was aware of certain things on earth. It never says that “the saints” (plural) were aware of these things.


We don't take the Scriptures in isolation. Here are other references to the knowledge of the Saints:

Revelation 6:
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

And from the OT, there is this:
2 Kings 6:17
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Maybe some of them are, maybe they aren’t. I never said one way or the other, because the Bible doesn’t say.

The Bible infers it very strongly.

But if these points are all the “proof” you can muster for prayer to the saints, then your argument is certainly weak,

On the contrary, my argument is exceedingly strong, since I am relying upon the Word of God in Scripture. Now, if I were to add the Word of God in the Traditions of the Church and the writings of the Magisterium, you are left with nothing but the traditions of the men which you follow. It is your argument which is weak, but you are somehow prevented from seeing it.

and if I were Catholic, I would be afraid to venture too close to idolatry.

Everyone should be afraid of committing idolatry. One can commits that crime when claiming to save themselves with their faith ALONE.

Speaking of God, the Psalmist says, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee…?” (Psalm 73:25) This is the biblical pattern.

God has responded to the Psalmist:
Hebrews 12:21-23
King James Version (KJV)
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,



“3. 1 Tim 2:1 commands all believers to make intercessions for everyone.”

You’re implying that 1 Timothy 2:1 is commanding all believers [including saints in Heaven] to make intercession.

That is correct.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd


But an honest look at the context demonstrates that Paul is not speaking TO saints in Heaven, nor is he speaking ABOUT them.

You did the same thing in your last post by taking Romans 12:5 out of context. I pointed out your mistake, but you are doing it again with yet another verse.

You are reading the letter and not the Spirit. The truths of Scripture are spiritual. You are reducing the context to the mundane. But Scripture is written by the God of the living and the dead. All are alive to Him.



“4. Heb 12:21-23 says that when we are baptized, we become citizens on Mount Sion with the Saints whose spirits have been made perfect.”



There is absolutely nothing here suggesting praying to these saints. In the context, the author is simply telling us that we can rejoice in approaching a new and better covenant.


In context and relation to the other texts I have provided, it is strongly implied we can communicate with the "company of angels and spirits of men made perfect". They are in our company. Why would we ignore them?



“5. Again, the principle of SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT applies (1 Cor 2:14).”

I agree that discernment is necessary, but true spiritual discernment would not lead us to take things out of context.

They are not out of context. They are in the proper context of the heavenly truths being revealed.


So, “putting them all together” and suggesting that saints in Heaven are “ready, willing, and able to intercede in our behalf” has not been proven here in the least.

Not proven to you. But Russell, I have mentioned before that you are a great sounding board. I know what you will say. Although it happens occasionally, Protestants rarely surprise me anymore. Of course, I hope that you will also receive the true message of the Word of God. But, my responses to your objections are meant for those who are seeking the Truth, not just for you. I will let them decide between you and I, who has proven what.

Russell said...
(Part 3)

You said:

“I don't follow? How do you not ignore Mary if you don't praise her?”

So, if you are not praising someone, you are automatically ignoring them?


If Scripture instructs me to praise them,and I don't, yes.

This is bad logic. As an example, I can speak civilly with you while neither praising nor ignoring you. I can like someone (Mary) even though I’m not constantly praising her. And I’m not ignoring her, either. So, your “either / or” dichotomy doesn’t apply.

But Scripture has not instructed you to praise me. Scripture has instructed all generations to praise Mary as I have shown. And Scripture is the Word of God. Now, factor that into your retort.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd

Russell said:


The Bible says to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7). I honor my Mom according to biblical principles for honoring moms. I honor my wife according to biblical principles for honoring wives. I honor Mary according to the biblical description and biblical role of honoring Mary. I give proper “praise” to each of them, but I pray to none of them. This is what God expects of us.

Neither your mom or wife are mentioned in Scripture. Mary is. And we are all instructed to praise her. Therefore, you should be afraid of ignoring her. As, in so doing, you are ignoring God's command.



You imply that there should be constant praise by us toward Mary… but constant praise (and prayer) should only be directed toward God / Jesus, and not a mere human.

Do you praise God continually? I try to pray 24/7. But I can't do it. I don't think that any human can do it. But I might be wrong.

However, God has commanded us to praise Mary and I intend to obey that commandment at least once a day. 



You said:

“But again, since you don't hold to the authority of the Church, how do you claim to have the authority to tell us how to understand ‘prayer’ and ‘worship’? By what authority do you hold yourself to be authoritative?”

I would have to ask you the same question: By what authority do you hold yourself to be authoritative in interpreting what the Catholic Church teaches?

First, by my confirmation.
Second, I am here refuting your authority and explaining the authority of the Church.
Third, the Pope has called Catholic laity to evangelize.
Is that enough?



If you say, “By the authority of the Catholic Church,” then I would say that I interpret by the authority of Scripture, and not “my own authority.”

Show me where Scripture gives you the authority to impose your interpretations upon us?

You see, it doesn’t take some “special authority” to understand biblical prayer and worship. If you can interpret what the Church says, then why can’t I interpret what the Bible says?

1. You are not addressing the issue.
2. The issue is that Protestants deny that anyone can tell them how to interpret Scripture.
3. And yet they turn around and tell everyone how to interpret Scripture.
4. That is a contradiction.

Please address my question. If you deny that the Church can tell you how to interpret Scripture, by what authority do you turn around and tell us how to interpret Scripture? The question is not difficult to understand. The problem is that you have no legs to stand on and therefore must change the subject in order to justify yourself. But there is no justification for your position.





No, no, it is you who are making the positive assertion that there is some sort of “communion” (communication, even) between those saints on earth, and those in Heaven. So the burden is on you to prove this.

1. I have already done so.
2. The Church has taught prayer to the Saints from time immemorial.
3. Protestants object to that doctrine.
4. Therefore it is the Protestant burden to prove. Not the Catholic.

Get it?

Your religion started in the 16th century. Until that time, Catholics prayed to the Saints. This can easily be proven. At that time, Protestants began to challenge many teachings of the infallible Church. It is the Protestant burden to prove everyone of their objections. They have failed to this point. Its been 500 years.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd


Cont'd

De Maria, you and I have been through this “who bears the burden” issue before. You’re making the claim that it is scriptural, and we (Protestants) are simply saying that it is not in Scripture, so please show us where it is. So far, it has not been proven here.

I believe it has. And I also remind you that we, Catholics, are not believers in the unbiblical doctrine of Scripture alone. Therefore we could also add the witness of the Fathers and the writings of the Ecumenical councils. And many other things.




De Maria, I’m not following your logic here. I was simply pointing out that you had taken a verse out of context,

By what authority? Since you reject the God given authority of the Church to teach Scripture, why what authority do you replace the Church?

and this was your response to that. But I am no more putting myself “above Scripture” by interpreting the Bible,

According to Protestants, the Church puts herself above Scripture when she interprets Scripture for the masses. The goose and gander thing applies. What makes you exempt from your own objection against the Church? Why are you permitted to dictate the meaning of Scripture to anyone else?

than you are putting yourself above the Catholic Church by your interpretation of their beliefs. I hope that this misrepresentation of Sola Scriptura is not intentional on your part.

You are here misrepresenting Catholic prayer to saints, calling it idolatry. Is that intentional? My view of your doctrines is exactly as I express them. Sola Scripturists, consistently tell me that the Church has no right to interpret Scripture for anyone else. Therefore, why do you think that you do?



De Maria, I know that you’re not intending to be disrespectful here, and you’re not offending me when you say these things. What bothers me is your (and many Catholics’) misunderstanding and misrepresentations of Sola Scriptura.

How often have I asked you and other Protestants to correct us, FROM SCRIPTURE. I emphasize from Scripture, because you seem to reserve the right to interpret things outside of Scripture and then attribute them to Scripture. But then turn around and insist that everything we believe must be explicitly taught in Scripture. A perfect example is the doctrine of "sola Scriptura".

Would someone please show me the definition of Sola Scriptura in Scripture?

If I am a pope because I interpret Scripture, then you would also have to be a pope when you interpret Catholic sources. We ALL must interpret our infallible sources, whether it is the Bible or the Church (although I don’t agree that the RCC is infallible).

Yes, we all must interpret. Protestants are in the awful position of denying the Church authority to interpret for others, whereas they turn around and interpret for others all the time.




Concerning your last five “examples” of people praying to someone other than God, NONE of those you mentioned say anything about prayer, nor do they represent the normal use of biblical prayer.

I believe my examples were taken directly from Scripture.

As you said, the difference is in one’s definition. But your definition of prayer is not in Scripture.

Yeah, it is. It is yours that isn't. You use the modern secular definition. And only one of them. The one that suits you.

Modern secular definitions of the word prayer also contain our understanding. But it is relegated further down since it is no longer popularly used in the general pattern of speech.

However, we continue to use the term in the Biblical sense.

I guess we’ll just have to let the reader decide who has the most reasonable argument…

As usual. Thanks for the discussion. God bless you.

Sincerely,
De Maria

Jana said...

If I may interject, this is why few doctrines get sorted out just by reading and interpreting scripture. After trying to figure things out with your god-given intelligence, more help has been made available to you. James 1:5- If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

De Maria said...

Hi Jana,

Thanks for your comment.

I don't know Russell personally, but I feel that he is a sincere believer in God. Therefore, I assume that he has already done so. I know that I have.

Therefore the verse which pertains most closely to this dilemma is Matt 18:17

Matthew 18:17
King James Version (KJV)
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

God provided us an arbiter here on earth. And He gave the arbiter full authority to decide right and wrong upon this earth. That arbiter is the Catholic Church.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Mph said...

Catholics read this into the text. In the Bible, whenever anyone tried to give someone in Jesus’ family special attention or more value than others, Jesus prevented this:

“And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.’ But He said, ‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’” (Luke 11:27-28)

“.... 

These verses certainly don’t sound like statements that would encourage us to pray to Mary, or even encourage constant praise to her.

Protestants say that because they don't understand the Spiritual aspects of Biblical Teaching. Mary is the one who perfectly did the will of the Father. Therefore in those statements, Jesus is explaining WHY SHE is His Mother.

@De Maria, I don't understand this, how is Jesus explaining why Mary is His mother by those statements?

De Maria said...

Hi again Mph,

You ask:


@De Maria, I don't understand this, how is Jesus explaining why Mary is His mother by those statements?

For that, we have to go back to Luke 1:38;48

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Note that St. Luke, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, depicts Mary as faithfully doing whatever God wills of her.

If then, we read Luke 11:27-28 and understand Jesus to be somehow condemning or denigrating Mary as an unfaithful woman who has not done His Father's will, as the Protestants do, then we are making Jesus contradict the Holy Word of God. And that is impossible. God does not contradict Himself.

Therefore, we have to do what Protestants call to "correlate the Scriptures." Jesus is saying that only the most faithful of people may be related to Him. We can therefore conclude that this is the reason why Mary has the closest relationship to Him. Because she is the most faithful of any creature which God put on this earth. No human has a closer relationship to Jesus than the woman who carried Him in her womb for 9 months and gave Him birth and then nursed Him and raised Him to adult age. No one loves Him more than His mother.

Does that make sense?

Sincerely,
De Maria

Mph said...

Thanks De Maria, yes it does make sense!