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40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 34 – Mary

April 13, 2009

Reason # 34 – Mary. We could go on for a long time about Mary the Mother of Jesus and I could spend pages refuting claims that we worship Mary (we do not – that would be a very serious sin!) or that it takes away from honor due to Jesus (It does not since true devotion to Mary leads us to a better relationship with Jesus). On and on we could go.

But here is the essence of what I want to say as a reason to come home: The Scriptures indicate that every generation would call Mary blessed. Luke 1:48 says of Mary: Henceforth every generation will call me blessed, for God who is mighty has done great things for me.”  Now the last time I checked we’re supposed to fulfill Scripture, not ignore it or oppose it. Thus to those who criticise the Church I can only say that we are following what Scripture says when we call Mary blessed and honor her. And then comes my question for my worthy opponent:

“Why aren’t you fulfilling Scripture in this regard? Don’t you think you ought to honor Mary?Scripture calls her “Blessed,” full of grace,” says “the Lord is with her.” Scripture says she is blessed above all women and calls her the “Mother of my Lord.” Shouldn’t a few of these phrases occasionally escape your lips? Isn’t it a good thing to fulfill Scripture and quote Scripture?”

So here is another reason to come home to the Catholic Church: We are fulfilling Scripture in regard to Mother Mary. We are obeying  and repeating what Scripture says. Almost every other denomination outright refuses such fulfillment. But Scripture says we would and should call Mary blessed. Now don’t listen to all that stuff about Catholics worshipping Mary. We do not do that, it would be a terrible sin of idolatry to do so. But we DO honor Mary and we DO fulfill Scripture. Come home, it’s always good to fulfill Scripture isn’t it?

Comments (5)

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  1. Jasmine says:

    Another example of taking a bit of scripture (Luke) out of context and basing on it an entire practice or belief. Again, Paul, Christianity’s first theologian, does not write anywhere that one can arrives at faith in Christ through honoring Mary. It doesn’t show up in the other New Testament letters either. Your comment that Protestants are not “fulfilling” Scripture in regard to Mary lacks basis and betrays your ignorance about other Protestants (for example, the Anglican branch regards Mary as St. Mary the Virgin). They may not carry on about Mary to the degree the Catholic Church does but they simply prefer to keep the emphasis on Jesus. Jesus is the founder of the Christian faith, and so it would make sense to keep the emphasis on him. Even Vatican II recognized this. This column is a regression from Vatican II.

    • It doesn’t seem wise to rank Scripture. Paul’s theology does not trump Luke etc. Rather, it seems better to view Scripture as a whole. Also, there is no argument from me that anyone would arrive at faith through honoring Mary. Faith is a gift of God arrived at through the grace of God. However, it would seem that one of the fruits of faith is to fulfill in one’s life what scripture says, among these things is calling Mary blessed. While not necessary for salvation it seems nevertheless to be an expected fruit of saving faith. I stand corrected that many Anglicans do in fact bestow greater honor on Mary than is common in most non-Catholic settings. Your comments about “carrying on” about Mary and your implication that Catholics put more emphasis on her than Jesus are sterotypical and incorrect. Jesus is the emphasis in Catholicism, above every saint and Mother Mary. Rather than carrying on about her I think we appreciate her theological role and give her the honor that is proper to the Mother of God. In the end, she ought to be honored for among other reasons, in fulfillment of Scripture. This is not a regression from VC II but is clearly stated in Lumen Gentium.

  2. Jasmine says:

    I’ll further explain my comments. The early Christians had no gospels; they truly believed Jesus was going to come back in their lifetime (Paul writes about this in Thessalonians). Paul and the other New Testament authors do need to send instructions to their individual communities so they write letters and in the process address topics of theological importance to their communities. Then they realize the Second Coming wasn’t as imminent as they thought. Time to write the Gospels. Luke goes in a big way for the Mary story; other Gospels don’t. Why? On the other hand, Paul and all the Gospels all address the Resurrection. This would lead me to believe the Resurrection is a more crucial topic. But I’m not arguing that honoring Mary isn’t important or that Catholics necessarily “worship Mary.” But your comment that every denomination “outright refuses” to fulfill Scripture in regard to Mary is still very inaccurate and even hurtful to millions of Orthodox and Anglicans who believe their traditions also honor Mary.

    • It is a theory that early Christians including Paul thought the Second Coming was iminent. It doesn’t seem well attested to however. Paul himself distances himself from any such notion in 2 Thess. 2:1ff. In that passage he explicitly sets aside any notion that the Second coming was at hand and he further denies that he should in any way be conisdered the source of such a rumor. Hence, while it may be true that some Christians thought the Second Coming to be iminent (just like today) that does not mean it was officially taught by Church leaders to be so or that they even thought way. As to you theory that the older or more primitive thinking is some how more pure, I cannot accept that either since I regard all the New Testament as inspired by one author who is God the Holy Spirit. While one may theorize as to how God chose to reveal and in what order He set things forth, Nevertheless all Scripture is inspired and should not be pitted against other scriptures and though one passage can over-rule another or in some way trump another passage. I will grant that no one verse can be construed as all of scripture and that one passage may depend on another for balance and completion. But early and primitive does not equal better and more pure. As to your reference to the Orthodox and the Anglicans, I accept the distinctions from other denominations but did not personally include the Orthodox under the heading “Protestant” Clearly the Orthodox have great devotion and rich theological refelction on Mary. I would also note that some Anglicans do not like being grouped as Protestant either but conider their history distinct from that movement. Of that I am not sure what to say but probably accept a distinction if it were insisted upon by and Anglican.

  3. Mary says:

    I love the painting of the Madonna and Child. Do you know the name of the artist?
    I would like to get permission to print it on a flyer for a local prolife prayer vigil.
    Thank you, Father.