Monday, April 13, 2009

*BEST OF DTB #1* Do Catholics worship Mary?

Argument #1

Pose this scenario to a fundamentalist.

Theresa lives a very good life. She seldom, if ever misses Church on Sunday, doesn't curse, smoke or drink. She gives genoursly over her time and money to the poor. Theresa is a devoted and faithful wife and mother who has never stolen, murdered or committed adultery.

This is not to say she is perfect, no one is. However, on balance, Theresa is a very decent person who tries her best to serve the Lord.

There is just one thing. Theresa has never been 'saved' in the manner fundamentalists describe it. She has never actually said the specific words;

"Jesus, I accept you today as my personal saviour".

Bob is Theresa's husband. 30 years ago, Bob was saved at an altar call. He was a devoted Christian for about 10 years then started to backslide a bit.

Now, 30 years later, Bob only goes to church at Easter and Christmas. He smokes, drinks to excess, and watches porn on his computer. Bob is currently having an affair on Theresa.

Which of these 2 are 'saved'?

If you are a true devotee of Sola Fide and Calvinism, you have no choice but to say that Bob goes to heaven and Theresa goes to hell.

The only thing that matters is an assent of faith. To be a Christian is to worship Christ as Lord and Savior and that worship is only possible with an assent of faith. Free will demands that you make a choice to accept and worship Christ.

Yes?

Isn't it ironic that some of these same people accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary despite the fact that there is a complete abscence of, even an open denial to, such a assent of worship of Her?


Argument #2

Suppose Mary was alive on earth today and a member of your church.
Since the Messiah was her own Son, would she not be a truly devoted worshipper?

In a time of great trial, would you hesitate to ask her to pray for you to her Son?


Argument #3

I have been to many funerals in my life. Most of them were protestants. The most recent was for my 18 year old cousin- a Baptist- who had just been killed in a horrific car accident.

In not one funeral I have ever attended did the loved ones fail to say "I know in my heart he sees me and hears me". With the exception of those in hell, our loved ones certainly do see and hear us and they cheer us on as part of a great cloud of witnesses.

To fail to see this is to deny our faith.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Matthew 22:32
'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

Mark 12:27
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"

Luke 20:38
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."


Argument #4

In contending that the Hail Mary is idolotry, fundamentalists have some 'splainin'
to do. The entire prayer is lifted right from the face of Scripture.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.

(Luke 1:28)

Blessed are you among women and
blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus

(Luke 1:42)

Holy Mary, Mother of God.

(Luke 1:43)

Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of are death.

(Luke 6:27-36)

Jesus explicitly tells us to pray for each other and to ask each other to pray for us.

Yet, when we ask His own mother- the one full of grace, the blessed one, the mother of God, the Ark of the Covenant, the Woman clothed with the Sun (Revelation 11:19-12:1)- to pray for us, to HIM, we are accused of idolotry.

It's a funny old world, isn't it?


Argument # 5

Some Protestants claim that, in heaven, none of the Saints can hear any prayers or words outside of heaven. Further, they do not intercede on our behalf.

Scripture does not support such contentions.

Matthew 18
10"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Revelation 8:4
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.

Even this unfortunate passage shows that the Saints are not cloistered somewhere, unable to know of anything beyond heaven's gates....

Luke 16
19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell,[
c] where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
25"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "



Argument # 6

Prayer is not worship.

Ask many fundamentalists what the highest form of woship is and they will tell you that it is 'prayer'.

Not so.

Prayer, in itself is not worship, unless the prayer is a prayer of worship.

That is why prayer, praise and worship are listed as seperate things. To pray, in it's most basic original form, means only to ask.

pray 

 /pre…™/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prey] Show IPA
–verb (used with object)
1.
to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to (God or an object of worship).
2.
to offer (a prayer).
3.
to bring, put, etc., by praying: to pray a soul into heaven.
4.
to make earnest petition to (a person).
5.
to make petition or entreaty for; crave: She prayed his forgiveness.
6.
to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to God or to an object of worship.
7.
to enter into spiritual communion with God or an object of worship through prayer.

It is natural that we have added a religious conotation to it but that- in it's simplest form- is not the original meaning of the word. It means to ask.... which, of course, Jesus invites us to do;

Mark 11:24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Many may say that I am parsing words but I am not. To pray, even in the religious sense, does not- of itself- constitute worship. The basic act of prayer is the act of asking. The act of adoration is the act of worshipping.

Prayer certainly can be worship and it can be false worship. That depends on who/what you are praying to and/or who/what you are praying for.

That is where so many fundamentalists get tripped up.

Let's, once again, look at what we Catholics say to Mary.

Hail Mary, full of grace. This is the correct translation of the words of Gabriel to Mary.
As such, they do not constitute worship but an assent to Biblical reality that Mary was filled with Grace from God.

Blessed are you, among women. Right here, We affirm her humanity and that, though she is most highly blessed among all women (and we would say among all those wholly created), she cannot be equal with God.

Holy Mary, Mother of God. Mother of God. She is not God. HER SON is God. Mary gave birth to a person, not a nature.

Pray for us. A simple request.

Some will say "Why can I not pray directly to Jesus?"

You certainly can and many do.

I ask you though. Would you hesitate to ask your mother to pray to Jesus for you?
If not, why would you wait a second to ask His mother?

She is much closer to him than your earthly mother.


Argument #7

"but God told us not to pray to the Queen of heaven"

No, God told us not to worship the false Queen of Heaven, not to not pray with the real one.



Jeremiah 7:18
The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger.

Offerings...cakes....drinks...burnt offerings.....adoration...worship.

This verse, firstly, says nothing about prayer. However, if it did, it would constitute idolotry, not because prayer itself is idolotry but because Ishthar is a false goddess. Thus, she is no Queen of heaven at all but an idol meant to draw worship away from the true God. Mary draws us TO the true God. There is no legitimate basis by which this fantasm of man's imagination can be honored with such a title.

Mary, on the other hand....

Revelation 12

1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Who was the Son this woman gave birth to? It's ok. You know the answer.

She wears a crown of 12 stars? What other saint has a crown of 12 stars?

Mary personifies the role of the Queen mother. Her Queenship comes forth from her position as mother of the King. (2 Kings 10:13)

Guess what else?

Jesus gave her to you as your mother as well, from the cross.

John 19:26-28

26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In fact, your Bible tells you that Mary's children are the true believers and they have the true testament of her Son.

Read for yourself from Revelation 12:17

17Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.


Argument #8

Romans 3:10
As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

I cannot respond to this any better than the folks at Catholicscomehome.org


Romans 3, verse 10 says, "...as it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one.'" Yet, James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. If absolutely no one is righteous, then who is James talking about? Luke chapter 1 says that Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous before God. If absolutely no one is righteous, then how can that be? Is Scripture contradicting itself? No, the folks who interpret Romans as saying absolutely, without exception, no one is righteous, are misinterpreting that passage. They are failing to realize that the key to understanding Romans 3:10 is the phrase, "it is written."

Here in Romans, Paul is quoting from the O.T., Psalm 14 to be exact. In Psalm 14 it says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God. They are corrupt...there is none that does good.'" But then that same psalm goes on to talk about the "righteous." Well, if none has done good, who are these righteous the psalm is talking about? Obviously, when the psalmist says that none has done good, he is talking about the fools who say there is no God. He is not talking about absolutely everyone.

Just so Paul when he quotes from this psalm. Paul is not saying absolutely no one is righteous, if he was, then how do you explain all the Old and New Testament passages that refer to the righteous? In Romans 3:11 it says that no one seeks for God. Does that mean that absolutely no one is seeking God? No, to interpret it that way would be ludicrous!
Just so verse 23 which says that "all have sinned". Babies haven't sinned, have they? Little children haven't sinned, have they? No! This is not an absolute. There are exceptions. What about John the Baptist? Did he sin? Scripture says that he was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. Can someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit his entire life ever sin? It's something to think about.

So, it is perfectly legitimate to say that these passages from Romans, when interpreted in context, in no way conflict with the Church's teaching on Mary being without sin.


Argument #9

The Woman.

That you don't get the Old Testament or Mary doesn't mean we worship her.

Many protestants do not get who Mary is at all just like they don't get many aspects of faith.

Many people take a very dim view of the Old Testament as if God was just trying one form of salvation and replaced it with Jesus because it wasn't working. God doesn't make mistakes.

Immediatly as Adam and Eve fell from grace, God knew the awful price of sin and He knew what He would do about it.

Genesis 3:15

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."
You will notice that the verse does not say a woman but says the woman.
This is of critical importance. In it's context, Adam is the man and Eve is the woman. Through them, sin entered the world.
Again, from Genesis 3;
3:9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"3:10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself."3:11 Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"3:12 The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me--she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it."
The reason why this is important is that it provides prophetic context to 3:15.
Now, let's jump forward to the Gospels.
Jesus-
MT 8:20 Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
MT 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
Son of Man, literally translated son (descendant) of Adam (meaning man). Many of you may have already caught this. What may have gotten past you was what Mary was called!
John 2:4 (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come."
John 19:26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
Does it not strike you odd that Jesus refers to His own mother as "Woman". It actually sounds disrespectful until you think about it.

First, The law says "Honor your Father and Mother." Jesus certainly wouldn't revile his own mother and violate the law of God!

Leviticus 19:3
Revere your mother and father, and keep my sabbaths. I, the LORD, am your God.

Secondly, we see examples of all those he loved being referred to him by name. Even Judas! (Luke 22:48). Yet, He refers to His own mother with the seemingly dismissive "woman" rather than "mother" or "mom" or even "Mary".

Why?

There is nothing dismissive about it! Jesus wanted you to know who she is! The Woman! As Jesus (Son of Man) is the new Adam, Mary is the new Eve. The new Woman!

What does the Bible say about the first woman and the second one?

Genesis 3:20 The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.

So, we are all the children of Eve, as the first woman.

Yet, look again at Genesis 3:15 and John 19:26 The serpent wages war with the woman and her children. Jesus gave Mary to us as Mother while on the cross!

"Woman, behold thy son!"

Now...the big finish!

Revelation 12 tells us of the Woman clothed with Sun (v 1) who bears the savior (v5).
The serpent- just as Genesis 3 prescribes- wages war on HER and the rest of HER children!
who are the believers of God. (v17).

So, Mary becomes the mother of all the living in Christ, as Eve became the mother of all the living in the flesh. For, while it was Eve's disobedience that brought the world corruption, it was Mary's obedeience that brought the world salvation! For SHE brought us the Savior! That hearing and obeying the word is what makes Mary so special!

Luke 1:38 Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

1:43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord * should come to me?1:44 For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.1:45 Blessed are you who believed * that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

In another verse, Jesus seems, again, to be dismissive of His Mother until, again, you know the context.

Luke 11:27
While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed."11:28 He replied, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."

In other words, Jesus is saying, just as Elizabeth did, that Mary is blessed because she believed and acting in faith!


Argument # 10

The Ark of the Covenant.

For those of you who have only heard of the Ark of the Covenent from a Steven Spielberg movie,
I would advise you to open your Bible to the 25th chapter of Exodus. It is an exquisite box made with fine linen and gold and adorned with two images of Cherubs (so much for God not allowing any graven images at all) and made of Acacia wood- a wood known for it's incorruptibility. (that will come into play later.)

The Ark was magnificently built and must have been a sight to behold.

The purpose of the Ark was to hold the Word of God- the Torah and the Ten Commandments.

When ever Israel went into battle, led by the Ark, they never lost.

Now, the Ark was a created thing. It was not a god, nor did anyone ever think it was or accuse anyone of thinking it was. Yet, the Ark of the Covenant carried within it the Word of God and that fact made it Holy.

How holy?

Read for yourself.

1 Chronicles 13:8-108 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.
9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.


Wow!

The Ark of the Covenant....

It was uncorruptible. (Hail, full of Grace)
It carried the Word of God (and the word became flesh and dwelt among us)
It brought forth the Covenant (this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new covenant).

It was taken into heaven!

Psalm 132:8
arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.

It was seen in heaven!
Once again.....

Revelation
11:19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.
12:1 * A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman* clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.12:2 She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.* 12:3 Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, * with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems.12:4 Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.12:5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. * Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

How much clearer can it be? The new Woman/Eve, The Mother of God, The Ark of the Covenant, The Woman clothed with the Sun.

God? no. Worthy of worship? no. Important to your faith? You better believe it!


Conclusion

Do Catholics worship Mary?

Certainly not. She helps us worhip Jesus by His own providence that all the Saints help us, her foremost among them.

Tell me. If we worship Mary, What command does Mary give us, save one? (John 2:5)

Worship of Mary? Don't be silly. Protestants may disagree and be confused with many of our beliefs about Mary- perpetual virginity, assumption, immaculate conception....

but to suggest that we worship her is just beyond ridiculous.




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