Seeking Divine Mercy
About the Blessed Virgin
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It is evident that there are facts both Protestants and Catholics do not often realize (if at all) when it comes to the Honor we give to Mary, our Holy Mother. It is basic Judaism and for anyone who claims to recognize the Jewish faith as the foundation of Christianity and the Inspired Word of God in the Old Testament as well as the new, regardless of the Protestant or Catholic Bibles, Septuagint or Hebrew Tanakh, recognition and honor toward women in Scripture is well defined although limited.
The Protestant supposition that because Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was not mentioned a great deal in written Scripture is reason to assume she was not honored, is an unfounded assumption and invalidated immediately by the fact that Christians were heavily persecuted during the periods of the writings of the Gospels and as the apostles were bestowed by Jesus the responsibility of looking after Mary as their own mother, to write of her openly or place her in the public eye would have been endorsing her martyrdom without question.
People ask people, "pray for me", all the time. Why not ask the Virgin Mary or any other saint to "pray for you?" According to the Old Testament, God often sent saints or prophets to intercede even for those in battle. Therefore we know that human death does not constitute the end of existence for those who have earned their heavenly reward. Because saints are no longer "of this world" does not mean they don't "talk" to God. The saints in heaven are not "separated" by death from the community of the Church (Romans 8:38-39) as we are all one Body in Christ (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12) and Christ "abolished death" (2 Timothy 1:10 ).
The saints in Heaven most certainly can pray for us just as anyone here on Earth can. In fact, better, as they are presently in His Presence. The Virgin Mary asking God to help you should "carry more weight" so to speak than having your family or friend on this earth praying for you. In fact, Christ's first public miracle was performed upon the "intercession" of His own mother (John 2:2-11).
We here it often said by Catholics that the wedding at Cana is a defined example of the honor Jesus had for His mother and her intervening influence with her Son when although He expressed hesitation in intervening in the matter of the lack of wine, Jesus without further objection or hesitation abided by His mother’s compassionate desire and performed the first miracle of His ministry.
It is equally as important to realize that honor toward Mary has been verified not only by the writings of the Apostolic Fathers but as far back as the archeological findings of the Catacombs in which carvings of Mary with her child and otherwise were discovered, obviously inscribed by the very early Christians.
Also very enlightening; lumenverum
(A tidbit: Consideration should also be raised when it comes
to the choice of Protestantism to replace the Septuagint with the Hebrew Old
Testament in the Bible as there is ample reference to the previously removed
books of the Septuagint in their entirety by the Preaching of Jesus and
writings of the Apostles. It must be considered that to refer to the
historically rewritten Hebrew Old Testament, one is adopting the version that
is recollected by that part of the Jewish faith that rejects Jesus as the
Messiah over and above the Jews who became Christian and the Septuagint which
was in fact translated into Greek by the Hebrew Jews themselves. Further, the
finding of the
In Judaism, it is the mother of a child who is recognized as the source of the child’s spiritual being. That spirituality is an inheritance via his or her mother, not the father. This is substantiated further as customarily Judaism is passed down inherently or determined through the female line. When those of the Jewish faith pray for another person, whether it be due to that person’s illness or serious circumstance, they invoke the name of the mother in their prayer. Her spirituality is that person’s central relationship with God and it is the belief that by doing so, God will be more merciful in granting the prayer for that person. This is further reflected in King David’s petition in Psalm 116; 16 in which he places himself as God’s servant and “the son of God’s handmaid”, then with the name of his mother.
“Contrary to common belief, Judaism is unique in honoring its women. Beginning in Genesis, Sarah was honored as a prophet as well as being the mother of Judaism. In Exodus, Mirriam was honored as a prophetess as well as being a praise and worship leader. Devorah of Judges was a civic leader as well as an advisor to generals and her song of praise to God is recorded in Judges. Hannah is recorded as a woman of faith who gave birth to Samuel, the great prophet of the Bible. She was also a cosseted and much loved woman who was wealthy. Judaism has long honored it's women and done it's best to protect them and provide for them even in times of great hardship. Women are recorded as prophetesses, heads of state, advisors to rulers, and wives and mothers all in the same lifetime.”
Lets consider the following;
Proverbs CH31; “10 When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. 11 Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. 12 She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. 13 She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands. 14 Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar. 15 She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household. 16 She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms. 18 She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. 20 She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. 21 She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed. 22 She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing. 23 Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land. 24 She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come. 26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. 27 She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness. 28 Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her: 29 "Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all." 30 Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.”
The following link is an article from “This Rock” http://www.catholic.com/this rock/2006/0612fea1.asp also dealing with the separation of Protestantism from recognition of Jewish women in ancient Scripture.
It is indisputable the Holy Virgin Mother of our Lord was most certainly honored by her Son when one honestly considers He, while in inconceivable suffering and nearing death crucified on the cross was sure to proclaim His mother to John and to John, his mother. She was with Him from Birth to Death. For anyone to honor her less would be offensive to Jesus just as honoring her is to glorify Jesus. After all, the honor we pay to her is directly due to her Son, our Lord and Savior. There is no coherent reason for anyone to refuse to honor our Blessed Lady.
Through the testimony of scripture, it is clearly evident when Jesus became man He experienced human emotions of doubt, despair, frustration, anger, pain, love, the suffering of loss of a loved one (Lazarus) etc. While hanging nailed to the cross by His hands and feet, barely able to breathe, suffering from beatings, scourging, bodily joints pulled apart, thorns piercing through the flesh of His head and suffering in unimaginable pain and torment, Jesus expressed the depth of His love and honor for Mary when He made certain before taking His last breath to bestow Mary to John as mother of His disciples and John (representing his disciples) to honor Mary as his mother. He did not tell John to take care of His mother, but rather introduced John to Mary in a way directing him to honor her as his own mother. As John was the single apostle present at that time it was he who received this direction but also notice Jesus did not say “John, behold thy mother” or “mother behold thy son, John”, Jesus specifically said, “son, behold thy mother” and He specifically said “mother, behold thy son”.
An equally impressive illustration of Jesus’ love, honor and respect for His mother was expressed during the wedding at Cana when although Jesus was hesitant to intervene, He performed His first miracle changing the water into wine solely due to His mother’s request. Also notice Mary didn’t have to ask a second time for His acceptance.
At no time while assuming the nature of man born of a woman would Jesus violate one of His Father’s own commandments in denying honor to His mother or Joseph for that matter. No other person throughout scripture or in the history of humanity has ever been chosen to serve God as intimately as she who was chosen to be the mother of His Son.
Jesus is True God as the beloved Son of God but True man in man’s nature and limitations. “Father, if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me…” When He took on human form, He did to the fullest (True man) to show His love for us through the most profound gesture He could make, to live, suffer and die for us as a man. Jesus was True God and True man not exempting Himself from the commandments of His Father, nor human emotions or feelings, not even of temptation of the devil. It was enmity that gave Him the strength of God over temptation. Enmity bestowed upon Jesus and Mary before their human existence. The Bible shows us Jesus prayed to His Father for guidance and strength and support, and when He performed miracles it was by the will and power of His Father, not of His own human form as again we see prior to His miracle raising Lazarus from the dead.
Did Our Lord at anytime distance Himself from human nature? The Bible clearly shows He did not. Based on the hearts of man, He had disdain for some and love for others just as we do. Ask yourself, why is John distinct from all others when he is described as “the apostle Jesus Loved”. Why was the point made of Jesus’ love for Lazarus and why did Jesus cry sorrowfully for Lazarus upon his death? Much in the Bible shows us the differences that existed and that these differences included His love and honor for His mother as His mother.
Some refer to the following scripture verses claiming Jesus did not honor His mother or consider her any different than any other human being during His time on earth;
Matt 12:47-49 46 While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. 47 (Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.") 48 But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."
In fact, this verse shows us Jesus as the Priest, the Rabbi, and the Teacher. It is His “disciples” (students) He is speaking to and it is a testimonial that all who do the will of the Father are His brother, sister and mother. This is to say He elevates the faithful to the same level as His mother and all devoted. We already know Mary has since before conception had God with her and “was blessed”. She is not equal by any means.
Matt 10: 37 "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”.
This verse expresses to us how Jesus relates through our human form the depth of the love that exists (or should) between parents and children and the love we should possess for God should be far greater than any love. This does not however, suggest the love between parents and their children should not be. Honor remains according to God’s command. Worship is for God alone.
Queen of Heaven?
Questions are sometimes raised by those who are not familiar with the Catholic Faith as to why we refer to our Holy Lady as the Queen of Heaven and why pray to Her. Some think it is wrong to pray to her and that we worship Our Lady just as Her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course they refer to the prayer, “Hail Mary”, known also as The Ave Maria.
Some denominations of
Christians criticize the Catholic Faith more often for incorrect opinions they
receive from their own denominations. This is a result of 500 years of being
once, twice, three or four times or more separated from the Catholic faith
where most of their founders derived from.
We HONOR the Blessed Virgin, not WORSHIP her as we do her Son. To those
who teach other Christians without the proper understanding of the
If our Lord Jesus were to stand before each of us in regard to this, I am quite confident of His displeasure. Isn’t it realistic to believe that our Lord would voice Himself in a manner such as this?
…How DARE you express a denial of honor showing disrespect to My mother whom I Myself loved, honored and respected from the beginning. The woman so blessed by My Heavenly Father to be chosen from all human kind as my mother and who’s very blood I share. My mother, who my Apostles loved and respected as their own in my absence until she rejoined me in my Father’s house. You, who show honor to women for being the mothers of your fallen one’s, your men so blessed from Heaven with their God given talents in sports, military, peace making and alike. Yet you refuse to show honor to this Blessed Virgin who birthed me? …As though less due honor and respect than those you pay honor to… Continue to deny My mother of due respect and honor, mocking and judging others for doing so and learn the path you choose. For the honor showed to My mother will never be as deep as what I hold for her but what you can and should offer in her honor is reflective of even more Honor and Worship to Me..
To explain it simply, the Catholic faith does not worship the Blessed Virgin but we certainly do honor her with the respect befitting the Holy Mother of Jesus Christ. She is at times referred to as the “Queen of Heaven” based on recorded history and The Old Testament, which attests to the fact that the mother of a king held the seat of Queen and sat at his right hand with the highest position of influence to the king. Jesus is the King of Heaven. As Jesus Christ is Her Son and the King of Heaven according to Scripture, and in testament to the fact that He brought all things of the Old Testament to fulfillment, to contradict her position as the Queen of Heaven would be to contradict the word of our heavenly Father in the Old Testament itself. And do we not honor the mothers of our fallen soldiers, policeman and others? Of course we do. Refer to the following verses for confirmation of the King’s mother as Queen: (1 Kings CH2; v13-20), (1 Kings CH14; v21), (1Kings CH15; v9-13), (2 Kings CH24; v12-15), Notice in Jeremiah CH13; v18-20, God addresses Himself in the following manner: “A word from the LORD to the King and to his mother…” speaking to both King and Queen, then our Father in Heaven goes on to address the: “…I gave the care of Israel to you”, the reference “you” speaking to both King and Queen. Then in Luke CH1; v33-43 we hear Elizabeth express her astonishment as to how it was that the mother of the Lord would come to her no less unexpected than a visitation from a Queen and realizing the child in Mary’s womb to be the King. She is at times referred to as our “Blessed Mother” since our Lord as is attested to in scripture proclaimed her as the Mother of His disciples. As Jesus is God through the Father, we also at times refer to Her as the Mother of God. All references supported through scripture in the one true original Holy bible.
Perhaps it would help in our understanding to recognize
Jesus’ references to her as "woman" attesting to her as the woman
spoken of in the Old Testament. Mary was
also to suffer the pain of the sword as prophesized by Simeon at the temple. In
fact, if you compare, Mary's life was, although not equal to, parallel with the
life of Jesus right through the suffering and passion of Our Lord yet she
remained as silent in her pain as Jesus in His. It is a fact recognized by all
Christians that the Blood of Christ is the Blood of our salvation. Mary was
born full of grace and created by God with purity to be the ark of the New Covenant
just as God directed the construction of the ark of the Old Covenant. Mary was
much more precious because this would be the Son of God who she would carry.
But most importantly, it should not be difficult to understand that if the blood of Jesus is the source of our salvation, this very body and the blood pulsating through the veins of Jesus was formed of the human body and blood of Mary. Her devotion and her immaculate nature could not have been flawed to start with and certainly could not have been soiled after sharing her maternal life in the living body and blood of Christ. If it were, there would be no salvation at all from the spilling of His blood and their shared torment and suffering. And considering how Jesus would have loved His Mother, how could anyone believe He would not expect all to honor her when it reflects the Worship we have of Him. Do we not honor other earthly mothers of those who gave so much such as police, soldiers, firemen, scientists, or how about professional athletes and so on…
Some excerpts of the Church Fathers to ponder;
"After this, we receive the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; Who bore a Body, in truth, not in semblance, derived from Mary the mother of God in the fullness of time sojourning among the race, for the remission of sins: who was crucified and died, yet for all this suffered no diminution of His Godhead." Alexander of
"Many, my beloved, are the true testimonies concerning Christ.
The Father bears witness from heaven of His Son: the Holy Ghost bears witness,
descending bodily in likeness of a dove: the Archangel Gabriel bears witness,
bringing good tidings to Mary: the Virgin Mother of God bears witness: the
blessed place of the manger bears witness." Cyril of
"And the Angel on his appearance, himself confesses that he has been sent by his Lord; as Gabriel confessed in the case of Zacharias, and also in the case of Mary, bearer of God." Athanasius, Orations III, 14(A.D. 362).
"Just as, in the age of Mary the mother of God, he who had reigned from Adam to her time found, when he came to her and dashed his forces against the fruit of her virginity as against a rock, that he was shattered to pieces upon her, so in every soul which passes through this life in the flesh under the protection of virginity, the strength of death is in a manner broken and annulled, for he does not find the places upon which he may fix his sting." Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, 14 (A.D. 370).
"He reshaped man to perfection in Himself, from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit." Epiphanius, The man well-anchored, 75 (A.D. 374).
"Let, then, the life of Mary be as it were virginity itself, set forth in a likeness, from which, as from a mirror, the appearance of chastity and the form of virtue is reflected. From this you may take your pattern of life, showing, as an example, the clear rules of virtue: what you have to correct, to effect, and to hold fast. The first thing which kindles ardour in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God?" Ambrose, Virginity, II:6 (c. A.D. 378).
"If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead." Gregory of Nazianzus, To Cledonius, 101 (A.D. 382).
"To the question: 'Is Mary the bearer of Man, or the bearer of God?' we must answer: 'Of Both.'" Theodore of Mopsuestia, The Incarnation, 15 (ante A.D. 428).
"And so you say, O heretic, whoever you may be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotocos, i.e., Mother of God, but Christotocos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God. For no one, you say, brings forth what is anterior in time. And of this utterly foolish argument whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning, we will, if God permits, say something later on. In the meanwhile we will now prove by Divine testimonies that Christ is God, and that Mary is the Mother of God." John Cassian, The Incarnation of Christ, II:2 (A.D. 430).
"But since the Holy Virgin brought forth after the flesh God
personally united to the flesh, for this reason we say of her that she is Theotokos, not as though the nature of the Word had its
beginning of being from the flesh, for he was in the beginning, and the Word
was God, and the Word was with God...but, as we said before, because having
personally united man's nature to himself..." Cyril of
"If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and
that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos),
inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written,
'The Word was made flesh': let him be anathema." Council of
"For by the singular gift of Him who is our Lord and God, and withal, her own son, she is to be confessed most truly and most blessedly--The mother of God 'Theotocos,' but not in the sense in which it is imagined by a certain impious heresy which maintains, that she is to be called the Mother of God for no other reason than because she gave birth to that man who afterwards became God, just as we speak of a woman as the mother of a priest, or the mother of a bishop, meaning that she was such, not by giving birth to one already a priest or a bishop, but by giving birth to one who afterwards became a priest or a bishop. Not thus, I say, was the holy Mary 'Theotocos,' the mother of God, but rather, as was said before, because in her sacred womb was wrought that most sacred mystery whereby, on account of the singular and unique unity of Person, as the Word in flesh is flesh, so Man in God is God." Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, 15 (A.D. 434).
"So then He was both in all things and above all things and also dwelt in the womb of the holy Mother of God, but in it by the energy of the incarnation." John Damascene, Source of Knowledge, III:7 (A.D. 743).
What is the prayer, “The Hail Mary” and how can it be acceptable for Christians to pray to Her?
This prayer as addressed to our Blessed Lady contains
excerpts of scripture such as the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, as well
“The Hail Mary or Ave Maria”
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen."