A record of the comments I make on Candy Brauer's KeepingtheHome.com Blog - just in case!
"There are not over a 100 people in the U.S. that hate the Catholic Church, there are millions however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church which is, of course, quite a different thing." Fulton Sheen
One of the oldest catacombs contains a drawing of the Madonna and Child dating back to the second century, and the oldest known request to Mary, the "Sub Tuum Praesidium", dates back to at least 300 AD!
We fly to your patronage, O holy Theotokos2;
despise not our petition in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O ever-glorious and blessed Virgin.
2Means "Godbearer" or Mother of God. This title came into Christian use very early. It simply says that she gave birth to Jesus, who any Christian will agree is God.
There were also feasts in memory of the Assumption of Mary in Antioch dating back to 380 A.D.
We see the genesis of the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, Assumption, and the traditional role of Mary as Co-Redeemer and Mediatrix in the early Church. Here are references to Mary by other early church fathers:
Mary, you are the vessel and tabernacle containing all mysteries. You know what the Patriarchs never knew; you have experienced what was never revealed to the Angels; you have heard what the Prophets never heard. In a word, all that was hidden from preceding generations was made known to you; even more, most of these wonders depended on you. (270 A.D., St. Gregory Thaumaturgus),
Blessed Virgin, immaculate and pure you are the sinless Mother of your Son, the mighty Lord of the universe. You are holy and inviolate, the hope of the hopeless and sinful; we sing your praises. We praise you as full of every grace, for you bore the God-Man. We all venerate you; we invoke you and implore your aid...Holy and immaculate Virgin...be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment...you are holy in the sight of God, to Whom be honor and glory, majesty, and power forever (373 AD, St. Ephem of Edessa)
It becomes you to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him Who granted you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Help us for the sake of the King, the Lord God Master Who was born of you. For this reason you are called 'full of Grace'..." (373 St. Athanasius)
Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you with praise and thanksgiving for having rescued a fallen world by your generous consent? ...accept then such poor thanks as we have to offer, unequal though they be to your merits. Receive our gratitude and obtain by your prayers the pardon of our sins. Take our prayers into the sanctuary of heaven and enable them to bring about our peace with God...Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the discouraged, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God. May all who venerate you, feel now your help and protection. ...Make it your continual care to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, who lives and reigns for ever. (St Augustine in 430 A.D. )
Mat, 1:16, 18-25 (Mary to be found with Child 2:11, 13-14, 20-23 Maji flight to Egypt 12:46-50 Who is my mother? 13:55 is his mother not Mary?
Mark 3:31-35 Your mother is outside 6:3 is he not son of Mary?
Luke 1:26-56 Annunciation, visitation magnificat 2:5-7, 16-19, 22, 33-35, 39, 41-51 Nativity, shepherds, presentation, finding in the temple 8:19-21 Your mother outside 11:27-28 Blessed is the womb that bore you
Jn 1:14 incarnation 2:1-5 Cana 6:42 Do we not know his mother 19:25-27
Acts 1:14 Gathered in prayer with Mary Gal 4:4 God sent son born of woman
Col 1:15, 18 first born, Head of body
Rev 11:19 Ark in Heaven 12:1-17 Woman clothed with the sun