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Friday, November 21, 2008

Praying the Hail Mary

Edward Sri's "Praying the Hail Mary Like Never Before."

When asked by our protestant friends why Catholics worship Mary, we may quickly reply, "We don't worship her; we honor her." When asked why we pray to Mary, we might respond, "We don't pray to her; we ask her to pray for us."

Such "Apologetics 101" moves may express certain truths about Marian devotion and can be very helpful in initial conversations with our non-Catholic brethren. However, if we stop there, we may fail to communicate the full splendor of God's revelation about our Blessed Mother and the beautiful role she plays in our lives.

That was precisely my experience with the Hail Mary.

For many years, whenever I was asked about why Catholics pray the Hail Mary, I explained that it was a prayer in which we ask the mother of Jesus to pray for us. Since Mary is so close to her Son in heaven, she serves as an ideal intercessor whose prayers bring us closer to Jesus. And we seek Mary's intercession just like we ask each other here on earth for prayers, so it should be okay for a Christian to pray the Hail Mary, asking her to "pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."

While all this is true, it's not the approach pope John Paul II took when explaining the Hail Mary in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (RVM). For John Paul II, the Hail Mary is not just an intercessory prayer that is permissible for Christians to recite; it's actually a Christ-centered prayer that gives Jesus great praise. If we truly love Jesus, we as Christians should want to pray this prayer!




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17 comments:

Jennie said...

Here's a chapter about Mary worship from his history of the papacy by Rev. J.A. Wylie that shows how protestants have been questioning this practice for hundreds of years, and the explanation by catholics did not satisfy then and still doesn't.

http://www.wayoflife.org/papacy/02-19.htm

Matthew 4:10
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Elena said...

We don't worship Mary. End of story.

Elena said...

Oh and BTW Jennie- it appears not all Protestants can even agree on Mary.

Martin Luther on Mary:
In his sermon of August 15, 1522, the last time Martin Luther preached on the Feast of the Assumption, he stated:

There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith . . . It is enough to know that she lives in Christ.

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Luther gives the Blessed Virgin the exalted position of "Spiritual Mother" for Christians:

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother .. (Sermon, Christmas, 1522)

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

Martin Luther had the belief of Mary's Immaculate Conception, Luther's words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527).

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {"Little"} Prayer Book, 1522).

Jennie said...

Elena,
Here is a quote from the chapter I linked to: "Roman Catholics give the same titles, perform the same acts, and ascribe the same powers, to Mary as to Christ; and in doing so they make her equal with God.

To Mary are given names and titles which can be lawfully given to no one but God. She is styled "Mother of God;" "Queen of Seraphim, of Saints, and of Prophets;" "Advocate of Sinners;" "Refuge of Sinners;" "Gate of Heaven;" "Morning Star;" "Queen of Heaven." In Roman Catholic countries she is commonly addressed as the "Most Holy Mary." She is often styled the "Most Faithful," and the "Most Merciful." In what other terms could Christ himself be addressed? The Papist alleges that he still regards her as but a creature; nevertheless he addresses her in terms which imply that she possesses divine perfections, power, and glory. The whole psalter of David has been transformed by Bonaventura to the invocation of Mary, by erasing the name of Jehovah, and substituting that of the Virgin. We give an example of the work:--"In thee, O Lady, have I put my trust: let me never be ashamed: in thy grace uphold me." "Unto thee have I cried, O Mary, when my heart was in heaviness; and thou hast heard me from the top of the everlasting hills." "Come unto Mary, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and she shall refresh your souls."


Mary is given honor and titles that should be given only to the three persons of the Trinity. Isn't that idolatry?

Christ came to earth as Emmanuel, God with us, and is described in Hebrews as our High Priest who sympathizes with us in our humanness:
Hebrews 1:1-4
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had BY HIMSELF purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Hebrews 2:17-18
17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Hebrews 4:14-16
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 7:25-27
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

These verses above are enough to show that it is Christ, not Mary, who saves us by Himself, and sympathizes with us in our weakness and is with us in trouble, and mediates and makes intercession for us at the throne of Grace, and who does not need to make daily sacrifices as a human hight priest because he sacrificed 'once for all when He offered up Himself.'
Mary is never mentioned in the epistles in any of the roles or honors that catholics give her. To do so is to usurp Christ's place and to put yourself under condemnation for rejecting His provision for your sins. Do you fear God? Then run to Christ our savior for help and not to Mary, who couldn't help herself any more than you can.

About Martin Luther, I am aware that he held many beliefs about Mary that are not Biblical, and, since I don't take everything Martin Luther says as Scripture, I don't agree with his teachings that contradict scripture. I admire him for stressing the doctrine of justification as it is taught in the Bible.
He was just a first step in Reformation, and did not totally reject all things the catholic church taught.

Elena said...

"Roman Catholics give the same titles, perform the same acts, and ascribe the same powers, to Mary as to Christ; and in doing so they make her equal with God.

Well the author of this is not well informed. Catholics don't believe, and the church doesn't teach that Mary has "powers" at all. Anything Mary has at all, comes to her from her son Jesus Christ.

Now do yourself a favor, and quit reading this kind of garbage and start reading some REAL Catholic resources.

it always boggles the mind that uneducated Protestants what to try to convince Catholics with secondary ( or worse) sources.

I've said this to you before Jennie, but you would do well to actually do some homework before you come her to try to "debate" because thus far, you present nothing that is either compelling or persuasive.

Kelly said...

Several weeks ago we had a very exhaustive discussion about Mary, Jennie, and I felt we had made some progress. You have a tendency to begin all over again with the same tired arguments.

I'm sorry, but I have no interest in recreating the wheel. You are free to re-read through the archives if you'd like to refresh your memory of our points.

Elena said...

I don't agree with his teachings that contradict scripture

Big surprise- a Protestant who doesn't agree with another Protestant!

Jennie, it is not the purpose of this blog to try to convince you.

It seems that you are looking for a general apologetics forum. Try this one

http://www.surprisedbytruth.com/forum/default.asp

Barbara C. said...

The thing that is most frustrating is that Jennie must think we are lying to/conning her or we are bad Catholics who don't know what the church "really" teaches about Mary or she thinks we have been duped into putting more importance on Mary than she deserves.

The first two are just insulting. The third is at least understandable with charity even if we disagree. She just can't seem to conceive that WE KNOW that our Church does NOT worship Mary or any way equate her importance with that of Jesus. She can't seem to conceive that almost any Catholic, even ill-informed ones, find the charges of "Mary worship" silly.

Kelly said...

The thing that is most frustrating is that Jennie must think we are lying to/conning her or we are bad Catholics who don't know what the church "really" teaches about Mary or she thinks we have been duped into putting more importance on Mary than she deserves.

I agree.

We do not worship Mary. She is not equal to Jesus. She is not my Saviour. I do not believe she has any powers or perform any "acts" to her, whatever that means.

There's only so many times that you can say it.

Jennie said...

Ladies,
I don't want to insult you at all; I don't know your hearts and can't judge how you think of Mary personally; I can only go by what I see overall, past and present.
I've seen too many examples of what seems to be plain blasphemy and idolatry in things catholic people and organizations say about Mary, such as Fr. Bonaventure on the Air Maria link on your front page that I mentioned before (the number of the homily is mentioned in one of my comments) .
That definitely goes against scripture and what is right.
Again, I don't know your hearts, nor the hearts of the millions of catholics, but I see, especially in less developed countries, examples of people who are ignorant of scripture, but have plenty of statues to pray to and adore.
I can't express all the thoughts that I have about this, because it's too complicated until I have time to process it all (and I may never understand fully the relationship between Catholic and protestant and Christ until Heaven)
I don't understand all the contradictions I see between Scripture and the Catholic church; between history and people's personal experience, etc. I think there are true christians in the catholic church, but that it is not the one true church as it claims to be.
On the other hand, I think that while there are also many true believers in the protestant churches, the majority have no understanding, and no true conversion.
I am not exressing myself well, so please pardon me for that.
But my plea in my last post was made because, if you do think of Mary as Fr. Bonaventure thinks, then you are guilty of placing Mary in Christ's place, and I felt compelled to warn you. Why have those links there if you don't agree with them? And if you do agree with them then I feel you deceive yourself when you say you don't hold Mary too high.
These are my scattered thoughts for now.

Elena said...

Well while we're sharing...
I don't know your heart either Jennie. I too can only go by what I have seen and read.

I have seen many examples of Protestant/Christian ladies tear each other apart about
working outside the home/vs. SAHM
clothing
head covering
breastfeeding
birthing
speech
submission
bickering about different types of bibles
bickering about baptism, weddings, even bickering AT funerals!

I've seen and read Protestants use scripture to beat each other over the head and to justify things like homosexuality, abortion and contraception.

The only thing most Protestants are united on is that they aren't Catholic! I'm still not sure how the Anglicans or the Orthodox get a pass, so I guess it's something against the Papacy.

Be that as it may, no one here questions whether other Christians are in deed Christians and in fact the Catholic Church says in the catechism, the "sure norm", the one that all Catholics are supposed to hold as the truth of belief, that other Christian churches do have elements of the truth in them. We continue to pray for Christian unity.

Jennie, you are very uneducated and uninformed about Catholicism. And so far you have been recalcitrant to try to learn! Yes of course you "see" what you see but you have no knowledge base with which to understand the things that you are learning. Steeped in the anti-Catholic rhetoric and literature that you continue to read, you are much like Candy and you will continue to lack a true understanding of our position unless you do so.

Yet you have the audacity to think that you have it right and a scholar and holy man like Father Bonaventure has it wrong? Do they teach humility in your denomination?

And here's another clue Jennie - until recent times MOST OF THE WORLD HAS BEEN ILLITERATE. Sola Scriptura even on the current limited level only works because books can be published! For most of the world, for most of time, the world of God has been spread by The Catholic Church! and it was done orally, you know... like the apostles use to do way back in the day!

And while you look down your nose at those people in developing countries who cannot read or write and can't afford a bible, I know from the testimony of Catholic Missionaries that they are strong in their love of Jesus and their faith in God. They are a happy people because they truly know what it is to be poor in spirit. Maybe we should learn a thing or two from them!

Now, we have plenty of material on this blog about Mary, about the history of why Catholics respect and revere Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ and there are plenty of examples of what Mary means to us.

We don't need your warnings.

We have told you we don't worship Mary and that we don't believe that she is a Goddess.

I will remove any further postings by you that even suggest such a thing as a blatant ad hominem attack.

My suggestion is that you stay away from anti-Catholic sites and literature. Look at some of the books we have in the side bar. If you want to "minister" to Catholics you will need to know Catholicism at least as well as we do. You should be able to articulate our perspective at least as well as we do. Until you do that, I don't see any further point in trying to discuss this with you.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I'm not sure why you brought up protestant women bickering and tearing at each other. It has nothing to do with our conversation. The fact that people bicker has nothing to do with being protestant; even the churches in the bible were reprimanded by the Apostles for this. People are sinners and it's not limited to protestants. All people are guilty at times of this. My Italian catholic great aunts and uncles and grandparents were constantly bickering and held decades-old bitterness against each other. It's human nature.
Don't think I am excusing the protestant ladies 'tearing each other apart' because I don't. I hate it. However it's not universal in protestant churches. If people are grounded in God's word and united in fellowship and prayer they will love each other and any squabbles will not last long.

Yes, they teach humility in our church. They also teach as the Bible says, to compare everything to God's word and reject false teaching, which is what I consider Fr. Bonaventure's teaching about Mary. I think God's word is right and he is wrong.

If you think the Catholic church was spreading God's word through all these centuries then maybe you should read some more history, too, about how for centuries they persecuted people who read and believed God's word and did nothing to relieve the ignorance and illiteracy of the people until the protestants started teaching their people and the Catholic heirarchy had to do it to compete with the protestants.

I don't look down on the people in other countries or our own who can't read or afford a Bible, I blame it on the Church who has done nothing to educate them and could afford to give them all Bibles but doesn't, and allows them to remain in ignorance. When I speak of them it was not to blame themselves, but those who could teach them God's word.

I don't know about Anglicans and Orthodox 'getting a pass' as you say. I don't mention them because I have no interest in them personally and don't know much about them. Some of my family members have converted to catholicism as I have mentioned before, and so I have a personal interest in this.

I have been reading about the catholic church from both sides and some conversion stories, but it only raises more questions, and doesn't bring me to understand any better.
I don't know why you should use the word 'recalcitrant' as though I am an ignorant child who needs to be brought back into line. If you are offended by my warning, I also think it's offensive for you to treat me in that way. If you think it's offensive for protestants to think of catholics as being deceived, it's also offensive to us to be thought of as naughty children who have left the 'mother' church. I'm in obedience to Christ in remaining separate from false teaching, honoring Him who is the Word of God by setting His word above man's word.

Elena said...

I'm not sure why you brought up protestant women bickering and tearing at each other. It has nothing to do with our conversation.

Well we aren't really having a conversation Jennie. You are here to prosyletize, which is funny because we're already Christians, but whatever.

I mention it because you want to point out what you see as discrepancies from Catolicism. I am illustrating discrepancies I see within the Protestants.


The fact that people bicker has nothing to do with being protestant;

Of course it does. Dissent is the very nature of what PROTESTantism is. It's just now ya'll dissent from and with each other - over just about everything.

even the churches in the bible were reprimanded by the Apostles for this. People are sinners and it's not limited to protestants.

Strawman. The only one accusing anyone of sinfulness is you Jennie. I am merely once again pointing out that your side can't agree on much.

Yes, they teach humility in our church. They also teach as the Bible says, to compare everything to God's word and reject false teaching, which is what I consider Fr. Bonaventure's teaching about Mary. I think God's word is right and he is wrong.



Correction - based on your very limited understanding of the scripture based on what some preacher or pastor has taught you, you believe that he is wrong. However Father has no doubt studied the actual texts in the original languages as well as Latin. So when you reach that level of scholarship you MIGHT be in a position to challenge him. Get back to us then.


If you think the Catholic church was spreading God's word through all these centuries then maybe you should read some more history, too,

Are you trying to be insulting Jennie or is it just in your nature? I have read history in fact, it was the study of history through secular sources that helped me reconvert back to my Catholic faith. All I have read on your blog is that you study biased anti-Catholic sources as your "source" for understanding world history. Once again, I find your serious scholarship lacking.

about how for centuries they persecuted people who read and believed God's word and did nothing to relieve the ignorance and illiteracy of the people until the protestants started teaching their people and the Catholic heirarchy had to do it to compete with the protestants.

This is an example of the anti-Catholic revisionist history that you have been spoon feeding yourself Jennie. Go and read some credible sources.



I don't look down on the people in other countries or our own who can't read or afford a Bible, I blame it on the Church who has done nothing to educate them and could afford to give them all Bibles but doesn't, and allows them to remain in ignorance.

Two words - Mother Theresa.

You knew she was Catholic right?
BTW- the biggest charitable organization in the world? The Catholic Church.


When I speak of them it was not to blame themselves, but those who could teach them God's word.


Let this Catholic start by educating YOU! Ever wonder why all the great churches in Europe had those beautiful stained glass windows? Because that is how the church taught the bible stories to the illiterate people of the time - through pictures. The rosary was another way to help the illiterate people learn the life of Christ.

Catholic schools in this country and all over the world have been providing education for centuries!

I don't know about Anglicans and Orthodox 'getting a pass' as you say. I don't mention them because I have no interest in them personally and don't know much about them.

Gee Jennie, how is it possible for someone who studies history to not know about the Orthodox and the Anglicans! Maybe you should add them to your list of things to learn or folks to hate - whatever you like to call that list.


Some of my family members have converted to catholicism as I have mentioned before, and so I have a personal interest in this.

Why don't you talk to them instead of badgering us? Maybe you could learn something from them.

I have been reading about the catholic church from both sides and some conversion stories, but it only raises more questions, and doesn't bring me to understand any better.

Attacking is probably NOT the best way to ask questions and discern answers.


I don't know why you should use the word 'recalcitrant' as though I am an ignorant child who needs to be brought back into line. If you are offended by my warning, I also think it's offensive for you to treat me in that way.



You want to come into my house and call me a heretic and you're offended?


If you think it's offensive for protestants to think of catholics as being deceived, it's also offensive to us to be thought of as naughty children who have left the 'mother' church.

Another strawman. That hasn't been used in this discussion either.

I'm in obedience to Christ in remaining separate from false teaching, honoring Him who is the Word of God by setting His word above man's word.

Yea yea, whatever.
Anything other than a sincere question from you about Catholicism on any of these threads is going to be deleted. I think our hospitality here has just run out.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I don't apologize for sincerely trying to tell the truth as I see it in history and especially in God's word. I don't hate you or any catholics; my own brother is a catholic. I have always tried to be as civil as possible even when I disagree vehemently. It seems like you are deliberately trying to be insulting in your last post.

Maybe it was a mistake to keep coming here, but I don't regret it because it has helped me to think through things and clarify my thoughts.

I'll end here because I don't want to argue anymore. You don't respect me as a person even though I have always shown respect even in disagreement.

Kelly said...

If you think the Catholic church was spreading God's word through all these centuries then maybe you should read some more history, too, about how for centuries they persecuted people who read and believed God's word

Well, I've already told you that even non-Catholic scholars don't consider Trail of Blood historically accurate. It's more like fiction.

Only if you stick with Trail of Blood could you come away with the idea that the Catholic Church is the only Christian entity which ever persecuted anyone.

* The followers of John Hus, known as the Hussites, were quite a force in their day.As Zwingli spread protestantism in Switzerland, protestant forces declared war on the Catholic cantons.

* The factions of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli all killed Anabaptists.

* Saintly Queen Elizabeth killed Catholics for not converting to Anglicanism.

* Witch trials encompassed all forms of Christianity, in Europe and America. Lutheran Germany had the highest execution rate.

* The Thirty Years War, one of the bloodiest in Europe, was primary one of religion. It began when Calvinists threw two Catholic members of the Bohemian royal council from a window.

* The Know-Nothings incited riots which were responsible for a number of church burnings, the burning of an Ursaline convent, and the death of dozens of Catholics. This was only one hundred years ago, in America.

As Elena has already pointed out, the Catholic church DOES educate people, and is well known for it. Schools, hospitals, food pantries, you name it, we're there. In addition to being the single largest charity provider in the world, we also provide a quarter of all the AIDS care in Africa.

Someone who doesn't read and attends Mass will hear virtually the entire Bible read in a three year period. Depending on your denomination, you could only hear a fraction that in other church. Every time I've attended Baptist services with my stepmother, they've been in the middle of a 10 or 20 part series on a few chapters from one book.

I see, especially in less developed countries, examples of people who are ignorant of scripture, but have plenty of statues to pray to and adore.

You see this on the internet on sites that educate you about Catholicism, or have you traveled extensively?

I've had the pleasure of having three different priests from Africa be my pastor. They have a very active Catholic school system in their countries to educate the poor. They also told me that the Catholic Church constantly struggles to educate new converts that they cannot be Catholic and keep their old tribal religion at the same time.

If you have read about questionable practices, have you considered that these are not necessarily condoned by the Catholic Church? I know the Church speaks out every year against live crucifixion in the Philippines, which is another place which has a lot of questionable practices mixed with their Catholicism.

The Catholic Church can teach and instruct, but in the end, we cannot control the actions of every single Catholic.

Elena said...

You don't respect me as a person even though I have always shown respect even in disagreement.

I don't know where you came up with that Jennie as I said nothing of the sort.

I don't respect your scholarship because I know that your sources are faulty to say the least.

I think your apologetic skills are lacking too.

You're more than welcome to stay and ask questions but the prosyletizing has to stop.

Jennie said...

Agreed. Except that expressing my views might be considered prosyletizing. I'll do my best.