Recently I was questioned in regards to a status update I made on December 8th – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. On that Feast I posted “Mary, teach us how to love your Son.” It is no surprise that the comment would only be fully understood by someone who is Catholic and truly understands Mary’s role in our Salvation.
The person asked me why we would feel the need to ask Mary to teach us about Jesus and not just go straight to Jesus himself. I sent a response. And then I was told that Satan had deceived me. That Mary was insignificant in our Salvation.
Here is my response:
I enjoy having these discussions as well. And you are absolutely correct about Satan being cunning. However, I would argue that I am not the one being deceived. Before I go into that though, I would like to just be clear. Mary is co-redeemer; not because she shed her blood but because of her yes. Without it, we would not have been redeemed because God (the Word- Jesus) would have never become Incarnate.
Secondly, Catholics do not worship Mary in a Protestant understanding of the word. The word worship means to declare the worth (worth-ship) of something. It is to ascribe value. Mary, obviously, has value. She is the Mother of God. That is an unarguable point. Since she is the Mother of God, she has value.
Thirdly, Catholics DO NOT pray to Mary. We, ask Mary to pray for us. The first half of the prayer “Hail Mary” is simply a combination of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting and Elizabeth’s greeting found in the 1st Chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The second half of the prayer is a request for Mary to pray for us. If you want to argue that Jesus is the sole mediator, then my question is why have you asked me for prayers before? Why do you ask others to pray for you? After all, according to your philosophy, Jesus is sole mediator, thus making the prayers of other unnecessary. However, if we are asking others to pray for us, then why not ask Mary, his Mother, who is in Heaven to pray for us? After all, it is found in Scripture (Lk 2:3). Mary presented a need to Jesus so he could help at the Wedding of Cana. She does the something for us. Which scripture clearly states is acceptable (1 Tim 2:1).
As far as the guy who has studied and read scripture for over 23 years, ask him who compiled the Bible? When was it compiled? The answer to that question is simple – it was the Catholic Church. Now I know that you are going to argue that. But the fact is the Church that Jesus founded compiled the Bible, in the 3rd Century, as we know it today.
This brings up some interesting points. If the Bible is the sole authority, what did the Church do for 300+ years? And if the Church that Jesus founded compiled it, then why do people not go to her for a proper interpretation?
Let’s look at Scripture. In Matthew 16:16, Simon Peter professes that Jesus is the Son of the living God. Two verses later, Jesus says to Peter that he has authority and that he will build his Church on Peter (v18). In Chapter 18 of Matthew, Jesus refers to the Church and the Authority of the Church by saying, “if your brother won’t listen, and then go to the Church” (v15). In Matthew 28:18 Jesus gives His power and authority to the apostles – the first Bishops of the Church – thus, giving the Church the same authority as Him. In John 14 He (Jesus) promises to send the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) to the Church (the Apostles) to guide them in the truth (v16) and to be with them always. Then two verses later he promises not leave the Church (v18). Finally, He reiterates this again in verse 26 “…he (the Holy Spirit) will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
Now, what have we learned? 1- Jesus established a Church on Peter (the first Pope, first leader, of the Catholic Church). If you don’t believe that, then your history is a little off. The Catholic Church is the only Christian Church that can trace her roots and origins back to Jesus through and unbroken line of Popes, starting with Peter and ending with Benedict XVI (the current Pope). 2- He gave the Church authority. 3- He promised to guide the Church in Truth through the Advocate. And finally, He promised that he would never leave the Church He established.
It was over 1500 years after Jesus died before we saw the first non-Catholic Christian Church. So for 1500+ years, the Catholic Church was the teaching authority on Sacred Scripture. For 300+ years they didn’t have scripture. All they had were the traditions of the apostles – the traditions of the Catholic Church – to hand down and teach. That is what Jesus commissioned His Church to do – “go and teach” (Matt. 28:20).
Now, you can continue to learn scripture from a guy who has studied it for 23 years. As for me, I am going to stick with the Church, that Jesus gave the authority to teach it, who taught it before there was a Book compiled to read it. They’ve been doing it for over 2000 years.
But, for arguments sake, let’s stick with scripture as the sole teaching authority. Now mind you, this also assumes that Jesus didn’t establish a Church and we misunderstood His promised to NEVER leave the Church. But looking literal interpretations of Scripture, explain to me John Chapter 6. Because you see, I argue that the devil is in fact cunning and deceitful. He has convinced us that the Catholic Church wrong on everything – Mary, the Saints, etc. I think it is unfortunate that we are left without these people, because they paved the way, set the example and showed us that reaching Heaven is possible. But I guess we can get to Heaven without Mary and the Saints. That’s fine.
But Jesus very specifically says “unless eat my flesh…you have no life” (John 6:53). In this whole discourse, found in the 6th Chapter of John, Jesus knew the followers understood that they would have to literally eat his body and drink his blood. Yet, he never once made any statement about it being a symbol of his flesh and blood. In fact he continued to make bolder statements. Even when they walked away (v66) stating that this saying was too hard to accept (v60), he still didn’t clear anything up. He looked at his disciple and asked if they were going to leave also (v67). Why? Because he didn’t mean that it would be a symbol. He meant that we, his followers, in order to have a hope of eternal life, had to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. There’s an old saying that you are what you eat. And as we RE-member that sacrifice of Calvary and the last Supper, and we consume Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we become more like Jesus and less like our sinful inclinations.
One of the most amazing miracles of the Eucharist happened in the 700s. A Catholic monk in Italy, who doubted the true presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, held up the Bread at consecration; it turned to flesh and began to bleed everywhere. In the 1500s, atheist scientists tested the flesh and blood. It was found to be AB blood type (the same as found on the Shroud of Turin), and the remarkable thing was that it was found to be living tissue. Today, that flesh is still living. Jesus said “he who eats my Flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:54).
So if we need to eat Jesus’ Body and drink His Blood to have life, then it would totally make sense that the devil wants us to believe it to be just a symbol.
I will continue to ask our Lady, the Mother of our Lord (Lk. 1:43), to pray for me. I will also continue to Worship and Adore our Lord in His Eucharistic presence. I do this because I know the gift that both are to us from our Lord. I also know how much Satan doesn’t want us to do either. That tells me something.
I pray that you will at least give thought to all I have said.