Announcement

Collapse

Ecclesiology 201 Guidelines

Discussion on matters of general mainstream Christian churches. What are the differences between Catholics and protestants? How has the charismatic movement affected the church? Are Southern baptists different from fundamentalist baptists? It is also for discussions about the nature of the church.

This forum is primarily for Christians to discuss matters of Christian doctrine, and is not the area for debate between atheists (or those opposing orthodox Christianity) and theists. Inquiring atheists (or sincere seekers/doubters/unorthodox) seeking only Christian participation and having demonstrated a manner that does not seek to undermine the orthodox Christian faith of others are also welcome, but must seek Moderator permission first. When defining “Christian” for purposes of this section, we mean persons holding to the core essentials of the historic Christian faith such as the Trinity, the Creatorship of God, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Christ, the atonement, the future bodily return of Christ, the future bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the final judgment. Persons not holding to these core doctrines are welcome to participate in the Comparative Religions section without restriction, in Theology 201 as regards to the nature of God and salvation with limited restrictions, and in Christology for issues surrounding the person of Christ and the Trinity. Atheists are welcome to discuss and debate these issues in the Apologetics 301 forum without such restrictions. Additionally, there may be some topics that within the Moderator's discretion fall so outside the bounds of mainstream orthodox doctrine that may be more appropriately placed within Comparative Religions 101.

Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

Derail thread on Mary

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • robrecht
    replied
    Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
    I pray almost exclusively to the Virgin Mary. I preface all the prayers I give Christ with an Ave ...
    To me this sounds more like praying with Mary to God, not to Mary herself as if one would or could pray to her apart from God.

    Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
    ... and so send the prayer to God through her immaculate hands. That's been a pious practice for a long time in Christianity. It has a focus on the kingship of Christ, and us being poor sinners. I do it for all the reasons Rushing Jaws lay out.

    Any devotion I give to the Virgin, is also devotion given to God.

    I imagine that when the Bible describes the saints as different stars in Heaven, with one shining as bright as the moon, that this moon is her. The Queen of Heaven, the greatest disciple of Christ. She was the first believer, and among the last to abandon Him. I challenge you to go back and read the Church Fathers on her. Pick up St. Augustine and read his prayers to her, they say nothing different then than what Catholics consider her to be now.
    Emphasis mine. Do you agree perhaps?

    Leave a comment:


  • Bisto
    replied
    Rushing Jaws, Leonhard:

    First, thanks for your thoughtful replies :-)

    What you say is more or less what I understood from this and the other thread(s?). I guess I understand your points, and at its core, I agree (e.g. Mary took a part in Jesus' coming, like her own ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve, but in a unique way; or, the love-joined Body of Christ comprises all the people of God in Heaven and Earth).

    The thing of describing Mary as the "moon" or "queen" among the saints is this picture of her as the "quintessential Christian", a point that I understand, even if I personally think it might not necessarily be right in the end (as in, it wouldn't be a surprise if some anonymous brother or sister through the centuries was the greatest, humblest, most faithful, etc. disciple of Christ ever). Nonetheless, I agree with your basic points, so I would agree she's one of the "top candidates" we know of, so to speak, so she may well end up being the "moon equivalent" (from our geocentric perspective, etc. ).


    My questions were more about what the Apostles and early Church would have practiced -- e.g. given that what few of Paul's prayers we have record of in the NT, they're addressed to God Himself. I will check more on the Fathers eventually, for sure, but it might still be notable, in a way, that the Apostles didn't do it in the prayers they wrote in their epistles. Nonetheless, this "silence" may well not mean much, since as seen in the articles provided by OBP, prayer to deceased saints may have been a thing back then.

    In the end, while I more or less agree with your points, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable doing it at all. So I guess this is to understand you guys better, complement whoever I see (among my Evangelical brethren) with a different picture of the way it should be in a Catholic setting (since, like I said, my former-RC brethren have the lowest of opinions about these things), be able to relate better with any other Catholics I find (I met one today in a Bible study group in college :D), and in a way, "test" how they see it -- to make sure they're within the "parameters" implicit in your united witness so far.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leonhard
    replied
    I pray almost exclusively to the Virgin Mary. I preface all the prayers I give Christ with an Ave, and so send the prayer to God through her immaculate hands. That's been a pious practice for a long time in Christianity. It has a focus on the kingship of Christ, and us being poor sinners. I do it for all the reasons Rushing Jaws lay out.

    Any devotion I give to the Virgin, is also devotion given to God.

    I imagine that when the Bible describes the saints as different stars in Heaven, with one shining as bright as the moon, that this moon is her. The Queen of Heaven, the greatest disciple of Christ. She was the first believer, and among the last to abandon Him. I challenge you to go back and read the Church Fathers on her. Pick up St. Augustine and read his prayers to her, they say nothing different then than what Catholics consider her to be now.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rushing Jaws
    replied
    Originally posted by robrecht View Post
    Hi, Isaac. Has anyone here been defending the practice of praying more to Mary than to God???
    That just makes no sense - to pray to Our Lady, or to any other Saint, is praying to her Divine Lord, Who is Our Lord also. All that we receive through her, comes from Him. She comes from Him - no-one else is her Creator.

    Love of Our Lady is not separable from love of the her Divine Son, Who is her Creator and Redeemer and Saviour and Lord. To love her at all, is to love Him, because she is, has, and does nothing that is not His. The light in her that makes her shine so gloriously, is always and entirely His Light in her. Total Consecration to her takes nothing from Him, because it has no purpose but union with Him. She is found only and always with Him and in Him - never in separation from Him. She cannot be loved, nor rightly seen, except in Him.

    God is the "terminus" for all Christian prayer - bar none. Including all prayer to the Saints. To acknowledge the wealth and variety and breadth and height and depth of their graces, is to acknowledge the work of God in, for, and through them. The Saints reflected the many-splendoured Glory of God - they are evidences of Him, reminders of Him, further reasons for thankfulness to Him and ever-fuller adoration of Him. They have no purpose, except for Him.

    Those of them whose devotion to Our Lady was most fervent and unreserved, such as St Alphonsus Liguori, or a host of others in East and West, seem to have the most fervent and unreserved faith in her Divine Son. Love of our Lady strengthens faith in Our Lord - it is anything but an obstacle to faith in Him. What is essential, is to begin with Him. Our Lady is less than nothing without Him, and will only be seen out of focus, if looked at in separation from Him.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rushing Jaws
    replied
    Originally posted by mossrose View Post
    That error would include Mariology...........right?
    Absolutely ! :)

    Leave a comment:


  • Bisto
    replied
    Originally posted by robrecht View Post
    I think general statements about Mary's love for her son, Jesus, being greater than that of anyone else, are merely general reflections about any mother's love for her children being perhaps the greatest love that any of us normally know in our normal human experience. Such statements merely help us reflect upon the awesome doctrine of the incarnation. I don't think they are meant as some kind of dogmatic or verifiable quantification of any one person's love for God compared or contrasted with any other theoretical or concrete love experienced or expressed by anyone else.
    I see. Thanks for the clarification! I wasn't sure if it was that or a dogmatic-like declaration :-)

    Leave a comment:


  • robrecht
    replied
    Originally posted by Bisto View Post
    I apologize if it left you with a bad taste . I said that was what I find "odd". Clearly it doesn't include you nor any Catholics you have known ;D

    As an aside, I remember that some posts on the veneration of Mary being the highest among the saints, point her out as the one who has loved our Lord the most, being his mother. While I understand the force of this line of thought, I found myself thinking whether I could affirm that with such certainty. I think, why couldn't some brother or sister throughout the centuries have loved Jesus more?

    I know there's really no way to know for sure until we sleep (we'll see who "shines" the most, perhaps?), but I think in particular of those brethren who have had the most horrible deeds forgiven to them in Christ (as in "who is forgiven more, loves more"). In my Church we've had brethren who, before the Lord called them, used to be satanists and did things I will not bring up, but from what I can see, they have been among the most faithful, consecrated, humble, etc., exemplary servants of God I have known. In a way, I look at Paul similarly. So I think, what of the brothers and sisters who have lived all this time? I wouldn't find it odd if the most loyal servant of Jesus ever turned out to be some "anonymous" saint long forgotten in the flesh, perhaps even a former criminal turned servant of the King, living a life consecrated to Him in some corner of the world, with a quiet yet powerful witness that impacted greatly the lives of the handful of people who met him/her, yet whose love for Him passed otherwise unnoticed. (I remember the woman that appears in Lewis' "The Great Divorce" too for a similar scenario.)

    I understand the argument for saying that Mary would be "first" among Christ's followers... but in truth, I simply don't know. Perhaps she is, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were otherwise.

    Could be the case too in what I've seen and what my former-RCC brethren tell. We're in Chile (South America) and not exactly in the urban capital.
    I think general statements about Mary's love for her son, Jesus, being greater than that of anyone else, are merely general reflections about any mother's love for her children being perhaps the greatest love that any of us normally know in our normal human experience. Such statements merely help us reflect upon the awesome doctrine of the incarnation. I don't think they are meant as some kind of dogmatic or verifiable quantification of any one person's love for God compared or contrasted with any other theoretical or concrete love experienced or expressed by anyone else.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bisto
    replied
    Originally posted by robrecht View Post
    Seriously? I don't believe I've ever met a single Catholic who would ever defend such a position. And I have known an awful lot of Catholics!

    It does seem like a very exaggerated claim to me.
    I apologize if it left you with a bad taste . I said that was what I find "odd". Clearly it doesn't include you nor any Catholics you have known ;D


    As an aside, I remember that some posts on the veneration of Mary being the highest among the saints, point her out as the one who has loved our Lord the most, being his mother. While I understand the force of this line of thought, I found myself thinking whether I could affirm that with such certainty. I think, why couldn't some brother or sister throughout the centuries have loved Jesus more?

    I know there's really no way to know for sure until we sleep (we'll see who "shines" the most, perhaps?), but I think in particular of those brethren who have had the most horrible deeds forgiven to them in Christ (as in "who is forgiven more, loves more"). In my Church we've had brethren who, before the Lord called them, used to be satanists and did things I will not bring up, but from what I can see, they have been among the most faithful, consecrated, humble, etc., exemplary servants of God I have known. In a way, I look at Paul similarly. So I think, what of the brothers and sisters who have lived all this time? I wouldn't find it odd if the most loyal servant of Jesus ever turned out to be some "anonymous" saint long forgotten in the flesh, perhaps even a former criminal turned servant of the King, living a life consecrated to Him in some corner of the world, with a quiet yet powerful witness that impacted greatly the lives of the handful of people who met him/her, yet whose love for Him passed otherwise unnoticed. (I remember the woman that appears in Lewis' "The Great Divorce" too for a similar scenario.)

    I understand the argument for saying that Mary would be "first" among Christ's followers... but in truth, I simply don't know. Perhaps she is, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were otherwise.


    Originally posted by Adrift View Post
    Perhaps it's regional. I've lived in heavily Catholic towns (Portuguese and Irish). Seems very common place.
    Could be the case too in what I've seen and what my former-RCC brethren tell. We're in Chile (South America) and not exactly in the urban capital.
    Last edited by Bisto; 04-04-2016, 09:25 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Adrift
    replied
    Originally posted by robrecht View Post
    Seriously? I don't believe I've ever met a single Catholic who would ever defend such a position. And I have known an awful lot of Catholics!
    Perhaps it's regional. I've lived in heavily Catholic towns (Portuguese and Irish). Seems very common place.

    Leave a comment:


  • robrecht
    replied
    Originally posted by Adrift View Post
    Anecdotally, it does appear to be the case among the lay Catholics I know. It's only online that I typically find a more robust understanding of prayer among Catholics, but that's usually true for all those Christians I come into contact with on websites like these where the typical poster is often a bit more interested/involved in the faith than your average pew sitter.
    Seriously? I don't believe I've ever met a single Catholic who would ever defend such a position. And I have known an awful lot of Catholics!

    Originally posted by Bisto View Post
    Robrecht:
    Hello! From what I read, nobody has postulated that here, and I assume you would be against such idea. Nonetheless, as Adrift has mentioned, it is an attitude one can find elsewhere. I didn't bring it up as "well poisoning" or anything of that sort ;)...
    It does seem like a very exaggerated claim to me.
    Last edited by robrecht; 04-04-2016, 08:37 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • One Bad Pig
    replied
    Originally posted by Bisto View Post
    I assume there is a difference between angels and departed saints in the examples you quote...? (maybe it's just MY impression.) From my understanding, angels are to minister to God's people (as in Hebr. 1), and If I recall correctly, in Rev. 5 they implicitly serve as "carriers" of prayer (in the "incense" passage). I also remember some psalms where angels' presence or action is requested, commended, etc.
    As far as I can tell, it would be less 'innovative' for Jews to ask angels to intercede for them, since angels are (literally) God's messengers. Both angels and saintly ones are seen as having special access to God, however.
    In my Church, I can remember times when a pastor or prophet asked the Lord for angelic presence and support, and a few times commanding them in the context of spiritual warfare, and a few times when some brother or sister had visions concerning angels, but not much otherwise...
    I can see that.
    In Jacob's words in particular, I had come to understand that the Angel he talks about in Gen. 48 is the Angel of YHWH / pre-incarnate Son, so I infer that when Jews repeat Jacob's prayer about "that" angel in particular, they'd be referring to the one who was God's manifestation Himself.
    In the case of Jews, they would certainly NOT be referring to that, as far as I know.
    So in summary, is the distinction between angels and departed saints evident, blurred or non-existent in the context of angelic references?
    Sorta. Aside from the distinction above, there is room for disagreement over which departed saints are sufficiently saintly for effective intercession - especially since there is absolutely no mechanism for canonization in Judaism.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bisto
    replied
    Faber:
    Yeah, I thought that example didn't really count, for the reasons you state


    OBP:
    Thank you!! I'll look into those articles.

    I assume there is a difference between angels and departed saints in the examples you quote...? (maybe it's just MY impression.) From my understanding, angels are to minister to God's people (as in Hebr. 1), and If I recall correctly, in Rev. 5 they implicitly serve as "carriers" of prayer (in the "incense" passage). I also remember some psalms where angels' presence or action is requested, commended, etc.

    In my Church, I can remember times when a pastor or prophet asked the Lord for angelic presence and support, and a few times commanding them in the context of spiritual warfare, and a few times when some brother or sister had visions concerning angels, but not much otherwise...

    In Jacob's words in particular, I had come to understand that the Angel he talks about in Gen. 48 is the Angel of YHWH / pre-incarnate Son, so I infer that when Jews repeat Jacob's prayer about "that" angel in particular, they'd be referring to the one who was God's manifestation Himself.

    So in summary, is the distinction between angels and departed saints evident, blurred or non-existent in the context of angelic references?

    (I'm checking the examples on the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Very interesting!)


    Robrecht:
    Hello! From what I read, nobody has postulated that here, and I assume you would be against such idea. Nonetheless, as Adrift has mentioned, it is an attitude one can find elsewhere. I didn't bring it up as "well poisoning" or anything of that sort ;)...

    I think someone posted in this thread before that one gets concerned over people who misunderstand this stuff and end up doing what they shouldn't, though I understand this is also true of teachings all Christians would agree about (e.g. the Trinity).


    Adrift:
    That's what I was thinking . I would say something similar in a broader sense, not only about Catholics I've met vs. Catholics on sites like this one, but more generally about Christians I've met vs. Christians on sites like this one.


    All:
    Thanks again for your replies!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Adrift
    replied
    Originally posted by robrecht View Post
    Hi, Isaac. Has anyone here been defending the practice of praying more to Mary than to God???
    Anecdotally, it does appear to be the case among the lay Catholics I know. It's only online that I typically find a more robust understanding of prayer among Catholics, but that's usually true for all those Christians I come into contact with on websites like these where the typical poster is often a bit more interested/involved in the faith than your average pew sitter.

    Leave a comment:


  • robrecht
    replied
    Originally posted by Bisto View Post
    ... Nonetheless, I still find it odd about those who would pray more to Mary than to God/Jesus/Spirit, or otherwise dedicate more time to their veneration than to Him, etc. ...
    Hi, Isaac. Has anyone here been defending the practice of praying more to Mary than to God???

    Leave a comment:


  • One Bad Pig
    replied
    Originally posted by Bisto View Post
    Hello! I'm not sure whether I should post this here or on the "Mary Mother of God" thread... but I'll do it here.

    I read this thread (and a couple others related) the other day and, as an Evangelical, I must thank all Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox brethren for explaining how they understand Marian devotion, veneration of the saints, etc. I didn't previously know how you guys looked at this stuff, only how my Evangelical brethren make it look when asked (some of them raised RCC), but now it kind of makes sense to me how you arrive to such conclusions. Nonetheless, I still find it odd about those who would pray more to Mary than to God/Jesus/Spirit, or otherwise dedicate more time to their veneration than to Him, etc.
    From my Orthodox experience, it would be unusual for someone to do so.
    On these topics, I have the following broad questions: what do you think the 1st century church would say on these practices? Would a prison-bound Paul pray to Stephen to intercede for him and the Church? Would he support Christians asking the Patriarchs to intercede for them rather than praying to God? After Mary passed away (or was assumed to heaven, if that's what you believe happened to her), would a John approve of lay Christians directing their prayers at Mary, or giving her the level of devotion she gets nowadays in some places? etc.
    It's not easy to tell, given our paucity of sources from the time period. It is certainly possible to show Mary excessive devotion, and I'm sure John would not approve of that.
    And on a more historical side: Do we have evidence of 1st Century Jews directing similar veneration, prayer, etc. to the Patriarchs for example? e.g. praying to Abraham to intercede before God on their behalf or something like that? From what we know, would their "polemically strict monotheism", so to describe it, see such ideas favorably?

    (I know it's been explained how this shouldn't be confused with idolatry, but it has also been pointed out that some lay Catholics do bring it to the point of worshipping Mary, in their own words. Some older sisters in my Church who came out of the RCC see these practices in a very negative light to this day... and it'd be interesting to consider how ancient Jews and the first Christians would have looked at it.)
    Interestingly, there is some evidence that Jews of the time may have prayed to angels and departed saints, asking them to intercede before the Lord.

    Source: Prayers of Jews to Angels and Other Intermediaries during the First Centuries of the Common Era

    Just how commonplace the appeal to angels was is demonstrated by a baraita in BT Ber 60b (Dereh Eretz 11; Kalla Rabbati 9:13):

    On entering a privy one should say: ‘Be honoured, ye honoured and holy ones the minister to the Most High. Give honour to the God of Israel. Wait for me till I enter and do my needs, and I return to you’.[38]

    Presumably, then, several times in the course of an ordinary day, a Jew would turn to angels and ask them not to accompany him to the privy. This custom, too, was later abolished because of objections to praying to angels....

    Since contact with the dead was considered to contaminate the living, in Biblical times, as in the tannaitic period, there were some people who took care not to be rendered impure in this way.[50] However, the gradual disappearance of the laws of purity and impurity enabled the people to begin to visit graves and solicit the help of the deceased. This practice is first related by Rava in Babylon, according to whom the spies went up to Hebron to prostrate themselves on the graves of the patriarchs (BT Sot 34b).[52] Similarly, one of the Palestinian Amoraim of the third century believed in visiting cemeteries on fast days, ‘so that the dead shall plead for mercy on us’ (BT Taan 16a).

    © Copyright Original Source



    Even today, Jewish prayer invokes angels:
    On returning home from services on Friday night, it is customary to sing to the “Shabbat Angels.” Before going to sleep, the bedtime prayers include a prayer for protection by the fours archangels: “To my right Michael and to my left Gabriel, in front of me Uriel and behind me Raphael, and over my head God’s presence.” So, too, many recite the words of Genesis 48:16 before going to sleep: “May the angel who redeems me from all evil, bless the children, and let my name be named in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and let them flourish like fish for multitude in the midst of the land.” The Yom Kippur liturgy makes extensive mention of angels.
    I'm already thinking that for the 1st Century Jews, maybe one could say they didn't have this "Body dynamic" that was true for the Church, and from what I've seen in posts in this thread, this is seen as the heart of asking brethren who have passed away to intercede on behalf of the earth-bound Church. But still, I'd like to see your thoughts, on this and whatever historical evidence could shed light on what the ancient Christians would have thought about the practices that stem from said line of thought.
    I know that by the mid-2nd century, the early church was venerating martyrs (see The Martyrdom of Polycarp), but it's hard to say how or when that developed. If Jewish prayers of intercession to the departed holy ones go back that far, then martyrs may well have been invoked by the church from the beginning.

    Leave a comment:

Related Threads

Collapse

Topics Statistics Last Post
Started by Thoughtful Monk, 05-26-2022, 08:29 AM
12 responses
61 views
0 likes
Last Post Cow Poke  
Working...
X