Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Secret of Mary

While surfing around I came across a mention of a book called The Secret of Mary by St. Louis De Montfort.

Tan Books had this to say:

“A short, famous classic on "true devotion to Mary"--an excellent, easy means of attaining holiness and salvation, a way followed by Popes and Saints, but also perfect for lay people. It is at least every bit as good as his True Devotion to Mary! Small but powerful--seems almost divinely inspired!”


The full text is actually available online and it is a disturbing read. I am included a few paragraphs below, not consecutive (pay attention to the paragraph numbers for breaks).

23. The difficulty, then, is how to arrive at the true knowledge of the most holy Virgin and so find grace in abundance through her. God, as the absolute Master, can give directly what he ordinarily dispenses only through Mary, and it would be rash to deny that he sometimes does so. However, St Thomas assures us that, following the order established by his divine Wisdom, God ordinarily imparts his graces to men through Mary. Therefore, if we wish to go to him, seeking union with him, we must use the same means which he used in coming down from heaven to assume our human nature and to impart his graces to us. That means was a complete dependence on Mary his Mother, which is true devotion to her.

28. Chosen soul, this devotion consists in surrendering oneself in the manner of a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary. Let me explain this statement further.

29. We should choose a special feast-day on which to give ourselves. Then, willingly and lovingly and under no constraint, we consecrate and sacrifice to her unreservedly our body and soul. We give to her our material possessions, such as house, family, income, and even the inner possessions of our soul, namely, our merits, graces, virtues and atonements. Notice that in this devotion we sacrifice to Jesus through Mary all that is most dear to us, that is, the right to dispose of ourselves, of the value of our prayers and alms, of our acts of self- denial and atonements. This is a sacrifice which no religious order would require of its members. We leave everything to the free disposal of our Lady, for her to use as she wills for the greater glory of God, of which she alone is perfectly aware.

30. We leave to her the right to dispose of all the satisfactory and prayer value of our good deeds, so that, after having done so and without going so far as making a vow, we cease to be master over any good we do. Our Lady may use our good deeds either to bring relief or deliverance to a soul in purgatory, or perhaps to bring a change of heart to a poor sinner.

31. By this devotion we place our merits in the hands of our Lady, but only that she may preserve, increase and embellish them, since merit for increase of grace and glory cannot be handed over to any other person. But we give to her all our prayers and good works, inasmuch as they have intercessory and atonement value, for her to distribute and apply to whom she pleases. If, after having thus consecrated ourselves to our Lady, we wish to help a soul in purgatory, rescue a sinner, or assist a friend by a prayer, an alms, an act of self-denial or an act of self-sacrifice, we must humbly request it of our Lady, abiding always by her decision, which of course remains unknown to us. We can be fully convinced that the value of our actions, being dispensed by that same hand which God himself uses to distribute his gifts and graces to us, cannot fail to be applied for his greatest glory.

50. Beware, chosen soul, of thinking that it is more perfect to direct your work and intention straight to Jesus or straight to God. Without Mary, your work and your intention will be of little value. But if you go to God through Mary, your work will become Mary's work, and consequently will be most noble and most worthy of God.

55. This devotion faithfully practised produces countless happy effects in the soul. The most important of them is that it establishes, even here on earth, Mary's life in the soul, so that it is no longer the soul that lives, but Mary who lives in it. In a manner of speaking, Mary's soul becomes identified with the soul of her servant. Indeed when by an unspeakable but real grace Mary most holy becomes Queen of a soul, she works untold wonders in it. She is a great wonder-worker especially in the interior of souls. She works there in secret, unsuspected by the soul, as knowledge of it might destroy the beauty of her work.


The premise for such a supreme role of Mary in the lives of Catholics is based on the RCC's teachings of Mary as the mediatrix of all graces, a teaching which is lacking in scriptural support. Without going through each of the paragraphs, I will just say that the elevation of Mary to such a level, despite the reminders of Christ's authority, is idolatrous and blasphemous.

And if you think these ideas are just a fringe of Catholic teaching, be sure to check out historical statements on Mary and the current push by many Catholics to define the fifth Marian dogma. This component of Catholic faith should give Protestants pause.

69 comments:

tap said...

Dear Carri,
I'm starting to become convinced by your arguments.

I came back from Mass this past sunday, after, you know, giving lip service to the authority of scripture. In fact I was surprised by my own low view of scripture, and I immediately started taking a hostile stance towards the bible. For me this was a red flag (among many).I think this might for me, be a problem of two masters

To top it all off, today, I login to beggars all, and see a Quotes from a revered Saint of my Church - St. Louis De Montfort. Giving high praise to the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. From your previous, posts it would seem that your declarations that it is blasphemy and idolatry should be heeded as well.

Matthew Bellisario said...

This is laughable. You cherry pick off some paragraphs and never quote the volumes he writes on how he coincides with Scripture and the Tradition of the Church? You should really be ashamed of yourself. You are just like the cheap tabloids that use headlines to get people's attention to sell a story. Yet when you go and read the story for yourself, you find it is completely different when read in full context.

Tap, if you have a low view of Scripture than that is you. Don't blame it on the Church. The Church has more reverence for the Sacred Scriptures than any Protestant can, because they are from the bosom of the Church and are no one's individual property. Please read this stuff for yourself. Read The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Liguori before you buy into Carrie's sub-defective understanding of Mariology. He puts these infantile arguments to bed.

BillyHW said...

"Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeVZ6e2T0E

tap said...

Matthew B. I was being sarcastic. I was only referring to this post of hers:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2008/12/catholic-quotes-on-bible.html

Matthew Bellisario said...

I saw that article too Tap. It wasn't even worth responding to. I guess none of these really are. My bad. I guess your sarcasm went over my head!

What in the world is that video? Those people look possessed to me. Oh Well...

James Swan said...

“A short, famous classic on "true devotion to Mary"--an excellent, easy means of attaining holiness and salvation”

on the 12/11 (first show) of CA Live- Madrid answers a caller who is concerned about her mortal sin.

If I recall Madrid's answer correctly, after going through confession, absolution, pennance - he says to pray the Rosary because it is the "strongest weapon outside the sacraments that we have to combat mortal sin." That is, it's like an antidote to keep one from mortal sin. The comment comes around 51:00 min. in.

Andrew said...

Yikes.

Kevin Davis said...

I wish Matthew would enlighten us on how the context of these statements make Mary any less an object of faith, hope, and trust for achieving salvation. I have read a lot of de Montfort's other major work, True Devotion to Mary, and it is much of the same.

I think Beggars All can be accused in the past of "cherry picking" once in a while, but this is not such an instance. The work I do on my blog (and in my own scholarship) is quite sympathetic toward Catholicism, but even I have to admit that this mariology is highly problematic and troubling -- and it is not some fringe piety, rather, it is endorsed throughout the hierarchy and among the faithful.

Wintrowski said...

"Mary as the mediatrix of all graces, a teaching which is lacking in scriptural support."

Wearing clothes to church is also a practice which is lacking in scriptural support, so what's your point?

The quotes here from St. Louis de Montfort are presented as though they're some expose of how the Catholic Church is riddled with pagan teachings that take people away from the "true Gospel". But is that actually the case? Do the more contemplative Marian teachings draw Catholics away from Christ?

Paradoxically, the evidence actually suggests that they, in fact, draw people closer to God, and that God bestows extraordinary graces upon sinners who have professed a true and deep devotion to the Mother of God.

Christ tells us to judge the tree by its fruit. Sure, there are the Mariology crackpots who take it all too far and have to be brought back in line by episcopal authority, but how many truly holy saints have professed a sincere and far-reaching devotion to the Mother of God? Plenty, that's for darned sure.

In my mind, this simple fact just doesn't line up with the Protestant tendency to cry heresy every time the subject of Mary crops up. If the Protestant repulsion of Mariology and the Catholic Church's Marian doctrines was tending more towards God's will, then why are there curious characters like St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, and so many other Saints, holy men and women whose lives are an astounding proclamation of God's grace at work in man, yet they were thoroughly Catholic and throughly imbibed with a deep contemplation of Mary that has people like Carrie running for the hills? Doesn't quite seem to add up, does it?

There would appear to be more to the Catholic Church's teachings on Mary than what most Protestants have been told to believe.

EA said...

"Paradoxically, the evidence actually suggests that they, in fact, draw people closer to God, and that God bestows extraordinary graces upon sinners who have professed a true and deep devotion to the Mother of God."

How do you know empirically, which is what the word "evidence" suggests, that ANY of the above has a basis in FACT?

You do not.

What you have is conjecture and assumption based on emotionalism and on a circular form of logic that uses the Church's designation of certain individuals as saints as the standard of measure. This simply assumes what it needs to prove.

There is no "evidence" in the ordinary sense of the word.

evenshine said...

"Do the more contemplative Marian teachings draw Catholics away from Christ?"

When the emphasis is so blatantly put on the explicit necessity of Mary's intervention for our actions to be worthy of Christ, I'd say yes.
This is not some kind of "expose". Carrie has blogged about Catholic issues for some time, and this is simply more (convincing) evidence to the same end.

Wintrowski said...

@EA:

"How do you know empirically, which is what the word "evidence" suggests, that ANY of the above has a basis in FACT?"

Well, these people, the Saints, actually really did exist. You can't get much more empirical than that. That the Church has canonized them is irrelevant, because their lives speak manifold of God's grace.

@evenshine:

"When the emphasis is so blatantly put on the explicit necessity of Mary's intervention for our actions to be worthy of Christ, I'd say yes."

How is that drawing people away from Christ if Mary is to be thought of as a path to Christ? That doesn't make sense.

You can argue semantics as much as you like, but as I said in my original post, you cannot deny that there have been men and women in Christian history with deep veneration of Mary whose lives have been blessed in startling ways by God. That would seem to be completely counterintuitive to the irrational Protestant fear of contemplating Mary's place in the economy of salvation.

I'm somewhat surprised that you have found any of Carrie's posts to be convincing. All she does is paste up out-of-context snippets that appeal to peoples' preconceived notions of dissent. No reasoned argument, no understanding of what the Catholic Church has to say for herself, merely headline journalism that appeals to preconception. Sounds like you're already convinced, and Carrie's posts serve only as a form of self-affirmation for your own lack of independent serious thought.

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Carrie, I deleted my prior comment because of rushed typing led to typos that changed the meaning of what I wrote. Here it is corrected.

I read your article on St. Louis de Montfort. Unfortunately, I do not think that you are doing him justice. If you read his other writings, you might be surprised that St. Louis himself would criticize the kind of focus you are attributing to him in your article as a false devotion to Mary.

For Louis de Montfort, authentic devotion to the Blessed Virgin requires one to live a life of virtue. As Father Hardon notes in an article he wrote about St. Louis on the subject:

"In essence, devotion is dedicated love. Our love of Christ, following the example of Mary, must be real. This means it must be lived in obedience to His teaching and in the observance of His commands. Otherwise, it becomes a substitute for true devotion to Mary which means the true following of Christ."

You chose to highlight one of the sayings of St. Louis, "performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary." However, St. Louis explains in his "Treatise on the True Devotion of Mary" "doing everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary" actually means we are to imitate her virtues as a saint and as a Christian so that we live our lives "more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus." (True Devotion 257)

I would submit that if you were to actually read St. Louis de Montfort without the preconceived notions that Protestants usually have towards this sort of thing, you will find that his idea of a true devotion to Mary is an "interior devotion" that requires s person to especially imitate of her virtues, particularly her total faith in her Son, Jesus Christ, her absolute confidence in God and His promises, and her completely selfless charity toward others. To sum up St. Louis' views into one sentence, true devotion to Mary is following Christ in the same manner she did.

With that said, I do acknowledge that many Marian practices are very hard for non-Catholics and even some Catholics to understand. But I would contend that such things have to be understood not just in the context of someone's writings but how that person actually lives their life and incorporate Marian practices into it as Wintrowski pointed out in his comments. True Marian devotion in my mind is actually a true devotion to the incarnational reality of Jesus Christ, God-made-man. Perhaps if you keep that in my mind, Marian devotional practices of Catholics might seem quite a bit less shocking.

God bless!

EA said...

"Well, these people, the Saints, actually really did exist. You can't get much more empirical than that.

1) This hardly constitutes "evidence" of the kind stipulated in your original comments.

2) Do you mean Saints like St. Christopher, the Holy Child of La Guardia, Simon of Trent, and William of Norwich?

Wintrowski said...

@EA:

"This hardly constitutes "evidence" of the kind stipulated in your original comments."

What kind of "evidence" did you think was stipulated by my original comment?

"Do you mean Saints like St. Christopher, the Holy Child of La Guardia, Simon of Trent, and William of Norwich?"

Are you naturally obtuse, or is it something you're actively working towards?

Rhology said...

Chosen soul, this devotion consists in surrendering oneself in the manner of a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary.

Pffff. So?

BindingSubstance said...

This is beyond unreal.

Thanks for the update

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology, you said, "Pffff. So?"

Perhaps you might want to give a more reasoned response than that in light of Mt. 20:27, Rom. 6:16-18, 1 Cor. 7:22 and 1 Cor. 9:19.

Paul Hoffer said...

Rhology,

As far St. Christopher, Simon of Trent, the Holy Child of La Guardia and William of Norwich go, what do they have to do with the Marian issues raised by Carrie?

St. Christopher is still regarded as a saint under both the Eastern and Western traditions. While he was removed from the Roman calendar (which is no big deal), he is still on the Orthodox calendar. However, he was martyred in the 3rd century before Marian doctrines started to be seriously defined.

The other folks were children allegedly killed by Jews in medieval times. None of them were ever declared to be officially as saints. If they were actually martyred in the manner that was suggested in each of their cases, the Catholic Church and even most Protestants for that matter, would regard them as saints by virtue of their martyrdom because of they were supposedly murdered for their faith. Separating fact from fiction concerning their deaths is as challenging as many of the folks listed in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, so I fail to see your point here.

However, none of these folks are connected in any way with Marian dogmas. Hence my question, why did you bring them up?

Rhology said...

Paul,

You addressed your last comment to me, but I didn't bring up those people. All I said was something sarcastic. And if you don't get it, that says alot already.

Carrie said...

I would submit that if you were to actually read St. Louis de Montfort without the preconceived notions that Protestants usually have towards this sort of thing, you will find that his idea of a true devotion to Mary is an "interior devotion" that requires s person to especially imitate of her virtues, particularly her total faith in her Son, Jesus Christ, her absolute confidence in God and His promises, and her completely selfless charity toward others. To sum up St. Louis' views into one sentence, true devotion to Mary is following Christ in the same manner she did.

Paul,

You are clever, and water-downing these types of devotions to just a role model may make it sound less offensive to the unsuspecting Protestant, but that explanation doesn't jive with much of what is said.

Let's not forget that Mary is the dispenser of ALL graces. No Mary, no grace. As Montfort says "Beware, chosen soul, of thinking that it is more perfect to direct your work and intention straight to Jesus or straight to God. Without Mary, your work and your intention will be of little value.".

Monfort also says "Indeed when by an unspeakable but real grace Mary most holy becomes Queen of a soul, she works untold wonders in it. She is a great wonder-worker especially in the interior of souls. She works there in secret, unsuspected by the soul, as knowledge of it might destroy the beauty of her work.". How do you imitate her if she is secretly at work in your soul?

And not only is Mary at work in your soul, dispensing all graces, and needed for your work to have any value, but she is also portrayed as more sympathetic and loving than her son in Monfort's Prayer to Jesus toward the end of the text:

"Most loving Jesus, permit me to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for your kindness in giving me to your holy Mother through the devotion of holy bondage, and so making her my advocate to plead with your Majesty on my behalf, and make up for all that I lack through my inadequacy. Alas, O Lord, I am so wretched that without my dear Mother I would certainly be lost. Yes, I always need Mary when I am approaching you. I need her to calm your indignation at the many offences I have committed every day. I need her to save me from the just sentence of eternal punishment I have deservedly incurred. I need her to turn to you, speak to you, pray to you, approach you and please you. I need her to help me save my soul and the souls of others. In a word, I need her so that I may always do your holy will and seek your greater glory in everything I do. Would that I could publish throughout the whole world the mercy which you have shown to me! Would that the whole world could know that without Mary I would now be doomed! If only I could offer adequate thanks for such a great benefit as Mary! She is within me."

This is not the first time I have seen quotes about Mary protect the faithful from an angry Jesus. I'm not even sure how to categorize that other than "really not smart".

Sorry Paul, but your explanation makes no sense and misses the mark.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology, I am sorry, I did see that it was ea who brought them up originally. Excuse moi! Perhaps he would be so kind to explain why he is referencing them here.

Hi Carrie, As I said, to someone who is not familiar with how folks like St. Louis de Montfort thought, what he is saying sounds strange and perhaps shocking. However, I stand firmly behind my remarks that when one actually looks behind the words on a page, what St. Louis de Montfort is talking about is imitation.

The "chosen soul" remark is one such instance of what I am talking about. Rather than inserting my thoughts, I will try to let St. Louis defend himself.

"Chosen soul, you are the living image of God. You have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Through the merits of Christ, and through your baptism, you have been spiritually adopted by God as his own child. Now, God wants you to become holy like he is in this life, and glorious like he is in the next life."

...

"Knowing that we are called to holiness, we must understand exactly what that means for us. We are not angels. We are earthly human creatures. As human beings, we are called to glorify God in our bodies. The apostle says: "I beg you my brothers to appreciate God's mercy! Behave in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies to God as a holy sacrifice that is truly pleasing to him." (Romans 12:1) All of our thoughts, all of our words, all of our spontaneous utterances, all of our postures and gesticulations, all of the actions of our bodies, everything we do, everything we suffer or undertake should lead us towards the goal of holiness. We are resisting God's will, if we refuse to strive to accomplish the primary purpose for which he created us. Even now, God is keeping us in existence only for this purpose!

What a marvelous transformation is possible for us! Lives that seem to be without meaning can be transformed into story's of heroic achievement. Ignorant souls can grow into the fulness of divine wisdom. Souls fouled by sinful impurities may be transformed into noble souls which redeem the world. Frustration can be changed into satisfaction, failure into success, anger into joy! In fact, we are called to such holiness that our souls can be transformed by a mystical divine union with God, so that we become as perfect as it is possible for us to become in this life.

Sadly, this transformation is not only difficult but, it is impossible for a mere creature to bring it about. God, however, can easily accomplish this in you by giving you his sanctifying grace in an extraordinary manner. Only God's infusion of sanctifying grace into our souls will accomplish the high purpose to which we are called. This, however, is a work that only God himself can bring about. The very creation of the universe is not as great an achievement for God, as is the perfection of of the soul of a human being. God desires that we love him as much as it is possible for us to love him, and he desires to love us as much as it is possible for him to love us! This is why God wills holiness for you above all things. Through holiness, we not only find the joy of intimate union with God, but we also find the perfection of every other aspect of our human lives."
(Secret of Mary 2:3)

"Chosen soul, how can you bring this transformation about? What steps will you take to reach the glorious vocation to which God is calling you? The ordinary means of holiness and salvation are known to everybody. They are found in the teachings of Jesus, and by the teachings of the apostles in the epistles of the Bible. The masters of the spiritual life have explained them; the saints have practiced them and shown how essential they are for those who wish to be saved and to attain perfection. The ordinary means to achieve holiness are: unreserved faith in Jesus Christ, sincere humility, prayerful lives, love of God and neighbor, self-denial, abandonment to Divine Providence, and obedience to the will of God in all things. But how is it possible to really attain to the full measure of this?" (Secret of Mary 2:4)

"It all comes to this: we must discover a simple means to consistently obtain the greatest graces from God, which are needed to enable us to become truly holy. It is precisely how to do this that I wish to teach you. You must discover the secret of Mary if you would consistently obtain the greatest graces from God." (Secret of Mary 2:6)

"Mary alone was given the most sublime grace that God could give to any mere human creature. Because God chose her to be the mother of his only begotten Son, the Eternal Word at time of his Incarnation, God infused her soul with every grace possible. She required every grace imaginable to be a worthy vessel to conceive, to sustain, and to bear within her body the Eternal Son of God in the divine person of Jesus Christ. The primary reason for of the creation of the whole universe itself, began within the womb of Mary. "All things were created for him." (Col. 1:16) Through Mary, and in Mary, God accomplished the greatest, most sublime work of his entire creation. The greatest work of God came into existence in Jesus Christ himself. Christ alone glorifies, and loves, almighty God to the greatest extent possible for any created being.

In Jesus Christ, through the hypostatic union, God became man. In the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, the earthly matter of a human body, and the created soul of a man assumed the very nature of divinity itself! This is a mystery and a miracle beyond human or angelic understanding. In Christ, God actually turned created matter into God!

First, the created soul of Christ glorifies God through love more perfectly than can any other created being.

Second, in the Incarnation, God who is immaterial and eternal, became incarnate, that means: made flesh. This means that God himself became material. In Christ, the infinite and eternal God himself became matter! Thus, in Christ, God does not only exist as pure spirit in eternity, but God also exists as a creation within his own creation, confined by time and space.

Thus, the greatest creative feat possible for God is accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ. In the person of Christ, God is more perfectly glorified than by the rest of his entire creation. This is why, before all time began, the Incarnation of the Eternal Word was God's first and primary creative intention. It is also for this reason that God gave Mary every grace possible, so as to most fittingly bring forth Christ into creation. It is first in Mary, that the primary glorification of God's creation is performed. Thus, it was also firstly through Mary that the grace of salvation comes to the entire human race. No patriarch or prophet, or any other holy person of the Old Law was ever given such grace by God!. Untold, unimaginable graces were given to Mary as special privileges because she was chosen from the foundation of the world to conceive, to bear, and to bring forth God himself into the creation. She is the Theotokos: the 'God Bearer'." (Secret of Mary 2:7)

"In Jesus Christ, Mary gave human existence to the author of all grace. Because she is the human mother of the source of all grace, she is called the “Mother of Grace”.

God the Father, from whom comes every perfect gift and every grace, himself gave Mary every grace when he gave her his Son. When the angel Gabrielle first came to her, he said: "Hail full of grace!". This means that her soul was filled with every grace that it was capable of being filled with at that time. She herself confesses: "My soul magnifies the Lord ... the Almighty has done great things for me!" (Luke 1:47-49) St. Bernard says, "the specific will of God for Mary was manifested to her in Jesus himself."

In the new dispensation of grace to the world through Christ, God also chose Mary to be the treasurer, the administrator and the dispenser of all his graces. The sanctifying grace which brings about our spiritual adoption as children of God, passes to us through her soul as through a crystal clear channel. Thus, everyone who is a member of the mystical Body of Christ is spiritually born both of God and of Mary - just as Jesus was. Through Christ, the salvation and grace of God is available to all men. Man's personal response of faith establishes his spiritual adoption and life in God. But, the sanctifying of graces of God gained by the sacrifice of Christ, come to us through the spiritual mediation of Mary. This is why the Church calls her the "Mediatrix of Grace." (Secret of Mary 2:8-10)

Now reading this, I hope you can see how my comments are borne out. Cutting through the flowery language, the hyperbole, the way that folks wrote in the 18th century, St. Louis de Montfort's doctrine is nothing more than an extension of what is found in Scripture and in the writings of the early church fathers starting with St. Ignatius of Antioch before 110 AD.

You referenced the statement: "She works there in secret, unsuspected by the soul, as knowledge of it might destroy the beauty of her work."

Well, does Scripture describe how exactly God's grace works on any of us? How is this different from what St. Paul talks about at Ephesians 3:14-20 or at Colossians 1:24? God put each of us here on earth for His purposes so that we may vehicles of His grace to each other. As the second Eve, to borrow a phrase from SS. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, Mary is the epitome of what we are all called to be.

Finally, as far as an angry Jesus goes, this is a theme that one sees in the writings of St. Anselm and one can hardly fault St. Louis for building on that theme a bit differently than some Calvinists who like to talk about a vengeful God the Father pouring out His wrath and punishing His Son for our sins. I would have figured that some here would have found that aspect of St. Louis' writings to be more palatable than some of the other things you have brought to the fore here.

I apologize to all for the length of my comments. However, I wanted to try to put things in a better perspective for you on Marian doctrines.

I hope you continue your Marian studies and I pray that Our Lord illumine your heart and soul to the benefits that truly imitating Mary can bring to enhance your Christian journey.

"Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word." Amen.

Wintrowski said...

@Andrew:

"...You know that whole thing about not bowing down to graven images."

So, no nativity scene at your place for Christmas? That must be grim.

Andrew said...

Wintrowski:
I do not bow down to nativity scenes so the comparison is void.

Andrew said...

Wintrowski: I find your arguments to be poor. Do you really equate a nativity scene in a church or someone's yard with kneeling in front of a statue and praying to Mary to help in your salvation? By the way we do have a nativity scence which is still out in our living room. We just don't pray to it. That pesky commandment about not having idols keeps getting in the way.

Wintrowski said...

@Andrew:

"Do you really equate a nativity scene in a church or someone's yard with kneeling in front of a statue and praying to Mary to help in your salvation?"

Are you saying that you think Catholics are actually venerating the statue itself when they kneel before one in prayer?

Matthew Bellisario said...

I guess all of these guys were heretics for asking the Saints for intercession as well, and honoring and asking Mary for intercession. What nonsense. These are Saints who were so far above anyone on this blog that I find it quite silly to even be discussing this.

"Since Mary would not have been a worthy mother of God if she had ever sinned, we assert without qualification that Mary never committed a sinful act, fatal or non-fatal: You are wholly beautiful, my love, and without blemish. Christ is the source of grace, author of it as God and instrument of it as man, and, since Mary was closest to Christ in giving him his human nature, she rightly received from him fullness of grace: grace in such abundance as to bring her closest in grace to its author, receiving into herself the one who was full of every grace [for others], and, by giving birth to him, bringing grace to all." (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica IIIa:27.4-5)

"Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . "
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).

"You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so we may love him"
Saint Ephraim (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]).

Finally we have proof of Mary interceding for the Church because the Church had prayers to her very early on. For example the Sub tuum praesidium, which we have copies of from 250AD written in Greek from a Coptic manuscript says this.

Beneath your compassion,We take refuge, O Mother of God:do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:but rescue us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.

I know, I know. 250 is just not early enough. Cry me a river....

Turretinfan said...

Oh, there were people worshiping Mary very early on. Thus, Epiphanius (315-403) had to say, "The whole thing is foolish and strange, and is a device and deceit of the devil. Let Mary be in honour. Let the Lord be worshipped. Let no one worship Mary."

It's no surprise to find something inappropriate in the 3rd century. In fact the Gnostics were promoting Mary worship even earlier than that - in the second century.

And don't forget - Jesus had to deal with people excessively praising his mother during his own life!

-TurretinFan

John8v36 said...

I love the Catholic people and I enjoy listening to John Michael Talbot. I used to hate the Catholic church and the people in it but that was doing no good to the cause of the Gospel in my own life (this was many many years ago). Anyway, these are sensitive matters and they need to be handled delicately, especially those just being misguided by this (sorry for the word) garbage. Jesus is the ONLY mediator between God and man...

Pray for their eyes to be opened!

Tyler

Wintrowski said...

@John8v36:

"Jesus is the ONLY mediator between God and man."

The Catholic Church teaches this. Jesus is the only mediator between God the Father and man, and no one can get to the Father except through Christ.

But Jesus is God too, so are you also saying that we can't pray for one another? After all, according to your theology, there's only one mediator between God and man, so having someone else pray to God on your behalf would be putting another mediator between yourself and God, and therefore a violation of the "true Gospel". Right?

Rhology said...

Wintrowski,

Please don't blow sunshine in our faces. The mediation performed by Mary and the saints in RC theology is far different from asking a fellow church member to pray for you. That might work for some doofus calling Catholic Answers Live, but alot of people around here are a little more familiar with the situation. Please don't be so disingenuous; have the courage of your own convictions, at least.

Wintrowski said...

@Rhology:

"The mediation performed by Mary and the saints in RC theology is far different from asking a fellow church member to pray for you."

Of course it is. Being in the presence of God, and being the Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, I'd surely expect her to be able to achieve a lot more in her intercession than what a fellow church member could accomplish with his evening prayers.

But that's not the issue. The issue is the ridiculous nonsense that Protestants try to ram down the throats of Catholics with this "there's only one mediator between God and man" line. It's an absurd maxim that's always thrown around to try to make Catholics feel bad about venerating the Mother of Christ, or any of God's other Saints, by distorting the truth of the situation. That is being disingenuous.

The bottom line is that there is not much difference between asking the saints in heaven to intercede for you and asking some fellow at the local church to pray for you. Neither situation involves replacing the role of Christ as the sole mediator between the Father and mankind.

The least that Protestants can do is rectify their own ignorance, and acknowledge that the Catholic Church teachings nothing which removes Christ from this role.

Rhology said...

So when you ask a church mbr to pray for you, do you
1) bow down
2) before a statue of that person
3) in an alcove of the church
4) light candles
5) pray inaudibly
6) burn incense
7) ask for them to intercede with you, that you get more favor with God than you would if you asked Jesus directly?

Any "no" answer would prove the difference. Thank you.

Wintrowski said...

@Rhology:

I already admitted and defined the difference in my previous post, so your comment would seem to be wasted breath.

Are you trying to intimate that Catholics regard a statue of a saint as some sort of physical manifestation of a god, and the statue can therefore be worshipped in and of itself?

Rhology said...

First could I ask you to answer the question I posed?

Rhology said...

And to know what I think about all this, I've been over it all before, just FYI.

Wintrowski said...

Rhology:

"First could I ask you to answer the question I posed?"

Really, what would be the point? It is clear that you are thoroughly convinced you're right, and are only interested in winning silly arguments rather than coming to any kind of charitable understanding of the matter.

With that in mind, the only question that really matters is, and I have asked you this already elsewhere, what are the spiritual and psychological reasons why you approach the teachings of the Catholic Church with a spirit of unreasonableness and dissent?

Did your daddy beat you as a boy, and now you're taking it all out on the Church? Were you the dumb kid at school who never answered any questions correctly in class, so now you go about bashing Catholics because you want to feel intellectually superior? Otherwise, there's really no good reason to hold the sort of opinions you have about the Catholic Church because, if you weren't blinded by whatever spiritual or psychological stumbling block that's in your head, you could do some clear-minded research and see that her teachings are in no way evil or malicious or contradictory.

Rhology said...

Oooooh, another Frank Luciani. That's good, it was getting boring around here.

Andrew said...

Wintrowski: "Are you saying that you think Catholics are actually venerating the statue itself when they kneel before one in prayer?"

I am saying that the behaviour is unacceptable whether or not you think you're talking to a person or a statue. I realize that Catholics believe that they are speaking to the person represented by the statue. My point is that your comparing of praying to people who are not God while kneeling in front of a statue of them is not even remotely similar to having a nativity scene in the yard. It was a poor argument no matter what the practice of veneration entails.

Wintrowski said...

Andrew:

"I am saying that the behaviour is unacceptable whether or not you think you're talking to a person or a statue."

I'd be interested to hear your reasons why.

"It was a poor argument no matter what the practice of veneration entails."

So, what you're saying is that you're more interested in the practice of beating down silly little quips rather than dealing with the meat of what was originally said?

Well, I think you're a real smart guy for taking up the cause of trying to bury my sarcastic opening remark, and completely ignoring the rest of what I then went on to say. When it's too hard to do any real thinking on your own, it's best to just pick on the dumbest of trivialities and use it as a beating stick to drown out any possibility of an honest discussion.

It must be hard to go through life with an intellectual inferiority complex, but kudos to you for trying your best to scuttle meaningful debate. Mama must be so proud of you for striving to overcome such an unfortunate psychological impediment.

Carrie said...

That might work for some doofus calling Catholic Answers Live, but alot of people around here are a little more familiar with the situation.

Alan - You almost owe me a new laptop.

I was drinking my soda right when I read that line and almost spit it all over the keyboard. Just wasn't expecting it.

Now I am trying to remember what you said one time here that had me giggling for a week...

Rhology said...

I'm glad I *almost* owe you a lappy, 'cause I almost got laid off yesterday. LOL

And anything along those lines, I figure I'm still behind in payback ever since you ran that educational-level-reader-thingy-widget on my blog and then shouted it from the rooftops. ;-)

Turretinfan said...

"Mama must be so proud of you for striving to overcome such an unfortunate psychological impediment."

I'm quite sure that Benedict XVI does not formally approve of this mode of defending his church's faith. I bet he doesn't even informally approve of it. He seems like a fairly rational guy - the kind of guy who would realize that there is a difference between asking Mr. Jones your next-door neighbor to pray for you, and supplicating Mary on bended knee with candles burning and incense wafting through the air in front of an expensive, marble statue of her.

-TurretinFan

Carrie said...

Paul,

I'm not going to argue with you b/c I can never keep up with all your typing. I'll just say that I don't buy your explanation - it makes no sense.

I do realize that amongst the idolatrous and blasphemous talk that some truthful stuff is thrown in - that doesn't sweeten the pot. Believing that following Montforts's advice to become a slave to Mary is really a way to worship Christ is either ignorant or sophistry.

Carrie said...

I'm glad I *almost* owe you a lappy, 'cause I almost got laid off yesterday.

Yikes! Safe now?

since you ran that educational-level-reader-thingy-widget on my blog and then shouted it from the rooftops.

Oh yeah, I forgot. What level was your blog again? :)

Carrie said...

Wintrowski,

I'm still debating whether or not to debate your last comment, but in the meantime, please behave yourself and be respectful towards other commenters.

Consider yourself warned.

Carrie said...

I'm still debating whether or not to debate your last comment,

Sorry, that should be "delete your last comment".

Andrew said...

Wintrowski:

You: "I'd be interested to hear your reasons why."

Me: Because Mary isn't the redeemer, or the co-remptrix. Because God forbids religious adoration (worhsip)of anybody else. There are no exceptions made for latria, or dulia, or anything else.

You: "So, what you're saying is that you're more interested in the practice of beating down silly little quips rather than dealing with the meat of what was originally said?"

Me: No, I am saying that you put forward a meatless argument. You seemed to be implying that there was no difference between a nativity scene and praying to Mary. I am saying that this was shallow argumentation.

You: "Well, I think you're a real smart guy for taking up the cause of trying to bury my sarcastic opening remark, and completely ignoring the rest of what I then went on to say."

Me: You didn't say anything else to me. At least, nothing substantial.

You: "It must be hard to go through life with an intellectual inferiority complex, but kudos to you for trying your best to scuttle meaningful debate. Mama must be so proud of you for striving to overcome such an unfortunate psychological impediment."

Me: I don't see how this helps your case. If I am the one with the psychological impediment then you should have no problem calming down and responding a little more rationally next time. If you can't do that then I don't have time for you. If you would like to continue on in an adult manner I am more than happy to do so.

Wintrowski said...

Carrie:

"Consider yourself warned."

Oh, please! It's perfectly fine for you guys to malign and insult Catholicism carte blanche, irrespective of the real truth of the matter nor how those insults may affect individual Catholics, then pat each other on the back for how funny you all are with your snipey quips. Bunch of hypocrites.

This blog ain't nothing but a mediocre support group for anyone who wants to bash Catholicism and feel intellectually superior without doing an ounce of independent thought.

Ban me if you like. I can be one less voice to point out the lies and hypocrisy of you and your cohorts, and y'all can get back to smoking cigars and congratulating each other for pushing your ignorance to ever newer comedic heights.

Wintrowski said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carrie said...

then pat each other on the back for how funny you all are with your snipey quips. Bunch of hypocrites.

Actually, I was just laughing at the use of "doofus" but I am silly that way.

All I am asking is that you not engage in personal insults. Feel free to take a few swings at Protestantism, but don't attack other commenters.

BTW, your latest insult directed at Andrew's intelligence has been deleted.

Wintrowski said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Turretinfan said...

It's hard to imagine this level of contempt from a mere laymen. Surely, Wintrowski must be a man of the cloth.

-TurretinFan

EBW said...

Did the rational soul of Jesus offer veneration for his OWN humanity because it was hypostatically united to the Word? I can't think of any occasion "closer" to possible idolatry then a UNION of the God-Man ? What prevented Jesus from Worshiping (Protestant understand)his own humanity AS Divinity ? If you say grace, then you establish the safegaurd for all RC and EO concerning worship of their own humanity. I wrote "grace" not "divinity".
Thanks

Rhology said...

Wasn't it Wintrowski who was just recently saying "what are the spiritual and psychological reasons why you approach the teachings of the Catholic Church with a spirit of unreasonableness and dissent?"

Psychological, huh? Funny he should use that term, given his subsequent conduct.

evenshine said...

Wow. Leave the combox for a day and a lovefest ensues. Nice.

Wintrowski:

"How is that drawing people away from Christ if Mary is to be thought of as a path to Christ? That doesn't make sense."

If you read my comment, you'll see I was focusing on the passage's assertion that, for our deeds to be "worthy of Christ", they must be done in Mary's name (through her, in her, etc). I see no Biblical basis for this tenet. Please to explain?

"You can argue semantics as much as you like"

One must when dealing with apologetics. Kinda central.

"but as I said in my original post, you cannot deny that there have been men and women in Christian history with deep veneration of Mary whose lives have been blessed in startling ways by God."

Sure. And lots of terrible people have also lived in luxury, seemingly "blessed" by God, while living lives that are not in line with His Word. So?

"That would seem to be completely counterintuitive to the irrational Protestant fear of contemplating Mary's place in the economy of salvation."

No one on this blog has any "irrational fear", as evidenced by the calm, intelligent manner of the blog writers. Still not addressing my point, though.

"No reasoned argument, no understanding of what the Catholic Church has to say for herself, merely headline journalism that appeals to preconception."

No blog writer is under any compulsion to write what you would have them write. You may want to read up on her posts first, then make statements like this.

"Sounds like you're already convinced, and Carrie's posts serve only as a form of self-affirmation for your own lack of independent serious thought."

Nice. Ever heard of the ad hominem? Try engaging some arguments, and stop simply hurling tripe.

Cheers.

Wintrowski said...

Evenshine:

"If you read my comment, you'll see I was focusing on the passage's assertion that, for our deeds to be "worthy of Christ", they must be done in Mary's name (through her, in her, etc). I see no Biblical basis for this tenet. Please to explain?"

What makes you think there must be a Biblical basis?

Wintrowski said...

Evenshine:

"Ever heard of the ad hominem?"

Yes, it means attempting to disprove someone's position using a syllogism wherein one of the propositions remarks on a certain aspect of the person as opposed to the position being argued by them.

It does not mean, as you seem to think, merely "hurling tripe". Perhaps you ought to invest in a dictionary.

kaycee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kaycee said...

What makes you think there must be a Biblical basis?

I guess maybe because the bible IS the WORD of God, it directly quotes Jesus, it accurately records what the Apostles taught.

On a different note, ever notice, in your 'insufficient' bible that Mary had doubts about Jesus?

Mark 20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, "He is out of his mind." ...

Mark 31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you." 33And he answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother."

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Kaycee, in Mark 3:20-21 where does the name Mary appear? Looking at the various bibles that I own, I see NRSV state that it was his "friends"that tried to seize Him; in the Confraternity (1941) its says "his own people;" J.B. Phillips version "his relatives;" NAB "his relatives;" Jerusalem Bible, "his relatives;" KJV "his friends;" NASB "his own people;" Douay, "friends;" Knox "those nearest to him;" The Interpreter's Bible "those with him;" and the Vulgate, "friends." Only in the REV and the Good News bible do they use the word "family." I realize that some Protestant commentators like to link the folks in Mk. 3:20-21 with Mary and his "brethren," but frankly I think that it is merely wishful thinking (eisegesis) as opposed to clear thinking on their part. Can you show us with any reasonable probability that Mary was among the folks in 3:20-21 doubting Christ particularly when Mark refers to her specifically by name later in the chapter as showing up? Or is this wishful thinking (eisegesis) on your part as well?

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Kaycee: I posted an expanded version of my response to you and the reasons that I hold to the view that Mary did not doubt Jesus Christ as you suggested at http://capriciousness.blogspot.com/2009/01/doubting-kaycee.html. I did not want to post a five page single-spaced response in a comment box.

God bless!

evenshine said...

Wintrowski-

Glad to know you have a dictionary. You seem to have missed my point, as well as, notably, not answered my question.
Is your position, then, that Montfort is infallible? Should the faithful take his position and dedicate all their works to Mary, so that they will be worthy of Christ? I'm serious. You believe that your works are for naught unless they are done in Mary's name? I understand from your previous comments that you won't deign to defend this from the Bible, so can you point me to the appropriate authority that defends this? Thanks.

tnourse said...

SO when did bowing/kneeling down amount to worship exclusively? Did not Solomon bow down to his mother Bathsheeba? Was he worshipping her? Do you not bow down in front of the Bible? Are you worshipping the Bible? When we Catholics kneel in front of a statue of Mary or any other Saint, it is not in worship, it is in honor of the person represented. NO Catholics worship Mary or any other creature, we worship God, the Holy Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit. We pay honor to those members of the Body of Christ who have lived saintly lives in imitation of Christ and his teachings.

Also, I love the entirely confused person who said something like "Jesus had to deal with the people paying excessive honor to Mary during his life..." Hah where is that? Please don't tell me it's Luke 11:27... my gosh... how many times are protestants gonna wheel that one out... As if Christ would allow anyone to denegrate his own Mother... Christ followed the 10 commandments perfectly and there is that pesky one about honor your Mother and Father that your days may be long... Jesus, as the Word and perfect fulfillment of the Word would honor his mother and father perfectly. Period. He would not run her down in public or private, or how could he say he kept the commandments. And, oh, by the way, Jesus was, is and ever will be God and loves PERFECTLY. Even his mother.

If you look at the actual greek in Luke 11:27, it is not 'Yea rather...' it is 'Yea, and even more...'

I think sometimes you protestants think that when Jesus was born he gave Mary one final kick on the way out so no one would think she was anyone special. As if.

And on another note, there is that pesky Magnificat where Mary states that 'All generations shall call me Blessed...' Luke 1:48... I can go on but it is late.
Peace,
Tom

Andrew said...

tnourse:
"SO when did bowing/kneeling down amount to worship exclusively?"

It doesn't, but when you include praying to, lighting candles to, making reparation for offenses against, and trusting ones final salvation to Mary then you have gone past simple genuflection before an image and into the realm of worship. I know Catholics say they don't worship Mary, but God gets to define worship, not you. Exodus 20: God says do not bow down (this is in a religious context and no exceptions are made)or serve them. Do you really think there is no distinction to be made between kneeling out of respect for someone or something and kneeling while praying to somebody or something that isn't God?

tnourse said...

Andrew,
Thanks for the comment. Now a few of my own.
I know Catholics say they don't worship Mary, but God gets to define worship, not you.

God also gets to know someone's intent, NOT YOU, for you can not read someone's mind or soul.
And on we go:
Lighting candles: symolizes Christ who is our light
Burning incense: Not sure who does this when praying to Mary or any other of the Saints, but incense has always been either 1) to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit, or 2) to purify something. Read Revelation 8:3 where is says: And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God.
And Revelation 8:4...And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.
So incense along with Prayer can be a natural thing. And also note that it was an Angel that carried and placed the prayers of the Saints before the Throne of God...hmmm, an "INTERCESSOR"? Oh no, can't be, omg.
I'll post more later, its Saturday and I have other things I need to do.
Peace,
Tom

Andrew said...

tnourse:
Where in Revelation 8:4 do you find support for the practice of praying to anybody but God? Where in Revelation 8:4, or anywhere else in scripture, do you find support for making reparations to Mary, or trusting in Mary for final salvation? Where is there any support for any kind of religious veneration of anybody but God for any reason? I do not claim to know the heart of anyone, but when a certain practice is a clear violation of God's law then what a person's intent is or is not ceases to be the issue. The bottom line is this: We owe our religious devotion to God and him alone. We can certainly rejoice in God's choosing of a humble peasent to carry the God man. We can call her blessed, we can remember her, we can have great admiration for her. We must not pray to her. We must not ask her to secure our final salvation. We must not participate in something so obviously and aggregiously offensive as making reparation to her for sins. Christ makes reparation to the father on our behalf. That's it and that' all. To try and parrallel Mary with Christ in this way is indefensible.