Why pray to Mary and the Saints?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Why do Catholics pray to Mary and the Saints? Jesus says, “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Therefore to pray to anyone other than Jesus in order to intercede with God for us is against Jesus’ teachings. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim 2:5)
Also, to pray to Mary and the Saints is to assume they are in heaven. In fact the very idea of canonization of saints is in direct contradiction to Jesus’ words. “Do not judge others, lest you yourself be judged.” While outward signs of holiness are indeed a good indicator of a man of God, we cannot be certain that anyone is in Heaven because only God knows what is in a man’s heart, only God can judge a man and only God knows whether people are in Heaven or not. To assume the saints and Mary are in Heaven is to assume the authority of God and the knowledge of other people’s salvation, an event known only between that person and God. I do not deny the saints and Mary are in Heaven, it is pretty likely, but only God knows for certain and to direct our prayers towards them is a dangerous business. We do not know for certain in which direction our prayers are headed.
Mary herself is the most contentious issue. To place her on a pedestal above all other humans is to do something Jesus Christ, her very son never did. Yes she was described by her relative Elizabeth as “blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:42) but this was because she had the honour of giving birth to the saviour of mankind. Jesus himself never called her mother but ‘woman’. When he was told his mother was standing outside wanting to speak with him he replied “Who is my mother?”(Mt 12:47) Mary was never in a special position in the early church while alive. She appears as just another member of the early Christians (Acts 1:14) so why should she be given a place of special honour when dead. Also, Mary is prayed to as a virgin but she gave birth to Jesus as a young teenager and then gave birth to other children as the Bible records Jesus’ brothers (Acts 1:14). To think Mary was still a virgin at her death is against all reason.
Obviously the Catholic Church knows all this because they study the Bible thoroughly. So why do they still encourage prayers to Mary and the Saints as evident by Pope Benedict XV “All those who seek Mary’s protection will be saved” What is their argument?
-- Michael Hawkes (email@example.com), November 17, 2003
Hi Michael, If you go down the page to "Older Messages" (By Catagory) and then go down the column to "Mary." You will find every possible protestant objection to the Church's teachings about Mary, and a corresponding Catholic explanation. The many threads contained in the "Mary" discussion should clear things up and help you to understand the Church's teaching. Its all been covered thoroughly and completely. Jim
-- Jim Furst (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 2003.
There's a misconception so basic to all non-Catholics that the word ''pray'' is the same as ''worship''; and they can't shake it.
I can pray to anybody as much as I want, it won't be worship or undue devotion. When a Catholic prays to God the intention is very clear: we adore Him and worship Him as God. The prayer is nothing but praise,, thanksgiving and/or petition. It may be a prayer of contrition, an appeal for His mercy.
But prayer between created souls, from me to you; -- isn't adoration. Nor is it worship. It's absurd for non- Catholics to think we adore Mary or any other saint. Or worship them as God. We revolt very reasonably at a suggestion of that sort. Souls within the Mystical Body of Christ; the Church-- are free to communicate with one another in ''prayer''. But we don't adore ANY saint. The Virgin Mary would faint to think Catholics might give her more importance than God. I would rather die than to worship some other one than God.
It requires the most FEEBLE mind to suggest otherwise. Am I calling Michael Hawkes feeble-minded? No; he's uninformed. All he knows about Catholics is what he learned from his teachers. None of them were Catholics. None of them acknowledged a Catholic Church. What do you expect Michael Hawkes to know?
The truth? How? He's taught by ministers who hate the Catholic Church. Taught the most foul lies, and warned not to ever have anything to do with the Catholic Church. It's not his feeble mind. It's a brain-washed mind with no other authority but the Catholic-bashers. If you're brought up with bandits, you believe in stealing.
That's where Mr. Hawkes is. But the Holy Spirit for His own reasons brought Michael into contact with the truth of this Church. Michael no longer has to swallow hook, line and sinker about us. He can stay around here and discover the real truth. Why would the Holy Spirit ask him here? Not to SAVE anybody. He hasn't got the stuff. No matter how hard he worked; that would never happen. He MUST be sent here to finally have his eyes opened about Catholic faith. To learn the truth!
It's a sign of God's great love for him. With all respect then; we must allow Michael to test the water. Don't be afraid, michael. Have faith in God who loves you and helps you here. We are your brethren. We all live for Jesus Christ.
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), November 18, 2003.
You ask:Why do Catholics pray to Mary and the saints?
Michael, do you ever ask anyone to pray for you? If yes, why? Why not pray directly to Christ? I presume you believe their intercession is meaningfull. Catholics also believe that others can intercede for us in prayer to God.
You say: In fact the very idea of canonization of saints is in direct contradiction to JesusÂ’ words.
Jesus also says, Mathew 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bound on earth shall be bound in heaven... Jesus gave the Church (Peter) the authority to bind and loose. Just as the Church has taken oral tradition and compiled it into the form of the Bible, the Church also canonizes (through strict guidlines & procedures). Michael, you quote scripture but the bible is a collection of books selected and approved by the Catholic Church in the fourth century. There are other books that were left out (eg: Book of Thomas) that were not consistent with the Catholic faith and therefore not selected.
The protestant reformation occured far after the time the bible was compiled. Under who's authority do you say the Church has no authority? You can't use the bible as your authority as it's a Catholic document. Just the same, saints have been proclaimed as part of Christian tradition way before the reformation. I believe it comes down to authority.
On Mary... The bible says Mary is "full of grace". This means that God gave Mary all possible grace. Just as we receive graces from God, Mary received all grace. If Mary has no significant importance, why is Mary full of grace? Further, if Mary gave birth to Jesus (God incarnate) then Mary is Mother of God. She gave birth and looked after Jesus Christ, this is significant. God chose Mary to do this. "all generations will call me blessed" Luke 1:48. Need I say anymore?
There is also mounds of evidence to support the fact that the early Church saw Mary as very important. Also, you're taking words out of context, Christ didn't just say "Who is my Mother?" but also, "Who are my Brothers?" So he's not just talking of his Mother. Also, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Is he denying Mary was his Mother by saying this? Is he saying He had other Mothers? Of course not.
It has always been held in Christian tradition and to this day amongst the foremost biblical scholars that the reference to Christ's brothers in the Bible is reference to his relatives/friends. It was a tradition of the day, as you might say to a close friend "my brother".
Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus, she did not have any other children, there is no evidence of this.
-- Franc (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 2003.
Go to this website:
that should answer your questions, Michael.
-- Andrew Swampillai (email@example.com), November 18, 2003.
As the others have already mentioned, detailed discussions of the issues you raised can be found elswhere in this forum. But I would like to address some of your points.
You stated: "To pray to Mary and the Saints is to assume they are in heaven...While outward signs of holiness are indeed a good indicator of a man of God, we cannot be certain that anyone is in Heaven because only God knows what is in a man’s heart, only God can judge a man and only God knows whether people are in Heaven or not."
God informs us that they are in heaven by allowing us to see the fruits of their intervention, such as the miracles that are required during a canonization process.
Furthermore, you stated, "Mary herself is the most contentious issue. To place her on a pedestal above all other humans is to do something Jesus Christ, her very son never did."
Actually, I could argue that Jesus gave Mary perfect honor. To suggest otherwise would be to say that Jesus did not perfectly follow the commandment to honor one's father and mother.
Next I would like to address your comment: "Yes she was described by her relative Elizabeth as “blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:42) but this was because she had the honour of giving birth to the saviour of mankind."
That is your interpretation of Luke 1:42. The text itself does not tell us exactly why the Holy Spirit, speaking through Elizabeth, declared Mary to be blessed among women. There is no scriptural reason to believe that this pronouncement is strictly limited to her role as the mother of Christ.
You also said, "Jesus himself never called her mother but ‘woman’." Actually, the word he used was "Havea" (although I am not certain of the spelling). It can be translated in English as "woman" but it can also be translated as a title: "Mother of All Living." My source for this is a lecture on the Wedding of Cana by Fr. Stanley Markiewicz, O.S.B. (scripture scholar at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, PA).
The next item I would like to discuss is your comment, "When he was told his mother was standing outside wanting to speak with him he replied “Who is my mother?”(Mt 12:47)"
The full text reads: He replied to the man who told Him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Here are my mother and my brethren, for whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister and mother" (Mt 12:48-50). It sounds to me that you have interpreted this passage to Jesus somehow rejecting Mary as His mother. But if we say that this is a rejection of her then it would have to be because she did not do the will of His Father. After all, doing the will of God is the requirement that Jesus lays down for being His mother (and brother and sister). But Mary did do the will of God (Luke 1:38).
I think a better interpretation of the text in Matthew is not as a rejection of Mary's motherhood. Rather, Jesus was addressing people who are accustomed to identifying themselves along tribal bloodlines. Becoming one in the body of Christ means transcending family lines and forming a single Christian family. Therefore, Jesus does not want people seeing His blood-kin as having an exclusive hold over Him. All Christians are members of His tribe, so to speak.
Others have addressed the concept of whether or not Mary had other children, so there is no need for me to get into that. But I would like to comment on your statement: "To think Mary was still a virgin at her death is against all reason." That is a subjective statement solely based upon your personal opinion. I do not think that the perpetual virginity of Mary is "against all reason," and throughout the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church, I am certainly not alone in this.
I hope this has been helpful.
God bless, -Eric F.
-- Eric Filmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 18, 2003.
Thank you for your responses. Eric and Francois make some very good points.
Firstly Francois argues a correlation between praying to Mary and asking a friend to pray for us in order to intercede for us. This is a good point but I would argue a difference between talking to a friend and asking them to pray for us and directing our own prayers to someone else. The obvious difference is of course the problem of hearing. I would ask a friend to pray for me but I would not pray to him to pray for me. He of course has no power to hear my request. Equally, does Mary have any power to hear the prayers we direct to her? Yes she is in heaven but the idea of someone in heaven standing above the world looking down on everyone is, as far as I know, just traditional superstition just as angels with wings playing harps on clouds are. As far as I have read the scriptures there is nowhere declared that human souls in heaven can hear anything we try to say to them. Of course if anyone has any scriptural evidence of this I would be happy to hear it. If I am right though, our prayers to Mary and the Saints go unheeded because they are not God and cannot hear us. And even if they can, surely millions of people all talking at once is impossible to understand while mortal. Where does it say our multi-tasking abilities improve when dead? God is God and we are man. We do not have the power to either hear prayer or understand millions at once, whether alive or dead.
Secondly, Francois argues that authority was given to the Church when Jesus told Peter that anything he bound on Earth was bound in Heaven. Therefore, the Catholic argument goes, the Church inherited the authority of God on Peter’s death. It’s true that God gave Peter authority on Earth, yet only HE was given it. When God makes a covenant he makes it clear to whom he is making it, either to that person or to that person and his descendents. Jesus only ever mentions Peter, not anyone who came after him. Peter was not even the Bishop of Rome when Jesus spoke to him so how could the authority of Jesus be bound within the title of 'Bishop of Rome', rather than the blood of Peter. As we look at how God works in similar situations, authority, when it does pass down never goes by title, only by blood as evident when you consider God’s choosing of the Levites as the Priests of the Jews.
“You quote scripture but the Bible is a collection of books selected and approved by the Catholic Church in the fourth century. There are other books that were left out (eg: Book of Thomas) that were not consistent with the Catholic faith and therefore not selected.”
Thirdly, as seen above, Francois argues that the Bible’s authority only comes from the Catholic Church (whose authority comes from Peter, whose authority comes from God). You claim that the Bible came from your Church, not the Church from the Bible. However that is wrong, the Church only argued about what teachings were already there, the Bible is not from the Church, rather it compiled the teachings it was already based on. It could not make up new ones or remove ones that didn't agree with what it was trying to say. Paul and the Apostles were the authors of the Bible and wrote their works while the Church was still being formed. Only later did the amount of forgeries and non-canonical literature force the Church leaders of the time to discuss which had actually been written by their founders and which hadn't. The Church did NOT write and compile the Bible, the Apostles did and the Church only later argued about which was real apostolic literature and which was fake. The Church was a product of apostolic teaching, written down in the Gospels and letters which later became the Bible. Therefore it is evident that the Church did come from the Bible, not the Bible from the Church. The Catholic Church, like the Protestant Church, all came from this record, whether oral or written, of Christ's life and teachings and it is to this divinely inspired word that we base our foundation on and must always return.
Fourthly, you say Mary was Mother of God. This is true but only in the sense that Mary was only the mother of the physical aspect of Jesus, the flesh that God chose to inhabit for a time. She was not mother of God in the sense of creating Jesus, rather God placed part of himself within her egg and she merely carried him to term and cared for him as he grew. My argument that, as he performed his ministry as the Son of God, he denied her as mother corresponds to this view. Mary was not the mother of God in a spiritual sense, only the mother of the body of Jesus. To show this Jesus never called her ‘mother’. He gave her to one of his disciples as mother at His death and he declared that anyone who followed Him as the Son of God was His ‘mother’, not just His earthly parent. The verses of Matthew related above seek to show a difference between Jesus’ earthly body, and his spiritual incarnation of God. As a man Mary was his mother but as God he had no mother, or any family at all. Rather his family were those who followed him. Jesus denies he has a family because he is God and as such is related only to his children (mankind as a whole) but this does not mean that Mary and Joseph did not marry and consummate their vows. There is a difference between the two groups as is evident by the context. It is only because of the limited vocabulary of Hebrew that the word ‘Brother’ is used in both situations. The context, as with all interpretation determines the meaning however, and I think the context here, although not crystal clear, does favour the idea of what I have just said.
Finally, the idea that Joseph and Mary consummated their marriage is evident in Matthew 1:18-25. The Bible says “before they came together” signifying that they did come together later. Matthew expounds on this when he repeats “he had no union with her UNTIL she gave birth” The use of the word ‘until’ is quite significant here. And while these phrases are not proof, they are significant. If Mary had remained a virgin until her death surely the Gospels would record it, even if only saying ‘he had no union with her even after she gave birth’. None of the apostles relate the perpetual virginity of Mary, there is no evidence she remained so and a fair bit that she didn’t.
Finally, Eric argues that we are allowed to see who is in Heaven by the fruits of their intervention. Could you expand on that argument? I would be interested in hearing some examples. Also your last point is correct about my use of the phrase 'against all reason'. I used the wrong words there and I apologise for any offence caused.
May the Lord bless you and Keep you.
-- Michael (email@example.com), November 19, 2003.
Greetings again Michael,
To begin with, I appreciate your apology, although I was not offended. In hindsight I can see how my abrupt comments gave that impression. The point I wanted to make was that what seems reasonable or unreasonable to one person may not be so for another.
Concerning my statement that God shows us that saints are in heaven by showing the fruits of their intervention - To begin with, the canonization process requires there to be documented miracles resulting from prayers to the saintly person in question after this person's death. Recent examples of this can be seen from the canonization proceedures of such people as Mother Teresa and Padre Pio. Rather than try to condense all that information here, it would probably be easier (and more informative) for you to engage in a Google search.
Furthermore, I see the fruits of prayers to the saints in my personal life. In other words, I offer prayers and they get answered. This includes little things, such as St. Anthony helping me find my car keys, to couples conceiving a child after they asked me to pray the rosary for that intention. These occurances happen too often for me to believe that they are coincidental. Sure, a skeptic could argue that they are, and I have to admit that I have no conclusive proof that this is not all a big coincidence, but in light of everything I choose to make that leap of faith. Therefore, I see that my prayers to saints are being heard and answered. Obviously, the fruits of these answered prayers come from God, because the saints cannot do anything unless God empowers them. Mary, for example, cannot cause a couple to conceive a child, all she can do is pray to God that He will bless this couple's union. When I prayed to Mary in this example, I was inviting her to pray with me on behalf of this couple. That is what I mean when I say that I "pray to Mary" or that I "pray to saints."
I am a convert to the faith and before I "took the plunge" I had a lot of concerns and apprehensions about devotions to Mary and the saints. I prayed to God that if they are acceptible to Him, then let these devotions draw me closer to Him. Otherwise, I prayed that God would show me the errors of them. Over the years I have seen God working through the intervention of the saints over and over, which has led me to believe that God has given me His acceptance of it.
Furthermore, I believe that prayer to saints as a very Christian action. Certainly I pray to Christ, but I also invite my friends, family and the saints to pray with me. This is not a requirement, but it is appropriate. Praying for another is an act of Christian love and charity. The more invitations go out for a prayer request, the more this love and charity gets spread around. This also enforces the image that we are, truly, one in the Body of Christ, and that body includes Christians on earth and in heaven. We mediate for one another through the One Mediation of Christ. It is the power of Christ that empowers a saint to "hear" these prayers, and that He approves because it is an act of Christian fellowship between Christians on earth and Christians in heaven.
Concerning your comments on Mary, once again, these topics have been discussed numerous times in other areas of this forum. There is a subcategory for "Mary" (where I think this thread is also posted). Suffice to say, for Catholics Marian doctrines do not contradict scripture and this has been demonstrated over and over. We are fully aware of the passages you cited about the word "until," the references to Jesus' "brothers," and so forth - and the Church has answers that we deem to be both logical and scripturally sound. I realize that "logical" and "sound" can be subjective, but my purpose on this forum is not to convince you or anyone to start praying to saints. My purpose is to show that Catholics have what we believe are good reasons for doing so.
Concerning your comments about the church and the bible, you basically stated that the church arose from the teachings of the apostles, whether written or oral. If I understand your reasoning correctly, these teachings predated the church, and therefore they enjoy a kind of supremacy. In my opinion, however, you make a bit of a jump because you fully equate these apostolic teachings with what we now know as the New Testament. In other words, these teachings were eventually all compiled into the New Testament, so the New Testament is the foundation and basis of the Christian Faith.
However, I see no reason to believe that everything the apostles taught was written down in the New Testament. It was handed on in both oral and written forms, but no where does the bible say that all teachings had to eventually be put into writing, nor does it say that they all were. Moreover, many Protestant and Catholic scripture scholars claim that all apostolic teaching was originally handed down in oral form for the first few decades of Christianity. The Catholic position is that some of it got written down in the books that would come to form the New Testament, but there is no reason to believe that all of it did.
So my stance is this: yes, Christianity arose from the teachings of Christ, but those teachings were preserved both as written text and Sacred Tradition. John 21:25 admits that Jesus did many things that were not written down. Paul tells us that he teaches through written letters, spoken words and in the example he sets for others to observe (2Thess 2:15, 1Cor 11:2, Phil 3:17, 4:9).
Furthermore, Catholics believe that Peter and his successors have been given the authority to discern, protect, interpret and hand down these teachings, whether in scripture or in Sacred Tradition. Naturally Protestants contest this; we say "yes" and they say "no" and the debate has continued for some 500 years. Nevertheless, Catholics continue to believe what we believe. As a side note to address your comments about the bishop of Rome, the popes share in the authority given to Peter because they are his successors, not because they are specifically the bishops of Rome. Now let me clarify that before I get in trouble with the other Catholics: Rome is only significant because that is where Peter "set up shop" as its bishop. Had Peter done this in Antioch and not Rome then the line of popes would the bishops of Antioch.
There is no headway in these historical debates because Protestants tend to argue strictly from a scriptural point of view. But we see things three-fold: scripture, Tradition and the authoritative Church teachings on matters of faith and morals. Going back to the Marian doctrines, your challenge is for us to defend them on the basis of scripture alone. You want to see evidence of it in scripture and you see the absence of scriptural evidence to be reason to suspect the doctrine's validity. For example, you pointed out that the writers of the New Testament did not specifically mention the perpetual virginity of Mary. So why didn't they? I admit, that is a good question. Maybe they didn't know about it. But no biblical writer ever claimed that he was recording everything that there was to know about the faith. No biblical writer ever claimed to even know everything there is to know about the faith. Furthermore, I could use your line of reasoning to ask why didn't any of the writers of the New Testament specifically mention the doctrine of the Holy Trinity? No where are we told (in the bible) that God exists as three (and only three) divine Persons, who are One and at the same time distinct from one another. No where does the bible say that the Holy Spirit is a divine person who is one with the Father and at the same time distinct from Him.
But from the Catholic viewpoint, although Marian doctrine may not be specifically laid out in the bible, it has been revealed to us by God - through Sacred Tradition with the affirmation of the Church (exercizing her divinely guided authority). As far as I am concerned, the doctrine of, say, the Immaculate Conception is just as valid as any thing written in the New Testament.
Once again, my purpose is not to convince you or anyone to accept what I am saying to be true. The fact remains that Protestants and Catholics look at the Christian Faith in very different ways and these debates will continue. Within a matter of days, for example, someone else in this forum will post the same questions and concerns you did Michael, just as there were many people who did in the past. You will notice that not many of the regulars on the forum jumped in to participate in your post. I cannot speak for them, but they probably feel that this stuff has been "done to death." But although it is not my intention to convince you that Catholic beliefs are true, I would like to insure you that we have what we believe are good reasons for believing what we believe, and that we are doing what God wants us to.
God bless, -Eric F.
-- Eric Filmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 19, 2003.
truthisfreedom316, You seem to doubt that the Blessed Virgin was concieved free from all stain of sin, otherwise called her Immaculate Conception. Let me put your doubt to flight with the following defense.
"A defense of the Immaculate Conception"
The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is only logical from a Christian perspective, in fact, it is an essential of Christian Faith. The Bible clearly states that nothing defiled can be near God because of His Perfection and His Holiness. At the Annunciation, Christ, Who is truly God, entered the womb of the Blessed Virgin. Christ had not yet taken on His Humanity since He recieved it from the Vrigin Mary, so He was purely Divine at the moment of the Incarnation. Now, if God cannot be near anything that is defiled, or sinful, then He would not be able to enter the womb of the Blessed Virgin, unless she was given a privlege, the privlege of her Immaculate Conception. So, to deny the Blessed Virgin of her Immaculate Conception is to deny the very Divinity of Christ Himself! †AMDG
-- Jeff (email@example.com), November 23, 2003.
Somebody showed my something interesting today:
John 21:11: Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken.
The full 15 decade Rosary has a total of 153 Hail Mary's.
-- Emerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 25, 2003.
Thanks for your response - I enjoy the discussion, My answers to some of your points...
On prayer to the saints, you say "He of course has no power to hear my request". Do we not leave behind the constraints of the physical, time bound world that we live in to join God in a 'transfigured' human state? Is that not what happened to Christ?
"And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light." Mt 17:1-8
"So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Mt 5:48
"Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." 1Jn 3:2
My understanding is that when we die and get to heaven, we see God and we become like him - perfect. Just like God can hear all peoples prayers at the same time, why place physical and worldly restrictions on those in heaven? One cannot enter heaven with any blemish, we must be totally cleansed of sin and be perfect.
So to answer your question, yes Mary has the power to hear my request.
On the authority of the Catholic Church...Mt 16
"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, 13 and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."
Clearly Christ is referring to His Church built on Peter. I never mentioned a covenant - the covenant is Christ's blood shed on the cross, that is the sign of the new covenant. The part I'm referring to is authority given to the Church by Christ through Peter. I don't see any ambiguity in this. Christ says that the underworld will never prevail against it - He also sent his Holy Spirit down on the Apostles on pentecost to guide the Church.
History also is unambiguous about succession. Peter did go to Rome and reside there. His successors were definetly the Popes and the successors of the Apostles definetly were the Bishops of the Church.
Further to this, the Catholic (Universal) Church can be traced directly (historical evidence) to St. Peter. Where does the Protestant faith trace its origins too? Surely only back to the reformation about 500 yrs ago? I cannot see any evidence to dispute Catholic authority.
you say " However that is wrong, the Church only argued about what teachings were there, the Bible is not from the Church, rather it compiled teachings it was already based on."
I never said the teachings were not there already. My point is that those teachings were oral tradition, not written. The bible did not exist before it was written. It was written in many different books, and then collated by the Catholic Church to form the Bible. It simply did not exist before then. The Bible is a collection of books chosen by the Church to reflect its teachings (as we know some books were left out). It wasn't selected by the Protestant faith or any other Christian denomination, it is a Catholic collection of books. In fact there is loads of proof that reformers changed texts in the Bible to support their newly formed theologies (Luther, King James version etc...).
On Mary... Carrying on from what I've said on the praying to the saints, Mary is the greatest of saints as she gave birth to and brought Jesus Christ into this world, molding him and loving him. It was only after His baptism that Christ started His ministry. Until this time he was looked after by His parents.
"He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favor before God and man." Lk 2:51-52 You play Mary down, but her role is significant in Christs life - I choose to honour her for her courage and humility in accepting Gods will. She is an example to me.
On "brother" - There is no proof that Mary and Joseph had children - certainly not by anything Christ said. I do concede that the wording in the Bibel texts does allude to this probability, but it's not conclusive. What it interesting are the many professions by early Christians to this belief in Mary. In fact the foremost early Fathers are vehement in their belief in the virginity of Mary and her importance.
The down playing of Mary is a new direction among the reformers from the time of the reformation. I still do not understand why. Please enlighten me!
-- Franc (email@example.com), November 25, 2003.
"John 21:11: 'Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken.' The full 15 decade Rosary has a total of 153 Hail Mary's."
Correction: What used to be "the full" rosary had 153 Aves if prayed in one sitting -- but 159 Aves if prayed as three separate chaplets (as very many people do).
The "full" rosary now has a total of 203 (or 212) Aves.
The fact that the number 153 appears in the gospel and in one count of the rosary's former number of Aves is a mere coincidence. People can find meaningless coincidences all over the place if they try hard enough. It reminds me of finding a supposed image of Jesus in cloud formations in a photo.
One published comment about John 21:11 seems more realistic:
"The exact number 153 is probably meant to have a symbolic meaning in relation to the apostles' universal mission. Jerome claims that Greek zoologists catalogued 153 species of fish. Or 153 is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 17. Others invoke Ezekiel 47:10."
Gob bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 25, 2003.
From St. Louis Marie de Monfort's book entitled The Secret of the Rosary, Sixth Rose:
"Ever since Saint Dominic established the devotion to the Holy Rosary up until the time when Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established it in 1460 it has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. This is because it has the same number of Angelic Salutations as there are psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David. Since simple and uneducated people are not able to say the Psalms of David the Rosary is held to be just as fruitful for them as David's Psalter is for others.
But the Rosary can be considered to be even more valuable than the latter for three reasons:
Firstly, because the Angelic Psalter bears a nobler fruit, that of the Word Incarnate, whereas David's Psalter only prophesies His coming;
Secondly, just as the real thing is more important than its prefiguration and the body is more than its shadow, in the same way the Psalter of Our Lady is greater than David's Psalter which did no more than prefigure it.
And thirdly, because Our Lady's Psalter (or the Rosary made up of the Our Father and Hail Mary) is the direct work of the Most Blessed Trinity and was not made through a human instrument.
Our Lady's Psalter or Rosary is divided up into three parts of five decades each, for the following special reasons:
To honor the three Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity;
To honor the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ;
To imitate the Church Triumphant, to help the members of the Church Militant and the lessen the pains of the Church Suffering;
To imitate the three groups into which the Psalms are divided: a) The first being for the purgative life, b) the second for the illuminative life, c) and the third for the unitive life;
And, finally, to give us graces in abundance during our lifetime, peace at death, and glory in eternity."
-- Emerald (email@example.com), November 25, 2003.
Very interesting quotation from a saint of 1673 - 1716. Some of the saint's reflections are still valid and helpful today. I need not point out where certain things that he wrote are no longer applicable.
The saint's words also confirms the following statement that I made in my last post: "The fact that the number 153 appears in the gospel and in one count of the rosary's former number of Aves is a mere coincidence."
I mentioned 153 as "one count" used in the past. I later said that "159" was once another valid count, and I said that 203 and 212 are valid today. Now we see yet another former count -- in St. Louis Marie's words: 150, the number of the Psalms. In fact, 150 was the true count of Aves in the Rosary (now 200), because it was only relatively recently that three Ave beads were added above the crucifix. It may have been in the 19th century that the three extra beads (not, strictly speaking, part of the "rosary") replaced an ornament known as a "credo cross," which had been inserted in the 16th century to remind the person praying to ask God for an increase of faith, hope, and love.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2003.
A quick google search produced these pictures of antique Rosaries dating back to the 1700's. The three preceeding Hail Mary beads are in fact part of the Rosary at least at the time of De Monfort. Saint Louis De Monfort was ordained in 1700.
I continue to say the 15 decades of the Rosary without modification because I believe as St. De Monfort did that the Rosary was designed in heaven. Part of that design, I maintain, includes specific numerical analogy in the various aspects of it's design.
-- Emerald (email@example.com), November 26, 2003.
I didn't notice this right away, but in fact, if you look on that link they even have a picture of a 1720's Our Lady's Psalter, the exact kind that St. Louis de Monfort was talking about in his book, from the exact time period of his priestly ministry.
It contains the 15 decades and the 3 starting beads for an exact total of 153.
It's just interesting, that's all.
-- Emerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2003.
Contrary to published records (which say that Credo crosses were instituted around the time of the Council of Trent), there may have been some such rosaries as you describe earlier than the 19th century -- but the fact that St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort referred to "150" Aves shows that he knew that the "rosary" did not have 153.
But let's face it. All of this back-and-forth has been skirting the really serious, hidden issue here. From your very first comment, it has been easy for me to "read between the lines" and see that your purpose for commenting here has been nothing except to be critical of our current pope for introducing the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. This is another example of your rebellious spirit and your unhealthy attachment only to a part of the past. You give such bad example to Catholics coming to the forum. How sad that you are suffering such a spiritual disorder!
You may be unaware of the fact that, from a very early age, Pope John Paul II has been a "disciple" of St. Louis Marie. He consecrated himself according to the plan of the saint. He has his motto ("Totus tuus ego sum") of dedication to Our Lady because of the saint. And he probably knows the works of St. L.M. just about by heart. In fact, in his document, "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" ("Rosary of the Virgin Mary"), the pope mentions two of the saints treatises and gives a lengthy quotation from one.
Thus the pope knows exactly the things you have quoted from the saint (i.e., the latter's personal opinions) -- and the pope knows that matters related to devotions and sacramentals (instituted by the Church, not by God) are not engraved in stone. He knows that another pope may modify the rosary in some other way in the future.
I'll pray the Luminous Mysteries tomorrow for your spiritual reawakening.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), November 27, 2003.
Thanks for the Rosary, John. =)
-- Emerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2003.
Can I ask a question;
What is the point of the rosary. What do you do with it and why?
-- Michael (email@example.com), November 28, 2003.
The rosary is prayer. Why do we pray? Because our relationship with God is the central issue and purpose of the Catholic Faith; and communication with God, either directly or through intercession, is the principle means by which that relationship grows.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), November 28, 2003.
"What is the point of the rosary. What do you do with it and why?"
To put it simply, it is a meditation on the life of Christ.
-- Emerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 28, 2003.
Let me define my earlier question.
As far as I understand the rosary it is a long series of repetitive private chanting, repeating the same words over and over again in regular paterns. I'm not sure what the pattern or the words are but I think the 'Hail Mary' goes something like 'Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you' My question is, how is this chanting performed, is there any special ritual that goes with it etc etc. Also why is the Rosary performed when prayer as I understand it is a form of communication with God. When I talk to someone I do not repeat a memorised series of words to them again and again because I wouldn't be saying anything that meant anything to the current situation. I think of this conversational attitude of prayer (mixed with very great respect and worship of course) as how I talk to my Lord. Why is the rosary considered benificial etc?
I hope this explains my question further. Please don't get upset if anything i've said above is wrong, that's why I asked the question, to know why Catholics do things that seem strange to me.
-- Michael (email@example.com), November 29, 2003.
There is no chanting involved. There are three principle prayers recited - the Lord's Prayer, which is recited universally by Christians; the "Glory be", or "Gloria", an affirmation of the Trinity which most Christians also recite; and the "Hail Mary", which is composed of a few scripture verses combined with a simple request for prayers of intercession. Yes, the opening words of the Hail Mary are "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee", which I'm sure you recognize as one translation of Luke 1:28. The next line reads "blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus".(Luke 1:42) Then follows a request that she pray for us. That conmpletes the prayer.
The Hail Mary is recited in groups of ten, or "decades", with an "Our Father" (the Lord's Prayer) and a Gloria between every two decades. Also, each decade is assigned a specific event from the Life of Christ, upon which we meditate while saying the prayers.
Yes, prayer is communication with God. And when we ask someone else to pray for us, that increases our communication with God, since someone else is also praying on our behalf. You do ask others to pray for you, don't you? So do we, and Mary is one of those we ask for such intercession, along with the other saints, the angels, our parish communities, our families and friends.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), November 29, 2003.
In the pope's 2002 document about the Rosary, he wrote:
"The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. ... With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love."
For more information, I encourage you to take a look at this short, illustrative essay about the Rosary. Don't overlook the two links at the bottom.
-- J. F. Gecik (jfgecik@Hotmail.com), November 29, 2003.
As far as I understand the rosary it is a long series of repetitive private chanting, repeating the same words over and over again in regular paterns.
nope, just prayers in a regular pattern.
I'm not sure what the pattern or the words are but I think the 'Hail Mary' goes something like 'Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you'
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and Blesses is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death.
My question is, how is this chanting performed, is there any special ritual that goes with it etc etc.
these prayers are performed generally in this order:
1 While holding the crucifix make the Sign of the Cross. and then recite the Apostles Creed.
2 Recite the Our Father on the first large bead.
3 Recite a Hail Mary for an increase of faith, hope and charity on each of the three small beads.
4 Recite the Glory Be to the Father on the next large bead.
5 Recite the Fatima Prayer "O my Jesus" on the large bead.
6 Recall the first Rosary Mystery and recite the Our Father on the large bead.
7 On each of the adjacent ten small beads (also refered to as a decade) recite a Hail Mary while reflecting on the mystery.
8 On the next large bead, recite the Glory Be to the Father, the Fatima prayer.
9 Each succeeding decade is prayed in a similar manner by recalling the appropriate mystery, reciting the Our Father, ten Hail Marys, the Glory Be to the Father, and the Fatima prayer while reflecting on the mystery.
10 When the fifth mystery is completed, the Rosary is Customarily concluded with the Hail Holy Queen, and the Sign of the Cross.
of course, this is just one time around the rosary. a full rosary is four sets of mysteries, meaning that instead of ending at the fifth mystery, they start the circle again at the first mystery in the next 'set.' it is rare, however, that somebody will pray the full 203 hail marys, 21 our fathers, and other such misc. prayers to do this all at once.
Also why is the Rosary performed when prayer as I understand it is a form of communication with God. When I talk to someone I do not repeat a memorised series of words to them again and again because I wouldn't be saying anything that meant anything to the current situation.
you see, there is a wonderful nature of prayer. the words do not matter at all. whether i ask God to have mercy on sinners directly, or pray the our Father with that intention held in my heart, it does not matter at all. God hears my intention and my thoughts beyond the words i say.
the rosary is an even more special case. there are many ways to pray a rosary. the first, using mysteries (above) is the most traditional. each decade is repeated over and over, while the person focuses (meditates) on the mystery. to me the words become a tool for focus. i can concentrate on the mystery, speak the words, and the words keep anything distracting from entering my mind. that is why emerald mentioned the rosary as a meditation on the life of Christ, because it is a deep spiritual introspection on the gospels.
the next way to pray using the rosary is to pray what is called the chaplet of divine mercy. It is too long to explain how this prayer is made in just this post, but it is enough to say it is prayed in the same manner using different prayers and a different focus. essentially it is a prayer to God for mercy on souls in purgatory. namely it was promised to us that each time we pray the chaplet of divine mercy, a thousand souls would be released to heaven.
finally, there is the last method, which can also be highly effective. a person prays the standard rosary, but instead of using the mysteries, the person replaces each with a special intention, like peace on earth, conversion of sinners, patience with family, end to hunger, etc etc etc. thus for each 'decade' of the rosary, the person focusses on their intention to offer it up to God. I once came up with a list of fifty special intentions, one to offer for each hail mary.
I think of this conversational attitude of prayer (mixed with very great respect and worship of course) as how I talk to my Lord. Why is the rosary considered benificial etc?
i hope the above has explained how the rosary is beneficial. now i would like to clear something up... there is this big myth that catholics only pray repetitious prayers and nothing else. this is simply not true. i use conversational prayers all the time, but i integrate them with known prayers based on which is most needed. why a known prayer? well, it keeps me from rambling when i dont know how to phrase my intentions. one time at a protestant service i counted the number of times the pastor said the words Lord, God, Jesus, Christ, or Savior, and i also timed the prayer. in two minutes he said those words more than a hundred times...imagine it like this: "Lord God, you are my Savior, Lord Jesus, and i love you, Lord, so much because Jesus, you are my God and my Lord, and i want to follow your ways Lord God..."
now, if that isnt babbling on and on like the pharisees who wish to be seen for their many words, i dont know what is. so, when i cant be clear and concise, i use introspective prayer while i say the words of a prayer that i know does not babble.
I hope this explains my question further. Please don't get upset if anything i've said above is wrong, that's why I asked the question, to know why Catholics do things that seem strange to me.
i hope this explains some of your question further, and im not upset, but thanks for being open to answers.
-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), November 29, 2003.
"When I talk to someone I do not repeat a memorised series of words to them again and again because I wouldn't be saying anything that meant anything to the current situation."
That's true, but when praying we are addressing God and the things of His truths, which are so far above our understanding. Still, somehow, we have to aspire to them; so in a sense, it's not like just talking to your fellow human being. The objects of prayer aren't really ordinary things. Not to say praying for simple things isn't alright.
For example, take the Lord's Prayer, which is right out of Scripture as an example given by Christ Himself as to how to address the Father. It's short, and most of us have it burned into our memory from years of hearing it or saying it. Years go by, and then one day, a person thinking the pray suddenly realizes Oh yeah... I think I know what that means now!. There is truth packed into almost every word of a true prayer like a zip file that can be extracted; these aren't just any words but the words of the Savior. The Savior Himself is The Word, according the Scripture. Words are incredibly potent at a level far beyond our human understanding.
The prayers long in use by the Church which seem to have a standardized form are anything but vain repitition, but are packed to the gills with divine secrets and high truths that are waiting to be unlocked by a willing soul. But instead of what you might think at first glance, that "I wouldn't be saying anything that meant anything to the current situation", they are in fact immediately applicable: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us... While a simple rule of life, it also can bring someone to meditate on the Passion of Christ itself.
It's taken me forever to get even the slightest understanding of what "lead us not into temptation" means, but even if I know this much, that there is something lofty there to be had whether I understand it right now or not. To throw away repetition of this particular prayer, for instance, is the throw away a key to a future treasure.
These things require meditation to unlock understanding, and we need to have the words of the prayers provided not from our own hearts and minds so much as from the heart and mind of the Church as a template. The prayers don't conform to our minds; our minds should conform to the prayer. The prayers don't so much express what we are thinking so much as what we ought to think; they provide a framework of things to be aspired to.
The Hail Mary is called the Angelic Salutation and it comes from Luke Chapter 1 where the Blessed Virgin, in a simple willingness to serve God, enabled the Incarnation or the Word made flesh. Not everyone knows what the Word of God really refers to in it's full potency.
The actual physical Rosary itself, to be simplistic, is a means of giving meditation a physical measure or a way to structure the meditations. The meditations themselves are upon the life of Christ as derived from Scripture. If you ever get a chance to see The Passion, you'll then have an idea of what it is that occupies the thoughts of the person who is properly praying the Rosary. The objective is to understand the life of Christ and the way of salvation, and to conform one's heart, mind and actions to His.
Getting started is tough; it can seem dry and frustrating, and takes some effort. But if you can make it through that door and persevere in it, then you would then know why people find it so valuable. More valuable than when it's hanging on people's rear view mirrors, no doubt...!
-- Emerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2003.