Hi. I’m not a Catholic but I’m interested and moving closer to Rome. I can now accept, with joy (!), Catholic teaching on the sacraments, intercession of the saints, prayer, the last things etc. I thought I understood Catholic teaching on Mary, and had no problems with it, but I’ve been floored by reading extracts of ‘The Glories of Mary’ by St Alphonsus Ligouri. In it, he claims that God has ordained that ALL grace comes to us through Mary’s intercession. This goes way beyong scripture and way beyond the witness of the Early Fathers. I know that the writings of Ligouri aren’t infallible teaching, but he has been declared a Doctor of the Church, which implies a level of approval. I’m really shocked!! This has thrown me into real confusion and a certain degree of heartache. I just cannot accept Ligouri’s teaching. I realise that he doesn’t place Mary above God, but he places her in a position far above that given to her by the Bible or the Fathers.
I think the idea of Mary as Mediatrix of all Grace is best described through her role as the Archetype of the Church: nearly everything that can be said about the Church can be applied to Mary and vice versa. For example, both are called “Mother.”
In this case, the Church dispenses grace (such as through the sacraments). But who creates that grace? God alone. Applying this to Mary, Mary does not create grace, but all graces received in the world somehow pass through her.
Here’s another way to look at it. Who is grace? Answer: Jesus Christ. But what was the means by which grace came into the world? Answer: through Mary, as God bestowed upon her the honor of being the mother of Christ. So if grace came into the world through Mary then, why should it be any different now?
618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men."452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him],"454 for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps."455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457
and. . .
968 [Mary’s] role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace."511
969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."512
970 "Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it."513 "No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source."514
A book you would find helpful in better understanding the teaching of the Church on Mary’s role in our salvation is Garrigou-Lagrange’s The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life. The great theologian Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange presents the Church’s theology behind what St. Alphonsus presents in the language of love.
I was too when I read them, and still am when I read them some more.
In it, he claims that God has ordained that ALL grace comes to us through Mary’s intercession.
This is consistent with RC teaching. According to Catholicism, all grace, all salvation, and every mercy of God are distributed to mankind through Mary.“God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation” UBI PRIMUMChurch teaching is that Mary is the Mediatrix of ALL grace and salvation for all mankind. No one can go directly to the Father or Christ for any of these without requiring Mary’s involvement.
“Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother” OCTOBRI MENSE"Every grace granted to man has three degrees in order; for by God it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us." IUCUNDA SEMPER EXPECTATIONE
“O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” ADIUTRICEM
(vatican.va/holy_father/le…tricem_en.html)It is through Mary whence comes all mercy, grace, and salvation according to what I was taught when I was a Catholic.
This teaching is consistent beyond just Ligouri’s works.
This goes way beyong scripture and way beyond the witness of the Early Fathers.
I know that the writings of Ligouri aren’t infallible teaching, but he has been declared a Doctor of the Church, which implies a level of approval.
He is also an RC Saint and his works have the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur of the Catholic Church.
I’m really shocked!! This has thrown me into real confusion and a certain degree of heartache.
Same with me.
I just cannot accept Ligouri’s teaching. I realise that he doesn’t place Mary above God, but he places her in a position far above that given to her by the Bible or the Fathers.
This is true.
I’d appreciate your comments.
I will only say, as an ex-Catholic, that accepting Catholic teaching on on the sacraments, intercession of the saints, prayer, and last things is way less than is required.
If you want to be a Catholic, you must understand that you must believe everything the RC Magisterium teaches regardless if you like it or not. It does not matter if you can find support for certain doctrines in Scripture, history, or the early fathers. That is what you must accept before even considering being a Roman Catholic.
If you can do that, then you are on your way.
Me personally, I just couldn’t do that anymore after 30 years.
“At the command of Mary, all obey, even God.” St. Bernardine fears not to utter this sentence; meaning, indeed, to say that God grants the prayers of Mary as if they were commands (“Imperio Virginis omnia famulantur, etiam Deus”—Pro Fest. V. M. s. 5, c. 6). And hence St. Anseml addressing Mary says: “Our Lord, O most holy Virgin, has exalted thee to such a degree that by his favor all things that are possible to him should be possible to thee” (“Te, Domina, Deus sic exaltavit, et omnia tibi secum possibilia esse donavit.”—De Excell. Virg. c. 12). “For thy protection is omnipotent, O Mary” (“Omnipotens auxilium tuum, O Maria!”—Hymn 6), says Cosmas of Jerusalem. “Yes, Mary is omnipotent,” repeats Richard of St. Laurence; “for the queen by every law enjoys the same privileges as the king. And as,” he adds, “the power of the son and that of the mother is the same, a mother is made omnipotent by an omnipotent son” (“Eisdem privilegiis secundum leges gaudent Rex et Regina. Cum autem eadem sit potestas Matris et Filii ab omnipotente Filio omnipotens Mater est effecta”—De Laud B. M. l. 4). “And thus,” says St. Antoninus, “God has placed the whole Church, not only under the patronage, but even under the dominion of Mary” (“Sub protectione ejus et dominio”—P. 4, t. 15, c. 20, #2).
Since the Mother, then, should have the same power as the Son, rightly has Jesus, who is omnipotent, made Mary also omnipotent; though, of course, it is always true that where the Son is omnipotent by nature, the Mother is only so by grace.**
But that she is so is evident from the fact, that whatever the Mother asks for, the Son never denies her; and this was revealed to St. Bridget, who one day heard Jesus talkinig with Mary, and thus address her: “Ask of me what thou wilt, for no petition of thine can be void” (“Pete quod vis a me; non enim inanis potest esse petition tua”). As if he had said, “My Mother, thou knowest how much I love thee; therefore ask all that thou wilt of me; for it is not possible that I should refuse thee anything.” And the reason that he gave for this was beautiful: “Because thou never dist deny me anything on earth, I will deny thee nothing in heaven” (“Quia tu mihi Nihil negasti in terra, ego tibi Nihil negabo in coelo”—Rev. l. 6, c. 23; l. 1, c. 24). **My Mother, when thou wast in the world, thou never didst refuse to do anything for the love of me; and now that I am in heaven, it is right that I should deny thee nothing that thou askest. Mary, then, is called omnipotent in the sense in which it can be understood of a creature who is incapable of a divine attribute. She is omnipotent , because by her prayers she obtains whatever she wills.**Based on the explanation that I have bolded in dark red, I see no reason to be distressed by this. John 2 certainly shows that this kind of relationship was evident even then, and I know of no place where it can be asserted that the Blessed Virgin might have “abused” this grace.
So again…I stand by my statement.
[sign][FONT=“Comic Sans MS”]I believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches.[/sign][/FONT]
I think the key point is that the word “Mediatrix of all Grace” should be highly qualified. Christ is the source of all Grace for us, and he comes to us through the fiat (consent) of Mary. So in this sense, I would agree that she is the mediator of all Graces for us.
I’m also sure that she mediates for us through her prayers to her Son, in a special way that no other saint could have. She gave birth to him, lived with him for his entire life, kept everything she witnessed in her heart, and Jesus obeyed her and Joseph during his youth. He would also honour his parents throughout his life, and after his death and resurection. She is certainly highly exalted.
However, even though the Catholic Church has endorsed St Alphonsus Ligouri as a Doctore of the church, she has never seen fit to used to word “Mediatrix of all Grace” **in any **magesterial documents. The Church has probably done this to avoid using a term that could be confusing to the faithful and misinterpreted by non-Ctaholics.
I hope this helps a little. I was born a Catholic, so veneration for Mary was never a problem for me. But rest assured that we do not worship Mary. When I pray the rosary, for example, I am meditating on the life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. This is a wonderful perspective to have. And who knows the person of Jesus better than Mary? The aposltes knew Jesus for tree years only. Paul never knew Jesus except during his vision.
Church militant - I did look around before opening a thread on this question. in fact, it was in the thread you refer to that I came across the reference to Ligouri, but I realised that a discussion on that subject was not relevant to the thread in question. I thought it better practice to open a new thread.
the RC Magisterium teaches regardless if you like it or not. It does not matter if you can find support for certain doctrines in Scripture, history, or the early fathers. That is what you must accept before even considering being a Roman Catholic.
If you can do that, then you are on your way.
Me personally, I just couldn’t do that anymore after 30 years.This is still a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. There is nothing in the writings in question that conflicts with the Bible. Every believer considers his own prayers “omnipotent” by the grace of God and anyone who doubts that demonstrates less faith than they should.
The Blessed Virgin has a unique place in the Body of Christ and only someone blind to the Word of God would assert otherwise.
Atemi, you have so constructed this anti-Catholic mindset in yourself that if all of us left the church tomorrow for you personal favorite denom you’d still wanna tell us this trash.
[quote=tenax propositi]I’ve been floored by reading extracts of ‘The Glories of Mary’ by St Alphonsus Ligouri
First off, welcome to the process of discernment regarding the Church. It certainly can be a long and difficult one–it was for me, at any rate.
I picked this comment out of the rest because I really feel this is the crux of the difficulty.
Reading extracts cannot give you enough of Liguori’s thought for you to base an understanding of Catholic teaching upon. You really have to read his whole thought to see where he is going with it.
Also, you have to read it understanding the language in which he wrote and the time in which he wrote. Now days we aren’t as effusive in expression as he was in his day.
I have read “The Glories of Mary” and other such works realizing as I did that at the time I read them I did not fully understand Marian teaching, I was reading language laced with high flung expressions of love (like a type of poetry), and that at the core of what I was reading was a very simple idea.
And that idea is that the Incarnation brought about the total recreation of humanity. We are new creations in Christ who are now, through God’s grace, capable of not just appearing holy, but actually being holy.
Mary is the prime example of this–the one through whom God brought us the Second Adam, making her the Second Eve, and therefore our Mother in Grace. She is the new Eve of the human race, which means that God brought about the new creation through her, and continues to do so–by his grace.
To Atemi, did you ever accept all the teachings of the CC?
I can’t imagine how someone could be convinced that the CC was all she claimed to be–Christ’s holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity through which He communicated truth and grace to all–and then reject it so completely like you do now.
And accepting all the teachings of the Church is no problem for me. Once you accept that the Church is truly the Mystical Body of Christ, the rest is easy. No cafeteria Catholicism for me–I want the whole Truth. Who am I to pick and choose what I want to believe.
Leaving the CC for any other Christian denomination reminds me of a sick patient who becomes discouraged with the care his well-trained physician is giving him, so he opts to go to a witch doctor for treatment instead.
Bible-alone Christianity makes no sense to me. Give me the historical, Apostolic Church.
Thanks for the replies - keep them coming. I found it interesting to read the quotes from the catechism posted by FCEGM, and would have little difficulty in accepting them. They use language that I’m very comfortable with. And that, perhaps, is where the points made by Dallas are relevant. I realise that language needs to be understood in context…
I still have a problem with Ligouri’s idea that we only receive the grace of God through Mary’s intercession. She, in other words, is the only way to Christ. My original question was whether this idea was blasphemous. I understand that Ligouri’s writings aren’t dogma, but they do seem to be confirmed by the excerpts from papal encyclicals supplied by Atemi. Is anyone prepared to defend the notion that we can only go to Christ through Mary? They were relevant to the thread as they have bearing on whether St Ligouri’s claims are blasphemous.
I’m asking these questions in a spirit of charity. I’m not trying to be obstreporous or to start a fight. I’m Irish but not that Irish!
I appreciate that Br Rich, but can you shed any light on the specific question I’ve raised. That is, do we only receive God’s grace through Mary’s intercession?
And I’ve just read the 1st chapter of GoL. I can’t say that it has helped. It contains the idea (with no scriptural or historic warrant) that God made Christ the ‘King of Justice’ and left mercy to Mary. The suggestion is that Christ has nothing to do with mercy. Surely that is heretical.