I am sure this has come up before on this Board but I have not seen it as I don’t post here too often. As I said on another thread I am a revert to the Catholic Church but I have a lot to learn and understand since I spent the last 20 years as an Evangelical Protestant. I was on a Board where Catholics and Protestants discuss and debate their differences and this book “Glories of Mary” by Alphonsus Liguori came up. This person quoted some passages from that book and to be honest I find them quite overboard to say the least about Mary. Now before I run screaming back to being an Evangelical and becoming a Lutheran please explain this what seems to me an over the top glorifying a human being over Jesus. I don’t understand this.I find it baffling to say the least. In Christ, jurist12
Most of the quote used by anti-Catholic from the Glories of Mary are taken out of context. This link should help address your concerns: web.archive.org/web/20030604154209/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ54.HTM
For my part, I would say…
“I avow, with all the [Catholic] Church, that Mary, being a mere creature that has come from the hands of the Most High, is in comparison with His Infinite Majesty less than an atom; or rather, she is nothing at all, becase only He is ‘He who is’; consequently that grand Lord, always independent and sufficient to Himself, never had, and has not now, any absolute need of the holy Virgin for the accomplishment of His will and for the manifestation of His glory. He has but to will in order to do everything.” (St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Chap. 1]
That said, as far as creatures go, Mary is God’s masterpiece. God lavished on Mary graces beyond any other creature so that even the archangels address her as “Kecharitomene” (Full of Grace) (Luke 1:28). As the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament was covered with purest gold inside and out to make it a fitting vessel to carry the words of God written on stone tablets, Mary was endowed by God with graces beyond all other creature to make her a fitting vessel to carry the Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, in her womb and be his mother. The Holy Spirit testified to this when Elizabeth said to Mary, “And blessed are you among women” (v. 42). Mary, “the handmaid of the Lord” (v. 38), also said it herself, “…all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (vv. 48-49). As a masterpiece manifests the skill of the master, the glories of Mary manifest the infinite greatness of God. May his name be praised forever.
I am in the process of re-reading this great book with a eye out for those times when he explains what he means when he writes the so-called over-the-top passages. He not only explains in the introduction that Mary is only a creature, he explains it at length at least three other times within the text. The poo-pooing of this book is yet another example of anti-Catholic reactionary misrepresentation and approaching Catholic books as a butcher approaches a pig.
I am SLOWLY reading this book & have been for 2 years. I read a chapter or section of a chapter, mark all over my book, and then spend months trying to absorb what was said. It is VERY deep & requires a FIRM belief in the Catholic faith. There have to be certain Catholic understandings present. It is definately not for the NonCatholic (re: lots of misinterpretations) & not for the new Catholic (re: lots of confusion).
FUNNY STORY - I was so frustrated with certain concepts in the book & was expressing that Alphonse Logouri didn’t make such & such clear. My husband, in his no nonsense way said, “Just write to the author & ask him”. I said, the author is “SAINT Alphonse Logouri”. We both had a good laugh over this.
There seem to be some people who do go overboard, but I stay with what the magisterium teaches. I love Our Lady very very much but I hear her clearly when her every message in every apparition has been the same as the wedding feast at Cana. “Do whatever He tells you.” That does it for me.
We should however admonish those who get carried away, (as humans are wont to do…) to keep their eyes on Our Lord just as the Blessed Virgin did. We follow Mary’s holy example as a saint, and nothing more. She would certainly never stand for anything more.
It is also helpful to place this work into its historical context as a piece of literature. The flowery language and modes of expression were common when people were discussing those whom they loved at the time it was written.
Also, the Saint was flying into the highest stratospheres of Marian theology and devotion while firmly attached to the christological and Gospel roots of these subjects. IOW, he was exploring just what Mary’s life means to the life of the Church–of the believer. Very deep stuff indeed, and not for those with little to no knowledge of Catholic theology.
I first read TGOM when I been away from my former Pentecostal sect for a few years and had just begun to pray the Rosary. I recognized at once that what the Saint was talking about was a bit beyond me at the time, so I simply took this work on good faith and let it speak to me instead of me trying to sort it out according to my still Protestant way of thinking.
I reasoned that if the Church had sanctioned this work, going so far as to declare its author a saint, it was theologically sound, if a bit difficult for me to grasp.
Works such as this are not proof texts of Catholic Marian theology. They are expressions of theological exploration and of devotion. And for those who do not love Our Lady, the language of love used seems excessive, as it does to anyone who does not love the object of love’s language.
Can you give an example of where this source is over-glorifying?
What I do is compare the words said about Mary to words that many have said about their spouse? Isn’t is similar? If I said in a poem to my spouse that she is “my life, my sweetness, and my hope” would Protestants charge me with worshipping my wife as a goddess? If not, why is that charge so often flung at Catholics for using such flowery words to other loved ones whom we insist are mere creatures of God?
I am in the process right now of total consecration to the Blessed Mother (day 11 of 34).
One of my degrees is a B.A. in English, with a focus on medieval lit, so I personally am much more comfortable with the literary style of TGOM, or of De Montfort, than would be, say, the average engineering or criminal justice major.
And as a cradle Catholic from the good old elementary School Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I was accustomed to a “Marian emphasis” before the term was fashionable.
Jurist, the fact is, if you remember, there are three types of what we call “worship”–the word itself in its original meaning was “honor”. After all, we honor our father and mother–it’s in the COMMANDMENTS! Such worship is dullia.
Hyperdullia–a higher worship but only in degree, as it is heightened “dullia”, is due to Mary, as the mother of God, the “fiat” of the Incarnation, the being created “without sin”, spouse of the Holy Spirit, daughter of the Most High God.
Finally, LATRIA is the worship or honor due to GOD ALONE. Not simply, “higher dullia”, but the worship of our Father, Lord, and King, our Creator. We honor (dullia, hyperdulia) our fellow creatures, be they our parents, holy men and women, our Blessed Mother) but we WORSHIP (latria) GOD ALONE.
Any worship of Mary (hyperdullia) is done acknowledging her as God’s most perfect CREATURE who happens to be one of US but whose life on earth is a model for us to follow Christ PERFECTLY, and whose life in heaven is as Queen and Mother. To honor her PROPERLY and BEST is to worship her SON and GOD, and that is the ONLY reason she is honored more than we would honor our parents or any other holy person.
So, any honor we give to Mary is honor GIVEN TO GOD.
We take nothing FROM God to honor Mary–we GIVE TO GOD WHEN we honor Mary. We go to Jesus, the way, truth, and life, THROUGH Mary.
After all, if somebody praised you for some good deed, but either completely ignored your mom, was rude to her, or intimated that you did your good deed or turned out a good person IN SPITE OF HER HORRID JOB RAISING YOU, wouldn’t you be, not basking in your deserved praise, but a trifle annoyed at the blatent disrespect shown your mother? She didn’t do your good deed, but didn’t her choosing to carry you, nuture you, love you, teach you, and guide you have SOMETHING to do with your becoming the person you are?
reading liguori’s book re-affirmed my love for the Blessed Mother. In fact, it has inspired me to say my Rosary more often, though lately i have neglected it as I ought… nonetheless, I recommend it to any devotee to Our Lady, or to anyone interested. Though I caution that the book is not for the newbie to the Faith…
Here’s 2 links to threads about this book:
In the 2nd link, I’ve got quotes from the book on
Reply # 59 and #71. There’s plenty of good said in that thread, but those are posts of mine that deal with material directly from the book.
Since I’m Protestant, let me just say 2 things, in accord with what has already been said:
The book is very “Marian” to say the least
The author is sometimes taken out of context.
I recommend you actually get the book and perouse through it yourself. That’s what I did. Actually, I’ve done more reading than perousing. I was surprised to see SO MANY Church Father quotes in there! He certainly didn’t make all of his writing up. He compiled it like a good Doctor of the Church does. He also has a book about the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration that a friend of mine is reading and he says it’s awesome, like practical and deep theologically.