First let me say that I think scripture supports intercessory prayer and the value of it. For example: John 2: 1-11, where Mary intercedes at Cana and in James 5:16: that…”the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” And I believe that the Saints, including Mary, are in heaven praying with us and asking them to join with us in prayer is important and effectual.
However there are some parts of the gospel which seem, to be a little in-congruent with some of the Church’s teaching about Mary’s place in the hierarchy of heaven. I am not saying it is, I just need some help to understand it.
We read in Mathew 12: 43*that Jesus is telling about an unclean spirit:“And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none.”
And during this lesson there was a crowd gathered outside and someone told Him that Mary and some of His relatives were outside wanting to see Him.
“47And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee. 48But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? 49And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren. 50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
This scene is also describe in Mark 3: 31-35
And is in Luke 8: 19-21 Luke also adds that during the unclean spirits talk, someone in the crowd shouted out about His mother, “27**And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. **28But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.”
So obviously if we are to set the scene, Jesus is inside somewhere talking about the unclean spirits, etc. to a those in the room with Him. And there is a crowd gathered outside. Mary, and the others, are trying to get in to see/speak with Him and for whatever reason can’t get through the crowds or are not being allowed entrance. So, people are letting Jesus know that they are out there “Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.,” and apparently some in the crowd are upset that His mother is being made to wait and not given special treatment, hence the outcry of, “ Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck.”
To both of these Jesus gives basically the same answer, which is that those who obey God are blessed and that all, who hear the word of God and obey are equally loved and important.
Therefore it is easy to conclude that if there is a hierarchy in heaven it goes:
(1)The Trinity ----> (2)Angels----->(3)Souls of those who were righteous/obedient whilst on Earth
So it seems logical that the Saints and Mary would be in level 3, and if we pray to them it is beneficial to us since their intercessory prayers “avialeth much.” But why would Mary be above the Saints, and some say Angels too, as the Church teaches since Jesus didn’t single her out of the crowd. On the contrary, He seemed to deliberately put her in the group with the others who were blessed because they were obedient to God’s will. He made sure that her motherhood did not award her special treatment, she was the same as those who obey God’s will, blessed. Blessed but equal. No?
Could someone help me to understand when the belief that Mary was above all except the Trinity in heaven began? It shouldn’t be based on the Assumption, since Elijah and Enoch are also believed to have been bodily assumed into heaven and they aren’t presented as having any special place in the hierarchy… Elijah is seen with Jesus during the transfiguration, but so is Moses and he was buried not assumed bodily into heaven. So, when did it start and what is it based upon?
Or am I reading these passages incorrectly?