How should we answer this affront to the Blessed Mother?


#1

Hello!

I just found this at www.bible.ca and I was wondering how catholics should respond to it. How do we answer this?

Question #4: Catholics engage in endless praise of Mary. When a woman praised Jesus’ mother to his face, did Jesus commend encourage this woman to continue praising Mary?

“While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”” Luke 11:27-28


#2

"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. " Philippians 2: 9-11

In regard to your above verse from Luke 11, I tend to recall the verse from Philippians to keep my thoughts on the right path. Christ is ALWAYS over all.

Christ is not saying that Mary is not “blessed” in Luke 11. Mary is Blessed among woman! Christ is saying you cannot be blessed unless you hear the word of God and *keep *it. He is taking the focus off the “creation” per se and focusing on the Word. If you recall in Luke 8 19-21, the Saviour says," My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." Once again, He takes the focus off the creation and focuses on the Word of God and His work as the Messiah.


#3

It’s also an affirmation of being blessed by obeying God, not by lineage. Some of the Jews thought that they were surely defended in God’s sight just by nature of being the sons of Abraham, which is something that Jesus rebuked.

Likewise, Mary is blessed by her cooperation with God’s salvific plan, not, in of itself, by giving birth to Jesus. Unless it is accompanied with an obedient & faithful heart, having a baby is not a noble or an ignoble act anymore than eating or sleeping is, and a mother is not blessed simply by nature of having a blessed son, rather “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”


#4

Oh, and if you want a direct refutation over the issue of calling Mary blessed, look no further than scripture itself :slight_smile:

Luke 1: 46-55 NRSVCE
Mary’s Song
And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


#5

While it is good to have a response to this…It is unlikely that a response to the website will cause them to change their view…Better to engage people one on one…

Question #4: Catholics engage in endless praise of Mary. When a woman praised Jesus’ mother to his face, did Jesus commend encourage this woman to continue praising Mary?

Well - there are two possible aspects to “endless” that must be considered…quantity and quality.
Qualitatively - as in the level of praise - our praise is not “endless”. Our Praise of Mary stops before it reaches the level of “worship” that is reserved only for God.
Quantitatively there really is no problem so long as the praise is proper in it’s qualities.

I “praise” my wife endlessly - I praise my mother endlessly - yet I doubt that anyone is going to confuse this with praise with “worship”…:shrug:

“While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”” Luke 11:27-28

This particular translation seems to be quite unique. A word search for “contrary” HERE shows 27 translations where the word is used…but only ONE that uses it in this verse.
Most other translations, including the KJV and NKJV seem to use “rather”…at least one uses “Far more blessed” (Complete Jewish Bible)
So there certainly seems to be room or interpretation on exactly what Jesus was communicating here - and the consensus among translators does not seem to be that the correct word is “contrary”.

Peace
James


#6

It doesn’t sound like he means this as an affront.
Does the Catholic religion teach this as being an affront? Do you feel it is?

I read it more to link to the other line he says somewhere else (I think it’s him)…about putting God before everyone else, even your parents and children, etc…

.


#7

Oh, such joy, knowing that no less than our Church Fathers replied to such questions with the utmost humility, confusing the proud for the ages to come!

St. Augustine, for instance, teaches us:

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: “Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother.” I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father?

Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

St. Methodius prays:

Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. .

Wherefore we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance.

O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches:

When the Blessed Virgin conceived the Eternal Word in her womb, and brought Him forth, she obtained half the kingdom of God; so that she is Queen of Mercy, as Jesus Christ is King of Justice.

Saint Aelred, abbot, preaches:

We owe her honor, for she is the mother of our Lord. He who fails to honor the mother clearly dishonors the son. Also, Scripture says: Honor your father and your mother.

What then, my brothers, shall we say? Is she not our mother? Yes, my brothers, she is indeed our mother, for through her we have been born, not for the world but for God.

She is our mother — the mother of our life, the mother of our incarnation, the mother of our light. She then, as mother of Christ, is the mother of our wisdom and justice, of our holiness and redemption.

She is more our mother than the mother of our flesh. Our birth from her is better, for from her is born our holiness, our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification, our redemption.

Saint Sophronius also preaches:

The Lord is with you. Who would dare challenge you? You are God’s mother; who would not immediately defer to you and be glad to accord you a greater primacy and honor? For this reason, when I look upon the privilege you have above all creatures, I extol you with the highest praise: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. On your account joy has not only graced men, but is also granted to the powers of heaven.

St. Anselm adds:

The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new.

Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.

The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world.

God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life.

For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world.

Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.


#8

Saint Cyril of Alexandria prayed about Our Lady at the Council of Ephesus:

Because of you the holy Trinity is glorified and adored; the cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; the heavens exult; the angels and archangels make merry; demons are put to flight; the devil, that tempter, is thrust down from heaven; the fallen race of man is taken up on high; all creatures possessed by the madness of idolatry have attained knowledge of the truth; believers receive holy baptism; the oil of gladness is poured out; the Church is established throughout the world; pagans are brought to repentance.

Because of you the light of the only-begotten Son of God has shone upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; prophets pronounced the word of God; the apostles preached salvation to the Gentiles; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule by the power of the holy Trinity.

St. Bede the Venerable wrote:

She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived.

Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

Mary attributes nothing to her own merits.

She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name.

St. Thomas of Villanova said:

What an amazing distinction for a woman, to have a Son in common with God. The Father loves his Son; the Mother rejoices in her Son.

The Father tells his Son: from the womb, before the morning star, I begot you; the Mother says to her same Son: From the womb, I, a virgin, brought you into the world.

She is amazed at her own glory, nor can she herself understand her elevation, for by the very fact of being made mother of the Creator she became with the best right mistress and queen of all creation.

Truly, Mary he that is mighty, has done great things for you; truly because he made you his own mother, all generations of the ages will call you blessed.

St. Laurence Justinian wrote:

How entirely blessed was the mind of the Virgin…It was fitting for divine Wisdom, which created itself a home in the Church, to use the intervention of the most blessed Mary in guarding the law, purifying the mind, giving an example of humility and providing a spiritual sacrifice.

Imitate her, O faithful soul.


#9

This is exactly true. TK is 100% correct.

Jews believed that they were blessed based on the fact that they were Jews. Jesus is not rebuking his mother but correcting the mistaken belief that they will have good lives and enter into God’s rest at the end of their lives based on heredity alone.

The entire passage is actually a confirmation of Our Lady’s blessedness. Our Lord teaches that those who hear the word of God and obey it are blessed. Nobody obeyed the word of God more than Mary.

This is a very semitic way of teaching and of writing. We are expected to know something about Jewish culture and how Jews thought and acted within the context of their society. Interpreting Jesus’ words apart from the fact that he was a Jew leads to errors such as the belief that Jesus was rebuking his mother. Nothing could be further from the truth.

-Tim-


#10

It is not a put-down of Mary. Some like to twist it to mean that.

In fact, who heard the Word of God and kept it better than Mary!


#11

Yes - I think you are correct. I have not investigated the linked site but normally these kinds of comments are in response to some sort of perceived “idolatry” and so this is the matter that needs to be addressed.
Rather than see such things as an “affront” it is better to see it as simple “ignorance” and try to correct the misconceptions.

Peace
James


#12

They are interpreting the verse poorly. Jesus’ point is exactly opposite of what they think. No wonder Peter tells us that Scripture can be interpreted to one’s own destruction! First of all, let’s be clear, Jesus isn’t disrespecting His mother as some people assert (likewise we see some people saying that about Him addressing her as “woman”). To say that Jesus would insult or disrespect His mother is to not know Who He is. At any rate, He is saying that it isn’t biology that makes Mary (or anyone else) blessed. Timothy’s post above provides a lot of insight. The woman in the passage was blessing Mary for the wrong reason. Mary is blessed because of her obedience! There’s that little story of the annunciation where** she heard the word of God and she observed it**. I challenge any one on that board to identify a place in Scripture where Mary was disobedient to God’s word. Personally, I do not like the expression “praising Mary” and I don’t think that is what we Catholics do, at least it is not the praise that is due to God alone. I guess I would like them to define what they think praise is. I praise and adore God. I honor and love Mary.

Catholics bless Mary, and we call her blessed— just as she said all generations would do. Who else called her blessed? THE HOLY SPIRIT through Elizabeth. Luke 1:41-42 “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Interesting isn’t it that the Holy Spirit did not say “blessed is the fruit of your womb” before saying “blessed are you among women”. Personally, I think the Holy Spirit did that on purpose :slight_smile:

As for me, I choose to be in line with the Holy Spirit and call Mary blessed.


#13

Partially it’s a poor translation. Almost every Bible, both Catholic and Protestant use the word “rather” instead of “On the contrary.” That is a HUGE difference.

In the translation “rather” means it would be even better to say blessed are those …etc.

With this word, Our Lord is calling attention to the REAL REASON, his Blessed Mother is truly Blessed (and all others as well.)

In the other translation “on the contrary” means NO, you are wrong. Just the opposite is true, which is blessed are those… etc.

With this phrase, the true meaning has become obscured. It appears Jesus is saying his Mother is NOT blessed. Or if he is not saying that, it is very hard to know it.

I think the NASB is favoring a dynamic equivalence which is favorable to their doctrine here. :shrug:

I sincerely believe the true meaning is better served with the word “rather.” That is why they prefer their translation with “on the contrary.”


#14

The question is an affront:

4: Catholics engage in endless praise of Mary. When a woman praised Jesus’ mother to his face, did Jesus commend encourage this woman to continue praising Mary?

This is a typical anti-catholic proselityzing technique of nowadays in some groups: to twist Scripture and ask a rethorical question in order not just to convey their erroneous doctrine, but to convince the reader that it is reasonable.

In this case, this “pseudo-question” is actually affirming: “according to Scripture, Christ discouraged praise of Our Lady, and Catholics are gravely wrong in their endless praise of Mary”. This affirmation, however, is a blatant falsehood. Which is why it must be transmitted as a question, to avoid immediate rejection.

This sort of technique always reminded me of the movie Inception…transmit an idea to the person in such a way that the person thinks he actually came up with it…in such a way that the person thinks he has reached the truth through reason, that he has understood…when in fact, all he has done is receive what the proselytizer intended him to receive…but this received error will be very hard to remove, because it is not rooted on trust in some novel denomination’s intepretation of Scripture…it will be rooted on the person’s pride of self…he will think it is his understanding of Scripture. It takes great humility to question and distrust ourselves above all else.

As for “Catholics engage in endless praise of Mary”, I do recall this one guy called Martin Luther who once said:

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. …She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough.

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother. Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees…there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother.

We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her.

Besides, the first one to praise Mary is none other than *God Himself *through His angel:

the angel Gabriel was sent from God … said unto her:

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women. …] Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.”


#15

Let our minds and hearts be in our song!

cin.org/akathis.html

Peace


#16

Blessed Fulton J. Sheen Archbishop

That reminds me of a woman who came to see me one evening after instructions. She said: “I would never become Catholic. You say the same words in the Rosary, over and over again, and anyone who repeats the same words is never sincere. I would never believe such a person and neither would God.” I asked her who the man was who was with her. She said it was her fiance. I asked, “Does he love you?” “He told me.” “What did he say?” He said, “I love you.” “But never before?” “He tells me every night.” I said, “Do not believe him.” He is repeating; he is not sincere.” The beautiful truth, there is no repetition in “I love you.” Because there is a new moment of time, another point in space, the words do not mean the same as before. Love is never monotonous in the uniformity in the uniformity of its expression. The mind is infinitely variable in its language, but the heart is not. The heart of man in the face of the woman he loves is too poor to translate the infinity of his affection into different words. So the heart takes but one expression, “I love you” and in saying it over and over again, it never repeats. It is the only real news in the universe.

That is what we do when we say the Rosary. We are saying to the Holy Trinity, to the Incarnate Savior to the Blessed Mother, “I love you,” I love you, “I love you.”

archbishopfultonsheencentre.com/Mother_Mary.htm

Peace


#17

Let those who think that the Church pays too much attention to Mary give heed to the fact that Our Blessed Lord Himself gave ten times as much of His life to her as He gave to the Apostles
The World’s First Love, 1956: 88

… she is what God wanted us all to be, she speaks of herself as the Eternal blueprint in the Mind of God, the one whom God loved before she was a creature. She is even pictured as being with Him not only at creation but before creation. She existed in the Divine Mind as an Eternal Thought before there were any mothers. She is the Mother of mothers she is the world’s first love.

The World’s First Love, 1956: 11


Blessed Fulton J. Sheen


#18

Some great posts :slight_smile:


#19

It is a great poverty not to have the understanding of the depth and magnitude of Mary’s relationship with us Christians, either through doctrinal, spiritual or traditional means.

God bless them.


#20

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