Ineffabilis Deus


#1

I am distressed and further clarification would be appreciated. If I am reading this correctly and understand the purpose of a Papal bull as an Apostolic Constitution that defines dogma as Church doctrine, then all Christians must believe and adhere to it, quote, “therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.” papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm

I am struggling with accepting the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, as many of you know. That Tradition, within the context of the early church fathers, at least through the first 800 years or so (my research to date), does not support these doctrines, as almost all the early fathers, bishops and saints, renounce or make no mention of them, is of great concern. In fact Mary is seldom mentioned outside of the Virgin Birth. I have, however, found some very disturbing parallels in the Gnostic writings. Some of which can be found here: earlychristianwritings.com

Bear in mind that In my experience and training, as far as in the recording and understanding of human history, the closer one’s observations and writings are to the event the more accurate and believable that information becomes. I am reminded of the Steve Kay “acorn analogy” in trying to communicate an effective way of understanding revelation, but I am not finding that very helpful or supportive in this case. However, I am also keenly aware of the power of the Holy Spirit in Divine Revelation, in the inspiration and revealing of Truth - after all the Great Revelation took thousands of years to unfold.

I am not trying to dismantle the veneration of Mary or her obvious importance to the Church nor am I trying to trivialise it, rather I am trying to understand why these two areas are so important. Why they came about in the first place (and further research may reveal why as I go along.) Why phrases like ,“it was wholly fitting”, need to be used at all! This is especially so, for me, since, I am not convinced it is necessary to believe Mary was sinless or assumed into Heaven, body and soul, for my (or anyone else’s) Christian life, belief or faith, to be meaningful.

Does that mean that if I don’t believe in these doctrines (and that raises other questions), after having been verified by the Church that I was Baptised, that I am perpetually sinning (mortal) and my salvation is at risk? Since I am not a Catholic at this time, if I persist in this disbelief, will it in fact prevent me from becoming a Catholic?

Respectfully,
Thom


#2

Why are these doctrines so important? For the same reason that any part of Divine Revelation is important. Because God, for his own reasons, wanted us to know them.

Why now (in the last 150 years, give or take)? I can only speculate on why the Holy Spirit moves as he does, but there has been a clear and undeniable drift in Protestantism away from the Marian beliefs that the first Protestants inherited from the Catholic Church. All dogmatic clarifications are made in response to some threatening heresy, and this may have been the way in which the Holy Spirit inocculated the Church from the growing Protestant heresies regarding Mary.

Yes, you must affirm belief in all that the Church teaches before you become Catholic. To not do so (or, rather, to lie about it) would be a Very Bad Thing for your soul.


#3

Thank you - such a quick response :slight_smile: . I am curious what protestant “heresies” caused this to take place other than just “drifting away” from Mary? Rhetorical here, I don’t want a list. :eek: Especially in light of those who did not ascribe to those doctrines, Church theologians, bishops and saints, long before the Reformation. I’m sure there were attacks on the Church regarding Mary in the 17th century on and I’m sure to discover those as well as the conflicts within the Church as my research continues. I am, however, looking for consistency in Truth, not convenience; I am looking for the grounds to justify why they are necessary for my Salvation much less my Christian life; finally I am trying to grasp what it means to be under the Authority of the Church.

I would never lie about such a thing, when asked or not, I would certainly reveal what I believe. That said, there are many controversial issues within the Church today, some doctrine, like evolution, and some not, like contraception. Many Catholics have openly come out on various sides of those issues. I won’t ask the obvious question here, but it does leave me with some very uneasy feelings.

So the answer to my second question is simply as you stated VociMike,

Yes, you must affirm belief in all that the Church teaches before you become Catholic.

On this and other areas I will continue to read, study, question and pray.

Respectfully,
Thom


#4

To become a Catholic one states one believes all the the Church teaches. This does not mean that one has checked all the beliefs, or that the Church teaching matches all that one believes. It states that one believes that the Church is the ultimate judge of truth. If a subject comes up where one does not believe what the Church teaches, one will continue to study the matter until one resolves the disagreement.

Note the most important step is to be sure that one is disagreeing with what the Church teaches, not with what one thinks She teaches. The latter is often the case.


#5

Hey there Old Thom! The sweat on the brow of belief struggling against past errors! I love it! God bless your efforts abundantly.

I put this as simply as I can - God created Adam and Eve in the Garden. They fell into sin. God created Mary in her mother’s womb. She didn’t fall into sin. God preserved her from the moment of her conception, for He knew of His plans for her life. He “saved” her at that moment in time. That is why she is called full of grace and why in her Magnificat she states: My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

I would suggest you Pray the Magnificat and beg God for the grace to see. All that floats around in your head about her will fade in time. It is as you’ve noted “training” or as I’d see it, old tapes that will play when the button is pushed. Pray them away!

Your sincerity in your efforts in your struggle are gaining you merit and grace. God knows you want this. Things will come in His time.

I love reading encyclicals! To me it is like watching the Holy Spirit in action! Some are really moving. Well, at least to me anyway. Ineffabilis Deus is dy-no-mite!

You could try this before reading the Encyclicals: Make the Sign of the Cross and pray this little prayer - **Come O Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your Love! Send forth Your Spirit O Lord and we shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth! Amen. **
That’s what I do and it’s been working fine for a few years. Works when you read the Bible too.

Peace,

Gail


#6

P.S. - If you are also struggling with the Assumption you could do a little research on Elijah and Enoch’s deaths. They were “assumed” at their deaths. Look them up.

Peace,

Gail


#7

GailMac - good to hear (or read) from you again! :slight_smile:

I know what you are saying, a copy of that concise statement (or least something very similar) hangs on my cork board and I read it every morning and night. You are right, her Magnificat should be there as well. I will do so, as I love that song of praise anyway. I am, however, more persuaded by reason and consistency than I am by passion and repetition.

For me, there is a very fundamental element involved in me accepting Mary as sinless. It reaches far beyond doctrine and the authority of the Church. God is working with me on that and I will not go into it here on these forums.

Funny you should mention a prayer of understanding before I dive into Spiritual study. I have done that since day one (only started adding the sign of the cross though in the last few months). The load of my concerns and misunderstandings have been greatly lifted these past few months because of such prayers. My hope and prayer is that everyone who seeks the Truth will do the same.

God’s many blessings to you GailMac!

Respectfully,
Thom


#8

O Dear Old Thom…since you’ve already taken two of my bits of advice for a while now, I guess it means more sweat and study. And of course the reminder that it is going to come in God’s good time! The ugly four letter word impatient persons like me don’t like to hear! TIME!

There’s also a factor that you’re forgetting. Your are moving closer to the Sacraments. The Eucharist - all those Words made flesh and then some! Confirmation - an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to sharpen the dullest blade! Confession - the Healing Blood of a Spotless unblemished Lamb poured upon the wounds in our hearts, minds and souls. Hang in there. God has plenty in store for you.

Peace,

Gail

P.S. Send me an e-mail or whatever the messages are here. I’ll respond.

P.P.S. You could try the Apostles Prayer - Lord I do believe, heal my unbelief.


#9

Something to think about is that if all uncorrupted humans would be destined to sin, then the Fall wasn’t a Fall at all. If all uncorrupted humans sin and all corrupted humans sin, what’s the difference?

From that it seems logical that there is nothing inevitable about uncorrupted humans (whom God called “very good”) sinning.


#10

Yes VociMike there is, it is called free will.

I won’t argue logic here, as any logic of this kind can be used to justify any intended result. One cannot “study” God superficially any more than one can study a Catholic on a cursory level or casually. To follow what you are saying is an over simplification. It would be like trying to understand US constitutional law without having read (much less have an understanding) of our Constitution.

No, rather I’ll stretch back to something I said elsewhere in these forums: belief in this involves the “whole package” not just pieces or the parts that fit my belief best or those that I like or emotionally feel attached to believe. I have come to believe that Sacred Tradition is not only valid but necessary. The sinlessness of Mary, in my humble opinion, just is not fitting into the package at this time.

Look, some have argued in these forums that Mary’s sinlessness was absolutely necessary for Jesus to have a sinless nature, that this was the one exception. Nonsense! Jesus was God, period! God didn’t need Mary to be sinless or holy or anything else for that matter, just a willing virgin, which she was. God is God; Jesus is God (oh and a man by the way, but the human form of Jesus does not and could not overshadow God the Son!). I’ve seen more powerful and convincing arguments for Mary being sinless as it pertains to her being the New Eve and the new “Arc” of the New Covenant.

OK, I see more sense and reason to venerate Mary on the basis of tradition (and Tradition): that she was the Mother of God, Mother of the Church and the first Christian; I can also venerate her (as a virgin, mother of Jesus), Perpetually Virgin, even though there is still some argument there; I can venerate her as the New Eve and the New Arc because in the first century after Jesus’ death that is how people in the early Christian communities saw her; and I can even see how God would want to Assume her into Heaven, body and soul, at her death.

If Mary was sinless, then truly she is unique and is above us all, something more than “merely human”, worthy of our praise and adoration; but if she was not sinless, then she is just like me and she becomes an example of discipleship and devotion to Jesus, just as were Peter and Paul, and again, worthy of our praise and adoration.

Emotionally and in human terms, the latter statement rings true to me. But like I said, it is a work in progress.

Respectfully,
Thom


#11

Hi Thom,

Please don’t beat up on yourself. God is not in lightning and thunder, He is in the gentle wind. You don’t have to believe until God shows you the way. But like many potential converts, you approach belief by the wrong end. Even Catholics don’t understand all the truths of their faith or are able to justify them. It is enough for them to know what the Church teaches.

So it comes down to : does the Catholic Church have the authority to teach? That Is what you should concentrate on.

Meantime there is an excellent article on the Immaculate Conception at
bringyou.to/apologetics/ImmaculateConceptionMaryJuniperCarolMariology.htm

As for the Assumption, it is true that there is no authoritative writing on the subject before the 7th Century (St. John Damascene) But consider this. They say there are enough relics of the “true cross” to constitute a whole forest. There are (or used to be) several heads of “St.John the Baptist.” Don’t you think that if Christians had believed that Mary’s body had stayed on earth, there would be enough “relics” of her to fill several cemetaries?

Here is one of St. John Damascene’s three sermons on the Dormition of the Virgin :
uoregon.edu/~sshoemak/texts/dormition/dorm2.htm

Note that he does not speak of this subject as if it were a recent innovation. It is clear from the whole context that he speaks of a doctrine held long and universally; and you can easily separate the doctrine from the poetry.

God bless.

Verbum


#12

Exactly! :thumbsup: No argument there. :doh2:

As for my original two questions, the first has largely been unanswered and the second, well, perhaps has been answered, though still in the gray area. I will concentrate more on these tomorrow.

Respectfully,
Thom


#13

I hope you mis-typed. She is not worthy of adoration, nor is Peter or Paul. Veneration, Honor, Respect, but not adoration. That is reserved for God alone.

Another thing to note is that in the Creed (from the latin) it is properly translated as

“I BELIEVE One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”

Not that I believe in the church, but I believe the Church. according to Cardinal Shoenburg}

See also CCC 169:
Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: “We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation.” Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.


#14

OldThom, I am having the same problem that you are! (And I’m only 18.) If Mary’s decision to follow Christ was a result of free will and undid Eve’s decision to turn away from God, yet God saved Mary at the moment of her conception, did she really have free will?

It is not a matter of ‘does the Church have the authority to teach?’. I agree that they do. I am not telling Catholics that the Immaculate Conception is an incorrect doctrine. All I am saying is that I don’t understand it. 'The Church says it, I believe it, ‘nuff said’ has never been enough for me. I like to know why this or that is doctrine. I wouldn’t be at the Church without questioning everything.

What is the reason for the Immaculate Conception? I don’t think it was solely to make a clean enough place for Jesus to come strolling through. Besides, as it’s been stated, Jesus is God! He doesn’t need this or that. The Muslims disagree that God would humble Himself to become human yet we do affirm that. It’s not only a matter of cleanliness. (And why don’t the Orthodox believe that she was born without sin?)


#15

If Mary was born with original sin, she could not make a truly free choice. She would be influenced by the concupiscence that remains after original sin is removed. Being born without original sin means she, like Eve, could choose either YES or NO without undue influence from concupiscence or God’s overpowering will.

To believe one can live a holy life without God’s grace, using only your own will, is a heresy whose name I forget. This is because of the concupiscence that remains after baptism from the original state of your existence is part of your fallen nature. God gives us the grace to aid in living this life through baptismal grace and other sacramental graces (confirmation communion marriage orders etc). We are not as free to choose the good as we would be had we not been born with original sin.

Eve and Adam, along with Mary, were all born without Original Sin. Two chose NO but one chose YES. It was in these three that free will was completely free. They all lived in a stage of Original Innocence (to use the terminology of JPII in Theology of the Body). An existence that we have never experienced. We are damaged (fallen) but aided by God. Our original purity will be restored when we enter the presence of God with Christ.


#16

Yes, Evan, glad you picked that up. There are some problems with “terms” in the Church as I have found many Catholics who use “adoration” and “veneration” interchangeably. They are not the same. My concern, as I have stated elsewhere, is that there are those in the Catholic Church that replace God with the “church” or Mary or some saint or some holy relic or festival or ______. (Some protestants do the same.) I have personally witnessed this in my travels years ago. Sadly I have not traveled extensively outside the country since 1978 and much has changed to be sure … But that deviates from this thread and I do not wish to accuse or to sideswipe anyone’s Christianity.

I do not see Mary as a teacher in the strict sense, she is an example, a witness and a devoted mother. In the other sense, all Christians are “teachers” in the example they must set. My own mother was hardly a teacher in the positive sense, but I love her because she is my mother, just I would love Mary as the Mother of the Church. The true “mother” of my faith is the Church that Christ started and which is the same Church that carries on His teachings and guidance, not Mary.

But these issues are not primary to this thread for my questions still have not been totally answered. But I think I know enough to predict their answers as I understand heresy, apostasy and schism (CCC 2270 to 2275). I am encouraged by Joe Kelley’s post earlier:

This does not mean that one has checked all the beliefs, or that the Church teaching matches all that one believes. It states that one believes that the Church is the ultimate judge of truth. If a subject comes up where one does not believe what the Church teaches, one will continue to study the matter until one resolves the disagreement.

Respectfully,
Thom
[/quote]


#17

First my apologies for this long post - I’ve done my best to shorten it, where I could.

I think Jacob (a great name by the way:) ) your questions are honest and sincere. I have been using a few references outside of the CCC and other official documents to help me follow this line of thinking. It is an interesting study and you can start with this link : bringyou.to/apologetics/ImmaculateConceptionMaryJuniperCarolMariology.htm
That ref contains an excellent synopsis and outline of thought since Polycarp. Also, you must keep in mind that Mary entered into theological debate largely because there were so many antagonists to Jesus being both a man, fully human, and God, being fully God the Son: they were attacking Jesus through Mary. One popular attack in the first and second century was to accuse Mary of being a harlot and that Jesus was a bastard. Shoring up Mary was a step in defeating those accusations. Just an example.

This is not an easy process. The Marian doctrines did not just pop up over night. It took fully 1800 years to develop and there was much argument, discourse and controversy within the Church for centuries. Actually some of the biggest controversies swirled around the Feast of the Conception of Mary - now there is interesting reading.

Evan’s response to you, specifically, is not exact, “If Mary was born with original sin, she could not make a truly free choice.” Many of the earliest Christians believed Mary to be the New Eve, that is well documented. I will not go into it here in depth, but Mary had “perfect free will” as she was destined to be a “perfect vessel” for God the Son. Both Eve and Mary had the same opportunity to deny evil and stay holy and blameless. Where Eve failed, Mary did not.

What I have been taught and known for many years as a protestant (actually a Catholic doctrine) is that neither Grace nor the absence of sin subvert or negate freewill, as evidenced with Adam and Eve. What they do instead is to allow a more perfect response of free will, untainted or unbiased by the desire to sin. We, as imperfect humans, tainted by original sin, still have free will but it is biased by the urge or desire to sin (concupiscence). Mary was simply freed from that in order to make a more perfect response of free will. Mary’s response to God was still human in nature, but it was out of obedience and faith, being full of God’s grace and already saved.

The conclusions I have reached to date have not come easily. I have been studying for over a year (a mere drop in the bucket compared to many) and in constant prayer. I do take breaks from it all (except prayer) so that I can meditate and think on these things more clearly and see them at work in my own life. It is not easy, I have years and years of conditioning to overcome. What has helped is changing my perspective. The Catholic Church has been around for a very long time, much of what I’ve known and have been taught was originally Catholic Catechism, but in some cases greatly modified. I urge you to change the way you are looking at this and look as these issues as how your views deviate from the Church instead of how the Church deviates from your views.

The Marian doctrine will always be subject to criticism outside of the Church because of it’s lack of Scriptural reference and explicit “patristic tradition” (a term you might grow to have a love/hate affair with as you study as well). There will always be an impressive amount of argument against the doctrine from many Church fathers and doctors, either implicitly or explicitly, by inclusion or exclusion. Just remember, the Catholic Church views theology, in part, as progressive revelation (aka Tradition) that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Marian doctrines grew out of that Tradition.

As has been said in many ways and in many places, in these forums as well as elsewhere (including my RCIA worksheets) God did not have to give Mary a sinless nature in order for Jesus to be sinless, because Jesus, as God, was already sinless; it’s simply that it was fitting for Him to do so. So there you have it: it was fitting - the rest is persuasion and faith.

Since the Church has declared Mary was sinless her whole life, along with her Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception and Assumption, it is about authority. Either the Pope and Church’s Magisterium has the Authority via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to pronounce these as doctrine and to be believed, or it does not. As others have pointed out to me it is about accepting the Church’s authority when it comes to Christian doctrine, Christian belief, Christian living and Christian service.

Respectfully,
Thom


#18

All of the following quotes concerning the Assumption pre-date the ninth century:

Early Church Fathers on the Assumption of Mary

Pseudo – Melito

If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: “Be it done according to your will” (The Passing of the Virgin 16:2-17 A.D. 300]).

Epiphanius (d.403)

“If the Holy Virgin had died and was buried, her falling asleep would have been surrounded with honour, death would have found her pure, and her crown would have been a virginal one…Had she been martyred according to what is written: ‘Thine own soul a sword shall pierce’, then she would shine gloriously among the martyrs, and her holy body would have been declared blessed; for by her, did light come to the world.” (Panarion,78:23(A.D. 377),in PG 42:737)

Timothy of Jerusalem

Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption (Homily on Simeon and Anna A.D. 400]).

**John the Theologian **

The Lord said to his Mother, “Let your heart rejoice and be glad. For every favor and every gift has been given to you from my Father in heaven and from me and from the Holy Spirit. Every soul that calls upon your name shall not be ashamed, but shall find mercy and comfort and support and confidence, both in the world that now is and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens”. . . And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise (The Dormition of Mary A.D. 400]).

The Pseudo-Augustine (c. 500)

This venerable day has dawned, the day that surpasses all the festivals of the saints, this most exalted and solemn day on which the Blessed Virgin was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. On this day the queenly Virgin was exalted to the very throne of God the Father, and elevated to such a height that the angelic spirits are in admiration.

Gregory of Tours (c.538-593)

[T]he Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones. . . (Eight Books of Miracles 1:4 A.D. 575]).

Theoteknos of Livias

It was fitting … that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinised, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory … should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God (*Homily on the Assumption *[ca. **A.D. 600]).

Modestus of Jerusalem

As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him (*Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae *[ante **A.D. 634]).

Germanus I, Patriarch of Constantinople (d.733)

You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life (Sermon I A.D. 683]).

John Damascene** (676-749)**

The body of her, whose virginity remained unspotted in child-birth, was preserved in its incorruption, and was taken to a better, diviner place, where death is not, but eternal life. (First Homily on the Dormition of Mary)

And just as the all holy body of God’s Son, which was taken from her, rose from the dead on the third day, it followed that she should be snatched from the tomb, that the mother should be united to her Son; and as He had come down to her, so she should be raised up to Him, into the more perfect dwelling-place, heaven itself. (Second Homily on the Dormition of Mary A.D. 697])

Struck by the wonder of the mystery they could only think that He who had been pleased to become Incarnate from her in His own person and to become man and to be born in the flesh, God the Word, the Lord of Glory, who preserved her virginity intact after her parturition,—He was pleased even after her departure from life to honor her immaculate and undefiled body with incorruption and with translation prior to the common and universal resurrection. (Second Homily on the Dormition of Mary, 10,18 A.D. 697])


#19

It is irrelevant how long ago the different doctrines came up, it does not frankly matter whether early church fathers approved of or even thought of certain doctrines present today. The Bible itself speaks of the authority given to bind and loose, if you are looking for doctrines that are approve wholly and subsists in the ancient writings of the church fathers, then not only does a lot of important Catholic doctrines disappear, but all of Protestantism.

Neither does the Bible make any statements about definitive teachings being the only ones in the years 300 - 800. In either case, a lot of the Marian doctrines have some basis from the early church fathers’ days, I’ve seen it before, and I think some have already posted it.

Cheers


#20

]).

Modestus of Jerusalem

As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him (*Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae *[ante **A.D. 634]).

Germanus I, Patriarch of Constantinople (d.733)

You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life (Sermon I A.D. 683]).

John Damascene** (676-749)**

The body of her, whose virginity remained unspotted in child-birth, was preserved in its incorruption, and was taken to a better, diviner place, where death is not, but eternal life. (First Homily on the Dormition of Mary)

And just as the all holy body of God’s Son, which was taken from her, rose from the dead on the third day, it followed that she should be snatched from the tomb, that the mother should be united to her Son; and as He had come down to her, so she should be raised up to Him, into the more perfect dwelling-place, heaven itself. (Second Homily on the Dormition of Mary A.D. 697])

Struck by the wonder of the mystery they could only think that He who had been pleased to become Incarnate from her in His own person and to become man and to be born in the flesh, God the Word, the Lord of Glory, who preserved her virginity intact after her parturition,—He was pleased even after her departure from life to honor her immaculate and undefiled body with incorruption and with translation prior to the common and universal resurrection. (Second Homily on the Dormition of Mary, 10,18 A.D. 697])

Thanks Randy.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.