Marian devotion and veneration


#1

I am sure this has been covered numerous times here but I have been approached recently about Marian devotion and perpetual virginity of our holy mother.

I guess my questions are

  1. What is the history of Mary’s primacy amongst saints and the history of her perpetual virginity?

  2. Are these dogmas of the church really that significant to salvation.


#2

Hi Santaro,

To be saved, we must believe everything that God says, because he can neither deceive nor be deceived. The Church teaches the Word of God, both written and unwritten.

The veneration of Mary derives from the Magnificat in Luke, ch. 1: “All generations shall call me blessed.” By honoring Mary we are fulfilling a prophecy of the Bible.

As for Mary’s virginity before the birth of Christ, it is clear from Luke 1 as well, that she conceived of the Holy Spirit. As to her virginity after giving birth to Jesus, this is a a most ancient teaqching of the Church. It was fully treated by St.Jerome in the Fourth Century in a treatise that you can bind by clicking here.

You will note that St. Jerome speaks as of a truth that has been constantly held by the Church.

Verbum


#3

Marian devotion before the 5th century was not as big as it is today. Today, Mary is almost as venerated as Jesus is himself, especially in Latin Americans countries. The early church held to the teaching Mary was ever virgin and bodily taken to heaven, when she died. But not all the church fathers believed Mary was born without sin. That teaching wasn’t declared til 1854.

                                 It is true Jerome stood strongly for the teaching Mary didn't have other children besides Jesus, but not all the fathers held to that view within the church. Tertullian spoke against it. I personally feel Mary remained a virgin. 

                                 But getting back to your question. Mary was not prayed to as she is today. Why? Because, up until the 14th century there was no "Hail Mary" Rosary recitals in 5 decades to recite. Rather then exclusive Marian prayers, the saints offered prayers to the saints "in general", especially to the martyrs. They asked them to pray for the living. Marian devotion didn't really take off until after the 7th century. There was one group that tried to make Mary a goddess so to speak. The church condemned the practice. Yet Marian devotion grew nevertheless. 

                                 The Marian apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes have only increased the fervor. So much so, people claim that they are seeing Mary from crying statues, in a slice of pizza. to cloud formations. But thankfully, the church **does** try to check all these stories out.

                                   But the bottom line is, just who do you pray to for your salvation and if you pray to anyone beside God, **why **do you do so? Jesus said, "**Come unto me"** and **not **come unto my Mother and then me". To me that is a big difference. The choice is yours. My salvation lies in Christ and my prayers are to God through Christ.

#4

[quote=gladtobe]Marian devotion before the 5th century was not as big as it is today. Today, Mary is almost as venerated as Jesus is himself, especially in Latin Americans countries. The early church held to the teaching Mary was ever virgin and bodily taken to heaven, when she died. But not all the church fathers believed Mary was born without sin. That teaching wasn’t declared til 1854.

It is true Jerome stood strongly for the teaching Mary didn’t have other children besides Jesus, but not all the fathers held to that view within the church. Tertullian spoke against it. I personally feel Mary remained a virgin.

But getting back to your question. Mary was not prayed to as she is today. Why? Because, up until the 14th century there was no “Hail Mary” Rosary recitals in 5 decades to recite. Rather then exclusive Marian prayers, the saints offered prayers to the saints “in general”, especially to the martyrs. They asked them to pray for the living. Marian devotion didn’t really take off until after the 7th century. There was one group that tried to make Mary a goddess so to speak. The church condemned the practice. Yet Marian devotion grew nevertheless.

The Marian apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes have only increased the fervor. So much so, people claim that they are seeing Mary from crying statues, in a slice of pizza. to cloud formations. But thankfully, the church does try to check all these stories out.

But the bottom line is, just who do you pray to for your salvation and if you pray to anyone beside God, **why **do you do so? Jesus said, “Come unto me" and **not **come unto my Mother and then me”. To me that is a big difference. The choice is yours. My salvation lies in Christ and my prayers are to God through Christ.
[/quote]

I think that you are being very harsh. Yes there are alot of wierd people out there :rolleyes: but the majority of people who do pray to Our Lady understand that she will help pray for our salvation and she did this in her own life by living an example for us, she alsodoes this as the Queen of heaven by constantly asking us to keep her Son first in our lives. It seems like you are having a hard time believing in her love for all of her children. I take it that you have a hard time with what the Latin American culture beliefs also. Their strong deviotion to Our Lady comes the apperience of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I do hope that you know that she not only appeared in Mexico for the “Latin American’s” but for all American’s I think that it is own lack of belief that we don’t see how much she wants us to turn to her son Our Lord Jesus Christ.


#5

The early church as a whole held to the perpetual virginity of Mary.But some of the ancient worthies didn’t. They were Tertullian, Eunomius, Jovinian, Helvidius, Bonosus of Saricica and the Antidicomarianites.(cited from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma pg 206, Dr Ludwig Ott)

                                I personally feel Mary remained a virgin. Probably the toughest bible verse to understand is where it states that Jesus was Mary's** firstborn** Son. **Firstborn usually means first in a class of many. **

                                 I would find it difficult to believe that Joseph would have wanted to have carnal sexual relations with Mary after just giving birth to God. Think about it. I be afraid to even touch her, in fear I might drop dead.

#6

[quote=gladtobe]The early church as a whole held to the perpetual virginity of Mary.But some of the ancient worthies didn’t. They were Tertullian, Eunomius, Jovinian, Helvidius, Bonosus of Saricica and the Antidicomarianites.(cited from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma pg 206, Dr Ludwig Ott)

I personally feel Mary remained a virgin. Probably the toughest bible verse to understand is where it states that Jesus was Mary’s** firstborn** Son. **Firstborn usually means first in a class of many. **

I would find it difficult to believe that Joseph would have wanted to have carnal sexual relations with Mary after just giving birth to God. Think about it. I be afraid to even touch her, in fear I might drop dead.
[/quote]

I don’t understand how can find it difficult to believe that St Joseph would not have sex with Mary, she was married to the Holy Spirit and there for not avalible to have relationships with St Joseph. And being the Holy man that he was he would honor God’s wishes.


#7

[quote=gladtobe]But the bottom line is, just who do you pray to for your salvation and if you pray to anyone beside God, **why **do you do so? Jesus said, “Come unto me" and **not **come unto my Mother and then me”. To me that is a big difference. The choice is yours. My salvation lies in Christ and my prayers are to God through Christ.
[/quote]

It seems that if you being a Catholic who actually goes out of your way in NOT asking for intercessary prayers of Our Holy Mother would be a grave mistake indeed. It means you may be not in tune with the Dogma of Intercessor Prayers to the Saints. I’m not saying that it is necessary, but it i am saying it necessary to believe and not rebel against. I can ask my Mother in Heaven to Pray for me anytime in helping me with my salvation and have no problem with it. No doubt it is God who does it all but we are commanded to pray for each other.


#8

There is nothing wrong with praying to Mary or any of the saints, in asking them, to pray for you, but for your soul’s salvation, only God through Christ alone, offers you salvation. I know extreme Marian devotees claim Mary offers salvation, but this is not true. Salvation only comes from God through Jesus Christ.John 14:6. Pray to God the Father, in Jesus’ name and he will keep you saved. Mary cannot save you or anyone.


#9

In jewish tradition the term “firstborn son” was used even if that son did not wind up with siblings.


#10

Marian devotion before the 5th century was not as big as it is today. Today, Mary is almost as venerated as Jesus is himself, especially in Latin Americans countries. The early church held to the teaching Mary was ever virgin and bodily taken to heaven, when she died. But not all the church fathers believed Mary was born without sin. That teaching wasn’t declared til 1854.

I was recently discussing with my sister the importance of whether or not Mary was born without sin.
She told me that if it were possible for Mary to be born without sin, it would mean that it was not necessary for Jesus to be born and to die on the cross. It would mean that Jesus dies in vain, because Mary would be brought back to God. Paul states that there is only one mediator between god and man, Jesus Christ. While some use this to mean we shouldn’t pray through the intercession of saints, it actually means that only one man could reconcille man to God, only one man could open the gates of paradise to us. Mary being born without sin would mean that she did not have “the handwriting written against” her and that she could enter into paradise without Jesus.

Some state that she would have to be born sinless in order to bear a sinless child, however, that would mean that St Anna would have to be sinless to bear a sinless child and so it goes on.

As for the whole concept of Mary being immaculately conceived, this is what I was hold concerning the history behind it:
In that year, or before that, Mary appeared to someone, and the person asked her “who are you” (i believe). And Mary responded “i am the immaculate conception.” from this statement the doctrine was created. However, if this is an accurate story, it is quite possible, and more sensical that it was implying that she is the one who conceived immaculately, i.e she conceived jesus without sex = immaculate conception. However, it was interpreted by the Catholic Church that this meant that she was born without original sin

It is true Jerome stood strongly for the teaching Mary didn’t have other children besides Jesus, but not all the fathers held to that view within the church. Tertullian spoke against it. I personally feel Mary remained a virgin.

My church interprets the phrase “brother of Jesus” as a cousin not a brother as we understand the term today, or a son of Jospeh from a previous marriage.

But getting back to your question. Mary was not prayed to as she is today. Why? Because, up until the 14th century there was no “Hail Mary” Rosary recitals in 5 decades to recite. Rather then exclusive Marian prayers, the saints offered prayers to the saints “in general”, especially to the martyrs. They asked them to pray for the living. Marian devotion didn’t really take off until after the 7th century. There was one group that tried to make Mary a goddess so to speak. The church condemned the practice. Yet Marian devotion grew nevertheless.

The Marian apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes have only increased the fervor. So much so, people claim that they are seeing Mary from crying statues, in a slice of pizza. to cloud formations. But thankfully, the church does try to check all these stories out.

My church has always prayed through the intercession of the saints, but do not pray exclusively to the saints.

Please correct me if I’m wrong on anything I stated above about the Catholic church.
I’m interested to here everyone’s thought’s on the views I expressed above.

God Bless,
Elizabeth


#11

As for the whole concept of Mary being immaculately conceived, this is what I was hold concerning the history behind it:
In that year, or before that, Mary appeared to someone, and the person asked her “who are you” (i believe). And Mary responded “i am the immaculate conception.” from this statement the doctrine was created. However, if this is an accurate story, it is quite possible, and more sensical that it was implying that she is the one who conceived immaculately, i.e she conceived jesus without sex = immaculate conception. However, it was interpreted by the Catholic Church that this meant that she was born without original sin

Absolutely not true.
The doctrine was defined BEFORE Mary appeared to Bernadette and declared “I am the Immaculate Conception”

The doctrine developed from very early on - as the church fathers referred to her as “without stain” or “without blemish”. These references are found quite early on in their writings.


#12

Can you explain the origin to me then? Because it was declared in 1854 right? And if it was declared in 1854, but was a belief all along then why did it take so long to declare it.

God Bless,
Elizabeth


#13

Your sister brings out some good points. My question is, if Mary was born without sin, then why did she say she rejoiced in God as her Savior in the first place? Only sinners need a Savior.

                                I definitely believe Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man for our salvation. None other. But this does not mean that we can call on the saints in heaven to pray for us and our needs. That is the difference or where I draw the line. Mary, nor any of the saints can grant you salvation. Only God can by his grace, through Jesus Christ.John 3:16, I Tim 4:10.

#14

Can you explain the origin to me then? Because it was declared in 1854 right? And if it was declared in 1854, but was a belief all along then why did it take so long to declare it.

Well…2 reasons actually…
But first I’ll say you could apply that same question to the doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divine/human nature of Jesus.
Why did it take so long to define holy scripture?

Do you see the parallel here.

1st point…Sometimes doctrines are not officially defined until a controversy/debate arises over the doctrine.
When this occurs - the Church examines the issue and requires a certain burden of proof -as well as trusting the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in these matters.
Example…our nicene creed that we say every week in mass.
This creed was a response to heresy regarding Jesus’s human and divine nature.

Now I’m not sure how much controversy or debate ther was concerning the Immaculate Conception prior to its declaration - but I’ve read there was some debate, and for this reason the Church saw it fitting to examine the issue.

Second…Before the Church could examine the nature of Mary’s relationship with God, the Church’s priority was to examine the nature of the Savior.
If you examine the early writings, especially as related to the heresies - much time was consumed simply on defining the nature of Jesus, His sacrifice, and the Trinity.

It wouldn’t have made much sense for the Church to have tackled Marian doctrine right off the bat without settling the central issues of Our Lord and Savior.


#15

It didn’t take 1800 years to define in doctrine the Trinity, yet was done so in 325AD at the council of Nicea. If this was a teaching all along, then why do the Orthodox Churches and the Protestant Churches, which are similar to Catholicism reject this doctrine?

Do you have any comments on the whole concept of Jesus being the only mediator between man and God as I mentioned prior?

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

What I was taught is that if Mary was born sinless, she would not be dead with sin as described above, and thus not need a savior. She would have been able to enter heaven without Jesus’s death.

What do you think?

Thank you for your responses.

God Bless,
Elizabeth


#16

It would be a mistake to think that Marian devotion is a recent development.

The Sub Tuum dates at least as far back as the 3rd century, and pretty clearly indicates that prayers thru Mary are nothing new:

WE fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

The Marian doctrines are ancient…not new. In fact they are older than even the concept of the Trinity, (which was first developed in 181AD, by St. Theophilus of Antioch, and confirmed by the church 145 years later).

Justin Martyr, writing in about 155 AD, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, developed the idea of Mary as New Eve. And in 180 AD, St. Irenaeus, in his work, “Against Heresies,” says, “the knot that was tied by the disobedience of Eve was loosed through the obedience of Mary”, who therefore became “the cause of our salvation.”(Mediatrix, or Co-Redemptress). By 320 AD Alexander of Alexandria already uses the term “Mary, the Mother of God.” In about 360 AD, Athanasius mentions the “Ever-Virgin Mary,” confirming a belief in the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. St. Ephraim wrote a hymn in about 370 AD, which says of Jesus, “there is no blemish in you, nor any stain upon your Mother”, and “who of [God’s] children can compare?” (Mary’s sinlessness).


#17

[quote=Coptic]Can you explain the origin to me then? Because it was declared in 1854 right? And if it was declared in 1854, but was a belief all along then why did it take so long to declare it.

God Bless,
Elizabeth
[/quote]

It is true that the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed in 1854, but it was believed from the beginning.

The dogma of the Infallibility of the Pope wasn’t proclaimed until 1870, at Vatican Council 1. So if this is how one can date “Catholic inventions,” then how could the Church have proclaimed the Immaculate Conception, 16 years earlier by way of the Pope? How could the Church make an infallible declaration before it believed in the infallibility of the Pope?

The Church does not create new Christian Doctrines, but it does clarify them as needed.


#18

It didn’t take 1800 years to define in doctrine the Trinity,

I understand that.

If this was a teaching all along, then why do the Orthodox Churches and the Protestant Churches, which are similar to Catholicism reject this doctrine?

Are you referring to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception here?
If you are I think you are misinformed concerning the orthodox position.
Also…this was a doctrine that even Martin Luther believed in.
In fact, to NOT believe in it is a rather new idea.

Do you have any comments on the whole concept of Jesus being the only mediator between man and God as I mentioned prior?

Jesus was the only one who could achieve salvation for mankind.
No one goes to the Father, but through Jesus.
This issue gets confused with the issue of intercessory prayer.
Catholics are not turning to Mary for salvation. They are turning to her for intercessory prayer, just like they turn to their friends, family, priests, and other fellow christians for intercessory prayer.
We see in the book of revelations heavenly souls interceding before God.
I do not believe people stop praying upon death.
I believe those who are in heaven are quite capable of prayer.

What I was taught is that if Mary was born sinless, she would not be dead with sin as described above, and thus not need a savior. She would have been able to enter heaven without Jesus’s death.

While this is what many people are taught about the catholic position - this is not actually what the catholic position actually IS.
The Church teaches that Mary needed to be saved by her Son’s sacrifice - the Church teaches it was applied to her in a different manner than with the rest of us.
This grace granted to her was NOT of her own merits – but through the merit of her Divine Son.
It is really quite a beautiful act of love on His part - a beautiful gift for His mother.


#19

[quote=Coptic] Do you have any comments on the whole concept of Jesus being the only mediator between man and God as I mentioned prior?

[/quote]

Jesus is the one mediator. Hebrews 7; 24-25 tells us Jesus is our unique intercessor, “he ever liveth to make intercessory prayer for us.” But we are all called to be mediators, (1 Cor 12; 12-27).

We are all members of the Mystical Body of Christ (see 1 Cor 12, 25-27, and Rom 12, 4-5). The parts of the body do not work independently of the body. We all are again called to be intercessors in 1Tim2; 1-2, which is a synonym for mediator, or go between. When we act as mediators we do not take away from Jesus’ role, rather, we participate in His mediatorship on earth.

St. Paul says in 1Cor 3; 11, “no other foundation can any man lay other than Jesus.” But Eph 2; 20 says we are built upon the foundation of the apostles. And Rev 21; 14 agrees, saying the twelve apostles are the foundation of the church. Is Paul confused? No. There is no contradiction because they are only the foundation in Christ. No one else is an intercessor, in the context that Jesus is The Intercessor. But we are all called to be intercessors IN Jesus Christ.

It is in the same way that a priest is father to the people of God. He is not a father in the same way that God is The Father, but in that he (the priest) brings the Word of God (Jesus) to us.

Therefore, when we ask Mary to pray for us, it does not take away from Jesus. She is our mediator, not as Jesus is The Mediator, but because Jesus is The Mediator and source of grace. But she is different than everyone else. Her mediation is different. We are members of the Body of Christ, but Mary brought the whole body into the world.

How can we not honor Mary and still be in obedience of the 4th commandment? Rom8; 14-17 says we are brothers of our Lord, and joint heirs…and therefore Mary is our mother as well. We couldn’t honor her too much, except to worship her, which we do not do. Jesus has already honored her more then we ever could, in choosing her for His mother.


#20

[quote]
If this was a teaching all along, then why do the Orthodox Churches and the Protestant Churches, which are similar to Catholicism reject this doctrine?

Are you referring to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception here?
If you are I think you are misinformed concerning the orthodox position.
Also…this was a doctrine that even Martin Luther believed in.
In fact, to NOT believe in it is a rather new idea.

[/quote]

The Oriental Orthodox Churches do not think Mary was immaculately conceived, but we do believe she remained sinless–I think. As for the other Orthodox Chruches, maybe Fr Ambrose can enlighten us. As for Luther, I will take your word for it as I know nothing about that denomination.

I think you misunderstood me here:

Do you have any comments on the whole concept of Jesus being the only mediator between man and God as I mentioned prior?

I am not questioning intercessory prayer. I pray through the intercession of the saints in practically every prayer.

What I meant was that Jesus is the only mediator to God in that without his sacrifice no one can enter Heaven, and therefore Mary being born sinless would mean she did not need his sacrifice.

Which I think you explained your position here:

While this is what many people are taught about the catholic position - this is not actually what the catholic position actually IS.
The Church teaches that Mary needed to be saved by her Son’s sacrifice - the Church teaches it was applied to her in a different manner than with the rest of us.
This grace granted to her was NOT of her own merits – but through the merit of her Divine Son.
It is really quite a beautiful act of love on His part - a beautiful gift for His mother.

I understand your interpretation, but do not agree, because I see no evidence/proof of it. But it is a beautiful idea.

Thank you for your response.

God Bless,
Elizabeth


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