Mary and sinlessness

So, I am reading Teachings of the Catholic Church: Questions & Biblical Answers by Joe Poweziak. Basically, it’s a book that is a ‘letter’ intended for his family on why he left the Catholic Church.
One of his points is about Mary and the Immaculate Conception. I’m ok refuting most of his comments (at least in my mind, and not to someone else ;):D) but there’s one I’m a bit stuck on and I’m hoping that others here can enlighten me.
He’s talking about was Mary sinless her entire life and quotes Luke 1:46-47 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" and says that if Mary had never sinned, she would have no need for a Savior.
What do we say to that?

This answer accords with what I’ve tended to hear:

catholic.com/magazine/articles/hail-mary-conceived-without-sin

Hail Mary, Conceived Without Sin
By: Tim Staples

Not a few Protestants are surprised to discover the Catholic Church actually agrees that Mary was “saved.” Indeed, Mary needed a savior! However, Mary was “saved” from sin in a most sublime manner. She was given the grace to be “saved” completely from sin so that she never committed even the slightest transgression.

There’s more on the page than just that answer. The page also contains an analogy from Duns Scotus concerning being saved from sin by being kept from sin, and it goes on to talk about other arguments concerning Marian sinlessness.

Mary was saved in a unique way. She was saved from the stain of original sin. Original sin is the resulting state of seperation from God and His full grace that we inherit from our parents. The Lord set her apart from her beginning as a saving act by the merits of Christ Himself.

Peace
Michael

In addition to the explanation provided in a previous post, another possible answer is this: in this context Mary may not even be using the word “savior” to refer to salvation from sin. (Though if she is, it’s still true, for the reason a previous post pointed out.) The reason I say that is because there’s more than one way to use the word “Savior.”

If my construction partner was falling off the roof of the building and I grabbed him, he might thank me and nickname me his savior from that point onward: that’s physical, not spiritual salvation. God is the spiritual savior of all the world, but for the Jews, He’s also their physical savior, because He brought them out of slavery, preserved them through the wilderness, kept alive their cities during the wars of the kingdom of Israel, and preserved a remnant during the Babylonian captivity. All of those events threatened physical extinction to their people, but they were miraculously cared for. Thus, for the Jews, He is their savior in a particularly special way. If you examine the Magnificat closely, she refers to a lot of those stories, and thus I think the context is using the term “Savior” to refer to the physical deliverance of her people (and her in their loins) from extinction so many times throughout Israel’s history.

I’ve always had it explained in this way: Mary needed a Savior just as much as each one of us. The difference can be illustrated in this way: We all have fallen into a pit, and Jesus saves us by pulling us out of it. Jesus saved Mary by saving her from falling into the pit all together. :slight_smile:

THANK YOU ALL!
It makes perfect sense…I must have been reading hogwash for too long and my brain got a bit foggy. :confused:

Thanks for the help! I’m only on page 45 of 120, so I might be back with more questions…;):smiley:

There are two ways of saving a person from a ditch. One is to help him out once he’s fallen into it (ordinary way of salvation), the other is to forewarn that person and prevent him from falling into it (Immaculate conception). Yup, the second is how God saved Mary in view of her role as the Mother of Christ. Without the action of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary would not have been made sinless. Truly, the Mother of Christ is Blessed!

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception makes so much sense. In the Old Testament, the prefigurations of Christ (the symbols hidden in the Old testament heralding his arrival) were contained in a vessel that is adorned and protected from corruption. Just as the Ark of the Covenant was adorned with gold, Mary is adorned by graces (“full of grace”) because she carried Jesus in whom we have the New Covenant. In Judges, the mother of Samson was instructed to drink no wine nor to eat anything unclean because her child will be set apart for God. How much more was Jesus set apart to fulfill the will of God? Not only is Jesus set apart for God, but he is God himself! So how much more do you think will his mother be preserved from any uncleanness? It’s not surprising that Mary was conceived spotless.

So, we could say that Mary didn’t know that she was ‘saved from the ditch’ of Original Sin, which is why she would have said what she said…yes?

Interesting point.

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludvig Ott considers Mary’s need of salvation under the section about the dogma of Immaculate Conception:

e) The meritorious cause (causa meritoria) [of the Immaculate Conception] was the Redemption by Jesus Christ. It follows from this that even Mary was in need of redemption, and was in fact redeemed. By reason of her natural origin, she, like all other children of Adam, was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin (debitum contrahendi peccatum originale), but by a special intervention of God, she was preserved from stain of original sin; debuit contrahere peccatum, sed non contraxit. Thus Mary also was redeemed “by the grace of Christ” but in a more perfect manner than other human beings. While these are freed from original sin present in their souls (redemptio reparativa), Mary the Mother of the Redeemer, was preserved from the contagion of original sin (redemptio praeservativa or praeredemptio). Thus the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in no way contradicts the dogma that all children of Adam are subject to Original Sin and need redemption.

=hsmomforlife;11861017]So, I am reading Teachings of the Catholic Church: Questions & Biblical Answers by Joe Poweziak. Basically, it’s a book that is a ‘letter’ intended for his family on why he left the Catholic Church.
One of his points is about Mary and the Immaculate Conception. I’m ok refuting most of his comments (at least in my mind, and not to someone else ;):D) but there’s one I’m a bit stuck on and I’m hoping that others here can enlighten me.
He’s talking about was Mary sinless her entire life and quotes Luke 1:46-47 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" and says that if Mary had never sinned, she would have no need for a Savior.
What do we say to that?

TWO CRITICAL POINT HERE

  1. Mary in a literal [traditional] sense “had no need” for a Savior; BUT her Son was and is nevertheless Her Savior.:smiley:

  2. The difference is that in Her UNIQUE case Mary’s salvation was effected Before She waqs born, and carried through to her death; and fully cooperated with Gods Will foir Her.

  3. Mary then HAD to FREELY choose AS DO WE ALL; to NOT SIN! And this she did:)

  4. If it weren’t such a sad fact that those who choose to leave the CC are abadoning God personally and challanging Him directly. READ Heb. 6:4-7 written precisly to Catholics who make this Mortally damning choice unless they repent and convert; I’d be amused at the lack of understanding and grasping for ANY reason to feed their own pride. {They claim to KNOW MORE & KNOW BETTER THAN GOD and His Church.]

God Bless you BOTH!
Parick

She probably wouldn’t have put it in those terms, no. What she did know is that the Angel Gabriel called her “full of grace” instead of using her name and that Elizabeth had said, “who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Knowing that she had been set apart from other women to be the Mother of the Redeemer, she surely knew that God had chosen her in a special way. It may have made many things in her life up until that point “click” into place. For instance, why she had no inclination to sin as did the other children. She may have realized as she said it that God had spared her from concupiscence although she, again, would not have expressed it that way. Or she may have had what dmar198 cited in mind. Whatever she thought at the time, she had the humility to recognize that God is her savior, as he for all of us, and not she herself.

Thank you for your input. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have used those terms, but was using the terms of the person who responded to me. :shrug:
Your response gave me good insight for pondering.

I think even in light of everything that had just happened to Mary up to and including her visit with Elizabeth, she never would have been so presumptuous as to feel she didn’t need a Savior, she was still humble…'for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden."Lk1:48.
Thanks to everyone who has chimed in. I’m halfway through the book and I have to say that it’s been an interesting rabbit-hole that I have jumped into halfway through Lent. It’s proven a bit more fruitful that the other Lenten ideas I had for prayer and scripture study.:thumbsup:

I have a related question. I was reading my Bible yesterday morning and came across Matthew 11:11:

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (RSV)

If Mary is the greatest of all the Saints, then why does Jesus say no one born of women is greater than John the Baptist?

Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary says this:

— There hath not risen … a greater, &c. This comparison, by what we find, Luke vii. 28, is only betwixt John and the ancient prophets, to signify that John was greater than any of the prophets, at least by his office of being the immediate precursor of the Messias. The comparison cannot be extended to Christ himself, who was both God and man, nor to his blessed Virgin Mother; nor need we understand it of his apostles. (Witham)

I would say that the context of Mary’s words in Luke 1:47 about her savior have nothing to do with salvation from sin. Rather, the context shows that she was referring to salvation from “the proud (v. 51)…the mighty (v. 52) …the rich” (v. 53).

John was the greatest of the OT prophets but he was an OT figure and died before the kingdom of heaven (the Church) was instituted. Therefore, one who was baptized into the church was greater than John because he had original sin removed whereas John had to await with the other OT saints before he could enter into the kingdom.

Well, almost. :slight_smile: When John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb he was filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s why his is the only birthday, besides Jesus’ and Mary’s, the Church celebrates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezeekl
“John was the greatest of the OT prophets but he was an OT figure and died before the kingdom of heaven (the Church) was instituted. Therefore, one who was baptized into the church was greater than John because he had original sin removed whereas John had to await with the other OT saints before he could enter into the kingdom.”

Well almost back to you. Luke records it in Luke 1:41 thusly:

“41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” [RSV]

So it was Elizabeth who scripture says was filled with the Holy Spirit, not John.

I’m sorry but you are incorrect in stating that John was not filled with the Holy Spirit. :slight_smile: From Catholic Exchange:catholicexchange.com/the-birth-of-john-the-baptist.

The feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is one of the oldest feasts in the liturgy of the Church. Unlike other saints whose feast days are usually celebrated on the anniversary of their deaths — considered the day they entered into final glory — St. John’s feast day is the day of his birth, as he was born without the stain of original sin. The angel Gabriel declared of him, “He will be filled with Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Since the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in the presence of sin, it is concluded that he was therefore freed from original sin while still in Elizabeth’s womb. Therefore we celebrate the date of his birth, as we do our Blessed Mother, born free of original sin from the moment of her conception.

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