I’m a lifelong Protestant slowly exploring the Faith, and I expect to eventually “journey home” to the Church. Let me also note that intellectually, I don’t have any problem with most/all of the Marian doctrines/teachings. That said, viewing a Mass with “old” Protestant eyes, I have to admit that one of the more striking aspects is the fact that Mary is prayed to in her intercessory role where a traditional Protestant congregation would invoke, if anything, the Holy Spirit. This got me thinking, and I realize that this may be somewhat of a monumental question, but how exactly do the roles of Mary and the Holy Spirit contrast. We know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans unexpressable by words, and we know that Mary “prays” for us to God. But to avoid Nestorianism, does this mean, for example, that Mary prays to the Holy Spirit, who then performs its intercessory role? This gets complicated. Thoughts on a logical framework for viewing this interaction?
Welcome to the journey into the Church, Montgomeryatty!
As a human being, which is what Mary is, although a glorified human being (as are all the saints in heaven), her intercession is no different in kind from ours. It is the Holy Spirit who prays in and through any of us.
And although the Holy Spirit is not addressed directly in the Mass, there are prayers to the Holy Spirit that are a part of the prayer life of the Church.
To understand the Church, you must understand it within the context of family.
Mary, as Mother, intercedes as any mother would to the father of the family.
Mary intercedes in a similiar way as any Christian on earth would intercede.
She invokes the Holy Spirit in a more powerful sense because she is completely possessed by the Holy Spirit.
LOVE is to be completely the other’s.
I am yours, you are mine.
I really hope I didn’t add to the confusion. I apologize if I did. See to me, it makes sense, because to be in a family you just “know” how it all works. But as an outsider looking in, it becomes more difficult.
Always look at the Church from the context of family.
And things will soon become more clear.
To sum it up, here it is:
The Spirit sanctifies, Mary says to us “let Him do His job”
It is Mary who formed Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. In a mystical sense, she has been referred to as the ‘spouse of the Holy Spirit’ .
The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the most Holy Trinity and Our Lady has a most unique position to the Trinity. No, she is NOT a member!
But she is the very special daughter and creation of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Her intercession is great before God for her will is in complete unity with the will of God.
Welcome, welcome to your journey home! The depths of the Catholic faith can never be plumbed thoughtout all our life. It is so marvelous. I love the sacramental life. Such joy awaits you.
But there will be bumps in the road–maybe big ones. Pray and persevere.
I believe in God . . . and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.
Seen in light of the Creed: Christ is conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in every way: in us as well as into the world.
I’m a convert, by the way. Enjoy the journey home!
In the Bible we find Mary saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” showing that she understood her role in the Incarnation and Salvation. She is a very powerful intercessor, as witness the marriage feast at Cana: “Do as He says.”
I know that this question was posted a few years ago, but I cannot resist the temptation to post a reply in order to suggest that maybe the reason the roles of Mary and the Holy Spirit seem very much the same is - can it be possible - that Mary and the Holy Spirit are one and the same person! (and nature and will). — I know the Church doesn’t teach this, but it comes close! And, can it be proven that the Church teaches that this is not so?
Perhaps it can be said that ‘Mary’s role compared with Holy Spirit’s’ is alot like ‘Jesus’s role compared with the Son’s’!
The Holy Spirit is all over the Mass.
Eucharistic Prayer Number 3 says, “Father, You are holy indeed, and all creation rightly gives You praise. All life, all holiness comes from You, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit.”
This is the lead in to the Epiclesis where the priest calls down the Holy Spirit to sanctify the gifts as he makes the sign of the cross over the bread and wine saying, “And so, Father, we bring You these gifts. We ask You to make them holy by the power of Your Spirit, that they may become the body and blood of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate this Eucharist.”
Hair on a gorilla, as it were.
Mary is not God.