146 Abraham thus fulfills the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”:7 “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”8 Because he was “strong in his faith,” Abraham became the “father of all who believe.”9 (1819)
149 Throughout her life and until her last ordeal15 when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary’s faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God’s word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith. (969, 507, 829)
The problem I have encountered with these ideas is that Jesus’ contemporaries physically saw His miracles, whereas I cannot point to a single demonstration of divine agency at any time in my entire life.* Based on years of conversation, it seems safe to assume most alive today have never seen a miracle, either. Thus, whereas Mary either saw Jesus perform miracles, as likely at the Wedding of Cana, or else heard from His Disciples who saw it, we have not seen miracles, nor have most of us met anyone who saw a public miracle. Thus our faith is greater than Mary’s faith, and purer, if this adjective relates how much evidence is mixed in, because we have less on which to base our faith.
Is this correct, or is there a problem with this argument?
Why, then, does the Catechism say this? It strikes me as baseless flattering of Mary, i.e. “Mary was Jesus’ mother, so whatever good we can think of, we better attribute the maximum amount to her.” It’s a little offensive, because it seems unreasonable.
- I have felt the presence of angels when narrowly escaping death twice, but this could have been a brain event or my overactive imagination. Either way, the fact that this experience is controversial demonstrates it does not compare to Mary’s situation, who ostensibly had a group of disciples all with the same story about how Jesus pulled additional fish out of one fish in His hand, for example, or who likely heard about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.