Praying to Mary and ECF writings


#1

I need help with a few questions…

I was talking to DH last night about Catholic beliefs, where they come from, why, etc…

There are a few things he just can’t get past and maybe someone here can give me another way of explaining things that would help.

First of all, he can not get past this “pray to Mary” thing. “Why can’t I go straight to God” is his answer. I explain that it’s like going to a friend here on earth and asking them to pray for us, but only better because Mary is so close to Jesus etc… He’s not buying it. I insists my mom “worships” Mary because she talks to her more than Jesus. No matter what I say, he just doesn’t accept my answer.

Problem #2. I talked to him a lot about the writings of the ECF’s and how they were the very first witnesses to Christianity, and even some of them were actual students of the apostles themselves, and that all of their writings point to Catholic doctrines that were already established in the early Church. His answer: “How do you know those writings are authentic? They could be fakes. Men could have screwed something up along the way…” :rolleyes: Gggrrr, I really wanted to roll my eyes after going around this circle a few times (lol, but I didn’t!).

Any ideas.

What’s really sad to me is he ended up admitting to me in the end that he doesn’t believe he is saved and if he died right now he probably would go to Hell. I was speechless, I never dreamed that he felt that way. He also told me that in the last few years he’s felt called to go back to church.

Maybe my prayers are working? :gopray2:


#2

Oops, and I forgot one.

He already believes in the Real Presence, always has. Only problem is that he thinks he has already gotten it in his Baptist church that he grew up in.

He insists that his pastor offering bread and grape juice during a Communion service makes it so. No consecration necessary. I said to him, well, then if I get out a loaf of bread out of the kitchen and hand it to you and say “This is the Body of Christ”, then that makes it so, then. No, he says. But I guess if I’m a Baptist pastor, it’s different, even though his Baptist pastor doesn’t believe in the Real Presence and has no intention of turning bread and wine into Jesus.

Ugh, my head is spinning with him. I think he’s just being stubborn. :rolleyes:


#3

If your friend has a Protestant upbringing, then it would be better for you to cite Holy Scriptures which support our Marian doctrines and dogmas. I must admit your work will be cut out for you. :wink:

Give him a copy of ‘Hail Holy Queen’ by the former Presbyterian minister, Scott Hahn, and suggest he follow up with ‘The World’s First Love’ by the late Bishop Fulton J Sheen. I’ll say a Hail Mary for your friend. Our prayers are immeasurably stronger than our humble words.

Pax vobiscum
Good Fella :cool:


#4

He won’t read anything I give him. I tried giving him a pamphlet that explains how/why Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant and he wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

What it all comes down to with him is interpretation. He’s free to intrpret his way, I’m free to interpret my way. He doesn’t need “some group of men telling him the way it is”.


#5

Tel him not to judge others faith. That is one of the key things the NT teaches. And if Catholics really worshipped Mary, why would they deny it? Surely that would be blasphemy for a Mary-worshipper.

We are told in scripture to intercede for others, and also that the intercession of a holy person carries great weight

Problem #2. I talked to him a lot about the writings of the ECF’s and how they were the very first witnesses to Christianity, and even some of them were actual students of the apostles themselves, and that all of their writings point to Catholic doctrines that were already established in the early Church. His answer: “How do you know those writings are authentic? They could be fakes. Men could have screwed something up along the way…” :rolleyes: Gggrrr, I really wanted to roll my eyes after going around this circle a few times (lol, but I didn’t!).

Seems he is determined to disbelieve everything. tell him to research the facts
Any ideas.

What’s really sad to me is he ended up admitting to me in the end that he doesn’t believe he is saved and if he died right now he probably would go to Hell. I was speechless, I never dreamed that he felt that way. He also told me that in the last few years he’s felt called to go back to church.

Maybe my prayers are working? :gopray2:


#6

That’s a rather unscriptural way of thinking.

Have you read “By What Authority?” by Mark Shea? I think it may be useful to use some of Mark’s points (even better if you could get your friend to read it, but it looks like that ain’t gonna happen). For instance, if private interpretation is proper, tell him that it’s ok to be a polygamist, since humanly valid interpretations of scripture don’t seem to prohibit polygamy. (See Mark’s book for details).


#7

As to** #1 **there is no reason he can’t go straiht to Jesus. The Church does not teach that you ‘must or have’ to ask the intercession of the saints. It is a choice he can make. Your explanation is great, it just means there is one more person ‘bugging’ him for an answer - one that is face to face :hug3:

As to #2
The First Eccumenical Council of Nicea established the Books of the Bible. All these men and so many others are part of the Early Church Fathers. They chose the writings of the Apostles that best taught about Jesus and his life. Scripture says that all that was written and that Christ did, could not be placed in one book. newadvent.org/cathen/11044a.htm

I agree with the above posters, as he has to choose to believe. So keep praying - for Scripture also says, faith comes by hearing. Our Lord is knocking and he will answer.
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/75/Nicaea.jpg/250px-Nicaea.jpg


#8

First of all re. intercessory prayer, make sure he understands he doesn’t “HAVE” to go through an intermediary; yes he can and should take his prayers directly to God. And at the same time, if he is a smart man, he will ask you, his mom, his friends, the saints and even Mary herself to interceed for him as well. So be sure he realizes it is not either or, but both.

As for the ECFs, he, like a lot of younger people, is probably at the age where he is sceptical about a lot of things. What is weak for him is his “faith”, which is the trust and belief in that which we cannot prove, but hope for. The further we get from our relationship with God, the less grace we recieve from Him. It’s kinda’ like sunlight from the sun, the farther away we get the colder we are, and if we avoid sunlight all together we get physically weak and sick. So too with grace, the further away from God we get the weaker and sicker we get spiritually. Remember the old saying, “If you’re not close to God, who moved?”, it’s trite but very true. Tell him he needs to get close to the SON, to strengthen his faith, and if he will look at the example of Mary over the thousands of years, she points us to her Son as well. Remind him that the ECFs were in a better position that us some 2,000 years later to know and understand the purest love and doctrine of God, and while their writings may not be inerrant like Holy Scripture, it is good eye witness accounts of the Gospel, as opposed to only hearsay we have two mellinia later. He doesn’t have to believe each and every ECF, but should look at what is common amongst their writings and have faith that their faith was less diluted by our secular ideas, which corrupts so many people today.

Finally as for his uncertainty of his being justified in God’s eyes, ask him what he’s going to do about that, and remind him of the story of the prodigal son. Also remind him that “Life is short, Eternity is for a long, long time”, so he should not waste the short time he has and risk loosing out on the eternity he could have in heaven, or hell. It’s his choice and God is always waiting with outstretched arms to welcome him home.

Peace to you both!


#9

You know, there are people claim that parts of the bible were added later too.

You might want to start on this issue by reading the following:
Getting Started with the Early Church Fathers

You also might want to order this following book, to have it on hand, in case he might get some interest in the Apostolic fathers.
(The ones who had direct contact with the apostles)
The book itself in the commentary talks about the spurious writings, and how they determine which are authentic and which are not.
Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers (Penguin Classics)

Also The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers by Mike Aquilina is a good starter book on the fathers.

Here is the article about St. Ignatius of Antioch, the issue of authenticity is addressed.


#10

I am always amused by the “Why can’t I go straight to God with prayer?” objection. It’s like getting married and saying you are ONLY going to talk to the spouse and don’t want to talk to the spouse’s mother or know anything about her or talk to any of her family.


#11

masondoggy,
Your trouble with your friend sounds much like the situation I find myself in talking to my friend who is a non-denominational “bible only” Christian. Like your friend, mine doesn’t really “read” what I give him…apparently you have to prove it all with the Bible and get them to accept somehow that the Bible is not the *only *Authority and that Tradition does not contradict scripture.
I must admit it is really difficult and frustrating!!! It is more than just citing examples, it is having to overcome a hardened heart which of course only the Holy Ghost can do as we pray.
I have even heard protestants try to use Church Fathers against us by citing them out of context and not realizing that the Church Fathers were Catholic and though they may have stated the authority of Scripture, they always did so alongside Tradition.
Here is a really annoying example:
www.bible.ca
If you go to their (www.bible.ca) Church Father’s section they claim that even St. John Chrysostom was “Solo-Scriptura”…That is an absurd claim being that he wrote the Divine Liturgy used by the Byzantine rite, thus proving he followed Tradition!
Basically, I have been “discussing” things about Catholic vs. Sola-Scriptura beliefs for about five years with my friend…gradually, and very gradually, thanks be to God, he is opening up to my answers. There is only so much I know to do…still, our friendshop has grown in a positive direction over the years, so that is a blessing.
I don’t remember the exact part/instance, but in Ezechial, there is a theme that it is God’s Authority that decides, we are only the messenger. Sort of simiar to St. Paul deciding to preach only the Cross of Christ.

I just keep answering his questions and praying for him as I am inspired to do.


#12

This is the difference between the Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations: the mystical body of Christ is a family. More accurately, we are an entire family who have a heavenly Father and a spiritual Mother. Children who have no mother must go directly to their fathers with their petitions. Meanwhile, in the Protestant tradition it is generally every man for himself in his relationship with God. Everybody has his own soul to worry about in reckoning with God. Yet if we must go directly to God the Father and the Son ( ‘ho theos’ ) with our petitions, then why did Jesus send us the promised Paraclete? It is through the Holy Spirit, our helper, that the Catholic Church has formed its sacred traditions and devotions. The Spirit has enlightened us about the Communion of Saints and has moved us to turn to Mary and all the Saints with our petitions. “No man is an island.”

Pax vobiscum
Good Fella :cool:


#13

Stephen K. Ray has the following article on his website. It’s in Word format so hopefully you can open it. It gives quotes from some of the ECFs regarding Mary.

catholic-convert.com/Portals/0/Documents/MaryArkPatristics.doc

CSJ


#14

And I think you should retort with the question, “why couldn’t Paul go straight to God?” Paul in each of his epistles asks for prayers from those he is writing to. For example in 1Thes.5 where he says, 'brethren pray for us". Why didn’t Paul just pray for himself? For the same reason that we pray to the saints and ask their prayers; because the Church is one and it is united. Those sanctified and holy ones who have died and gone to heaven are just as much a part of the body of Christ(the Church) as we are. Just as the Thessalonians interceded for Paul, so the saints intercede for us. The only differences between the Thessalonians and the saints in heaven is that the saints in heaven are far closer to God and they have been justified far more than those Thessalonians who Paul spoke to. As James says, “the prayer of a just man availeth us much.” Who is more just than those who have been completely justified by God?

Now, Paul probably prayed to God directly for himself, but he also asked the intercession of the rest of the Church.


#15

Not only Paul, but also Jesus prayed for himself and for all his disciples. Our Lord has instituted intercessory prayer for all Christians.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1)

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word…I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” ( John 17: 6-9)

Pax vobiscum
Good Fella :cool:


#16

The thing he can’t get past with intercessory prayer is that he can’t understand how those in Heaven “hear” our prayers. He thinks this is crazy. He thinks not only can they not hear our prayers, but have no clue as to what’s going on in our lives. He has no problem with the idea of asking others who are alive to pray for you, but I think he’s still more interested in “going directly to God”. This concept has been really drilled in his head growing up by his mom. In fact, she made sure when I started coming around to post a sign on her family room wall with the verse, “For there is one mediator between God and man etc…” :rolleyes: Gee, ya think that was meant for me, the doomed Catholic?!

And just as someone else mentioned, I think I did fail to point out that going to Mary or the Saints isn’t required of us. We can go directly to God if we want to. I’ll make sure to bring that up next time.

btw, this is my hubby, not just a friend. :wink: I’ve been praying for his conversion for 14 years. We hardly ever talk about this stuff mainly because it’s such a touchy subject for us. I’ve been asking God lately to give us an opportunity to talk about it again and that’s exactly what He did! :slight_smile:

Thanks for some fresh perspectives. It really helps.


#17

I refer to Paul though because Paul specifically asks for others to pray for him. He didn’t only pray for others but he asked them to pray for him.


#18

I can totally relate with your husband’s concerns. I, personally, am a Pentecostal who has been studying Catholic doctrine for awhile now. I, too, struggle with praying to Mary/Saints for intercession. Personally, I wonder how they could hear my prayers and I feel that I would be “deifying” them. This is probably the biggest obstacle for any Protestant to get over because there is no “clear cut” verse in the Bible for this - it simply must be accepted primarily on the premise of Church Authority.

One local priest did clarify it a bit by saying that the means by which they can intercede on such a grand scale is that they are fully united with Christ and it is through Him and by Him that they are able to do so. Being within the perfect presence of God’s Glory, they are no longer encumbered by the weaknesses of earthly humanity, but rather, they are glorified beings.

Another area that I’ve begun to look into is the Early Church Fathers (ECF). I figure that they will also provide some insight into some of these teachings as they were not 2000 years removed from the actual teachings of Christ and his disciples as we are. The way I see it, those closer to the truth will have a better understanding of it.

Strictly from an analytical point of view, history can get tainted over time as it is passed on from generation to generation. If you want to know about World War 2, it would be best to talk to a veteran rather than someone who was not even born at the time - the same can be assumed for any historical research. This is where I presently am.

Regarding the verse on your Mother-in-Law’s house on “one mediator between God and Man”, she is absolutely correct, but she fails to understand the implication of the verse. Mediation is not intercession, it is a reconciliation. Christ’s death met the requirements of the Old Covenant therby bringing about a mediation by which God and man could be reunited as it was in the beginning.

CSJ


#19

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