I’m a recent convert to Catholicism from a rather fundamental Protestant church background. I’m educating myself on Mary, and her role that God has given her. I read, today, something that immediately disturbed me: Salvation through Mary.
I thought salvation was through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. What am I missing?
I’m not sure. Could you please post what you read (in its entirety please) so that we may see it in context?
For example, one possible idea is that one could say that Jesus is our salvation, and Jesus came to us as Incarnate Man through Mary (born of a Virgin). In that sense, certainly, our Salvation (Jesus) comes to us through Mary, does it not? That doesn’t make Mary the Salvation herself, but the one who brings Jesus (Salvation), just as John the Baptist was the 'voice" who cried in the wilderness the message of the Word (Jesus). John’s voice transmitted the message but he did not ‘generate’ the message himself.
I first read the idea in an example given by St. Liguori in his book The Glories of Mary. This example tells of a horrible woman who was cast out of a town by its citizens and left for dead. This woman later appeared to sister Catherine, an Augustinian nun, and requested the sister’s pity. During the course of a conversation between the two, the woman reveals that in her dying hour, she
“…turned to the mohter of God an said to her, Lady, thou art the refuge of the abandoned, behold me at this hour deserted by all; thou art my only hope, thou alone cants help me; have pitty on me.” Then the woman says, “The Holy Virgin obtained for me the grace of making an act of contrition; I died and am saved…”
I stopped, and immediately begain to think if salvation could possibly come through any being other than Christ. I then Googled “Salvation through Mary” and was overwhelmed at the hit this search yeilded. I began to read some of them, stopped, and posted this question.
I feel like the Queen of Mercy should not create such a feeling of angst in my heart, but I believe salvation can only come through allegience to Christ rather than a creature.
Some of the saints used language in ways that sound a bit peculiar to our modern ears (e.g. St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Louis de Montfort). That does give rise to problems for us, but it needn’t do so.
The bottom line is that concepts such as “salvation through Mary” are in no way meant to imply that Mary is our savior rather than Jesus. Ultimately, it highlights the unique level of cooperation that Mary has in the Divine Plan. Jesus is our Savior. And how did He literally come into this world in the flesh? Through Mary. This does not mean that Mary is the source of Jesus’ being. But she was the chosen vessel by which He came. And that matters to us because it first mattered to God.
I figured it was St Alphonsus or St Louis De Montfort. . .(and I’m a DeMontfort consecree). . .
Here’s the thing. The woman was in a state of mortal sin, right? Her relationship with God was dead, right? She had to ask God’s help, but she was afraid, she knew she was wrong, she was sure that God did not love her any more (she was wrong, but that’s how she felt).
So, humbly, the woman asked the Mother of GOD for help, because her relationship with her (with the saints, with human beings, was NOT dead), and what did Mary do? Helped her to gain the grace of making an act of contrition. WHAT is the act of contrition?
“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all my sins because of thy Just Punishment. But most of all, because they offend THEE, My LORD, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of THY grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.”
Notice that it was the act of contrition to GOD which resulted in salvation. Not an act of Mary. All that Mary ‘did’ was to ‘be there’ for this woman and tell her, with regard to Jesus, “Do as He bids you.” Mary pointed to Jesus and said, “I know your relationship is dead. But beg His forgiveness, do not be afraid to speak to Him, and you will be saved by Him.” And the woman did. . and she was.
Our Protestant friends have created a false dichotomy. We are not saved by Christ in a vacuum. Christ has willed to save us through his Mystical Body and its sacraments. St. Peter wrote (1 Pet. 3:21) that baptism now saves us. Not by itself, of course. It is part of the means which God has ordained to use. St. Paul said that he might save some (1 Cor. 9:22). Not by himself, of course; but Christ working in him.
God willed to come into the world through a woman. He could have just created a body ex nihilo and appeared suddenly on earth as a full-grown man, or for that matter he could have created the mere appearance of a body, without really having one. But he chose instead to take true human flesh, to be born of one of us, to be one of us. He didn’t have to use Mary, but he did.
We are saved by Christ, through Mary, through the Church. There is no contradiction.
Then the woman says, “The Holy Virgin obtained for me the grace of making an act of contrition; I died and am saved…”
Let us say you had a friend, who was confused, in a state of sin, and needed help returning to God. So he turns to you and asked for your help…so would you refuse him at this point? So instead, you counseled him, prayed for him, you helped him turn back to God…so what did you just do?
Did you just obtain for him the grace of making an act of contrition?
Brother, If I pray and fast for the intention that my fallen brother make a true conversion and our Father grants a softening of his heart and he converts, is that salvation through Ed Silvia?
It is a fundamental Catholic belief that Mary Most Holy can and does help us to know, love and serve God from beyond the veil just like we can help each other as the Communion of Saints. Only thing is, She is Queen of the Saints and by far the most influential creature with Her Divine Son. Why wouldn’t we avail ourselves of Her? Luke 1:28… the Lord is with thee
Yes, yes, of course. In the example, Mary lead the woman to say her act of contrition. The act of contrition is an admision to God, himself, of one’s sin and desire to be united to Him rather than an statement of alligence to Mary. I missed that part. I read it; but it didn’t click. Now it does.
Confidence is restored. I’ll continue working my way through this new-found territory of the Mystical Body of Christ, particularly Mary’s role as Queen of Mercy.
As I former Protestant, I have to slowly shave off the false notions that I’ve been taught about “Mary worship” and adopt new, healthy perspectives of our Blessed Mother. One of the first items I read which helped set the tone of my search was St. Louis De Montfort’s statement in paragraph 14 of True Devotion to Mary,
“I AVOW, with all the Church, Mary, being but a mere creature that has come fromt the hands of the Most High, is, in comparison with His Infinate Majesty, less than an atom…”
This gave me an emence sense of releif to start down the path of learning more about Mary, her role in the Mystical Body of Chirst, and acceptance of those who consecrate themselves to her.
Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. Through her, Christ came into the world. Christ remains our Salvation.
You will often hear the phrase “through Mary to Christ.” Louis Montfort uses the example of Mary taking our prayers as weeds and placing them in a silver vase so that they are more presentable when they finally reach her Son. This is how he portrays Mary as intercessor.
Does this mean that we cannot pray directly to the Father through the Son, “Whatever you ask in my name…”? Of course not. That would not be scriptural.
But the Church is communal. It includes the living as well as the saints who have gone before us. We are each members of the Body of Christ with Christ as our Head.
Jesus gave His mother Mary to us when He gave her to John at the foot of the cross. When we honor our Mother, we honor Him. As Catholics, we need never see ourselves as orphans.
Salvation is through Jesus Christ and no one else. But Mary helps, by her prayers, to bring us to Jesus. She was asking Mary to pray for her for the Grace to make an Act of Contrition before she died. God Bless, Memaw
Jesus came down into the world through the instrumentality of Mary, we in the world will go up to Jesus in heaven through the instrumentality of Mary. There is a divine order, and this is how God has ordered things. God bless you.