Some questions about Mary

I have a couple of honest questions about Mary which I’m hoping someone can help me with:

  1. It seems to me that if Mary was immaculately conceived and lived a sinless life, then for her, anyway, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross would have been unnecessary for her salvation. If God wanted to simply create a new and sinless humanity apart from Christ (as He is said to have done in Mary), then why would He choose the painful and torturous road of the cross to effect our salvation?

  2. In the gospels, there are two accounts where it seems that people were attempting to venerate Mary. In both instances, Jesus seeks to change their understanding - it is not the physical relationship to Jesus that makes one blessed, but rather obedience to the will of the Father. Here are the two passages to which I am referring:

Luke 11:27-28 (NIV)
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

%between%Matthew 12:47-50 (NASB95)
47 Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” 48 But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

I understand that in giving her assent to Jesus’ conception, Mary was a perfect illustration of obedience to the Father, however, the point the Jesus seems to me to be making is that we should not consider Mary as being above others, but rather one of many who glorify the Father by her obedience. Why does the Catholic Church venerate Mary to the point of elevating her above all of the apostles and all other saints who have ever lived?

As a seeking protestant, I would have to say that these are fairly big questions for me. Can anyone help?

[quote=bajolyn]I have a couple of honest questions about Mary which I’m hoping someone can help me with:

  1. It seems to me that if Mary was immaculately conceived and lived a sinless life, then for her, anyway, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross would have been unnecessary for her salvation. If God wanted to simply create a new and sinless humanity apart from Christ (as He is said to have done in Mary), then why would He choose the painful and torturous road of the cross to effect our salvation?
    [/quote]

Mary was “only human” as was Eve. Eve was created without sin also, each had a free will, Eve chose to disobey Gods will and sin while Mary chose to follow Gods will and remained sinless. The immaculate conception is more about Jesus than it is about Mary, it doesn’t really elevate Mary, it demonstrates the power and glory of her Son. Could God have come into this world through a sinful person? Would He not have been tainted by her sin? To imply she was a sinner is to open the door for doubt on the divinity of her Son. He choose that horrible death for you and I, but without Him, would Mary have had salvation? God simply provided her with the tool she would need to complete His task for her, as He does for each of us Mary simply accepted her task.

re: #1 It was precisely BECAUSE of Jesus’ death & resurrection that Mary was able to be immaculately conceived. It was a singular ‘favor’ granted to Mary ahead of time.

[quote=bajolyn]I have a couple of honest questions about Mary which I’m hoping someone can help me with:
2. In the gospels, there are two accounts where it seems that people were attempting to venerate Mary. In both instances, Jesus seeks to change their understanding - it is not the physical relationship to Jesus that makes one blessed, but rather obedience to the will of the Father. Here are the two passages to which I am referring:
Luke 11:27-28 (NIV)
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
[/quote]

He is not diminishing respect for Mary His mother, he is teaching you and I that we also are bleesed (saved) “if” we hear the word of God and obey it.

[quote=bajolyn] %between%Matthew 12:47-50 (NASB95)
47 Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” 48 But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

I understand that in giving her assent to Jesus’ conception, Mary was a perfect illustration of obedience to the Father, however, the point the Jesus seems to me to be making is that we should not consider Mary as being above others, but rather one of many who glorify the Father by her obedience. Why does the Catholic Church venerate Mary to the point of elevating her above all of the apostles and all other saints who have ever lived?

As a seeking protestant, I would have to say that these are fairly big questions for me. Can anyone help?
[/quote]

Again, the point He is making does not diminish His mother, since that would be a sin wouldn’t it? If these two passages mean what you think they mean He is not honoring His mother is He? Rather, it is to teach you and I that we too are His family “if” we follow the will of God. The only reason I consider Mary “above” me is that she is in heaven with God and all the saints. She and all the saints are in perfect union with Him. Eve was created without sin also, but I do not consider her “above” me, she chose sin, not the will of God. It is God that is the focus of these Scripture, not Mary.

I don’t think “the point the Jesus seems to me to be making is that we should not consider Mary as being above others”. He is using the situation as a teaching opportunity, not as a statement about Mary.

For example, in the Matthew passage, would Jesus be denying that that was his Mother or brothers?

After all, earlier the angel told Mary she was ‘full of grace’, Elizabeth says she’s the most blessed among woman and somewhere (can’t find it at the moment) someone (Mary?) says all nations will call her blessed.

Why does the Catholic Church venerate Mary to the point of elevating her above all of the apostles and all other saints who have ever lived?

You answered this yourself when you stated:

I understand that in giving her assent to Jesus’ conception, Mary was a perfect illustration of obedience to the Father

Hope that helps.

We have to remember God isn’t limited by time.

An analogy that helped me is:

You can be pulled out of a pit two ways- someone can throw you a rope in and help you out, or, you can be stopped from falling in the first place- it’s still through God, wether, for us, he throws us a rope to climb out, or like Mary, keeps her from falling in in the first place.

[quote=bajolyn]I have a couple of honest questions about Mary which I’m hoping someone can help me with:

  1. It seems to me that if Mary was immaculately conceived and lived a sinless life, then for her, anyway, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross would have been unnecessary for her salvation. If God wanted to simply create a new and sinless humanity apart from Christ (as He is said to have done in Mary), then why would He choose the painful and torturous road of the cross to effect our salvation?
    [/quote]

No. Mary was redeemed. However she was redeemed by the merits of Jesus applied before Jesus died on the cross. She was redeemed at her own conception so that she would have a sinless human nature to pass on to Christ.

Luke 11:27-28 (NIV)
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

  1. Your translation here is wrong. (The NIV can twist some verses.) The woman never said “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” in the original manuscripts.

What she said was: 27 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” (RSV)

There is no mention here of Mary as a person. Now imagine that the woman had said this: “Blessed is the seat you sit on, and the air that you breathe!”

Would the woman have been praising the air and the chair - or would she have been praising Jesus? Do you see? Most people would see the praise as being directed at Jesus, not the air and chair.
So Jesus is in fact saying. Yes. Praise me, but also take note of the key point of my message. Hear the word of God and do it.

Below is a similar passage.

John 4. 31 Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.

Is Jesus here teaching against eating food? If you use the same argument you do with the Mary passage, you would have to say so.

But no, Jesus is not making any point at all about food. We can be safe to go on eating regularly. He is simply using the statement to illustrate, and draw attention memorably to his teaching point.

[quote=Dandelion_Wine]I

and somewhere (can’t find it at the moment) someone (Mary?) says all nations will call her blessed.

You answered this yourself when you stated:
Hope that helps.
[/quote]

It was Simon The one who Mary and Joseph Presented Jesus to in the Temple. He was promised that he would not die until he saw Our Lord.:thumbsup:

Hello.

Here is a few thoughts.

Our Blessed Mom was born without original sin. It is the norm; it is a state that God had intended for all of us before the fall. She is not the Immaculate Exception. Before the Fall, Eve was in the same state and had the same relationship with God as Mary did. Her Immaculate Conception affirms the fact that the merits of the cross are applied backwards in time. If God cannot do this, then how could anyone who died before Jesus’ crucifixion get into heaven? Anything about Mary magnifies Jesus. Sound Christology is another way of saying it.

Would God co-exist with sin? Would God become Man in a sinful vessel? Was the Ark of the Covenant a shoe box? I think to say Mary was a sinner is a blasphemy agaisnt the Incarnation, and even none of the early reformers went that far. Much of Protestantism has.

I wonder how evangelical/reformists would handle the Nestorian, Monosyphite, or Monothelite heresies, and how did the early Church resist against them? Or is that when the Church allegedly went corrupt, defending the Trinity? Did you know they had to first define who Mary was (the Mother of God) before they could further clarify who Jesus was, to defeat the Nestorian heresy? (Council of Ephesus). Most Protestants I talk to are Nestorian when you bring up the Mother of God. Either Jesus is God, or Christianity is a farce. Mary gave birth to a Person, not a Half’n’half.

“To see the Son without the Virgin Mother, the Seed without the Woman, the King without the Queen-Mother, the New Adam without the New Eve is to do violence both to Scripture and to all of Christian history. For the Christian who enters the mind of the NewTestamentChurch, the idea of “Jesus alone” without Mary is as unthinkable as the idea of the New Testament alone without the Old or the divinity of Jesus without the Humanity.”

mariology.com/

kepha1

[quote=kepha1]Hello.

Here is a few thoughts.

Our Blessed Mom was born without original sin. It is the norm; it is a state that God had intended for all of us before the fall. She is not the Immaculate Exception. Before the Fall, Eve was in the same state and had the same relationship with God as Mary did. Her Immaculate Conception affirms the fact that the merits of the cross are applied backwards in time. If God cannot do this, then how could anyone who died before Jesus’ crucifixion get into heaven? Anything about Mary magnifies Jesus. Sound Christology is another way of saying it.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Eve had the exact same relationship with God before she chose to sin. Eve did not concieve of the Holy Spirit, nor give birth to the Savior of the world now did she?

[/quote]

Would God co-exist with sin? Would God become Man in a sinful vessel? Was the Ark of the Covenant a shoe box? I think to say Mary was a sinner is a blasphemy agaisnt the Incarnation, and even none of the early reformers went that far. Much of Protestantism has.
Protestants are just as their name states - In Protest. They will never be able to accept the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception because they lack faith. Faith is built on the Word of God, but is nourished & brought to perfection through the Eucharist. Protestants are lacking in nourishment & have in fact been cursed with a lack of faith since the beginning. A severed limb can not live independently of the body, nor can protestantism continue to exsist apart from the Catholic Church.

[quote]

I wonder how evangelical/reformists would handle the Nestorian, Monosyphite, or Monothelite heresies, and how did the early Church resist against them? Or is that when the Church allegedly went corrupt, defending the Trinity? Did you know they had to first define who Mary was (the Mother of God) before they could further clarify who Jesus was, to defeat the Nestorian heresy? (Council of Ephesus). Most Protestants I talk to are Nestorian when you bring up the Mother of God. Either Jesus is God, or Christianity is a farce. Mary gave birth to a Person, not a Half’n’half.
Even worse when they claim that Father, Son & Holy Spirit was a “play on words”. We must remember that Protestantism & all other forms of it only exsist on personal interpretations of the Holy Scriptures. I could convince a person that my personal opinions are truth, but it doesn’t make it so.

“To see the Son without the Virgin Mother, the Seed without the Woman, the King without the Queen-Mother, the New Adam without the New Eve is to do violence both to Scripture and to all of Christian history. For the Christian who enters the mind of the NewTestamentChurch, the idea of “Jesus alone” without Mary is as unthinkable as the idea of the New Testament alone without the Old or the divinity of Jesus without the Humanity.”

mariology.com/

kepha1

[/quote]

If Mary had said no, of which she had the choice to do, then we would not have had Jesus in the first place. Like the prophet Jeremiah, God chose Mary to bear His only Son- “before you were in your mothers’ womb I knew you & dedicated you”. Protestants should not have trouble understanding this, but unfortunately they do. Lack of faith.

[quote=Dj Roy Albert] Protestants should not have trouble understanding this, but unfortunately they do. Lack of faith.
[/quote]

I’m sorry you feel that you must dismiss protestants as faithless out of hand. Perhaps you might consider giving us the benefit of the doubt, seeing as the overwhelming majority of us have never, ever heard some of these things you are asserting about Mary.

As you rightly pointed out earlier in your post, the Bible tells us in Romans 10:17: "17 So faith *comes *from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."
New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA

I can say that this is honestly the first time I’ve ever heard many of the things you are putting forth. That’s why I asked the question in the first place. I wanted to understand the Catholic Church’s position is on this. To give you an example of the level of education we protestants have about Mary, let me say this: I suppose I am a bit more educated in my faith than the average protestant - I used to be entrusted with teaching women’s Bible study at a rather large evangelical church. If I have never heard these things, what do you think the situation is for the average protestant in the pew? I guess you could say we are faithless, but our faith may not come from a protestant obstinacy (as you may suppose), or even from lack of being nourished on the Eucharist (as you assert), but rather out of a simple lack of education on the matter.

Thank you to everyone who responded. Your answers have been helpful to me. Actually, after I posted this, I was thinking about John the Baptist, and how I would have had trouble explaining how he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb if I looked at that situation through the same lenses as I was looking at Mary’s immaculate conception.

I hope you all will continue to be be patient and charitable with me as I continue seeking the truth about these things. I’m not here to challenge your beliefs, but rather to share my thinking with you so that you can help me challenge mine.

In Christ’s love,
bajolyn

May the Lord bless you, baj. You’re always welcome here! Please continue to ask as many questions as you want. I apologize on the behalf of any Catholic who has ever made toy feel stupid for asking questions. Please forgive me on their behalf. I will pray for you! Again, God bless and keep searching!

In Christ,
Daniel (UKcatholicGuy)

woops . . . “toy” should read “you” in my above post! sorry!

Actually, after I posted this, I was thinking about John the Baptist, and how I would have had trouble explaining how he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb if I looked at that situation through the same lenses as I was looking at Mary’s immaculate conception.

An excellent insight on your part, and one I had not considered before.
John’s unique situation does indeed shed light on this.

[quote=MonicaC]It was Simon The one who Mary and Joseph Presented Jesus to in the Temple. He was promised that he would not die until he saw Our Lord.:thumbsup:
[/quote]

Actually, it was Mary herself who said that, in Luke 1:

46 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48[size=2] Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. [/size]

[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Simon was the one who foretold that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul, that out of many hearts, thoughts shall be revealed (Lk 2:35)
[/size]

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]May the Lord bless you, baj. You’re always welcome here! Please continue to ask as many questions as you want. I apologize on the behalf of any Catholic who has ever made toy feel stupid for asking questions. Please forgive me on their behalf. I will pray for you! Again, God bless and keep searching!

In Christ,
Daniel (UKcatholicGuy)
[/quote]

I appreciate your response Daniel, but I don’t feel there’s a need for anyone to apologize. I’m not offended. I’m just not a fan of painting all members of a group with the same broad brush.

I appreciate your humble and conciliatory response to my post, and especially your prayers.

In Christ’s love,
bajolyn

[quote=Lorarose]An excellent insight on your part, and one I had not considered before.
John’s unique situation does indeed shed light on this.
[/quote]

Thanks Lorarose, but I can’t really take any credit for any good insights I may have from time to time. In the book of James, we read that if anyone lacks wisdom he should ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach and it will be given him. I treasure this verse, and am constantly asking the Lord to give me His wisdom. Therefore, if I have any good insights, they most certainly come from Him.

In Christ’s love,
bajolyn

[quote=bajolyn]I’m sorry you feel that you must dismiss protestants as faithless out of hand. Perhaps you might consider giving us the benefit of the doubt, seeing as the overwhelming majority of us have never, ever heard some of these things you are asserting about Mary.

As you rightly pointed out earlier in your post, the Bible tells us in Romans 10:17: "17 So faith *comes *from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."
New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. The Lockman Foundation: LaHabra, CA

I can say that this is honestly the first time I’ve ever heard many of the things you are putting forth. That’s why I asked the question in the first place.
[/quote]

Point taken!

As a Convert, I know exactly how this stuff hits the psyche on the first pass! Mary is almost always the last barrier to a Protestant who converts. But I Catholics get a little het up because we field so many blatantly hostile and downright ugly taunts about these issues that they/we kinda lose perspective – although we shouldn’t, of course. And thanks for the reminder.

[quote=bajolyn]I have a couple of honest questions about Mary which I’m hoping someone can help me with:


As a seeking protestant, I would have to say that these are fairly big questions for me. Can anyone help?
[/quote]

So, are you saying that on all the 1,000’s of sites on the internet, you could NOT find adequate answers???
Please.
You’ll have to do better than that.
How about this.
Do a search on your questions, then read the Cath Apologetic sites that come up, then YOU come back here and give us the answers.
How about it?
HERE IS A STARTER FOR YOU.

[quote=TNT]So, are you saying that on all the 1,000’s of sites on the internet, you could NOT find adequate answers???
Please.
You’ll have to do better than that.
How about this.
Do a search on your questions, then read the Cath Apologetic sites that come up, then YOU come back here and give us the answers.
How about it?
HERE IS A STARTER FOR YOU.
[/quote]

Is this not one of those 1,000’s of sites on the web which you mention? Is this site not called “Catholic Answers”? Are you saying that I shouldn’t be looking for answers to my questions about Catholicism on a site called “Catholic Answers” and in a forum entitled “Apologetics?” (defense of the faith, historical controversies, etc.) Is this site only for the fully convinced? If so, please forgive my misunderstanding.

If honest seekers are not welcome here, then I apologize for my intrusion and will not return unless I am told otherwise. Perhaps, if I have misunderstood the nature of this site, I might suggest you change the name from “Catholic Answers” to “Answers for Catholics” to avoid confusion in the future.

In Christ’s love,
bajolyn

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