This isn’t actually something I’m struggling with, but an analogy I read a while back about why statues of Jesus, Mary, etc. are wrong, and I wanted to see an argument against the analogy. Keep in mind this is what I remember it to be, so it might be slightly off from the original analogy.
“Catholics say that they use statues to keep in mind the memory of Jesus to better worship him, as you would keep a picture of your spouse when they weren’t around. But would you kiss your picture if your spouse was in the room with you? Jesus is with us always, which removes the need to have idols of Him to remember Him (as He is always with us).”
What is your opinion on the above? Why is it right/wrong?
Yup, and if your spouse is there in the room with you, you should trash his love letters and love poetry because you don’t need them. Also any books he happens to write, because they are totally useless. Reading his messages to you and reminiscing about how you fell in love? That’s stupid! How can you possibly appreciate him more by learning from him or thinking about his lifestory, when after all he’s right there?
And so, if Jesus is always with us, we obviously don’t need to read the Bible, and in fact we should actively avoid it. We don’t need to know anything about the history of salvation or be reminded of any moral stuff or Second Coming things. Nah, that’s just useless garbage, that Bible, and there’s no reason to spare it, just because He came up with it.
And evangelization is even worse, because obviously you can’t teach people anything. After all, God is right there all the time! If people aren’t Christian despite His obvious presence, they are obviously just pretending not to notice!
So trash the Bible; it’s just an idol. What could be more godless and unbelieving than reading the Bible or evangelizing from it!?
Our Lord took human flesh. He has a physical body, and currently we cannot see or touch him. Since we are partly physical beings, we use things we can see and touch to help us focus on him, even though we know he is with us. So there is no contradiction whatsoever.
Communication is very important. I had commented to this post and don’t see it. I can loose things in cyberspace. True talent here.
My story was about a painful time with my husband was in VietNam and after coming home his PTSD wasn’t pleasant to deal with. While he was gone I slept in his pajamas and slept in his Army green socks. As far as pictures being idol, I did kiss his photo. I didn’t state this but I would reread some of his letters.
When he returned with PTSD, his behavior was not
Good. I hurt so much, I couldn’t even pray. I just held my Bible, held it and cried myself to sleep, saying ,“Jesus” repeatedly.
I mentioned Kissing the feet of Jesus during one of our ceremonies. Defining I wasn’t worshiping the statue but I would kiss Jesus’s feet, if He were here in prescence. I mentioned praying to Saints, which is asking the Saint to continue your prayers to God in heaven. It is not asking the Saint to perform the miracle.
Now, I don’t see my note. If you had seen it and responded with your sarcasm, it would be hurtful to me. If your response is to the thread starter, your message still feels hurtful.
God healed My marriage. 2017 will be 50 years, if we are alive.
I’m just confused, with your sarcasm removes the clarity of your message.
“IF YOU HAVE OUGHT WITH YOUR BROTHER, GO TO HIM IN LOVE WITH YOUR MESSAGE. IF HE DOESN’T LISTEN, BRING HIM TO THE PASTOR FOR COUNSELING.” “DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE TWIG IN YOUR BROTHER’S EYE. WORRY ABOUT THE log in your own.” "MY PEACE I GIVE YOU, MY PEACE I LEAVE YOU "
in Christ’s love
“I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour* is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.a
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.b
I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.
“I did not tell you this from the beginning, because I was with you.
But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me,* ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.e But if I go, I will send him to you.
He’s telling us He’s going away. In the words of institution, He says to do this in remembrance of me.
Clearly He knows the difference between being physically with us and spiritually with us
I don’t believe Mintaka meant to hurt you or anyone else. He was just trying to show how silly the argument against having statues is. I thought it was quite a cleaver post myself. His sarcasm was not aimed at you or anyone in your similar circumstances. God Bless, Memaw
Hello my friend! (BTW thank you so much for your very heartfelt and wise comment on my blog article)
Mintaka wasn’t responding to you but to the OP and he was using sarcasm (not often the best of tools) to show how silly he feels the objection to icons and images is, but I think your response is perhaps better because it shows exactly why we do all this. The very human way in which we need and cling to things that are dear to us …and nothing is more dear to us Catholics than God and those who have loved Him and served Him before us.
Life is often very difficult…and we all need all the help that we can get. God supplies us with these helps by inspiring people with talents to use them to provide beautiful sources that we can focus upon as we pray (sometimes with many sighs and tears) as we seek His help and consolation and the support of our brothers and sisters who are already with Him in Heaven.
As you have shown in your precious testimony, this is a great gift from God.
I often point out to folks that our crucifixes are one of my favorite things because every glance at them reminds me again of God’s great love for me and the terrible price that He paid for me because of that unfathomable love and mercy.
May God bless us all with His peace and protection.
First off, I want to apologize to Tweedlealice and others if I came off sounding nasty. I was trying to be humorous. The sarcasm tag is an olden days Internet thing, used to indicate that one should take everything enclosed in the tags as a joke. I didn’t want to put smileyface emoticons on every line, of what turned out to be such a long post. But I guess that I went a little too olden days to be understandable.
Tweedlealice’s post was so beautiful that I am almost glad that I messed up enough to elicit it. But it was obviously also very painful for her to write, so I am sorry to have hit a sore place or ripped off old scabs. I do apologize.
The intended point was that God does not make us just worship His unseen presence, without any clues. Like a father or like a person in love, God gives us lots of different ways to know Him and feel close to Him. He has revealed Himself in many ways, especially in Jesus, Who is (as well as being true God and true man) the living image,and likeness of God.
Like families or spouses, we also respond in lots of different and creative ways. Many things which were prohibited to Israel back then, as training or chastisement, are totally okay for us in the freedom of being God’s children. (Like eating pork.) We use our freedom to show Him our love, and He doesn’t mind a bit.
Taking a more rigid approach has its problems. If we are going to hate and prohibit touching or kissing all images of God, treating them as idolatrous, we obviously can’t touch or kiss any human, for example. After all, we were all made in the image and likeness of God. And if all we care about is God’s omnipresence, and we regard anything else as a way to ignore God, then obviously the Bible would also count as a distraction. Since God wants us to be able to interact with humans and to know the Bible, there must be something wrong with the rigid approach!
Taking a less rigid approach is very ancient, dating back to early Christian times. St. Jerome talked a lot about Christian devotional practices of little old ladies of his day, and how these ladies who had lived through persecution were being unjustly called idolaters by this one guy with new rigid ideas.
So yeah, I guess I should have quoted him instead of trying to make a funny.
PS - It is proper in most Indo-European languages, including English, to use “he” for persons of a sex unknown to you. Thanks for demonstrating this, folks! But I am female, as it happens.
He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; (Colossians 1:15)
We worship an image.
The worship of images in the Old Testament was reserved, prohibited until we could worship the true image of God. In the same way God prohibited the consumption of blood until we could drink God’s blood.
Its hard to tell by the “name” sometimes. Nothing wrong with having a good sense of humor. Sometimes we can be a little sensitive with our own personal situations but I enjoyed your post. God Bless, Memaw
Don’t apologize. Jesus and His followers used sarcasm a lot.
In 1 Kings 18:27
“At noon Elijah mocked them, ‘Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.’”
In Galatians 5:12
“Would the rest castrate themselves!”
And let’s not forget God Himself:
“Go and call upon the gods which you have chosen: let them deliver you in the time of distress.”
Dearest Sister in the Lord, Minitaka,
Maybe it’s my age and life circumstances that removed my tickle bone. Rereading your post, you are saying that if Jesus were present walking, with us we would not need the Bible, paintings, or letters He sent us. I knew you were using sarcasm. But it overwhelmed me. I declare myself a sarcasm wuss.
But, from my response, hopefully, those who read all threads, will see the letters are still kept, photos are still there. Looking back to the photos when we were young, bring memories of the good times.
So, the Bible is our love letters, the statues of Jesus are our photos. My husband is in the same room with the photo. I keep my spouse, as well, as the photos. Sarcasm coming, “Don’t ask me which one I would throw out.” Chuckle. The Bible is our map to get to heaven. We walk in darkness and need Jesus’s life and light to lead the way.
Loving you all in Christ, Jesus.
One thought that comes to mind: the statues are still appropriate because we cannot See Jesus. If your wife was right there with you, but for some reason you could not see her or feel her, I don’t think she would mind if you took out her photograph and kissed it while you spoke with her. It would signify your love for her and that that’s what you want to do to her: see her and touch her. Visuals are important.
Of course they’re important, if we’re talking about a loved one. But God warned us against making idols of Him, and while He did command idols be made for His purposes, did He ever mandate us to make one of Him?
(The above is what I think an objection to the normal Catholic rebuttal would be, and I’m interested in seeing an answer to this question. While I personally don’t know a good response to it, maybe someone else will:))
(The above is what I think an objection to the normal Catholic rebuttal would be, and I’m interested in seeing an answer to this question. While I personally don’t know a good response to it, maybe someone else will:))This is not true. Nowhere are we Catholics taught that we are adoring the image of Jesus, but all our adoration is to the one that that image represents, with the exception of the Blessed Sacrament which is the Real Presence of the body and blood, soul and divinity or Our Lord Jesus Christ (see my article The Eucharist IS Scriptural). In that case we are worshiping Christ as He Himself tells us to in the New Testament.
Please read it and get back to me here if you have any questions.
Furthermore, the part bolded by me above makes no sense at all. Read my article. God did indeed mandate images and statues in His temple and did not ever condemn them. You might point out to whoever is feeding you this stuff that Catholics are not stupid enough to adore an image or anything made of wood, metal or precious stones. None of us are dumb enough to ever mistake an image, icon, or statue for the Lord God Almighty. It’s really just fine with us if n-Cs disagree with Catholic teachings but they really do need to make sure that whatever they are objecting to is really something that the church teaches. This is a very common problem when talking with some n-Cs.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen summed this up like this.
There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church - which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues”; because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God”; because they say “indulgence is a permission to commit sin”; because the Pope “is a Fascist”; because the “Church is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.
First, statues of Jesus aren’t idols unless they are worshiped. Second, the Bible does not forbid us from making statues of Jesus, only idols. Here is a video explaining five ways the New Testament supports using sacred images, including statues of Jesus.
Third, the divine nature of Jesus cannot directly be portrayed. It is His humanity that makes it possible to make a statue of Him directly. Actually, most images of Jesus are, from one perspective, not Directly images of Jesus but only Indirect ones. There are a few images which claim to have divine origin and thus to be direct images of Jesus, such as the Shroud of Turin, but these fall under the category of private revelation and therefore we can’t be certain they are accurate – we can only have reasonable judgment in their favor. Artists who make images of Jesus usually use their imagination and some details from Scripture to guess what Jesus looked like, and thus we don’t get many images that claim to be Directly of Jesus, but only Indirectly, through the medium of imagination. That is still valuable. The Old Testament images of angels were made by a non-Jewish person, Hiram of Tyre. He used his imagination to make them because angels, like God, are invisible. But nonetheless, his images were true images of angels, in part because an image of someone based on imagination can still be a true image of that person.
Fourth, you agreed that statues are important “if we’re talking about a loved one.” God is a loved one. Fifth, God did not Command that statues of His Son be made. But, sixthly, God does not Forbid everything that is not commanded. For example, the New Testament does not command us to make churches, and neither does the Old Testament (only a temple, and only one of those). The evidence of Scripture shows that early Christians worshiped in peoples’ houses. But churches are not forbidden just because they are not commanded. Neither are statues.
Seventh, statues can be holy. The Scriptural passages that have been given in this thread are evidence of this because some images were at one time commanded by God. As a result of this, we can know that statues can be holy. It is natural that we would make something holy with God in mind, knowing that it is not God Himself and is only an image. We are supposed to offer everything to God, all our skills. If we have the skill of making images, why not make one for God? Why not make one Of God, knowing its limitations and safeguarding against possible errors?
Eighth, God’s divine nature is invisible, so we have to use our imagination and Scriptural imagery if we want to make holy images of Him. The Ancient of Days, the Dove, and a Man roughly thirty years old – these are examples of taking Scriptural descriptions about God and about Jesus’s human nature which have served as sources for sacred images.
There are probably other points that could be made, but those are eight that I thought of quickly. I hope this helps. God bless!