The Psalter of the blessed Virgin Mary


#1

In a discussion, a Protestant broght this up and said it was an example of Mariology.

Notwithstanding the fact that catholics and protestants view ‘worship’ rather differently, there are some words in the 150 Psalms to the Virgin that may come extremely close to worship. Here’s

Psalm 4 for instance:

*When I called upon thee, thou didst hear me, O Lady: and from thy throne on high thou hast deigned to be mindful of me.

From the roaring of the wild beasts prepared to devour me: and from the hands of them that sought me, thy grace will deliver me.

For thy mercy is kind and thy heart loving: towards all who invoke thy holy name.

Blessed art thou, O Lady, forever: and thy majesty for evermore.

Glorify her, all ye nations in your strength: and all ye peoples of the earth, extol her magnificence.

Glory be to the Father, etc.*

The part in bold seems to attribute some salvific to the Virgin.

There are of course numerous other examples.

Are these Psalms even officially recognised by the RCC?


#2

[quote=Inquirer]there are some words in the 150 Psalms to the Virgin that may come extremely close to worship. Here’s

Psalm 4 for instance:

[/quote]

You may be confusing the Psalter in the Bible with the psalter of St. Bonaventure. Although pious, this psalter is not recognized (in any respect) as canonical by the Catholic Church.

The psalm you cited is not the Fourth Psalm of the canonical Book of Psalms - it is part of the pious writings of St. Bonaventure.

As the writings of a Saint, the Church holds these in high regard, but they are not formally accepted as statements of Catholic belief or doctrine.


#3

[quote=DavidFilmer]You may be confusing the Psalter in the Bible with the psalter of St. Bonaventure. Although pious, this psalter is not recognized (in any respect) as canonical by the Catholic Church.

The psalm you cited is not the Fourth Psalm of the canonical Book of Psalms - it is part of the pious writings of St. Bonaventure.

As the writings of a Saint, the Church holds these in high regard, but they are not formally accepted as statements of Catholic belief or doctrine.
[/quote]

Yes, perhaps I should have clarified that I know this isn’t from the bible.

Although they aren’t formally accepted as doctrine or belief by the RCC, we must not overlook the fact that

i) The RCC has canonized St Bonaventure, which sends the message that they have, tacitly at least, approved his writings.

ii) The RCC has not denounced his writings as wrong - i.e. she condones it.

This sends the message, unintended or otherwise, that the RCC supports this kind of devotion. That essentially is the bottom line - the RCC condones this type of devotion… and it really is not much of a defence to state that the RCC has not ‘formally accepted’ such writings.

While I understand that the RCC does not worship Mary, it becomes extremely hard to prove when a devotion like this is condoned.

Which brings me, a potential convert, to a point where I have to ask … ‘Do catholics really NOT worship Mary?’


#4

bump


#5

[quote=Inquirer]Yes, perhaps I should have clarified that I know this isn’t from the bible.

Although they aren’t formally accepted as doctrine or belief by the RCC, we must not overlook the fact that

i) The RCC has canonized St Bonaventure, which sends the message that they have, tacitly at least, approved his writings.

ii) The RCC has not denounced his writings as wrong - i.e. she condones it.
[/quote]

Just because someone is a Saint,and even a Doctor of the Church doesn’t mean that they do nothing wrong. Even Thomas Aquinas did things wrong. Don’t assume that the Church does accept something unless there is a magisterial document of some sort.

This sends the message, unintended or otherwise, that the RCC supports this kind of devotion. That essentially is the bottom line - the RCC condones this type of devotion… and it really is not much of a defence to state that the RCC has not ‘formally accepted’ such writings.

I can see how, to your ears this may seem disturbing. I’m assuming you come from a Protestant background?

But I don’t think this is, strictly speaking, wrong. Jesus has chosen to send graces through his mother, Mary. “Thy grace,” is really Christ’s grace, channeled through her. Taking a quick look, maybe this will help.

[font=Comic Sans MS][size=]

[quote][font=Comic Sans MS][size=]There is but one mediator (1 Tim 2:5-6). But Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men originates not in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Jesus Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. It does not hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Jesus Christ but on the contrary fosters it. The Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Jesus Christ the one Mediator . . . The unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

[/size]
[/quote]

{Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, ch. 8, “Our Lady”, III, 60,62} [/font]

[font=Comic Sans MS][size=]Mary cooperates in the application of the grace of Redemption to man. She participates in the distribution of grace by her maternal intercession which is far inferior in efficacy to that of the intercessory prayer of Jesus Christ, the High Priest, but surpasses far the intercessory prayer of all the other saints . . . [We are not] obliged to beg for all graces through Mary, nor [is] Mary’s intercession intrinsically necessary for the application of the grace, but according to God’s positive ordinance, the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ is conferred [with] the intercessory cooperation of Mary.

[/size]

{Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma}
God often involves Christians in secondary roles in which He is preeminent. He is the Creator, yet he calls us to be procreators as parents. Jesus is the Shepherd (Jn 10:11-16; 1 Pet 5:4), yet he delegates Peter as a shepherd (Jn 21:15-17) and others in lesser capacities (Eph 4:11). Jesus is High Priest, yet Christians are called to share in Jesus’ priesthood (1 Pet 2:5-9; Rev 1:6; 20:6). Jesus is the supreme Judge, but Christians will be judges in heaven (Mt 19:28; Lk 22:30; 1 Cor 6:2-3; Rev 20:4). He is the sovereign King, but we will reign with him (Matt 19:23; Rev 3:21; 5:10). Jesus forgives our sins, but we are vessels of that forgiveness as well (Mt 18:18; Jn 20:23; Jas 5:14-15). Similarly, Mary can be a “mini-mediator” of God’s graces, just as we all are, to a lesser extent, when we pray for each other. The role of “Mediatrix” is not a blasphemous Christ-usurping function, as many Protestants fear, but, like all other Marian doctrines, eminently Christ-centered and biblical.[/font] [/size][/font]

While I understand that the RCC does not worship Mary, it becomes extremely hard to prove when a devotion like this is condoned.

Which brings me, a potential convert, to a point where I have to ask … ‘Do catholics really NOT worship Mary?’

We give the worship due to God to God alone. So yes, we really don’t worship Mary.

EDIT: Maybe the theme of Mary as the Ark of the Covenant will help you with the understanding of Mary?


#6

Hi Rob, (Robyn from NY?)

Thanks for the links. Yes, I am from a protestant background. (How did you guess?!)

I realise you all believe that you don’t worship Mary.

But you have to see that although there are Dogmatic Constitutions, Encyclicals and what nots, that all say that catholics don’t and cannot worship Mary, writings like St Bona’s Psalter seems to contradict all those Constitutions and Encyclicals, and just looks awfully like idolatory.

By stating *“Just because someone is a Saint,and even a Doctor of the Church doesn’t mean that they do nothing wrong.” *seems to hint that you think that his writings are suspect too.

It’s one thing to make mistakes - Saints don’t enjoy the protection of infallibility, I know. But this is no ordinary oopsie - this is tantamount to idolatory.

From the 4th Psalm
[list]From the roaring of the wild beasts prepared to devour me: and from the hands of them that sought me, thy grace will deliver me.[/list]

Any suggestion that someone else’s grace other than God’s can ‘deliver me’ should sound disturbing. Catholic OR Protestant, no?

Don’t get me wrong. Notice I did mention that I am a potential convert; I am at this stage where I’m almost ready to throw my lot in with the RCC, I have seen that you guys are right 99% of the time.

I am assuming that it is actually 100% - I’m looking to see if this can be resolved as well. Perhaps you can pull some obscure documentation from somewhere to explain that

i) this does not mean Mary has grace that saves, or
ii) the RCC has declared, like other heretical writings, that this is heretical. (which I suppose she cannot, since he is a Saint)


#7

[quote=Inquirer]Hi Rob, (Robyn from NY?)

Thanks for the links. Yes, I am from a protestant background. (How did you guess?!)
[/quote]

Indeed. I am uncreative with naming myself.

I realise you all believe that you don’t worship Mary.

But in fact I do?

But you have to see that although there are Dogmatic Constitutions, Encyclicals and what nots, that all say that catholics don’t and cannot worship Mary, writings like St Bona’s Psalter seems to contradict all those Constitutions and Encyclicals, and just looks awfully like idolatory.

But Bonaventure’s Psalter has nothing whatsoever to do with worship in it. Which part exactly do you think has to do with worship?

It seems to me more that you think Bonaventure is giving attributes of God to Mary. That is not worship.

By stating *“Just because someone is a Saint,and even a Doctor of the Church doesn’t mean that they do nothing wrong.” *seems to hint that you think that his writings are suspect too.

I find nothing suspect with his writings whatsoever. I am merely stating the truth that even our Doctors and Saints make mistakes which we recognize.

It’s one thing to make mistakes - Saints don’t enjoy the protection of infallibility, I know. But this is no ordinary oopsie - this is tantamount to idolatory.

Idolatry, perhaps, is a better word than worship, although Mary is not an idol, as she truly exists and is living in heaven. Well, for common ground, I looked for a defintion of idolatry:

  1. Worship of idols.
  2. Blind or excessive devotion to something.

I cannot see #1 at all in Bonaventura’s case. #2 is perhaps arguable from your perspective, but even if you think he has excessive or blind devotion, it doesn’t mean it is worship.

From the 4th Psalm
[list]
*]From the roaring of the wild beasts prepared to devour me: and from the hands of them that sought me, thy grace will deliver me.
[/list]Any suggestion that someone else’s grace other than God’s can ‘deliver me’ should sound disturbing. Catholic OR Protestant, no?

Except that all grace from Mary comes ultimately from God, as I pointed out. He is not implying that Mary’s mediation is separate or superior to Christ’s. The Catholic paradigm is that Mary’s mediation is secondary to, subordinate to, and totally dependant on Christ’s sole mediation. You can read into this what you would like, but he plainly doesn’t mean anything else other than I said.

I understand how it “feels wrong” and “sounds wrong” to you, and indeed, much of the language that Catholics use can be shocking to someone from a Protestant background. The question is, what does this essentially mean? If it doesn’t mean, as I contend, that Mary derives grace on her own, then what is wrong with it?

Don’t get me wrong. Notice I did mention that I am a potential convert; I am at this stage where I’m almost ready to throw my lot in with the RCC, I have seen that you guys are right 99% of the time.

I am assuming that it is actually 100% - I’m looking to see if this can be resolved as well. Perhaps you can pull some obscure documentation from somewhere to explain that

I’m sure it can be resolved. This isn’t exactly my forte, so I’ll just hold the topic over until the big guns are ready. :smiley:

i) this does not mean Mary has grace that saves, or
ii) the RCC has declared, like other heretical writings, that this is heretical. (which I suppose she cannot, since he is a Saint)

on:
i) Any grace dispensed from Mary is ultimately from Christ. Mary has “grace that saves,” only inasmuch as she receives all grace from her Son.
ii) The CC has declared writings or positions of Saints to be heretical or wrong, but I doubt very much she will declare these writings wrong.

Note: This is why you won’t see language like this from Catholics too much, even if it is technically correct. It is a stumbling block to people such as yourself.


#8

It’s not a question of “belief”, it’s a matter of fact. Catholics don’t think that Mary is God (to think so would be blasphemous). You have to understand that the term “worship” has undergone changes in its meaning over the centuries: it used to be common to call judges “Your Worship”—do you think idolatry was involved? Catholic doctrine is precise in this area, as it uses Latin (a language that doesn’t change) to describe the differences. “Latria” is the name for the worship due God and God alone. “Dulia” is the term used for the veneration and honoring of the saints. “Hyper-dulia” is the term that signifies the veneration due Mary. Also, can you tell the difference between a love letter and a statement of doctrine? “How do I love thee, let me count the ways…” is a love letter of a woman to her husband. Do you think, then, that she thinks he’s God?

[quote=Inquirer]But you have to see that although there are Dogmatic Constitutions, Encyclicals and what nots, that all say that catholics don’t and cannot worship Mary, writings like St Bona’s Psalter seems to contradict all those Constitutions and Encyclicals, and just looks awfully like idolatory.
[/quote]

I wonder if this worry is a result of the Protestant “me n’ Jesus” approach to theology. There tends to be a Protestant “either/or” mindset, too, that might spring from the same source. Perhaps if it’s just you and Jesus, then you’re not used to thinking of others, even of those in your family. There’s a kind of self-absorption there. Because Catholicism thinks of us all as a family (the saints being our triumphant brothers and sisters) we don’t have a problem with the idea of honoring other family members, even if we do not raise them to the level of our Father. We’re not confused—are you?

[quote=Inquirer]By stating *“Just because someone is a Saint,and even a Doctor of the Church doesn’t mean that they do nothing wrong.” *seems to hint that you think that his writings are suspect too.
[/quote]

I can’t speak for Rob, but I can say it depends on the context. Does the saint say anywhere that Mary is God (Goddess?)? I suspect he’s just writing in the language of love, and in a different literary style than what you’re used to.

[quote=Inquirer]It’s one thing to make mistakes - Saints don’t enjoy the protection of infallibility, I know. But this is no ordinary oopsie - this is tantamount to idolatory.
[/quote]

No it’s not. Nowhere do I see any indication that the saint regards Mary as God. Also, it’s not as if this is the only expression of belief; that he snubbed God so that he could gush only about Mary. Why do you think he loves Mary? Is it because–just perhaps–his love and awe of God makes him love God’s instrument as well?

[quote=Inquirer]Any suggestion that someone else’s grace other than God’s can ‘deliver me’ should sound disturbing. Catholic OR Protestant, no?

[/quote]

Not if you know that all grace comes ultimately from God. That it comes through Mary ought to be obvious to any Christian—she gave birth to Jesus, no?


#9

It CAN be resolved. Look, I am sure that when you first started exploring, you had LOTS of issues. If you are ready to accept the Real Presence. . .the miraculous fact that Christ is present in the Eucharist Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine, that this sacrifice is not just a “symbol” or re-enactment of His death, but actually is the ETERNAL sacrifice itself. . .a sacrifice which simultaneously took place on Holy Thursday (BEFORE Calvary), on Good Friday itself, on EASTER SUNDAY with the resurrection, and every day, now and forever. . .

then you’ve grasped God’s eternal nature, right?

Now, take it a step further. When God chose to be born of the Virgin Mary (again, you accept her perpetual Virginitiy, right? Another sign of “eternity”), the grace of GOD came THROUGH Mary, right? He didn’t just use her like an incubator–He chose her to be a sinless REFLECTION of His grace. That Grace came through a woman; Mary’s “fiat” of “thy will be done” was pure humility.

Now, if God allowed His grace to come into the world THROUGH the Virgin Mary ONCE–at his Incarnation, through His gestation and Birth–and since God is eternal–can you see that God’s grace which comes THROUGH MARY is still exactly that–GOD’S grace. The more archaic or flowery language shows our utmost respect for a fellow CREATURE who by God’s grace bore the Savior of the World–certainly Mary is highly to be praised. But any grace–ANY whatsoever–is to be seen as God’s. The reason that Mary is worthy of praise is totally because of GOD–not because of Mary. “He who is mighty has done great things for me. Henceforth all generations shall call me highly blessed.” (Not, “I have achieved the greatness of being God’s mother, I deserve to be called blessed”. ) All of Mary’s thoughts, words and actions were based on total obedience, lively faith, and supreme trust in God.

Look at us. Any grace that WE have is a gift of God’s, right? Has any one of us EARNED grace? No, of course not. Grace is a free gift.

Mary is so totally one with God’s will that, in His ETERNAL way, graces still flow THROUGH her–because she is so totally His. She could never be equal to God, but because of her sinlessness and total OBEDIENCE her will is completely subordinated to God’s–therefore, any action of Mary’s and any graces which flow from her are really, truly, and solely from God.

I hope it helps. I totally love and trust Mother Mary because she constantly and consistently points the way to Jesus, and because she is the perfect model of Christianity. How marvelous of Jesus to give us God as our Father and Mary as our Mother, and to be Himself our brother.


#10

Many good points have already been made here that hopefully have provided some insight.

I would like to comment directly on this particular part of the Psalm you quote: “thy grace will deliver me.”

I would look first to Scripture. St. Peter, in his first letter, teaches: “As generous distributors of God’s manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has recieved.” (1 Pet 4:10)

As Catholics, we believe in the communion of saints. That is, we know that God has united us, through the eternal saving work of Jesus Christ, with all Christians. This includes the living and those who have already left this world in His grace. We are a community, a communion, of saints. We have fellowship with each other through our Savior.

Mary is a very important member of this communion. She is our spiritual mother. She is the mother of our Lord. She is not the Lord. She is not a goddess. She is the mother God chose from all eternity to bring forth the Christ into this world. This means that she, among all women throughout time, has been given an immeasurable gift.

As Catholics, we recognize this immense blessing and echo the sentiments of God’s messenger Gabriel as he addressed her “Hail, Kecharitomene! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” (Luke 1:28). The Scriptural title “Kecharitomene” is often rendered “highly favored daughter,” but is more acurately translated “full of grace” or “wholly gift of God.”

With this in mind, we know that Mary was filled with God’s grace. She was graced with all the gifts she would need to fulfill her destiny as the Mother of God and the spiritual mother of the Church. Surely, comfort, mercy, and strength are all very important virtues given to all mothers. Would anyone argue, then, that the Blessed Mother would have been blessed with an abundance of these graces?

And knowing that she, as a member of our Chrisitan communion, is also a “generous distributor” of God’s grace (per St. Peter), can we not ask her for her intercession and her favor upon us as we ask a share in her gifts?

I think this is the spirit of St. Bonaventure’s Psalms. Not to raise her to the level of the Creator, but to recognize the awesome power of God in his Divine Providence in giving us the Blessed Mother as gift and a blessing.

We ask Mary only for the gifts she has to “distribute” by the power of God!


#11

[quote=Inquirer]i) The RCC has canonized St Bonaventure, which sends the message that they have, tacitly at least, approved his writings.
[/quote]

Not true. Saints write all sorts of nonsense, just like everybody else. No Saint is infallable in their personal writings (not even Papal Saints). Saints write dumb things, and even heretical things (I’m not saying that St. Bonaventure falls into either category, but the simple fact of his canonization does not exclude him from either category). Saints can be idiots and fools, just like everyone else (but they’re very holy idiots and fools). Saints can be uneducated with very little grasp of Catholic doctrine (St. Bernadette could never even learn her Catechism). Many, many great Saints could not read or write.

ii) The RCC has not denounced his writings as wrong - i.e. she condones it.

Yikes! If the Church “condoned” everything that She didn’t explicitly condemn, I shudder to think what could be inferred from that!


#12

Thy grace will deliver me.

I think in this case, the word “grace” simply means “undeserved favor,” such that the sentence means, “The undeserved favor of your powerful Christian prayers to God through Christ on my behalf will deliver me.”

Ever ask a stranger for the time? If he tells you, then he has granted you an undeserved favor; his grace has delivered you from your ignorance of the time.


#13

Wow! I’ve just come across this thread and I just want to say it’s very, very helpful and informative. :thumbsup:
I just want to thank those who have contributed to it.
:bowdown:


#14

[quote=steve99]Wow! I’ve just come across this thread and I just want to say it’s very, very helpful and informative. :thumbsup:
I just want to thank those who have contributed to it.
:bowdown:
[/quote]

Oh I second that!

Thanks a lot guys.

God bless! :thumbsup:


#15

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