There's Something About Mary...


#1

RCIA is going great and I don’t think there are any “deal breakers” with me continuing on my journey home. My wife is my sponsor and we are growing closer to each other and the Holy Spirit everyday. I come from a Church of Christ / Methodist background and have a strong knowledge of Sacred Scripture. As a matter of fact, Sacred Scripture led me to the Catholic Church (Matthew 16:18 and John 6 in particular)

The things that are “less biblical” are the ones that I’m having trouble with, especially Mary’s Immaculate Conception. I have heard the basics on why Catholics beleive this, but do any of you have any other info that can help me with this?


#2

Cradle Catholics often seem to be so comfortable with these doctrines that it may be difficult for them to realize where you are coming from. It may be helpful to read something from someone who has gone through the same process, such as Kimberly Hahn (I think she mentions this difficulty in “Rome Sweet Home”) or David Currie (“Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic”) or perhaps something in the “Surprised by Truth” series of books.


#3

Also try John Martinogni’s web site, www.biblechristiansociety.com. The guy knows his scripture, has subbed for Jerry on Catholic Answers on occaision, and is on OpenLine with EWTN on Thursdays, 2-3pm Central time.


#4

There are many things “hidden” in Sacred Tradition from which arose the Scriptures we have today–as confirmed by various Church councils. One of the things the Church had meditated upon down through the centuries by her theologians, scholars and saints is Mary’s place in the salvific economy, IOW, what place she had/has in God’s plan of salvation.

Mary’s person, her role, her meaning to Christians was one of those things left to the Church to delve into as one of the treasures of the Gospels. Jesus didn’t settle all questions while he was here on earth teaching his disciples. If you read Acts 15 you’ll see that a very important matter had to be decided right off the bat by the early Church in its first council.

Also, you should understand that the Bible is one of three witnesses to the teachings of the Church. The other two are Sacred Tradition (oral teachings given through preaching, etc. and the Magisterium or teaching authority of the Church. So, Catholics don’t go to the Bible hunting for verses to “prove” this teaching or that. And neither did the writers of the Gospels. Whenever they cited a fulfilled prophecy they simply stated that it was a fulfillment not that it “proved” anything–do you see what I mean?

When converts come from Evangelical/Bible based faith traditions they don’t see the Bible from a Catholic/historical point of view. They think of the Bible as an “authority”, but no book, no matter how sacred is an “authority” because authority lies in persons not in objects. IOW, the Bible cannot tell us: “Yes, you have correctly interpreted this passage or you have the right idea from that verse”–only persons can do that, which is why Jesus set up his Church to decide matters of faith and morals instead of dictating a book to his followers.

Anyway, there are OT passages that bear witness to Mary’s Immaculate Conception, as interpreted by her holy men and women and confirmed by the declarations of the Church. Some of the most beautiful ones of this sort are found in Song of Songs, such as:

As a lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters. (Sngs 2:2)

Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. (Sngs. 4:7)

One is my dove, my perfect one is but one. (Sngs. 6:9)

My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up. (Sngs. 4:12)

There are other passages, some from Proverbs and others from Sirach (one of the Deuterocanical books).

It might help if you were to make a study of Marian doctrine and dogmas. But, the most important thing you have to do is to reorient your thinking to the way the Church views her own book, the Bible and her own history. That will be a big help not only in understanding Marian teachings but all the others, as well. God bless you! I will pray for you as you go through RCIA.


#5

Hi Tennmark,

It’s true that not all Catholic doctrines have a corresponding “proof text” in Scripture, but it is also true that all are to one degree or another supported by Scripture and no Catholic doctrine is ever contradicted by Scripture that is properly interpreted.

Remember, Christianity does not come from the Bible: the Bible comes from the Church. So it is not mandatory to find a proof text for everything, although they come in handy when dialoguing with non-Catholics.

Having said that, a helpful passage is found in Genesis 3, where God tells the serpent “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” The early Church fathers since the time of Irenaus and ever since have been unanimous that this is a reference to the Messiah and to His Mother, Mary. Being at enmity with Satan means being without sin; to be otherwise is to be at least partly in cooperation with Satan.

Not a proof text, but certainly supportive of the teaching.

Besides, would God prepare the Bread of Life in a dirty pan??

Peace,

Jim


#6

I think that is great - and questioning the faith is an awesome way to learn the faith and apprceiate it more than most “cardle” catholics. I highly reccomend Morning Star…Christ’s Mother and Ours by Fr. Oscar Lukefahr. You can get it at amm.org/chss.htm for free or a 5 dollar donation if you can.

This book will help find the biblical and reasonable vedicne for all the Marian doctrines. They will also increase your sense of Spirituality! An unexpected side effect I’m sure. There are many other books at the web site. I beleive it has one of the best RCIA and Sacrament books around. I have read many, as I am a convert myself and have been involved in religious ed. for quite some time now.

I can give you more specific theological arguments/proofs. But a basic framework needs to be laid first. Shoot me an e-mail soemtime and I’ll discuss it more, or start a thread. You’ll get all kinds of great stuff.


#7

some great suggestions here, but why not just ask Mary herself to give you what you need to know about her. Start praying the rosary with that intention, and she will say what she always says, “Do whatever He tells you.” She is your shortcut to coming closer to Jesus, and along the way she will tell you as much about herself as you need to know in order to know her Son better, and no more.


#8

[quote=TennMark38016]RCIA is going great and I don’t think there are any “deal breakers” with me continuing on my journey home. My wife is my sponsor and we are growing closer to each other and the Holy Spirit everyday. I come from a Church of Christ / Methodist background and have a strong knowledge of Sacred Scripture. As a matter of fact, Sacred Scripture led me to the Catholic Church (Matthew 16:18 and John 6 in particular)

The things that are “less biblical” are the ones that I’m having trouble with, especially Mary’s Immaculate Conception. I have heard the basics on why Catholics beleive this, but do any of you have any other info that can help me with this?
[/quote]

To Brother TennMark38016:

I suspect one of the reasons non-Catholics truly find it difficult to accept the Immaculate Conception is because of these suppositions:

  1. Mary is a human and
  2. all humans are supposed to be born sinners, being children of Adam and Eve and so have fallen short of the grace of God except
  3. our Lord Jesus Christ “alone”.

It’s this “alone” lie that really blinds them from seeing the truth of the Immaculate Conception–and all other Marian dogmas. To them, the Immaculate Conception is inconceivable to God. Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, you name it; no wonder Protestants split and split and split and split-- because they all want to “be alone”. No offense meant.

If only the primordial truth–that an Adam and Eve, created without sin, once lived, breathed and walked the face of the earth when this whole thing began–would really sink into their souls, they will begin to admit that the Immaculate Conception is conceivable, possible and probable . And since God did create Adam and Eve sinless, I guarantee you He did not settle for anything less than that when it came to creating His Mother.

Shalom, amen.

P.S. Sometimes, what makes it difficult to accept Truth is that He is so True He has to be False.


#9

[quote=asquared]some great suggestions here, but why not just ask Mary herself to give you what you need to know about her. Start praying the rosary with that intention, and she will say what she always says, “Do whatever He tells you.” She is your shortcut to coming closer to Jesus, and along the way she will tell you as much about herself as you need to know in order to know her Son better, and no more.
[/quote]

This is so very true. I am so glad I got to read your post, asquared, because I was thinking the very same thing as I was reading down the thread, and when I came to your post I said to myself: *voila! *The perfect answer! Many blessings to you! :slight_smile:


#10

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