Reading into the Scripture I think you may be right, even though James is not talking about Mary directly.
Yes, you are missing out on something truly great, Frank. You are missing out on the love of a child for his mother and the love of a mother for her child, for that is who she truly is - your mother, my mother, our mother in Christ. From my own experience, I know the closer I get to her, the more Our Lord comes into focus in my life. She sees in you/us the image of her Son and thus loves us tenderly with the same heart that held Our - and her - Savior in its care.
It seems you are approaching the faith with a minimalistic attitude, not wanting to embrace the entirety of true catholicity. This, as you no doubt will recognize, comes from your Protestant background that has a strong tendency to look at one’s faith as “me and Jesus” rather than “Jesus and all who are in communion with Him”. If you maintain your approach to the Faith in an ideological, cool, calculating, critically reasoning manner you will never know the depths of intimacy with Christ available to you in and through devotion to Mary.
Far from distracting us from love of the Most Holy Trinity, our unity within the Communion of Saints - and most especially with Mary! - only fosters greater attentiveness to living faithfully in His Light. If we choose to ignore her - even when giving lip-service to the teaching of the Church in her regard, we are diminishing the potential of our spiritual lives to know Christ more deeply through attentiveness to the one who desires nothing more than to see us grow in His likeness.
When I see the way certain Catholics talk about Mary, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that many Protestants believe (erroneously) that we worship her.
Well, you won’t find faithful Catholics restraining their normal expressions of devotion in order to try to appease those who make their own exhibition of a certain diminished Christian expression of the human (a certain de-Incarnationizing) which we often see in American culture. Are you embarrassed by your fellow-Catholics whose devotion to Mary you don’t experience yourself? (It’s spiritually dangerous to enter into that “thank the Lord I’m not like THEM!” attitude.) What you see in this devotion is in fact quite normal cultural expressions of love. People are honoring Mary for her maternal love universal in the order of Grace by the grace given to her; the people in their devotion manifest the spiritual beauty of Mary’s love and their own toward her. Unfortunately, what many non-Catholics (and non-Orthodox) don’t get is the love that’s going on, unless they’re non-judgmental and perceptive.
Frank, you were able to submit to the authority of the Pope; why not now try submitting to the love of Mary? As others have suggested, just begin by committing yourself to saying a few “Hail Mary’s” a day. The Lord blesses the humble heart that approaches His mother.
OP, how much devotion do you have toward your own mother in comparison to your father, spouse, and/or children?
Is your devotion to your mother greater then your devotion to your father?
Is your devotion to your mother greater then your spouse(if you have one)?
Is your devotion to your mother greater then your children(if you have any)?
In some cultures, a person would die for their mother before they would die for anyone else. I would find this most prevalent within the latin communities.
I was baptized Catholic but my parents raised me in an Apostolic/Pentecostal church but I recently came back to the faith. When I came back to the Church, Mary and the Saints weren’t really an issue for me. Even though I was taught that Catholics worship the Virgin Mary, the majority of my family is Catholic so I always remember praying the Hail Mary and I’m Hispanic so an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has pretty much always been in sight so I never really bought into that lie. I wouldn’t say that I’m the most devoted person to the Blessed Mother, but I do feel a great attachment to her. The reason for me is that I truly see her as our mother, and I love my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to death, so I feel it’s only fitting to have the same love for the Virgin Mary. Praying the rosary, and seeing images of the Virgin Mary make me think of the tremendous love she had for her son and in that way I feel that it sets an example for all of us on how to truly love our Lord Jesus Christ.
Not directly, you are correct on that. But there are a number of others who make this James 5:16 connection with regard to praying to Mary or the Saints if you want to check it out.
Mary’s Fiat - “Let it be done to me according to thy word” is an attitude I think we all should have towards God, and something we can all work on improving.
It was pointed out to me that the last recorded words of Mary in Scripture are, “Do whatever He tells you.”
That is what I think of with just about every Hail Mary I say. “Do whatever He tells you.”
I’m a revert and would have to admit that I have very little personal devotion to Mary. I honour, admire and respect her as the mother of my Lord and I do so on the days set aside by the Church for that purpose but I have never had much interest in the whole Marian devotion thing. I have never voluntarily said the Rosary and Marian shrines and pilgrimage sites hold no interest for me. Perhaps I’m an exception?
I thank you all for replying, and I particularly like the idea of praying to JESUS to know His Mother more.
Just to clarify, I am a cradle Catholic who drifted away from the faith, came back through Protestant influence, then drifted away towards Protestantism, but then reverted back to the Catholic Church after understanding the issue of AUTHORITY, and realizing the extreme fallacy of Sola-Scriptura. So, I am now stronger in my Catholic faith than ever before, but want to become even stronger, and feel that Mary could be a key component to strengthening my faith.
It always comes to this with Mary. She always points to her son. We found this throughout the NT.
You can get a free CD from www.catholicity.com called “The Truth About Mary” - it’s worth a listen.
Hey, I know what you mean about it being a hurdle. I was raised a Bible Baptist and grew up hating Catholics for what I thought they believed. When I found out what they did believe about Our Blessed Mother I still didnt get it. I studied and prayed and prayed and studied!!! I one day I finally just opened my heart and asked God if he wanted me to know he would tell me in His own way. One night after Mass, me and my 8 yr old son were watching tv and he said “Lets pray the Rosary”. He never had before and I really didnt want to, but I had prayed it before just to get a feel for it and I really never planned on praying it again. But we did anyway and it changed my whole perspective on Mary. I sat down with an open heart and started praying. About halfway thru, I got this feeling that I KNOW was the Holy Spirit. I felt it in every inch of my body and it was the best feeling I have ever had in my life!!! Well, I look over at my son and he has this big grin on his face and I ask him what is going on and he explained the EXACT same feeling that I had back to me. He asked what it was and I told him. That was the turning point for me and my questions about our Blessed Mother. That is something that I have always looked back to in bad times to pick me up and bring me closer to God. Not to say that I havent had any more questions and doubts about her since, but I have always had trust that she is watching over her children. Hope that helps!!! God bless…
A wise old priest once told me, “Concentrate on growing closer to Jesus. When you are ready, he will introduce you to his Mother.”
I think Mary, in particular the miracles of Fatima, are a part of God’s peace plan.
I’ve got a couple experiences.
Before, I figured I was a decent Catholic. I went to Mass on Sundays and stayed away from what I figured were the major sins. On the other hand, I did have plenty of grave sins, although I didn’t really acknowledge them. I also never went to Confession–I could just confess to God I figured. My belief in the Real Presence was shaky at best and my understanding of it was worse. I also really had no clue what we believed in general as Catholics, let alone why. For example, I thought the Immaculate Conception referred to Jesus and things like purgatory, the Assumption, Tradition, infallibility, the meaning of the Mass etc., etc. were not even on my radar screen. All in all, I just saw the Catholic Church as just another denomination and religion as a personal preference.
Then a friend of mine was started up a little group at her college to pray the Rosary daily and she asked if I wanted to pray it with them in spirit (since I was in another state). So I decided to give it a shot. Coincidentally, the women’s group at my parish had been handing out free Rosaries and how-to pamphlets the week before and I had picked one up.
Not long after I began praying it daily, my sins began to become quite apparent to me. I also felt this great need to get to confession. I finally got up the nerve and I went (I had not gone in probably ten years–since I was a kid). It was an amazing experience. After that, I began to develop a real aversion to vice. When I did sin, I knew it and I felt real contrition.
I also began to develop this hunger to learn about the faith. I stumbled across some apologetics articles and it hit me that, hey, there might actually being something more here than I thought. From there I was spurred on to read as much as I could from the Scriptures, Fathers, Popes, Councils, Saints–everybody. I couldn’t get enough–and the strange thing was, everything seemed to make perfect sense. The Catholic faith was no longer some abstract idea or personal devotion–it was crystal clear reality. Jesus wasn’t probably real–He was and is real–He is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. I saw Him through the eyes of His mother.And these truths did not just enter my mind, but they also began to transform my heart. My relationship with Jesus went from something abstract and distant, to that of the beloved disciple resting his head on Jesus’ chest. I feel I have been growing in His grace ever since.
A couple years ago I went through a difficult experience. I felt completely and utterly abandoned by God. It seemed to me as if He had found my must vulnerable spot and stuck a knife in and twisted.
I couldn’t understand. So I went to a chapel and knelt before a shrine of His mother. And like a hurt child in the arms of his mother, I wept and I poured out my pain and confusion to her maternal heart. Afterwards, I felt the need for confession so I went at the next opportunity and confessed my despair and anger with the Lord and was reconciled with Him. And at Mass that day I had a powerful experience with Holy Communion, where like a child I rested my head on the chest of Jesus and He assured me things would turn out ok. And they did–all God was doing to me turned out to be for my own good. Ever since I have had an unwavering faith in God’s will.
Mary has brought me closer to her Son in every way and I love her.
Which reminds me of something I heard from elders addressed to girls that have come of age.
Concentrate on growing closer to your fiancee, when he is ready he will introduce you to his mother, he will only introduce you to his mother because not one girl is worthy of her son…
Morals and Ideals from an age gone by…