by the Cybervangelists at CatholicQandA.com
Chat Room Dialogue from May 1999
Abercius24: Do you have a question?
Voyager: Well, I'm a new Catholic, so I'm always looking for info. :)
Abercius24: Cool. Welcome to the Church and thank you for joining us. I'm ready to give info at any time! :-)
Voyager: Thanks. :) Do you have any suggestions on how I can increase my devotion to Mary?
Abercius24: Yes I do, but let me ask you some questions first, if I may.
Abercius24: Do you believe in the Immaculate Conception--Mary's conception without original sin?
Abercius24: Ok. And you believe she is an eternal virgin, right?
Abercius24: Also the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, and was assumed into heaven body and soul?
Abercius24: Cool. How long did it take you to accept those concepts?
Voyager: Not too terribly long. I didn't have much trouble with the concepts logically; I just had more trouble internalizing them, if you know what I mean.
Abercius24: Making what exists in the mind live in the heart, right?
Abercius24: Do you feel intense love when you think of Christ's death on the cross for your salvation?
Abercius24: Ok. Jesus is always first. Always understand that devotion to Mary is to become closer to Jesus in another wonderful way.
Abercius24: As I feel incredible agony and love when I look at Christ on the Cross, I get a similar feeling when I look at the Pieta with Mary holding her crucified son in her arms. Have you seen the Pieta before?
Voyager: Yes, I have a small replica of it.
Abercius24: Mary made a great sacrifice for the salvation of mankind, too. So much that the early Church Fathers would call her the New Eve and Jesus the New Adam.
Voyager: Yes, I understand.
Abercius24: If you remember, Mary accepted God's request to conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:38--"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." She accepted God's will even though she knew the Jewish Law would have her stoned if they found her pregnant out of wedlock. Yet, she trusted God.
Abercius24: When she and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised, there was a prophecy made by Simeon: Luke 2:34-35--"and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself [Mary] a sword shall pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Abercius24: So, even at the beginning, it was prophesized that Mary would suffer for our good, too: "and you yourself a sword shall pierce."
Voyager: Wow. When I was a Protestant, I never even saw that.
Abercius24: Luke was very much devoted to Mary from what he tells of her in his gospel.
Voyager: That's a good point.
Abercius24: He even shows the Love the Holy Spirit had for her at the Visitation.
Voyager: I'd never thought of it that way.
Abercius24: It was the Holy Spirit that prompted Elizabeth's greeting: "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Luke 1:41-42). And think of the intimate union of Mary's heart to the Holy Spirit when He conceived Jesus in her womb. Most blessed she is.
Voyager: Wow. I can't believe I've never thought of this before.
Abercius24: Though on a lesser level than Jesus, she sacrificed her heart to allow Christ to save us from sin.
Abercius24: :-) The bible has a lot of good stuff on Mary. Unfortunately, most Protestants have confused a relationship with Christ's heavenly family members with the idea that such would take away from Christ. But Christ gave them to us so we can love him within others, too.
Voyager: That's always made sense to me. It's sad that so many people miss that.
Abercius24: I agree.
Abercius24: Even Martin Luther had a devotion to Mary, yet personal interpretation seems to have changed things for the worse in the Protestant circles.
Voyager: True. I don't think it's quite as bad within Lutheranism, though.
Abercius24: Really? What do you mean?
Voyager: Well, they don't seem to regard Mary with as little esteem as other Protestants. They certainly don't venerate her, but they don't ignore her like some others do.
Abercius24: I understand what you mean. Yes, that is better than those who bash devotion to her.
Abercius24: Okay. Here is my recommendation for increasing your devotion to Mary. Pray the Rosary while meditating on these scriptures and Marian doctrines during the mysteries. The Rosary has led me to a deeper relationship with Mary.
Voyager: Really? I keep hearing that the Rosary is very powerful.
Abercius24: Yes, it is. Devotion to Mary is the most powerful devotion with the exception of devotion to our Lord. With devotion to both, you can't go wrong! :-)
Voyager: I've noticed how many of the saints were devoted to her. And the Holy Father certainly seems to be, too.
Abercius24: The Rosary brings that which is in my mind regarding these mysteries down into my heart. When I meditate with the intention of understanding the sacrifice and love of Mary and Jesus, they become a very personal part of my life.
Voyager: I need to start praying it more.
Abercius24: Yes, many saints have had devotion to the Blessed Mother. Our current Pope tells us that Mary was the one who saved his life when he was shot.
Voyager: Really?? I didn't know he said that.
Abercius24: Yep. The motto on his banner is "Totus Tuo"--"[Mary], I am totally yours." It was after his attempted assassination that he began publicly recognizing his devotion to Mary in this way.
Voyager: Wow. How did you find out about that story? Is it online anywhere?
Abercius24: I heard it once from a commentary I watched on the Papal Visit to Los Angeles in 1987 and I heard it said on a recent EWTN radio commentary during the recent visit to St. Louis.
Voyager: Oh, okay.
Abercius24: Hmm. I'll keep an eye out for something online, if you'd like. If I find something I'll e-mail a link to you.
Voyager: Thanks, I'd appreciate it.
Abercius24: If you like, I can send you a link to the EWTN question and answer section of their web-site so you can ask one of their priests.
Voyager: Thanks. :)
Abercius24: EWTN Expert Q&A
Voyager: Thanks for the link. :)
Abercius24: You're welcome. I hope I helped you.
Voyager: You did. Thanks for everything.
Abercius24: Glad to help a sister in the faith.
Voyager: :) God bless. Bye!
Abercius24: Ok, God bless you. Take care. Pray for me and my family; especially for my brother and my son.
Voyager: I will. Please do the same for me and mine. :)
Abercius24: Absolutely. See you later.
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The best way to prove Mary’s Immaculate Conception is by demonstrating her role as the New Eve. This role was given prophecy by God himself in Genesis after the fall of man and was clearly taught by the Early Church Fathers. In the three greatest stages of salvation history, we see a man, a woman and a real and/or false prophet. In the beginning, Adam was the man, Eve was the woman, the Lord was their prophet, and the serpent was their false prophet. In the end times, the beast will be the man, the harlot will be the woman, and they will have their false prophet. With the era of salvation, Christ was the man, Mary was the woman, and John the Baptist was their prophet. These parallels are important to the Immaculate Conception because they demonstrate Mary having a significant role in the era of salvation.
After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, God immediately gave prophecy as to how he would save mankind. In Genesis 3:15 we read:
“I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he [or she] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his [or her] heel" (Greek does not signify gender for he/she here, but should probably be “she” since the woman is the one who has direct enmity with the serpent). Notice the two characters that are introduced—the woman and her seed. Notice that the enmity applies between the woman and the serpent and between each of their seeds. I have been told that the Hebrew word for enmity has a strong character and can be interpreted as complete enmity—complete opposition. Of course, the direct understanding of “the woman” is Eve since all men are of her seed. This can apply to Mary, as well. We know that ultimately this salvation prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus who is of the seed of Eve. Similarly, Jesus is more directly of Mary’s seed, so Mary can be the ultimate fulfillment of the role of “the woman.”
In the gospels, Jesus also recognizes Mary as fulfilling this passage. In John 2:4 we read:
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’”
Some will tell you that Jesus was rebuking Mary in this passage, but such would be uncharacteristic of Jesus since he was sinless and such would be disrespect to his Mother. When he calls her WOMAN, he is making reference back to Genesis 3:15—recognizing himself as the fulfillment of the woman’s seed and demonstrating Mary’s fulfillment as the role of the Woman. The passages that follow demonstrate Mary’s confidence in her son’s divine abilities and Christ’s close relationship with her by virtue of his obedience. This shows that Mary had a very close participation in Christ’s work of salvation.
We also read in John 19:26:
“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’"
Again, Jesus recognizes Mary’s role as the Woman. It is no coincidence that Jesus uses this name for Mary both at his first miracle and while dying on the cross. As Jesus said “what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” The hour of which Christ speaks is time when he would begin to demonstrate his divinity and saving power. Jesus understands Mary’s concern has a significant role in his work of salvation, which is why he asks her why it is necessary to reveal himself at that time. He also understands that she has a significant role in caring for the Church, which is why Jesus gives John, the beloved disciple, over to Mary to be her son and she his mother. He didn’t say to John, “take care of her.” Instead, he demonstrated the deep relationship he intended for both of them to have with each other as a result of his saving work on the cross. So, Jesus obviously recognizes Mary as sharing his fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 as the Woman with full enmity to the serpent.
Scripture tells us that Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, the enmity between the seed of the Woman and the seed of the serpent is shown to be substantially complete. As was shown before, if the enmity between the Woman and the serpent and that between their seeds is the same, then the same complete enmity must be found between the serpent and the Woman. If this is true, then not only was Jesus sinless, but so was Mary.
Mary’s role as the New Eve is consistent with this understanding. Both Adam and Eve were created (conceived) without sin. Paul teaches us in Romans 5:14 that Adam was a “type” of Jesus who was to come. Jesus, as well, had to be conceived without original sin for him to be completely sinless. This demonstrates Jesus’ role as the New Adam. Again, since the enmity with the powers of hell is the same for the Woman and her seed, it is reasonable to expect that Mary would be conceived without original sin, just as God did with Eve, with Adam, and with Jesus. If Mary was not given this preservation from sin, she could not fulfill the prophetic “type” she holds with Eve nor the parallel she holds with Christ’s role as the New Adam. Therefore, Genesis 3:15, in light of the New Testament Scriptures, proves that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is true.
I hope this helps to further clarify the Catholic Answers article “Mary ‘Full of Grace’ (http://www.catholic.com/answers/tracts/_fullgra.htm). Let me know if you have further questions on Marian doctrines. God bless.
Steve S. aka Abercius24
Editor of CatholicQandA.com
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Web Site E-Mail Dialogue from June 1999Dear Jerry,
There are many problems with the idea that Mark 14:9 teaches Mary Magdalene is more important than the Blessed Virgin Mary.
First of all, Catholics and Orthodox are the only Christians who give any kind of honor to St. Mary Magdalene--she is a canonized saint. An argument that shows more devotion should be given to Mary Magdalene than Mary the Mother of the Lord does not justify one to eliminate devotion to either. That conclusion does not logically follow.
Catholics and Orthodox Christians do honor St. Mary Magdalene. They have built churches in her honor and many books have been written about her work in the early church. There are devotional books that praise the work that God has done in Mary Magdalene and ask for her holy work to continue in the lives of the Church Militant--the faithful still on earth. This devotion is consistent with the teachings of the scripture.
Mark 14:9 absolutely shows that Mary Magdalene's name will always be a part of the preaching of the gospel, as she should be. Does that mean she alone will have that honor? No, there is nothing in scripture that says "Mary Magdalene Alone." That conclusion can only be based on the assumption that is similar to the Protestant doctrine of "Bible Alone." If the Bible is the only source of the complete gospel, then it might be reasonable to believe that Mary Magdalene's name alone should be preached with the gospel. Catholics and Orthodox have made excellent arguments showing how the "Bible Alone" doctrine is unbiblical and unreasonable. So the previous interpretation of Luke 14:9 is based on a Protestant misconception. Without that misconception, one can understand that anyone of whom Christ's grace has saved should be preached with the gospel. Notice that each of the four gospels preaches the name of Mary Magdalene, but also with the Twelve Apostles, and many other characters that are important to the gospel teaching. Even those outside of the scriptures of whom Christ's grace has saved should be preached.
The previous interpretation does not show that Mary the Mother of Jesus should not be an integral part of the preaching of the gospel. It does show that the saints of whom Christ's grace has saved should always be spoken of as part of the gospel.
I urge all Protestants to have a devotion to St. Mary Magdalene, asking that she help us to accept Christ's grace as willingly as she did.
Steve S. aka Abercius24
Editor of CatholicQandA.com
P.S. The idea that Luke 1:48 has nothing to do with the preaching of the gospel is foolish. Remember, the gospel of Luke IS a preaching of the gospel--one of which Luke thought Mary's name and Magnificat were important parts thereof.
As well, the idea that Mary Magdalene was the woman possessed by seven devils is a product of Church tradition and not of any biblical exegetics. Funny that he uses church tradition to argue against Church Tradition. Similarly, Sacred Tradition does give Mary quite a higher role than any other person associated with the gospel as the New Eve with Christ as the New Adam:
"Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, `Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.' Eve, however, was disobedient, and, when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband--for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children, and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply--having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.. Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith"
--Ireneaus of Lyons; Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189].
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Copyright 1999-2003 CatholicQandA.com. All rights reserved. The original letters were altered by Abercius24 to improve legibility and protect the identity of the participants.