Why We Must Venerate Mary

it's because of that essential nature of our relationship with one another and our relationship with God that we honor the great saints and the blessed mother being the one who is greater than all the other saints combined.

 How do Christians reconcile the biblical commandment to worship and serve God alone with the practice of invoking and venerating Mary, the mother of Jesus, as an intercessor, and a model of faith?

Yeah, that boy, thank you for that question because that was a huge one for me because I honestly, from the core of my being, believe that Catholics were idolaters.

Because you can tell me you’re not worshiping Mary, but when I looked at these Catholics kneeling in front of a statue of the Blessed Mother and praying to her, I am sorry. That is idolatry. That is what I believed. But you know what? I really believe that part of the problem here is that we come from a very cold post, Reformation culture.

Now we’re going into post Christian culture in general, right? Can you imagine in our community today, St Paul talks about greet one another with a holy kiss, right? You imagine that in our cold United States culture, in the local presbyterian church, greet one another with a, I don’t think so.

My friend, What we have in the New Testament is an understanding of the nature of the people of God. This was unveiling a mystery. According to St. Paul kept hidden one mystery among many of the mysteries that were kept hidden as Jesus says, from the wise and revealed to babes, meaning the apostles and the church, right?

Revealed unto babes. And one of the great mysteries is the fact that Gentile and Jew are joined together in the body of Christ in a mystical union, not only with God in Christ, but with one another. Which the Catechism of the Catholic Church talks about. I want to say it’s section 753, as I recall, when the Catechism talks about all the images of the people of God, there’s one that is the new center of all of the images from marriage, from this or that, the center is the image of the body.

And for me, brother, this, that image of the body, which I already understood in part as a Protestant was explicated to me, but in, in the Catholic church and just blew my mind, it’s a matter of just pondering, think about that, right? We are members of Christ and members. One of another says St. Paul, right?

So that our union, yeah, with Jesus Christ is dependent upon . . . see, when you are looking at your body, man, these, this isn’t an optional sort of thing. Oh, my finger can just hang out on the hand there. But if he didn’t like it, he can just jump off and go somewhere else. No, you’re gonna die , right finger jump off the hand and you are going to die.

Why? Because we have a relationship one with another that is necessary for our salvation. This is why, when the catechism of the Catholic Church says things like, devotion to the blessed mother is essential to christian worship. That blew my mind, coming from a Protestantism, but what do you mean is essential for our salvation?

It’s essential for our salvation because of that image that I just shared with you from St. Paul, that of the body. Paul says it rhetorically in 1 Corinthians 12, what is it? Verse 21. Can the eye say to the hand, I have no need of thee, can the head save the foot? I have no need of the answer is no, we need each other and for salvation.

The blessed mother is just the ultimate example of this because as a matter of fact, this is simply historical fact. She brought the whole Jesus to the whole world. That is a fact. And without her, there is no Jesus, right? God could have chose someone. Yeah, but it wouldn’t be Jesus then. Because Jesus is so dependent upon Mary in God’s disposition in the matter of bringing the second person blessed Trinity into the world.

He made it that way that Mary’s role was unrepeatable among all others. Now we all, as I said, have a salvific role in each other’s lives and in various ways. This is why St. Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 1, verse 6, If we suffer, it is for your comfort and your salvation. This is why he would say in Colossians 1:24, I fill up that which is lacking in the sufferings of Christ in my body for his body, which is the Church.

What could be lacking in the sufferings of Christ? Nothing, objectively speaking, because his sacrifice is of infinite merit. But what’s lacking is the application of that sacrifice into our lives. And that’s where the body becomes necessary, not just an option, says St. Paul. That’s why he could say he and Apollos are co-laborers with Christ.

Bringing you to faith, he says to the Corinthians. What? How could Paul? Jesus is the Savior. Yes, Jesus is the Savior. He is the one mediator between God and men. Of course, because he’s the only person in the universe. in the universe that can reconcile the offended and offending parties, right? He’s the only one that has the power to do that.

But he has deemed to employ us in the process as members of the body of Christ. I could go forever on this. But the point is, once I saw this, I’m telling you from my experience, once I saw the nature of our relationship with Christ and one another in the context of that body, all of a sudden, Mary began to make sense because of that preeminent role.

She is the only one, the only human person in all of history, who, according to Revelation chapter 12, for example, verses 4 and 5, the woman gives birth to the man child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron, quoting Psalm 2, the Messianic Psalm, right? But then in verse 17, she continues to give birth to all of those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ and keep his commandments.

So she is the mother of Christ and she’s the mother of all of us. Pope Francis has said numerous times that to understand the Blessed Virgin Mary, you have to understand her role as a mother. All of her gifts to the church are in the context of the Theotokos, the mother of God, as well as St. Paul VI in his wonderful declaration in 1964, when he declared Mary mother of the church, she’s mother of God and mother of the church.

So basically, brother, you understand Mary’s dignity. By understanding that, according to the New Testament, there’s basically two reasons why we give special honor to certain members of the body of Christ. And number one is their office, and number two is what God has done in them and through them.

This is why St. Paul will say in 1 Timothy 5:17, or not 1 Timothy. Yes, 1st Timothy 5:17 give double honor to the teaching elders. What does that mean? Twice as much as I give to my brother here. I give to the priests, right? Why? Because of their office. But what about? What God has done in them. There are many biblical texts we could look at, but the one I would, what leaps off the page here is Luke one 47, all generations shall what call me blessed for the almighty has done great things for me.

It’s because of what God has done in her, that we honor her and we honor all the great saints. And this is why, Jesus talks about that in Matthew chapter five. The one who breaks one of the least commandments shall be called least in the kingdom. Notice he’s talking about venial sin there.

You can break them and still be in the kingdom of heaven. But the one who does and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. So it’s not just Mary, but all of us we’re greater members or lesser members because of number one, our office, number two what God does in us and through us because we allow him to do and then all of a sudden, brother, from there you start to see, oh my goodness, the blessed mother uniquely, she has the greatest office being the mother of God – unrepeatable, right? She brought Jesus, the whole Jesus into the world. But number two, Mary is the one who says, yes, and not, not only does she say, let it be in Luke chapter one, verse 38, let it be done unto me according to thy word after the angel says every word of God is possible.

Mary says, let it be done to me according to thy word. The words are connected by the way. Rhema, let it be done to me according to thy word. And what happened? The word was made flesh and dwelt among us because of Mary’s yes. You and I can be saved because of Mary’s yes. The entire universe is transformed.

There’s no other human person that can say that will ever be able to say that other than the Blessed Virgin Mary. And of course, if we had time, we don’t, we could go through as I do in my book. And I encourage you to get ahold of Behold Your Mother, because I show how Mary didn’t just stop being the mother of God at the incarnation.

She continued the wedding feast of Cana at the foot of the cross at Pentecost and into eternity in Revelation chapter 12. Mary’s yeses continue resulting in the transformation of the universe. So you better believe, of course, we should, there’s a sense in which you can’t honor Mary enough. And so when you look at Catholics kneeling down and kissing the feet of a statue of the Blessed Mother, that is simply love.

That is what we’re basically trying to do, I’ve heard it said that we can’t honor Mary enough because God’s already honored her more than we ever could. We don’t have the capability. The only way you could dishonor her would be to worship her, as Saint Epiphanius in the fourth century.

He talks about a group called the Coloridians who were dishonoring Mary in the name of honoring her and why because they were offering sacrifice to her. See, and that’s the distinction. We do not offer sacrifice to Mary. If you go to Mass, I tell my Protestant friends, go to a Mass and just listen, watch and listen to what you’re going to see.

This is the highest form of prayer in the Catholic Church. The entire Mass is offered. To God, the father in and through the power of Jesus Christ. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, any prayers to the saints are peripheral in the liturgy as they are in our lives. But we recognize, and I guess I’ll leave, on this point here.

But within that context of, I mentioned the periphery of the saints, it’s not peripheral in the sense that it’s not important. No, it’s absolutely crucial. As I mentioned, it’s just, of course, the preeminence is God. And that is the emphasis, but it’s because of that essential nature of our relationship with one another and our relationship with God that we honor the great saints and the blessed mother being the one who is greater than all the other saints combined.


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