Wednesday, October 7, 2015

We do not worship Mary or the Saints

Blogger In response to a question addressed to Sister Martha,  De Maria said...
Hi Tienne,

Blogger Tienne said...
I had a conversation recently with a devoutly Protestant friend who objected to Catholic "worship" of Mary and the Saints.

The first problem with that characterization is that we don't consider them idols or gods. We honor and revere them as our older siblings in the faith. In that sense, we follow Scripture:

Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

I took the opportunity to share your lovely explanations of praying for intercession just like we ask those on Earth to pray for us, and she responded with an argument I'd never heard before. She said that there is no evidence in the Bible that people in heaven will pray for us,

She hasn't studied the Bible thoroughly. She has only studied the Bible enough to confirm the ideas she has adopted.

Before I continue, some caveats:

First, however, we need to understand that Protestants read Scripture differently than do we. Since they have rejected the Traditions of Christ, when they read Scripture, they discover within it what they want to believe. That is why there are so many competing sects.

Whereas, we recognize that Jesus Christ did not write Scripture. He established a Church and commanded that Church to teach His Traditions to the world (Matt 28:19-20). When we read Scripture, it is to confirm the truths taught us by the Church. It is the Berean methodology (Acts 17:11). They searched the Scriptures to find within it what they had been taught by Sts. Paul and Silas.

2nd. Because Protestants will accept only Scripture as their authority for doctrine, they accept only those doctrines which they see explicitly taught in Scripture. The strange thing is, this rule which is known as "Sola Scriptura or Bible alone", is itself, not found in Scripture.

Its easy to confound a Protestant who says, "I don't believe anything that is not taught in Scripture" by asking, "Where does Scripture say that we must only believe that which is taught in Scripture?"

So, it is a self contradictory proposition. Believe only what is in Scripture. Where does Scripture say to believe only what is in Scripture. It doesn't. Therefore, no need to believe that proposition.

3rd. Scripture does say that the Saints intercede for us here on earth. There are two levels of saints.
a. The Angels. They are portrayed interceding for us throughout Scripture. They even mediated the Law of Moses (Gal 3:19) and they are waging a war on behalf of the righteous (2 Pet 2:10-12) and bring the prayers of the righteous before God (Rev 8:3).

So, that is one class of Saints which intercede for us.

b. The other class consists of the righteous men in heaven whose spirits have been made perfect (Heb 12:23). It is true that there is no explicit reference in Scripture which says that righteous men who have died and gone to heaven, pray for us on earth.

But there are a couple of references which imply this is true. One of them, unfortunately, is in the set of Scriptures which Luther cast out of the Bible. The Maccabbees:

2 Macc 15:
11 When he had armed each of them, not so much with the safety of shield and spear as with the encouragement of noble words, he cheered them all by relating a dream, a kind of vision, worthy of belief.
12 What he saw was this: Onias, the former high priest, a good and virtuous man, modest in appearance, gentle in manners, distinguished in speech, and trained from childhood in every virtuous practice, was praying with outstretched arms for the whole Jewish community.
13Then in the same way another man appeared, distinguished by his white hair and dignity, and with an air about him of extraordinary, majestic authority.
14Onias then said of him, "This is God's prophet Jeremiah, who loves his brethren and fervently prays for his people and their holy city."
15Stretching out his right hand, Jeremiah presented a gold sword to Judas. As he gave it to him he said,
16"Accept this holy sword as a gift from God; with it you shall crush your adversaries."
17Encouraged by Judas' noble words, which had power to instill valor and stir young hearts to courage, the Jews determined not to delay, but to charge gallantly and decide the issue by hand-to-hand combat with the utmost courage, since their city and its temple with the sacred vessels were in danger.

The implication is rather powerful. Notice that Onias, a dead saint, is praying for the entire Jewish community. Whether Jeremiah is dead also is debatable, but I assume that he is also a dead saint praying fervently "for his people and for their holy city."

The other reference of which I'm aware is in the 66 book Protestant Bible. It says:
Jeremiah 15:1
King James Version (KJV)
1 Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.

By the time the Prophet Jeremiah came along, Moses and Samuel were long dead. Yet, understood in the light of the Traditions of the Church and in light of the Maccabbees, God says that it is still possible for them to intercede for their people.

nor that the relationships we have on Earth (such as Mary's special relationship with Jesus) are duplicated in heaven.

Whether they are or not is debatable. However, our relationship with God will be cemented and some will receive thrones and others won't. This is something which the Protestants don't deny since they are anxious to receive their crowns. Scripture says:
Luke 22:30
That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

1 Corinthians 9:25
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Funny, they vye for their crown, but deny Mary hers (Rev 12:1).

Note also, that it is those in the Church who will judge everyone else.
1 Corinthians 6:3
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

This is why Jesus says we must make friends here on earth. Those Christian who go before us will be our advocates in heaven.
Luke 16:9
And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Yeah, its cryptic, but that is what that means. So don't be a snob. Make friends on earth. You never know who will be accusing you or defending you on that Day.

Proverbs 28:27
He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

She said the Bible states that we are all going to be equal in heaven, and no one will be honored above anyone else until the coming of the New Heaven and New Earth.

Ask her to provide the verse. Protestants have a habit of saying, "The Bible says this and the Bible says that." And guess what, the Bible doesn't say this or that at all. They make it up because they want to believe it. But it isn't there.

Scripture says precisely the opposite. Some will be given Thrones to rule over the rest:
Luke 22:29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

I brought up the miracles attributed to those Saints, and she said that was part of the problem...those Saints didn't perform the miracles, Jesus did, yet it's the Saints who get the credit and the devotion. She mentioned the passage in the Bible where Paul admonishes one of the new communities for being fans of Peter, or Paul, and his declaration that we should follow Christ alone, to support her objection.

1. Point out that the verse does not say to follow Christ "alone". It says,
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

2. Point out that Scripture commands us to follow also the Rulers of our Church:
Hebrews 13:7
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

3. Also point out that the miracles are attributed to God through the Saints. Examples:
Acts 19:
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

4. In this example from Scripture, there is no mention of God:
Acts 5:
15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

She also cited numerous examples of friends and family members who were Catholic and had devotions to certain Saints to the exclusion of a relationship with Jesus (homes filled with statues and pictures of Saints but no crucifixes, conversations that revolve around the Saint and no mention of Christ, etc.)

I'd take that with a grain of salt. Although its possible, I'm not aware of any Catholic home without a crucifix. Tell her to introduce you to these Catholics. YOU want to see for yourself if this is true or made up.

Her argument is that all this distracts us from Christ.

Tell me, does your relationship with your younger brothers distract you from your elder brother? Does your relationship with your mother distract you from your father?

God would not have admonished us to love our neighbor if loving our neighbor would detract from loving Him. In fact, it is the opposite:
1 John 4:20
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

First of all, do you have any Bible passages I can point her to that describe the way the souls in heaven are supposed to interact with the Trinity?

I hope those above help. I believe I provided more for Russell in the discussion we had on the Queen of Heaven post.

Also, what about the fact that many Catholics do seem to elevate a devotion to the Saints or Mary above their relationship with Christ?

I don't personally know any who do such a thing. If any do exist who fall into that error, they should be admonished. But the Church does not teach that error and therefore can't be implicated because certain people purportedly make that error.

Doesn't that support the original Protestant objection to Mary?

The original objection to Mary, as I understand it, is title, Mother of God. This title is perfectly in line with Scripture:

Luke 1:43
And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

If you know of another "original" Protestant objection to Mary, please reveal it and we can talk about it.


De Maria

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