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Mary is Living in my Heart? Help!

November 5, AD2013

\"Melanie

What would be the absolute worst thing that could happen to a nice Protestant girl?

Why  Mary, the Blessed Virgin, would do a little interior house cleaning, then make a home for herself in the poor girl\’s heart, that\’s what! If that was not bad enough, this perplexed young woman\’s belief system would stay staunchly anti-Catholic for oh, about another 10 years, even though she had converted to Catholicism. I mean what choice did she have? Nobody but the Catholic Church even wants someone who craves the Eucharist and has a relationship with Mary, the Mother of Christ.

Obviously this young woman was and is me. God has a peculiar sense of humor and now I can look back and laugh at my dilemma. At the time, though I was shook up. As Pope Francis said at the Easter Vigil, God delights in shaking us up, or as I like to say, ripping the rug from underneath us. Nope, God will not stay in a nice, neat little box of our own making. Just when we think we have Him all figured out, He pulls another fast one on us. Thank goodness; life is never boring when you give God permission to work in your life.

I was reluctant to turn to Mary, I couldn\’t help but feel like a heretic somehow turning from Jesus as my only Savior. Yet over and over, God only offered healing and peace when I turned to His Mother. Finally a wonderful priest from Madonna House, the Director General of Priests. Fr. Bob Pelton, smiled at me compassionately and said something like this:

\”Melanie, why don\’t you relax for a few months and stop tormenting yourself with guilt? Simply relax into the bosom of the Church and Her teachings and allow your relationship to Mary grow naturally, without fighting everything with your intellect? Trust in your own heart as well.\”

I. MARY\’S MOTHERHOOD WITH REGARD TO THE CHURCH

968Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. \”In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior\’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.\”

\”This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.\”

Even now, some 30 years later, tears are welling up and I could weep with relief all over again as I write these words. Somehow I was given the grace to lay down my logic, reasoning and Protestant theology and simply throw myself into the arms of Mary, my Spiritual Mother.

Actually, we really do not have a clue what we are saying “yes” to in the beginning of our Christian walk. At our wedding, 34 years ago, I sensed these words within my heart:

\”I will change the way the two of you work and play, the way you walk and talk, the way you laugh and cry, everything about you, so that you will reflect the glory of my Father in Heaven.\”

Foolishly we thought that this was a nice word from God! Little did we know that 34 years later we would still be being turned inside out. I agree wholeheartedly with Pope Francis, God does seem to delight in shaking us out from our narrow little lives. I could not live any other way.

Thank-you God for not listening to my opinions or plans for my life.

Thank-you for the grace to give You permission to take over and make me yours.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Melanie Jean Juneau serves as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Stand. She is a mother of nine children who has edited her kid's university term papers for over a decade. She blogs at  joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 . Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, a columnist at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC, author of Echoes of the Divine and Oopsy Daisy, and coauthor of Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood

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  • WSquared

    Welcome home! 😀

    “I was reluctant to turn to Mary, I couldn’t help but feel like a heretic somehow turning from Jesus as my only Savior.”

    This is an understandable worry when our way of seeing things tend to be humanistic– from the perspective of human beings– and not from God’s perspective, whereby we have to factor in His own intervention and chosen way of mediation in all of this.

    “Why should I pray to Mary when I can pray straight to Jesus?” sounds reasonable, except it begs the question of what we tend to presume about how well we truly love Jesus. Are we so sure that we love Jesus perfectly? And what do we even mean by “Jesus”? In our culture, we presume to know who Jesus is– in everything from the latest books on Jesus, where “Jesus” is some political liberal, or some zealot, or both, to the domesticated, commercialized “Jesus” often found in slickly produced and marketed “Christian” pop music and “WWJD?” rubber bracelets (Catholicism, by contrast, is far more concerned with What DID Jesus Do– and given the logic of the Eucharist, What Jesus is Doing Right Now through and in every Mass offered throughout the world, and how His Presence in every Tabernacle in every Catholic church in the world is how and why He is with us unto the end of the age).

    Nobody loved and loves Jesus more than Mary does; she is the perfect disciple. Catholicism is the religion of the Incarnation, and a faith in the Incarnation must be nurtured– here, Holy Mother Church, of whom Mary is the type, teaches us how to nurture that faith; to prepare Him room in our hearts and minds, and in our very lives. Moreover, if it is true that “blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God,” think of what happens when someone has an Immaculate heart. We ask the Blessed Mother to teach us to love Jesus like she does. 🙂

    • melanie

      What Jesus is Doing Right Now through and in every Mass offered throughout the world, and how His Presence in every Tabernacle in every Catholic church in the world is how and why He is with us unto the end of the age)…. LOVE this insight

  • David

    I like this, and I’m not Catholic!

  • Justas399 .

    Where do you find the Scripture teaching us to have a relationship with Mary? I can’t think of any verse of Scripture that teaches this kind of thing.

    • melanie

      I KNOW how you think..I thought the same way, till God hit me over the head.The Protestant church extricated the bible out of tradition in the 1500’s and now demands that it will only accept what is in this holy book.but for Cathoilics the bible was put together within the Church; she also values other teaching that grew up alongside of what was put in the bible

    • Justas399 .

      Not sure what you mean by “The Protestant church extricated the bible out of tradition in the 1500’s”.

      I think you do know that the Scriptures do not speak of our having any kind of relationship with Mary. In fact this kind of thing is quite recent.

    • melanie

      Protestants only accept the authority of the bible; Catholics understand that even the Old Testament was not compliled until 250 A.D and the New not until 325 A.D. The same Church that decided which books were inspired by God also discerned which other writings, teachings and tradtions were inspired by God.

    • Justas399 .

      Actually the OT canon was already determined before the time of Christ. Also, the idea of a relationship with Mary was totally unknown to the early church.

      Do you believe that your church is incapable of erring?

    • melanie

      Of course the Church has made mistakes
      If you do not want to simply argue, but want to know the truth then simply ask, in all sincerity and with a humble and OPEN heart, that Christ reveal His truth about His mother. MANY famous theologians and ministers did just that and were surprised by God’s revelations

    • deltaflute

      1) I dont think you read what Melanie said. The OT was written before Christ. And different sects of Judiasm followed certain texts like the Torah and Talmud. But the OT was not compiled and determined as Christian cannon until later.

      2) Mary has always been a part of the early church. The earliest known Christian art is found in the catecombs and is a depiction of the BVM nursing the infant Jesus.

    • Justas399 .

      The OT can was already in place by the time of Christ. He referred to it as Scripture.

      Mary was not thought of the way RC’s think of her in the NT. None of the things that are said of Mary such as her immaculate conception, sinlessness or being prayed to are in the NT. The apostles never taught these things.

    • deltaflute

      What are your sources for this information?

      1) Sources about canonization of Tanakh (or Old Testament)… “Modern scholars believe that the process of the canonization of the Tanakh became finalized between 200 BC and 200 AD.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanakh

      Another source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm

      2) If the Apostles did not teach these things than why does Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, call Mary “our most eminant advocate.” ? Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15464b.htm

      As for the New Testament, Mary is greeted by her cousin, Elizabeth, with the salutation of “Blessed art thou among women.” Jesus on the cross handed her care over the Apostle John. She most definitely was revered.

      And according to Wikipedia, Marian devotion dates back to the 2nd century, which would be the early emergence of the Christian Church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_BVM

      So again, where are the sources that say the Old Testament was canonized completely before Jesus or that the early church never taught devotion to the Virgin Mary?

    • Justas399 .

      Did not Jesus consider the Old Testament scripture? The answer is yes. This means it was “canonized” .

      Where do we see any Marian devotion in the New Testament? Where do we see any one praying to her or exhorted to pray to her in the New Testament?

    • deltaflute

      Okay. Let’s try this a different way…

      1) John 10:22-25 speaks of Jesus going to the Temple to celebrate the Feast of Dedication (ie Hanukkah). The only time Hanukkah is mentioned is in Maccabees, which is NOT part of the Protestant Canon (ie sacred scripture). It is however part of the Catholic and Orthodox canon. If the canon had been finalized in some way, why is it that Jesus celebrates something from the Old Testament that not all Christians agree is part of the canon?

      It was the same during Jesus’s time. Jews still don’t consider Maccabees as part of their canon. Other works were considered canon by some groups and not by others. I can’t help history. It is what it is.

      2) Where do we see Jesus going to the bathroom in the New Testament? Did Jesus never go to the bathroom? Just because something was not written down in the New Testament does not mean it never happened. If Jesus was both fully human and fully divine then it stands to reason that yes, Jesus had to go. If Polycarp, a disciple of Apostle John, calls Mary “our most eminant advocate” then it stands to reason that after Mary’s assumption people prayed or asked Mary to advocate for them. And that the Apostles taught people to do this. The Assumption was not included in the New Testament but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just like many of the specific teachings were not outlined in the Bible (like the Triune God) doesn’t mean they weren’t taught.

    • Justas399 .

      Just because something is mentioned in the Scripture does not mean the source of the quote is Scripture also. Joshua, Paul, John and Jude all refer to works that are not in Scripture. The Book of Jasher is mentioned in Joshua but its not Scripture.

      I agree that the NT is not an exhaustive account of all that Jesus and His apostles taught. The problem is that we don’t know what it was so we cannot claim that they did teach such things that are not written in the NT.

      Polycarp nor any other church father or individual speaks for the entire church on any given issue.

      The first time that the assumption of Mary is mentioned is in 377 and its not an eyewitness account.

    • deltaflute

      Forgive my confusion…First you say that Jesus spoke about something from the OT making it part of the Canon. Yet when I mention something that Jesus did, you say that is not part of the Canon (such as the celebration of Hanukkah). So which is it? Does what Jesus indicate make Christian canon or not? Can you concede that there is indeed disagreement between Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants as to what is canon? What sources of information do you have other than what Jesus said that indicate what is canon and what is not if Christians cannot all agree? In other words whose canon is complete and whose is not?

      If Polycarp and the other church fathers have no authority than who does particularly after the deaths of the apostles? And why doesn’t what Polycarp say indicate what was taught? If I mention that songs have to involve singing, wouldn’t it stand to reason that someone taught that to me?

      And I’m still waiting for those sources which contradict my historical ones….

    • Justas399 .

      Hanukkah and the Old Testament Canon are two different issues. What Jesus said about it does tell us what it is.

      We agree on the New Testament Canon. The Old Testament we do not. Trent elevated 7 books in the intertestimal period to full Canon status. Before this these books were in a second Canon status because they were in dispute.

      How could one church father or individual speak for the entire church? How would Polycarp know what all the churches believed and taught?

    • deltaflute

      Please explain how Hanukkah, which is found in Maccabees, and the Old Testament Canon are not related. Maccabees is one of the books of the Old Testament currently in dispute. But there have been many. Jesus also obliterated many of the laws yet the book of Leviticus is still a part of the canon. Why is not Maccabees part of the Protestant canon?

      What exactly does second Canon status mean? http://catholicdefense.blogspot.ca/2009/04/apocrypha-or-deuterocanon.html explains how there are extra books of the New Testament. In fact it was Martin Luther who removed many of the Old Testament books from the Protestant Canon and desired to remove the book of Revelations as well.

      Early Church fathers actually endorsed the Catholic canon. See article for discussion http://catholicdefense.blogspot.ca/2009/10/protestantism-and-early-church-fathers.html

      St. Peter was the Pope of which there has been an unbroken succession. He was appointed by Christ to be speaker/shepherd of the Church (see Matthew 16:18-19). The Pope has always held this position and speaks for the entire Church. This is most exemplified in Acts (Act 15:7-11) when Peter ends the arguments.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “churches” at the time there were many factions, many groups teaching heresies. That’s what the council of Jerusalem was about, making sure that all that was being taught was correct. Polycarp would have known the difference between a heresy and a church teaching.

      If you don’t believe in apostolic succession, then how do you interpret which books belong in the canon and which don’t? You say it is Christ, but then Maccabees (and Jesus taking part in Hanukkah shows it was important to him) isn’t included. Martin Luther removed several books making the OT disputable. If the Bible or Christ doesn’t mention a Triune God, how do you know one exists? Or do you subscribe to a Protestant tradition in which God and Jesus are two separate beings?

    • Justas399 .

      The issue is why did Trent make the 7 books of the intertestimal period canonized scripture when it was not before this time? These 7 books contain historical and geographical errors and they were not written by prophets of God. This is why Protestants don’t accept them as scripture.

    • deltaflute

      I don’t think you read my link. If you had you would note that the Third Council of Carthage contains the entire Catholic canon. Not to mention the various Church fathers who affirmed various books of the deutorocanon throughout early Church history. The Council of Trent, like many councils have, convened to address various heresies/problems. In this case to address the Protestant Reformation. Prior to that there was no reason to address deutorocanon books as the Third Council of Carthage had already done so.

    • Justas399 .

      “The overall practice of the Western Church with respect to the canon from the time of Jerome (early fifth century) until the Reformation was to follow the judgment of Jerome. The Apocryphal books were accorded a deuterocanonical status, but were not regarded as canonical in the strict sense. That is, they were not accepted as authoritative for the establishing of doctrine but were used for the purpose of edification. Thus, the Church retained the distinctions established by Jerome, Rufinus and Athanasius of ecclesiastical and canonical books.“http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/Apocrypha3.htm

    • deltaflute

      False: http://catholicdefense.blogspot.ca/2012/09/does-saint-jerome-endorse-protestant.html Outlines several quotes from St. Jerome saying that while he doesn’t understand the inclusion, he defers to the Church’s judgement. If St. Jerome is in the majority in his rejection and not the minority, why does he say this?

      Not to mention that the three-tired system that he devised has been rejected by both Protestants and Catholics.

      “By that, I mean that even if Protestants were right that
      Jerome completely rejected the Deuterocanon (and I think the above shows that’s not the case), that’s no basis for the canon. After all, Protestants ignore Jerome’s teachings on a wide range of issues, like Mary’s perpetual Virginity, or the authority of the Bishop of Rome, etc. Given this, why take Jerome over and against everyone else in the early Church? Is it because you think he’s a better Scripture scholar? In that case, why reject his translation of Genesis 3:15 as saying that “she” (Mary) will crush the head of Satan?”

      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.ca/2010/06/st-jerome-on-deuterocanon.html

      “Nota bene: the important thing, in the end, wasn’t whether the Jews used that version (they didn’t), or whether Jerome’s individual reasoning and experience lead him to that conclusion (it didn’t), or even what the standard Greek Septuagint said, but what the Church said. Understand that point, and the entire Deuterocanonical debate
      is settled. The Church closed the canon long before the Reformation, and no individual Christian (whether Jerome or Luther) has the authority to overrule Her Holy Spirit-protected judgment.”

    • Justas399 .

      The Old Testament Canon was not closed until Trent. As for your claim that it was “Holy Spirit-protected judgment.” doesn’t hold water given that those books contain errors not only in theology but in history and geography. The Holy Spirit would not confirm error.

      Do modern Roman Catholic translations say that Genesis 3:15 say that it is “she”?

    • deltaflute

      There’s no point in arguing with you about Trent. Both myself and Michael Lane have provided historical evidence that shows that 1) Jews did not have a concrete established canon before Jesus and 2) the Church fathers endorsed various deutorocanon books and 3) that St. Jerome, who was before the Protestant Reformation, while not agreeing with the canon as it stands, accepted it at the Church’s command. If those three things do not convince you, then I’m sure nothing more I say will.

      I find it ironic that you choose to reject the deutorocanon because it doesn’t conform to history. Yet you reject historical evidence against your assertions on the closure of the canon.

      But since you brought it up…why not reject Genesis since it doesn’t conform to modern day science? If you don’t believe me on that one, my husband, who is a geo-chemist, will be happy to provide you with samples dating the earth to be much older than what Genesis stipulates if you take it literally.

      As for your questions about Genesis, it depends on the translation. The pronoun is ambiguous. Older translations such as the Douay-Reims use the word “she.” Newer translations use the word “he” or “they.” There is usually a note included in modern day Bibles explaining their choice.

      http://catholicdefense.blogspot.ca/2012/04/do-ecumenical-councils-eliminate-need.html If you scroll down to the comments, Joe does a great job explaining it and the reason why St. Jerome chose “she” in his translation.

    • Justas399 .

      You still have not answered why the 7 apocrypha books were in a secondary canon before Trent.

      Secondly, there was a canon of Scripture that the Jews had by the time of Christ. The Jews knew what Scripture was. There is no discussion about this in the NT in regards to the OT canon.

      Third, Jerome did not consider the apocrypha Scripture and was reluctant to translate it. It was political pressure to forced him to translate them.

      The enmity is between Eve and the serpent and her offspring and the serpents offspring. It is “He” will strike the head of the serpent. The “He” is best understood as Christ.

    • deltaflute

      And you haven’t answered my question about what exactly is secondary canon. I can’t answer a question if I don’t know what you mean. There’s no such thing in Catholic lexicon. We only have one canon.

      Sorry but there was not. There was scripture but as to the final canon, it did not exist. Too much disagreement over individual books. Which Michael Lane pointed out from the Bible and which I pointed out that modern historians agree on. Perhaps you don’t understand what I mean by the word “canon”?

      “The word canon as applied to the Scriptures has long had a special and consecrated meaning. In its fullest comprehension it signifies the authoritative list or closed number of the writings composed under Divine inspiration, and destined for the well-being of the Church, using the latter word in the wide sense of the theocratic society which began with God’s revelation of Himself to the people of Israel, and which finds its ripe development and completion in the Catholic organism. The whole Biblical Canon therefore consists of the canons of the Old and New Testaments.” Taken from: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm

      In other words, it’s a list of books. This is separate from the word scripture, which usually signifies the text but can also refer to the Bible itself.

      Again the irony, you say that there was no acceptance of the deuterocanon by the early church yet St. Jerome was pressured into translating it. Who exactly pressured him to do so? Could it have been those who had the authority to do so?

      I’m not a Bible translator. Nor am a scholar of Greek. If you wish to argue the translations of Biblical text, it is best to ask the translators themselves. You asked a question. I merely answered it. Please refrain from fighting strawmen.

    • Justas399 .

      Here is a good article on what the second Canon ts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deuterocanon

    • Justas399 .

      The council of Jerusalem was about circumcision and such. It was James and not Peter who made the final decision in Acts 15:19
      In the first few centuries there were 3 major centers of Christianity and not one. Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.

      When Luther printed the first German Bibles were there books missing from the NT? The OT apocrypha was in dispute by the church for centuries until Trent made them canonized Scripture.

      We know the Bible teaches the Trinity by studying it. It has great support from various passages.

      Jesus is the 2nd member of the Trinty.

    • deltaflute

      There is a difference between Papal infallibility and Magisterial infallibility. The Catholic Church recognizes both the authority of the individual Pope and the authority of various councils.

      You must have misunderstood what I meant when I said “Peter ended the arguments.” My apologies for poor wording. In the context of the passage, Peter stood up and the council members stopped talking. Peter says that he was given the authority to preach to the Gentiles. Thus he tells the council that he is the Pope and has the authority. Nobody disagrees with him. James makes no similar assertion. Instead, as a Bishop he decided to follow Peter. The council unanimously agreed to send someone with Paul and Barnabas. That’s what happened. If Peter was not Pope or did not hold such authority over the council, why is not refuted in Acts? Where is James declaring that Peter has no such authority?

      There are still today three major centers. But the primary center is Rome. To have three different centers at that time did not mean three separate Churches like they are today. The Bishop of Rome acknowledges that the head of the Orthodox Church is the successor of Andrew. We have always wished to reunite under one Pontiff.

      Luther was not the first to print a German Bible. German language Bibles were around before Luther and the Reformation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations_into_German It’s a common misconception that their were no vernacular Bibles prior to the Reformation. But that’s not true.

      As for the Trinity, if there is such over-whelming support why are there several denominations who do not share those sentiments? Why is there not an equal amount of support for transubstantiation? If there is no consensus among the various denominations about certain facets of Christianity then who should have the authority to teach? Who has the authority to interpret the Bible? Can a person simply read the Bible and interpret it however they want? And if so, how do they know their interpretation isn’t heretical?

    • Michael Lane

      I would simply point out that Jews of Jesus’ day did not have an agreed upon canon. The Bible proves this. Examine the story of the Sadducees proposing the question of the seven brothers and one wife. The Sadducees only accepted the books of Moses as canonical. There is no explicit mention of an afterlife and thus any talk of resurrection is nonsense to them. They thought the afterlife proposed problems, like their question, that made it impossible. This is why Jesus specifically uses their books to prove God is a God of the living and not the dead, hence an afterlife. Also, the Pharisees and the Essenes held a much broader canon that included works like Tobit and Maccabees. The Dead Sea Scrolls (a body of OT writings copied prior to Christ’s birth) help to demonstrate the diverse canon of first century Judaism. To say something is canonical is to state some body or group made it so. Jews had no such group to decide on what was divinely inspired. Jesus may quote OT scripture specifically but the Bible also has Jesus explaining using large groupings OT without specifically mentioning books, such as on the Road to Emmaus.

      Also, there were plenty of works floating around the first centuries of Christianity. How do Protestants know which to include in the NT? The reality is the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, determined which were to be included and which were not because the Church precedes the Bible. The Bible comes out of the Church not the other way around. If others works had been included words like “Trinity” might never have come about. It is true that Bible contains the ‘information’ of the Triune God but the word ‘Trinity’ appears no where. There were enough heretics professing contrary beliefs with the same NT passages to force an ecumenical council to be called. If Protestants are willing to trust the Catholic Church in the NT why not trust the Church for the OT? Why would the Holy Spirit guide the formation of the NT and not the OT? Especially, when Jesus is prefigured in the OT.

      Also, in the first few centuries the main dioceses were Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, AND Alexandria and Constantinople.

    • Justas399 .

      Did the Jews of Jesus day believe that Genesis, Exodus and Isaiah was inspired-inerrant Scripture? Did not Paul write in Romans that they were “entrusted with the oracles of God”?

      Did Jesus accept that Genesis to Malachi was Scripture?

  • scotspete

    i know some of my prayer group who converted into the catholic faith become more devoted ? than baptized born catholics ? one in mind her wisdom of our church and the holy bible is such i seek advice on my own spirituality , i met fr gobbi when he came to our group in st marys church greenock , wayne weible from medugorje also , when meeting him , he said ourlady was well pleased with my work in spreading her messages of medugorje ? and how much her son and her love me ? iam to have my book out soon through authorhouse in time for christmas , iam also promoting her triumph film in my local waterfront greenock cinema , my life is not my own no more , but in the hands of jesus and mary ?..so help me god ? god bless your mission http://www.petercampbell.faithweb.com scotspeter channel

    • melanie

      and may God bless your book

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  • Charles De Vita

    a beautiful testament to God and our spiritual Mother, welcome home !!!

    • melanie

      yes, it is like finding my way back home