Mary, Mary, Quite Necessary

mary, jesus, cross, marian, altar

mary, jesus, cross, marian, altar

One of the great divides in Catholic-Protestant relationships is the Mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Most, if not all, Protestants simply cannot fathom why Catholics put such a premium on including her in our prayers and in our Church. They wrongly believe that we are “worshiping her” when we are actually invoking her for her intercessory prayer. Still others erroneously think that we are committing the sin of necromancy by trying to conjure her up and asking her for esoteric knowledge about the future. The purpose of this article is to answer these objections.

The Old Testament Types

In Genesis 3:15, God says that “the Woman” will be at enmity with the devil. Enmity is a life-long hatred. This is one very special woman, because God also says in Genesis 3 that “her seed” will crush the head of Satan. We know that women do not have seeds; rather, they have eggs. Therefore, this woman will be a one-of-a-kind woman who has a seed. This points to the virgin birth of Christ, who did indeed crush the head of the serpent on Golgotha, the “place of the skull.”

Mary is also the fulfillment of the “Queen Mother” type. Jewish kings since King Solomon elevated their mothers, rather than their wives, to be the Queen of Israel. Why? Because King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, so it would really be tough to pick one of them out to be Queen, and not have the rest get mad. King Solomon instead had his mother Bathsheba as his Queen. In 1 Kings 2:20, we learn that the King will not refuse his Queen mother anything. In John 2, we see that Jesus didn’t refuse His mother’s request either to help out with the wine at the wedding feast at Cana. The Queen Mother is known as the “Gebirah” in Hebrew. Notice that “Gebirah” sounds like “Gabriel.” “Gabriel” means “the strength of God.” The Hebrew root word for Gabriel is “gabar,” which means “strong.” It is the same root word that “Gebirah” has as well, which indicates  that Mary is also the strength of God.

The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant, according to Scripture (Hebrews 9:4), had three things inside of it: supernatural bread from heaven (manna), the Word of God in stone  (the Ten Commandments), and the rod of Aaron, symbolizing the High Priesthood. The rod of Aaron actually resprouted  and came back to life in Numbers 17:8. Just so, Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, also had inside of her the supernatural bread from heaven (“I AM the bread of life, John 6: 48), The Word of God made Flesh (John 1:14), and the eternal High Priest Jesus (Hebrews 6:20), who, like the rod of Aaron, also came back to life. The Old Testament Ark was very pure and holy, so much so that only the High Priest could touch it. Likewise, only Jesus, the eternal High Priest, could come out of Mary’s womb.

We are in a Covenant Relationship with Jesus

This may sound strange to those Protestants who only have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. Catholics believe that we are part of God’s family, through an oath process. The Latin word for oath is “sacramentum.” Yes, that’s right: the sacraments are oaths that we take to be part of God’s family. For example, marriage is a covenant relationship where two formerly unrelated people become man and wife, by taking an oath before God, with Christ as their head. As God said in Genesis 2:24, “The two shall become one flesh.” In Matthew 25, we learn that Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride. Therefore, we in the Church are “married” to Christ through the Church and the sacraments. Every time we participate in the sacraments, we are taking an oath to be part of God’s family, whether it’s being born again through water and the spirit in Baptism, or by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood in the Eucharist, or by rising from the deadness of our sins once again in Confession. And since we are married to Jesus through the Church, we also get His mother as well. Just as married people have to love and accept their mother-in-law as part of their new family, just so, if we are truly one with Christ (the two shall become one flesh), then we have to also embrace Mary as our mother as well.

Her Soul Magnifies the Lord

We know from Luke 1:49 and Mary’s Magnificat that the Lord has done great things for Mary. But most importantly, we learn from Sacred Scripture that Mary’s soul MAGNIFIES the Lord (In the Latin Vulgate from St. Jerome – “Magnificat anima mea Dominum”). When something is magnified, it becomes larger, clearer, and more in focus. So when Mary’s soul (her soul is still very much alive) magnifies Jesus, Jesus becomes more important in our lives, his commands become clearer and easier to follow, and it becomes easier to focus on heavenly things, while ignoring the vanities of the world. Also, if one holds a magnifying glass just right over an object and focuses the sun’s rays on it, the object will catch on fire. Just so, when looking  at Jesus through the lens of Mary, the fire of the Holy Spirit in Mary will ignite a blaze in our hearts that will help us all to overcome Satan and set the world on fire for Christ.

Intercessory Prayer is Biblical

So many people wrongly believe that talking to the dead is a sin. It is a sin to initiate contact with the dead to conjure them up and get hidden knowledge about the future, but that isn’t what we do when we ask for Mary’s prayer. Jesus talked to the dead Lazarus when he said “Lazarus, come forth,” in John 11:43. Jesus also talked to the dead when he conversed with Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration, in Matthew 17:3. Peter talked to the dead in Acts 9:40 when he said, “Tabitha, arise.” Thus, conversation with the dead itself is not problematic.

St. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1 that intercessory prayer is a great thing. St. James tells us in James 5:16 that the prayers of a holy person are very powerful. St. Luke tells us in Luke 20:38 that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. St. Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:1 that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Putting all of four of these verses together means that the great cloud of witnesses is not a huge pile of corpses, but is very much alive and witnessing to Christ for us (that’s what witnesses do–they tell a judge the truth about what they see). We know from the lips of Christ in Matthew 11:11 that the least born in heaven is greater than anyone on earth, so who better to get to pray for us as intercessors to God than someone who is in heaven? Mary’s prayers are especially powerful, because she is the first Christian, the first evangelist, and the closest person ever to Christ. And the really good news (besides the fact of the power of her prayers) is that Mary can pray for you 24/7/365, while you are asleep, while you are working, and even when you’re sinning!

Jesus gives us His Mother from the Cross

As Jesus was dying on the cross, giving every drop of blood that he had for our sins, He also gave us His mother, with the words, “Behold your mother.” Notice that He didn’t say, “JOHN, behold your mother.” Why? Because Jesus was addressing us all, not just John. Like John, however, we should all take Mary into our homes.

And since Mary is our spiritual mother, we know she will protect us, as any mother would. In nature, it is always the mother who raises and protects the children, while the father is assigned other duties. Anybody who was raised on a farm knows that it is the mother cow, rather than the bull, who will come after you if you try to approach her calf. Just so, Mary, our spiritual mother, protects us, her born-again children, from Satan and the evils of the world.

We all know the commandment to honor our own mother. God told us to do that in Exodus 20:12. But no matter how great our own mother is, she was not selected to have Jesus live inside of her for 9 months. Mary was chosen to be the living tabernacle of God, and for that reason alone, we should honor her, just as the Jews honored the Holy of Holies in the temple.

Unless one is a test-tube Christian, it is impossible to be born without a mother. Being born again, in the Catholic view, is to be born from above through water and spirit during Baptism. To be reborn spiritually means that one also has to have a spiritual mother. That mother can only be the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is why Jesus gave her to us from the cross. Revelation 12:17 even says that we are her offspring (“semine” (semen in English), the same root word as used in Genesis 3:15, which means “seed.”) if we obey the commandments and bear testimony to Christ.

United to the Trinity

Mary is the bride of the Holy Spirit (Jesus was NOT illegitimate!), the mother of Christ, and the daughter of God the Father. That means that she is the most “united to God” person on the planet, ever. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” Therefore, Mary can be considered to be one in spirit with God, because no other person ever was as united to Him physically or as spiritually.

Full of Grace

And last but not least, Mary, according to Gabriel, is “full of grace.”  The Greek word used in the original text of Luke is “kecharitomene,” which has the connotation of “you who have been filled with grace.” Since we know that there is no room for sin in someone who is full of grace, that means that her prayers are very powerful. The Bible also says that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, so since Jesus is pure and holy, so must Mary be as well (Elizabeth called Jesus the “fruit of her womb”). Mary’s role back then was to bring grace (Jesus) into the world physically. Her role now is to bring grace into the world spiritually.

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16 thoughts on “Mary, Mary, Quite Necessary”

  1. Pingback: SUNDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit

  2. Dear Ray-This is sooo good I consider it my first 2016 CHRISTmas present. I think one reason Mary is included in the story of the first miracle at Cana – she didn’t have to be if all the inspired Gospel writer wanted to do was to recount the first miracle, and Jesus already knew they had run out of wine – is to let us know, when we have no wine, we can ask her, our spiritual Mama, to go to her Son for us. Ray, thank you and Holy CHRISTmas. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

    1. Thanks Guy!!

      Another thing to know is that there is microchimerism – That is, the mother and the son/daughter in the womb actually exchange living cells with each other. So Jesus had cells of Mary in Him, and Mary had cells of Jesus in her. And that is just one more awesome way that the two are one flesh..

    2. Laurence Charles Ringo

      Quick question here,Mr.Sullivan: In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, vs.9, we read that Jesus said: “I AM the door; if anyone enters through me, he WILL be saved”…(emphasis mine.). According to Alphonsus Liguori’s book” The Glories of Mary “, someone named Bonaventure is quoted as saying: “No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as through a door”. So…which is it? Bonaventure’s quote puts Mary in league with Boniface VIII’s famous dictum: ” It is necessary for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff for salvation”. Wow. A mere man making himself the Savior, and another man positing a mere creature as the doorway to salvation. Shucks, Mr.Sullivan, what need of Jesus the Christ at all? How many Saviors do we need? Tell me,sir: Why aren’t all the claims Roman Catholicism make about Jesus’ mother CLEARLY taught in the Scriptures? Why didn’t the Apostles tell all this to the great Apostle Paul; indeed, why didn’t Jesus Himself? NONE of the claims made about Mary are in found in Paul’s epistles; why is that, Mr.Sullivan? I’ve been/still am studying Roman Catholicism for over 25 years, and I’ve read all the arguments inre Mary, and I’m firmly convinced that ALL of the claims made about Mary are the product of speculation, guesswork, pseudo-theological theorizing, and catering to the superstitious masses, primarily during the Middle Ages.One last question along these lines: Since the so-called “Protoevangelium of James” iterates much of what Catholics claim to believe about Mary, why was it left out of the canon? I await your reply.(Please, take your time.?).

    3. Sure – Mary is the outer door to Christ, Jesus is the door to heaven. Mary’s job is to lead us to Christ, who in turn, saves us…

    4. Laurence Charles Ringo

      Wow, Mr.Sullivan…Seriously? Here I was ready to be convinced by sound Scriptual exegesis and solid hermeneutics that my suspicions about the far-fetched, unwarranted exaltation of Jesus’ mother was perhaps mistaken, and you come back with more of the same concocted eisegesis. I suppose that it’s too much to ask that you provide Biblical citations for this odd theory; after all, Catholics aren’t too knowledgeable where the Word of God is concerned.(That’s why I’m always baffled and amused at the tiresome mantra:” The Roman Catholic Church gave the world the Bible!”—Why don’t you believe it then???.)—I find it interesting that you skipped over everything else I said in my post, but no matter, Mr.Sullivan…The little you did send is repudiated by Jesus Himself in the Gospel of John chapter 6, vs.44: “No one can come to Me unless The Father who sent Me draw him”…The Father draws those He chose from the foundation of the world(Ephesians chapter 1) to the Son to be saved, NOT Mary, sir.When I confessed with my mouth Jesus as Lord and believed in my heart that God had raised Him from the dead per Romans chapter 10, vs.9 in a jail cell in Mississippi at 2 0’Clock in the morning,October 4th, 1976, I didn’t know who Mary was. I DO know that from that day to this, Jesus the Christ has been,and remains, my Lord,Savior,God,Judge and Paul said in Colossians chapter 3, He is the very life of me.I have no trouble honoring and blessing His mother, but as a created being through whom Our Savior choose to enter His world, that’s as far as I’ll ever take it.So…Sorry, but you will have to do WAAY better than you have donethat to prove otherwise

    5. Read the article, instead of just reacting to the headline. Then read what the martyrs in the coliseum wrote. Then try it. It works every time.

    6. Ray, Clearly we do not worship Mary, but we do ask her to intercede for us with her Son.

      We venerate her, we do not adore her; and one reason for this veneration is, as stated by Martin Luther: “The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.” (Sermon, Sept 1, 1522).

      In his discussion of Mary’s Magnificat, Martin Luther says we should pray to Mary so that – through her will – God would do what we ask. Luther says: “We ought to call upon her, that for her sake God may grant and do what we request. “

      Martin Luther also clarified her role as a way for us to God: “One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

      Here is an excerpt of a letter of Luther’s to a prince, written in 1521. Luther’s discussion of the Magnficat accompanied this letter: “Now I do not know in all the Scriptures anything that so well serves such a purpose as this sacred hymn of the most blessed Mother of God, which ought indeed to be learned and kept in mind by all who would rule well and be helpful lords. Truly she sings in it most sweetly of the fear of God, what manner of lord He is, and especially what His dealings are with those of high and of low degree. Let another listen to his love singing a worldly ditty; this pure Virgin well deserves to be heard by a prince and lord, as she sings him her sacred, chaste and salutary song. It is a fine custom, too, that this canticle is sung in all the churches daily at vespers, and to a particular and appropriate setting that distinguishes it from the other chants.”

      Luther then includes his own prayer to Mary: “ May the tender Mother of God herself procure for me the spirit of wisdom, profitably and thoroughly to expound this song of hers, so that your Grace as well as we all may draw therefrom wholesome knowledge and a praiseworthy life, and thus come to chant and sing this Magnificat eternally in heaven. To this may God help us. Amen.”

      Good discussion of Mary: http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/mary_do_catholics_pray_to_her.php

      Guy McClung,
      San Antonio, Texas

    7. Thanks Guy – It’s obvious that Mr. Ringo is only parroting talking points from his protestant pastor. He hasn’t even read the article, or he wouldn’t be asking me for scripture references….

    8. Laurence Charles Ringo

      Sigh…Mr.Sullivan,anyone exercising just a modicum of common sense would realize that reading your article is what prompted my engaging you in the first place. I find it almost amusing that you would attribute my responses to this article to,and I quote: “parroting talking points from my protestant pastor “…Wow. Tell me Mr.Sullivan,is it simply par for the course for individuals like yourself to automatically make those kinds of assumptions, that I’m some kind of empty-headed dolt who has to be spoon-fed my opinions by someone else? Clearly you DO think that.Well,let me disabuse of your assumptions. I have been on a sabbatical from church for over 2 years, and when I was involved in my ecclesiastical community, I have no idea if my pastor even knew anything about Roman Catholicism,since he NEVER indicated that he did. I’m pretty sure that in one of my posts to you I made it clear that I have been/ still am studying Roman Catholicism for over 25 years; these are my own individual endeavors, and have never had anything to do with anyone else. In 1994, I purchased a book by one of my favorite theologian/Christian philosophers, Dr.Norman Geisler; this book was co-written with a former Roman Catholic named Ralph McKenzie,and it’s entitled” Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Together: Their Agreements and Differences”. This book covers everything that Roman Catholics and Protestants agree and disagree concerning the Christian Faith in a fair and equitable manner; from my perspective it’s the best book of its kind that I have ever read. So,coupled with my own studies, there’s not a lot I don’t know about Roman Catholicism, and what I don’t know about I can find out, not being the brain-dead knuckle-dragger you seem quick to assume I am.

    9. If you read the article, which I doubt, why did you ask me for scriptural references? The article is full of them…

    10. James-Wow! My second CHRISTmas present! Many thanks-May you and yours have a glorious and joyful CHRISTmas season. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

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