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 Post subject: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:13 pm 
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Specifically, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It seems the dogmas become more fantastical as the centuries go by. At this point, at this moment, I have to draw the line here.

I have come to grow in my love for Mama Mary. I know, not an official title :) , it's just what I call her- I believe she's had some role (though a bit unclear) in reconciling with my own departed mother. I believe Protestants need to turn their honor towards Mary WAY UP, but Catholics could dial it back a just a notch or two :wink: . Of course, I don't demand the Church change to please me- I either have to accept it or not.

Beliefs about Mary I can accept:
1. Mother of God/Theotokos- While she had a role in our redemption, namely, cooperation with the Incarnation... that is all... and, yes, I know that is HUGE!... and she should be honored because of that... which Protestants often fail to do, even sometimes to the point of bordering on DIS-respect! Beyond that, I believe Jesus did the rest by Himself. While we have many intercessors and helpers among the Saints, I believe Christ alone is sole Mediator. He could have easily chosen any woman and the fact that He picked her (and she trusted God) is what made her special.

2. Ever Virgin- While I believe she had every right to have other children if she wished, I also believe she remained chaste (I purposely withhold from saying "pure" because I don't believe sex is a sin, if done within the bounds of the covenant of matrimony). I would even say she probably consciously committed to chastity before the Annunciation. My acceptance of this took a turn when I came to deal with my own sexuality... I don't see its expression as necessary for a happy, healthy life. Making a commitment to chastity does not scare me... I am even in the process of committing to that myself... and I'm not even Catholic, :)!

3. Queen of Heaven- in the sense that the queen in the OT was the mother of the king, not his wife. While she has a most-honored position in the kingdom, she is still under his authority... and yes, I know Catholics don't believe Mary is above, or equal to, God. Just stating my belief.

4. Prayers to Mary (or any other departed saint)- While I believe God hears her prayers (and the prayers of of all the other saints) most readily, I also believe any true believer and follower of Christ can have an audience with the King of Kings, regardless of personal holiness... because our holiness comes from Christ's redemptive work... and yes, I also know Catholics pray directly to God as well.... My struggle is, even though I often pray through the Rosary, and I enjoy speaking to Mary, my prayers to Jesus, the Father, and Holy Spirit often end up as an afterthought while praying in this way. I don't think it's good.

Finally, my trouble: the Immaculate Conception:

I believe Mary was a very pious and holy woman, on the level of Abraham, Job, Esther, or any of the great men and women of faith in the OT, though not greater. I believe she likely didn't have any serious/mortal sins, or habitual sins, but I think she still failed in the battles against temptation at some points, though she always rose in repentance and firm commitment to following God. That said, all of that is as much speculation as it is to say she was sinless. I certainly don't believe she was born without the propensity to sin, since every single one of her ancestors weren't either. I believe the thing that sets Jesus Christ apart from every other human being, because of being equal with God, is that He was absolutely sinless, every moment of His earthly life, from birth to death. He was obviously tempted as we are (and temptation is not a sin) but what makes Him unique is that He chose not to sin. This is why only He could be our Redeemer, the Spotless Lamb of God. If Mary had to have a special dispensation of grace to be sinless so that she could eventually become the Mother of God, then where draw the line? Why not her parents, or their parents... why not take it all the way back to Adam and Eve? Obviously, because Adam and Eve broken the Communion with God and Christ came to restore it.

Maybe I am missing something in this teaching... I welcome any comments to help me better understand it.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 8:20 pm 
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When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference may be found in the angel’s greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). The phrase “full of grace” is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. It therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.

The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit. In fact, Catholics hold, it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.

Further reading: https://www.catholic.com/tract/immacula ... assumption

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 9:43 pm 
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At a certain point, it can be helpful to think: "Wow. The Catholic Church has turned out to be right about an awful lot of stuff that I never expected. Is it possible that the Church is right about this, too?"

The Immaculate Conception has deeper roots in Church history than it may seem. Right now, it's late at night and I'm winding down from Chrism Mass, but if no one beats me to it, I will try in the next day or two to point out some older references.

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 4:47 pm 
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OK, I guess it's me.

Rather than type a bunch of stuff, can I invite you to look at this excerpt from an early 20th Century theology text? https://www.dropbox.com/s/c9rn2ghnpi840 ... s.pdf?dl=0

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2022 12:15 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
OK, I guess it's me.

Rather than type a bunch of stuff, can I invite you to look at this excerpt from an early 20th Century theology text? https://www.dropbox.com/s/c9rn2ghnpi840 ... s.pdf?dl=0


Thanks, I will look at it. I got another recommendation from something on Catholic Bridge also. That one seems more my speed for late at night. I will have to look at the paper during the day when my brain is awake :D


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2022 11:24 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
OK, I guess it's me.

Rather than type a bunch of stuff, can I invite you to look at this excerpt from an early 20th Century theology text? https://www.dropbox.com/s/c9rn2ghnpi840 ... s.pdf?dl=0


I came to this thought today, praying through the Luminous mysteries:

I suppose there is a possibility of Mary's sinlessness, if we have a correct understanding of what salvation is. I learned from the Eastern Orthodox ( "EO's") that the fullness of salvation offered to us in Christ is more than simply having no guilt, or being justified. This is only the beginning. Christ is calling us to go beyond simply fulfilling the Law and to be transformed, or transfigured. The Transfiguration account of Christ shows God's desire for what He wants us to become. We see Moses was also transfigured in some way when it is said "he came down from the mountain and his face shone like the sun." The EO's call this Theosis, and it seems Catholics have the same view, though they may use different language. Some Protestants kind of have a similar view, but they divide justification, sanctification, and glorification into separate categories- which I believe makes them have some trouble connecting them all. We all know that Christ's atonement was not to find a "loophole" in God's laws to get us through the door, but to greatly bless us and fill us with an abundance of His grace. But this is a literal future reality, not simply an ontological truth. It has been said among some Fathers that Christ would have came to us even if we had not sinned... of course, He wouldn't have died on the cross in that scenario.

It is possible for us to live without committing sin, but we don't do it because we are imprisoned, through the original sin, to serve the passions of the flesh. Christ sets us free from that imprisonment, not to just be free, but so that we may move towards Theosis, God's plan for us all along.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2022 2:32 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
At a certain point, it can be helpful to think: "Wow. The Catholic Church has turned out to be right about an awful lot of stuff that I never expected. Is it possible that the Church is right about this, too?"

The Immaculate Conception has deeper roots in Church history than it may seem. Right now, it's late at night and I'm winding down from Chrism Mass, but if no one beats me to it, I will try in the next day or two to point out some older references.


I should very much like to see some of those references.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2022 4:35 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
At a certain point, it can be helpful to think: "Wow. The Catholic Church has turned out to be right about an awful lot of stuff that I never expected. Is it possible that the Church is right about this, too?"

The Immaculate Conception has deeper roots in Church history than it may seem. Right now, it's late at night and I'm winding down from Chrism Mass, but if no one beats me to it, I will try in the next day or two to point out some older references.


I repeat, I should very - VERY - much like to see those references. Every reference I have seen to the Immaculate Conception from the Early Fathers has no reference to Her being immaculately conceived, just to Her sinlessness, spotlessness, and complete purity. The apologists using them take these quotes and twist them to mean that She was immaculately conceived when they don't say that specifically.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2022 7:54 am 
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200 years ago if a Greek boy told his yiayia that Our Lady was not immaculately conceived, he'd have gotten whacked with a thimble

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2022 1:32 pm 
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The link I gave above would be my source for references. I grant that the early evidence for Mary's freedom from actual sin is stronger than that for her freedom from original sin.

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2022 4:31 pm 
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Wait, does Ed believe in original sin? I'm not an expert on his theology, but I thought he despised all things Augustine, especially and including this. I only raise the issue because if he's impressed by the early church arguments for Mary's sinlessness, but isn't impressed by the early church references for her freedom from original sin, then . . . so what? Shouldn't that really sort of be, in practice, the same thing? I mean, if you reject original sin (in an Augustinian sense) and hold that Mary was sinless after birth, simply on the basis of the testimony of the early references, then wouldn't that be in practice the same thing as the Immaculate Conception?

I want to emphasize the "in practice" part of my question. Strictly, IC is only meaningful in an Augustinian context of original sin. But not so strictly -- that, in practice -- it seems that denying original sin but holding that Mary was sinless seems to have the same overall impact: that Mary was born with a special grace such that she would never fall into sin in this life.

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2022 5:40 pm 
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I think most Orthodox now believe that Our Lady was cleansed at some point, perhaps before she was born but definitely before she conceived Our Lord. Of course this isn't found in Revelation

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2022 12:02 pm 
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theJack wrote:
Wait, does Ed believe in original sin? I'm not an expert on his theology, but I thought he despised all things Augustine, especially and including this. I only raise the issue because if he's impressed by the early church arguments for Mary's sinlessness, but isn't impressed by the early church references for her freedom from original sin, then . . . so what? Shouldn't that really sort of be, in practice, the same thing? I mean, if you reject original sin (in an Augustinian sense) and hold that Mary was sinless after birth, simply on the basis of the testimony of the early references, then wouldn't that be in practice the same thing as the Immaculate Conception?

I want to emphasize the "in practice" part of my question. Strictly, IC is only meaningful in an Augustinian context of original sin. But not so strictly -- that, in practice -- it seems that denying original sin but holding that Mary was sinless seems to have the same overall impact: that Mary was born with a special grace such that she would never fall into sin in this life.


The Orthodox consider babies to be sinless upon birth. They do not meet the qualifications for committing sin: rational thought, consideration of the sin, choosing to do the sin. They share in the consequence of sin, which is death, but are not culpable of committing sin. Thus, the Theotokos was, like every other child, sinless until such a time that they could make a rational choice of their volition to choose evil. Even Roman Catholicism admits to this, stating that those who are mentally deficient (such as those have exceedingly low I.Q. or have Down's Syndrome) are not culpable.

In some manner unknown to us, Mary chose full cooperation and submission to God through the work of the Holy Spirit in Her soul. As such, the Orthodox consider Her to be sinless, spotless, immaculate, and full of grace. Ever-virgin. We simply do not accept nor ever have, the idea of the necessity of an immaculate conception for the reason mentioned in my first paragraph.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2022 12:10 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The link I gave above would be my source for references. I grant that the early evidence for Mary's freedom from actual sin is stronger than that for her freedom from original sin.


My bad. I missed the link. Will check it out for information's sake.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2022 7:35 am 
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Mary knew. Mary accepted what was offered to her. To become the queen of heaven. Approached by an angel and informed completely as to her task. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Your will.” And Mary said,"My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to those that fear him."
As Christs’ mother Mary knew more than any human as to Christs divinity and ultimate plan. She had knowledge of revelation. She knew her son and his future plan. She went home with John after the crucifixion. This is where the unknown disciple, John at the time took her home. Proof Jesus was an only child, Jewish custom was to give your mother to your best friend. On the cross he spoke to you by name before you were born, “Disciple, behold your mother.” Carry on disciple, at the time it was John. Take Mary home as John did for at least 30 years, listen to her, Pray to her and ask for guidance from the Queen of Council. This explains why The Gospel of John is so different from the synoptic Gospels. Mary was the reason why The Gospel of John talks so much about Jesus being God. The Queen of Council also was the driving force for the information revealed in Revelations. John had the answers from Mary the New arc of the Covenant, The queen of Martyrs and God Bearer.

Rev "And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

Peace always,
Stephen Andrew


Last edited by StephenAndrewMaher on Sat Jul 09, 2022 5:15 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2022 8:47 am 
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Prior to the fall, the flesh and soul had eternal life on Earth. Eve lost eternal life to the flesh and soul through her transgressions. Internal tempters were now intrinsic to her nature. Internal tempters, or choice are part of the Internal make up of mankind today, perhaps embedded in the DNA. She was beguiled by the external tempter, Satan. Her sin was choosing choice/ free will, to know as God. To know the difference between good and evil. Her flesh will now perish and her soul was lost. Adam seeing this had not the same sin. He only wanted to be with Eve. "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." By Adams sin, eternal life was lost to his flesh and his soul was lost. Now what was created was work, planting of gardens for food, old age pain, sorry, suffering and eventually death of the flesh. but this also has created joy, peace, seasons and the greatest gift of all for without choice there can be no love. God is now passed his will to the will or choice for man for the creation of the greatest gift, love. Eve being mother of all the living passes this sin to all mankind. Nothing defiled enters heaven, so God as Jesus Christ in the flesh, a sinless perfect sacrifice for mankind came to earth. He fulfilled the laws of the old covenant and established the New Covenant for the restoration of eternal life to the flesh. Mary was free from internal tempters, or choice through a special singular grace from God. As sinless flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, this allowed Jesus to live a life on earth in a sinless body establishing the new covenant and opening the gates of heaven to flesh. All baptized souls were safe from the time of The Baptism of John. Even Jesus flesh was baptized, all souls entering heaven had to be baptized, weather sinless or not. Christ died and descended and destroyed death forever. He took those awaiting from the bosom of Abraham, those from the old testament that kept the old covenant, he reentered heaven allowing flesh and Baptized souls to heaven, to Redemption life everlasting for all souls.

Peace always,
Stephen Andrew


Last edited by StephenAndrewMaher on Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2022 7:21 pm 
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I'm a little late to this thread, but it's about the Blessed Virgin and I just got some knowledge that might help you out.

I’m transcribing the following from Fr. Karl Stehlin’s book, “Who Are You, O Immaculata?” I just got it recently and haven’t finished it myself, but this bit at the end might help you out, if you’re interested. Sometimes this book is a bit over my head as I still don’t have a grasp on philosophy or logic (go figure), but it’s drenched in Scripture and writings/ sayings from Saints whom I greatly admire and have helped me in my own spiritual journey. This is from the book’s final chapter. Fr. and the others here might be able to hammer out the details…here I’m just serving straight up the dish I recently received (Saint Paul, Ora Pro Nobis!)

From Part Four: The Immaculata in the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity

Chapter 2: Who Are You, O Immaculata


Quote:
When God works ad extra , outside the Trinity, this always happens through his “Gift:” the eternal conception in God is the basis for all created conception. That is what is meant by the mysterious statement at the moment of creation: “And the Spirit of God moved over the waters.” And when the Son takes on flesh in time, this happens through the personified Gift of God, the Holy Ghost. As the eternal Son is begotten by the Father in the eternal Conception, so the Son becomes man in time through the same Conception, the Holy Ghost: “who was conceived of the Holy Ghost.” In order for this to happen, however, the Holy Ghost prepares for himself on earth a creature in which he expresses the fact that hi is eternally Conception and makes her the created, Immaculate Conception.

“This eternal, Immaculate Conception (The Holy Ghost) immaculately forms the divine life in the womb of her virginal soul, as the Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of her body is reserved for him alone and she conceives in time (just as everything material happens in time) the divine life of the God-man as well.” – Blogoslawiony Maksymilian Kolbe, Wybor Pism (Warsaw, 1973).

Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is thus the created continuation of the self-giving of Father and Son. This mutual Gift is the Holy Ghost, and in keeping with the eternal will he is accompanied by the created Immaculate Conception as his spouse, his image, and his created extension. This is the eternal divine basis for all her greatness. Thus Mary is most characteristic revelation of the Holy Ghost. Everything about her is given to him; he can work completely and utterly in her and through her. What she says, he says; what she does, he does in her as its primary cause. Therefore, when someday everything has returned to the life of the Trinity, then Mary remains forever the beloved Gift of Father and Son, the created “face” and locus of the Holy Ghost. Thus, Saint John Damascene calls her the “inmost chamber of the Holy Ghost,’ and The Akathist Hymn sings to her, “Hail, place of the God Who is beyond space! Hail, reflection of divine beauty!”

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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2022 4:37 am 
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Thanks for the information, this is so true.

"Therefore, when someday everything has returned to the life of the Trinity, then Mary remains forever the beloved Gift of Father and Son, the created “face” and locus of the Holy Ghost."


The date was around AD. 33. We do not know exactly when Mary passed from this life, but tradition allows us to date it as late as AD 60 to 65. We also learn from tradition and evidence that Mary moved with John to a small house outside the city of Ephesus. So Mary lived with John perhaps as long as thirty years, and during this time John, of course, as an apostle, would have been constantly preaching the gospel of Christ. Would Mary’s presence in his household have affected how John approached this task of explaining the life of Jesus to others?

We are deeply influenced by the great persons we know. The apostles, of course, were changed inestimably by their three years with Our Lord.

You or I would be changed by one day with Mary. John surely would have been changed by years with her. John had a refined, contemplative soul, marked by great purity, which would have made him especially sensitive to Our Lady’s intimations.

Many of the distinctive features of John’s Gospel make sense on this hypothesis of his being “one spirit and one mind” with Mary.

Is this influence of Mary upon John discernible in the Gospel of John? Question is but rather as unanimity. They were “of one spirit and one mind” (Phil. 2:2). How might such a unanimity have revealed itself in John’s Gospel?

She understood from the moment of Our Lord’s conception that she was carrying God incarnate within her. She understood this because an angel told her who invoked the name “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.” She understood also, because of the implication, that any “holy offspring” conceived through the agency of the Holy Spirit would himself be divine.

Also, she would have been instrumentalized, and put at extreme risk of sacrilege, if she were carrying the God-man within her and yet were to mistakenly believed herself to be carrying a merely human child. That would be as if a Eucharistic minister gave someone a pyx with the Blessed Sacrament within, asking him to take it somewhere and yet without explaining that it contained a consecrated host, something infinitely greater than a sliver of bread.

Intimations would be putting it mildly. The stories Mary was telling John were of unimaginable truths. John had the source for information that is written in The Gospel according to John and also Revelations. She was in first person present tense when speaking to John. The divinity of Jesus revealed, re amplified from the Mother of God's view.

In the return of all created things to God the Father (cf. Jn 1:1; 16:28), “the equal and contrary reaction,” says St. Maximilian Kolbe, “proceeds inversely from that of creation.” In creation, the Saint goes on to say, the action of God “proceeds from the Father through the Son and the Spirit, while in the return, by means of the Spirit, the Son becomes incarnate in [the Blessed Virgin Mary’s] womb and through Him love returns to the Father.”

Peace always,
Stephen Andrew


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2022 1:32 pm 
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It seems to me that it is easy to date Mary's Assumption. Revelation 12,1 - 6:

Quote:
12 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[a] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.


Clearly, this refers to Mary. Jesus gave John the responsibility of caring for her (in the Gospel of John) -- that is the "place prepared for her." 1,260 days is 3 1/2 years.

The Crucifixion occurred about the time of Passover (early spring) of the year 30 AD. Three and a half years later would have been fall of 33 AD.


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 Post subject: Re: My biggest hurdle is and always has been... Mary
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2022 1:44 pm 
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Did you come up with that, or did you see it elsewhere? I believe most estimates have the Assumption somewhat later.

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