Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Give Special Honor to the Mother of Jesus?

[A GRAMBUS post.]

Maybe You Didn’t Know this Before about Mary

This blog is in answer to a friend of mine who wrote: 

"Personally I think Mary would be appalled at the place the Catholic church has given her. Where is the Scriptural teaching that Mary, while clearly blessed to be the servant that the Father used to bring His Son into the world, is anything more than that, let alone be Revered as she clearly is by the Catholic church."

She is honored more than any other human being because she is the Mother of God.  She was chosen by God the Father to bear His Son.  She conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit.  That is a very special role/calling/choosing from the Holy Trinity.  And, God, being a holy and righteous God, required that she be sinless/set apart/holy.  Why wouldn't Almighty God want a holy vessel for His holy Son?  Why would the God who demanded holy vessels for the tabernacle in the Old Testament not demand that of the vessel who would carry the holy Son of God in her womb and heart?

In Revelation,  at the end of chapter 11, when John is looking into heaven he sees that, "...the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of the covenant..."  As chapter 12 begins, you might think that John’s vision of the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple is at an end, but what if it's not?  What if John is continuing to describe what he sees, ...only it is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Ark?  Chapter 12 begins to describe "...a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."  Why, does John describe a woman?  Because, that woman IS the Ark of the Covenant he saw—the living arc of the New Covenant.  What did the Ark of the Old Covenant contain?

      1. Manna, that God provided the Israelites to eat for 40 years in the desert
      2. Tablets carved with the Ten Commandments, received by Moses from God
      3.  Aaron's rod that budded

What are those types of/symbols of?  Christ!
      1.  The Living Bread, come down from heaven
      2.  The Word of God made flesh
      3.  The Resurrection & the Life

So, if the contents of the Old Covenant Ark were symbols of Christ, then the Ark itself was a symbol of Mary.  Mary IS the TRUE Ark of the New Covenant, and John rightly described that Ark as a woman.  And, that woman is The Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Now, let’s take a side journey and think of why she is called the Virgin Mary and why the Catholic Church believes that means it was a Perpetual Virginity.  The most obvious reason was that the angel’s announcement/proposal from God said that she would not conceive from man but by the Holy Spirit.  This is a marriage proposal, and the intended Spouse for Mary is the Holy Spirit.   But, let’s go back to the Old Covenant Ark again.  If you recall, no man could touch the Old Testament/Covenant Ark.  It had to be transported on poles carried on the shoulders of the priests who never touched the Ark itself. Likewise, no man could touch the New Testament Ark of the New Covenant—Mary.  She was holy, set apart, full of grace, sinless/spotless, as the vessel that would carry the Christ child, God’s Son.  God the Father chose Mary to be his Spouse.  When she answered His proposal, with her beautiful “[Yes]…be it done to me according to Your word,” she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in such a way that she conceived Christ in her womb.  Though she was betrothed to Joseph, her union with him was not ever to be consummated, thus making more sense of Mary’s question of being able to conceive when she “…[knew] not a man.”  Otherwise, she would have assumed Joseph would become that man.  Oral Tradition says that her parents dedicated her at the Temple to be set apart for God as a virgin.  Joseph’s betrothal was understood from the very beginning, to be for the protection of a virgin in a society where women did not venture "out" alone.  According to Oral Tradition, Joseph was also many years older than Mary, and a widow with sons from his previous marriage.  So, that makes sense why other scriptures refer to Jesus’ brothers—even though it was also common to call cousins "brothers" in that culture, as well. ...thus, another explanation for the reference to brothers of Jesus.  But, the greatest reason to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity is that God chose her as His Spouse, so He had exclusive claim to her, and no man could touch her.

Getting back to John's vision, the woman is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.  That's how you would describe a person who has great honor in heaven, so why not on earth?  With a crown containing 12 stars?  I guess she's pretty much looked up to as a queen, …the Queen Mother!  And, all of the Apostles (12 stars) would agree.  That is why she is revered!  Because, heaven agrees with her crowning, by means of Holy Scripture in Revelation, and because Jesus’ closest disciples, who are the foundation of the Church agree as the very stars in her crown.  So, who are we to disagree with all of heaven? If God ordains the crowning/the honoring, we should, too!

Plus, the 4th Commandment tells us to honor our father and our mother.  And, Jesus as the perfect Son, knows how to honor better than anyone.  Shouldn't we follow His example?  It is his desire that his mother be honored as Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Again, the Father God chose her for His Spouse.  No one else comes near her status among human beings.  The Catholic Church did not make this up, and they would never ask anyone to worship her as a god.  But, honor her?  Yes!  Ask for her prayers to her Son on our behalf?  Yes.  (Don’t you ask people on earth to pray for you?  How much time have your friends spent with Jesus?  Mary spent 30 years—ten times more time than any of his disciples, as I heard someone recently say.)  Pray the rosary—which highlights all the high (and low) points of the life and mission of Christ on earth and heaven for prayerful contemplation?  Yes.

So, get to know the most humble, most holy woman to be born on earth.  And, don’t be afraid to honor this “Holy Mary, Mother of God!”  And, ask her to “Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

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