Discussion with a Baptist about Mary Dogmas

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brimblue

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My good friend at work is Baptist and every so often we get into discussions about Catholic and Baptist differences. Recently, we have be talking about the Catholic Church’s dogmas on Mary. I am farely versed in the defense of these dogmas (Immaculate Conception, Ever-Virgin, Assumption, etc) with Biblical verses, the comparison of Mary and the Ark of the Convenent, what it means for something to be consecrated, etc. However, he always comes back with, “If Mary was so important to the salvation plan, why was it not explicitly mentioned in the Gospels?” He is also really uncomfortable about people having too much devotion to Mary. He is careful not to generalize all Catholics, but he states that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to prayer to someone (or ask them to pray for you) so often that they spend more time praying to Mary than to God. He stated if he were to come to me everyday for an hour and ask me to pray for him, it would not be proper for him to do that. He thinks that I should say, “Why are you asking me to pray for you all the time, ask God directly” That’s his basic stance. So I’m not really sure how to respond back to this properly and I am looking for advice. I’ve used all the intercessory prayer Biblical quotes in James (fervent prayer of a righteous person availth much), Rev. 5:8 (prayer of the saints offered up), St. Paul telling us that it is good and holy to pray for each other, etc. I’m just looking for another approach with him. Thank you.
 
Fist of all, go to the main site of Catholic Answers and check out the articles on Mary and the saints. They directly address some of the questions you are asking. Then come on back. I’m sure we can add arrows to your quiver. 🙂
 
Good job keeping the dialouge open with him. Keep talking and strengthening your own faith and understanding in the process.

Here is some help.
“If Mary was so important to the salvation plan, why was it not explicitly mentioned in the Gospels?”
She was important and her fiat --may it be done – to the Annunciation of Gabriel is key to Christ becoming man.

He is also really uncomfortable about people having too much devotion to Mary.

Take a line from Archebishop Fulton Sheen. When asked if it was possible to love her too much he replied. “Only if you love her more than Jesus”

He is careful not to generalize all Catholics, but he states that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to prayer to someone (or ask them to pray for you) so often that they spend more time praying to Mary than to God.

I don’t know about you but if my mother asked me for something I don’t think that I could refuse if it was in my capability. Jesus Loved his mother greatly and there is no doubt in my mind that if Mary asked him for something on my behalf that he would listen.

“Why are you asking me to pray for you all the time, ask God directly”

Sure ask God directly, but it also helps if you have an army of friends making the petition with you, friends that will pray for you without ceasing, and are intimately united with God in Heaven.

I hope this helps. I know it has helped my to get my friends thinking even if it doesn’t change their positions it makes them think.
 
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brimblue:
He is careful not to generalize all Catholics, but he states that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to prayer to someone (or ask them to pray for you) so often that they spend more time praying to Mary than to God. He stated if he were to come to me everyday for an hour and ask me to pray for him, it would not be proper for him to do that. He thinks that I should say, “Why are you asking me to pray for you all the time, ask God directly” That’s his basic stance.
How about if he were to go to you everyday for an hour and ask you to pray with, as well as for, him? That’s what Marian prayer is all about, praying with her to God, and, while we’re at it, asking her to pray for us, too. It’s not unreasonable: “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).

If intercessory prayer fundamentally means praying together to God, then it’s not spending more time asking a prayer warrior than asking God directly. It’s spending more time talking to God with others.
 
Hi Fidelis. Thanks for the advice. I have read all the tracks on catholic.com about Mary and the Saints several times and have used several of those examples in discussing this with him. However, I feel that it is not about what I can tell him about Bible verses, Church teachings, etc, that encourage Intersessory pray. He whole heartedly agrees with this type of pray. He has more of an issue with the amount of weight put on Mary. Below, is an email that he sent me and wanted me to respond to it:

"Do you have no problem with the highlighted references in this prayer to Mary by Pope Pius XII in Rome’s Basilica of Sata Maria Maggiore on the Feast of the Assumption in 1950?

Enraptured by the splendour of your heavenly beauty and impelled by the anxieties of the world we cast ourselves into your arms, O immaculate mother of Jesus, and our mother Mary, confident of finding in you our most loving heart, and your most loving heart, the appeasement of our ardent desire and a safe harbour from the tempest which besets us on every side. Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery we adore and praise the purest richness of the sublime gifts with which God has filled you above every other mere creature. From the moment of your conception until the day in which, after your assumption into heaven, he crowned you Queen of the Universe. Crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with eternal truths, fragrant lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume. O conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell. O well beloved of God, hear the ardent cries which rise up from every heart in this year dedicated to you. Bend tenderly, O Mary, over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and the oppressed, comfort the poor and the humble, quench hatred, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity and protect the holy church. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognise that they are all brothers. Receive, O most sweet mother, our humble supplication above all obtained for us, that on that day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which is sung today around your altars. You are all beautiful, O Mary, you are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honour of our people."

—> I couldn’t get the Highlights to work. But he basically has a problem with this whole prayer. Advice on how to respond? Thank you.
 
Hi All,
Thanks for the advice in your posts. Much appreciated. I am going to be off the computer for awhile so I will check back later this evening. Please keep all suggestions coming (even though I may not respond back). God Bless.
 
I have a few suggestions for you, hope they help.

Our priest just gave a homily a couple weeks ago about Mary’s importance in the gospels. Many protestants will talk about how she’s not in them very often, which may be true, but look at WHERE she is in them:
  • in her fiat, saying yes to the will of God
  • in visiting and supporting her cousin Elizabeth, who recognizes the “Mother of my Lord”
  • Jesus’ birth (obviously!)
  • the presentation of Jesus at the temple (in obedience to Jewish law)
  • their flight to Egypt
  • finding the boy Jesus in the temple
  • in the unspoken moments of Jesus’ life where Mary raises Him for 30 years!
  • where she prompted Him into His first miracle at the wedding at Cana
  • present at much of His public ministry
  • present throughout His passion and crucifixion
  • there to hold Him in her arms after He died
  • in the room with the disciples as they discovered He was missing from the tomb
  • with the disciples as they awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit!
I’d say she was present at most of the important events of salvation history! (I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few). That must say a little bit about Mary.

Also, because we are to follow Jesus’ example in all things, and because He followed the commandments and honored His father and mother; we are to follow His example and honor Mary.

Are you familiar with the example of the Queen Mother in the Old Testament, beginning with Bethsheba? The Queen was not the wife of the King (because at that time they had several wives), but was the Mother of the King. She was the intercessor for the poor, lost, lonely, etc. Mary carries on the tradition of being the Queen Mother.

And last, but not least, as Father Corapi says – “If she was good enough for Jesus, she’s good enough for me!” :gopray:
 
You are at the crux of the issue. Most objections about Mary, in my opinion, are not logical or Biblical, but emotional in their beginning. It just seems inappropriate to many non-Catholics.

A few thoughts for you to consider:
  1. I like Scott Hahn’s example of an artist and his masterpiece. The artist is praised by the admiration and appreciation shown the work by others. Our honor of Mary, petitions through her, contemplation of her, all praise the Artist who created her and gave her to us. I am amazed at how central Mary was to our whole salvation history, starting with the fall of Satan and continuing with the salvation from her Son, Jesus Christ. I firmly believe I praise God in the way I feel about Mary.
  2. I think of Mary in terms of a mother. I relate to her somewhat like I would my mother. There is consolation for us sinners in seeking the intercession of our Mother in Heaven. I think of how my mother always wants what is best for me, will fight for me, stands by me through thick and thin, treats me in an endearing tender way unique to my mother.
  3. I like Tim Staples’ approach of showing how understanding Mary leads to understanding Jesus. Misunderstanding Mary leads to misunderstanding Jesus. For example. Mary as Ark of the Covenant and Mother of God, both affirm the mystery of Jesus being both God and Man. Or, conversly, to deny Mary in these roles leads to denial of Jesus identity. Tim says, “Know Mary, Know Jesus”, but “No Mary, No Jesus”.
  4. Why did the Isrealites carry the Ark before them, and count on it for strength in battle, etc? Why didn’t they just appeal to God directly?
  5. Acknowledging the Marian doctrines is required. Devotion to her is not (at least in my understanding). Therefore, if he can accept the truths as you have explained them, that is sufficient. He may not understand the devotion people feel, but at the least he cannot say it is wrong.
 
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brimblue:
Below, is an email that he sent me and wanted me to respond to it:

"Do you have no problem with the highlighted references in this prayer to Mary by Pope Pius XII in Rome’s Basilica of Sata Maria Maggiore on the Feast of the Assumption in 1950?

Enraptured by the splendour of your heavenly beauty and impelled by the anxieties of the world we cast ourselves into your arms, O immaculate mother of Jesus, and our mother Mary, confident of finding in you our most loving heart, and your most loving heart, the appeasement of our ardent desire and a safe harbour from the tempest which besets us on every side. Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery we adore and praise the purest richness of the sublime gifts with which God has filled you above every other mere creature. From the moment of your conception until the day in which, after your assumption into heaven, he crowned you Queen of the Universe. Crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with eternal truths, fragrant lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume. O conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell. O well beloved of God, hear the ardent cries which rise up from every heart in this year dedicated to you. Bend tenderly, O Mary, over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and the oppressed, comfort the poor and the humble, quench hatred, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity and protect the holy church. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognise that they are all brothers. Receive, O most sweet mother, our humble supplication above all obtained for us, that on that day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which is sung today around your altars. You are all beautiful, O Mary, you are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honour of our people."
My first comment would be that this prayer indicates quite clearly that all the glory and blessings that Mary has been given, come from God. Secondly, the glory and blessings are abundantly bestowed by God. This, in fact, highlights exactly why Mary enjoys such an exalted position within our faith, and why we praise and mention her in our prayers so often.

IMHO:
The abundance of the gifts bestowed by God on Mary far outweighs the demands that any of the prayers and requests we make may put on her. This abundance of gifts is as a result of her exalted status and makes her the greatest intercessor we could ever call upon for help. Our praise of Mary can never be overdone, because it is as nothing compared to the praise given her by her Son, who is God.

Now, before anyone asks, “Greatest intercessor? But what about Jesus?”, as far as I understand it, Jesus does not intercede for us with God, since he is God. He is rather referred to as our one and only mediator, since he mediated for us and our sins by His death on the cross.

So what is the bottom line. Well, for me it is this: Mary may be human, but through the grace of God, the extent of her patience with and love for us resembles something more divine than human. We can’t overdo it, if we’re doing it right.

Hope this helps.
 
I posted this under another thread also, but this article helped me to udnerstand much of the flowery and ornate language that is used in praying to and with Mary:

mark-shea.com/poetry.html
 
How does he know how much time someone spends praying to Mary vs praying to God directly?
 
Keith Barrett:
My first comment would be that this prayer indicates quite clearly that all the glory and blessings that Mary has been given, come from God. Secondly, the glory and blessings are abundantly bestowed by God. This, in fact, highlights exactly why Mary enjoys such an exalted position within our faith, and why we praise and mention her in our prayers so often.

IMHO:
The abundance of the gifts bestowed by God on Mary far outweighs the demands that any of the prayers and requests we make may put on her. This abundance of gifts is as a result of her exalted status and makes her the greatest intercessor we could ever call upon for help. Our praise of Mary can never be overdone, because it is as nothing compared to the praise given her by her Son, who is God.

Now, before anyone asks, “Greatest intercessor? But what about Jesus?”, as far as I understand it, Jesus does not intercede for us with God, since he is God. He is rather referred to as our one and only mediator, since he mediated for us and our sins by His death on the cross.

So what is the bottom line. Well, for me it is this: Mary may be human, but through the grace of God, the extent of her patience with and love for us resembles something more divine than human. We can’t overdo it, if we’re doing it right.

Hope this helps.
Wow, this really helps, I never looked at it that way even though I’ve always known it. Jesus is God, not our intercessor, and he mediation for us was on the cross.

Also, about the previous post on the Homily about Mary’s role in the most important parts of the bible, well put.
 
Jesus is God, not our intercessor, and he mediation for us was on the cross.
You should be prepared to answer for the verse in Hebrews that says that Jesus lives forever to intercede on our behalf (Hb. 7:25).
 
Part of my reply is also a question. As a convert to the Catholic faith Mary was an obstacle to me as well. Where I have started to continue to overcome that challenge to desire a relationship with the Blessed Virgin is that there is talking and there is praying. We pray in adoration of God and our Liturgy supports our worship of God. I have earthly friends where there is less of a jolt when I speak to them after spending time with God in prayer than others with Mary there is no jolt. Our Holy Father has stressed praying the rosary as a form of comtemplation. It is the support of living in the presence of God that brought me to his Church.It seems to me and forgive me for attempting to convey a thought that is still at the germ stage - that there is a fundamental difference in our prayer life -an invitation through grace and adoption to enter into God and talk with Mary and ask for her intercession in her own full union with God.
 
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brimblue:
My good friend at work is Baptist and every so often we get into discussions about Catholic and Baptist differences. Recently, we have be talking about the Catholic Church’s dogmas on Mary. I am farely versed in the defense of these dogmas (Immaculate Conception, Ever-Virgin, Assumption, etc) with Biblical verses, the comparison of Mary and the Ark of the Convenent, what it means for something to be consecrated, etc. However, he always comes back with, “If Mary was so important to the salvation plan, why was it not explicitly mentioned in the Gospels?” He is also really uncomfortable about people having too much devotion to Mary. He is careful not to generalize all Catholics, but he states that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to prayer to someone (or ask them to pray for you) so often that they spend more time praying to Mary than to God. He stated if he were to come to me everyday for an hour and ask me to pray for him, it would not be proper for him to do that. He thinks that I should say, “Why are you asking me to pray for you all the time, ask God directly” That’s his basic stance. So I’m not really sure how to respond back to this properly and I am looking for advice. I’ve used all the intercessory prayer Biblical quotes in James (fervent prayer of a righteous person availth much), Rev. 5:8 (prayer of the saints offered up), St. Paul telling us that it is good and holy to pray for each other, etc. I’m just looking for another approach with him. Thank you.
Jesus said “no-one can come to the Father but through me”
:yup:
 
Can anyone give scripture that would show that Mary (or a Saint for that matter) can actually hear us?
 
Ephesians 6:18 has an exhoration to pray to the saints.

1 Thessalonians 1:2 Shows that they did interceed for people on earth, and why would them being in heaven be any different?

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Revelations 5:8 “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Revelations 8:3 “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.”

Revelations 8:4 “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”

It doesn’t explicitly state that they make prayers of intercessions for us, yet these texts along with countless others when taken together show that these saints do clearly and continually pray for us. Additionally in many of the epistles, especially St. Paul’s, the writters ask for pryers for themselves and their ministry.
 
And I think your friend is missing a vital point, although when we pray the rosary we say 10 hail Marys for every Our Father and Glory be to the Father, we are meditating on Christ’s Life, Death, or Resurrection. Also, are they aware that the Hail Mary is mostly just quoting scripture?

The point of the Rosary is the contemplation of Christ, not talking to Mary. Having her prayer added to ours is just a benefit.

God Bless
 
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MariaG:
And I think your friend is missing a vital point, although when we pray the rosary we say 10 hail Marys for every Our Father and Glory be to the Father, we are meditating on Christ’s Life, Death, or Resurrection. Also, are they aware that the Hail Mary is mostly just quoting scripture?

The point of the Rosary is the contemplation of Christ, not talking to Mary. Having her prayer added to ours is just a benefit.

God Bless
Idem.
And besides, ultimately it’s all come down to God, anyway. Praising God through Mary is nothing evil! Mary would not save all our praises to herself now, would she? St. Elizabeth praises her as the “Mother of the Lord” and she immediately “forwarded” the praise to God in her Magnificat. Praising Mary only glorifies God more and more 👍
 
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