Many people do not understand Catholic beliefs and practices regarding the Mother of God, Theotokos (Θεοτόκος). In discussions (arguments?) Protestants often object to what they wrongly think Catholics believe and do regarding Mary. So let’s present what Catholics actually believe. We think that you too will see that Catholics honor (latria), but do not worship (dulia), Mary. We do not worship the statues in our Churches. We worship only God. We put no false gods before Him.
Queen of HeavenIllustration from Dante’s Divine Comedy
1 • Catholics worship only God.
2 • As Luke Chapter 1 tells us, we honor Mary. We do not worship her.
3 • Luke Chapter 1 is the source of our "Hail Mary" and "Magnificat" prayers.
4 • The Bible tells us that the Saints in Heaven are part of our family.
5 • Just as you might ask a friend or relative to pray for you, we ask our friends and relatives in Heaven, including Mary, to pray for us.
6 • The Bible counsels asking for the intercession of Angels and Saints and gives an instance of Mary's intercession at the Feast of Cana. She asked her Son to help others.
7 • Just as you might ask your Mom to intercede with Dad because you are in trouble, similarly we can ask Mary to intercede for us, just as she did at Cana.
8 • None of this offends what belongs to God alone.
9 • Just as Moses and Solomon made statues of Angels, we Catholics make statues.
10 • Moses and Solomon did not worship the statues they made. We Catholics do not worship the statues we make.
11 • Just as you have pictures of your friend and family, but do not worship those pictures, we Catholics have pictures of our friends and family, including those in Heaven. We do not worship them. We simply honor them and ask them to help us.
12 • We Catholics are not idolaters. We are Bible Believers.
For each of these points, please see the supportive Scripture we have presented below. Before you discount what we believe and do, we ask you to review the verses on this page and consider them. We think you will find the Scripture persuasive that honoring Mary and asking her intercession is no offense to God. Christians believed as we do for 1,500 years. We ask you to join us.
“And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
“And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 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 them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.”
Madonna of the Magnificat
Sandro Botticelli, 1481 A.D.
Psalms prefigure Mary as the “house” of the Lord (like the Ark), the “daughter of the King” (to be honored). Don’t be confused by the differences in Catholic and Protestant Psalm numbering.
There are other such examples.
Some people mistakenly confuse Mary’s sinlessness, called her “Immaculate Conception,” with the Virgin Birth and Mary’s perpetual virginity. Mary was conceived without the stain of Original Sin. Because she did not have the fallen nature of Original Sin, she had no inclination to sin. She never sinned.
Mary's Sinlessness: A Biblical Documentary
See also: Can Mary's Sinlessness Be Defended?
entry for “Immaculate Conception,” Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition
the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX
Mary and Romans 3:23
Archetypes and scriptural support for the Immaculate Conception of Mary
We can see that at least at the time of the Annunciation Mary is without sin. This is evident by the words that the Angel Gabriel speaks to Mary in Luke 1:28. The Angel, a messenger, is not speaking his own words, rather he is delivering God’s message to her. He says in Luke 1:28, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” In the Greek the word for “full of grace” is “kecharitōmenē.” (κεχαριτωμένη) She is full of grace so there is no room for sin in her.
The word “kecharitōmenē.” (κεχαριτωμένη) is a perfect passive participle of the verb “charitoó” (χαριτόω).
This is a recognition of her sinless state. The newer English translations leave out something that the original Greek conveys. This is something the older translation does convey. That is that this grace is at once permanent and of a singular kind. The Greek indicates a perfection of grace. A perfection must be perfect not only intensively, but extensively. The intent of the term is that the grace Mary enjoyed must not only have been as “full” or strong or complete as possible at any given time, but it must have extended over the whole of her life, from conception. That is, she must have been in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence to have been called “full of grace” or to have been filled with divine favor in a singular way.
Some have argued that this says nothing unique about Mary since Saint Stephen, just before he is martyred for the faith, is said to be full of grace in Acts 6:8. However a different word form is used to describe Saint Stephen. In the Greek the conjugated form of “charitoó” (χαριτόω) that is used to describe him is "charitos" (χάριτος)not “kecharitōmenē.” (κεχαριτωμένη) that is used in reference to Mary.
Some who oppose the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception have attempted to argue that the use of the verb “charitoó” (χαριτόω) in Luke 1:28 says nothing special about Mary since this same verb, although in a different form, is used to refer to all Christians in Ephesians 1:6 .
However, Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of “charitoó” (χαριτόω). It uses “kecharitōmenē.” (κεχαριτωμένη), while Ephesians 1:6 uses “echaritōsen” (ἐχαρίτωσεν), which is a different form of the verb “charitoó” (χαριτόω). “Echaritōsen” (ἐχαρίτωσεν) means “he graced (bestowed grace).” “Echaritōsen” (ἐχαρίτωσεν) signifies a momentary action, an action brought to pass. (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, p.166.) Whereas, “kecharitōmenē.” (κεχαριτωμένη), the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a with permanent result. “Kecharitōmenē” (κεχαριτωμένη) denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968 ) 108-109, sec 1852:b also Blass and DeBrunner p.175.
It might help to consider other instances of the perfect tense being used.
Another example of a verb used in the perfect tense is the word “is” in John 19:30, “It is consumated )finished).” The work of the redemption is complete and forever enduring.
Examples of the perfect participle are the following:
The word “beloved” (Ēgapēmenō, Ἠγαπημένῳ) in Ephesians 1:6 “ … for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.” Jesus is perfectly and enduringly loved by His Father.
The word “Blessed” (eulogēmenos, εὐλογημένος) in Luke 1:42, ”… Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Jesus is perfectly and endlessly blessed by God the Father.
Therefore, Luke 1:28 points to Mary being without sin. So, at this point the only question is at what point in her life is Mary made without sin.
Later we see this idea supported further in Luke 1:42 where Elizabeth greets Mary as “blessed among women” (Eulogēmenē su gynaixin, Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν). Since neither the Hebrew nor Aramaic languages have superlatives, a speaker of those languages would have said, something like “You are tall among men” to mean “You are the tallest.” Thus we see the original import of this phrase is lost in an English translation and so can see that Elizabeth’s words mean Mary was the holiest of all women.
Additional to the grammatical analysis, we can see that Mary is foreshadowed as sinless by the reference to her in the account in Genesis.
Mary's Immaculate Conception is foreshadowed in Genesis 1, where God creates the universe in an immaculate state, free from any blemish or stain or sin or imperfection. This is borne out by the repeated mention in Genesis 1 of God beholding his creations and saying they were “very good.” Out of pristine matter the Lord created Adam, the first immaculately created human being, forming him from the “womb” of the Earth. The immaculate elements from which the first Adam received his substance foreshadowed the immaculate mother from whom the second Adam (Romans 5:14) took his human substance.
Again in Genesis 3:15 and the “proto-evangelion” there is scripture which points to another archetype. Genesis 3:14-15 : “And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”
If Mary was not completely sinless this prophesy becomes untenable. Why is that? The passage points to Mary's Immaculate Conception because it mentions a complete enmity between the woman and Satan. Such enmity would have been impossible if Mary were tainted by sin....
Identity of the Woman
All Christians agree that this is a prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus Christ, coming to strike the head of the serpent, Satan. - Actually the Hebrew word that is translated as “seed” is being used in a very unusual way. Normally it applies to the male, but here it is being used in reference to a woman—“her seed” (zar·‘āh; זַרְעָ֑הּ). It is referring to Jesus’ birth through the Virgin Mary. - So, looking back at this Scripture we should appropriately ask ourselves, of which woman’s seed was He born? The answer of course is Mary. Jesus even goes on to identify Mary as the “Woman” in John 2:4, 19:26, and also see Apocalypse (Revelation) 12: 1, 6.
Despite this you will find that in most modern Protestant bibles, you will find the second part of this first gospel Genesis 3:15 changed to "“.. he will bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” But if we examine the thoughts of three Jewish [commentators]: Josephus (d. 101 A.D.), Philo (d. 40 A.D.) and Maimonides (d. 1204 A.D.) we will see their understanding of the original text to match that of the Catholic Church.
To begin with, Josephus states, “He ordained that the woman should inflict wounds on his head.” This becomes evident that Josephus in his day read the word “autou,” (αὐτοῦ) that is to say, “she.” (It is important to note, Josephus and Philo both wrote in Greek but also knew Hebrew, so their testimony is a common witness that the Greek of the Septuagint of their day was aute, and that the Hebrew pronoun was pronounced He ה֚וּא (hū) all meaning “she.” Later witness of this fact is given by another Jewish [bitterly anti-Christian] philosopher, Moses Maimonides, who did not believe in the Messianic or Mariological content of the prophecy but nevertheless had this to say:
“But what must be admired most of all, is that the serpent is joined with Eve, that is, its seed with her seed, its head with her heel; that she (Eve) should conquer it (the serpent) in the head, and that it should conquer her in the heel.” [More Nebochim , Part II, chap. 30]
It is also important to note that the creation of the enmity between Satan and the woman is not something that the woman does, rather it is what God does, and He does it in the most perfect way. Unfortunately some Christians in their misguided attempts to defend the glory of God actually insult Him by denying Him the credit that is due for this miraculous work He did in Mary.
Enmity is a determined, enduring and extreme hostility that exists between enemies.
Every Christian once in heaven will be perfected by God’s grace. However, only of Mary, and of “her seed,” which is Jesus Christ, is it said that there will be enmity between them and Satan. Since Jesus is God and since holiness is an aspect of His Nature, he has that enmity by nature. Where as with Mary, she has it as a gift.
If there had ever been a time when Mary was under Satan’s domination through personal or original sin, then there would not be a real enmity between her and Satan. Therefore, by virtue of the grace He gave her, God put Mary in opposition to Satan from the beginning and throughout her life. Notice that God the Father says that *He will put* the enmity between her and Satan. Only in God, and by His gift of grace, also in Mary, can it be said that there is enmity with Satan because only in them is their entire life opposed to Satan.
Therefore, since Mary had an enmity between her and Satan, and even though she was a descendant of Adam and would have contracted Original Sin, she was saved from the stain of it by the merits of Jesus Christ from the first moment of her life.
The first parallel of this sinlessness we can draw has to do with the fact that God took such great pains to make sure the Ark was properly constructed (see Exodus 25).
God wanted the ark to be as perfect and unblemished as humanly possible so it would be worthy of the honor of bearing the written Word of God. How much more so would God want Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, to be perfect and unblemished since she would carry within her womb the Word of God in flesh.
Consider also the exhortation in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother.…” Jesus came to earth and fulfilled the Old Testament Law perfectly and completely. And this Law is especially manifested in the Ten Commandments. Now, the fourth commandment says that He is called to honor His Father and His mother. However, to allow His mother to participate in the Fall would be to allow her to be dishonored. If He is to honor her, then He can not allow this.
Another point to consider is that Jesus is the only person who was able to chose His own mother. He was able to chose the holiest human woman. And being a perfect Son, He loved His mother more than any other son. And being a loving Son, He would not want His mother to spend one second in Satan’s domination.
The following women all serve as archetypes of Mary in their roles of crushing the head of the enemy.
The woman came forth and prayed, “Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour. And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head...” (Judith 13:9-10). And the Jewish nation was saved and the head of that wicked ruler Holfernes crushed. And they all adored the Lord, and said to her, “The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he that brought our enemies to naught.” Was this the singular woman prophesied? No, Judith was only a foreshadowing, a glimpse of the great Lady to come.
But, in time, the voice of another great woman raised up to God, “O God, who art mighty above all, hear the voice of them that have no other hope, and deliver us from the hand of the wicked...” Just when the Jewish people were about to be destroyed again by the instrumentality of the wicked Aman, the voice of a woman found favor with the King of Kings and King Artzerxes. Needless to say, when it was all over, Aman's head was hanged on a gibbet fifty cubits high. The king's words spoke clearly, “For which crime both he himself that devised it, and all his kindred hang on gibbets, before the gates of this city Susan: not we, but God repaying him as he deserved.” (Esther 16:18) Was this the woman prophesied? No, Esther was only a mere shadow of the great Lady to come.
Judges 5:24-27 : “Blessed among women be Jahel the wife of Haber the Cinite, and blessed be she in her tent. He asked her water and she gave him milk, and offered him butter in a dish fit for princes. She put her left hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer, and she struck Sisara, seeking in his head a place for the wound, and strongly piercing through his temples. At her feet he fell: he fainted, and he died: he rolled before her feet, and he lay lifeless and wretched."
Such it was in that early day of Jewish history when those women crushed the head of the evil one and his seed again and again. Yet, these women, too, were only pre-figures of that singular woman who was to come.
Finally in Apocalypse we see "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." Apocalypse (Revelation) 12:1
The devil has declared war not only on the woman Mary, but on her seed, which is primarily Jesus, but all of us as well, in a special way, as her children. For it is written in Apocalypse (please note how remarkably similar this is to Genesis 3:15), “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child.... And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Apocalypse (Revelation) 12:13-17
As further support for this sinlessness we have to look at Mary's Assumption and the corresponding archetypes as well.
There is support in the Scriptures for Mary's Assumption based on recognizing Mary in the archetypes of the Old Testament such as the second Eve, and the Ark of the Covenant.
The idea of Mary as the Second Eve comes from the contrast between Eve's disobedience and Mary's obedience - just as Jesus' role as the second Adam comes from the contrast with the first Adam. These are not newly devised ideas but were put forward by the Early Church Fathers.
The first idea I will present is from Justin Martyr (120-165 AD):
Eve a virgin and undefiled brought the word of the serpent into the world by consenting to his lie.
Mary a virgin and undefiled brought the word of God into the world by consenting to His will.
Tertullian (160-240 AD) points out that:
Eve believed the serpent and the word which crept into Eve brought for death.
Mary believed Gabriel and the word which was placed within Mary brought forth life.
The fault which began with Eve by believing had its ending begun by the believing of Mary.
Irenaeus (115-155 AD) confirms the ideas that:
Eve was disobedient and that disobedience was the cause of death
Mary was obedient and that obedience became the source of salvation
This comparison extends to their respective conceptions.
Eve was created in a state of grace, born without even original sin; and the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception mirrors that for Mary in that it interprets the Scripture to say that she was declared full of grace by the angel and was in that state from the moment of her creation - just as Eve was. Is this so different than the state we are forced to admit was possible for John the Baptist who was filled with the Spirit and recognized the presence of his Lord while still in the womb.
Mary is also foreshadowed as spotless by the archetype of the Ark of the Covenant
Originally the Ark of the covenant contained the word of God etched on stone by God's own hand. The Ark was not the Word itself but it was nevertheless very important. Mary carried the “word made flesh” inside her the same way the Ark carried the 10 commandments which were the Word of God manifest in the real word. John 1:1
The Ark turns up in Apocalypse (Revelation) 11:19. It is presented as Mary, the mother of Jesus.
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
Apocalypse (Revelation) 12 :1-13: “A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth… Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne.… So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child… But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent … Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.”
Some non-Catholics have suggested that woman crowned with stars in this passage is Israel and that the 12 stars represent the tribes of Israel. They say the woman is not Mary. The problem with this interpretation is that the passage clearly says her children are those who “hold the testimony of Jesus Christ” Apocalypse (Revelation) 12:17 which the children of Israel clearly have not done, but the children of Mary surely have. Catholics believe this started with John at the foot of the cross when Jesus presented Mary to him as his mother. John 19:26
Catholics believe this passage of Revelation makes clear several important points:
1. The Ark of the Covenant has been restored to the temple
2. The temple is now heaven (See also Hebrews 9:1-12)
3. A woman with a crown is there - the new Ark
4. She gave birth to the son who will rule the nations and is at God's throne
5. The devil is very interested in destroying her but she is safe
6. Her children are all faithful Christians.
Let us now compare the Ark of the covenant in the old testament to Mary, who Catholics believe is the new Ark. It will be laid out in the following format:
The Ark of the Old Testament
Mary - The New Testament
The Word became Flesh (John 1:14).
The Ark carried the Word of God (Deuteronomy 10:1). The Ark carried the Old Covenant.
Mary carried the Word of God (Luke 1:31-38). Mary carried the New Covenant.
The Ark carried the manna within itself (Hebrews 9:4).
Mary carried the manna within her in the form of Jesus (Luke 1:31-38).
The Ark carried the rod of Aaron which budded (Numbers 17:6).
Mary carried the rod that budded in the form of Jesus.
The Ark was covered by the glory cloud of the Lord (the Shekinah Glory) and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:33–35; Numbers 9:18, 22). The verb for “to cover” or “to overshadow” and the metaphor of a cloud are used in the Bible to represent the presence and glory of God.
Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and filled with the glory of the Lord (Luke 1:35).
David says, “Who am I that the Ark of my Lord should come to me?” (2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:9)
Elizabeth says “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) (Mary, was pregnant with Jesus).
When the Ark returned “David was leaping and dancing before the Lord” (2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:14).
The baby leaped for joy in Elizabeth's womb when Mary came into Elizabeth's presence carrying Jesus in her womb. (Luke 1:44)
“And I have put in it the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with the children of Israel.” (2 Paralipomenon (2 Chronicles)6:11)
Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelite, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. Joshua said to them “Go before the ark of the Lord your God….” (Josue 4:5)
A great portent appeared in heaven: “a woman ...and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Apocalypse (Revelation) 12:1) representing the tribes of Israel.
The ark of the Lord is a blessing to the house. (2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:11)
Mary goes into the hills and blesses (“saluted” Elizabeth's house (Luke 1:40)
Mary is exiled to a foreign land (Egypt) and later returns (Matthew 2:13-20).
The Ark disappears (Jeremias 3:16) never to return until the New Testament Revelation story
The Ark reappears as a lady (Mary) who bears a son who is seated at the right hand of God . Her children are Christians. (Apocalypse (Revelation) 11:19).
If we accept the idea that Eve would not have become dust had she not sinned, then if Mary was kept from sin (by the power and grace of God) it is reasonable to conclude she would not suffer corruption, she would have retained the gift Eve lost through sin.
We also have to ask if Mary's body is still here on earth - where is it? The relics of the Saints, including the Apostles were highly valued and collected and venerated by the faithful. In fact Protestant Reformers made light of how many pieces and parts were claimed around the world for many of these men. Yet no one, no Church, no congregation anywhere claims to have any relic of Mary. None - Zero Zip. If Mary is dead and buried here on earth why has no one ever in the entire history of the world claimed to have relics of the body? Why are the only claims for her burial site empty tombs?
Do you have pictures of your family? We do.
Do you worship "graven images" of your mother? Neither do we.
In Exodus 20:4-5 God condemned the carving of statues for the sake of worshiping them as idols. Recall that God Himself ordered the construction of other statues to serve His purposes, the brazen serpent commanded of Moses and the golden statues of angels, “cherubim,” to adorn the Ark of the Covenant:
“Wherefore the Lord sent among the people fiery serpents, which bit them and killed many of them. Upon which they came to Moses, and said: We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and thee: pray that he may take away these serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to him: Make a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live. Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed.” Numbers 21:6-9
“And thou shalt put in the ark the testimony which I will give thee. Thou shalt make also a propitiatory of the purest gold: the length thereof shall be two cubits and a half, and the breadth a cubit and a half. Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle. Let one cherub be on the one side, and the other on the other. Let them cover both sides of the propitiatory, spreading their wings, and covering the oracle, and let them look one towards the other, their faces being turned towards the propitiatory wherewith the ark is to be covered.” Exodus 25:16-20
Similarly, Solomon made olive wood statues of angels, “cherubim,” for the Temple:
“And he made in the oracle two cherubims of olive tree, of ten cubits in height.”
“…And between the little crowns and the ledges were lions, and oxen, and cherubims…”
You begin to understand how anti-Biblical the denigration of the Mother of God actually is. Many Protestants are raised on such Jack Chick calumnies.
(Greek doulia; Latin servitus), a theological term signifying the honour paid to the saints, while latria means worship given to God alone, and hyperdulia the veneration offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Augustine (City of God X.2) distinguishes two kinds of servitus: “one which is due to men . . . which in Greek is called dulia; the other, latria, which is the service pertaining to the worship of God.” St. Thomas (II-II:103:3) bases the distinction on the difference between God’s supreme dominion and that which one man may exercise over another. Catholic theologians insist that the difference is one of kind and not merely of degree; dulia and latria being as far apart as are the creature and the Creator. Leibniz, though a Protestant, recognizes the “discrimen infinitum atque immensum between the honour which is due to God and that which is shown to the saints, the one being called by theologians, after Augustine's example, latria, the other dulia”; and he further declares that this difference should “not only be inculcated in the minds of hearers and learners, but should also be manifested as far as possible by outward signs” (Syst. theol., p. 184). A further distinction is made between dulia in the absolute sense, the honour paid to persons, and dulia in the relative sense, the honour paid to inanimate objects, such as images and relics. With regard to the saints, dulia includes veneration and invocation; the former being the honour paid directly to them, the latter having primarily in view the petitioner's advantage. More detailed explanation of dulia and the reasons for which it is shown to persons or things will be found in the articles IMAGES, RELICS, SAINTS. See also ADORATION and WORSHIP.
from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition
Latria (latreia) in classical Greek originally meant "the state of a hired servant" (Aesch., "Prom.", 966), and so service generally. It is used especially for Divine service (Plato, "Apol.", 23 B). In Christian literature it came to have a technical sense for the supreme honour due to His servants, the angels and saints. This latter was styled "dulia". Etymologically, however, there is no reason why latria should be preferred to designate supreme honour; and indeed the two words were often used indiscriminately. The distinction is due to St. Augustine, who says: "Latria . . . ea dicitur servitus quae pertinet ad colendum Deum" (City of God X.1). (See ADORATION; WORSHIP.)
The Bible gives an example of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession in John 2:3-5: “...And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.” This verse plainly shows that Mary knew of the miracle that He was to perform, and that it was at her request (intercession) He performed the miracle.
The Bible exhorts us to honor Mary, prefigures and compares her to the honored Ark of the Covenant, and gives an example of her intercession:
The Bible esteems asking the angels and saints for their intercession:
Protestants try to cite 1 Timothy 2:5 as a command against intercessory prayers:
“For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:…”
but note that 1 Timothy 2:5 is not even the complete sentence. Read the rest of the sentence, 1 Timothy 2:6:
“…Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.”
The full sentence, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, is completely non-controversial. Jesus Christ was, is, and always will be the only sufficient mediator of our redemption. Only the Sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary could ever be the sufficient cause of our redemption. We Catholics acknowledge and celebrate that at every Mass. To ask for the intercession of the Angels and Saints with our requests does no injury to His Sacrifice.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii, pray for us.
“The Rosary,” says the Roman Breviary, “is a certain form of prayer wherein we say fifteen decades or tens of Hail Marys with an Our Father between each ten, while at each of these fifteen decades we recall successively in pious meditation one of the mysteries of our Redemption.” The same lesson for the Feast of the Holy Rosary informs us that when the Albigensian heresy was devastating the country of Toulouse, St. Dominic earnestly besought the help of Our Lady and was instructed by her, so tradition asserts, to preach the Rosary among the people as an antidote to heresy and sin. From that time forward this manner of prayer was “most wonderfully published abroad and developed [promulgari augerique coepit] by St. Dominic whom different Supreme Pontiffs have in various past ages of their apostolic letters declared to be the institutor and author of the same devotion.” That many popes have so spoken is undoubtedly true, and amongst the rest we have a series of encyclicals, beginning in 1883, issued by Pope Leo XIII, which, while commending this devotion to the faithful in the most earnest terms, assumes the institution of the Rosary by St. Dominic to be a fact historically established. Of the remarkable fruits of this devotion and of the extraordinary favours which have been granted to the world, as is piously believed, through this means, something will be said under the headings FEAST OF THE ROSARY and CONFRATERNITIES OF THE ROSARY. History of the Rosary continues here.
Make the Sign of the Cross.
IN THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (As you say this, with your right hand touch your forehead when you say Father, touch your breastbone when you say Son, touch your left shoulder when you say Holy, and touch your right shoulder when you say Spirit.)
Pray the Apostle’s Creed.
I BELIEVE IN GOD, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. He shall come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Pray an Our Father.
OUR FATHER, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Form your intentions.
Then pray and meditate upon the Mysteries. Pray 1 Our Father, then 10 Hail Marys, then 1 Glory Be and then the Fatima Prayer before each Mystery.
GLORY BE to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O MY JESUS, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.
On Mondays, Thursdays, and the Sundays in Advent, meditate on the “Joyful Mysteries”
The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38)
The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56)
The Nativity of Our Lord (Luke 2:1-21)
The Presentation of Our Lord (Luke 2:22-38)
The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)
On Tuesdays, Fridays, and the Sundays in Lent, meditate on the “Sorrowful Mysteries”
The Agony of Our Lord in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-56)
The Scourging of Our Lord at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26)
Our Lord is Crowned with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-31)
Our Lord Carries the Cross to Calvary (Matthew 27:32)
The Crucifixion of Our Lord (Matthew 27:33-56)
On Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays outside of Advent and Lent, meditate on the “Glorious Mysteries”
The Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord (John 20:1-29)
The Ascension of Our Lord (Luke 24:36-53)
The Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41)
The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
HAIL HOLY QUEEN, mother of mercy; our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
O GOD, WHOSE only-begotten Son by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
IN THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
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