Skip to comments.Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
Posted on 05/10/2010 9:50:06 PM PDT by Salvation
This website surveys the origin and development of Roman Catholic Christianity from the period of the apostolic church, through the post-apostolic church and into the conciliar movement. Principal attention is paid to the biblical basis of both doctrine and dogma as well as the role of paradosis (i.e. handing on the truth) in the history of the Church. Particular attention is also paid to the hierarchical founding and succession of leadership throughout the centuries.
This is a set of lecture notes used since 1985 to teach the basis for key doctrines and dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The objectives of the course were, and are:
The course grew out of the need for the authors to continually answer questions about their faith tradition and their work. (Both authors are active members of Catholic parish communities in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Robert Schihl was a Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts at Regent University. Paul Flanagan is a consultant specializing in preparing people for technology based changes.) At the time these notes were first prepared, the authors were spending time in their faith community answering questions about their Protestant Evangelical workplaces (Mr. Flanagan was then a senior executive at the Christian Broadcasting Network), and time in their workplaces answering similar questions about their Roman Catholic faith community. These notes are the result of more than a decade of facilitating dialogue among those who wish to learn more about what the Roman Catholic Church teaches and why.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary
The Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is the belief that God preserved Mary from any inclination to sin, the inheritance of original sin passed on to all mankind from our first parents, Adam and Eve. The belief of the Immaculate Conception of Mary says nothing about Mary and personal sin (Rom 3:23).
Christian belief holds that every human being through faith and through baptism is freed from sin - original sin and personal sin - through the grace of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholic Christians simply claim that Mary was the first one to whom this was done.
The basis for the belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary can be found in the Biblical revelation of holiness and the opposite of that state, sinfulness.
God is revealed as perfect interior holiness.
No sin or anything tainted with sin can stand in the face of the holiness of God. "Enmity" is that mutual hatred between Mary and sin, between Christ and sin.
For the birth of God as a human being, God was interested in the condition of the mother's womb. For even a great, but imperfect, judge of Israel, Samson, God was directive about the state of the mother during the pregnancy. The request for the mother to be pure is repeated for emphasis.
How much more would God be interested in the state of His own mother's womb!
The salutation of the Angel Gabriel is different from the usual angelic greeting. It indicates that Mary was exceptionally "highly favored with grace" (Greek: charitoo, used twice in the New Testament, in Lk 1:28 for Mary - before Christ's redemption; and Eph 1:6 for Christ's grace to us - after Christ's redemption).
Note that the angel's salutation preceded Mary's acquiescence. Mary was already highly favored. God's grace was not given in time after Mary accepted the angel's word. The Church believes that this grace was given from the very beginning of Mary's life. It is clearly grace because at the time of Mary's conception she could have done nothing to earn it.
The constant faith (paradosis) of the Church attests to the belief in the special preparation of the holiness of the person of Mary to bear in her body the most holy person of the Son of God.
Nonbelievers and enemies of Roman Catholic Christianity often accuse the Church of creating the belief in Mary's freedom from original sin "the Immaculate Conception" in 1854 (as the Church named the belief of Mary's immediate entry, body and soul, into Heaven, "the Assumption" in 1950) when the truths were defined. Such an error is equivalent to saying that before Adam named the animals and birds of creation in Gen 2:19-20 they did not exist. Or that before the early Church in her Ecumenical Councils named the belief of three persons in one God "the Trinity" and the belief that there are two natures, human and divine in the person of Jesus Christ "the Incarnation," the truths did not exist.
In naming the content of Divine Revelation after God has revealed it to us, the Church reflects a long Biblical tradition and practice.
May Devotion: Blessed Virgin Mary
Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Toward the end of the eighteenth century a zealous Jesuit priest, Father Lalomia, started among the students of the Roman college of his Society the practice of dedicating May to Our Lady. The devotion, which others had promoted in a small way, soon spread to other Jesuit Colleges and to the entire Latin church and since that time it has been a regular feature of Catholic life.
Thou who wast a virgin before thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin in thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin after thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
My Mother, deliver me from mortal sin.
Hail Mary (three times).
Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy, pray for us.
Remember, O Virgin Mother of God, when thou shalt stand before the face of the Lord, that thou speak favorable things in our behalf and that He may turn away His indignation from us.
Thou art my Mother, O Virgin Mary: keep me safe lest I ever offend thy dear Son, and obtain for me the grace to please Him always and in all things.
FOR THE HELP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
May we be assisted, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, by the worshipful intercession of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we, who have been enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be of one heart and mind: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
THE SALVE REGINA
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, 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 towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found
the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, 0 blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
PETITION TO MARY
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou hast bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often deserved by my sins. I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly for ever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior,
For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.
God who is mighty has done great things for me,
holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy; Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever.
Seen above is the Blessed Virgin Mary, portrayed as Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
It was she who was chosen by God, to provide His Son with His Sacred Humanity.
She did so in humble and total cooperation with the Holy Spirit and the Divine will of the Holy Trinity; providing God's Son with the Blood He shed for us on the Cross.
TO MARY, REFUGE OF SINNERS
Hail, most gracious Mother of mercy, hail, Mary, for whom we fondly yearn, through whom we obtain forgiveness! Who would not love thee? Thou art our light in uncertainty, our comfort in sorrow, our solace in the time of trial, our refuge from every peril and temptation. Thou art our sure hope of salvation, second only to thy only-begotten Son; blessed are they who love thee, our Lady! Incline, I beseech thee, thy ears of pity to the entreaties of this thy servant, a miserable sinner; dissipate the darkness of my sins by the bright beams of thy holiness, in order that I may be acceptable in thy sight.
FOR THE GRACE OF LOVE
O Mary, my dear Mother, how much I love thee! And yet in reality how little! Thou dost teach me what I ought to know, for thou teachest me what Jesus is to me and what I ought to be for Jesus. Dearly beloved Mother, how close to God thou art, and how utterly filled with Him! In the measure that we know God, we remind ourselves of thee. Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving my Jesus; obtain for me the grace of loving thee!
Cardinal Merry del Val
TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY FOR MAY
O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! Holy Mother of God! glorious Queen of heaven and earth! powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! look down, I beseech thee, from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, and receive my ardent, humble desire, that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. Receive me, 0 Mother of Mercy, among thy best beloved children; extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, and a special share in the gifts of His grace. 0 deign, I beseech thee, to recognize my claims on thy protection, to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of all who are dear to me; to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, and to teach me thyself to become meek, humble, charitable, patient, and submissive to the will of God.
May my heart bum with the love of thy Divine Son, and of thee, His blessed Mother, not for a month alone, but for time and eternity; may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, and contribute, as far as I can, to its extension. Receive me, 0 Mary, the refuge of sinners! Grant me a Mother's blessing and a Mother's care, now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.
TO OUR LADY
Saint John Vianney, better known as the Cure of Ars, when asked how long he had loved Mary, said: "I loved her almost before I could know her." In this prayer he expresses that love.
O thou most holy virgin Mary, who dost evermore stand before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to thy most beloved Son; pray for me in all my necessities; help me, combat for me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then do thou encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith; favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the wicked enemy. When I can no longer say: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands," do thou say it for me; when I can no longer hear human words of consolation, do thou comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged; and if I have to expiate my sins in purgatory, oh! pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed sight of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with thee: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and thee for all eternity. Amen.
Saint John Vianney
ACT OF REPARATION
O blessed Virgin, Mother of God, look down in mercy from heaven, where thou art enthroned as Queen, upon me, a miserable sinner, thine unworthy servant. Although I know full well my own unworthiness, yet in order to atone for the offenses that are done to thee by impious and blasphemous
tongues, from the depths of my heart I praise and extol thee as the purest, the fairest, the holiest creature of all God's handiwork. I bless thy holy name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever virgin, conceived without stain of sin, co-redemptrix of the human race. I bless the Eternal Father who chose thee in an especial way for His daughter; I bless the Word Incarnate who took upon Himself our nature in thy bosom and so made thee His Mother; I bless the Holy Spirit who took thee as His bride. All honor, praise and thanksgiving to the ever-blessed Trinity, who predestined thee and loved thee so exceedingly from all eternity as to exalt thee above all creatures to the most sublime heights. 0 Virgin, holy and merciful, obtain for all who offend thee the grace of repentance, and graciously accept this poor act of homage from me thy servant, obtaining likewise for me from thy divine Son the pardon and remission of all my sins. Amen.
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
|Memorare of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary!
That never was it known
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee!
To Thee I come before Thee I stand,
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I guess this sums up the church position. Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved.
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
**I guess this sums up the church position. Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved.**
This is what the Catholic Church teaches. Your point is?
Nice article. I liked the history sketch.
Was there a particular heresy that needed to be defeated that prompted this first infallible definition?
We give, and we shall continue to give, the humblest and deepest thanks to Jesus Christ, our Lord, because through his singular grace he has granted to us, unworthy though we be, to decree and offer this honor and glory and praise to his most holy Mother. All our hope do we repose in the most Blessed Virgin -- in the all fair and immaculate one who has crushed the poisonous head of the most cruel serpent and brought salvation to the world: in her who is the glory of the prophets and apostles, the honor of the martyrs, the crown and joy of all the saints; in her who is the safest refuge and the most trustworthy helper of all who are in danger; in her who, with her only-begotten Son, is the most powerful Mediatrix and Conciliatrix in the whole world; in her who is the most excellent glory, ornament, and impregnable stronghold of the holy Church; in her who has destroyed all heresies and snatched the faithful people and nations from all kinds of direst calamities; in her do we hope who has delivered us from so many threatening dangers. We have, therefore, a very certain hope and complete confidence that the most Blessed Virgin will ensure by her most powerful patronage that all difficulties be removed and all errors dissipated, so that our Holy Mother the Catholic Church may flourish daily more and more throughout all the nations and countries, and may reign "from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth," and may enjoy genuine peace, tranquility and liberty. We are firm in our confidence that she will obtain pardon for the sinner, health for the sick, strength of heart for the weak, consolation for the afflicted, help for those in danger; that she will remove spiritual blindness from all who are in error, so that they may return to the path of truth and justice, and that here may be one flock and one shepherd.