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Why do many miss experiencing Jesus in our parishes? How can we change this?
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 3/19/2014 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 03/20/2014 2:57:03 AM PDT by markomalley

We discussed two days ago on the blog how the Church is the Body of Christ and the place where we first and foremost find Him. We cannot really have Jesus without his Body, the Church, despite the privatized claims of many. Just as it pertains for a head to be together with its body, so too it pertains for Jesus the Head of Church to be united with his Body the Church. So, Jesus is at one with his Church and the Church is the place where we first and foremost find his presence.

But to say we find him here does not mean that people DO find him here. There are many issues that keep people from experiencing his presence here. There are also some practices we ought to better observe in order to better manifest the presence of Jesus. Let’s consider first some problems and then some remedial practices.

I. Problems – If Jesus is present in his Church then this is most evident in his action and presence in the Liturgy and Sacraments of the Church. Yet any cursory look into a typical Catholic parish would reveal little to indicate an obvious awareness of presence and action of Jesus in the Liturgy and sacraments:

A. Bored and Disengaged? The assembled people, including the clergy often look bored, distracted and mildly irritated at having to endure the event. Where is the alert joy that one sees at sports events, or the visits of famous people? If Jesus is alive and ministering in this moment why do so many look more like they’ve come to get a flu shot? It is as though there is a  wish that the whole experience will be as quick and painless as possible.

Some will argue that the many people are just reserved. But most of these same people are animated enough at a football game or political discussions. The answer seems to be more related to a lack of vivid faith and understanding that the Liturgy and Sacraments are encounters with the Risen Lord Jesus.

B. Perfunctory?  Further, in terms of the overall spiritual life of many of the faithful there is a perfunctory “Check off the God-box” observance wherein those who observe norms at all, such Sunday Mass or yearly confession, do so more as a duty than with eager love. The minimum is sought and only that is done. The box is checked and one seems relieved that the “duty” is done. It is almost as though one placating the deity rather than worshipping and praising the God they love and are grateful to. The upshot is that Sacraments are thought to be tedious rituals, and not transformative realities or a real encounter with Jesus.

C. Low Expectations- Expectations  are also low when it comes to sacraments. Many put more trust in Tylenol, than the Eucharist. Because, when they take Tylenol, they expect something to happen, for there to be healing, for the pain to go away, or the swelling to go down. But do these same people bring any real expectations about the Eucharist or other Sacraments? Almost never.

Much of the blame for these low expectations is that priests and catechist have never really taught the Faithful to expect a lot. At best there are vague bromides about being fed, but little else is vigorously taught about radical transformation and healing.

D. Unevangelized? The general result is that many in the pews are sacramentalized but unevangelized. That is to say many have received Sacraments and gone through other Catholic Rites of passage but have never really met Jesus. They have gone through the motions for years but are not really getting anywhere when it comes to being in a life-changing, transformative relationship with Jesus Christ. To a large degree the Lord is a stranger to them. They barely know him at all and are far from the normal Christian life of being in personal, living and conscious contact with the Lord.

II. Principles and practices - If these be some of our common problems, then what are we to do? Perhaps some of the following principles and practices can point the way.

A. Clarity as to the fundamental Goal of the Church. Clearly the fundamental mission of the Church is to go to all the nations, teach them what the Lord commands, and makes disciples of them, through baptism and the other Sacraments. (cf Matt 28:20).

But making disciples and being a disciple is about more than “membership.” To become a true disciple is to have a personal, life-changing and transformative relationship with Jesus Christ. It is to witness and become a witness of the power of the Cross to put sin to death, to bring every grace alive, and to make of us a new creation in Christ. This must become more clearly the fundamental goal of the Church. We cannot and should not reduce discipleship to membership.

The goal is connect people with the Lord Jesus Christ so that he can save them and transform their lives in radical and powerful ways.

 B. Conviction in Preaching – Those who preach, teach and witness to others cannot simply be content to pass on formulas and quote others. Priests, parents, catechists and others must begin to be first hand witnesses to the power of God’s word not only to inform, but to perform and to transform. They must be witnesses of how the Lord is doing this in their own life.

They ought, if they are in touch with God to exhibit joy, conviction and real change. They must be able to preach and teach with “authority” in the richer Greek sense of the word. Exousia (the Greek word for authority) means more literally to preach “out of one’s own substance.” Hence the summons is to speak from one’s own experience as a first hand witness who can, with conviction say, “Everything the Church and Scriptures have always announced are true, because in the laboratory of my own life I have tested these truths and found them to true and transformative. I who speak these things to you swear to you that they are true and trustworthy along with every Saint.”

A first hand witness knows what he saying, he does not merely know about it. The video from Fr. Martin below speaks to this practice. Preaching, teaching and witnessing with conviction is an essential component of renewal in the Church.

C. Cultivate Expectation! – We have already noted that most people don’t expect much from their relationship with Jesus Christ. Most of us expect to and have met people who have changed our life. Perhaps it was when a spouse we met, perhaps it was a teacher, or perhaps it was a professional contact who opened our career.

But if ordinary people can change our life, why not the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet most people think that having tepid spirituals lives, boredom and only a vague notion about the truths of faith is normal. Really? Is that the best that the death of the Son of God can do for us that we should be bored, tepid, uncertain, and mildly depressed? Of course not!

We need to lay hold of the glorious life that Jesus died to give us, have high expectations and star watching our life be transformed.

Consider, as an image the woman who came up to him in the crowd and said, “If I just touch the Hem of his garment I will get well.” Jesus was amazed that one woman in a crowd of thousands who were bumping up against him, one woman actually touched. He said to her, “Your faith has healed you.” (Luke 8:47). Who has the faith, who has the expectation to be healed, to get well, to be delivered? King Jesus is a listening all day long!

D. Catechetical refocus – We have tended to teach the faith more as a subject than a relationship. And hence we focus on and measure success based on whether one can list the seven gifts of the spirit, or the four marks of the Church. Now, of course faith has a content that must be mastered, but without relationship to Jesus most people lose command of the facts shortly after the test.

We need to begin more with relationship. Get people, children and adults excited about Jesus, and joyful in what he has done and the motivation to learn comes naturally.

Some years ago I became a fan of Star Trek (in the late 1960s) Captain James Tiberius Kirk was all the world to me. Even though he was a fictitious person, I wanted to know all about him, where he was born, what he did, and thought. When I discovered the actor who played him I also joined the William Shatner fan club. I then wanted to know what Shatner thought about important issues, when he was born, what his favorite hobbies and activities were etc. Fascination drew me to a mystery of the facts about both Kirk and Shatner. You didn’t have to make me learn this stuff, I was way ahead of any requirements.

Do people think this way about Jesus? Usually not. And why not? Because we do very little to cultivate this fascination and joy. We teach more about structures, rules and distinctions than about Jesus. Again our intellectual tradition is important and essential. But without starting with a relational interest, we might as well be building on no foundation at all.

Jesus said, “Come and See” as an initiation. Creedal details came later and were important. But relationship was first. Friendship precedes all the facts, which come later.

Where in our catechism do we inculcate a love, respect and fascination with Jesus?

E. Come on, Testify! - Catholics are terrible at testimony and witness. What is your story? How did you meet Jesus? What has he done, what is he doing in your life? Have your children ever heard you say you love Jesus? Do they know what he has done for you? Do parishioners ever hear their priests testify? Arguments and proof have their place, but without personal testimony and conviction, these truths remain abstractions.

There may come a time when, through arguments, you actually get a buy in. But then comes the question: “Well, that’s good news. How do I know its true?” And that’s when you have to convincingly answer: “Look at me.” It’s not enough to state facts and quote others. At the end we have to know what we’re talking about, personally and convincingly.

Bottom line, that means we have to be converted, and having experienced conversion go forth as those who know the Lord, not just know about Him. I gave my testimony story here How I met Jesus. What’s yours?

Some problems and practices. How say you? Add your own!

TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: msgrcharlespope
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1 posted on 03/20/2014 2:57:03 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: Biggirl; ConorMacNessa; Heart-Rest; Mercat; Mrs. Don-o; Nervous Tick; Rich21IE; RoadGumby; ...

Msgr Pope ping

2 posted on 03/20/2014 2:57:20 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

Heres a thought,,worship Jesus not Mary and the saints,,,

3 posted on 03/20/2014 3:10:26 AM PDT by Craftmore
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To: Craftmore


4 posted on 03/20/2014 3:29:41 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Point of view.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Jeremiah 7:

16] Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
[17] Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
[18] The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
[19] Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?
[20] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

Jeremiah 44:

[15] Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
[16] As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
[17] But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
[18] But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
[19] And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
[20] Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,
[21] The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
[22] So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
[23] Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
[24] Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt:
[25] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
[26] Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.

5 posted on 03/20/2014 3:32:16 AM PDT by Craftmore
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The Pope called Mary co-redeemer with Christ.Is that what you belive?

6 posted on 03/20/2014 3:33:23 AM PDT by Craftmore
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To: Craftmore

Here’s a thought - multiple commas do not equal an ellipsis.

7 posted on 03/20/2014 3:36:13 AM PDT by Carpe Cerevisi
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To: Craftmore

8 posted on 03/20/2014 3:40:49 AM PDT by Carpe Cerevisi
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To: Craftmore

We, Catholics, only worship Jesus. We ask the saints to pray for us just like we ask our friends and family here on earth to do as well.

9 posted on 03/20/2014 4:39:10 AM PDT by Dad was my hero
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To: Craftmore
For your edification. From

Mary is the first saint, and holds high honor today, as she did in the early Church. Over the course of history, devotion to Mary has taken many forms, and even has been confused with worship. Church teaching has consistently placed Mary in the company of the saints, however.

Devotion to the saints comes back to the theology of image: Christ is God's image, the saints are Christ's image. We honor them because we desire to imitate them. We pray to them the same as we call upon earthly friends to do a favor for us. This too, is scriptural. In Acts we read of Peter and John going up to the Temple for prayer and encountering a beggar. Peter says to him, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk" (Acts 3:6). Peter makes it clear that he has the power of Christ in his possession.

10 posted on 03/20/2014 4:39:31 AM PDT by mc5cents (Pray for America)
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To: markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; ...


11 posted on 03/20/2014 4:56:55 AM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: Craftmore

“The Pope called Mary co-redeemer with Christ.Is that what you belive?”

You really don’t know what co-redeemer means do you? I bet you believe it means that Mary redeemed mankind too, right? That’s not what it means. The article below is written by a former Evangelical Protestant who is now a married Catholic priest.

Mary, Mother of Salvation

How to Explain the “Co-Redemptrix” to Evangelicals

By: Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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My first personal encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary happened while I was a student at an Evangelical Anglican seminary in England. I had been brought up as an Evangelical and found my way into the Anglican church. There I was preparing for ordination. A Catholic friend who was a Benedictine oblate suggested that I might like to visit a Catholic Benedictine monastery.

While there I told one of the monks that during a time of contemplative prayer I had sensed God’s presence in a very real, but feminine way. The femininity disturbed me because I knew God isn’t feminine. The monk smiled and said, “Don’t worry. That’s not God. It’s the Virgin Mary. She is the Mediatrix. She wants to help you with your prayers and bring you closer to God.”

I was shocked. At the time the Virgin Mary played no part in my devotional life. As a good Evangelical boy I had memorized 1 Timothy 2:5, which says, “There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” By calling Mary the “Mediatrix,” he had confirmed my prejudice that Catholics believe things that contradict the Bible. It also confirmed my suspicion that Catholics gave Mary an equal status with Jesus.

I put this notion firmly to one side and didn’t consider it again until after I had come into the Catholic Church. This postponement was possible because Mary’s role as Co-Redeemer and Mediatrix of grace is not a formally defined dogma of the Catholic Church. It remains a pious opinion—a useful devotional and theological way of meditating on Mary. My attention was drawn back to the question, however, when I was writing Mary: A Catholic/Evangelical Debate with an old friend who had attended Bob Jones University with me.

A Stick to Beat Us With

I understand how Mary’s titles of Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix remain one of the sorest points in Evangelical – Catholic discussions. A Protestant who has heard of these titles will use them as a big stick with which to beat Catholics, and it is important to know how best to engage the discussion.

For genuine dialogue, it is vital to listen to and understand the Evangelical point of view. The sincere, well-read Evangelical objects to exalted devotions and titles for the Mother of God because he thinks they detract from the honor and worship due to Jesus Christ alone. A thoughtful Evangelical does not intentionally despise Mary; he sidelines the Mother of God to defend the proper devotion to her Son.

The place to start in any discussion of Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix is to affirm that Catholics indeed believe that the death of Jesus Christ is all sufficient for the salvation of our sins. If you can quote an author who is a known devotee of Mary, it packs a stronger punch. “See, here’s someone who promotes Marian devotion,” you say, “He actually wants her to be proclaimed Co-Redemptrix, but insists that Christ’s death is all sufficient.”

For example, a booklet by the California-based Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici Petition Centre that promotes these titles for Mary begins with these words: “The salvation of humanity was accomplished by God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Passion and Death of Christ, our sole Redeemer, was not only sufficient but ‘superabundant’ satisfaction for human guilt and the consequent debt of punishment” (A New Marian Dogma? Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, Advocate).

The booklet goes on to explain, “But God willed that this work of salvation be accomplished through the collaboration of a woman, while respecting her free will (Gal. 4:4).” This point introduces a good next step in discussing this Catholic belief with an Evangelical.

Will You Cooperate or Not?

Instead of wading into an argument about Mary being Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix, it is useful to discuss the principle and possibility of humans cooperating with God in the work of redemption. Protestants have a deeply ingrained resistance to the idea that we can cooperate with God for our redemption at all. In their desire to maintain the doctrines of sola gratia and sola fide, some of them go to the extremes of believing that we can do nothing at all to cooperate with God in our redemption because to do so would be tantamount to salvation by works.

As a result, most Evangelical belief systems contain a very strong element of Quietism. Quietism is a sort of fatalism: It is that heresy which says you can do absolutely nothing to engage in the work of your salvation. Instead each soul is like a leaf on the tide of God’s almighty Providence. Because of this understanding, it is difficult for many Evangelicals to comprehend the idea that God uses human cooperation to accomplish his will in the world. That human cooperation is actually crucial to the Redemption of the world is not part of their perspective.

Therefore, before talking about Mary’s collaboration with God, it is worth discussing the basic principle that humans can cooperate with God. Most Evangelicals will concede that we do, in fact, need to respond to God’s grace for it to be effective in our lives. Even at the most basic level, Evangelicals admit that a person has to “accept Jesus.” As soon as they do, you can point out that this is a form of cooperation with God. At this point the human will and the divine will are united for the work of salvation.

This cooperation with God is not just for the individual’s salvation. The New Testament makes it clear that there is more to it than that. So, for example, we affirm that Jesus is the one High Priest in the new covenant, but the New Testament also calls us to share in that priesthood (Rev. 1:5–6; 1 Pet. 2:5,9). We do this by sharing in Christ’s sufferings (Matt. 16:24; 1 Pet. 4:13). Paul calls himself a “co-worker with Christ” (1 Cor. 3:9) and says part of this is that he is crucified with Christ and shares in Christ’s sufferings (2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10).

If the Evangelical believes the Bible and wants to live the Christian life, he will not only admit that he needs to cooperate with God for his own salvation, but also that this cooperation is part of a larger identification with Christ, and that this identification with Christ is for the salvation of the world. He will also admit that in some mysterious way, the sufferings we endure are part of the way God works to redeem the world.

Mary, Evangelist

Once an Evangelical admits that cooperation with God is not only possible, but necessary, it opens up the idea that there is a purpose for our co-working with God. We cooperate with God for the salvation of the world. Here is another point where the Evangelical critic can connect. The Evangelical believes that each one of us has a new mission in life: We are to proclaim Christ crucified. We are to spread the gospel and share the saving work of Christ with the world. We are called to prayer, holiness, and evangelism. From there, it is a small step to see that this is another way of saying that we are called to be mediators of Christ’s love and forgiveness. Every Christian believes that he or she is called to pray for the world, to intercede and to mediate for others, to have a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Evangelicals know the Old Testament examples of Moses and Abraham interceding on behalf of others to God, and all Christians agree about the need to mediate in prayer for others. This is a good way to explain the Mediatrix role of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is the first evangelist. She carried the Word of God in her body, kept it there, and bore it to the world. This was her practical role in the Incarnation, but it was also her theological role. In doing this she shows us our lesser calling to be mediators of the New Covenant and ministers of reconciliation.

It is true that Mary’s role as Mediatrix is more cosmic than our own, but the principles are the same. Understanding our own share in God’s saving work through mediatory prayer and sacrifice helps us understand how she does the same thing, only bigger and better, because she is the holiest of human beings and the one who is closest to the Son of God.

It is worth discussing that the Fathers of the Church saw Mary as Mediator of All Grace. Cyril of Alexandria in the fourth century writes:

Hail, Mary Mother of God, venerable treasure of the whole world . . . it is you through whom the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored . . . through whom the tempter, the devil is cast down from heaven, through whom the fallen creature is raised up to heaven, through whom all creation, once imprisoned by idolatry, has reached knowledge of the truth, through whom nations are brought to repentance. (qtd. in Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought)

Ephrem the Syrian says, “With the Mediator, you are the Mediatrix of the entire world”; and Antipater of Bostra, a father of the Council of Ephesus, wrote about the Blessed Virgin in the fifth century, “Hail, you who acceptably intercede as Mediatrix for mankind” (qtd. in Gambero, Mary and the Fathers).

These quotations can be multiplied from the liturgies and theological writings of the day. The writers’ exalted language shows how highly they thought of Mary’s role as mediator and co-redeemer. This view of Mary as Mediatrix was not a later invention, but rather comes to us from the early Church.

The Evangelical critic may go along with you thus far, but he still finds the title “Co-Redemptrix” a stretch. Mary may have had an intimate understanding of the redemptive work of Christ, and she may have a role as intercessor and prayer warrior, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that she is the Co-Redemptrix. At this point it is worth explaining that we don’t suggest that Mary’s cooperation with God is equal to Christ’s work. It is of a different order, but it is necessary nonetheless. Mother Teresa’s words “No Mary, No Jesus” express a profound truth. God chose to bring his Son into the world through the cooperation of Mary. Without that cooperation there would have been no Incarnation and therefore no Redemption.

Mother of Sorrows

An Evangelical may accept this in theory, but still may find it difficult to understand how Mary can be called a “co-redemptrix.” It is worthwhile going back to the mysterious words of St. Paul. In an astounding phrase, St. Paul says that his sharing in Christ’s sufferings is actually effective. It completes “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” on behalf of the Church (Col. 1:24). If he has to complete Christ’s sufferings is St. Paul implying that Christ’s death on the cross was inadequate? Not at all. Instead, he is teaching that the all-sufficient sacrifice has to be completed by being preached, accepted, and embraced by our cooperation and that our suffering plays a mysterious part in this action. In that way the Redemption of Christ is applied and brought alive in the present moment by our own cooperation in that one, full, final sacrifice. No one says we are equal to Christ; instead, by grace, our cooperation becomes a part of Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice.

If Paul shared in a mysterious way in Christ’s sufferings, and if by doing so he shared in the redemptive work of the cross, then it is not too difficult to see how we are all called to do the same thing. In fact, in Romans 12, Paul exhorts us to do just that when he says, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice”(Rom. 12:1). Jesus also tells us that we must “take up our cross and follow him if we would be his disciples” (Matt. 16:24).

If Mary was the person who was closest to Jesus, and if she was his first disciple, doesn’t it follow that these truths would also apply to her? This is just what the New Testament prophesies. When Jesus was presented in the temple, the prophet Simeon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told Mary that “a sword will pierce your own heart also” (Luke 2:35). This verse is the basis for the Catholic understanding that Mary shared in the sufferings of Jesus in a mysterious way, and that her sufferings were a part of the suffering he went through.

I remember when a member of our church lost her teenage son in a car accident. The mother’s grief was a terrible thing to see, and it was like a part of her had died that day. These natural examples can help others to understand why we believe Mary had an intimate relationship with the suffering of Jesus.

In Westminster Cathedral in London, a beautiful painted crucifix hangs over the central altar. On the front is a portrayal of the crucified Lord, and on the back is a portrait of Mary with a pained expression, her arms in the orans position of prayer. This crucifix illustrates the idea of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. Through her suffering she identified totally with her son, and by bringing him into the world, enabled the accomplishment of Redemption.

You Can’t Just Throw Me Away!

The Evangelical may accept Mary as vital for the Incarnation and therefore the Redemption but may wonder why we insist that she has a continuing redemptive and mediatory role. We believe this because Mary’s role was not once and done. Mary did not conceive and bear Jesus, then just disappear. If her action had meaning, then it was as a continuing relationship with her Son.

Within the New Testament Mary’s cooperation with God is ongoing. As she conceived Jesus, Mary began to cooperate with the work of Redemption (Luke 1:38). She continued to do so as she bore him (Luke 2:7), and went on doing so as she interceded with him at the wedding of Cana of Galilee (John 2:3). Her work continued as she attended to him at the cross (John 19:25). As the first Christian, she kept cooperating with grace by being present at the founding of the Church at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). She persists in this role as our Mother in heaven today (Rev. 12:17).

We believe Mary’s role continues because we insist that she was not simply a neutral channel for God to come into the world. She engaged with God, and that matters. Mary was not discarded by God once her purpose was completed. Instead, her cooperation installs her into an eternal relationship with God for the salvation of the world.

There’s a memorable line in a movie where a boy is breaking up with a girl, and she feels used. She cries out, “I am not a tissue! You can’t just throw me away!” To have used Mary to accomplish the Incarnation and then forget about her is to treat her like a tissue. God doesn’t work like that. When Catholics recognize Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix, we acknowledge that God’s work in a person’s life transforms them eternally. Mary was given a new name at the Annunciation: Full of Grace. The new name indicates an ontological change. She was changed into a new person with a new role forever.

The fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught:

[The] motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 62)

Understanding Mary’s role in redemption sheds light on her Son, but it also sheds light on each one of her Son’s disciples. He completed in her what he wants to complete in us—total transformation into his image. Your Evangelical brother or sister may not agree with you that the Mother of God is Mediatrix and Co-Redeemer, but the proper explanation of the titles should at least give him a new appreciation of Mary and a new appreciation of the wonders God has in store for each of his sons and daughters.


Further Reading
Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn (Doubleday; available at
Mary: God’s Yes to Man (John Paul’s Encyclical Redemptoris Mater) Introduction by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, with Commentary by Hans Urs von Balthasar (Ignatius)
True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort (TAN; available at

Mary’s Mediation Originates with Christ

The Church knows and teaches that all the saving influences of the Blessed Virgin on mankind originate . . . from the divine pleasure. They flow forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rest on his mediation, depend entirely on it, and draw all their power from it. In no way do they impede the immediate union of the faithful with Christ. Rather, they foster this union. This saving influence is sustained by the Holy Spirit, who, just as he overshadowed the Virgin Mary when he began in her the divine motherhood, in a similar way constantly sustains her solicitude for the brothers and sisters of her Son. In effect, Mary’s mediation is intimately linked with her motherhood. It possesses a specifically maternal character, which distinguishes it from the mediation of the other creatures who in various and always subordinate ways share in the one mediation of Christ, although her own mediation is also a shared mediation. In fact, while it is true that no creature could ever be classed with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer, at the same time the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise among creatures to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this unique source. And thus the one goodness of God is in reality communicated diversely to his creatures. . . With the redeeming death of her Son, the maternal mediation of the handmaid of the Lord took on a universal dimension, for the work of redemption embraces the whole of humanity. Thus there is manifested in a singular way the efficacy of the one and universal mediation of Christ between God and men. Mary’s cooperation shares, in its subordinate character, in the universality of the mediation of the Redeemer, the one Mediator.

—Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer), 40

Neither Taking Away nor Adding Anything

[T]he Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator.

No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

—Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 62

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. Fr Dwight was brought up in an Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology atOxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson.

Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA.

Fr. Dwight is the editor of a best-selling book of English conversion stories called The Path to Rome— Modern Journeys to the Catholic Faith. He has written Listen My Son—a daily Benedictine devotional book which applies the Rule of St Benedict to the task of modern parenting. St Benedict and St Thérèse is a study of the lives and thought of two of the most popular saints. In the field of Catholic apologetics, Fr. Dwight wrote Challenging Catholics with John Martin, the former editor of the Church of England Newspaper. More Christianity is a straightforward and popular explanation of the Catholic faith for Evangelical Christians. Friendly and non-confrontational, it invites the reader to move from ‘Mere Christianity’ to ‘More Christianity’. Mary-A Catholic Evangelical Debate is a debate with an old Bob Jones friend David Gustafson who is now an Evangelical Episcopalian. Fr. Dwight’s Adventures in Orthodoxy is described as ‘a Chestertonian romp through the Apostles’ Creed.’ He wrote Christianity Pure & Simple which was published by the Catholic Truth Society in England and Sophia Institute Press in the USA. He has also published How to Be an Ordinary Hero and his book Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing was published by Our Sunday Visitor in May 2008. His latest books are, The Gargoyle Code —a book in the tradition of Screwtape Letters and a book of poems called A Sudden Certainty.

Fr. Dwight has contributed a chapter to the third volume of the best selling Surprised by Truth series and is a regular contributor to InsideCatholic, First Things, This Rock and National Catholic Register. Fr. Dwight has also written a couple of children’s books, had three of his screenplays produced, and is finishing his first novel. He’s working on The Romance of Religion and his autobiography: There and Back Again.

In 2006 Fr. Dwight accepted a post as Chaplain to St Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. This brought him and his family back, not only to his hometown, but also to the American Bible belt, and hometown of Bob Jones University. In December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. He ministers at St. Joseph’s, and in the parish of St. Mary’s, Greenville.

Fr. Dwight enjoys movies, blogging, books, and visiting Benedictine monasteries. He’s married to Alison. They have four children, named Benedict, Madeleine, Theodore and Elias. They live in Greenville, South Carolina with a black Labrador named Anna, a cat named Joseph and various other pets.

12 posted on 03/20/2014 4:59:41 AM PDT by vladimir998
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To: Craftmore
Heres a thought,,worship Jesus not Mary and the saints,,,

Here is a better one, actually know what you are talking about, instead of listening to people that are completely clueless. If you want to know what Catholics do: Ask a Catholic.

13 posted on 03/20/2014 5:01:15 AM PDT by verga (Poor spiritual health is often manifested with poor physical health.)
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To: mc5cents
Yikes, you may want to cut that out, and instead pray to our Lord, Savior, and Redeemer Jesus Christ. He, and only He, is the way, the truth, and the life.
14 posted on 03/20/2014 5:02:26 AM PDT by Boanarges
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To: Craftmore
But Catholics don't worship statues anymore. Now we worship felt banners.

I know it's hard to keep up.

15 posted on 03/20/2014 5:05:26 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Point of view.)
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To: Craftmore


16 posted on 03/20/2014 5:05:52 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Point of view.)
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To: Boanarges
Funny, because Jesus himself taught his disciples to pray to the Father. Did Jesus not understand the correct way to pray?

Re-read John chapter two. Like everything else in Scripture, that passage serves a purpose; it's there for our edification, not just ass filler. Notice who does the "praying" to Jesus at the wedding feast. Notice she does so with perfect efficacy. Why would you not want her praying to Jesus for you?

17 posted on 03/20/2014 5:13:31 AM PDT by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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To: markomalley

To know Him is to love Him....
Jesus is the Word. Read the Bible and worship in truth and Spirit.

18 posted on 03/20/2014 5:19:51 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.)
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To: Campion

That is really cool you can use the words “edification” and “ass-filler” in the same sentence.

Anyway, no thanks to your invitation to Mary worship or praying to Saints.

19 posted on 03/20/2014 5:24:57 AM PDT by Boanarges
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To: Boanarges
Jesus said, "It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.'" (Luke 4:8) This is the faith and practice of the Catholic Church: every Catholic agrees with this.

Now here's a thought question: What if you went into a restaurant, took a seat at a table, and then sat and sat while the waiters ignored you. You call out to one of the wait staff, "Excuse me, I'm waiting to be served!" and a waitress says, "I'm sorry, we 're Christians. We serve only God."

You'd think that was pretty silly, right?

Because the commandment Jesus gave us means to only serve God as Supreme Being," and the only one who deserves our complete obedience and adoration. This is the particular meaning of the word "serve" as it appears in that verse.

The same thing is true of the word "worship" or "honor" or "pray to," or whatever, in the context of Christ's teaching. It means that God only must we adore as God. But we honor and show esteem for all those people whom God has made holy by His gifts, His grace and His merit.

It helps if you keep in mind that "Pray to" and "adore" are not synonyms. "Honor" and "adore" are not synonyms.

"Adore" meaning "giving supreme honor, supreme glory, supreme praise, obedience, and submission, to the Supreme Being" is something that must be given to God alone.

20 posted on 03/20/2014 5:30:17 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Point of view.)
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