Is The Nicene Creed In The Olde Or New Testament Veneration of Mary – Sixth of Series of Six Articles on Fundamental Roman Catholicism

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Veneration of Mary – Sixth of Series of Six Articles on Fundamental Roman Catholicism

Introduction

Veneration of Mary where “veneration” means showing honor rather than worship. What role, if any, did Mary play in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? Was the ark of the covenant worshiped in the Old Testament?

  • Enoch vs. Mary
  • Faith of Mary
  • Honor to Whom Honor is Due
  • Hail Mary
  • Mary Proves Jesus Came in the Flesh

The official Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes that worship and adoration belong only to God and thus not to any Saint nor to Mary:

“2096 Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,” says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.[13]

“2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: ‘Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure….'[66] It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. ‘He is the all,’ but at the same time ‘he is greater than all his works.'[67] He is ‘the author of beauty.'[68]

“2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.[69]

“2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons – of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images.

“2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, ‘the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,’ and ‘whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.'[70] The honor paid to sacred images is a ‘respectful veneration,’ not the adoration due to God alone:

“‘Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.'[71 (St Thomas Acquinas)]”

Enoch vs. Mary

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” [Gen. 5:24]

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” [Heb. 11:5]

“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” [Luke 1:28]

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.” [Luke 1:30]

“For there is no respect of persons with God.” [Rom. 2:11]

God translated Enoch because he “walked with God” [Gen. 5:24] and “that he pleased God.” [Heb. 11:5] Because “there is no respect of persons with God” [Rom. 2:11], can God do any less for Mary. Mary was “highly favored”, “blessed…among women” [Luke 1:28], and “found favor with God.” [Luke 1:30]

Faith of Mary

“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake 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, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” [Luke 1:41-45]

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” [Rom. 4:3]

Compare “Blessed is she [Mary] that believed”. [Luke 1:45a] with Abraham. “Abraham believed God” [Rom. 4:3] and God blessed him to be father of many nations. Can God do any less for Mary as she obviously had much more to believe?

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” [1 Peter 3:7]

“Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” [1 Peter 2:17]

“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” [1 Tim. 6:1]

“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” [1 Tim. 5:17]

“Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;” [Eph. 6:2]

“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” [Rom. 13:7]

Hail Mary

The “Hail Mary” prayer is best explained by the official Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“2673 In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus.[27]

“2674 Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross. Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son ‘who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties.[28] Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she ‘shows the way’ (hodigitria), and is herself ‘the Sign’ of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West.

“2675 Beginning with Mary’s unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another: the first “magnifies” the Lord for the “great things” he did for his lowly servant and through her for all human beings[29] the second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused.

“2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:

“Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.[30]

“Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel’s greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. ‘Rejoice . . . O Daughter of Jerusalem . . . the Lord your God is in your midst.'[31] Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is ‘the dwelling of God . . . with men.'[32] Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.

“Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel’s greeting, we make Elizabeth’s greeting our own. ‘Filled with the Holy Spirit,’ Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary ‘blessed.'[33] ‘Blessed is she who believed….'[34] Mary is ‘blessed among women’ because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord’s word. Abraham. because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth.[35] Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God’s own blessing: Jesus, the ‘fruit of thy womb.’

“2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, ‘And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'[36] Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: ‘Let it be to me according to your word.'[37] By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: ‘Thy will be done.’

“Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender ‘the hour of our death’ wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing[38] to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.”

Mary Proves Jesus Came in the Flesh

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14]

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” [1 John 4:1-3]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

“242 Following this apostolic tradition, the Church confessed at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea (325) that the Son is ‘consubstantial’ with the Father, that is, one only God with him.[66] The second ecumenical council, held at Constantinople in 381, kept this expression in its formulation of the Nicene Creed and confessed ‘the only- begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father’.[67]”

Conclusion

Having been in quite a few Catholic church services during these last 10 month, I have seen how much greater the worship of God is over the veneration paid to the Saints and to Mary. Of the Evangelical Protestant church services I remember, the worship of God was not as evident. Perhaps this represents a problem in perception.

Suppose we give a numeric scale to the act of showing honor where 10 would be the honor you pay God through worship and adoration. Perhaps we could say the Catholics honor Mary with a 7 and the rest of the Saints with a 5. The honor due your wife, clergy, and “the King” would all be in the 1 to 2 range. If your idea of worshiping God is to give Him the equivalent honor of a 4, then you would have a real problem with the Catholic’s system of giving “honor to whom honor is due”.

The threat to the church is the antichrist. The spirit of antichrist is “blocked” by the acknowledgment that Jesus is in fact God and that He was made flesh when conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. The Hail Mary is a comprehensive statement of that fact.

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