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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Explaining the Blessed Mother to Protestants

Dr. Phil Blosser does a great job here in this excellent summary. Any Protestant who's ever been at Mass must sooner or later realize that the celebration of the Eucharist -- which is the core of Catholic worship -- is all about Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior. So what about Mary? Please read Dr. Blosser's piece above. I'd also recommend Mark Shea's piece about how he settled his inner turmoils about the Blessed Mother.


Elle said...

Good to read... I've never been able to get a straight and complete answer from a Catholic on this subject. I still don't totally agree, but I also believe part of being the Body of Christ is accepting differences. Peace!

Jeff Tan said...

Thanks. I have my own misgivings about some excesses that many Catholics get into in honoring our Blessed Mother, especially where I come from (the Philippines). However, there's no knocking their faith as those same people seem to have a rock-solid faith in her son, and a rock-solid spiritual life centered around her son in the Eucharist.

As I told a Lutheran/Evangelical friend once, it's like that woman with a bleeding illness in Mark 5:25-34. She had this simple faith that in touching the Lord's clothing, she would be healed. It's the same sort of faith that many if not most Marian devotees have. It's a simple faith which many among us would find too simple or even silly. But the Lord does not rebuke the woman for it. She gets healed. She is sent on her way with a blessing. So what gives?

It's a case for faith. Child-like faith. I don't despair about those excessive devotees when I think of that story. Perhaps it is my 21st century intellect that gets in the way of child-like faith, which the Lord said we need to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Besides, I don't think that the faith of the woman in that story stops there. It'll grow, and come into fullness of truth. The Lord does not rebuke such faith. He obviously sees therein the beginnings of a richer, faithful spiritual life, so who am I to question that? I've enough to deal with in trying to grow in my spiritual life.

I think it was Mark Shea who said that Mary's is a referred life, and doctrines about her are referred doctrines. Everything about Mary is a reference to Christ. By transitivity, referring at the Blessed Mother points us to Christ our Lord. We only have to look at the lives of the saints and holy martyrs who were Marian devotees -- their spiritual lives were strong enough that they were capable of martyrdom for the Kingdom of Heaven. We can look at Marian devotees today and they live their lives the same way. By their fruits, it appears that Marian devotion does not detract from Christ at all.