Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Magnificat: A Canticle of Mary, A Lesson for Us



"My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden, For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm: He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent empty away. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever."

Mary rejoices in God her Savior upon receiving the news that the God of the universe will come to dwell in her and she will become the mother of God. Elizabeth later greets her and say "Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" It's mind blowing just to think about!

This is the time of year when Christians should try to obey the scripture by calling her blessed. Catholics believe that we can and should call her blessed more often than just at Christmas. Mary is the model christian for all of us. She said: Let it be done to me according to thy word. Would that we all start our day with this prayer of submission to God.
(BTW, Catholics honor Mary, but don't worship her, That's reserved for God alone.)

"Our prayer should include the Mother of God . . . What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!" You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor . . . We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her . . . He who has no faith is advised to refrain from saying the Hail Mary."
Martin Luther

7 Comments:

Blogger James Swan said...

Luther abandoned the most significant aspect of Roman Catholic Mariology: the intercession of Mary. Truly, this is the doctrine that defines Roman Catholic Mariology.Without a doctrine of the intercession of Mary, this woman and her attributes become less important in Luther’s theology.

Even early in his Reformation career, Luther began changing the emphasis on Mary, and de-emphasizing the importance of her attributes:

“Take note of this: no one should put his trust or confidence in the Mother of God or in her merits, for such trust is worthy of God alone and is the lofty service due only to him. Rather praise and thank God through Mary and the grace given her. Laud and love her simply as the one who, without merit, obtained such blessings from God, sheerly out of his mercy, as she herself testifies in the Magnificat."

"Therefore we should make the Hail Mary neither a prayer nor an invocation because it is improper to interpret the words beyond what they mean in themselves and beyond the meaning given them by the Holy Spirit."

“…her giving birth is blessed in that it was spared the curse upon all children of Eve who are conceived in sin and born to deserve death and damnation. Only the fruit of her body is blessed, and through this birth we are all blessed.”

“…in the present no one speaks evil of this Mother and her Fruit as much as those who bless her with many rosaries and constantly mouth the Hail Mary. These, more than any others, speak evil against Christ’s word and faith in the worst way."

"Therefore, notice that this Mother and her Fruit are blessed in a twofold way—bodily and spiritually. Bodily with lips and the words of the Hail Mary; such persons blaspheme and speak evil of her most dangerously. And spiritually [one blesses her] in one’s heart by praise and benediction for her child, Christ—for all his words, deeds, and sufferings. And no one does this except he who has the true Christian faith because without such faith no heart is good but is by nature stuffed full of evil speech and blasphemy against God and all his saints.”

Regards,
James Swan

December 04, 2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Mr. Swan for that clarification of the development of Luther's doctrine regarding Mary.
It still can't hurt to call her blessed, it's scriptural. After all she was full of grace, and I suspect not half full either!
I think both Catholics and Protestants can agree with Luther's statement here:
"Rather praise and thank God through Mary and the grace given her. Laud and love her simply as the one who, without merit, obtained such blessings from God, sheerly out of his mercy, as she herself testifies in the Magnificat."
We do laud and love her as Luther did, but we don't worship her. That would be a sin.
God bless you

December 04, 2006 10:25 PM  
Blogger James Swan said...

I think both Catholics and Protestants can agree with Luther's statement here:
"Rather praise and thank God through Mary and the grace given her. Laud and love her simply as the one who, without merit, obtained such blessings from God, sheerly out of his mercy, as she herself testifies in the Magnificat."We do laud and love her as Luther did, but we don't worship her. That would be a sin.


But what does Luther mean by “through Mary”? Luther does not mean, “by praying to her,” but rather by thanking God for creating such a noble, blessed, person. The words of the Hail Mary are, according to Luther, “neither a prayer nor an invocation” and “are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor” to God.

The man who only a few years earlier called upon her, concluded that “those who bless her with many rosaries and constantly mouth the Hail Mary… speak evil against Christ’s word and faith in the worst way.” Their prayers to her are an evil deed against both her and her son. With this popular prayer, Luther reinterpreted it for his readers, again shifting the emphasis of praise to Mary to veneration of God alone.

Luther knew that prayers to, and faith in the saints violated the First Commandment. In his understanding, the role of faith or trust in the First Commandment determines whether one worships the true God, or an idol. To have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe in Him with the whole heart. This trust and the faith of the heart alone make either God or an idol. If faith and trust are “right,” then your god is the true God. If it is wrong, then you do not have the true God. That to which the heart clings is really your God. If your heart clings and entrusts itself to something God has made, then your faith is wrong, and you are caught in your sin, and you stand under the crushing condemnation of God’s law.

Roman Catholic criticism of Martin Luther is rampant in cyber-space. Fairly common topics include: Luther’s alleged antinomianism, his rejection of certain canonical books, his alleged desire to be a Protestant pope, and some even argue Luther’s partial responsibility for Nazi Germany. Interestingly though, when it comes to the topic of Mary, Roman Catholic sentiment towards Luther shifts considerably. Luther becomes the staunch supporter of Mary; a leader that all contemporary Protestants should learn a great lesson in Mariology from. This drastic shift is puzzling; particularly since Luther’s abandoning of the intercession of the saints and his doctrine of justification significantly changes his Marian approach.

All this to say, if you want to practice Roman Catholic Mariology, I suggest you leave Luther out of it. Luther will not champion your cause. There is a particular effort among Catholic laymen apologists to use Luther as a "devotee of Mary". It's actually a farce if one does the research.

Regards,
JS

December 05, 2006 6:43 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

JS said:
"Roman Catholic criticism of Martin Luther is rampant in cyber-space. Fairly common topics include: Luther’s alleged antinomianism, his rejection of certain canonical books, his alleged desire to be a Protestant pope, and some even argue Luther’s partial responsibility for Nazi Germany."

Yes JS I suppose you are correct.What is interesting I have found the similar comments regarding our popes. Protestant criticism of Catholic Popes is rampant in cyber-space. Fairly common topics include: Catholic's alleged salvation by works alone, their acceptance of certain canonical books, their election to the vatican and some even argue the Pope's partial responsibility for the Nazi slaughter of the Jews during WW2.
So I guess, it's hard to recapitulate the events of history with select quotes on the internet. I stand corrected.

December 05, 2006 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

As a Lutheran who was required to read a good portion of the Book of Concord, I am well aware that Luther did not want to use Mary as a mediatrix in way or form. Yet the Book of Concord if I remember correctly said that "Mary prays for the church" which gives the impression that Luther had some belief in the Assumption or that at least Mary was in heaven. Furthermore of the feasts days, Luther objected to most except: the feast of John the Baptist, St. Paul, the Annunciation and the Assumption of Mary.
The Missouri Synod Website gives a good explanation of Luther's devotion to Mary, aknowledging that Luther did not want to dogmatize Marian devotion, but had some pious beliefs such as semper vergo (perpetual virginity) but always seperated personal piety from dogma.
I think what we can all share is the fact that Mary was "Theotokos"
the Mother of God. As Luther would say no one could say anything greater of her as if he had as many tongues as their are leaves on a tree.

December 20, 2010 9:28 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Mike
merry Christmas to you and yours
Russ

December 23, 2010 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I should of proof-read my post. Luther didn't object to most feast days (as in Christmas, Easter and Pentecost: in fact every Sunday is a feast of the Resurrection). I meant Luther objected to most feast days dedicated to the saints except: St. John the Baptist, St. Paul and St. Mary mother of our Lord. And I looked at my Book of Concord (Book of Lutheran Confessions) and Mary is quite often referred to as "the Blessed Virgin." Hopefuly this Christmas time we Christians can do a little less fighting and a little more showing of Christ's love.

December 24, 2010 11:13 AM  

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