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.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Marian Devotion: Too Much and Not Enough.

I recently posted about the Early Church Fathers and their view of Mary. If marian devotion (read veneration not worship) was not accepted by the early Christians as an orthodox practice it would have been quashed soundly as other heresies were. There is so much the early Church has written positively about Mary, it becomes obvious that this was not the case.
So I got to thinking. Well, maybe I'm just reading Catholic web sites and maybe were just "cherry picking" quotes from the ECF as we are often accused of. (which seems to occur equally on both sides of the Tiber) So I did a little searchin' and found a Catholic bishop from Salamis named Epiphanius who was a close friend of St. Jerome in the fourth century. Turns out he wrote a treatise against two heresies regarding Mary. One, called Collrydianism was a heretical cult that sought to make Mary divine and offered sacrifice to her. They adored her which is clearly against the 1st commandment to worship God alone. So this bishop did the "canonical smackdown" and soundly denounced their error here:
"It is not right to honor the saints
beyond their due" ( "Now the body of Mary was indeed
holy, but it was not God; the Virgin was indeed a virgin and revered,
but she was not given to us for worship, but she herself worshiped
him who was born in the flesh from her.... Honor Mary, but let the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be worshiped, but let no one
worship Mary, . . . even though Mary is most beautiful and holy and
venerable, yet she is not to be worshiped"

So there you have it. Some wacky Christians got off base
and started worshipping Mary
and the Church intervened.
Heresies have a way of popping up again though and
may still be Christians who focus too much emphasis on
Mary, but I have not heard of or met any
Mary worshipers
since I have been Catholic,( and I do make a point of asking the
random Catholic.

The second marian heresy at the time was
antidicomarianitism. These folks debased Mary and her
virtues and claimed that she was not a virgin after the birth of Christ.
Epiphanius addressed this as well. This heresy continues to
be propagated to this day.

Personally speaking, Marian devotion
has grown slowly with me and was not
an overnite change of view. After returning
to the Catholic Church, I began to
ask Jesus to show me how he wanted
me to see His mother and He has been
answering that prayer. The Hail Mary prayer
alone and in the rosary have
become favorites of mine. During my
daily rounds with patients who are near death,
I ask Mary's intercession for them.

"Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour
of our death." Not worship, just asking
her help for us as the early Christians did.


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