The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review Day 5 - Do Catholics Worship Mary (Fr Arnold Francis)

There are a host of Catholic terms that have meaning with Catholicism with which many Non Catholics and of course some Catholics are unfamiliar as I've mentioned before in a previous post: the magisterium, mortal and venial sins, confession, penance, rosary beads, the saints and martyrs, and even, yes, Marian theology.

The last and final night with Fr Arnold proved to be another successful discussion about certain beliefs of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately I was not able to make it out that evening, however thanks to Mrs. Colajean Butler for her synopsis of the discussion I am pleased to share her thoughts on the topic of The Blessed Mother "Mary".

Did you know that most Protestant converts say Catholic devotion to Mary was their greatest hurdle.

What do Catholics really do? Do we worship Mary when we say the "Hail Mary" and when we sing hymns to Mary?

This is what Catholics believe and do.

"Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the LORD your God and serve only Him." Matthew 4:10

Yes, Catholics believe that one should worship only the Lord, our God and we serve only Him. Sadly, many Catholics do not know what we believe. We have been poorly evangelized and we fail to 'seek' the truth for ourselves. We 'honor ' Mary.

The word 'worship' can be used in multiple contexts. Persons who are anti-catholic bring up historical data that the word 'worship' was used in context with the Blessed Mother, but in that time, the word 'worship' was used in the same context as we use today in our judicial system. In our courts, we use the term 'worship' when we speak of the Judge, but we do not 'worship the Judge as we 'worship' God.

The anit-catholic stance against the Blessed Mother is seen in how they honor many women in Scripture such as Ruth, Naomi, Esther, and Sarah, but none of these Biblical women had the honor bestowed on them by God as our Blessed Mother. Mary was herself conceived without sin because she was to be the Ark of the Covenant. Mary did not die as others did, she fell asleep (The Dormition of Mary) because only persons who sin die. She was assumed into Heaven because she was 'not like the rest of us' as she was indeed the Mother of God.

Mary herself professed the honor bestowed on her.
The Blessed Mother

"For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed." Luke 1:48

Let's look at the similarities between Mary, the Mother of God and the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament.

"When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die. Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning. The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Moses and the Ten Commandments
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. 'Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.' Exodus 20:18-22
He took the Testimony and placed it in the ark, attached the poles to the ark and put the atonement cover over it. Then he brought the ark into the tabernacle and hung the shielding curtain and shielded the ark of the Testimony, as the Lord commanded him Exodus 40:20-21.

"Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." Exodus 40:34-35

"And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim." 2 Samuel 6:2

"David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals." 2 Samuel 6:5

" David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might..." 2 Samuel 5:14

Let's look at the similarities between Mary, the Mother of God and the Ark of the Covenant in the New Testament.

"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth," Luke 1:26
"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus." Luke 1:31
The Annuniation
"The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35

"Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." Matthew 16:16-17

Simon Peter
"Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus and Simon Peter
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." Luke 1:42-43

Zechariah and Elixabeth
"Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God's eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord's commandments and regulations." Luke 1:6

The Beloved Disciple John and The Blessed Mother
"When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home." John 19:26-27

Mary was entrusted with the honor of carrying God-in-human-form, Jesus Christ, in her womb. She alone was chosen for the highest honor in the history of the world. Catholics understand that if she is special enough for God to honor her, then she is certainly special enough for humankind to honor her too.

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