Saturday, June 29, 2013

Advocata Nostra

Advocata Nostra, the oldest icon of Mary in Rome, at the Dominican Sisters Convent on Via Trionfale on Monte Mario. This icon can be traced back to its origin in Jerusalem, where tradition has it that it was painted by St Luke after the Resurrection, at the request of the apostles. But the tradition also states that after St Luke had sketched the outline, the image of Our Lady appeared on it. No human hand was involved. Such works are referred to as achiropita—'made without hands'.(

Friday, June 28, 2013

Do Catholics Worship Mary?

From Fr.Z's blog: When you go into a Catholic Church and you see a big, splendid statue of Mary with flowers in front of it, a bank of candles lit before it and an old woman kneeling down, fervently praying her rosary it would seem to be what it looks like: the woman is worshipping a statue of Mary.

But if you ask the old woman if she is worshipping Mary she’d say, “Whataryatalkinabout?, I’m praying the rosary.”

So what is going on? First we have to define “worship”. From time immemorial worship was identified with a particular action: the action of sacrifice. Pagans worshipped their gods by making sacrifices to them. The Jews worshipped by making sacrifice to Jahweh.

The reason we moderns get confused about worship is that we’ve forgotten the principle of sacrifice so we don’t really know what worship is all about. This is understandable from Protestants because they got worried about the sacrifice thing 500 years ago and threw it out. What is most depressing is that most Catholics also don’t understand the “sacrifice is worship” idea either. They’ve been told the Mass is all about “the family of God gathering around the table of fellowship to increase their mutual self esteem and discuss peace and justice issues.”

Because of this nonsense the majority of American Catholics don’t have a clue what the sacrifice business is all about, and therefore they don’t know what worship is supposed to be about either. Like the neo-Prots that they are they have come to think that worship is all about hearing a sermon, singing some songs and praying.

Now we’re getting down to the reason why Protestants think Catholics worship Mary. They think worship and prayer are the same thing. Therefore, if you are praying to Mary you must be worshipping Mary.

Well, the Catholic faith has been around for a long time, and believe it or not, these questions have been asked before, and the Catholics have the answer. It goes like this: there are three categories of respect due in the realm of worship. They go by specific names: Latria, Dulia and Hyperdulia. Latria is worship. It is the worship that is due only to God. This worship consists of offering God our lives, our souls, our minds and our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans. 12. 1-2) We do this pre-eminently through the sacrifice of the Mass.

Dulia is not worship. It is honor. We honor anyone who is eminent and accomplished. We honor them for their brains, their discipline, their wit, their achievement. We honor our parents and grandparents because we owe them that. We honor our loved ones. Part of this honor is that we ask them for things. We come to them with our needs. We look up to them. We respect them. They are our role models and mentors. We have a relationship to them of subservient honor. They are awesome to us. Dulia is also what we give to the saints and angels. We give them the honor that is due to them. As part of this we have a relationship with them. We ask them for things. This is called “praying to the saints.”

Hyperdulia is the honor we give to the Virgin Mary. We give her the highest honor because she is unique amongst all God’s creation. She is higher than the cherubim and seraphim. She is the only created being who was honored by God so greatly that his son took his flesh from her. She has totally unique place of honor in heaven and therefore also amongst all of God’s people on earth. The honor we give her, therefore, and the dulia we give her is higher than any other being. But it is not latria. We’re clear about that. We do not worship Mary. The sign of this is that we do not make sacrifice to her. You don’t find any Catholic priest offering a Mass to Mary. No. The sacrifice of the Mass is offered to God the Almighty Father.

This also should be understood clearly: the dulia and hyperdulia which we give to Mary and the saints is ultimately honor given to God. We honor the saints (including the Blessed Mother) not for who they are, but for who God made them to be. We honor in them the completed work of grace. We honor in them their faithful obedience, which itself is a gift from God. The Blessed Virgin says, “the Almighty has done great things for me!” We honor Mary and the saints because we are struck with delight and awe at the wonderful things God has done for them. As the moon reflects the sun, so the Virgin and saints reflect the light of Christ. Without him they are nothing. With him they have become divinized–sons and daughters of the Almighty Father.

Finally, we insist that it is proper devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary which corrects all the other errors. Do you think it is a co incidence that as neo-Protestantism has grown in the Catholic Church that Marian devotion has been marginalized, limited sometimes even banned or prohibited? When Marian devotion plays its proper part in the life of the Church we also start to realize what real worship is, and how important the sacrifice of the Mass is to everything else. This is why, despite misunderstandings we come back time and again to thank God for Mary and to honor her as the greatest of all created beings.

The Authority of the Church?

I like to read Terry Nelson's blog, Abbey-Roads: I find it thought provoking and enlightening. Today he talked about the SCOTUS decision: here is what he said: "Reading other blogs and commentators, I'm struck by how not a few Catholics seem to believe Church teaching on sexuality and marriage must change - in fact, they predict it will change. They refer to the hierarchy as the old men in the Vatican with outmoded ideas and morality. They say that Church teaching is too negative, too prohibitive, and so on...". He quotes Matthew as bringing him solace: "... due to the increase of evil, the love of many will grow cold." Matthew 24:12.

A reader made this comment which really struck a chord for me:

Church teaching is not a "suggestion." Church authority is not a mere "guide" that you can choose to agree with or not to agree with. Infallible Church teaching, such as that which concerns what a human person is and what he is made for (which is ultimately the question regarding marriage), is something one either accepts as true or not. May one have, as Newman said, difficulties with it? Of course. But a thousand difficulties does not make one doubt.

I suppose you need to ask yourself what you really believe. Is the Church the Body of Christ? Does she speak for Christ here on earth, or not? If the answer is "yes" for both, it is not possible to disagree with her teachings, since her teachings are the teachings of Jesus Christ.

If the answer is "no" then I would say you are probably wasting your time claiming to be a Catholic. For if the ultimate authority on right and wrong is not the Church, but rather oneself, then there is no need for Church teaching, or the Church, or belief in God at all.

Dear God, have mercy on us all as we struggle to live in this secular and hateful age.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

Abbey Roads posted excerpts from Garrigou-Lagrange's writings today -- I liked them so well, that I re-posted them here: I would like to read more about this remarkable person.
If a man is fundamentally egotistical, his intimate conversation with himself is inspired by sensuality or pride. He converses with himself about the object of his cupidity, of his envy; finding therein sadness and death, he tries to flee from himself, to live outside of himself, to divert himself in order to forget the emptiness and the nothingness of his life. In this intimate conversation of the egoist with himself there is a certain very inferior self-knowledge and a no less inferior self-love.

The intimate conversation of the egoist with himself proceeds thus to death and is therefore not an interior life. His self-love leads him I to wish to make himself the center of everything, to draw everything to himself, both persons and things. Since this is impossible, he frequently ends in disillusionment and disgust; he becomes unbearable to himself and to others, and ends by hating himself because he wished to love himself excessively. At times he ends by hating life because he desired too greatly what is inferior in it - Garrigou-Lagrange
[P]ride is a bandage over the eyes of the spirit, which hinders us from seeing the truth, especially that relative to the majesty of God and the excellence of those who surpass us. It prevents us from wishing to be instructed by them, or it prompts us not to accept direction without argument. Pride thus perverts our life as one would bend a spring; it hinders us from asking light from God, who consequently hides His truth from the proud. - Garrigou-Lagrange

The Children of this Time

I just read an excellent article about how our children are being socially corrupted in our schools, The Pagans are Happy to Socialize Your Children, by Devin Rose posted on IGNITUM TODAY. It is well worth reading. Here are some excerpts:

"The pagans are happy to socialize your children, and will gladly do so if you send them to public school. In all likelihood, they will be socialized to conform to the prevailing culture, the zeitgeist, and not to Christ. Why? Because the secular society offers a competing vision for life and happiness, one largely at odds to the Christian gospel. Morally relativistic, consumer-driven, materialistic hedonism is appealing in countless ways."

"As a second step, I propose the solution that you offer a better culture to your children. A lively culture based on Christ and His Church, rooted in your family, in the milieu of a community of faith and love. Offer your children a place of beauty and truth, of warmth and welcome, of goodness and loveliness. Offer your children the truth of the Gospel as applied to every part of life."

"In practice, homeschooling offers a good way of doing this. And a good way of not ceding your parental care to others. Some combination of other types of schooling with homeschooling can also offer it. I have yet to see how a five-day-per-week, eight-hours-per-day, standard public school option can offer it. Mom and Dad aren’t allowed in the locker room, where the pagan kids are wanting to sodomize your son."

"Our country is firmly secular, and becoming more so everyday. Public schools are an indispensable apparatus of the state to indoctrinate children into a particular way of seeing the world, of seeing themselves, one that is in many ways antithetical to the Christian Faith."