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Featured Mary - Christian Prototype

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Philip_B, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    Close to the very heart of the Christian story is a woman. She is integrally involved in the birth of Jesus, in a way that leaves the rest of us wondering what it must be like to be so close. She is personally involved in the events at Calvary, and is one of a few people addressed personally directly by Jesus from the cross. She was there at the first miracle in Cana of Galilee.

    She is interestingly a source of significant division within Christianity, and regarded by many, not so much as the mother of our saviour as a dead Roman Catholic.

    According to the received traditions she lived out her years in Ephesus, in company with John, the Apostle, in what is seen as the fulfilment of Jesus wishes from the Cross. Given the close association with John the Apostle and the Fourth Gospel, it is indeed interesting that John never refers to her by name, and she appears twice in the Gospel, in the Wedding at Cana in Galilee and at the Cross. It is left to Luke to tell us the accounts of the Annunciation, the Visitation, The Pondering, the Birth, The Presentation. Whilst women are more important in Luke's account, they are by no means absent in John's account. Perhaps it was something of a protection of her that lead to John's account not placing her front and centre.

    Paul presents the Gospel without any accounting for Mary. Paul's account of the Gospel is clearly and centrally focused on the cross and resurrection. There is no doubt that the Apostolic Church had a hard cutting edge Gospel that was in a sense quite masculine, and indeed at times almost brutal. The early Church fathers saw Mary as a figure in the account rise to a higher level of prominence, and increasingly it was acknowledged that to understand the Cross and the Atonement you had to understand int Incarnation, and at the centre of understanding the Incarnation is the biggest yes in history. Indeed, the prominence of the incarnation in the Prologue of John's Gospel in that sense underlines Mary's role by not calling her out by name.

    ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’

    HereIam.jpg

    She is for us the very Icon of the Church, she responds in obedience and brings Christ into the world. The role of the Church is absolutely to respond in obedience and bring Christ into the world.

    In a very real way she is the prototype for every Christian, as we are all called to respond in obedience and bring Christ into the world.

    How is it that this woman who means so much in the outworking of our salvation could be the cause of so much derision and division within the body of Christ - the Church?
     
  2. nonaeroterraqueous

    nonaeroterraqueous Impractical Rat

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    It is not the question of respecting her as the prototype of Christianity. It is in praying to her, as one prays to God, as one prays to a false god, as one prays to an idol, that we derive the division. My question to you is this: is it really a division within the church? Will Christ return and call unto himself those who, like Eve, took what belonged to God and gave it to a woman?
     
  3. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    I think there is a division in the Church about our approach to Mary. Quite a number of traditions place significance on the person and role of Mary, without adopting her as divine, but rather seeing at at every moment every thing about her points to Jesus, as we should.
     
  4. RC1970

    RC1970 Post Tenebras Lux

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    Mary is an excellent example of a godly women. She was most likely a submissive and dutiful wife and a wonderful mother to several children. Unfortunately, there are those who seemingly worship her, which is a clear violation of the first commandment. This problem of idolatry concerning Mary has required a de-emphasis of her in many Christian circles.
     
  5. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    Thank you.

    You have given me much to meditate on and study.

    God bless you.
     
  6. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    Thank you for the response, I do understand what you are saying. I wonder sometimes if we don't sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater. In a sense it seems such a clear image of where we should be as Christians, that in a sense we muddy the waters by speaking ill of her or de-emphasis.
     
  7. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    Thank you for the encouragement Brinny - you are such a support, always encouraging, you remind me of Barnabas.
     
  8. Paul Yohannan

    Paul Yohannan Cyber Janitor and Thread-Cleaner Extraordinaire Supporter

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    I agree. St. Mary is not God, but she is the Mother, or Birth Giver of God, Theotokos, as described by the Council of Chalcedon.
     
  9. brinny

    brinny everlovin' shiner of light in dark places Supporter

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    Awww thanks, my brother.

    We're all in this together :hug:
     
  10. RC1970

    RC1970 Post Tenebras Lux

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    There are actually several faithful women in the Bible besides Mary. Women such as Ruth, Hannah, Esther, Priscilla, Mary Magdalene, Rahab, Deborah, Abigail, etc.
     
  11. shanethetheologian

    shanethetheologian Seminarian

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    Already, in the second century, we see what many Catholic theologians have called the 'cult of Mary' producing literature in the form of the Protoevangelium of James. And was it not Chrysostom who identified the woman (and the tree, for that matter) as common symbols between the fall and the redemption? As much as Judith is a composite of a Hebrew heroine, Mary is the universal heroine. And yet her heroism is typified by submission - submission to the divine will. Quite likely, she did not understand what the angel Gabriel said to her at the Annunciation but she believed and I don't think it is a stretch to say it was counted to her as righteousness.
     
  12. Paul Yohannan

    Paul Yohannan Cyber Janitor and Thread-Cleaner Extraordinaire Supporter

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    No one has actually done that, with the possible exceptions of a few misguided RC followers of Ida Peerdeman, Medjugorje and other unsanctioned Marian apparitions which make spectacular claims which are obviously not genuine as they contradict the apostolic faith.
     
  13. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Indeed ... no other mention will so quickly bring about divisions among Christians. It IS rather ironic, don't you think?
     
  14. shanethetheologian

    shanethetheologian Seminarian

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    Perhaps the problem should have been addressed through better instruction in what it is to venerate or commemorate a saint rather than by de-emphasizing Mary. But we like the easy way out don't we. We prefer to be given a simple 'thou shalt not' rather than a 'come and see.' One is prescriptive, the other, contemplative. Contemplation is hard.
     
  15. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    Thankyou Paul, I think it is this role, which your holy tradition of faith keeps so alive for us, that is so important, theotokos - which so often translated into Latin as Mater Dei - and then English as Mother of God, where as had we stuck with the Greek, we may well have translated it, The God Bearer which I think is an exceptionally powerful image, and one of the things we as Christians are all called to share in being.
     
  16. Winken

    Winken Selig Vermittler

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    Far be it from me to speak ill of her. My prayer is that others will experience Mary in that light.
     
  17. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    And I really wonder if this was part of the Christian Faith becoming a more humane community in the midst of a fairly robust society.
     
  18. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    I so get this response, Shane, thank you so much for it. Easy for their to be a simple rule rather than a deep truth.
     
  19. Philip_B

    Philip_B Holy God, Holy & Mighty, Holy & Immortal Supporter

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    It is more than ironic, it is one of the great shames of contemporary reformation Christianity, that for fear of being like the other group they walk away from the one person in the story who gives the such an inspirational motif.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  20. RC1970

    RC1970 Post Tenebras Lux

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    I don't think any Christian denominations completely ignore Mary. We don't really have any more on Mary than we do on the other faithful women of the Bible. There is only so much to contemplate. Much better to find other portions of Scripture that give guidance on living a faithful Christian life.