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Mary's immaculate conception and assumption

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Hoonbaba, Apr 16, 2002.

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  1. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
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    Hi,

    I was wondering about Mary's immaculate conception and assumption. What's the biblical basis for this?

    And what exactly do Catholics believe on Mary's immaculate conception? I heard people claim that Mary was literally without any sin whatsoever, making her like a co-redeemer with Christ. This to me makes no sense in light of John 14:6. Even Mary considered Jesus as her savior (Luke 1:47). And I'm guessing some people were wrong about that.

    I think this is the biggest hurdle I can't 'leap' over as of yet.

    -Jason
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
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    To Hoonbaba:

    The Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary are often major hurdles for non-Catholics.

    The concept of the Immaculate Conception is that God needed a Perfect Vessel to hold the infant Jesus until He could be born. It has nothing to do with Mary not needing a Savior. She even said so, herself, in the Canticle of Mary!

    Luke 1: 46-47
    Mary had an extremely unique role in the lives of all Christians. She was more than just the mother of Jesus, she was a perfect example. When Gabriel came to see her, she was just a young girl, and she HAD to be terrified. Yet, in spite of the incredible announcement that Gabriel made to her, she humbled herself and said, "May it be done to me according to your word."

    She was singled out again, once Jesus began to gather his disciples. The first miracle is the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine. How did he find out about the lack of wine? His mother came to Him. Jesus tells her, "My hour has not yet come." Did she say, "Oh, sorry..."

    She turns to the servers, and says, "Do whatever He tells you."

    Not only does Jesus begin his ministry because of the need that His mother brought to His attention, she also serves as an example to us all: "Do whatever He tells you."

    The specifics for the Immaculate Conception and Assumption are mostly contained in Sacred Tradition, but they are concepts that were understood by the Early Church long before official pronouncements were made by Rome.

    But as you can see, there is Scriptural evidence of Mary's incredibly special role in the New Testament!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  3. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    Dear Jason,

    The Immaculate Conception, like all Marian Dogmas, is centered on Christ. The Church teaches that God, as a singular gift of Grace, blessed Mary with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from the moment of her conception. Had he not done this, she would have been born under and suffered the consequences of Original Sin. Because it was a redemptive act of God on a woman who would have otherwise been sinless, Mary could truly call God her Savior.

    That is the Church's teaching. The rest is why, IN MY UNDERSTANDING. I hope it jives with the Church's teaching. Mary was given the Indwelling at conception, just as Adam and Eve were. Adam and Eve were not created fallen, but pure and in the image of God. It is because of Christ, the New Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21-23) , that Mary, the New Eve (Genesis 2:15) was given this gift.

    What is amazing to me, is that Christ was born sinless in his humanity by the very nature that he received from his mother. His flesh wasn't cleansed of anything, HE WAS CONCEIVED PURE BY NATURE, not through redemption as was Mary, because she had no sin to pass on to Jesus. He was truly the first-born of a new creation, one that was as God had intended it from the beginning, born pure without the need of cleansing (Romans 8:29). Through Christ, the first-born, we can be re-born, in Him, the Pure and Spotless Paschal Lamb. Through being baptized into His death, we can share in His life (Romans 6:4). How amazing is the Lord, our God, that he chose a lowly handmaiden to be Full of Grace (Luke 1:28) in preparation for the coming of His Kingdom.

    The Immaculate Conception was for Christ, and in anticipation of His Coming. It was not made up to glorify Mary. It was a gift from God to us all.

    Praise be to Our Lord, Jesus Christ!

    Neal
     
  4. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
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    Hi VOW,

    I don't understand the significance of that passage. Can you explain that again? I don't see how this fits in with Mary's immaculate conception and assumption.

    The thing is I can tolerate Mary's immaculate conception, but I don't see any biblical basis for the assumption.

    -Jason
     
  5. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Keep in mind that the Catholic Church does not consider Holy Scripture to be the only, sole basis for doctrine, faith, and belief; so whether or not a doctrine can be found within the pages of the Bible does not necessarily negate its veracity.

    Apostolic Tradition has always held that Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven at the instant of her death. The first overt reference to this comes from Gregory of Tours in 593: "The Lord commanded the body of Mary to be borne on a cloud to Paradise" (Libri miraculum, lib I, cap. 4; PL 71, 708.)

    The fact that we have bone fragments or other body parts of early Christian saints and martyrs (which, spurious or not, at least prove that Christians believed they had evidence of their remains), and none for Mary, indicate that the accepted belief was that nobody could gain a bodily relic of the Virgin Mary because her body wasn't here to get a relic from. :)

    The Catholic Church has usually identified the woman with the crown in Revelation 12 as Mary---and she is in heaven in that particular vision. Which, taken on its own without any relation to other Christian teachings is pretty scanty evidence, I agree.
    Jesus was Mary's Savior. The only difference is, He preserved Mary from Original Sin, while the rest of us are cleansed of Original Sin when we are saved. The reasoning for this is that it was proper for Christ to be borne into the world in a sinless vessel. The reason for the sinless vessel was because of His holiness, not Mary's. She was conceived sinless only so He could be borne in an immaculate womb. Her role in the whole thing was incidental and secondary.

    As for the "co-redemptrix" thing, that results from confusiuon concerning the Latin title. The doctrine of Mary as co-redemptrix states three things:

    1. She co-operated with God by agreeing to bear the Savior into the world.

    2. She helped Jesus during His earthly ministry.

    3. She suffered terrible anguish when Jesus suffered and died on the Cross.

    That's it. There is no mention whatsoever of Mary suffering for mankind's salvation, nor any mention of making her equal to Christ. So why the title "Co-Redemptrix", you ask?

    In American English, "co-" means "something equal to", a "partner in"; such as "co-worker", "co-signer", "co-lender", etc. People naturally assume that "co-"anything means "an equal partner to".

    But in Latin, "co-" is a derivative of the word c-u-m, meaning "with". Therefore the title "Co-Redemptrix" literally means "with the Redeemer", or "alongside the Redeemer". It does NOT mean "equal to the Redeemer", or "another Redeemer", anything like that.

    Unfortunately, most Americans know diddly-squat about Latin anymore, so there is a vast misunderstanding about this doctrine based on the title. Personally, I think that "Co-Operatrix" would have been a better choice, since it explains the doctrine more clearly and would avoid the confusion, but the Vatican doesn't consult me on these things.

    Does this help? :)
     
  6. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    Hi Wolseley,

    I'm aware of this, but what determines doctine, faith and belief? This is what I'm a bit confused about. How can we know that what the church says to be true is absolutely true?

    Again, how do we know if this is true or not?

    Bone fragments of these christians still exist?? Why are they kept? And what purpose do they serve?

    Yes!! That clears up the confusion on 'co-redemptrix' =) But I guess the major issue I'm concerned with is apostolic tradition: How can we know that some people in the Church are truly inspired or not?

    Also can someone explain the significance of the following statement made by VOW:

    I'd like to know more about the Marian doctrine. By the way I just came across this interesting passage:

    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)
    John 19:26-27

    I think this passage alone stresses the reality of 'family' in the Church. :)

    -Jason
     
  7. jukesk9

    jukesk9 Dixie Whistlin' Papist

    +82
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    Married
    US-Republican
    Hoonbaba,

    The Co-Redemptrix title made me uncomfortable until I heard the explanation Wols gave. But, it hasn't been proclaimed an Article of Faith so I don't worry about it. As far as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption go, I'll chime in my .02 cents to try and help you out on them.

    isshinwhat posted a very nice explanation. I also compare the Immaculate Conception to the Ark of the Covenant. Why? Well, the NT is hidden in the OT and the OT is revealed in the NT! The Ark of the Covenant was made from the purest gold and incorruptible wood to house God's Word (the ten commandments), the manna (bread from heaven), of the ten ), and the staff of Aaron (a symbol of Israel’s high priesthood). So, it just makes sense that God's Word, which became Flesh, would be "housed" in purity. Mary, in essence, was conceived without sin so that she would be God's "Tabernacle", containing the Word made Flesh, the high Priest (Jesus Christ) and the new bread from Heaven (The Eucharist). The Immaculate Conception wasn't something the Church came up with in 1854 when it was proclaimed as an Article of Faith. It's something that has been believed since the earliest times.

    As for the Assumption, it merely says that Mary is in Heaven, body and soul! From the Bible, we learn this happened to Enoch and Elijah. Why doesn't the Bible mention this? It's very possible that Mary lived past when the NT was finished. This too is something that has been believed from the earliest times. The doctrine doesn't define whether Mary was dead or not when the Assumption occured but most people believe that she had died (although dead or alive, this doesn't change the fact that she is in Heaven). I don't doubt for one millisecond that she's in Heaven :D If you know anything about the early Christians and tombs and relics of saints, you know these items were highly coveted. There was a huge Marian following that developed in the first centuries and if they'd found a tomb, don't you think this would be highly prized?

    As a hurdle for non-catholics, I understand the "it's not in the Bible" argument. However, these two doctrines neither take from the Glory of Christ nor do they elevate Mary. I see them as adding to the Glory of Christ. Rejoice in the New Eve, who gave birth to our Savior and rejoice in the Crown of Eternal life that Mary has received that you and I hope to receive one day, too.
     
  8. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Hoonbaba:

    I'll return to your question later this evening, I'm AFK for today.

    One point: the passage you cited in John, "Woman, here is your son," is interpreted by Catholics to be a very "generic" conveyance, in that Jesus gave His mother to us all, so we look upon Mary as our Heavenly Mother.

    It's a very comforting thought.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  9. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    "I think this passage alone stresses the reality of 'family' in the Church." -Jason

    Oh, definately! The reason I refered to Romans 8:29 in my above post was the idea of family was what helped me understand the Immaculate Conception. He was the first-born natural, only-begotten Son of God, and through him we can become the Father's adopted sons (Galatians 4:5, Romans 8:23). Family explained the Communion of Saints, the Eucharist, Confession...it really helped me a lot.

    Neal
     
  10. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    As a side note on relics, they have the Hand of St. Thomas the Apostle at a shrine in India that is operated by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [see, I'm on topic ;-) ]. His hand...I wonder if that is the same hand that could have touched the wounds? There's a thought!
     
  11. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    Hi Jukesk9,

    What's so special about these relics? Is it biblical? And isn't it possible that coveting such things can turn into idol worship? Then again, almost anything can be turned into an idol.

    What you're saying makes a lot of sense, but what do you mean by 'crown of eternal life'? Are you saying we haven't been saved yet? Or are you referring to our heavenly dwelling in eternity?

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  12. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
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    Can someone explain the significance of relics please? =)

    -Jason
     
  13. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    Married
    To Hoonbaba:

    Relics have been around forever. And some people elevate them to the level of idolatry, that's true. However, there is actually Scriptural validity to relics!

    Remember when the woman with the bleeding touched Jesus's cloak, and was healed?

    How about when Peter's SHADOW touched someone, and he was healed?

    It's important to remember that the actual object is not what is worshipped, nor does the object perform the miracle. The source of all miracles, and the One of all worship is of course, God.

    People have everyday relics, if you think about it. Wedding rings, baby shoes, baby teeth, a favorite chair... these objects don't replace a person in your life, they merely serve as reminders. What parent of a teen wouldn't be able to pick up a baby shoe from long ago, and wonder where that little footsie went!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  14. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Relics serve the purpose of reminding Christians of several things; one, they remind us of our own demise, and how important it is to serve God while on this planet, because someday we're going to die and be judged. Two, they remind us that these holy people from ancient days really did exist, and they really were here just like us---we have the relics to prove it. Three, they remind us that our bodies, just like theirs, are temples of the Holy Spirit, and since the Spirit once resided in those bodies, we treat them with respect and care. And finally, every so often a relic can be the source of a miracle from God, just to keep us on our toes. ;)

    You may have heard of the bones of one saint or another being displayed in some city, and throngs of Catholics flocking to touch the diplay case, just in the off chance that they might receive a physical healing. When the body of St. Therese of Liseux was touring Michigan recently, a Protestant friend of mine said, "They're touching a case full of old dead bones in hopes of being healed??? Where is that in the Bible???" He seemed somewhat shocked when I said, "2 Kings 13:20-21." And, of course, VOW has already mentioned the tassel of Jesus cloak in Mark 5:27, and Peter's shadow in Acts 5: 15-16; there is also the case of healings through cloths that had been touched by Paul, in Acts 19:11-12.

    Sometimes a relic is simply there to remind us of God's wonder and power; one of my favorites is the blood of Januarius, who was the bishop of Benevento, and martyred by the Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. Two Christians had caught some of his blood in vials, and this blood was carefully stored in various churches throughout the Middle Ages. In 1389, a procession was taking place around the cathedral of Naples when Januarius' 900-year old blood, up to that time a reddish-brown dusty substance, began to bubble and liquify. Ever since then, it has happened 18 times every year; the only times it has not happened, Italy has been subjected to disease, famine, war, or politcal suppression. These days the blood is kept in a hermetically-sealed container, and remains a reddish dust until it liquifies; it has been subjected to virtually every scientific and medical test known to man, and all they can come up with is that it is indeed human blood of an extreme great age, but as to why it liquifies, nobody has any explanation.

    Another nifty phenomenon is that of incorruption, where a saint's tomb is opened, sometimes centuries after the burial, and the body is completely whole, often exuding a sweet aroma like roses. St. Bernadette of Lourdes is one classic example.

    To find out more about relics and incorrupt bodies, I recommend Relics, by Joan Carroll Cruz, and The Incorruptibles, also by Joan Carroll Cruz. Both are put out by OSV Publishing at http://www.osv.com. On a related topic, also try They Bore the Wounds of Christ by Michael Freze, which is also published by OSV; this one deals with the stigmata.
     
  15. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
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    Wow! That's amazing!!! 2 Kings 13:20-21 is a great passage!! =)

    Also I remember reading about Apostle Paul's cloths. Somehow it never crossed my mind :)

    Every time I'm seeking more about the Catholic church, I find it exciting to see how all of this is biblical =)

    -Jason
     
  16. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Yeah, ain't it totally cool??? :) You'll find more and more of that as you continue to investigate. Wait'll you start reading the Church Fathers and find out how neatly Scripture dovetails with Sacred Tradition. :)

    I keep learning new stuff every day, myself. :D
     
  17. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
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    Actually about a year ago, I purchased a book on the early church fathers....only thing is I don't remember what happened to it! LOL!

    -Jason
     
  18. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    Hi isshinwhat,

    I'm a bit confused by this. Maybe I'm not reading this carefully. What's the typological connection between Mary's immaculate conception and the ark of the covenant?

    -Jason
     
  19. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    NO FOOLIN'!!!

    I started my investigation with Jesus telling Simon, "You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church."

    After that, the Scripture verses just seemed to line right up for me!

    Praise God!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  20. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    Actually my post was before that one, someone else posted the reference to the Ark. He was referring to my post in his.

    Neal
     
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