After 52 weekly columns we bid farewell to “Ask Alice” and say hello to “Religious Ed”


Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

After one full year/52 weekly columns, we bid farewell to Alice and thank her for her faith, her wit, her knowledge, her love, as well as her tireless service to all our readers … and the whole Church.

Alice plans to keep up with her other ministries and church work, something that will hopefully be much easier now, without a looming, 5 AM, Thursday morning deadline.

We plan to keep all of Alice’s previous columns available for reference, on-site. See the “CATEGORY” drop down menu, on the right side of the main viewing window, or simply use the search box.

We wish Alice and her family the very best of all God’s blessings, supernatural abundance and peace, along with a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Our new weekly Q&A columnist,
“Religious Ed”®
will begin his column
on Thursday, January 12, 2012.

“Ed” is a staunchly conservative Catholic, with many years of experience in both the “pre” and “post” Vatican II Church. Ed likes to remind people that, while God IS love, his wrath is also genuine, awesomely formidable and nothing to be marginalized or ignored!

Ed theorizes that many of the evils that God allows to exist in the world are actually divine chastisements, stemming from corruption in the Church and in the world, at large. 

One example: The rise of Islamic terrorism in the West closely coincided with the wide-spread, legalization/government promotion of abortion. If infants can’t be safe and secure inside their mother’s womb, why should anyone expect to experience security in their land?

Similarly, the rise of militant homosexuality closely coincided with the illicit establishment of the “Lavender Mafia” inside the Catholic Church, presently thought to encompass one-third to one-half of the hierarchy and priesthood, and wielding a particularly deviant homosexual influence over the bulk of Catholic seminaries.

In light of all this, the clerical sex abuse scandals were not only likely, but virtually guaranteed. Yet the church still refuses to enforce the established rules preventing homosexuals from applying to the priesthood, and the bishops generally do very little to reign in militantly homosexual priests and their parishes.

Maybe after another $2.6 billion in payouts, they’ll finally get the message. Not likely though, since it’s not their money!

Send Your Questions or Comments to Ed

This week’s Ask Alice: I’ve been looking into becoming Catholic. Some advice, please!



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

G.Y. writes: I’ve been looking into becoming Catholic, as I keep having a dream that Jesus himself is asking me to. I agree with the Bible but I’m scared I will be rejected by the church, due to having a bad past, having sinned, and lived in sin. Could you give me some advice?

Alice answers: How blessed you are that Jesus is calling you to become a Catholic! Treasure each dream of our Precious Lord, and don’t hesitate to answer Jesus’ loving call!

Throughout the Bible, God speaks to people in dreams. Samuel was a young boy when God awakened him at night:

“…Samuel was sleeping in in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was. The Lord called to Samuel, who answered, ‘Here I am.” (1 Samuel 3:4)

There is no perfect time to change our lives. It’s never the ideal time to get married, have a baby, change careers, or move to another country. Similarly, there’s no perfect time to become a Catholic. When Jesus called his disciples, they were at work. They immediately stopped what they were doing, walked off their jobs, and left their careers, families and friends to follow Jesus.

“As they were walking along the Sea of Galilee he watched two brothers, Simon now known as peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea. They were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately abandoned their nets and became his followers.” (Matthew 4:18-20)

Don’t worry about getting rejected. Ours is a church of sinners. Adam and Eve, our first parents, committed the original sin. Moses was a murderer, yet God called him. King David was an adulterer. Jesus expelled 7 demons from Mary Magdalene. Peter denied our Lord.

The Church will not reject you, since every priest is a shepherd, divinely commissioned to bring sinners (lost sheep) back to God.

“All men have sinned and are deprived
of the glory of God.”
(Romans 3:23)

Like you, everyone has fears and doubts about doing God’s will. Fear never comes from God, but from evil spirits who are busy trying to lure us away from the Lord, and His path of righteousness.

1) Pray for God’s guidance. Don’t wait or hesitate to answer God’s call.

2) Start going to Mass every week. Make an appointment to talk with a priest. Tell him you want to become Catholic. Do whatever he tells you. If he invites you to join RCIA, attend the classes. Even if you’re living “in sin” start attending classes, anyway. You don’t have to make an immediate commitment to be baptized. Jesus came to save sinners. That means you, me … and every person on earth.

3) Surrender to God. Don’t worry about how becoming a Catholic will change your life. God has the perfect solution to every problem you face. Simply surrender your heart to God, and let Him caress you with His loving care. God will give you all the grace you need to become Catholic.

Be assured that I am praying for you. Please let me know what happens on your faith journey.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: One of the most practical benefits of being Catholic is to be able to confess one’s sins, in and through the great Sacrament of Reconciliation, no matter how bad they might be … and receive immediate, absolute assurance of God’s forgiveness, grace, and inestimable love.

That shouldn’t be surprising, since one of the very first things Jesus did after rising again from the dead, was to give the apostles (and their duly ordained successors) the power to forgive sins … something which had, until that moment … been reserved to God, alone:

As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them (John 20:21-23)

Dreaming about Jesus calling you to become Catholic is totally biblical, since it was one of the things that was prophesied in the Old Testament of the Bible, and later confirmed by Saint Peter and others, in the New Testament scriptures.

I would definitely “go” with that!

 Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This week’s Ask Alice: Why do Catholics pray the Hail Mary prayer. Isn’t being a Christian all about life? Not death?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

JH writes: Why do Catholics pray the Hail Mary prayer. Isn’t being a Christian all about life? Not death?

Alice responds: As Christians, we are called to live each day with our eyes fixed on Heaven, our true home. Jesus taught His disciples to live their earthly lives in preparation for Heaven..

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in Heaven……For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:20-21)

But the “Hail Mary” isn’t a prayer for death. Actually, it’s a beautiful prayer that proclaims and celebrates life! Only the final 5 words of this prayer mentions “the hour of our death.” This pro-life prayer invokes Mary’s help and intercession in the present moment of our life. Happily, the “Hail Mary” covers all bases, since, at some point, death will be the present moment of our life.

Listen to the precious words of life prayed to Our Heavenly Mother:

1) “Hail Mary, full of grace”- Mary is recognized for her purity, grace and perfect obedience to God.

2) “the Lord is with thee”- Mary has found favor with the Lord.

3) “blessed art thou among women”- Mary was specially chosen and sanctified by God to be the Mother of His only Son.

4) “blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus”- Blessed is Jesus, our Savior, who Mary carried in her womb.

5) “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now”- We ask for Mary’s motherly intercession and help at the present moment in our life.

6) “and at the hour of our death”- Since Catholics believe that death is a homecoming, we pray for Mary’s intercession in leading us to our eternal life with God in Heaven.

How blessed we are to have our Mother Mary who dearly loves each of her children and is always ready and eager to intercede for us to our Father in Heaven.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Read: A True Story: The “Hail Mary” is a Powerful Prayer

 Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This week’s Ask Alice: Does the term “holy” rightly apply only to God, alone?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Mario asks: My Protestant friend does not think Mary deserves the title “holy”. He states only God is holy and only God can be considered holy. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly holy? Why in the Hail Mary prayer does it use the word “holy” (as in “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners…”)?

Alice answers: The “Hail Mary” which Catholics pray, contains the exact words found in every Protestant, i.e., King James Bible!

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women.”
(Luke 1:28)

The archangel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is the only time in the Bible that an angel praises a human being. In this Scripture verse, Gabriel proclaims that Mary has been perfected in grace. An angel is a messenger of God. Clearly, Gabriel proclaimed the message that Mary is holy because she was sinless. Also, Mary is holy because she carried, bore, and nurtured the Son of God.

“The power of the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35)

Doesn’t your Protestant friend consider saints and angels to be holy? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word “holy” means, “Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power, sacred. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy man.”

The same dictionary defines “saint” as, ” a person who has died and gone to Heaven.” The definition for “blessed” is, “held in veneration, revered.”

All of the dictionary definitions, when compared, define “holy” as a title that befits the Blessed Virgin. To call Mary, the Mother of God, holy, is not only a Catholic truth, but, also, an example of correct English word usage as well!

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: In a Christian context, the word “holy” literally means to be permanently set apart for God’s service.

Leviticus 27:28 Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord.

“Holy” also typically denotes spiritual fidelity, and a complete absence of sin.

Catholics experience holiness in Jesus Christ, through our worthy participation in the sacraments of the church, and by our active participation in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The Blessed Virgin Mary experienced (and continues to experience) holiness in Jesus Christ, in a much more direct manner!

Like many of her contemporaries, Mary, the Mother of God, took a vow of holy virginity in the Temple, at a very young age. Under the Mosaic Law, Mary would remain a virgin, totally devoted to God, even after a subsequent marriage.

The relevant passages can be found in Numbers, chapter 30, where the Law of Moses specifically authorizes just such a vow.

If a woman vow any thing, and bind herself by an oath, being in her father’s house, and but yet a girl in age: if her father knew the vow that she hath promised, and the oath wherewith she hath bound her soul, and held his peace, she shall be bound by the vow: Whatsoever she promised and swore, she shall fulfil in deed. (Numbers 30:3-4)

While the mere taking of such a vow would not necessarily make a person holy, God’s election of that person, for the purpose of divine maternity, most certainly would. There’s absolutely no doubt that the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of God’s “elect”.

Talk about a “personal relationship” with God!
Of all Christians, Protestants, in particular,
ought to be able to easily understand and appreciate
this aspect of Mary’s holiness!

Divine Transformation:

On Mount Sinai, Moses was (literally) transformed after spending only 40 days with God.

And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights: he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant. And when Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was luminous from the conversation of the Lord. And Aaron and the children of Israel seeing the face of Moses, were afraid to come near. And being called by him, they returned, both Aaron and the rulers of the congregation. And after that he spoke to them, And all the children of Israel came to him: and he gave them in commandment all that he had heard of the Lord on Mount Sinai. And having done speaking, he put a veil upon his face.
(Exodus 34:28-33)

For over 30 years, Mary shared her earthly dwelling place with Jesus, who is God, in the flesh. Imagine the effect the Son of God would have on his Blessed Mother, after spending more than 30 years with her?! Note that Mary also is routinely pictured, wearing a veil!

Apostolic Testimony:

The apostles and the disciples knew Mary, and they had no doubt that she was all of these things, and more … according to the power and grace of her son, Jesus, whose human body was divinely fashioned from Mary’s sinless and holy flesh.

The angel Gabriel hailed Mary as “full of grace”. To be “full” means just that … with no room at all in her soul for sin of any kind. God made her that way. He did it for himself … but mainly,
he did it for us.

Jesus Christ … “The holy that was born of thee” … was made of Mary’s own, holy flesh. While there’s no doubt that the power of God alone made that possible, the FACT remains!

The Bible tells us that nothing unholy can enter Heaven. That’s because God dwells in Heaven, with his angels and his saints, and his personal standard of holiness is infinitely high. Would the Father disrespect his son by providing for him (during his nine months in Mary’s womb) anything less than a sinless … and less than holy … human vessel, in which to dwell? Not likely!

Would Jesus accept a woman as his mother that was anything less than holy? Absolutely not! The “mission requirements” of the Messiah demanded a holy mother who would also serve as his most faithful and trusted disciple … one who could not be “turned” by the forces of evil.

For Mary, holiness was absolutely required.
God provided it, Mary willingly cooperated,
and Yahweh’s Salvation (Jesus) was born.
Case closed!

Testimony of the Scriptures:

God makes days holy:

Exodus 12:16 The first day shall be holy and solemn, and the seventh day shall be kept with the like solemnity: you shall do no work in them, except those things that belong to eating.

God makes Israel a holy nation:

Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation. These are the words thou shalt speak to the children of Israel.

God makes men holy:

Exodus 22:31 You shall be holy men to me: the flesh that beasts have tasted of before, you shall not eat, but shall cast it to the dogs.

God makes priestly vestments holy:

Exodus 28:2 And thou shalt make a holy vesture for Aaron, thy brother, for glory and for beauty.

God makes sacrificial vessels holy (bearing graven images, no less):

Exodus 28:36 Thou shalt make also a plate of the purest gold: wherein thou shalt grave with engraver’s work, Holy to the Lord.

God makes animal sacrifices and the hands of the priests who offer them, holy:

Exodus 29:33 That it may be an atoning sacrifice, and the hands of the offerers may be sanctified. A stranger shall not eat of them, because they are holy.

God makes the altar of sacrifice holy, as well as those who serve there:

Exodus 29:37 Seven days shalt thou expiate the altar and sanctify it, and it shall be most holy. Every one, that shall touch it, shall be holy.

God makes oil holy:

Exodus 30:25 And thou shalt make the holy oil of unction, an ointment compounded after the art of the perfumer,

God makes incense holy:

Exodus 30:35-36 And thou shalt make incense compounded by the work of the perfumer, well tempered together, and pure, and most worthy of sanctification. And when thou hast beaten all into very small powder, thou shalt set of it before the tabernacle of the testimony, in the place where I will appear to thee. Most holy shall this incense be unto you.

Because we are God’s children, and he is our God, he makes us holy, through our faithful observance of his laws and precepts:

Leviticus 11:44 For I am the Lord your God. Be holy because I am holy. Defile not your souls by any creeping thing, that moveth upon the earth.

Leviticus 20:7-8 Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy: because I am the Lord your God. Keep my precepts, and do them. I am the Lord that sanctify you.

God’s name is holy, simply because it is HIS name. Wouldn’t Mary be similarly holy simply because she is HIS (Jesus’) mother?:

Leviticus 22:32-33 Profane not my holy name, that I may be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctify you: And who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 27:28 Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord.

I can quote another 387 instances just like these, from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, where God makes various people, days, and things “holy”.

When God takes something or someone to himself and deems it “holy” … who can say otherwise?

This chapter from my book might also be of interest (link)

I hope this helps!

May God richly bless you and yours,

Doug

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This week’s Ask Alice: How to find a good Catholic husband (or wife)



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

SC asks: How come I can’t find any decent, good Catholic men? Help me please. God bless.

Alice answers: You don’t need to find several good, decent Catholic MEN. You only need to find ONE good, Catholic MAN!

The best way to find Mr. Right is to:
1) pray, 2) wait, and 3) love.

1) PRAY
Ask God to send you a good man to marry. You’ve heard the expression, “a match made in Heaven?” Since God initiates ALL relationships, let Him do the heavy lifting. All you need to do is keep your heart open. Sometimes, women have trouble finding Mr. Right because they’re busy seeking a man who meets all the requirements on their checklist: doctor, black hair, blue eyes, 6′ 2″, etc.

Have no expectations. Just keep your heart open wide and let God surprise you with love! Prayer worked, since God sent my Tom to me. Also, our children prayed to find their spouses. Before writing this column, I called each of them and asked.

At our older daughter’s engagement party, Mike, her fiance said he’d been praying that God would send him the right girl to marry. “And, if possible, can she be named Heather?” he asked. God perfectly answered Mike’s prayer when he married our Heather in 2003.

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

2) WAIT
“Be still before the Lord; wait for God…. Wait eagerly for the Lord and keep to the way.” (Psalm 37:4,34)

The biggest mistake of my single years was obsessing, instead of waiting for God to send a good man for me to marry. I fell in love with each of my boyfriends then sobbed my way through mountains of tissues every time a relationship ended.

If only I had realized
that God had a man and a plan for me!

God’s time is not our time. Relax and leave the love connection to God. When you’re not looking for Mr. Right, you’ll find him.

3) LOVE
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Love begets love. Focus daily on loving everyone: little old ladies, toddlers, neighbors, friends, relatives, coworkers. Volunteer at a food pantry, homeless shelter, or hospital. Become a catechist. Answer phone calls at a Crisis Hotline.

My friend, Lynn, met her husband, Chris, while praying in The Life Chain outside of an abortion clinic.

Help at park district programs for special needs children or adults. Volunteer at a nursing home. A 90-year-old resident might have a single grandson. Join a Bible Study group. Sing in the church choir.

Our parish liturgical musician, John, met his wife, Heidi, who sang in the choir.

You’ll meet kind, faith-filled people while doing volunteer work, since it’s kind-hearted people who give the gift of self to serve others.

Go out and socialize. Accept invitations to barbecues and parties.

Many of the best marriages are “set ups”. When your friend says, “There’s someone I’d like you to meet,” say “yes” immediately.

My college friend, Doris, introduced me to Tom. Each of our daughters met her spouse through a girlfriend.

Consider meeting a good man online. There are Catholic and Christian Singles’ websites. This summer we attended a wedding for Andrew and Lindsay, who met online. When Lindsay’s mother appeared embarrassed about her daughters’ online meeting, I assured her that my paternal grandparents, Stanley and Sophie, met through a singles’ ad in a 1913 newspaper.

SC, you’re in my prayers. Please let me know when God sends Mr. Right to you!

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This Week’s Ask Alice: Who should Christians pray to…the Father, or Jesus?



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She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Aldy asks:  Who should Christians pray to…the Father, or Jesus? Why?

Alice Answers: Catholics and all Christians pray to God the Father, Jesus … God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Christians (followers of Christ) are Trinitarians, i.e., believers in the Blessed Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three divine, rational “persons” who together constitute the One God of the Bible, known to Christians as the Holy Trinity.

This remains a mystery of our faith, since absolutely no human being … not the pope, cardinals, or any theologian … is capable of comprehending completely (or satisfactorily explaining) the mystery of our One, Triune God.

Scripture, tradition and personal experience teaches us to pray to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When Catholics make the traditional sign of the cross, we address our prayers precisely that way.

During His life on earth Jesus, taught us to pray to His and our Heavenly Father. When we pray to God, our Father we, God’s children, are talking to our Dad in Heaven. God is our almighty fortress and our strength as he protects us from Satan and all earthly evils. Our loving Father provides our daily bread and all of our earthly needs. God is the giver of all gifts. He has given each of us the gift of life.

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

We pray to Jesus, God the Son, as our Divine Brother, who is also our Heavenly High Priest, and the primary mediator between us and God the Father. Because he became man and lived here on earth for some 33 years, Jesus perfectly understands all that we are feeling and suffering. The visible marks on the hands, feet, head and side of his crucified, resurrected and glorified human body remind us of this. (See John 20:27-28)

We pray to Jesus the way we talk to our brother or best friend. Most importantly, praying along with Jesus himself, the Holy Spirit, and the whole church … Catholics offer Jesus and his one time, once for all, perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, to God the Father, every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … which is being solemnly offered up, somewhere in the world (and for the world) …
every hour of every day, every day of every week,
365 days a year.

Jesus told His disciples that he always is ready and eager to listen and help us.” “If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)

We pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and inspiration. When sending a get well card or letter of encouragement, we pray that the Holy Spirit will give us perfect words to write. When we are unjustly accused of wrongdoing or persecuted for practicing our faith, we pray to the Holy Spirit to give us words to speak in our defense.

“….the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)

The Holy Spirit is also the official “facilitator” of every prayer … while Baptism serves to assure us of our right to a reliable and secure “connection” … so we might be absolutely certain that our prayers have truly been heard.

How blessed we are to have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever ready and waiting to love, assist, support and encourage us every moment of our day and night! In the Blessed Trinity, we have everything we need to live each day of our earthly journey. I can’t imagine getting through one day, or even one hour, without My awesome Father God, my loving Brother Jesus, and the inspiration and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: The apparent confusion over precisely to whom we should address our prayers is the unfortunate result of the spread of limited and faulty Protestant theology, which fails to appreciate the critical reality and importance of the Sacraments … in this case, Baptism … which (among other things) serves to officially enroll us in the Church … and also makes us part of the Royal Priesthood of Believers … who, by virtue of our Baptism, have a divine right to approach God, in prayer … the Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Spirit … or approach him with and/or through other, church approved mediators … any time we like … according to the grace of Jesus Christ.

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This Week’s Ask Alice: More questions about the Blessed Virgin Mary



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Denise writes: We are doing the study of Rediscover Catholicism, by Mathew Kelly. We are discussing evangelizing. My question is, how do you explain praying to Mary, based on the Bible? My sister says we pray to her as an inter mediator to Jesus, as we would pray with a friend. My question to her was, I would not sit you down put candles in front of you, get on my knees, and pray to you. That is a sin. I can not get an answer as to who appeared to whom and on what date in history did this happen to tell us it was OK to pray to any one or thing other than the Trinity. Most of the people we mentor to are former Catholics who can not get an answer to these questions from any one. I can not seem to get an answer. Please answer this for me. (Question edited for length and editorial content.)

Alice answers: Our son, Matthew, owns an auto shop. He is an excellent, honest mechanic. My kind-hearted son often fixes cars for people in need and accepts whatever they can pay. Always, he’ll stop along the highway to assist a stranger with car trouble. With his charitable attitude, Matt is not a rich man. However, Matthew never has spent money advertising his services in the newspaper. His business has spread entirely by word of mouth.

Matthew began carrying screw drivers and wrenches to Our Lady of Peace to repair classroom desks for Mrs. Didio, his 3rd grade teacher. By age 12, strangers were knocking at our front door asking for the boy who repairs lawnmowers. As Matthew’s mom, people often approach me seeking car care from my beloved son. Frequently our phone rings as strangers request the number to Matt’s auto shop. Last week a lady ran up to me at church and exclaimed, “You have the most wonderful son! He fixes our cars all the time.” She told me that Marge, a parishioner, sent her to Matthew.

When the wine ran out during the wedding feast at Cana, waiters approached Mother Mary, who led them to her beloved Son, Jesus. If people come to me seeking Matthew, what better way is there to contact Jesus then through His and our own Dearest Mother Mary?

Have you ever brought your mother roses to honor her on YOUR birthday for giving you the gift of life? Did you ever light a scented candle when she came to visit you? Mary is our mother in faith. Like our earthly mothers, we love and honor our Heavenly Mother as well. As Catholics we believe that Mary intercedes (prays, implores, and pleads) to Jesus for us.

Our Scriptural basis for praying to Mary is found in (Luke 1:46-49):

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

Mary magnifies, i.e., enlarges, increases, and clarifies the greatness of the Lord. When we pray to Mary, she points upward and leads us to her son, Jesus.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: For a short but detailed overview of the how’s and why’s of Catholic Marian beliefs and practices, I suggest you read pages 107 to 117 of my on-line book, The Passion Behind the Passion. Click here to go there

If you click here you will also find a short, illustrated slide show that further explains these things.

The “bottom line” about the Blessed Virgin Mary is her “divine election” as the sinless Mother of God, the holy “Ark” who bore Jesus in her womb … the “New Eve” … who voluntarily gave her entire body and soul to God, with absolutely no reservations … for the purpose of our salvation, in Jesus Christ.

Because Mary was uniquely conceived “full of grace” according to God’s own plan, only Mary was suitable to be the Mother of God.

If that single fact is not enough to merit our respect and reverence for her, than we look further into Jewish tradition and find that the mother of the king of Israel was always tasked with being a special advocate for the people.

Unlike most other cultures, in Israel, the mother of the king is the queen. And since the traditions of the nation of Israel, under kings David and Solomon were intended to be precursors of future things, we find the angel Gabriel (in Luke 1:28) explaining all of this to Mary.

According to the Bible, Mary is/will be:

Hailed by an angel:

Has an angel …ever … before or since … ever “hailed” (greeted with praise and honor) anyone other than God himself?

Full of grace:

No one since Adam was created or conceived in a state of perfect grace.

Adam foolishly squandered his grace, falling into sin and death, through Satan’s whiles.

Mary never failed. Never sinned. She always remained holy and acceptable to God, dedicated solely and eternally to him. Her perpetual virginity is one sign of that dedication.

Mary’s awesome, God given combination of perfect humility and perfect holiness made Satan absolutely powerless against her.

Blessed among women:

Mary was singled out by God to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, to be the Queen of Heaven, and to be superior to all of God’s other creation … according to God’s supernatural grace and plan.

Because of her “election” (by God himself) and her voluntary cooperation, Mary has already been supernaturally perfected in all things. (Since she carried God in her womb for nine months and lived in the same house with him for thirty years, why should that be a surprise to anyone?)

As the mother of Jesus, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Mary was destined to be seated at the right hand of her divine Son, interceding for us … not as a normal human being … but as the triumphant, sinless, supernaturally perfected, awesomely powerful advocate that she now is … courtesy of her divine son, who loves us.

Because of this, Mary already presently enjoys all that we Christians can possibly hope for in Christ. Hence, she is the ONLY non-divine, supernaturally perfect human role model for every faithful Christian, according to God’s grace.

And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end:

All of these things are permanent, eternal, and preordained by God from before the foundations of the world.

Mary is firmly in the “middle” of God’s plan for our salvation … providing her own flesh and blood in order to make Jesus’ human body … from whom our salvation comes.

Mary is at once, Jesus’ first, best, and most constant disciple. One who closely cooperates with God in all these ways truly merits the term “co-redemptrix”.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee:

The Spirit of God hovered above the holy Ark of old, and no one dared touch it, upon pain of death. Inside the Ark were the tablets of the Law, which unfortunately, were never able to save a single soul! Mary uniquely cooperated with God’s plan in order to bring Christ into the world. Doing so, she became the Ark of the New Covenant.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, true God and true man, dwelled within the Blessed Virgin Mary’s holy womb, sanctifying her by his awesome presence and his grace. Those who touched her received him. And those who received Jesus received eternal life.

Which Ark then, is holier? Which is more critical to God’s plan for our salvation? Which Ark held within it the promise of divine redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life?

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word:

Mary’s “fiat” (yes) still resounds throughout human history. Never before or since did God ever wait for someone to say “yes” so he could save the world from their sins.

“Everything” was “riding” on the personal decision of that young Jewish maiden, who always did precisely what God had created her to do, without fail.

Luke 2:6-11  And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock.  And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

Can anyone else, from any generation … past, present, or future … honestly claim to have done the same?

The scriptures also provide other insights into the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Faithful disciple of Jesus Christ:

John 2:5  His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he (Jesus) shall say to you, do ye.

John 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

Acts 2:1-3  And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them.

Mary Assumed into Heaven by the power of God:

(Revelation 11:19)  And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven: and the Ark of his Testament was seen in his Temple. And there were lightnings and voices and an earthquake and great hail.

Crowned as Queen of Heaven:

(Revelation 12:1)  And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Mother of God. Mother of the Church:

(Revelation 12:2-5)  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth: and was in pain to be delivered.  And there was seen another sign in heaven. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads seven diadems. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne.

Of all these things, Saint Luke explains:

Luke 1:1-4 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us, According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word:

It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.

In short, St. Luke gives personal testimony to the truth of all that he recorded in his Gospel. And while the Holy Spirit is rightly credited with inspiring all of the sacred scriptures, we can be sure that the Blessed Virgin Mary described the blessed events of the Annunciation, Christmas, and all the others … to him … for the Blessed Virgin Mary was most certainly the primary eye-witness to every major New Testament event … even more so than the apostles. The Bible confirms this.

The more a person studies these things (and prays on them) the more a person comes to understand the mind of the church, the mind of God, and the unique and awesome role that God envisioned for the Blessed Virgin Mary (and for us all).

And since Jesus Christ, who is God, rightly honors his mother in ways that mere mortals can only imagine… who are we to do any less? (Always remembering that worship is reserved to God, alone.)

For much more on this, I suggest you study the extensive material to be found at this site. (click here)

I hope this helps. Please write again.

God bless you,

Doug

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