Sunday, March 15, 2009

Does Mary Detract attention from Christ?

 Well, what do you think?  Do you like this picture?  What is your immediate emotional reaction to this picture?  Think about it.  Why are you reacting that way?

The first thing that comes to my mind, is that it is a picture that only a Catholic would feel comfortable with.  I could be wrong, but these are my feelings that I am sharing.  As a matter of fact, I would not have been comfortable with this picture before deciding to become Catholic. 

The reason why I feel that only a Catholic would feel comfortable with this picture is because it has Mary in it.  Is it only Catholics that love Mary?  Shouldn't all Christians in the world over, love Mary, even to the point of appreciating and loving art that depicts her and Christ together?  One would think so, but at least for me, that was not the case.  My belief was that anything that detracts away from Christ, was to be avoided at all cost.

I am reading a book titled, The World's First Love by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  As a Catholic in training, I am learning to overcome my Protestant misconceptions about Catholics relationship with Mary.  This book is helping me to do just that.  In it, Fulton Sheen discusses the feelings that I had regarding taking away glory from Christ by focusing attention on His mother.  In it, he says:

No mother whose son has won distinction for himself, either in a profession or in the field of battle, believes that the respect paid her for being his mother detracts from the honor or dignity that is paid her son.  Why, then, do some minds think, that any reverence paid to the Mother of Jesus detracts from His Power and Divinity?

How true.  By calling attention to Mary, Catholics in no way shape or form detract from Christ.  It was God that made Mary a part of the plan of salvation.  Fulton Sheen goes on to say:

Now, it must never be thought that the Incarnation would have been impossible without the Virgin Birth.  Rash, indeed, would be the human mind to dictate to Almighty God the methods that He should use in coming to this earth.  But once the Virgin Birth is revealed, then it is proper for us to inquire into its fitness, as we are now doing.

God chose to enter into this world, through the Virgin Mary.  Did He have to do it that way?  Of course not.  He could have assumed human flesh by creating it without the aid of the Mary.  He could have just appeared as an adult walking from the desert lands - but He didn't.  The fact that He chose her, should give us moment to pause and consider her.  God loved Mary more uniquely than He has loved or will love any other of His creations.  Mary is special, unique.  Think about it, when Jesus ascended into Heaven and as He sits at the right hand of the Father, whose flesh does He share?  Mary's of course.  No other human being in the world will be able to make that claim.  For this reason alone, she is special, and is worthy of our respect, honor, and gratitude.  Why shouldn't we honor Mary?  Jesus did.

1 comment:

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

I was with you until the last paragraph. Yes, Mary is unique. The most important thing about Mary is not that Jesus shares her DNA (and the DNA of all of her ancestors), it is that she said yes without hesitation. It is that she was such a wonderful example of service.

The most important point about Jesus is that Jesus is fully human as well as divine. Jesus was born human and divine.

While I believe Mary is a perfect example of living our faith, I think many people do let her detract attention from Christ. This is not because of the teaching of the Church.

When I see statues of Mary that are treated with more respect than humans and people that misunderstand the simple beautiful prayer that is the Hail Mary (it is scriptural!), I understand the criticism of the Protestants on this matter.