The Virgin Mary, Suffering, and the School of the Cross

We, the Church, we are the Body of Christ. We say that all the time, but do we really believe that? If we do, then we need to know two things: (1) that Mary is our Mother, and (2) that our sorrows have meaning, they have a purpose.

Michelangelo, Pieta (1499)
Michelangelo, Pieta (1499)

Let’s start with a good bit of Biblical trivia to keep in your back pocket: what was Adam’s wife’s original name? You might be tempted to say “Eve,” but that’s wrong. It’s actually “Woman.” That’s what Adam names her in Genesis 2, when they first meet. And she’s renamed at a very interesting time. In the midst of God kicking them out of the Garden, Adam turns to his wife and says, ‘You will be named Eve,’ because you will be “Mother of the living.” The timing seems strange, both because they’re in the middle of being punished, and because they have no children. She’s not the mother of anybody yet.

So what’s this odd scene about? As we saw yesterday, it’s looking forward to the Cross. And so, in today’s Gospel: Jesus, at the Cross, sees Mary, and says to her, “Woman, behold your son.” And then to the Beloved Disciple, “Behold, your Mother.” She goes from “Woman’ to “Mother” at the exact moment in which Christ lifts the Curse on Adam and Eve. No wonder, then, that early Christians like St. Irenaeus, recognized Mary the “New Eve.”

But, remember, Eve means “Mother of the living.” And Mary is the Mother of all those living in Christ, all of Jesus’ beloved Disciples. Revelation 12 says this. After Satan can’t defeat the Mother of Christ, it says [in Rev. 12:17] “the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.” That’s us. We are her children.

Mary is the Mother of Christ: she gave Him His Body. We are part of that Body. We’re joined to Jesus Christ in Baptism, which means that God is our Father, and Mary is our Mother.

Be we don’t just celebrate Mary as Our Lady today, but as Our Lady of Sorrows. Because it’s not for nothing that Christ gave her to us at the Cross, the very moment in which, according to Simeon’s prophesy in Luke 2, a sword of sorrow was piercing her soul.

Mothers love their children, and it hurts to see them in pain. This Mother, when everyone else ran away, or stood and watched “at a distance,” she bravely stood at the foot of the Cross and consoled her divine Son as He was tortured and killed.

But why? Why does sinless Mary suffer? Well, for the same reason that Jesus does. Like us, Our Lady is part of the Body of Christ, and that’s what Jesus takes on a Body for in the first place: to suffer unto death for the life of the world. Jesus didn’t say, “take up your Cross and throw it away,” but “take up your cross and follow me.” He doesn’t suffer and die so that we don’t have to suffer. He suffered and died so our sufferings have meaning.

So we’re not promised a life without suffering. We’re promised something better: that our sufferings matter to Christ, and that He and His sorrowing Mother are present with us in every one of our crosses.

The Body of Christ suffers for others, but the Body suffers as One. This is our calling, and it is through this suffering Body that we will rise to the eternal glory of the Resurrection, joining Jesus Christ and His Mother forever.

46 Comments

  1. Jesus didn’t die strictly so our sufferings would have meaning. He died so that sin would be punished, in Him because He bore the sins of believers bodily. Suffering has a purpose simply because in believers, God works all things for good including suffering.

    BTW, Jesus suffering mother isn’t present with anyone. She lacks the ability to transcend space and time…something that Holy Spirit, which is outside of time, cannot do. Mary is in heaven, and that is literally where she is present.

      1. Sorry if I was short in my reply, I had a volleyball game to run to.

        To answer your question:

        1. First, I was quoting 1 Peter 2:24: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross”

        2. Some Church Fathers did indeed teach Penal Substitution, while none taught the satisfaction theory (the one that modern Roman Catholicism subscribes to). The majority taught the Ransom Theory (from Satan).

        One example is Athanasius Letter to Marcellinius where he writes, “For He did not die as being Himself liable to death: He suffered for us, and bore in Himself the wrath that was the penalty of our transgression.” There are a few more, which I quote here: http://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/06/03/penal-substitution-as-a-theory-of-atonement-in-the-early-church-fathers/

        3. Your reply does not really address my point concerning Mary 🙂

      2. 4. Suffering is something good for believers, I think this is a profound point that warrants repeating. It isn’t that suffering itself is good, but that God works good through it. “For He judged it better to bring good out of evil, than not to permit any evil to exist” (Augustine, The Handbook on Hope, Faith, and Love, Chapter 27).

        1. Craig Truglia says:
          September 17, 2015 at 1:36 am
          4. Suffering is something good for believers, I think this is a profound point that warrants repeating.

          What if one does not suffer? Is it necessary for salvation?

          It isn’t that suffering itself is good, but that God works good through it. “For He judged it better to bring good out of evil, than not to permit any evil to exist” (Augustine, The Handbook on Hope, Faith, and Love, Chapter 27).

          You’ll have to make your point a little more clearly. As it is, it sounds as though you are making a point totally foreign to what St. Augustine was making. You are, in essence, twisting his words.

          St. Augustine is a Catholic. And he believes in the efficacy of suffering for the expiation of sins. Or did you forget already, that St. Augustine accepted the Doctrine of Purgatory, which is in its essence, a Doctrine of suffering for the expiation of sins.

    1. Craig, I guess then in your opinion Moses and Elias have greater capabilities of communicating with those on Earth than the Most Blessed Virgin Mary? Why should they be capable of such communication, and the Mother of God not have the same, or even greater? And these great Prophets appeared even before the Death and Resurrection of the Lord :

      “And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him.” (Matt. 17:1)

      1. “Craig, I guess then in your opinion Moses and Elias have greater capabilities of communicating with those on Earth than the Most Blessed Virgin Mary?”

        Never commented on communication abilities. Communicating from the dead does not make someone “present,” which was the idea I was objecting to.

        1. Well, Moses indeed was present to Jesus on Mt. Tabor, as was also Elias. So, according to this scripture, at least it is a possibility for the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to be present, and to communicate with, other members of the ‘Mystical Body of Christ’ here on Earth.

          1. It’s possible for Samuel, Polycarp, and others. However, what Joe was talking about is some sort of normative expectation that Mary will be present with us. I just think that we have no reason to believe this any more than the idea that Samuel is always present with us.

            I am not trying to say Joe is a bad guy, I wouldn’t write here if I thought so. However, I think it is telling that his second homily ascribes such claims about Mary, while hundreds of homilies of the church fathers for the first 500 years of the church have been preserved and none of them make such claims. I think there has been a major change in emphasis in worship in the Catholic Church. I think we need to return to much of what used to be taught and emphasized (Ransom theory of the atonement aside, I don’t think any of us want to return to that 😉 )

          2. “I think we need to return to much of what used to be taught and emphasized”

            I guess things such as the history of: Early Christian ordinations and ‘priesthood’, Ecclesiastical hierarchy and structure, Synod and Council canons, the ‘Catechumenate’, Church discipline and penances, The importance of the ‘Viaticum’ before death, Universal Church unity, Monasticism and Religious rules of life, etc… should fit the bill. 🙂

          3. To be fair Al, you changed the topic to things you like in the early church andappear happy to add the things that they lack, This is actually against emphasizing what the early church emphasized, but rather emphasizing what moderns want to emphasize. So, this actually puts you at profound disagreement with me.

            Concerning penances and such, the first mention of such things I can find is post-Nicene, in the 4th century. The Priesthood precedes the 4th century, as Cyprian writes about it. So, we may go back and fourht on these things.

            However, my point still stands. The emphasis is wholly different. I’ve been to a Catholic Mass recently where they spoke about Mary the whole time and maybe mentioned Jesus twice. This is completely out of step with historic Christianity, and that’s my point. I think you are deliberately ignoring this.

          4. “I think there has been a major change in emphasis in worship in the Catholic Church”

            Craig, the very short list of topics that I included was meant to address the “major change in emphasis in worship in the Catholic Church” that you claimed to have happened. If I raised these topics for the sole reason that I like, or enjoy them, it is actually pretty ridiculous as each of these topics are completely ‘systemic’ elements of early Church ecclesiology. That is, they’re not just fanciful ideas and theories, they are ‘how’ the Church operated in the earliest centuries. And to neglect these historical facts of HOW the Church did indeed worship, i.e.. celebrate the Eucharist (the New Covenant), teach ignorant converts (catechumenate), discipline it’s members (excommunicate, penance), correct Church theological errors (Synods and Councils) and forgive mens sins ( Viaticum before death for repentant heretics), is to ignore the most incredible story the world has ever known, the story of the mystical body of Christ functioning, and making decisions, and spreading throughout the world from it’s very infancy.

            Theological theory, argumentation and debate is only ONE PART of the Church, but what the Church actually PRACTICED, and how it was systemically organized in the first 500 years is ANOTHER PART and is concrete matter for understanding HOW the Church lived out and expressed that theological faith in actuality.

            On Mary? You probably went to a Mass in on one of the Feast Days that we honor her with. You might remember in Church History all of the controversy over the date of the ‘Pasch’, or Easter. Well, the ‘liturgical year’ was another important organizational element of the Early Church which should not be ignored by thoughtful Christians. These included long fasting periods before Easter, specific times for the instruction and the initiating of new converts to the Church, etc.. which provided the early Church with a mechanism to teach the Gospel, and Holy Faith in a systemic way throughout the Year. So, if you ‘just happened’ to go to Mass on the week before Christmas, you would almost certainly hear a homily on Jesus entering Jerusalem with crowds of people holding and placing palm leaves before him. In the liturgical year, this is the theme for the day. The same happens for Good Friday, Easter, Advent, and other Feast days throughout the year. If you remember the date that you went to Mass, you can look up the Gospel readings for the day, or the particular celebration on the WWW, and it will most certainly be a day honoring Mary. But the fact that the Church utilizes a ‘Liturgical year’ to systemically teach the Gospel in a balanced and complete way throughout the year, refutes your implication that Catholics preach Mary more than Jesus. You might say, Mary gets her appropriate time in the spotlight for our meditation and contemplation throughout the year. St. Augustine, Francis, Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, and many more, also get attention on their ‘Feast Days’.

            By the way. This ‘Liturgical year’ is entirely ingenious and is filled with immense wisdom and spiritual power for teaching the Holy Faith. It’s something you should probably explore more closely in your study of the Church.

            Best to you.

          5. That is a very long non sequitur and it does not address my point. I suggest you respond back to what I initially said because I should not have to respond back to points I did not address.

          6. Craig, your original argument to who? You also mix your arguments between others, like Joe’s, and my own, and assume that I am following your thread with Joe. So, to put it simply, you also are unclear, and add much new subject matter.

            I was particularly responding to what you wrote to me: “This is actually against emphasizing what the early church emphasized, but rather emphasizing what moderns want to emphasize. So, this actually puts you at profound disagreement with me.”

            This ’emphasis’ relates directly to the values and practices of the early Church itself, for which reason I stressed the importance of the ancient practices of the Church, because obviously, these practices reflected for them the things that they themselves ’emphasized’.

            then you brought up your one Mass that you went wherein you heard a homily on the Blessed Virgin. And for this reason I responded that you have a very mistaken understanding of the Catholic Mass, and Catholics as a whole, if you judge by one single Eucharistic Service. I elaborated to include the Liturgical calendar, because obviously you seem to think the liturgy is dominated by Marian preaching and worship of one sort or other.

            So, I was really just responding charitably to your post to me. (Not Joe)

          7. Again, my point concerning emphasis pertained to Marian doctrines, which never warranted homilies written about them for hundreds of years. This was my initial point, and the point I reiterated. Your response appears to me, perhaps not intentionally, as a debater’s tactic. Instead of responding to what I wrote:

            “However, I think it is telling that his second homily ascribes such claims about Mary, while hundreds of homilies of the church fathers for the first 500 years of the church have been preserved and none of them make such claims. I think there has been a major change in emphasis in worship in the Catholic Church. I think we need to return to much of what used to be taught and emphasized…”

            You come up with an alternate list with ancient church teachings (many of which 5th century and on, actually) and say, “Well, look I affirm all of these though!”

            However, that did not address my original point 🙂 You merely emphasized what you agreed with, but did not address that you emphasize totally different things that the ancient church didn’t, particularly the time and attention paid to Mary.

            God bless,
            Craig

          8. OK Craig, I wasn’t so concerned about Joe’s second homily. What attracted my attention was your statement… “I think there has been a major change in emphasis in worship in the Catholic Church. I think we need to return to much of what used to be taught and emphasized.” When you use the word ‘worship’ it is a very general term, and entails many things such as ordinations, sacraments and catechesis, all of which played a major role in the early Church. So, I was talking about ‘Worship’ in general. I didn’t associate Mary with worship, because Catholics don’t worship her, so it didn’t even cross my mind.

            As for ‘Mariology’, there are a lot of Church fathers such a Sts. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Augustine, Ambrose, etc… that wrote of her generally, but not to a great extent. However, that icons were considered a type of ‘canonical’ art form, and that such art was meant for purposes of prayer and meditation, I think that such a history of iconography teaches something about the history of Christians ‘praying’ to Mary.

            I’ll look into this further, though, when I get the time.

            Best to you, and sorry for the confusion on topics. Usually when I put quotations as the first sentence of my comment, I am trying to focus on the words of that same quote in particular. This is because in any one paragraph in the comments section there are often many ideas alluded to, and it’s difficult to respond to them all, and so I just choose one quote, or the other, that intrigues me.

          9. Craig said – Again, my point concerning emphasis pertained to Marian doctrines, which never warranted homilies written about them for hundreds of years. This was my initial point, and the point I reiterated. Your response appears to me, perhaps not intentionally, as a debater’s tactic. Instead of responding to what I wrote:

            Me – Joe discussed a homily about Mary (~200 AD) right on this very blog. See “The Early Church and the Virgin Mary: St. Gregory the Wonder-Worker”

            Good thing you weren’t around to attend that Mass. You would been scandalized!

          10. I read it, here’s a link: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/gregory_thaumaturgus_homily.htm

            Again, my point is that hundreds of ancient homilies existed, none of them made such claims about Mary being present to believers. I will admit, I was yet to read one that dwelt on the subject of Mary, but if you read the homily it does not say anything about Mary that most Protestants would not readily affirm (the key exception being the implication show would perpetually be a virgin, though this is not inconsistent with Protestantism and has historically been upheld by some).

            So, I appreciate you bringing up the homily by St. Gregory the WOnder Worker, but it still does not address what I said 🙁

        2. Craig – However, my point still stands. The emphasis is wholly different. I’ve been to a Catholic Mass recently where they spoke about Mary the whole time and maybe mentioned Jesus twice. This is completely out of step with historic Christianity, and that’s my point. I think you are deliberately ignoring this.

          Me – I was really trying to focus on this point but wasn’t clear at all. As you know we celebrate the saint’s lives on certain days and sometimes the homily will focus on that particular saint and how we can apply their saintly lives to our own.

          You say much of what St. Gregory said is in line with what Protestants believe, yet how would your congregation react if that very same sermon was said from your church’s pulpit? I dare say many would be upset and probably say something similar to what you had to say about the Mass you attended. “Look how much time Preacher Bob spent talking about Mary! It’s not even Christmas eve!” Frankly, most would be appalled. Actions speak louder than words.

          1. Well, most of the homily is really about Jesus. I think it could be given pretty much anywhere, but many Protestants (if paying attention) might not like the inference in the homily that Mary was perpetually a virgin.

    2. Where can you prove that she lacks the ability to transcend space and time? Are you saying that after we die we aren’t part of the Church or the vine? If she isn’t present with anyone one then one of us must be cut off from the body of Christ…the church. That means someone isn’t with Christ….therefore in hell. Your exegesis makes no sense with scripture Craig.

    3. Craig Truglia says:
      September 16, 2015 at 11:34 pm
      ….
      BTW, Jesus suffering mother isn’t present with anyone. She lacks the ability to transcend space and time…something that Holy Spirit, which is outside of time, cannot do. Mary is in heaven, and that is literally where she is present.

      Where is heaven? Hint: Luke 17:21

      1. Indeed De Maria.

        To build on Luke 17:21.

        “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2).

      2. Craig: No human being has the capability to do ANYTHING except by the Divine Will and power of God–ordaining or permitting it!

        The Second Person of the infinite and eternal Trinity became a human being, a man, enfleshed in the human womb of His own creature. That is a miracle beyond the comprehension of the greatest minds who ever existed in the history of the world!

        If God can so bend the laws of Nature that He Himself created to be at His service, how dare anyone deny that He can, by His unfathomable Divine power, make Mary, the Blessed Mother of His only-begotten Son, present to anyone that God so deems He wants her present to?

        If God gives Mary His gift of transcending space and time, then shame on those who refuse to believe that He can do this lesser miracle, after believing in the unknowable, unspeakable mystery of the Incarnation.

        Remember, Protestants: God can do whatever He wants. He has sent Mary down to earth on several occasions to warn mankind about our sins and urge us to repentance. Each of her apparitions has been confirmed by unexplained miracles of Nature. I refer you to the Tilma of Juan Diego, in the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for one. (You might also want to examine the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Fatima, just to name a couple)

    4. Craig,

      It’s not clear to me that your objection to Mary being present to us in our crosses is valid. For example:

      Mary also lacks the ability to be conceived w/o sin, yet she always was and always will have been so by God’s gracious gift. God can and does give gifts to his creatures which surpass their natural ability. Our supernatural end is an example.

      Second, “literal” presence can mean at least two different things. For instance, it can mean physically adjacent to or spiritually in contact with another.

      One could of course define the term “literal” to preclude the spiritual connotation, and that’s totally fine and in some ways more intuitive. But, Joe didn’t even use the term literal to describe the way in which Mary is present to us in our sufferings, so its very likely he meant it in a way totally in accordance w/ the divine favors granted her.

      Modes of presence may sound like hair-splitting, but it is not. For instance, there are 4 ways that Christ is present at a mass, and the difference determines whether or not you genuflect to your priest or to the tabernacle on your way out.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Alan

  2. awlms says:
    September 17, 2015 at 2:15 am
    Well, Moses indeed was present to Jesus on Mt. Tabor, as was also Elias. So, according to this scripture, at least it is a possibility for the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to be present, and to communicate with, other members of the ‘Mystical Body of Christ’ here on Earth.

    Reply
    Craig Truglia says:
    September 17, 2015 at 3:12 am
    It’s possible for Samuel, Polycarp, and others. However, what Joe was talking about is some sort of normative expectation that Mary will be present with us. I just think that we have no reason to believe this any more than the idea that Samuel is always present with us.

    ————————

    Craig, While it’s possible for “Samuel, Polycarp, and others” as you say, the facts of scripture show that Moses and Elijah were there with Jesus. Awlms pointed out these facts already. We don’t have the same facts for Samuel, Polycarp, and others.

    At the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple, Simeon prophesied about how Jesus will be the cause of the “rise and fall of many in Israel”. He will be a “sign that will be opposed… revealing the secret thoughts of many.” AND WHILE HE WAS SAYING THAT, he concluded his prophecy by mentioning a “sword” that will pierce Mary’s own heart.

    Why would Simeon mention this suffering of Mary if this is not significant in the over all picture of Christ’s suffering? Both Mary and Joseph were present there, yet Simeon prophesied nothing about Joseph’s suffering.

    1. “Why would Simeon mention this suffering of Mary if this is not significant in the over all picture of Christ’s suffering?”

      St. Hilary thought it was a reference to judgment for sin, something he thought Mary was not excluded from.

      “Both Mary and Joseph were present there, yet Simeon prophesied nothing about Joseph’s suffering.”

      THis is a good point, though my opinion is that Mary was actually present at the crucifixion and that this was at least in part the suffering (a mother losing a child) that was being referred to. However, we are talking about the purpose of suffering. We know why Jesus had to suffer, it is through His stripes we are healed. He suffered because this was necessary for us to be saved from our sin. Mary’s suffering has nothing to do with our sin. Honestly, I do not think the two should be compared. Mary’s suffering would be like any of ours…something that God works for all of our individual good, somehow, if we love God in truth.

      1. Craig – Mary’s suffering would be like any of ours…something that God works for all of our individual good, somehow, if we love God in truth.

        Me – Actually we are part of the body of Christ and as such we can unite our suffering with Christ’s for the good of His body not just our individual good. We can unite our suffering with Christ’s for the benefit of someone else. Our suffering has a purpose now as does Mary’s and any other Christian.

        Colossians 1:24
        Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

          1. Craig Truglia says:
            September 18, 2015 at 10:52 pm
            I agree. God works the suffering of all believers for good, but that includes the one who suffers.

            You are supporting our point with that statement. That is what it means to expiate sin by suffering.

      2. Craig Truglia says:
        September 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm

        THis is a good point, though my opinion is that Mary was actually present at the crucifixion and that this was at least in part the suffering (a mother losing a child) that was being referred to. However, we are talking about the purpose of suffering. We know why Jesus had to suffer, it is through His stripes we are healed. He suffered because this was necessary for us to be saved from our sin. Mary’s suffering has nothing to do with our sin. ….

        Jesus is Mary’s Son.
        Mary suffered because Her Son suffered.
        Her Son suffered because of our sin.

        Ipso facto, Mary suffered because of our sin.

          1. Craig Truglia says:
            September 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm
            John suffered because his Lord suffered. John suffered for our sin?

            If that Lord is Jesus, yes.

            Why did you think that we are the Body of Christ? Why do you think that we must suffer in order to be glorified with Him? Did you think it was merely a cute saying?

            1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

            John 15:13
            Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

  3. Regarding Mary being capable of receiving our prayers, consider the following scriptures. Jesus says in the Gospel:

    “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10)

    And also:

    “For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven.” (Mark 12:25)

    If angels have the ability to monitor and communicate in a Heavenly way to God regarding our affairs here on Earth, why wouldn’t it be reasonable for Saints like Mary to do the same, considering that they are “as the angels in heaven”, according to the scripture?

    Moreover, The Book of Revelation relates:

    “And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:”( Revelation 5:8)

    Note that it says, four and twenty ancients, which implies the are ‘human’. If these ‘ancients’ were capable of offering the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS to God….would one really think the ‘MOTHER OF GOD’ could not do the same, or even greater, when she entered into her Heavenly Glory?

    It seems only logical that she indeed would have such capabilities.

  4. Being that there are three different replies reiterating the same thing, let me issue one reply. I am not dismissing out of hand the appearance of Mary or any other saint. What I am dismissing is the NORMATIVE expectation that one saint is more “present” than another. CHristians may normally expect the literal presence of the Holy Spirit, because their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, because He literal dwells with them. THe saints, though able to appear, are not necessarily going to and because their appearance is so rare in the Scripture (and even is tradition), it is not something we should expect or take comfort in specifically (though we may take comfort in their prayers, but that is another matter.)

    I know everyone here is intelligent enough to make the distinction, though I am not sure why everyone has avoided addressing it. I would ask, please address my actual point instead of raising different ones.’

    Best,
    Craig

    1. Craig,

      I’m trying to clear things up a little. What do you mean by more “present”?

      Also, can you cut and paste your “original” actual point below?. I’m doing this via an iphone and the comments already look overwhelming and this would somewhat clean the slate.

      Thanks

      CK

      1. “Present” is the word chosen by Joe. I responded:

        “BTW, Jesus suffering mother isn’t present with anyone. She lacks the ability to transcend space and time…something that Holy Spirit, which is outside of time, cannot do. Mary is in heaven, and that is literally where she is present.”

        I clarified in a later post that what I was speaking of is the normative expectation of the presence of a saint. For example, saints have appeared to people after death in the Bible. However, I don’t expect to see Moses when I walk through my room. There is a different level of “presence” when we compare the Holy Spirit to a saint. The Holy Spirit is literally present in the believer. THe saint essentially is not, outside of certain extremely rare situations. Therefore, we do not normally expect it and do not speak of it in such terms.

    2. Craig Truglia says:
      September 18, 2015 at 11:54 am
      Being that there are three different replies reiterating the same thing, let me issue one reply. I am not dismissing out of hand the appearance of Mary or any other saint.

      Ok.

      What I am dismissing is the NORMATIVE expectation that one saint is more “present” than another.

      Maybe I missed it. Did someone say that one Saint was more present than another?

      CHristians may normally expect the literal presence of the Holy Spirit, because their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, because He literal dwells with them.

      Hm? Do you realize that the Holy Spirit is eternal? Do you realize that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can never be separated? Do you realize that heaven is God’s dwelling place? Do you realize that Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within us?

      If you do realize these things, what does that tell you about the presence of the Saints?

      THe saints, though able to appear, are not necessarily going to and because their appearance is so rare in the Scripture (and even is tradition), it is not something we should expect or take comfort in specifically (though we may take comfort in their prayers, but that is another matter.)

      What is “rare” to you? Do you realize that the Virgin Mary has appeared to people in every generation, including her own? Did you know that her first appearance, before she appeared to St. John, the Apostle (Rev 12:1) was to St. James the greater, in Spain, before he was beheaded?

      I know everyone here is intelligent enough to make the distinction, though I am not sure why everyone has avoided addressing it. I would ask, please address my actual point instead of raising different ones.’

      Your actual point seems to be that you distinguish between the presence of God and that of His Saints. Whereas, one of our understandings of heaven is eternal union with God. We, err I, didn’t know that Protestants held a different understanding of heaven.

      Do you believe that going to heaven means eternal union with God? Yes or no.

      Best,
      Craig

      Best to you also.

    3. Craig, I’ll try to make this short regarding why one saint might appear and not another regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary.

      Jesus taught us something about the nature of saints and angels Eternal Life when He related the story about Lazarus at the gate of the rich man. (Luke 16:22) Recall what he says after Lazarus dies, that he was RECIEVED into the bosom of Abraham, and the rich man was BURIED in Hell: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’ s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.”

      Now this short teaching is rich in content. First, we note that Jesus tells us the particular name of the poor man in the story: ” there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus”. And this is important because it indicates that there is both personal relationship and even companionship in Heaven. And this is because Lazarus was brought to the BOSOM of ABRAHAM which reveals a very close and familial relationship. Other scriptures confirm this, such as:
      “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the BOSOM of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18)

      “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ BOSOM one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23)

      So, it can easily be assumed that Abraham knew entirely of the name, the trials, and the tribulations of this poor man Lazarus, due to this great familiarity as described by Jesus which normally doesn’t come instantaneously. This would reveal that the saints, such as Abraham, intimately know the condition and names of people here below, even if people like Lazarus could not know intimately the personal details of such Saints
      as Abraham, except maybe by what was revealed in the stories told to them in scripture. So Lazarus would hear, or read, of Abraham, and then after death go to Him in a very familiar relationship, i.e.. ‘in is bosom’.

      Now, getting back to Mary. If Lazarus was brought to the ‘bosom’ of Abraham, could we not be brought to the ‘bosom’ of Jesus, after death? Or, the ‘bosom’ of Mary? That Abraham was a saint and not God Himself, indicates that we indeed might be brought to the ‘bosom of Mary’, whom it is revealed by scripture that she is our Mother: “Behold thy Mother”. And if Abraham knew the name and condition of Lazarus from Heaven, wouldn’t our Heavenly Mother not also know our names and conditions? Why Abraham and not Mary?

      So this is all something to consider.

      1. I might add one more idea.

        If Jesus said : “I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.(Luke 15:7)”

        Does this not absolutely teach that those who are currently in Heaven, such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, are intimately aware of everything that happens here on Earth, and even pay careful attention to sinners, wherein they have MORE joy over the repentance of such sinners, than the just deeds Saints?

        So, this implies that it is not only Mary, but all who are in Heaven, who are attentive to the souls and deeds of every individual on Earth. It should then be easy to understand how prayers to these Angels and Saints in Heaven would be not only be easily understood by them, but much appreciated by them too. That is, as Jesus insinuates, it would bring them joy. 🙂

        Praying to the Saints in Heaven with a purpose of imitating their holy deeds and in reforming our sinful lives = penance.

        1. It’s all in plain English, and clearly says “there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.”

          What’s so complicated? This is a very instructive teaching of Christ that should be cherished greatly, as it teaches us about the nature of Heaven.

          Tying others in Heaven to Mary, we know that she is ALSO in Heaven, as Scripture has her saying to St. Elizabeth:

          “From this day ALL GENERATIONS will call me Blessed” (Luke 1:48).

          Moreover, how is this not on topic in that it both answers your question above with an important scripture, and also is focused EXACTLY on the topic:

          “The Virgin Mary, Suffering, and the School of the Cross”.

        2. Craig, I just want to remind you of what you considered the topic for which you asked others to respond to:

          ““BTW, Jesus suffering mother ISN’T PRESENT WITH ANYONE. She lacks the ability to transcend space and time…something that Holy Spirit, which is outside of time, cannot do. Mary is in heaven, and that is literally where she is present.”

          My argument is simply:

          1. Mary is in Heaven
          2. According to Jesus, those in Heaven are made joyful over both sinners that do penance, as well as the ” just who need not penance.”
          3. According to Jesus those in Heaven rejoice MORE for the 1 sinner “who does penance”, than for the “99 just who need not penance”. (Luke 15:7)
          4. All of this teaching of Jesus assumes that those in Heaven are completely aware of the sins and virtues of both the 1 and 99, that is,the penances of the sinners and the just deeds of the virtuous.
          5. How they are aware isn’t important. What IS important is that they have this intimate knowledge, and exactly how they are present doesn’t matter much either, as long as they indeed are aware and responsive to the repentant sinners and the just.
          6. As Mary is one who is in Heaven, it can reasonably be assumed that she is included in those who are joyous in Heaven, when Jesus said…”there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance”.
          7 Mary, therefore, if she is one of these ‘joyous’ citizens of Heaven, would also be someone who had intimate knowledge of the many sins and virtues of both the 1 repentant sinner and the 99 just, otherwise there would be no cause for her joy.
          8. This highly intimate knowledge of Mary of these sins and virtues would assume some type of presence, either spiritual or otherwise, due to the attentive details with which would cause her joy over the said repentant sinner.

          When you say ‘Jesus suffering mother isn’t present with anyone’, this seems to say that she isn’t aware of anything that Saints or Sinners do on Earth. And this contradicts the above Gospel teaching of Jesus, because every sinful act and repentant act would need to be known by her such as to cause her to be joyous of the change of condition of the former sinner. Likewise, every virtuous act of the 99 would also need to be known, so as to make a competent comparison. and from which one could conclude that the joy was more for the 1 repentant sinner, than the others who were just, that is, the 99 saints ‘who needed no penance’.

          How those in Heaven know these things, Jesus doesn’t say. But that He does teach and instruct us about Heaven is very informative, and this teaching is similar to the other that He taught wherein He instructed us about the after life: “For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven.”

          All of this is very profitable for the disciple of Christ to know.

          I hope this makes more sense.

        3. Craig Truglia says:
          September 18, 2015 at 10:57 pm
          Honestly seems like a stretch and it does not really address the topic…

          It is precisely on topic. And it seems like a stretch to those who don’t really believe the Word of God, as it is written:
          James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

          Elias, (aka Elijah) was not mentioned here, in passing. He is an example of one to whom we should pray for intercession. His prayers are powerful!

          Or do you believe that Elijah is dead? Do you believe Jesus or not?

          John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

          Believest thou this, Craig?

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