Catholic Bible 101

21st Century Catholic Apologetics for Mary's Spiritual Warriors

The Blessed Virgin Mary
            
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the one woman in the entire Bible who makes the claim, “All generations to come shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).  And why is that?  Well, Catholics believe it is because she was preserved from all time from sin by a special privilege of God.  God got to create His own mother on earth. 
 
The beautiful harp music rendition of Ave Maria you hear playing in the background comes from the beautiful Sally Fletcher, with her permission.  If you would like to purchase a copy of it and other beautiful harp music by this wonderful person, click here.
 
Since original sin (The sin of Adam) is passed down through the womb from one generation to the next, God made Mary free from original sin so that Jesus would also be free from it.  This Catholic dogma is called the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  This doctrine does not mean that Mary doesn’t need a Savior; in fact, in her Magnificat speech, she says that “her soul rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:47).  All this means is that she was prevented from falling into the snake pit of sin by the grace of God, rather than being saved from it after sinning, like the rest of us.  Catholics believe that this was prefigured in Genesis 3:15, where God told Adam and Eve that He “Will put enmity” between the devil and “THE WOMAN”.  Since Eve was in compliance with the devil, and not at enmity, THE WOMAN could not refer to her, but rather a future “WOMAN” who would have enmity (lifelong hatred) with Satan.  The entire Genesis 3:15 verse reads as follows from the RSV:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
Mary and Scripture

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THE Woman

Since women don’t have “seeds”, but eggs, this is very peculiar wording.  Most biblical scholars believe that “the seed” is Jesus Christ”, and that He bruised satan’s head at the place of the skull, called Golgotha, at the crucifixion.  If that is so, then Catholics believe that “THE WOMAN” could only refer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, her “seed”.  This is why Jesus always referred to Mary as “Woman”, rather than Mom or Mother.  Mary can be viewed as a parallel to the Tabernacle of the Lord, as constructed by Moses in Exodus 40 and Luke  Chapter 1.  In Exodus 40:34-35, when the Tabernacle was completed, we learn the following:

"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud overshadowed it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

" In Luke 1:35, the Bible says:

"And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;therefore the child to be born will be called holy,the Son of God."

In both cases, the word used to "overshadow" is "episkiasei". 

Catholics also view Mary as the New Testament Ark of the Covenant.  The Old Testament Ark of the Covenant contained three items – The Word of God in the form of stone tablets (the 10 Commandments), manna (bread) from Heaven, and the rod of Aaron that resprouted and came back to life (Hebrews 9:4).  Just so, the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary contained Jesus Christ – The living Word of God (John 1:1), the bread of life (John 6:48), and the ruler with a rod of iron who also came back to life (Rev.12:5). At the Annunciation of Mary, Gabriel told her that the power of the most high would “overshadow” her (Luke 1:35).  The term “overshadow” is significant, because it was also used to refer to the cherubim “overshadowing” the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:5).  The Ark was made with pure gold (Exodus 4ff), and was very holy, which parallels the Catholic teaching that Mary is also pure and holy.  The Ark of the Covenant was so holy, that no ordinary person could even touch it.  Uzzah reached out to steady it, and was instantly struck dead (2 Samuel 6:7).  There are many parallels between the mention of the Ark in 2 Samuel 6 and Mary in Luke 1: 

  • David heads to the hills of Judah in 2 Samuel 6:2-3; Mary heads to the hills of Judah in Luke 1:39. 
  • David dances for joy in front of the Ark (2 Samuel 6:14); the unborn fetus John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice (1 Luke 44).  
  • David says “How can the Ark come to me”? (2 Samuel 6:9); Elizabeth says, “How is this that the Mother of my Lord has come to me”? (1 Luke 43). 
  • David and the Ark stayed for 3 months (2 Samuel 6:11); Mary stayed for 3 months (1 Luke 56). 

So if Jesus is “The Word Made Flesh”, then Mary is “The Ark Made Flesh”.  All of these parallels between the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the New Testament is a branch of scripture study known as “typology”.  In other words, events and people in the New Testament are prefigured by events and people in the Old Testament.

One such typology revolves around Revelation 12 and Genesis 37:9.  In Genesis, Joseph says,

"Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 

In Revelation 12:1, the scripture reads,

“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” 

The obvious parallel is that the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars in Joseph’s dream represent his 11 brothers and all of Israel, while THE WOMAN in Revelation is adorned with these symbols of Israel.  So who is the “WOMAN”?  The first clue is the term “a great portent”.  In Isaiah 7:14 in the Old Testament, it says,

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.” 

The great portent of Revelation and the sign of Isaiah are one and the same – A Virgin who will give birth to the leader of Israel, Jesus Christ.  That woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The writer of the book of Revelation, St. John the Apostle, was given by Jesus on the cross to Mary as her son, and Mary was given to John as his Mother, in John 19:26-27.    This means that John knew Mary better than anyone, except for Jesus, and he is trying to tell us all something about her status in heaven.  In the preceding verse, Revelation 11:19, John tells us that he sees the Ark of the Covenant. In the next verse, Revelation 12:1, he describes the Ark for us as “A woman clothed with the sun”, a term that could only mean the immaculately conceived Virgin Mary.  The rest of Revelation 12 talks about the enmity prefigured in Genesis 3:15 between the devil and THE WOMAN, and how satan can’t get to her.  In Revelation 12:17, it says that we are her children if we follow the commandments and bear testimony to Jesus.

Mary is also seen as the new Eve. Whereas Eve listened to the devil Lucifer and obeyed him, bringing sin and damnation into the world, Mary listened to the angel Gabriel and obeyed him, thus bringing grace and salvation into the world in the form of Jesus Christ.  Mary and Jesus are forever linked together, just as Adam and Eve are.  Eve came forth from the side of Adam; Jesus came forth from the womb of Mary.  Eve was created immaculately and sinned; Mary was created immaculately and stayed sinless.  Thus Mary and her obedience to God overcame Eve’s disobedience to God.  And while Mary's parents, Anna and Joachim, were not immaculately conceived, Mary was, so that she would not pass on original sin (the devil had NO dominion over Jesus, ever) through the womb.  How can this be? Well, God is God, and he can create anything from nothing, merely through His Word at any time He so chooses.  Eve was the first woman immaculately created and sinned; Mary was the second woman immaculately created and did not sin.

There are many biblical types of Mary in the Old Testament.  Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1 is very similar to Hannah’s canticle in 1 Samuel 2.  Judith cutting off the head of the Army General Holofernes in Judith 13:8 to save Israel reminds us that Mary will help to bruise the head of the serpent.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is also seen as the Queen Mother. In the Old Testament, the Kings' mother was the queen.  The Kings in the Old Testament, like Solomon, had so many wives that it would have been hard to choose one over the other, so the mother of the King became the Queen.  Bathsheeba, David's wife, was King Solomon's Queen Mother.  In 1 Kings 2, Adonijah approaches the Queen Bathsheeba to ask her to intercede on his behalf with King Solomon.  When she asks her son for Adonijah's favor, King Solomon says "Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you".  This is a parallel to the New Testament, John 2, when Mary  intercedes on  behalf of the wedding couple to Jesus about the wine that has run out.  Solomon didn't refuse his Queen Mother in the Old Testament, and Jesus didn't refuse his Queen Mother in the New Testament.  Neither does he refuse her now.

To learn more about Old Testament "types" (foreshadowings) of Mary, click here 

Catholics believe that saints in Heaven, and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, are still active in their roles to assist mankind in spiritual warfare.  We know from James 5:16 that the prayers of the righteous are powerful, and we know from Matthew 22:32 that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.  In Revelation 5:8, it says that 24 elders in heaven present our petitions to God in the form of incense, which means that there are intermediaries in heaven who hear and present our prayers to God.  If the dead rich man in hell can intercede for his brothers on earth with Abraham (Luke 16:27-28), how much more can Mary in heaven intercede for us here on earth with her son Jesus! Mary said in Luke 1:46 that her soul magnifies (To magnify means to enlarge, to make clearer, and to bring into focus) the Lord (her soul is still very much alive, as are all souls ever created by God).  And looking at Jesus through the magnifying glass of Mary's soul is analogous to focusing the sun through a magnifying glass - IT CREATES FIRE, only with Mary and Jesus, it creates the fire of the Holy Spirit on earth.  to And since no one on earth was ever closer to Jesus in body, heart, and mind (Jesus got his flesh and blood from Mary), who better to intercede for us on our behalf than Mary?  Giving honor and devotion to Mary (not worship) actually magnifies the Lord. To give honor to an artist's greatest creation (Mary) honors the creator (Jesus) !

The prayer, The Hail Mary, combines the words of Gabriel and Elizabeth with a petition at the end to pray for us. “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee” are the words of Gabriel.  These words indicate that Mary was full of grace BEFORE Jesus was in her womb.  And no one can be full of grace and have any room left over for sin; otherwise she wouldn't be “full” of grace (Romans 6:14:  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.).  And in the bible, the term "Hail!" is term only used for royalty, as in "Hail Caesar" or "Hail King of the Jews!" Since Mary IS the Queen Mother of the King of Kings, it only makes sense that God's messenger, Gabriel, would use a term like that when addressing her.  “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus” are the words of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.  These words from scripture indicate that Mary is blessed more than any other woman, because Jesus is inside of her.  Jesus said that you shall know a tree by its fruit, and since Jesus is the fruit of her womb and is sinless and holy, so must Mary be, since she is the tree which bore the fruit (Jesus), although she certainly is not God. Luke 6:43 says that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit! The last part of the prayer is a petition to Mary to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death”. 

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Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:1-

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men.”

So asking for intercessory prayer is a very biblical thing to do, especially from a holy person like Mary (James 5:16).

So how can Mary hear thousands of prayers said to her daily from all over the world? Isn’t she just a human being and not God?  Catholics believe we share in God’s divinity when we are in heaven.  Why? Because of the words of Peter, in 2 Pet.1:3:

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence 4: by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature."                                                         

We see from these verses of Peter that saints in heaven are partakers in the divine nature, which includes hearing prayers.  Saints in heaven have no power of their own.  All of their power comes from Christ Jesus, who shares it with them.  We know that they witness for us, because of the words of St. Paul, in Hebrews 12:1: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”  Witnesses testify to a judge on behalf of the accused, and Paul here is saying that the saints in heaven are our witnesses. Notice that Paul didn't say that they were mere spectators;  he called them WITNESSES.  Asking these witnesses, especially Mary, to help us with our problems is a very good thing to do.  Some people make the mistake of thinking that praying to a saint equals worshipping that saint like he/she is a god, but “to pray” simply means “to ask”, not “to worship”.  And since all of their power comes from the amazing grace of Jesus Christ, it is not like conjuring up the dead and seeking hidden knowledge, which is expressly forbidden in Deuteronomy 18:10-11.  After all, Jesus appeared with the very dead Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration (Luke 9:30).  Since Jesus never sinned, and conjuring up the dead as an occult practice is a sin, we see here that there is a true distinction between praying to saints for their intercession and calling up the dead to seek arcane knowledge.

There have been many private revelations of Mary, including the two most famous ones at Lourdes France (1858), and at Fatima Portugal in 1917.  While none of these private revelations are binding on the faithful as dogma, there have been many documented miracles at Lourdes.  Here she proclaimed to St. Bernadette that she is “The Immaculate Conception”. The predictions of Mary to the three shepherd children at Fatima, made during the year of the atheistic Russian Revolution, have all come to pass.  They include that another worse war (WWI was already in progress in 1917) would come to pass if men didn’t reform their lives; that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world, and that an attempt on the life of a future Pope would be made.  Pope John Paul II was indeed shot on May 13, the exact date of the first apparition to the children in 1917.  Here she proclaimed herself to be the “Our Lady of the Rosary”, and she specifically asked everyone to say the rosary for peace.  Her main messages have been for people to repent, to do penance for sinners, to pray a lot, and to reform their lives.  She also showed the three shepherd children a short vision of the damned in hell, which scared them very much. Mary asked us all to pray for the poor sinners, because without OUR prayers, many will go to hell instead of heaven. So start praying for the conversion of everyone trapped in pornography, adultery, love of money, fornication, greed, lust, the occult, etc.  Pray today and everyday specifically for these people.  Mary asked us all to do it, so begin today

In 1984, Pope John Paul II followed the instructions of Mary at Fatima and dedicated the entire world, including Russia, to her Immaculate Heart.  Soon after, a Catholic workers’ union in Poland (Solidarity) rose up and defeated the Communist Party in Europe, which began as an atheistic workers’ party in Russia (Bolsheviks).

St. Louis de Montfort says that the fastest and quickest way to reach Jesus is to be dedicated to Mary, as her role is lead you to her Son.  Jesus came into the world the first time through the womb of Mary.  It seems like Jesus is coming into the world the second time through the Immaculate Heart of Mary!  Pope John Paul II’s motto was “Totus tuus”, or “Totally yours”. John Paul II dedicated his entire papacy to Mary, knowing well that it would be the shortest and quickest route to Jesus.

Catholics view Mary as the person who will defeat satan on earth.  But she will not do it alone. Everyone who is consecrated to Jesus through Mary will help her in her God given mission to defeat the enemy.  As the Archangel Gabriel once said - "HAIL FULL OF GRACE !"

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Fatima Prayers

Prayers taught to the children at Fatima

Pardon Prayer

O My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love you! And I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, and do not love you.

Prayer of Reparation

O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of thee the conversion of poor sinners.

Eucharistic Prayer

Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my god, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament!

 Sacrifice Prayer

O my Jesus, it is for love of you, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.

Rosary Decade Prayer

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

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