Jesus was once tempted by the devil in the wilderness when He was hungry, and the devil taunted Him saying, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
These words are going to be the compass unto which we look for direction on this post.
Everytime I write about being raised Catholic, I in no wise look down on my past or my up-bringing. Nothing absolutely like that! However, I do seek to reach others choosing to look at it just like Mordecai did; When he told Esther,
For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Therefore, I hope that in a gentle manner, to deliver the message on this post, with love, guidance of the Holy Spirit, with the truth of scripture and the authority bestowed upon us by Jesus Christ; taking a glimpse throughout all the ages whence the teachings of Mary, the mother of Jesus were instituted.
There is a prayer, I have said all my life as long as I can remember. I can’t particularly recall if I learnt the prayer at school or at home. The prayer of Mary’s intercession.
“Hail Mary full of grace, The Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary mother of god, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
To get a better understanding of where this prayer originated from, we must first visit the Bible.
“Hail Mary full of grace”
This part of the prayer was borrowed from the greeting Mary received from angel Gabriel informing her of the child that she was to bear.
28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
“The Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit if thy womb Jesus”
This too, was a blessing pronounced by Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
This transpiring during the time Mary visited her, and both children leapt in the wombs of their mothers.
“Holy Mary mother of god, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
And now, here is where the tampering was introduced. The church began to gradually make Mary a mediator and intercessor between God and man. With time, changes to her role grew over the centuries from reverence to adoration, to purity and holiness, to veneration of a saint, to immaculate conception, to assumption, and ultimately to the queen of heaven.
Now, Mary just like Ruth, Esther, Rahab and other women used by God, was only but a highly favored woman, chosen by God to birth the Messiah into the world. She was favored of God. Yet not more than any other woman who has ever been in service to God past, present and even future.
In following the introduction of Mary as a mediator in the church history, it becomes evident how alarming this deception has created a rogue teaching that has ensnared billions of lives in to a falsehood for more than 500 centuries.
In the 2nd Century, Irenaeus of Lyons( venerated a saint by the church) was the first to draw comparisons between Eve and Mary, contrasting the faithlessness of the former with the faithfulness of the latter. He called Mary the “second Eve” this, he believed, was due to her willing acceptance to be God’s instrument. And out of this, he drew the inference that God undid the harm that was made by Eve’s choice to eat the forbidden fruit.
In the 4th Century, Ambrose (venerated a saint by the church) introduced the doctrine of Mary as the Mother of the Church which was supported during the Second Vatican Council.
In the 5th Century, during the third ecumenical council, it was debated whether Mary should be referred to as Theotokos or Christotokos.
- Theotokos meaning “God-bearer” or “mother of God”
- Christotokos meaning “Christ-bearer” or “Mother of the Messiah”
The Persian church preferred the title Christotokos meaning “Christ-bearer” or “Mother of the Messiah” However, the majority at the council agreed with the Pope that denying Mary the title “mother of God” would imply that Jesus was not divine. Ultimately, the council affirmed the use of the title Theotokos and by doing so, settled to affirm Jesus’ divinity.
Hence the part— Holy Mary mother of god, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
(Notice all these are human debates/discussions. There is no scriptural base on any of these doctrines.)
According to Catholic traditions, the concept of the rosary was introduced by Dominic (venerated a saint by the church) in the 12th Century. He professed to have received an apparition from Mary and called this apparition ‘our lady of the rosary’
In the 15th Century the concept of the rosary was promoted by Alanus de Rupe, a theologian and a priest under the Dominican order who established the fifteen rosary promises.
And here is where it gets even more distorted. One of these promises state, “all who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.
But we find in the Bible that Jesus had siblings, two, whom are James and Jude. The authors of the books of James and Jude in the Bible.
46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48 But He answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth His hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Here, we must note that for Alanus de Rupe to keep his teachings harmonious to the church doctrine, these promises had to be consistent with already established teachings. One of which, was Mary’s perpetual virginity; which had already been introduced in the 5th Century by the early church fathers, Athanasius, Ambrose, and Augustine, among others (all venerated saints by the church). Where this teaching of perpetual virginity, was asserted under a declaration calling Mary “ever-virgin.”
Still in the 15th Century, the devotion to the rosary was affirmed officially into the Catholic Church by Pope Pius V (venerated a saint by the church) after victory over the Battle of Lepanto on October 7th1571. The Pope called upon Europe to pray the rosary so as to thank God for the victory. Up-to date, every 7th of every October this day is commemorated as the ‘The feast of our lady of the rosary, formerly known as our lady of victory.’
In the 18th Century, the “immaculate conception” of Mary, that is, (she was sinless, born and preserved “free from all stain of original sin) was decreed under Pope Pius IX (venerated a saint by the church).
However, we find in scripture that Mary called God, My Savior. And all who need a saviour are sinners.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
And finally, just recently in the 19th Century, the church introduced a new teaching of the assumption of Mary into heaven. Stating that Mary never died, but that having completed the course of her earthly life, she was assumed body and soul into heaven. This doctrine was defined by Pope Pius XII (venerated a saint by the church) in 1950.
In all these, we clearly see the changes to Mary’s place in the church has been ever-changing with time.
Mary has ultimately been elevated to co-redeemer and the queen of heaven, and to the one to whom all who desire intercessions should go primarily.
This is because she has been brought out to be more loving and tender, and closer to Jesus’ heart. In fact, presently referred to as ‘Immaculate heart of Mary’. For if she were to plead our causes unto Jesus, He would listen to her more. And this has made it so that, many of the faithful men and women honestly and sincerely seeking to have a relationship with God, cannot approach Him directly but are left to pray to the Virgin Mary and ask her to intercede on their behalf.
Which is not so, because the veil was rent into half after the death of Jesus, symbolising access to God for all men. Greek, Jew, circumcision, uncircumcision, barbarian, scythian, bond, free, poor or rich.
In some of the catholic churches, we find that the statues of Mary have been erected and placed even infront of those of Jesus, who is almost hidden behind her somewhere in the background. Or even a grandeur sculpture of Mary carrying a little child.
This is a dangerous and fearful path that has been taken up by men who are supposed to be guardians of God’s Holy Word. For God instructed not to add or remove to His Word so that His commandments may be kept.
And supposing these new teachings were truly from God, allowing intercession through Mary, then wouldn’t it be unfair for all the people who lived prior to these revelations? Seeing then that they did not enjoy the benefits of her intercession? Wouldn’t they be condemned to damnation due to their lack of prayer of the rosary (which is evidently a doctrine of works). Because one of the fifteen promises state, “whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered and never overwhelmed by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death (unprepared for heaven). The sinner shall convert. The just shall grow in grace and become worthy of eternal life.”
Paul and Peter warned against false truths, strange doctrines and deceptions that would sweep people away in the last days.
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
For if we were to say, “we still believe in Jesus. What harm does asking Mary for intercessions make?” Then this creates room for two paths to eternal life. Noting,
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man cometh to the Father but by ME.” John 14:6
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
And just like Noah, God is still doing a work, gathering His children out of this world and calling unto them to get into the ark, because the rain is about to pour once more.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Going back to the beginning of this post, we sort direction from these words, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
And the word of God is in scripture, guiding us, reproving us, exhorting us, rebuking us, leading us in all truth, that we may hold fast and not be deceived to follow strange teachings.
Jesus said, heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never pass away. And just like the church in Laodecia, He is reminding us that He is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
May God open our eyes to see the truth, seeking only His wisdom and understanding and not that of men.