Monday, April 22, 2013

Mary, Statues, Veneration and Adoration

Hey, Sorry I was a little late on responding.  I got tied up at work for a while longer than I hoped
Your question of in practice we make both concepts appear the same might just look so to an outsider but there is context.  First Bowing and praying to the statue is a confused saying.  The statue in itself is just a statue.  Just like when Christ references Moses in Numbers 21:8-9 in John 3:14 where Moses creates a serpentine figure and fixes it to a pole with the intention that if the people looked upon the figure, which by itself is just material not worth any veneration nor adoration of any sort, and are to be healed by it.  Now what are they healed by? The figure or the thing which it represents which is the foreshadowing of the son of man taking on the sins of the world and being lifted up on the crossSecond we don’t pray to statues or icons of Mary the saints or even to a picture of the Blessed Trinity.  Pictures, statues and icons are Holy images because of what they represent, what they call into mind.  In themselves they are not holy any more than Elijah’s material and dead bones in 2 Kings 13:14 or the objects that touched Paul and were venerated in Acts 19:11-12. So too its not the cape of Jesus nor Peter who healed the people that touched them but the thing that lies behind them, that is Gods Grace. If someone kneels or prays before an image that doesn’t mean that they adore the image. For instance when Jacob bows before Esau or Abraham bows before his companions at Mamre in Gen 18:2, Lot in Genesis 19:1. Any bowing that is done is done in a manner of reverence for the person (ie: honoring the person for who they are in Christ), not that we adore them and especially we don’t adore the image for the image helps us to call into mind the greater reality that lies behind itFor example have you ever looked at a picture of someone you love and kissed the picture?  You don’t  love the plastic and paper nor the ink that produced the image but the thing it represents. Venerating a statue of Jesus or any Saint which includes the Blessed Virgin calls into mind the person, who they were, what they did in Christ. And simply put why do we do this?  Because in these things we give glory to God.  Just think about it.  Why is Mary important, why
in here magnificat does she declare that all generations shall call her blessed?  Here blessedness is because of Christ, because from all time he thought of his mother and he practiced the 5th commandment to a greater degree than anyone else.  So too we are called to imitate Christ in all things.  Did he adore Mary? No shes a creature, he is the eternal word, the logos, of the father.  In following Christ we recognize and come to love his Mother who he formed, who he choose among all to be his mother, the one who suffers along (not greater than or apart from) with Christ because of what God wanted of her as stated by Simeon in Luke 2:25-35.  If we are part of his body as we are once we are brought in by baptism then she is in a mystical sense our own mother and this is what the Church recognized from the very beginning, her role being of amazing importance in salvation history. Her be it done to me according to your word, her ability to do so is only by His grace, but she having free will submitted it to him, undoing the sin of the first women, the reversing of the Garden story.  So too Paul reminds us that being one Body we cant say to one part of the body I don’t need you, and death he also tells us doesn’t separate us in Christ. If the confusion rests in the times spent before a statue or a picture I can also help you with that.  Mary, as I have said before is our Mother we love her and like a child they have a father and a Mother.  We love to run to her that, she being righteous like James 5:16 says, she may seek his mercy for us, not because we cant go to him directly (because we do that constantly and especially when we receive him Body Blood soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament which being him we do adore). But because the more help we can get the better off we are being sinners and all.  Consider that we spend the majority of the sacred liturgy kneeling, bowing and so forth before a crucifix, now in all reality how much time is spent before an image of Mary is most likely less.  But lets say for arguments sake that someone does spend a lot of time in front of a statue of Mary or a favorite saint.  The reason why the saint or Mary specifically is important is because of Christ.  For instance we can go to se the Grave of Leonardo DiVinci or we can go see his great works like the Mona Lisa.  Generally, and I could be wrong, more people go to see his great paintings then himself.  Does that mean that they think less of him then of his works of course not, it was he that made it in the first and in showing love for the work, as in showing love for the work of his creation Be it Mary, the saints or even a wonderful sunset to a lesser degree we glorify him and our actions whether amazement, kneeling or bowing before the beauty of the representation speaks to the one who is the cause in the first.

Finally all people who assist at the Holy Sacrifice adore Christ in his Eucharistic form.  The way that we do so is generally through prayers of adoration be it mental or vocal.  Sometimes we just behold him who is the way the truth and the life as Mary does when she sits at his feet doing nothing and Martha is frustrated by her inaction.  Every action has an intent just as veneration and adoration do.  Both are different things and might well look like the same thing to someone without the context or knowledge of the intent which in itself is in the person’s heart.  If someone adores an image or a creature they are wrong and should be called out on the carpet just as much as people that create their own personal understandings of the Trinity or Christ violate the one true God and need to be called out as Matthew 18:15-18 tells us.  But it is the Church that is the pillar and foundation of the truth that defines this, and explicitly teaches the difference between veneration and adoration as Luke 10:16 teaches along with many other examples like why are there 27 books that constitute the time after the Birth of Christ.
I do hope this helps, and feel free to ask more questions on this topic or anything else at your wish.  The following link might also be helpful:

Have a great day


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