"Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy." (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 12 XI 2008)
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)

Friday, 8 October 2010

Why do Catholics pray through Mary? Because they are Jewish of course...

This is something I learned today as I was reading the first pages of Taylor Marshall's book "The Crucified Rabbi" as he explains how a Rabbi began his journey from Episcopalean pastor to Catholic Priest. On his first assignment he was asked to do a hospital visitation. He got his prayer book ready, along with his stole and went to the hospital, only to find the patient he was to pray for was Jewish (her husband was Episcopalian and she attended the services with him). As Fr Taylor was leaving the hospital room he bumped into her Rabbi who had also come to pray with her. The Rabbi asked the husband for the name of his wife's mother (as the patient had fallen asleep and could not be asked). The husband was perplexed and asked Rabbi why he needed that info and the Rabbi replied: "We Jews believe that if someone is suffering and you invoke the name of his or her mother in prayer, God will be more merciful in granting your prayer for that person."
This series of events began Fr Taylor's discovering the Biblical roots of Catholicism and his conversion.
I researched a bit further on this topic and found that it is rooted in Psalm 116 which reads "I worship you, LORD, just as my mother did, and you have rescued me from the chains of death."  (Psa 116:16 CEV). We must also note that the Jewish faith is passed down from the mother and when praying for someone they would emphasize their eternal link to God which comes from the mother.
As Catholics we pray for Mary's intercession as our mother, the mother of all of us in Faith. We can say, even, that Mary is the new Abraham, but whereas Abraham was spared the sacrifice of his son Isaac, Mary was entrusted to see her son sacrificed for our salvation. She is, so to say, Abraham going even one step further. She, like Abraham, watched her only son carry the wood for his own sacrifice up the hill. However, she was not spared the sacrifice of her son. Truly, just as Abraham is our father in Faith, so Mary is our Mother, believing that God's plan brings salvation in any circumstances.
We also know that Mary is our mother from the word's spoken to John from the Cross: "Behold your mother" (Jn 19:27).
Let us thank Jesus for given His blessed Mother to us and pray continually for her intercession, remembering that it was at the prompting of Mary that Jesus performed His first public miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (John Chapter 2).
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are thou 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.


  1. out of all the explanations I've heard, this is definately the best one so far! thanks for this Paul:)

  2. It is a great pleasure. The more you dig, the deeper you get ;-)

  3. thanks man, this does help a lot. the is another issue corncerning the baptism of infants in the church, the arguement being that the didn't make a choice to follow the faith

  4. I would point you to http://catholicexchange.com/2009/09/02/121552/ on that topic. Here is an extract:
    "For me, the single most persuasive argument for infant baptism came from the Old Testament. Abraham obeyed God, and all infant males were circumcised on the eighth day — without their choosing it for themselves because that was how one was marked as being a member of the chosen people. When circumcision was instituted, there were many adult males who had never been circumcised. These grown men made up the majority of those circumcised — at first. I realized that this is how it would have been when Jesus instituted the sacrament of baptism. Initially, the majority of those to follow the Lord in this sacrament would have been adults – but once the sacrament was embraced by a people, the majority of those presented for baptism would be infants. It just made sense. Further study of Old Testament prefigurements (baby Moses floating on the Nile, Noah’s entire family saved in the flood, the saving of the first born male through the Passover lamb) seemed to create a beautiful case for infant baptism."
    Also, we must remember that in addition to bringing us into the family of God, baptism removes Original Sin (which is the only type of sin a baby could have) and other sins. Without this removal of original sin the soul of the baby is in danger:
    "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (see John 3:1-21)
    Why would anyone put the soul of their child in that danger?

  5. With respect, the writer is mistaken. The Jewish faith is not passed down through the mother, because a faith cannot be inherited. It is not in any way biological. Rather, membership in the Jewish people is passed through the mother. The two are not synonymous. The adjective "Jewish" describes two things that may -- but don't necessarily -- overlap: a faith tradition and a people. This is confusing to outsiders. (Both of my grandmothers were Jewish. I was not raised in the faith. My faith is something I pursued on my own. But whatever my beliefs, I am considered part of the Jewish people.)