Question: Marian Prayers and Devotions to Icons

from kremlin.ru

Full question by Roger:

My 1st question Is that when praying the rosary why is it there is the mother of our creator on Mama Mary’s pray for us? My second question is like here in the Philippines we have Sto Nino and the Black Nazarene and if it is fiesta flocks of people will attend with the blessings of the Church and it seems they are worshipping the statue.you can watch it in youtube. [Sic]

Answer:

I believe your first question is on Marian prayers and devotions. I wrote an article on whether or not Catholics worship Mary, that can be found Here.

But let me go a little more in depth on the rosary and it’s asking for Mary’s intercession.

Prayer to Mary, and the rosary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art 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. Amen

The Hail Mary really has two parts. The first part is based on bible accounts of greetings by both the Angel Gabriel, and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth.

And he came to her and said, ” Hail, full of grace,the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28)
“and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ” Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42)

These two greeting make up the first part of the Hail Mary. They are meant to show the Blessed Mother the respect and dignity that she deserves, and in doing so we are following the words of Mary herself, when inspired by the Holy Spirit she said, ” henceforth all generations will all me blessed.”

The second part of the Hail Mary is a petition for her to pray for us. This is part of what Catholics call The Communion of Saints (another topic I covered in an article. It can be found At this link)

This petition starts by calling Mary “Mother of God.” This is a very ancient title for the Blessed Mother, and was defined by the Councio of Ephesus. Mary was declared to be the Theotokos, literally meaning “God bearer”, because the council of Ephesus declared that Jesus is one person containing two natures. Since the two natures of Christ, the human and divine, can’t be seperated, then it stands to reason that Mary can’t be the mother of just the human nature. She is the mother of the person of Christ, this includes the human and divine natures because they are inseparable.

Calling Mary the mother of God is not in any way saying that she existed before Christ, because Christ has existed as the second Person of the Holy Trinity from all eternity, and to be someone’s mother you must exist before them. This isn’t the case with Mary. She is the mother of the incarnate Christ, but becaus He is both human and divine, it’s correct to call her the Mother of God.


The Black Nazarene 

I can’t really comment in too much detail on the devotions that are specific to the Philippines because I’m not all that familiar with them.

I’ve seen the the devotions to the black Nazarene on YouTube and it seems to be a devotion to an image of Christ, the same as you’d see in other countries. The church allows, and even sometimes encourages devotions to images of Christ, these devotions include veneration of the image.

Veneration is showing respect and honor to an image, not because the devotee believes the image itself to be divine, but because of who it represents. If individual devotees take it too far and actually engages in worshiping an image then that is definitely something that isn’t supported by the church. Only the Gif knows what’s in a person’s heart and what thier motivation is in venerating an image, no matter if it’s an image of Christ or one of the saints.

I wrote an article that focuses on the charge that Catholics worship statues. It can be found At this link.

(If anyone else would like to ask a question, please visit my page; Questions about Catholicism)

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15 thoughts on “Question: Marian Prayers and Devotions to Icons”

  1. Can you please explain further about the TRINITY, its hard to understand that Catholic teaches that there is one GOD but in three person, and other religion said how can the Son be greater that the father when the father is the Godhead.ang our Lord JESUS said that he doesnt know the time of his return only the Father knows. Thanks you very much.

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    1. Roger,
      Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you on this. The trinity is such a hard concept to put into writing that if write a bit and then delete it and try again, over and over until I gave up. I forgot about this until recently I found a draft that I had started on so I sat down and finished, with lots of help from the catechism and church fathers. God bless https://nowthatimcatholic.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/question-the-holy-trinity/

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  2. Dear Charles,
    Thank you for answering my questions, this question is still about my first question, because when I pray the Rosary, we have the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary and it says Mother of our Creator, and the Creator is GOD the FATHER , how can our Mother Mary be the mother of GOD the Father the creator? Is it right that we teach she is the Mother of GOD the SON? And please explain Luke 19:27 We always teach to love one another and our enemy, but why did our Lord Jesus teach his disciple to kill his enemy?

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    1. John 1:1-3 says that Jesus is the Word of God and when God spoke creation into existence it was through the Word (Jesus) so to say Mary is the mother of our Creator is correct.
      “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

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  3. Mary is the mother of God the Son, but since God is one and can’t be divided, she is called the mother of God. This doesn’t mean that she pre existed God, but since Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one it is unnecessary to define Mary as mother of God the Son vs God the Father.

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  4. Dear Charles,
    Please tell our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for my country the Philippines for our President is waging a war on drugs by already killing a thousand lives and more each day and only the Catholic Church among the many religions here are against what is happening because of what Pope Francis said “thou shall not kill”. And majority of the population are very happy with the killings and portraying that our Church is the villain for defying the killings of alleged drug pushers and users. So everyday in Fb other religion like jehovahs witnesses, mormon, iglesia ni christo, and dating daan and lots of protestant and born again are taking shots of the bishops that defy the killings,so these are their chance to connect on nominal catholic that support the killings to hate our Church.

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  5. Dear Charles,
    My question is about the verse Isaiah 9:6 . For us christians its Our Lord Jesus who is in the prophecy, but among the jews and other religion that dont accept that our Lord Jesus is God , it is Hezekiah. What is our explaination?

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