Now on to our discussion of Mary:
1. Why was, and is Mary Sinless?
The short answer is both sublime and profound.
Because God is [always was ,and MUST ALWAYS CONTINUE TO BE PERFECT], Mary in a real-actual sense HAD TO Be Perfected: [absolute sense]. God would not; because God COULD – NOT permit His Son, Jesus, to come forth from anything [one] not also perfected.
Lev.22: 21 “And when any one offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Matt.5: 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
2. Understanding the other Marian issues you raise require a fuller understanding of the Divine Person of God Himself. God does not always act out of “necessity.” In fact, God as the norm, performs from “His Divine Will,” far more regularly than from human petitions.
Isa. 55: 8 to 10 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. …. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,”
In other WORDS, God does as God does BECAUSE God desires it. And in the process takes care of our needs.
It was God’s Plan that after the “Fall” of Adam and Eve [who represent ALL of humanity], that God’s original PLAN for humanity be given another opportunity, to prove their Love of God by FREEWILL choices.
This COULD ONLY HAPPEN in Divine Justice, IF, somehow the consequences of Adam & Eve could be repaid, with suitable compensation and thus allow humanity another opportunity to prove OUR fidelity, FREELY expressed to God.
The Sin of Adam and Eve was so MORTAL [worthy of Spiritual -death], that ONLY God Himself could make full amends. So God Ordained, Caused, and Permitted the “Incarnation” IF, and ONLY IF, a human person would FREELY agree to become the very “Mother of God.”
This came about though Godly impregnation and brought into the – sin – filled world; THEE “God -man.” In order that God BOTH as a Man, and as God, could repay to GOD, the determined just compensation due to God for the Mortal Sin Act of Adam & Eve.
Sometimes we overlook the fact that Mary COULD HAVE SAID NO! Not me, I’m unworthy [as she surely was aware she was.]. This was a young teenage VIRGIN. Keep in mind this was [is] God’s idea; NOT of Mary’s request. Also be aware that Mary was a “Temple-Virgin.”
“Temple Virgins” were neither rare nor common. Parents who felt an unusual debt to God, could dedicate their female child to God as way of reverence out of gratitude. Such was the case for Mary’s parents who GOD PERMITTED to become pregnant at a very advanced ages, far beyond normal child bearing limits. Gen. 4:1 “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” …. The Jews were very much aware that God played the MAIN ROLE in birth issues.
Being childless was SEEN as a CURSE [usually caused, so they thought] by the sins of those so afflicted ]. … So being BLESSED with a child, especially late in life was very meaningful.
Mary was presented to the Temple High Priest who in turn put Mary in the charge of the women who raised these children. It was common for such to dedicate themselves by FREE CHOICE as Virgins, bearing willingly the stigma they knew would be part of the commitment. Such choose NOT to marry, and were evicted from the Temple when they reached the age of permissible marriage, so they would have had to support themselves with unwanted [by others], labor task. One advantage to this was that these girls were highly educated in Jewish Traditions and the Torah, which was very unusual for the feminine gender at the time.
So in light of Mary’s and her parents sacrifice, which was willed and desired by Mary, her fiat was all the more meaningful and significant of the Faith and Trust Mary had in her God. …. Saying YES to God, was a Faith REACTION, not done for anything other than the WILL of God. She certainly knew the prophesies of the “to come; Messiah.”
Mary willingly gave up her VOW of Virginity, simply because her God asked her too. Yahweh knowing ALL, accepted Mary’s Perpetual Vow of Virginity and ALLOWED her to KEEP IT. [God can do any Good Thing!]. This includes a Virgin Birth.
Mary was chosen by God who KNEW what her response would be. Yet NEVER forcing it. Never interfering with Mary’s FREEWILL. Because Mary was CHOSEN by God from all eternity; God in preparation, COMMANDED, that Mary be born without the stain of “Original Sin.” Sure God COULD have allowed Jesus to be Born W/O sin EVEN if Mary had Original Sin; BUT, because God is Perfect, Mary too, in God’s Way, also HAD TO BE PERFECTED.
The “payback” for [by] Mary was to FREELY choose NEVER TO SIN IN ANY WAY throughout her entire life. The Mother of God, HAD TO REMAIN PERFECT in every way. In-order to “merit” the graces and gifts from God given to Her. Certainly Mary merited special graces by her life choices to make this a possibility. Mary was always ABLE to say NO to God; BUT never did.
Luke.1: 26 to 36
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” [Means ALSO That “I AM A VIRGIN], 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. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.”
God is JUST because God MUST BE JUST! God felt an Obligation to do SPECIAL THINGS for His “daughter-in-law,” the “Wife” of the Holy Spirit and the MOTHER of His Son; Jesus.
FYI: In asking about Mary’s “ascension,” you use the wrong Theological Term.
More properly, the correct term is Mary’s ASSUMPTION into heaven. It was and is God’s decision; not Mary’s request or expectation. “Ascension= by personal choice,” while an “Assumption” is ALWAYS God’s choice, action and plan.
One ought not find this hard to believe as God had done a similar good thing TWICE before in Old Testament History. Neither of who had to make the hard decisions that Mary faced or who suffered for God as Mary did.
Mary, Mother of God: Perfect by Divine Will.
James 1: 16-17 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. “ …. Hebrews 5: 9 “and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” …. Romans 12: 2 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. “ …. Matthew 5: 48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Other….OLD TESTAMENT ASSUMPTIONS
Gen. 5: 22-24 “Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methu’selah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” [ASSUMED Body and Soul into Heaven].
2nd. Kings 2: 8-14 Then “Eli’jah took his mantle, and rolled it up, and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Eli’jah said to Eli’sha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Eli’sha said, “I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Eli’jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. [AND HE WAS ASSUMED INTO HEAVEN BODY AND SOUL].
As good and faithful as these two men were; neither was perfect, and yet GOD FOUND THEM WORTHY of this same act which prompts questions about the special relationship between God and Mary.
Mary is in a REAL sense the VERY MOTHER OF GOD. Perfected in every possible way. So why or could NOT GOD DO THIS FOR Her?
Sites for Christ death, Burial, and Assendtion, as well as the tombs of all of the Apostles, and the “Upper Room” are ALL KNOWN and marked. BUT not Mary’s tomb. Why? Because there is none to find. NO-EVIDENCE is THEE evidence of this Grace from God.
I do believe the saints pray for us in heaven but I have heard some say Mary is co-redemptrix with Christ. I object to this because it seems to elevate Mary above a status any human is entitled too and because it seems to strip the sacrifice of Christ of its all-sufficiency.
Mary as Co-redemptrix
Some key points to ponder:
1. Redemption in a REAL sense, would not have taken place without Mary’s freewill-cooperation, founded on humility and GREAT-Faith in God. Mary therefore did have an active role in our redemption [which by-the-way, does NOT mean our salvation.]
2. Catholics [“The CC”], DO NOT hold MARY as a “Co-Redeemer” [although some theologians’ hold this too as a furture possibility. …. PLEASE READ ON.
Mary’s ROLE granted by God who appreciates Mary’s Role as SINGULAR in merit throughout all of humanity, differs from what one could, [but ought not too], see as “simple motherhood.” … NO! For in all humanity; past, present and future there is ONLY ONE “MOTHER OF GOD.” In all of human history no human being has had or lived a greater faith, with greater humility, greater love of God, or suffered MORE for AND WITH Christ to a greater extent, than Mary. THAT MAKES HER SPECIAL TO GOD AND OUGHT ALSO MAKE MARY SPECIAL TO HUMANITY. That friends explains WHY She is treated with such reverence and appreciation, indicative of how God see’s Mary, as God has a special and UNIQUE relationship and love for her,. GOD EXPECTS US TO HAVE a special place in our hearts and thoughts FOR HER; BECAUSE MARY TOO, IS OUR SPIRITUAL MOTHER, JUST AS CHRIST IS OUR SPIRITUAL BROTHER.
John 19: 26-27 “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, [the Cross] He said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
Just as we are “adopted son’s” of God; so too, we ALL ARE [by God’s Will and Mary’s free acceptance] adopted children of Mary.
3. Because Mary’s earthly role was unique; so too Her Role in heaven is also justifiably unique.
4. Mary participates in humanities “redemption” by being thee dispenser of all graces. NOTE: NOT the author of grace, NOT the origin of grace, NOT even the one who determines who, what and how many graces are granted; BUT ALL GRACES NOW flow through Mary as a singular honor of God. It is but another of the singular Mother of God Blessings bestowed by God upon HIS MOTHER.
5. Some Theologians are pushing for Mary via a DOGMATIC pronouncement to be “made ALSO “Co-redeemer” based on the same principles. “… NOT the cause of,” BUT uniquely positioned to have had an active role in OUR PERSONAL FREEWILL life choices. After all: It is We, NOT GOD, who determines where WE freely choose to spend Eternity. Blessed Pope John Paul II refused the request to do this; however it could happen someday.
6. In closing these brief Marian comments I wish to be clear: Catholic DO NOT WORSHIP MARY! Worship is reserved to God ALONE! We do reverence her, love her, and ask her to intercede for us with Her Son Jesus. In effect; doubling our prayers effects.
I do believe in Apostolic succession but am unclear about the Holy See’s relation to it.
The Bible passages such as Matthew 16:16-19, Mt. 18:18 [which now adds the other Apostles to the Power and Authority granted to Peter, is by necessity powers and authority granted to the hierarchy of the entire CC by Absolute NECESSITY in-order to even have a possibility of fulfilling this “Key” Command of Christ to Peter AND the Apostles.
NOTE: This once again is a completion and perfection of Old Testament practices.
Exod.28: 1 “Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests — Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abi’hu, Elea’zar and Ith’amar. 3 And you shall speak to all who have ability, whom I have endowed with an able mind, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. 4 These are the garments which they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a girdle; they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. 41 And you shall put them upon Aaron your brother, and upon his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests”
Obviously BY Absolute need; this had to be passed on to the Son’s of Aarons Sons also.
2nd. Tim. 1: 6-9 “Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, “
John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I [Jesus] chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” As God did for Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, The prophets, John the Baptizer, Mary [Mother of God.], St. Peter, the Apostles and Paul.
Mt. 16:15-19 “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, [SINGULAR] and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you [SINGULAR] [ALL of the] the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Mt. 18: 18 Jesus speaking to His Apostles: “Truly, I [Jesus] say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
With the following actions and WORDS the CC is Instituted by Christ; with His authority and in His Powers.
John 20: 19-22 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. “ EXACTLY as the Father sent Me, so too I send you! With My authority, and with My Powers.
Matt.10: 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 1 “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.”
Mt. 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
In an absolute sense the Powers given to Peter, the Apostles and later to Paul HAD to be passed on to the Hierarchy of the future leaders of the Church in order to grow and maintain the singular powers and authority granted to Peter and the Apostles. There would be NO CC TODAY if these special powers were extended to the future leaders of Christ One Church.
The OT authority structure was again the model used by Christ for His new One Faith /One Church. A CHIEF Highpriest; [now POPE], Highpriest, [now Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops], and priest [like Saul before being called by God…Paul].
I believe the church can forgive sins but I think this comes from Christ and not the Pope.
It is Christ ALONE who forgives sins in the CC. This will be covered later in detail. 1 Jn. 1:8-10; 1 Jn. 5:16-17, and John 20:19-23 are the foundation. The Role of the priest is again modeled after OT Priest. Num.15: 28 “And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who commits an error, when he sins unwittingly, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven.”
Is the Church infallible and if so why has she reversed her teachings from time to time?
Infallibility belongs to 1. The Pope*, 2. The Church Councils of Bishops With the Pope* on ALL matters of *Faith belief and *Morals ONLY! Noting else. [Again we cover this in greater detail later].
Church can and does change. Defined Doctrine and Doctrine CANNOT ever be changed. The understanding of these may be expanded from time to time; but the BASE definitions MUST be retained.
I’ll quit for now, before this reaches BOOK proportions.
Send any questions that need further clarification.