If you are unfamiliar with God and don’t know Him very well (ie: vaguely by name) then perhaps you should start by just locking yourself in your room. This will help you to feel that you are now alone with the Sustainer.

Take a deep breath and try to clear your mind of all things that trouble you. Then, say aloud, “Hi, God. I saved this time for You. Will You please come and talk to me?” This may feel absurd at first but know that God truly listens and cares. Remember, “Ask and you shall receive.” There is nothing wrong with asking for God to talk to you.

Then, as you would speak to a friend or someone you really trust, unloosen your tongue and tell God all that bothers you. Or, tell Him something great that’s just recently happened to you (ie: your team just won a game, someone you like asked you out, or you made a new friend). God listens and understands–always–so you won’t have to feel silly.

Another great way to feel closer to God is to get to know Him. What does He like? What does He dislike? What makes Him happy, sad or angry? What does He value? What does He think is foolishness? All these answers are in the book He gave to us through men He loved so we could know Him better. We call that book the Bible. He knows it very well. It has His promises in it that He makes for all of us. It has the story of Jesus (The Gospel of St John)and how He came to the earth and died on a cross, even though He didn’t do anything wrong, so that we would be forgiven for our sins. It tells us what a “sin” is. As we learn about our Creator and our relationship with Him, we will get closer to Him.

We can feel closer to God if we try to do the things He likes. If you came home from work and ignored your wife and brought home a girlfriend or two, you wouldn’t have a very good relationship with her. You wouldn’t feel very close to her even when you were alone with her. Relationship takes time and effort, and maybe a few flowers! God likes flowers too. He created them and He likes to hear about your enjoyment of them. In fact, God loves a thankful heart. If you don’t know what else to say to God, tell Him how much you appreciate all the things He’s made, all He’s done for you, all He’s given to you.

Don’t make promises to God that you can’t keep. And if you fail on a promise, go back and make amends with Him. Maybe He will want you to make amends to others. Maybe not. Recognise, when you pray, what your feelings are so that you can understand Him better. Open your heart and be honest-He already knows whats in your heart. YOU need to see whats in there-and be honest about it. If you lie, you are only lying to yourself because He already knows the truth.

Be aware that He can and will talk to you through your day to day life. He may talk into your heart during prayer (“Wow-I wouldn’t have ever thought of that!”) or throughout the day through other people who never knew what you said in prayer, or circumstances that are so very unusual. Also, He is usually more interested in answering the “Why?” instead of the “What?” or the “When?” Sometimes He answers “Yes”, sometimes “No”, sometimes “Not now”.

Enjoy the walk with your new friend.

        THAN JESUS?

“Should you be saying ‘hail mary’? Or Hail Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour? Why is Mary mentioned so much? It should be Jesus. And how is Mary holy? Holy means set aside from the rest. Mary was just as normal as me and you. She was not holy. GOD is Holy. ONLY!”

The above is the text of an e-mail which led to this writing.

Why Do Catholics Say ‘Hail Mary’?

The phrase “hail Mary” is actually biblical! Take a look at Luke 1:28. The following are various renderings from various translations of the Bible:

And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” –NAB

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favor The Lord is with you.” –NIV

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favou the Lord is with thee: blessed art tho among women. –KJV

And coming in, he said to her,“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” –NASB

And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! –Amplified .

There are common themes among the various translations. Let’s compare. It seems that the spoken part by the angel Gabriel starts off with a greeting


in some translations “Greetings” in others. I suppose it depends on what the translator was comfortable with and who is the target audience for each specific translation. According to ‘hail‘ (in this sense) is a term that is used as a greeting for someone, sometimes signifying importance of that person. So saying “hail Mary” could really be considered another way of saying “hi Mary” or “what’s up Mary?”

    How is Mary holy?

We see in that same verse that Gabriel calls Mary highly favored (by God). We also see in Luke 1:42 Elizabeth calls Mary “Most blessed among women”.

Taking the e-mail author’s definition of ‘holy’, that is set aside from the rest, it’s clear to see that the Bible agrees. Mary is ‘most blessed among women’ and ‘highly favored’ by God. How many other people in Scripture have received such designations –none.

      But why is Mary holy or      

Mary is considered of such high favor with God and Elizabeth recognizes that she is special only because of Jesus. Mary was chosen to bear Jesus by God, so God singled her out from many, many other women on the planet. Elizabeth recognized that she was bearing the son of God and so recognized that she was special.

Mary was not just as normal as you and me –she was highly favored by God and greatest of all women. Not too many people have angels coming in the middle of the night to proclaim such things to them so I would say that Mary is a tad more than ordinary.

     Why is Mary mentioned so 

Without Mary’s free acceptance of her calling from God we would not have Jesus in human flesh. Also, the fact that Scripture refers to her in such a special way is good enough reason to talk about her.

The frequency of the mention of Mary in any particular setting really depends on your perspective. In my experience Mary is not the core component of faith. The core of Catholicism is Jesus, not Mary.

However, we cannot simply neglect Mary. She plays an integral role in the redemption of the world. She said yes, Jesus was born and we were redeemed (by Jesus of course). One cannot simply talk about Jesus without being grateful to his mother.

Catholics do not put Mary on par with God; we just do a better job at recognizing the role she played in Christian history. Mary is certainly worthy of reverence, but not worship.

The Hail Mary is not a prayer of worship, but it is a recitation of Scripture and then an asking of her to pray for us to God; much like asking our other Christian brothers and sisters to pray for us.

       Mary in the Scriptures.

Mary in the Old Testament.

She appears as a prototype of the second Eve in the creation narrative. After human-kind sins in the Garden of Eden, God says to the serpent (Satan), “I will put enmity you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel,” (Gen. 3:15).

In Israel the ark of the covenant sheltered by the meeting tent represented the presence of God. “Put the ark of the commandments in it… then a cloud covered the meeting tent and the glory of the Lord filled the dwelling,” (Ex. 40:3,34). In the Lukan birth account the angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will over-shadow you,” (Lk. 1:35). Mary is the ark of the new covenant.

Mary in the New Testament.

St. Paul clearly is disinterested in the biographical details and merely refers to Mary indirectly. “God sent forth his son born of a woman, born under the law,” (Gal. 4:4). This passage is primarily interested in pointing to the true humanity of Jesus. There is no text in Paul implying anything unusual in the birth of the Lord.

The growth of the devotion to Mary can be seen in the gospels. In fact the author of Mark presents what appears to be a negative view Jesus’ family and Mary. “His family came to take charge of him saying he was out of his mind, while the scribes who arrived from Jerusalem said he is possessed by Beelzebub,” (Mk. 3:21-22).

Jesus rejects his family with these words: “Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me,” (3:35).

At a later point Jesus revisits Nazareth and is teaching in the synagogue. His listeners are amazed, but at the same time demeaning. Jesus said in response, “No prophet is without honor except in his native place, among his own kindred, and in his own house…so much did their lack of faith distress him,” (Mk. 6:4,6).

However, Mark makes it clear that Jesus has the same problem with the twelve disciples. He despairs of their lack of understanding six different times. They and apparently his own family failed to get it! Mark is not interested in Mary; he has his own agenda which is the doctrine of the cross and the meaning of true discipleship.

Both Luke and Matthew’s parallels to Mark’s texts above have edited the harshness out by modifying the Marcan text by eliminating the question “who are my mother and brothers” and moving the Beelzebub passage to another place (Lk. 11:14-23).

Matthew’s infancy narrative says little about Mary apart from the virginal conception.

However the Lukan infancy narrative corrects Mark by showing Mary as part of Jesus’ family because she is the “servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say,” (1:38). The angel Gabriel salutes her as one favored by God. “Rejoice O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women;Do not fear Mary, you have found favor with God,” (1:28, 30). Elizabeth calls her “the mother of my Lord,” (1:43) and declares Mary blessed because of what God has done for her (1:42).

In her Magnificat, Mary acknowledges that “All ages shall call me blessed…God who is mighty has done great things for me,” (1:48-49). Luke portrays her as a witness for the poor of Israel, the Anawim.

Only Luke has the passage in which a woman blesses his mother (11:27-28). Jesus responds, they are blessed who hear and keep the word of the Lord. This would include Mary because she clearly is presented in the infancy narrative as a servant of the Lord. She also must undergo her test of full discipleship because “a sword will pierce her soul,” (Lk. 2:35).

John’s gospel appears to use Genesis as its pattern. It opens with “In the beginning.” We then have a total of seven days (1:29 ‘ 2:1). Because of this setting many of the Church fathers saw a second Eve theme in the Cana wedding narrative especially with Jesus using “woman” in addressing his mother. Irenaeus (AD 189) writes, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith.”

At the foot of the cross the care of this woman is given to the Beloved Disciple, a symbol of all true believers (Jn 19:26-27). She is our mother. She is portrayed with the disciples in prayer prior to the first Pentecost (Acts 1:13-14). Vatican II called her the symbol of the Church.

  The Reformers and Mary.

Luther, Calvin and Zwingli all accepted the doctrinal definition of Mary as the mother of God and her perpetual virginity.

Her role os the new Eve was supported by Zwingli and Luther. They both accepted her immaculate conception and assumption.

In many churches Mary became the heresy of the papacy. As a result she was demoted from her Scripture role as the “blessed of all generations” to a once a year appearance at Christmas. Then she was put in storage for another year.

The Catechism states, “the Church’s devotion to the blessed Mary is intrinsic to Christian worship. This very special devotion differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and Holy Spirit and greatly fosters this adoration,” (paragraph 971).




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