This Wednesday we had the pleasure of Bob Buschine giving a presentation about our Blessed Virgin Mary from the Protestant perspective. This class was given at Our Blessed Cathedral in Reno Nevada. We discussed that John the Baptist, the Virgin Birth, the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Virgin, and the Virgin Birth of Jesus are common to Roman Catholics, to Eastern Orthodox, and to Muslims. We agreed, it is strange that it took the Protestants, 1500 years after Jesus to figure out that these three great religions, with the Muslims only 500 years removed from Jesus, were all wrong.
We discussed Matthew 12:48-50, the passage where Jesus tells the crowd, those who do the work of God are his mother, brother, and sisters. The Protestants believe this proves we are not to honor our Blessed Virgin. It is not Our Blessed Virgin, but those who do the word of God that we honor. They forget, Revelations 12:17. Our Blessed Virgin teaches the same thing.
As discussed in the article, Our Blessed Virgin from a Protestant View: Part 2, brashness was an inherent part of the first century culture. Our Blessed Virgin was brash with Elizabeth. Jesus was brash with Our Blessed Virgin when he visited Jerusalem as a twelve-year-old. In the case of the wedding at Cana, Our Blessed Virgin simply reported, “He is ready. Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus and his mother are operating within the confines of first century Jewish culture. The message of Matthew 12 is that we are to do the will of God, which includes holding our parents as important.
This brought the discussion of Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Matthew 13:55, names the brothers of Jesus. Matthew 27:56 informs us these children were not the children of Our Blessed Virgin, but of another Mary who lived in Nazareth.
Another passage the Protestants quote is Luke 11, “While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and breasts at which you nursed.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
In Aramaic, the word for “Breast” and the word for “Demon” is “Shad.” The woman in the passage insults Jesus’ mother, comparing her breasts with demons. The preceding passage is the demon, evicted from his host, who goes and finds seven more.
Jesus’ debate with this woman concludes that passage. Jesus focuses upon the will of his father, God, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and do it.” It is not enough to be clean of defilement; we must act; we must do the will of God.
We discussed the work of Emile Durkheim the great Sociologist. As of the time of his writing, Northern Europe had a far higher suicide rate than Southern Europe. Northern Europe was Protestant, with the Protestant Work Ethic, and rugged individualism. Southern Europe was Roman Catholic, with a strong mother figure, (Our Blessed Virgin) a strong mother’s touch, and a strong sense of community. Southern Europeans come with a strong social network to help members of the community with their rough times. Following Revelations 12:17, with Our Blessed Virgin as ultimate mother, they had far lower suicide rates.
The command of Revelations 12:17 is to hear the word of God and do it. That word of God is to love God with all of our hearts, with all of our anima, and with everything, we measure ourselves, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Mark 12. How do we love God? What do we give someone who already has everything? We respect what is his, focusing on what is made in his image, each other. We welcome the mother’s touch and become adopted children of God as St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:14.
Our debate with the Protestants is not about Our Blessed Virgin, but about what she represents. Our debate is about whether we are to be rugged individualists or members of a community, the adopted children of God. Counter to the teaching of the Protestants, our teaching on Our Blessed Virgin is very biblical and commanded.