Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thought

Protestant thought tends to bristle at the Incarnational implications of the Marian cult. But what could be more Incarnational than a peasant girl in Palestine bearing her Redeemer and thereby being made "More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim"?

(In the Anglican Gradual & Sacramentary that seems to have been more or less adopted by the SCP, the Saturday Mass of Our Lady is titled the "Votive Eucharist of the Incarnation).

4 comments:

JCF said...

But what could be more Incarnational than a peasant girl in Palestine bearing her Redeemer and thereby being made "More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim"?

Nothing . . . w/ these caveats.

1) "Being made": being IN and THROUGH her fiat. I reject the ridiculous time-bending retrojection, ala "God knew she would say 'Yes' in the future, so he went ahead and made her 'Immaculate' at her conception." Occam's Razor, please?

2) Her fiat makes her all the more GLORIOUS because she's just another sinner like your or me. Saints are saints AS sinners, not as "immaculate" Supermen/women!

I venerate Our Lady, because she's a sinner, and knows what that feels like (to be a repentant sinner). An Immaculate Mary holds no interest to me (much less veneration!)

Geoff said...

I agree with 1) and with 2) to the extent that I have more reservations about the IC than say the Assumption, and I certainly don't believe she was "perfect" in the divine sense. Nevertheless, I tend to the tradition of her portrayal as not committing actual sin, though I should not be inclined to the censure of anyone who holds otherwise.

Michael said...

On point 1, of course she was immaculate at her conception, just as everybody else is. The Immaculate Conception needn't be objected to because of its implications because, before it even reaches that point, it is a nonsense. However, if the implications must be explored, I can think of nothing better than Mary, Birthgiver of God by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

As far as point 2 goes, I generally agree that it is much easier to develop love and devotion for the Saints with whom we can identify. The flowery and saccharine embellishments one often finds completely dehumanise the Saints and make them inaccessible to me. However, I have never (with the one exception of a Cypriot who was inclined to this sort of romanticism) heard the sinlessness of the Mother of God presented in this way, and it never strikes me as such. In my experience it's just accepted as a matter of fact and no big deal is made of it, as it is something to which we can all potentially attain. After all, the Saints are examples to us of how we, as fallen human being in need of redemption, can advance our theosis in God's grace. If all we see is sinfulness, then we only have half of the picture and we stagnate. We also need something to which to aspire.

JCF said...

Well, IF she committed any "actual sins" . . . that would be between her and God (assuming she didn't have a confessor, in the Christian sense---well, after Pentecost, maybe she did! At any rate, said confessor would be bound to wipe his mind of anything she confessed anyway).

But it's the feeling of guilt---with or without ACTUAL guilt for sin---for which I seek solidarity (and a model), in her.

I think that's what saints do for us: pray for us ("in the communion of..."), thereby giving us solidarity and support---and provide us models (through their living examples).

I agree w/ you re the Assumption. No Anglican should ever be REQUIRED to believe in it (Contra Haven-for-Child-Abusers say so!), but I see no reason why one can't (the African saint, St Bernard Mizeki? He apparently is alleged to have been "assumed", too! ;-))