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A Catholic Comments on Mary and Salvation
In the following email exchange, the emailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
>I write this to you with all respect from one Christian to another. I am also a practicing roman catholic. Out of my love and devotion to Christ, I revere Mary, of whom gave birth to him and was chosen by our Lord. Chosen by our Lord and we were told by Christ that she was our mother before he died for us. I do believe that this distinction makes her more important than the rest of us. <
I don't remember Jesus ever saying this. If you're referring to Jesus' statement from the cross to John, He was simply being sure his aged mother would be taken care of after His death. Nothing more.
> I am not sinless, I am full of sin, but through Christ I am forgiven when I confess my sins to him. Christ is my savior and lives within my heart. But, I am not saved for eternity, until I have been judged by him of which cannot happen until I die. I do not understand the saved issue, or the sinless believer that you speak of on your site. I believe my faith and life are a journey with the Lord and a path to salvation. Salvation is not determined until judgment. Will you please clarify your belief for me. I would like to understand it.
Thank you and God Bless,
You believe you're forgiven, but you don't believe you're saved. I don't want to debate semantics, as that's all it may be. But it could be that you're not sure if Christ will really accept you or not when you die. But the question is, if you are forgiven, then what would separate you from Christ? (see Rom 8:31-39). Do you still feel you need to add something to what He has done for you to be saved?
To me, Christ has done all that is necessary for my salvation. I add nothing to it, nor can I ever add to it. He has saved me by His grace, and on that basis I can be assured of my salvation. To doubt my salvation is to say that Christ did not do enough.
The other possibility is you're raising a question in regards to eternal security. You believe you'd be saved if you died right now, but you think it's possible you might do something in the future before you die to cause you to lose your salvation.
For this point, I would suggest you see the items on Eternal Security posted on this site. My Scripture Workbook also has studies on both of these subjects.
>If we are already saved, why do we have to go through a judgment day?<
The judgment of Christians is not in regards to entrance to heaven but in regards to rewards in heaven.
> I was referring to what Christ said to John in regards to Mary, and I interpret it as meaning that he was giving Mary to all Christians as their mother. He did not simply ask john to take care of Mary. He said woman this is your son and this is your mother. I understand our differences in opinion on this. But would appreciate a response to our judgment.
Thank you and God Bless,
I know this is the standard Catholic interpretation of the text. But there is really nothing in the text itself to suggest that John was somehow "representing " the entire Church in all ages in the passage. To me, that is reading a lot into the text that simply is not there.
>Thank you for your response. I disagree with you concerning judgment and now understand your stance on the issue.<
Thank you for your response. Needless to say, we are going to disagree on quite a few things.
> The main thing is that we are Christians and walk with Christ. The rest is pretty trivial to me. You would respect the Catholic parish that I belong to. It is like no other that I have belonged to. We are more Bible fundamentalists and shun and recognize the cultist and superstitious nature of many Catholic organizations. We only recognize and follow what is sanctioned by the Vatican (this could be a whole other discussion, this statement is not meant in the pagan way it sounds. A lot of Vatican rulings, have protected us from the devil lead superstitious cults that claim to be associated with the catholic church.)<
If you're referring to the earliest church councils, say through the six ecumenical council, then I would agree with you. These councils were fundamental in establishing the doctrine of the Trinity. But I would start to disagree with the seventh council where the veneration of icons was sanctioned. At that point, I believe the RCC went beyond defining what the Bible teaches to introducing doctrines foreign to the Bible.
> Recently, I have come to an understanding about the different branches of Christianity. I would like your opinion on it. Could it be that we are all right? If all true Christians have a personal relationship with Christ and he lives in their hearts, won't we all reach salvation (whenever we believe that to happen)?<
The key point is "have a personal relationship with Christ." Yes, this is what saves, or more correctly, the faith that one has in Christ that leads to the relationship. But the question is, is the person really trusting in Christ? If the person is trusting in his church or any form of works then I would say there is a problem.
Now, I make it clear on my site that I do believe that Catholics can be saved. However, a Catholic, nor anyone else for that matter, would not be saved if he is trusting in anything other than Christ.
If you haven't read it yet, be sure to see my article on Salvation and the Roman Catholic Church. It discusses such issues in more depth.
> Thinking about this outside of our realm of reality (All things being possible through God) Whatever our interpretation of the bible and whatever our beliefs, whatever our method of prayer. If we believe it with our heart. Will not God make it so?<
I would disagree with this. Truth is truth. It doesn't change based on our belief. To take a ridiculous extreme, if one believes that eating coconuts will save them, then will they be saved? I seriously doubt it. It is the object of faith that is important. In this case, it needs to be the Person and work of Christ.
> Individually, the power and faith of our belief in him that it is so? I hope that makes sense, the concept is difficult for me to convey. I pray that I will have the proper understanding of scripture and that I will obey God's will. Have you heard of Madjegorje (I think I misspelled this)? I do believe that it is a cult. Anyhow, many people of faith have traveled there to come closer to Christ (which is ridiculous, because you do not need to travel anywhere but to your heart) even though the visions of Mary (none of this is sanctioned by the Vatican) I believe are a hoax. Many miraculous occurrences have happened there. Not, because this is some special place, but because of the strong faith of these people. They believe that this is some miraculous place and therefore God makes it so for them. Whatever they believe, wherever their faith lies, Christ would not disappoint them.<
I would say the reason for any healings that might occur would be the well-known placebo effect, not God somehow honoring their false beliefs.
> I apologize for how long this is. I have enjoyed our interaction and pray that Christ will always shine through you.
Thank you, and the same to you.
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