Brief essay regarding the Catholic Church's teaching of venerating Mary (the earthly mother of Jesus):
Hello, You say you do not worship Mary when encouraging readers to love her. Perhaps we should read the definition of "worship" then. Worship is the English translation of the Greek word, "sebó" (Strong's # G4576) and means, "to personally esteem; to hold something (someone) in high respect; showing the reverence or awe (veneration) of someone who is devout." After reading this, are you SURE you aren't worshiping Mary and recommending others to do so as well?
In John 19:25-27, When Jesus lovingly gave Mary as mother to the "disciple who Jesus loved", Scripture then says that John received her to his "own". "Own" here is the key word. Look it up in the Greek ("idious"). It is stronger than simply a possessive pronoun. It is an emphatic adjective which means "private", "personal". She became uniquely of John's household. What is not well known is The apostle John was Jesus' First Cousin! Mary and John's mother Salome were sisters. So Mary was actually John's Aunt! (Source 1, Source 2). Catholics try to twist this verse to teach that Jesus gave Mary as mother to the world or something (see here one example). But what Jesus said on the cross to Mary and John does NOT extend to anyone past them. Teaching otherwise is ADDING to God's Word which is a very grievous sin before God. (Revelation 22:18-19; Mark 7:13, Proverbs 30:5-6).
Jesus replied, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” ~Matthew 12:48
"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." ~Luke 8:21
"As He said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed! But He replied, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" — Luke 11:27, 28
But also notice Jesus called Mary "woman" and not "mother". Notice throughout scripture Jesus refers to Mary the same way. Even to the end of His life.
Regarding Mary as other than what scripture declares her to be is heresy. Because it creates a whole new sect with a whole new teaching outside of God's Word.
In Luke 1:26-56, Miriam (Mary) is referred to as "highly favored" or full of grace, meaning she was the recipient of this blessing, not a source. Miriam also refers to "God my Savior". Notice she was a sinner who needed salvation. She then refers to herself as "handmaid" which is literally "female slave". Mary is referred to as "Blessed", which simply means "happy", "fortunate". What do you think it means? You want to pull out the concordance and look at the context of every time the word "blessed" is used in the Bible? We are ALL blessed by God THROUGH Jesus ONLY. "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Jesus repeatedly stated who were truly blessed. Those who hear the Word of God and keep it.
"As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and blessed are the breasts that nursed You.” But He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:27, 28
"He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice." Luke 8:21
Notice the whole New Covenant doesn't say ONE WORD about Miriam after Acts chapter 1:14. But Paul goes ahead and says. "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Galatians 4:26.
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" Luke 4:8
“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments." Matt:22:27-40
The Word of God is the source of instruction. Not the Catholic cult. And praying to any human who has died is in essence the same thing as practicing necromancy which is an abomination before the Lord.
I am not angry with any of you. Many of you most likely have a sincere desire to know God. But you won't find Him through Catholicism and her false teachings. But if you look up and pray to God in the Name of Jesus the Messiah, and you earnestly pray to Him, He will hear you and if you keep seeking Him, He will answer you and bless you and teach you in all His wonderful ways by His Holy Spirit. That is my prayer for each of you.
In the Name of Jesus, I pray for you all, Amen.~Thomas Richards
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."