Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Best of The Question Box

by Father I.J. Mikulski

(From the May 19, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. This came up again in our group. Why do we pray to Mary, since only God is worthy of worship? In the Bible there is no mention of Mary as a divine being, so why not pray directly to the Father as Jesus said?

A. You will promote understanding in your group when you’re careful to choose the right words. E.g., Mary is not “worthy of worship” because she is not a “divine being.” Mary is a totally human being, a most wondrous human being who, from the earliest centuries of Christianity has been respected, venerated and honored as the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We’ve had many outstanding saints in two millennia, men and women of heroic stature in wisdom and grace. The number one saint in the long list is always Mary, Mother of God.

If you love someone dearly you will naturally respect your beloved’s mother, the woman who gave your beloved life and love, values and all character. Do you love someone? Honor that person’s mother.

Luke’s Gospel has an introduction of Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you ... and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow ... and so the child will be called Son of God.” Mary is destined to be an essential part in the master plan of redemption.

There’s an old story that St. Peter at the Pearly Gates complains to Jesus – that whenever he shunts aside someone he considers unworthy of entering heaven, “Your mother opens the back door.”

Q. Would you please name the other Councils of the Catholic Church? I have read enough about Vatican Council Two as being No. 20 but nothing about the others.

A. Each council was convened to define a point of doctrine or discipline. The first eight Ecumenical (read: worldwide) Councils were convened in the East, if you consider Constantinople East, and the last 13 in the West, if you consider Rome West. A few other prominent places: Nicaea, Chalcedon, Ephesus, Lateran, Lyons, Florence, Constance, Trent, Vatican.

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) was most difficult. It finally convened on the third attempt to get a quorum of 300-plus bishops.

It lasted longest, at 18 years off and on. It witnessed the pontificates of five popes. It issued the first complete catechism.

In the 16th century many movers and shakers said they heard the death rattles of the Catholic Church ... more than four centuries ago.

But I digress.

Q. We just finished a first-ever and very successful fund drive in my parish. People are amazed at the amount we raised in one month but some no-shows are hollering that it’s always money. Someone brought up the widow who put in her two cents worth. Can you connect?

A. Jesus devoted one-fourth of his homilies to the tacky subject of money and possessions. We are merely stewards, he said, who are held accountable for what we do with what we have been given.

He praised the widow for her extreme generosity: her last two coins. To be fair, would you give your last two twenties?

In those days, there was a metal money box inserted in the temple wall that clinked or clanked, depending on the size of the coin that was dropped in the slot. People could tell the amount by the sound. Jesus noted the widow’s double clank.

We are all stewards, he said, who will be called in by God to “give an accounting of your stewardship” (Luke 16:2). We are born into this world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing.

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