söndag 2 februari 2014

Patrick Madrid is right about kecharitomene and blessed among women

1) deretour : Mariologic Bible study, 2) New blog on the kid : Ipsa conteret, by Heinz Lothar Barth, German Book Tip, 3) Great Bishop of Geneva! : Patrick Madrid is right about kecharitomene and blessed among women

I do not know exactly where to find his article, but I do know where to find a pretended refutation of it. One which I set about to refute.

I only have to use the short link ppt.li/i5 to get to:

Aristophrenium : Fisher* : Was Mary Sinless

Look first at two passages in Luke 1. In verse 28, the angel Gabriel greets Mary as “kecharitomene” (“full of grace” or “highly favored”). This is a recognition of her sinless state. In verse 42 Elizabeth greets Mary as “blessed among women.” The original import of this phrase is lost in English translation. Since neither the Hebrew nor Aramaic languages have superlatives (best, highest, tallest, holiest), a speaker of those languages would have say, “You are tall among men” or “You are wealthy among men” to mean “You are the tallest” or “You are the wealthiest.” Elizabeth’s words mean Mary was the holiest of all women.[5]

If this exegetical (or rather, eisegetical) argument proves anything, however, it proves too much. There is no reason to believe that κεχαριτωμένη is “a recognition of her sinless state,” because if this was the intended of the word, then we end up with all sorts of exegetical absurdities. For example, Saint Stephen is referred to as being “full of grace and power” [πλήρης χάριτος καὶ δυνάμεως] in Acts 6:8. If being full of grace is a description of being immaculately conceived, then we must therefore conclude that the Bible is teaching the immaculate conception of Stephen! Not only that, but the exact same verb that is used of Mary is also used of all believers in the aorist tense in the epistle to the Ephesians:

…he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given [ἐχαρίτωσεν] us in the One he loves.
(Ephesians 1:5-6)

The text is literally saying that God has graced (ἐχαρίτωσεν) Christians with His glorious grace. If the usage of κεχαριτωμένη in Luke 1:28 is good enough to prove the immaculate conception of Mary, then the usage of ἐχαρίτωσεν in Ephesians 1:6 is good enough to prove that every true believer is just as immaculately conceived as Mary is.

We Catholics agree that St Stephen individually was sinless while the Church is collectively sinless. St Stephen was - at least as to his habitual state - not in any sin either original or mortal. And venial sins do not define a state. They only lessen the intensity of grace. However, since the word pleros charitos is used (and its tranlation into Latin, "gratia plenus" is the model for the Latin translation of Gabriel's greeting "gratia plena") he was not committing any venial sins either at the time that Acts is referring to, but, probably since Pentecost day, enjoying a life without even any venial sins. That and not just the martyrdom is what we mean by calling Stephen a Saint.

Unlike kecharitomene which is a verb form referring to a present constant result of a past action - I will return to that - charitos pleros** is a phrase comprising no references to time. St Stephen was probably in a state of original sin up to his circumcision - meaning he was not yet pleros charitos** or even half full of grace, and he may have done venial sins between his circumcision and later on getting baptised and receiving the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Day. We need not suppose he was pleros charitos for all of his life, it is sufficient he was that between Pentecost and Martyrdom, especially between getting ordianed as a Deacon and Martyrdom for the words in Acts to be true of him.

But for that time we indeed think he was not even committing venial sins which would have meant less intensity of the charis and would therefore not have been in accordance with pleros. That gift we think he received by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, since watching Her Divine Son die on Calvary, is Queen of the Martyrs. And Saint Stephen is the first to join her in martyrdom. It was therefore behooving of God to make him this gift of grace for tha last and crucial part of his life, which He had given his Queen for all of Hers.

Therefore the parallel with Saint Stephen does not prove us guilty of eisegesis, or of absurd such, but rather strengthen and clarifies the true exegesis.

Now, to Ephesians. One reply to Fisher on Aristophrenium would be that gracing us with Christ and filling us with grace are two distinct actions to each of us. Since some of us have grace before knowing Christ and others when knowing Christ do not immediately receive Him fully and therefore do not immediately have the grace that corresponds to him. But that would be the wrong reply. One of us who has not fully been graced because not fully having received Christ would not yet be quite one of the "us" that Saint Paul is talking about.

The true reply is rather this, that yes "we" are collectively, insofar as members of the Church, sinless. He has graced us - collectively and also insofar as each one of us is truly a member of the Church, and He has done so first and foremost in the Sinless Head of the Church, that is in Christ.

Once again, there is no exegetic absurdity in saying that Mary is Sinless as the Church is Sinless. It becomes one to Fisher only because he thinks of St Paul's "we" or of the Church only as a figure of speech, an abstraction which covers the reality of several "Is" [pronounce like "eyes", not like the verb "is"]. He thinks of the Church as the mathematical sum or "Menge" of individual faithful. We think of the Church as an organism, a people, a thing which Christ has established, a collective personality enduring from Her birth out of His side at Calvary beyond time to the Eternal Wedding Feast. And once again taking the parallel to the full does not make our understanding of Luke 1:28 absurd, on the contrary it is said of the Church collectively, that is of Christ's Bride, that She has no wrinkle. The Blessed Virgin Mary is as Sinless as Her daughter in law the Church.

Sure, the individual members of the Church sin, or some do. Even mortally and in that case they must be reconciled to Christ and to His Church in order to save their souls. But the Church itself never ever sins at all. Precisely as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Now the Blessedness of the Blessed Virgin. Fisher very righly points out that Jael was also called Blessed among women. However, he draws the wrong conclusion:

If we applied Madrid’s eisegesis of the phrase “blessed among women” consistently throughout the whole Bible, then we are forced to conclude that Jael is also immaculately conceived. It should be clear at this point that Roman Catholic apologists cannot consistently apply their eisegetical tricks without proving the immaculate conception of other persons besides Mary.

Now, the words "if we applied [it] consistently throughout the whole Bible" makes it sound as if Jael and quite a few other women were each in their generation called blessed among women before the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Note, even if that were true, this would only have been in their own generation, whereas the Blessed Virgin Mary is called Blessed by us, very many generations after her Assumption into Heaven, as She prophecied:

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Luke 1, Magnificat

All generations of what? Of all mankind both blessed and damned, both Christian and Heathen together? No, then the prophecy failed. Of Jews? Hardly. Of Protestants? When will they start calling her the Blessed Virgin Mary then? No, all generations of the true people of God. She has identified the people of God for all generations between when She said Magnificat and to Judgement Day by the parameter of calling Her Blessed. Catholics or Orthodox might both do, in this particular aspect of it, but Protestants will not do. They are as much outside the true Church as the Gnostic Sects who believed the pseudo-Gospel of Thomas.

But it is not true that the Old Testament in each generation has a new woman who is blessed among women. There is one in the 66 Books that Fisher accepts, he mentioned her, Jael, there is another one who has a whole book named after her, it is in the 73 Books (or 72 if Baruch counts as one book with Jeremiah) of the true Bible. Both of these women were called "blessed among women" for having killed an enemy of Israel, for having delivered Israel from an agressor. The other one is called Judith:

And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
Judith chapter 13***

So, the Blessed Virgin after hearing either angel or Elisabeth call her Blessed among women would not have wondered at first (she might have guessed it before she met Elisabeth or have got it the second time) why she was holy, but what enemy of Israel she had killed. There is only one enemy of Israel which she can be said in any sense to have killed, and his name or title is Satan. Not a mere Sisera, not a mere Holophernes, however gruesome these were, but Satan himself. And when St Elisabeth repeated the Blessed art thou among women which she had already heard from the angel, and then added "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" (who had not yet been born and received the name Jesus, but His Mother knew the Redeemer of mankind), she finally at the latest must have grasped what that part of the greeting meant:

He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

By mighty and rich She is not excepting Sisera or Holophernes, nor for that matter certain yet to be damned, like Herod or Caiaphas, but Satan was mightier and richer than they. He had conquered mankind. And he had been sent away emptyhanded. She was herself part of God's reconquest. Now that Elisabeth could add "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" she was so because "she said yes" (or fiat). But according to the angel, she had already been God's instrument for defeating the fallen one before saying yes.

The word kecharitomene referred in the angel's greeting to an act of God already past and already and still and forever giving the result that she was (as was said of St Stephen too) "full of grace". But this act of God is not mentioned here the first time. It is prophecied like a back then yet only awaited but certain future act of God:

I will put enmities between thee and the woman.
Genesis 3:15.

If by sin we - it is the we of mankind, which has sinned in Adam, not the we of the Church - are starting out as slaves of Satan, and if slavery is not consistent between enmity between lord and slave, then Mary was never sinning, not even "in Adam" (any more than her Son) since God had already before the angel greeted her put enmity between Satan and her. The same act of God which to the serpent is referred to as putting enmity is to herself referred to as having established her in grace.

So she defeated Satan three times. The third time was when uniting herself under the Cross to Her Son's prayer. The second was when "she said yes". And the first time was when God graced her and put enmity between the devil and herself. Even that must have been a defeat to Satan. One human soul conceived without being his indentured slave. One human soul he never had a grip on. One human soul which was from the first his enemy and not his plaything.

Otherwise, she would not have already been victorious over the serpent when the angel spoke to her, and thus the angel would not yet have had any more of a right to call her blessed (before she said yes) than to add "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" (before Christ had been conceived).

We have a right to read the Evangelical Tradition of the Orthodox Faith of the Catholic religion into every passage of the Bible. And as is shown, against one calling the bluff, we Catholics can do so without absurdity.

I am not claiming this is a neutral exegesis. I am not claiming to approach the Bible like one learning a foreign language. I am not claiming to be neutral or dispassionate as one able to discover by tomorrow that neither Satan for the Serpent nor Good Angel for the Donkey of Balaam were acting in a way related to but not identical to perhaps ventriloquism. I am not claiming I could tomorrow discover "the serpent" was a political cartoon about a nonserpentine tempter or that Balaam listening to his donkey was a satire about him being a false prophet. I am claiming that as being a Catholic I am reading the Bible as a native. And that precludes certain neutralities and certain kinds of scientific objectivity such as would be appropriate in an archaeological investigator unearthing the correspondence of Shupililiuma of the Hittites. But I am claiming that reading the Catholic Tradition into the Bible is not eisegesis of a strange paradigm.

Rather it is Protestantism which is guilty of eisegesis in for instance Ephesians 1:6 by supposing "we" means "each one of us". Precisely as passages stating the Church is redeemed once and for all and cannot fall into apostasy must not be interpreted as if this were true of each individual member of the Church. But it was and remains, on the contrary, very eminently true of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As for the individual believers, when they are "born of water and the Holy Ghost" they are indeed as Sinless as the Blessed Virgin Mary, unless they have posed an obstacle by approaching the Font or Baptisterial Basin with a defect in intention. A believer who becomes so by day eight is certainly in one moment - before being baptised into the death of Christ - a sinner having sinned in Adam and a few seconds later, after baptism, a new creature, conceived as such without sin. But our claim is that for Mary this salvific moment was not differred till any later moment than her very first moment of existence in the womb. God no sooner created Her than He established Her in grace and put enmity between Her and Satan.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Sunday and Feast of
the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As to the purification, other women needed purification after childbirth, according to the law of Moses, since the lawgiver God knew procreation usually involves continuation of Adam's sin, even when done righteaously and without own sin. But the Blessed Virgin Mary today needed the ceremony only to show Her perfect obedience - an attitude in which She raised the one Man who was more Blessed than She: Her Divine Son.


* Same Fisher does a very much better job here: Why Evangelicals Doubt Historical-Critical Theories About the Gospels (Pt. 1 – On Methodological Assumptions), Why Evangelicals Doubt Historical-Critical Theories About the Gospels (Pt. 2 – On the Synoptics)

St Pius X might be applauding him from Heaven. While being less gentle with some purported but non-inerrantist "Catholics". He had more in common with CSL than with Bultmann or Loisy.

** I meant pleres charitos, of course. My Latin is better than my Greek.

*** Ozias here mentioned is not the son of Joram, King of Judah but:

Judith 6:11 In those days the rulers there were Ozias, the son of Micha, of the tribe of Simeon, and Charmi, called also Gothoniel.

Appendix on "benedicta":

Other women who have been greeted "benedicta" in the Vulgate:

[10] And he said: Blessed art thou of the Lord, my daughter, and thy latter kindness has surpassed the former: because thou hast not followed young men either poor or rich.

[10] Thy latter kindness: to thy husband deceased in seeking to keep up his name and family by marrying his relation according to the law, and not following after young men. For Booz, it seems, was then in years.

Ruth, the ancestor of King David and of Our Lord. Ruth 3:10. Blessed, yes, but "not among women". However, she is an image of the Blessed Virgin insofar as she was at age twelve betrothed to an old widower, as Protevangelium Jacobi states of St Joseph.

And Abigail:

And David said to Abigail: Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy speech: And blessed be thou, who hast kept me today, from coming to blood, and revenging me with my own hand. Otherwise as the Lord liveth the God of Israel, who hath withholden me from doing thee any evil: if thou hadst not quickly come to meet me, there had not been left to Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall. And David received at her hand all that she had brought him, and said to her: Go in peace into thy house, behold I have heard thy voice, and have honoured thy face.

I Kings or I Samuel, chapter 25, verses 32 - 35. Abigail who had appeased the Ancestor of Our Lord, otherwise he would have done a great massacre. As it is also Our Lady who more than once has stopped the ire of Her Divine Son from doing another Flood or another Fire on Sodom act. Note that King David in gracing Nabal is using the words Our Lord used to the adulteress. Though King David did not adress them to Nabal but to the one he had called Blessed. But as for the rest of King David's words, they were not repeated to the adulteress.

The search on "benedicta" gave only thirteen lines in all. Two of them about the Blessed Virgin. Of the three about Judith, the one from chapter 15 also excludes Protestants and Jews from being the true Israel, since they are not honouring the Book of Judith as a canonical writing./HGL

PS: and Abigail, like Ruth was also just "benedicta" but not "benedicta in mulieribus"./HGL

PPS: to further bring out the parallel between Abigail and the Blessed Virgin, she had in her appeasing speech called her self "handmaiden" (v. 25)./HGL

3 kommentarer:

  1. It is of course, as a Catholic, that I am very satisfied to find that a theologian, someone already enjoying authority in the Church, Cornelius a Lapide, already said what I had to say about Jael being a type of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It means I was not in error and did not indulge in the poisonous pleasure of novelty.

    In his comment on "benedicta inter mulieribus Jahel" in chapter five he says "from which the angel Gabriel took his salutation ... Jael was a type of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as stated previously to 4:28."

  2. Oh, was it verse 28?

    Anyway, it was to the verse about the death if Sisara.

    Debbora and Jahel allegorically represent the Church of God and tropologically the holy soul, strong and zealous for God, Barac the synagogue, Sisara the Devil, milk prayer, by which the Devil is weakened. .... finally Jahel was a type of the B. Virgin, of whom is said in Song of Songs VIII, 5 "Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved?" She is the graceful doe, even full of grace, she is it who has crushed the head of the serpent, that is, of the Devil. ...

  3. Judicum Capita III et IV, p. 8 which to the left has p. 136, at the bottom of which I find this.