- Could you please tell me just what exactly consecration to Mary is?
Our Christian consecration happens at Baptism. It is something God does.
Consecration means the act of setting apart as holy, as belonging to God.
We do not have the power to consecrate ourselves. When we use this language
with Mary, we are acting out of our Christian consecration, which makes
us sons of God in the Son, with the "right" then to offer the
prayer of Christ which He graciously makes us participate in by the power
of the Spirit.
Consecration to Mary is an expression of our will or desire
to be set aside for Mary's service; to belong to her, so to speak, as Jesus
did as a child, subject to her. It is a devotional practice, not a dogmatic
teaching or requirement.
Also, I am a Lutheran, considering converting to the Catholic Church.
- Just what kind of relationship am I supposed
to have with her?
The relationship one is supposed to have with Mary, other than that of
imitation as the perfect disciple, is described in Scripture. We are to
accept her motherly role and take her into our home, as the Beloved Disciple
did, and to pray in union with her, as the early Church is described as
doing in Acts.
I know I'm supposed to love God with all my heart,
mind, soul and strength. In a certain prayer
(I can't remember which one), it says (I'm paraphrasing
"I give my whole body, life, soul,
and home to you (meaning the
It is poetic, devotional, but true. It means giving it to God through Mary.
It is an act of trust in her disposing of things according to the will
of her Son. It is an act of faith in her intercession and in her motherly
- Also, I've heard of becoming a slave to
- What in the heck is that all about?
Again, poetic language, with the addition of a translation of a word that
could mean slave or servant. There are fashions in devotion, as there are
in art, and different eras express them in different ways. There is no
requirement to adopt any particular devotion.
- What exactly does devotion to the saints
- Are there any Protestant saints?
It means you love and admire the saints, and ask them to pray with and
for you, just as you ask people on earth to pray with and for you. There
are Protestant saints, in the sense that there are Protestants in Heaven.
There were some recently mentioned by Pope John Paul II who were martyred under Communism.
They were not canonized, but they were mentioned as being martyred.
- Are the souls in Purgatory considered saints?
Yes, and so are we. But not in the same sense as canonized saints, which
is a statement that
the person is definitely in Heaven and his virtues
are worthy of imitation.
- Does the Church teach that canonized saints
go directly to Heaven?
I'll defer to an expert on that one. Martyrs, yes.
- If so, how would they know who is in Heaven
and who is not?
Guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Could you please tell me if Martin Luther
believed in Purgatory?
He did, I have read, but not in indulgences applied to their relief.
- Does God love the canonized saints more
than the rest of us?
No. And they are not necessarily the greatest saints. They are just the
ones who are raised up to witness to us about something we need to see
or know. God loves each of us perfectly.
Let's face it, I absolutely love Jesus, and
try to follow His teachings, but I'm definitely
not a saint.
You are a saint. You are one of God's holy ones, one of the chosen, the
elect, set apart by Baptism to be part of the Body of Christ and to gain
an everlasting inheritance. You are not a perfect person. Neither were
canonized saints. And, until you are dead, you cannot be declared a saint,
though you may very well be one in virtue. A person who is a candidate
for canonization must be judged to have "heroic virtue."
As to who is elect and who is not, those who persevere in following the call
are elect, and those who turn about and leave God are not.
- Are there ranks among the saints?
Yes, but each one is as happy and perfect as he or she can be.
the concept of indulgences, but, honestly, they
sound a bit like magic. Let's just say a prayer,
be detached from sin (no easy task), and Whammo!
Grandma is set free from Purgatory.
Faith in God's infinite mercy is necessary. And thank goodness we are allowed
to draw from and share the heavenly inheritance given to us in the Holy
Spirit. The treasure is not just one waiting for us in Heaven. It is one
we can spend in faith now.
- Can I say a prayer or do some other pious act
for my loved ones?
- I'm not Catholic; is God going
to accept my offerings?
My grandparents were
very devout Lutherans, weren't anti-Catholic,
and honestly didn't understand some of the Church's
I can only pray to God that they're not in Hell.
But, if God is all-merciful, I'm hoping
understand, and show them compassion.
We all need compassion. Read the Catechism on salvation. They are saved
through the Church, even if they did not perfectly belong. They followed
the light of conscience, and that is how they are judged.
"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel
of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere
heart, and , moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they
know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve
(Lumen Gentium, 16, Vat II - also quoted in
I was baptized
when I was three days old.
- Am I considered part of "the
The Catechism says you are joined in many ways to the Church, that you
are in an imperfect communion with the Catholic Church. (838)
- If Mary points the way to Christ, why did she
tell the children at Fatima to say the Rosary
- Wasn't she a humble girl who didn't want
to attract attention to herself?
If you read the Hail Mary, you see that the first part is quoting Scripture,
and expresses her blessedness in terms of her relationship to Jesus, and
greets her as God greeted her. The second part is just putting her to work
for us, so to speak, with the addition of the "Mother of God",
which is a dogma and one of the greatest works of God.
- What about the promises she made, saying she would
save anyone who wore
a specific scapular?
That is a devotion. You don't have to believe it. The Brown Scapular has
some heavy hitters on its side, but it is still a devotion. As to promises,
they are all contingent on the state of a person's soul. Grace is needed
for all of us. God will offer as much grace as He can, up to the last minute, "between
the bridge and the water" so to speak, and the openness of the world
to His grace is partly determined by our prayers and love for each other.
He respects freedom and needs doors opened for Him.
P.S. Also, please pray that my Lutheran church,
and the Roman Catholic church may be reconciled.
I have and I will.
You also may want to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and checking out our FAQ section.