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Originally Posted by StuartK
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This is all very true, but is not very relevant to our discussion.

No, it is essential to our discussion. When we commemorate Mary and the saints in the Divine Liturgy, explicitly praying for, rather than to them, we are doing for them what we do for all the other departed--praying that God constantly keep them in his mind, so that their memory, hence existence, will be eternal. And we do it for the reasons I outlined above.

Truly, Stuart, is there any realistic anxiety that God will forget Mary and the Saints and they will fall out of existence. Do we really have to pray to Him and beg Him not to forget? LOL!

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I don't think there is any danger of God forgetting about Our Lady. Don't be silly!

There is no danger of God forgetting anybody. He is omniscient, after all. But see what I wrote above:

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God does not need us to remind him not to forget us, so our supplication is one way of confessing to God our own powerlessness and total reliance upon his grace and mercy; it is also a way in which we praise God for that mercy and offer thanksgiving to him that He continues to remember us.

So, it is not because of God's needs that we ask him to remember us eternally, but for our own.

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So, what exactly is your point? What is wrong, what is it you want to change?

We pray for the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints. We pray for the salvation of all the faithful departed who may be in need of our prayers.

Where is the axe you have to grind? What is the problem?

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It is clear that we are talking past one another. There is nothing wrong with praying for the intercession of the Virgin and the saints. But there is nothing wrong with praying for them, as well. In fact, that is what the Eastern Churches do and have always done, Father Ambrose and others not withstanding. That they have lost the original and thus authentic meaning of the these liturgical petitions does not alter anything--it merely indicates that they need to recover this patristic understanding. That the Western Church does not have this practice is neither here nor there; that it once tried to suppress the authentic Tradition of the Eastern Churches and replace it with its own does (though I am sure Father Taft is even now reconsidering his position in light of Father Ambrose's condemnation).

Father Ambrose continually asks why we should pray for Mary, as though there is nothing of ours that she needs. But it is clear that when we commemorate Mary and the saints in the Liturgy, we are doing so for the same reason we commemorate anybody in the Liturgy--to ensure that God keeps them in his mind.

You, Father Ambrose, and I am sure others as well laugh at the idea that God needs to be reminded of the Theotokos and the saints, but by the same token, God does not need to be reminded of Joe Blow, who reposed in the Lord last Thursday, and who we commemorate in the Liturgy next Sunday or whenever. If God knows the name and needs of each, even from his mother's womb, then He certainly doesn't need us to tell him, "Don't forget Joe Blow, please!"

As I said, we do it for our need, not God's. And we pray that God may remember Mary and all the saints for our need, not his.

I am still appalled, though, that there are people who do not understand that when we commemorate someone in the Liturgy, regardless of who it is, we are indeed praying for him.

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The prayer "Communicantes" of the Roman Canon could not be more clear.

The emphasis is similar, but different, as one would expect. The Latin Church is not the Byzantine or Armenian Church. It has its own Tradition, and we have ours.

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I agree that when we pray for all the faithful departed, we do indeed pray for them all. Theoretically, this may even include Our Lady and the canonized Saints. However, there are no specific prayers in the Roman liturgy for Our Lady or any one of the Saints, only prayers that they may intercede for us.

Again, what is the problem? What is it you would want to change, in practice?

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The Latin, Armenian and Greek churches do have their own traditions. But are there really any insuperable differences? I think not.

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None, except that some people seem to be saying that it is not only wrong, but impossible, to pray for the Virgin Mary; and since the Byzantine and Armenian Churches do just that (no matter what people might say), it is proper to respect that Tradition, even if it does not agree with one's own.

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Again, what is the problem? What is it you would want to change, in practice?

Did I say I wanted to change anything? I just want those of us who follow the Byzantine Tradition to understand just what it is we do.

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As a Latin Catholic, I concede the possibility that prayers for all the faithful departed might inculde our Blessed Lady and the Saints.

However, as a practical matter, I have never prayed for our Blessed Lady and the Saints, but rather for their intercession. Our Lady and the Saints do not need our prayers, but we do need theirs.

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However, as a practical matter, I have never prayed for Our Lady and the Saints, but rather for their intercession. Our Lady and the Saints do not need our prayers, but we do need theirs.

Well, at least you concede the possibility. For my part, I believe that the Liturgy is the most perfect and complete expression of a particular Church's rule of faith, and since the Liturgy says we pray for Mary and the saints, I have to assume that the Fathers had their reasons for doing so.

Furthermore, that we pray for Mary in no way keeps us from asking for her intercession before her Son. In fact, we do so in the Divine Liturgy many times, including within seconds of praying for her. One would have to assume that just as I can pray for someone and he can pray for me, we can pray for Mary and she can pray for us--though, admittedly, she is much better connected than I am.

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When I try to explain the communion of saints to protestants, I emphasize the fact that we all pray for each other. In other words I pray for you, you pray for me, and Mary prays for us all.

Father Ambrose has just explained how the Orthodox understand the relevant part of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. I assume he knows what he is talking about.

Personally, I would never presume to pray for Our Lady. That would be blasphemous, wouldn't it? I need her prayers, but she hardly needs mine, unworthy as I am?

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In Byzantine praxis, the Liturgy is the foremost of Catechisms. When coupled with the menaion, it is the principle core of teaching.

It's clear we pray for Mary.
It's also clear we ask Mary to be our go-between as byzantine Christians.
It's clear only Jesus is without sin.
It's clear that Mary was special from birth.
It's clear that Mary has a special role in salvation, but is still dependent upon Jesus as well, just like the rest of us.


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When I try to explain the communion of saints to protestants, I emphasize the fact that we all pray for each other. In other words I pray for you, you pray for me, and Mary prays for us all.

I pray for you, you pray for me, I pray for my deceased grandmother, she prays for me, I ask St. George to pray for my soldier friends in battle, I ask Mary to protect us all, and I also pray that God will remember her, and St. George, and all the saints, including you and me. We are surrounded by clouds of witnesses, and we all bear witness for one another.

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Father Ambrose has just explained how the Orthodox understand the relevant part of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. I assume he knows what he is talking about
.

His is certainly one view.

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Personally, I would never presume to pray for Our Lady. That would be blasphemous, wouldn't it?

So, the Fathers blasphemed when they composed the Byzantine and Armenian Divine Liturgies? Certainly, exactly the attitude Father Taft was describing when he wrote (as I quoted so long ago):

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Anyone who reads that history with openness and objectivity can only conclude that the Armenian Apostolic Church, when confronted with the obtuseness of the Latins, was fully justified in rejecting a communion which threatened not only their integrity, but the very survival of their age-old tradition. (50) The contentions in large part concerned the liturgy and its theology. One problem for the Latins were the liturgical intercessions for the Mother of God and the saints in the Armenian anaphora, where, as in the Byzantine Chrysostom anaphora, one continued to pray "for" Mary and the saints indifferently, along with the rest of the departed. Here as elsewhere, modern studies have shown that the Armenians had preserved the ancient tradition, (51) and that the Latins were simply wrong.

It may certainly seem blasphemous to you, but then, consider how blasphemous the Michaelangelo's Creation in the Sistine Chapel must seem to us, or all those Renaissance depictions of Mary as the artist's wife or mistress, holding some fat, pudgy baby who is supposed to be the omnipotent Word of God. And while you may think it is silly for us to pray for Mary, imagine how we must feel when, for instance, we look at a painting of Mary praying the Rosary (one is inside the Crypt Church of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception). Ponder that, for a second.

In short, I have no problem with the Latin Church not praying for Mary. I have a lot of problems with Latins telling me that we shouldn't or can't.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
In short, I have no problem with the Latin Church not praying for Mary. I have a lot of problems with Latins telling me that we shouldn't or can't.
It is not Latins telling you this. Frankly, most Latins couldn't care less, because they have no comprehension of Eastern Christianity. It is Fr. Ambrose and ROCOR telling you this. However, I do happen to agree with Fr. Ambrose on this matter.

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