Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Knock Novena 2018

Knock RC Shrine, Co. Mayo, Republic of Ireland
OK. Here is an update. It can be slightly embarrassing to be at Knock RC Shrine during their Novena on the Monday to Friday plan. The pilgrims think that you are super holy. That is until you tell them that you are a Christian evangelist, which they quickly work out to be a Protestant. No one gets nasty or threatening, but the halo has definitely slipped. For any who do not know the story of Knock, you can read the official stuff here with my obvious Protestant provisos. Sometimes I am asked if I believe the Knock story. Bearing in mind that I am usually standing about 100 yards away from where it all supposedly happened, I reply to the end that I do not doubt that all these people saw a vision of some sort. Who am I to say otherwise? But I also add that I do not believe that these people saw the Mary of the New Testament. They can work out the rest for themselves. I am not there to talk about Mary. I am there to talk about Jesus. Anyway, I am back at Knock Shrine again. If you are on Twitter, then you can see a short "selfie" type one minute video here

I had an interesting chat today with a man. Actually, it was more of a monologue on his part, but I did my best. We managed somehow to get unto the infamous "Glories of Mary" penned by Alphonsus Ligouri. Many Roman Catholics probably haven't heard of him, but anyone studying the Romanist/Protestant conflict know who he is. Google him if you want more info. Although some modern RC theologians could see him far enough, he is a saint and doctor in the RC church. Of course, this doesn't make him infallible, (even the Pope has to jump through a few hoops to claim it) but you just can't dismiss him either. Especially when his printed material carries the old Imprimatur. Again, some RC's would quibble about the authority of this too, but if this rubber stamp is worthless, then get rid of it. It either means something or it doesn't. 

This monologue man told me that Ligouri never used the word "adore" in all his "Glories of Mary" about Mary. That surprised me, but I had the basic wit to merely raise an eyebrow. Especially when - this can be so Irish - he wanted me to enter into a bet with him. He offered me odds of 10/1. I was to put up 100 euro while he would put up 1,000 euro. He interpreted my reluctance to gamble as backing off in argument. Is it any wonder I asked for prayer in the video above? 

Anyway, we agreed to disagree and away he went. They all disappeared into 3 o'clock mass. Thehuge basilica was crammed to the doors and the ever threatening rain came down. So, first of all, I paid a 10 minute visit to the well stocked basilica bookshop which yielded me some reference books on Mary. I was very careful to treat the books with special care. They assured me that the word "adore" is only used concerning God. Since Mary is not God, then the word is not used of her. I was surprised to see this word being given such a high meaning. Do you adore your spouse? I adore mine, but I never think that I am worshipping her as a deity. 

I then came back to my small camper van (from where I am typing this article) got out the laptop and connected to the Wifi. I googled "Ligouri" and the words "adore" and "adored". Sure enough, the first few references yielded him using the word in regards to God and the mass host. Then I came across this gem from Ligouri here. I quote:

Click on picture to enlarge 

3d. "Virgo veneranda:" Virgin most venerable. St. Anselm declares, that when we say of Mary that she is the mother of God, we say that she surpasses in greatness, after God, every thing that can be conceived or expressed whence he says to her: Oh Lady, nothing is equal to thee for every thing is either above thee, and that is God; or it is beneath thee, and that is every thing that is not God. In a word, St. Bernardine says that God alone can know the greatness of Mary; and the blessed Albertus Magnus affirms that Mary could not be more united to God except by becoming God. "Magis Deo conjungi non potuit, nisi fieret Deus." Truly worthy then of our veneration is this great mother of God, for God himself could not make her greater than he has done, by making her his mother. Oh, mother of God, and my mother, Mary, I adore thee, and would wish thee to be adored by all hearts, as that exalted Lady thou art. Have mercy on a poor sinner, who loves thee and trusts in thee. Virgin most venerable, pray for us: "Virgo veneranda, ora pro nobis."

The chances of my erstwhile friend coming along again after the 3 o 'clock mass was slim. However, I did go down and stand in the same place. Alas, it was not to be. (BTW: I assume that it goes without saying that I did not want to see him so that I could take him up on his odds of 10/1.) 

Anyway, the plan is to go back tomorrow again and put out a few more free booklets on open display and indiscriminately hand out some Trinitarian Bible Society tracts. As I say in the video linked to above, a sower went out to sow. He is not named and so it is any Christian evangelist carrying and broadcasting the good seed of the word of God. 

Pope Francis is coming to Knock on Sunday 26th August. You will need tickets to get anywhere near the town. Security has been tight enough round Knock all summer. He is not even celebrating mass and it is estimated that his visit will be short. About 45 minutes or so. They want people to come on public transport, but the rumours are that this will be ignored. I can see traffic tailbacks stretching for miles. Anyway, not my problem. 

So that's it for another while. 

P/s Just ran the spell checker. It doesn't recognise Google, googled, Wifi, Selfie, the Latin stuff, Ligouri and (surprisingly) Trinitarian. Basic wouldn't be the word for it.