August 2015 – Notes on Arab Orthodoxy
Traditional Christians, that is Orthodox and Catholics, do not make Mary into a god. This is a false accusation without any historical basis. No one has equated her with Christ. He is the sole mediator between God and man and it is through Him that salvation is realized. If we say that she is an intercessor, we do not attach any meaning to this beyond that she prays for us. There is nothing in our belief that detracts from the fact that we believe that Christ alone mediates salvation. Our belief that Christ alone is the savior of the world does not detract from our belief that those whom God has glorified stand praying in His presence.
We have never said that the saints work salvation. They received it, just like everyone, and have added nothing to it. Mary saw herself as nothing other than the servant of the Lord. Do those who reject our calling upon the saints for intercession really think that we are lacking in our faith that we are detracting from our faith that the Lord Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man? Is it true that those who do not seek the intercession of the saints love the Lord Jesus more? It is clear in our actual practices that our valuing the saints does not detract from Christ.
When we seek the intercession of the saints, we mean that we speak to them as the living speak to one another because everyone in the Church prays for each other, whether they remain in this world or have reached the kingdom. Those who die have passed through death into life, on account of the Savior’s resurrection. Mary has passed through death into heaven before the general resurrection.
We speak to Mary because she has passed through death. The fact that we speak to the saints is based on the fact that they are alive with God on account of the Savior’s resurrection. It is true that you call upon Christ, but it is also true that you call upon those who loved Him because they are alive in Him. This in no way diminishes the fact that He is unique. For those who love Him, they add nothing to Him. In our calling upon them, we confess that they are with Him.
There is no one in the churches of tradition– I mean that Orthodox and the Catholics– who has ever said that the saints add something to Christ. We say that they are with Christ and therefore we speak to them. You do not love Him in isolation from His companions and if you love them, you do not make them equal to Him. If you understand that the saints do not add anything to Christ and that they are in His company, then you have no excuse for lecturing us about them.
What do you have against us if we love Him and we love them together? Who has examined what we say about Mary and can claim that we make her into a god? What do we say about her that makes her into a god? The beautiful words about her are a form of poetry. They in no way imply that we raise her above the station of humans. We say to you that we love her because she loved Jesus. Do you have an objection to this?
I do not know where the myth that we make Mary into a god comes from. This is either said out of ignorance or by the the slander of liars. No one has ever made Mary into a god. She remains a creature when we say that she is the greatest of creatures.