The Dedication of Mary

Before beginning this study, it seems a good idea to define a bit of Catholic terminology:

Oblates: The name oblates is derived from the Latin word meaning "offered." It was first given to those children whose parents gave them at an early age to the care and upbringing of a monastery. It was the pious intent (and neglect of duty on the part of the parents)that the children would then become members of a religious order and be cared for in their youth and throughout their lives. This practice was halted by the Council of Toledo (A.D. 656) and ceased altogether…--Robert C. Broderick, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson, Inc, © 1987

Once again, we are presented with a definition of Catholic jargon that does not appear to conform to reality. Broderick tells us that the practice of offering up children on the altar of Rome was halted in the year 656. Another Catholic encyclopedia provides conflicting information concerning oblates:

The children vowed and given by their parents to the monastic life, in houses under the Rule of St. Benedict, were commonly known by the name during the century and a half when the custom was in vogue, and the councils of the Church treated them as monks -- that is, until the Council of Toledo (656) forbade their acceptance before the age of ten and granted them free permission to leave the monastery, if they wished, when they reached the age of puberty.-- J.C. Almond, "Oblati", The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. Robert Appleton Company with Nihil Obstat % Imprimatur.

Far from having been halted, the custom of offering up children (and older folks) on Catholic altars continues to this day. The only major difference seems to be that the sacrificial offerings must be a bit older than the age of ten years. I Googled a bit and learned that monastic orders have set different minimum ages for accepting such offerings. The Benedictines, for example, require an oblate to be at least 15 years old:

The only requisites for admission to the Oblates of St. Benedict are an upright character and the earnest desire for spiritual advancement according to the Christian ideas set forth in the Rule of St. Benedict. The minimum age for admission is 15. An oblate can belong to only one monastery.-- How to Become an Oblate, St. Meinrad School of Theology, © 2007 Saint Meinrad Archabbey

So, the Catholic practice of offering up children either has been halted or continues to this day, depending on which reliable Catholic source one draws his information from.

Christians who strive to take the Gospel to those lost in the dank swamps of Catholicism often appear unable to comprehend why Catholics so adamantly reject their efforts. Even when presented with clear biblical evidence, or the words of those revered Early Church Fathers, in support of an argument against the teachings of the Roman Church, they stand fast and behave as though they had not even seen what was offered them. Catholics are fed the most fantastic and outrageous ideas by their Church, and accept them as though they were Holy Writ. Even when presented two diametrically-opposed RCC dogmas, the Catholic often seems blind to the inconsistency. Why is that?

Those of us who were born and raised in the Roman Catholic Church understand, but I doubt many of us can explain it to one who has never worn the Roman yoke. Virtually from birth, a Catholic is immersed in a never-ending flood of mind numbing lies and myths. He is told that he is not wise enough to read the Bible for himself and must leave interpretation to the all-wise and infallible Magisterium. Throughout his religious life, he is told what he must believe, and given reasons why he must believe it. He is cajoled and threatened and told he must never doubt what Mother Church feeds him, on pain of anathema and being cast into the eternal fire. Most Christian apologists and theologians I have encountered know all this.

What some of you may not know is the insidious nature of the Catholic brainwashing process. Around the world, Catholic men and women are busily setting to paper newsletters, magazines, books, etc., filled with the most fantastic inventions. For the most part, it appears, the Catholic hagiographer, historian, theologian, apologist, biographer, etc., is in no way limited by the realities of history or Revelation. He simply writes whatever seems right to him. His output is then shoveled into the gaping maws of Catholic faithful, who swallow it whole, without question or concern. Over time, the lies become truths to the brainwashed Catholic.

To give you a taste of the menu of religious fare set before Roman Catholics, I offer the following brief excerpt from a book on Mary. As you read, I invite you to ponder where the very precise information came from and how it was authenticated. I invite you to notice the rather blatant warnings against doubting the information provided. Catholics get this all the time and, the more religious they are, the higher the dose. Is it any wonder they go about as zombies?

WHEN MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD, was three years, two months and three days old, she left Nazareth. And she did not return to it for eleven years. She was brought by her father and mother to Jerusalem, and there was presented to God in the Temple. There, in the company of the young virgins, in the care of the holy widows, in the custody of the priests, she spent the rest of her childhood, until the day of her espousals, at the age of fourteen.

Mary was dedicated to God in fulfillment of a vow which Joachim and Anna had made during the twenty long years they had waited for her to come. They had promised God to consecrate their child, if He would give them one, entirely to His service as soon as this was liturgically possible and the rules of the Temple would allow.

Anna had often read in holy Scripture about her predecessor – in name and in predicament – who lived nearly twelve hundred years before her and whose story is told in the beginning of the First Book of Kings. This was Anna, the wife of Elcana. She, too, was barren. She, too, had pleaded for a child, in the name of God. And she vowed to dedicate to God the child He would send her.

Anna, the wife of Licana, wanted, and was given, a son. She called him Samuel, which means Name of God. Anna, the wife of Joachim, was given a daughter. She called her Mary, which means Lady. Anna of the Old Testament was the mother of Samuel, the Name of God. Anna of the New Testament was the mother of Mary, the Mother of God. The name Anna means Grace. Thus does God make a wedding of women and words, of names and notables, when His most gracious gifts are being given.

Joachim and Anna had made their vow to give Mary to God before they saw their child. Once they met and beheld and knew her, in the utter brilliance and radiance even of her infancy, they understood why God had inspired them to make such an oblation of her before she came. They no longer felt she was something they were giving God. They felt she was something they had taken from him, and must give back again.

And so, two months and three days after her third birthday, Joachim and Anna packed up their little daughter and carried her off to the Holy City, where the Temple of the Jews was located. The journey took three full days, and part of a fourth. They arrived at the home of Anna, in Jerusalem. They stayed there for seven days, while Joachim purified himself according to the requirements of the Law for one who was going to make an offering in the Temple. He also bought a lamb to give to the Levites to sacrifice by way of a victim, as a vivid reminder to God and a vivid remembrance to himself, of what he was about to sacrifice by way of a child.

And so, clothed in his white garments and in the company of his wife and her relatives, on the twenty-first day of November -- when the Virgin Mary was exactly three years, two months and thirteen days old -- her father, Joachim, stood his little Queen on the lowest of the fifteen first steps that led up to the Temple proper. He and her mother, Anna, embraced her. Mary, without turning to wave good-by, ran up the full way, to the top step. There she was greeted by Zachary, the priest. He took her hand. She was led to the doorway of a cloister. And she disappeared into the Court of the Women.

This transcendent event, the solemn arrival of God's Mother into God's House, occurred in the 5,187th year after the creation of the world. Under the title of the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, it is honored and celebrated every year on November 21.

What a welcome from God awaited the little Mother of God on her arrival into the house of God, we know from the beautiful utterances of our Faith remembering it in prayer, and from the abundant texts of holy Scripture anticipating it in prophecy. "Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come," Solomon had said to Mary in summons, a thousand years before she came. It was not into the Temple which Solomon had erected that Mary entered at the age of three, for that had been destroyed. But another had been built to replace it, on the exact spot, and with the same arrangements.

“Hearken, 0 daughter, and see, and incline thy ear: and forget thy people and thy father's house," was King David's greeting to Mary as she ascended the stairs on her way to become God's own in irrevocable dedication.

“How beautiful are thy steps, 0 Prince's daughter," was another of God's inspired salutations to his maiden-of-all-maidens, as He listened in eternity to her tiny footsteps climbing in time the fifteen steps to the sanctuary of his Holy House. "Who is she that goeth up . . . as a pillar of smoke, of aromatic spices, of myrrh and frankincense, and of all the powders of the perfumer?"

Mary's virginity in the Temple was not to be an accidental virginity, due only to her years. It was to be a vowed and disciplined virginity, to which her heart and every one of her habits would conform. It was also to be --unlike that of the virgins with whom she was to associate -- a perpetual virginity which was never to be forfeited in later years, not even in her espousals. Mary' was more angelic than all the hosts of angels. The angels knew this, as they saw her approach the Temple.

The angels strewed her path with sweet-smelling, mysterious flowers, as she made her way through the porticoes. The halls of the Temple were filled with unhushed, melodious, angelic songs which all heard and delighted in, and which no one could explain.

Eternity touches time, where divine interests are concerned. And eternity preserves time where God's values have occurred in it. Nothing is clearer or truer in all oral history than the Christian traditions of Jerusalem. They have been vividly preserved in architecture, in ceremony, in liturgy, in intercession and in narrative. They cannot be silenced, and will never die.

And so, for all time we are entitled to say to Mary as she climbs the steps on the day of her divine dedication, "Go then, O Queen of the World, O Mother of God, go joyfully to the house of God, there to await the coming of the Divine Spirit, Who will make thee the Mother of the Eternal Word. Enter with exultation the courts of the Lord, in expectation of the coming of the Holy Ghost and the conception of the only-begotten Son of God.--The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Mother of God, St. Benedict Center:Cambridge (1957), Chap III, pp.11-14)

In the above account, the writer informs that: “She called her Mary, which means Lady. Strong's dictionary tells us that the Hebrew name “Miriam,” which is rendered in English as “Mary,” actually translates as "their rebellion.”

The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary report that “the solemn arrival of God's Mother into God's House, occurred in the 5,187th year after the creation of the world.” According to a Hebrew calendar date converter, that would work out to the year 1427 on the Gregorian calendar. Though I spent nearly an hour on the Internet researching a seemingly endless series of calendars, I was unable to determine what calendar was used to come up with that 5187 date.

Judaism informs that the time frame we refer to as "B.C." (Before Christ) ended 3760 years after the creation of the world. It appears reasonable to assume that, had Mary actually been delivered to the Temple as an oblate when she "was exactly three years, two months and thirteen days old," it would have been sometime around the year 3747 of the Jewish calendar, for she was a young maiden when she miraculously conceived. If the 5187 date quoted is accurate, then little Mary was delivered up to the Temple more than 1400 years after the birth of Jesus. That indeed would have been a miracle!

Where do they come up with this stuff? Do you reckon that, just possibly, Catholic fantasy-as-theology results from inhaling too much incense smoke? What the heck! If the truth doesn't meet the storyteller's needs, just supply a different “truth.”Very little in this fantasy tale even approximates the truth.

The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have been known to identify themselves as spiritual children of Catholic priest Leonard Feeney. Feeney, some may recall was excommunicated for failing to back off of his hard line position on the Catholic doctrine of extra ecclesium nula salus and “non-water” baptism. Just prior to his death, Feeney was 'reconciled' with the Catholic Church. His 'spiritual children,' who also were excommunicated, have to my knowledge not been reconciled.

Look for God's truth in the Scriptures; not in the imaginings of foolish mortals who create fantasies which they present as truth.

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