5. Two-Months-Later Conversation with a Catholic Priest
Before continuing with the on-campus events, I skip forward two months from that 2017, Passover night. At that later time, I gave, to a retired Catholic priest, a draft of a sizeable part of the early chapters of All My Grace. After his reading, he commented, “Fascinating!” However, he had some concerns regarding Mary’s all-of-my-grace message. In particular, due to the message’s usage of the word “my,” he found Mary’s words “cryptic.”
“I want to be very careful of your not making Mary into a goddess,” he said to me. “‘Our Lady of Grace’ means that graces can come through her [Mary’s] intercession, but she is not the source of these graces!” Rather, “Mary is an instrument of His [God’s] grace. . . . Mary is not a goddess. . . . The grace comes from the Spirit of God and Mary is an instrument of the grace. . . . The grace comes through her to the Church, through her intercession. . . . It’s the same type of theology regarding any of the saints. . . . [The Church is] not worshipping saints, not worshiping Mary, [who is] the Queen of the Saints.”
With that considered, this priest found Mary’s message cryptic due to its “my”—a word that could imply that the graces were coming from Mary herself. My response to the priest was that, as I had written and as he had already read, I could not remember the message’s exact wording. (As will be described, much happened soon after the message’s receipt. Due to that, I must have become too preoccupied to recall the precise words. Moreover, that night was a Jewish holiday, and I did not have, per Orthodox-Jewish custom, a cell phone to record the exact phraseology for posterity’s sake.) Continuing, I said that Mary’s message, as strictly worded, must have been phrased broadly enough to incorporate the truth of Church dogma.
Moreover, I, a rabbi, knew and know full well that the omnipotent God Almighty is the One and only one Who makes the world go around (in fact, as the LORD is omnipresent, nothing exists but God). Therefore, I was aware that God was utilizing Mary as a conduit, as He uses all of His saints—who are meant to be pure, empty vessels for God’s Holy Spirit (called, in Hebrew, Ruach HaKodesh). Similarly, Orthodox Jews share a belief that departed saints (e.g., Rabbi Nachman of Breslov) may intercede in heaven on someone’s behalf.