Mary: Ordained as Prophetess, Priestess, & Queen


One of the beautiful things about Catholic theology is that it sees story as one of its main interpretive filters. Protestantism, on the other hand, focuses much more on historical context and the text itself.

To modern ears, the Protestant ways sounds great, but there’s one big problem: this is not how most of the biblical writers, Jesus, the apostles, the early church, nor most of church history have ever treated the Bible. They were and have been much “freer” with the text (yes, often to a fault). Catholicism’s rootedness in ancient ways of reading invites them into new dimensions and interpretations.

Take Mary, for example. Catholics see her foretold in the Old Testament just as much as Jesus is. They see her in prophecies and allegorically represented in other women. They see parallels between her and the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, and the Temple, saying they all carried the Holy of Holies within them, and were revered for it.

There are three biblical offices of authority among God’s people: Prophet, Priest, and King. Christians see Jesus as the fulfillment and highest expression of each of these, but in the Advent event, you can see Mary serving these functions as well. So today, as a Protestant, I want to sit with this and revel in some beauty and divine mystery.

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Mary: Waiting for a Redeemer [guest post]

This Advent meditation is part of the Liberti Church 2019 Advent and Christmas Prayerbook, and it is by Liberti member Jordan Cupo.


As a child, the joy of Christmas morning was unmatched. Wide awake in my bed with anticipation, I would watch the clock count down. I was raised to believe that Santa might not come to kids who wake their parents up before 7am on Christmas morning. Once that magical hour struck, it was a flurry of shouts and laughter as a tornado of flying bows, ribbon, and wrapping paper unfurled in the living room beneath the Christmas tree.

Proclamations of joy aren’t hard to find this time of year, even outside of the church. And there are many reasons to be joyful in this season. There is something special about the smell of freshly baked cookies, gatherings of family and friends, gift-giving, candles, evergreens, and hot chocolate.

Yet, the joy of the Christmas season stands in stark contrast to the broken circumstances of our world. We see others who gather at Christmas, and it reminds us of our own loneliness. We see tables filled with plenty, and it reminds us of our own hunger. We see the gifts of others, and it reminds us of our own financial stress.
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For Good Friday: “Gabriel Came on Friday (Magnificat)” [a poem]

Not of flesh nor will of man
But of heart by will of Him.

Deep within a shot was cast and burrowed in the bow
The fine line of ecstasy and horror homoousion‘d among
And within
Obedience was found on worthy lips, blessing bestowed for ages come.
Yet the blessing’s joy was as a bell in the mist:

Neither found or seen. Until the rocks came.
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My church let me preach another sermon. Here it is.


Believe it or not, even after preaching my first real sermon ever, my church let me preach again. All jokes aside, I had the honor of preaching this past Sunday as part of our Advent series.

The text is Luke 1:26-38, the moment in the life of Jesus known as The Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. Cameos in the sermon include Mary, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Barth, the podcast Serial, racism, white privilege, and the story of everything. Here’s the audio:

You can also download it here, or subscribe to our podcast here.
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A night so holy and silent | Carols in Prose

winter-snow-trees-bwFor my Advent series this year, I am going through Christmas Carols and unpacking them, re-writing them in prose, hoping to pull out more of their meaning, theology, significance, and beauty. Here’s today’s source material.

As holy as that night was–as anointed, blessed, prophesied, and sacred as it was–it was just as silent. You know in winter when find yourself in the midst of falling snow, and it almost has a loud silence? It was like that.

Who knew that this utter holiness and cosmic in-breaking would be so quiet? So…uneventful? Yes, there were angels and such, but they were far away with us. There at the manger? Silence.
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May God give rest to you weary, happy souls | Carols in Prose


For my Advent series this year, I am going through Christmas Carols and unpacking them, re-writing them in prose, hoping to pull out more of their meaning, theology, significance, and beauty.  Here’s today’s source material.

I pray that God may give rest to all of you. Those of you that are tired and in need of rest, and yet you doggedly hold on to a soul-merriment and joy that cannot be taken from you. I pray he grants you rest and lets nothing steal your soul’s joy.

Especially in this season, I pray he strengthens that joy as you remember that he has come among us in Christ, our Savior, whose birth we celebrate during this time. We remember that he came as a human–but not just that. We remember he came as the weakest and most frail of human forms: one who is born.

But we don’t jut remember that he came, or even just how he came–but also, why.

This Advent season precedes Christmas as Lent precedes Easter–it’s a time to meditate on the darkness, weight, and tension of this world. The darkness and power that drew us away from God as Home; the darkness from which we were saved. And in this, we are given that rest, comfort and joy.

Oh, that we might experience God’s good news of comfort and joy proclaimed from the rooftops of our lives! Just think of that: Comfort. And Joy.

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On Holy Saturday: “Tired” [a poem]

it is time
to think about Christ

I keep putting it off.”

Longing and lusting
Raging and seizing

Looking out the open window
wanting a woven sacrament to
touch me

Functional loss
A downward slope

Noting the works and words
with fingers cold
Touch the parchment
feel the ridge

Ancient enchantment enticing

English bathtubs as angel arms
___a memory vivid
___tongue refreshed?
Imagine imaged imagination

Piercéd Christ
Pasted chest

Aroma fills:
pierce the pores!
Wash the brain!




[read my other Holy Day poetry here]
all writings licensed: Creative Commons License

On Good Friday: “Gabriel Came on a Friday” [a poem]


Not of flesh nor will of man
But of heart by will of Him
Walking weary and steering stares
Casting glances and lots to those who do
Whispers spoken from around
Make silent the shouts cast from within
And above

Because deep within a shot was cast and burrowed in the bow
The fine line of ecstasy and horror homoousion‘d among
And within
For obedience was found on worthy lips, blessing bestowed for ages come
And this joy was found as a bell in the mist
Meaning: it was not

Until the rocks came.
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Herman Bavinck on the Advent Election of Mary [QUOTE]

In a comment on yesterday’s post on Mary, occasional blog contributor Austin Ricketts posted this quote, another gem by Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck:

[the] entire preparation of the incarnation in the preceding centuries is concentrated, as it were, and completed in the election and favoring of Mary as mother of Jesus. Mary is the blessed one among women. She received an honor bestowed to no other creature. In the undeserved favor granted her, she far exceeds all other people and all other angels. Rome was right in maintaining this; those who deny it are not taking the incarnation of God seriously…Among all Protestants who confess the incarnation of the Word, Mary is held in high esteem. She was chosen and prepared by God to be the mother of his Son. She was the favored one among women. Christ himself desired her to be his mother, who conceived him by the Holy Spirit, who carried him beneath her heart, who nursed him at her breast, who instructed him in the Scriptures, in whom, in a word, the preparation of the incarnation was completed.

Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, pp. 274; 281-282

Advent & Mary: Ordained as Prophetess, Priestess, & Queen


This Advent, we’re seeing how this season affects parts of our lives we usually don’t associate with it. Follow the series here. This post is also filed in the series “Catholics Aren’t Crazy” and “Women Leading Stuff in Churches“.

If a woman is revered by the church for giving the faithful their savior, then surely women are good enough for leadership roles in the church to save it. –Vishwanath Ayengar

I ran across that quote in some letters to the editor of Newsweek a couple of years back in response to a cover story arguing that if women were ordained as priests in the Catholic Church, there wouldn’t have been any sex abuse scandal. I don’t know if that’s true, but the quote is insightful and (hopefully) thought-provoking.

I can hear conservatives now: Well, God used a donkey to speak! He used Caiaphas the high priest to unknowingly prophesy about Jesus before sentencing him to death! He used Judas to bring about Christ’s crucifixion and therefore our salvation! It doesn’t mean that they were fit to be ordained pastors!

Yeah, yeah, I get it. This post isn’t necessarily meant as a “proof” or “defense” of women’s place in ministry (though it’s a part of my on-going series on the topic). I just want to revel a bit in some divine mystery. Can we all just put our swords down and marvel?
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From the iMonk: Mary Consoles Eve

I found this at the site of Michael Spencer (a.k.a. The Internet Monk).  This guy is having an increasing amount of influence and inspiration on my thinking as a Christian in this world.  You find him at The Internet Monk. Anyway, I love this piece of art and the poem.

Crayon & pencil drawing by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO. Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey


O Eve!

My mother, my daughter, life-giving Eve,

Do not be ashamed, do not grieve.

The former things have passed away,

Our God has brought us to a New Day.

See, I am with Child,

Through whom all will be reconciled.

O Eve! My sister, my friend,

We will rejoice together


Life without end.

Sr. Columba Guare copyright© 2005 Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey


This was found by Michael Spencer at Inside Catholic.