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St. Joseph icon by Theophilia St. Joseph icon by Theophilia
St. Joseph icon
March 19th, 2015
Ink, watercolor, gold leaf
4.5 x 6 inches

“God has made me a Father to the King
and Master of all His Household.
He has raised me up,
that He might save many people.”

~ Responsory for the Feast of St. Joseph

“The just man shall blossom like the lily.
He shall flourish forever in the courts of our God.”

~ Responsory for the Feast of St. Joseph

“Go to Joseph; and do whatever he tells you.”
~ from Genesis 41:55

I’ve been meaning to finish an icon of St. Joseph for a very long time, and now I finally have! After the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph is the second greatest saint who ever lived. I have not drawn him often but perhaps I ought to more. :D I have here depicted him as a young man wearing a tallit (or Jewish prayer shawl), and holding the Christ Child in one arm and his staff in the other. According to one tradition, when it was a being decided who would be the husband of the Virgin Mary, a group of eligible men came bearing their staffs. When the priest asked God to send a sign to designate the chosen man, Joseph’s staff bloomed with lilies. The colors are also symbolic. The green and white reference the line “the just man shall blossom like the lily” while the purple-gold sash, turban and neck hem with the six-pointed stars call to mind the Joseph’s royal Davidic lineage. I have also chosen to depict Joseph wearing the prayer shawl to indicate a number of things. Firstly, to represent his great piety and godliness as a just observer of the Law of Moses; secondly, to show the Divine Nature of Christ. Jews wear the tallit on the Sabbath when in the synagogue, and especially while they read from the Torah, the word of God. In his arms, St. Joseph actually carries the Word of God to the world. I always depict my saints as young, but in this case I think it is even more meaningful for Joseph to be portrayed as young. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote in his book The World’ First Love:
“But when one searches for the reasons why Christian art should have pictured Joseph as aged, we discover that it was in order better to safeguard the virginity of Mary. Somehow, the assumption had crept in that senility was a better protector of virginity than adolescence. Art thus, unconsciously, made Joseph a spouse, chaste and pure by age, rather than by virtue…But more than that, to make Joseph out as old portrays for us a man who had little vital energy left, rather than one who, having it, kept it in chains for God's sake and for His holy purposes. To make Joseph appear pure only because his flesh had aged is like glorifying a mountain stream that has dried. The Church will not ordain a man to his priesthood who has not his vital powers. She wants men who have something to tame, rather than those who are tame because they have no energy to be wild. It should be no different with God.

Furthermore, it is reasonable to believe that Our Lord would prefer, for a foster father, someone who had made a sacrifice rather than someone who was forced to it…Joseph was probably a young man, strong, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste, and disciplined; the kind of man one sees sometimes shepherding sheep, or piloting a plane, or working at a carpenter's bench. Instead of being a man incapable of loving, he must have been on fire with love. Just as we would give very little credit to the Blessed Mother if she had taken her vow of virginity after having been an old maid for fifty years, so neither could we give much credit to a Joseph who became her spouse because he was advanced in years. Young girls in those days, like Mary, took vows to love God uniquely, and so did young men, of whom Joseph was one so pre-eminent as to be called the "just." Instead, then, of being dried fruit to be served on the table of the King, he was rather a blossom filled with promise and power. He was not in the evening of life, but in its morning, bubbling over with energy, strength, and controlled passion.” (… )



Saint Joseph (later 1st century B.C. –early 1st century A.D.), was born in Bethlehem in Judea. He was of the tribe of Judah and of the line of the great King David. Because the two genealogies in Matthew and Luke differ after tracing the descent from David (Matthew following the major royal line through Solomon, son of Bathsheba; and Luke following a minor royal line through Nathan, another son of Bathsheba) Julius Africanus offered this explanation (which was later adopted by St. Augustine as well) in reconciling the two genealogies of Jesus: Matthew writes that the father of Joseph was Jacob, while Luke says his father’s name was Heli. According to Julius Africanus, Joseph’s grandmother married Mathan (of the lineage of Solomon) and had Jacob. When Mathan died, she became a widow and married Mathat (of the lineage of Nathan) and bore Heli. After Heli married, he died childless. So his widow, marrying her husband’s brother, married Jacob, and from Jacob was born St. Joseph. In this case, Joseph was the son of Jacob but also the legal son of Heli in the eyes of the law.

There is also a tradition that Joseph had a brother named Alphaeus/Cleopas, who married Mary of Cleopas (or alternatively, Mary of Alphaeus, since they are simply different transcriptions of the name “Halphai”). From them were born Joseph, Simon, James (the Lesser) and Judas Thaddeus (St. Jude), making the “brethren of the Lord” (Matthew 13:55) the paternal cousins of Jesus.

At some point Joseph must have left his native Bethlehem in the south to work in the remote little village of Nazareth, in the northern region of Galilee. He is called in the Gospels a tekton by trade, which indicates that he was a skilled artisan and craftsperson, probably working in wood as a carpenter and perhaps even with metal and stone. While living in Nazareth, he was betrothed to Mary. At that time, betrothed persons were considered to be legally married and therefore could only be broken off with an official divorce. The official wedding ceremony would happen several months to a year after the betrothal. It was at this time between the betrothal and wedding that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and in the Annunciation. Mary gave her fiat and conceived Jesus Christ by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Several months later, when her pregnancy had become evident, Joseph was thrown into great inner suffering and turmoil. As the Gospel relates:
"Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”  When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife…"(Matthew 1:13-24)

A few months later, the census of Caesar Augustus was decreed and they made the hard journey of some 45 miles to Joseph’s home-town of Bethlehem to be enrolled. Mary, meanwhile, was heavily pregnant, and when they finally reached Bethlehem the town was so full of people arriving for the census that they couldn’t find room at any of the inns or houses there. Instead, they had to take refuge in a cave for animals outside the city. There, Jesus Christ was born. His Mother wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and placed Him in a manger while St. Joseph watched over them. Together they heard the wondrous accounts of the shepherds who first came to adore the Christ at the message of the angel.

Eight days later, Jesus was circumcised, and forty days after His Birth they took the Child up to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord in the Temple. They probably returned to Bethlehem and stayed there for some time until they were visited by the Magi. After the Magi departed without revealing to Herod the Child’s whereabouts, King Herod ordered all of the boys of Bethlehem two years and younger to be slaughtered. The Angel of the Lord again came to Joseph in a dream and warned him of Herod’s murderous intention, and told him to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt. Joseph carried out the angel’s command with prompt obedience. The Holy Family stayed in Egypt as refugees for a time (perhaps even several years) until Herod died.

After Herod’s death, the Angel again came to Joseph in a dream and told him to return to the land of Israel. Joseph led the Family back to Judea, but when he learned that Herod’s son Archelaus ruled in Judea, he decided to go back to Nazareth in Galilee. They made their home in Nazareth, and it was there that Jesus grew and spent the greater part of His Life. The Family made an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, and it was after one of these pilgrimages that Jesus, at the age of twelve, sat teaching in the Temple and holding discussions with the leading men of Israel. Joseph and Mary searched for him for three days in a state of terrible anxiety, and when they finally found Him in the Temple, His mother asked Him, “My Son, why have you done this to us? See, your father and I have been searching for you with great anxiety.” It was then that Jesus replied, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s work?” He then came back with them to Nazareth until He began His Public Ministry around the age of thirty. Joseph must have died sometime within those intervening years as he is not mentioned again (except in relation to Jesus’ family). Tradition has it that Joseph died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, so he has become the patron saint of a happy death.

As St. Josemaria Escriva says in his work Christ is Passing By: “What must Joseph have been, how grace must have worked through him, that he should have been able to fulfill this task of the human upbringing of the Son of God! For Jesus must have resembled Joseph: in his way of working, in the features of his character, in his way of speaking. Jesus’ realism, his eye for detail, the way he sat at table and broke bread, his preference for using everyday situations to give doctrine—all this reflects his childhood and the influence of St. Joseph. It is not possible to ignore this sublime mystery: Jesus, who is man, who speaks with the accent of a particular district of Israel, who resembles a carpenter called Joseph, is the Son of God.”

St. Joseph is also beloved by many other saints. St. Teresa of Avila herself said that: "I know by experience, that the glorious St. Joseph assists us generally in all necessities. I never asked him for anything which he did not obtain for me."

The Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19th was extended to the whole Church in 1621 by Pope Gregory XV. In 1870, Blessed Pope Pius IX named him the Patron of the Universal Church. Pope Pius XIII instituted May 1st as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955.… These scenes from the life of Joseph come from Maria Valtorta, a 20th century mystic.

There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand.

This general rule is especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: “Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord.”

What then is Joseph’s position in the whole Church of Christ? Is he not a man chosen and set apart? Through him and, yes, under him, Christ was fittingly and honorably introduced into the world. Holy Church in its entirety is indebted to the Virgin Mother because through her it was judged worthy to receive Christ. But after her we undoubtedly owe special gratitude and reverence to Saint Joseph.

In him the Old Testament finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of patriarchs and prophets to its promised fulfillment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms.

Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honor which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.

Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to Saint Joseph: “Enter into the joy of your Lord.” In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: “Enter into joy.” His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that it surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.

Remember us, Saint Joseph, and plead for us to your foster-child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen.

~ from a Homily by St. Bernadine of Siena


+ A Prayer to St. Joseph +
Holy Joseph, you were always most just; make us relish what is right. You sustained Jesus and Mary in time of trial; sustain us by your help. You provided for all the needs of Jesus and Mary; help the needy of the whole world. You rescued Jesus from Herod when he sought to kill your child; save us from our many sins. You were the foster-father of Christ, the priest-vistim; make priests faithful to their calling. You were the foster-father of Christ, the divine physician; sustain the sick and obtain relief for them. You died the holiest of deaths in the arms of Jesus and Mary; intercede for the dying. You were the intrepid guardian of the Holy Family; protect all Christian families. You cared for Jesus with true fatherly love; protect all children in the world. You were a dedicated an honest worker in your trade as a carpenter; teach us to labor for Jesus. You were the faithful and chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary; preserve in all hearts a love of fidelity and purity. You were a model single person and a model father later on; help all people to imitate your virtues.

:rose: The Feast of St. Joseph is celebrated on March 19th. :rose:

St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, husbands, the family, workers, craftsmen, the dying, and the Universal Church.

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that by Saint Joseph's intercession
your Church may constantly watch over
the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation,
whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Add a Comment:
Emirald88 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your icons! This one is so beautiful - do you sell prints by chance?

Theophilia Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much!

I do indeed! Info for purchasing prints can be found in my journal (on my front page:
RisenArt Featured By Owner Edited Jun 15, 2018  Professional General Artist
Couple mistakes:

“Go to Joseph; and do whatever he tells you.”
~ from Genesis 41:55

That is Joseph son of Jacob who lived hundreds of years before Mary's husband, Joseph. Genesis Joseph is the dude that got sold into slavery by his 11 brothers.

Secondly, Mary did not stay virgin forever but consummated her marriage with her husband in Matthew 1:25.

"20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."

I notice you cut that last part of verse 25 out.

I appreciate beautiful God given art skill but please also tell the truth with it. I went to Catholic school for like 10 years and am familiar with these traditions but I had to repent of the things that contradicted Jesus' teachings and word. The biggest was no more praying to people, but asking Jesus who actually hears and gets it done by the Holy Spirit. We are not to lift our souls up to idols or solicit departed people for ANYTHING--God condemns Necromancy (contacting the dead) in Deuteronomy 18:11. It blocks the Holy Spirit and opens the gate to the enemy. In Christ you are a saint given authority to loose and bind things in heaven and earth.  You do not need to solicit saints who have gone home. We have authority right now on earth and Jesus is interceding for us already as our High Priest. His job, no one else's.

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all." (1st Timothy 2:5-6)

The only time Jesus and any of the apostles and saints in the Bible talked to dead people was to raise them back to life. Let's be faithful to that example.

Love ya in Christ, Theophilia! :heart:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Those aren't mistakes. They are both entirely intentional.

1.) I am well aware that the verse in Genesis 41:55 literally understood refers to Joseph from the Old Testament who saved his family from famine in Egypt. However, Scripture is fruitfully interpreted in several senses. St. John Cassian (d. 435) was an early Church father who wrote about the four senses of Scripture that can be used to understand and interpret Biblical passages in a harmonious and deep way. There are two main senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual. The literal sense is what the divinely inspired human author intended to write, and what is said plainly or on the surface of the writings. The spiritual sense is what is signified by the writings in light of Christ's coming as Redeemer, or (in the Old Testament, for example) when in foreshadows the New. The spiritual sense is further subdivided into the allegorical sense (or typological sense), the tropological (or moral sense, having to do with the individual human soul), and the anagogic (or future) sense. Taking the example of various Scripture passages about Jerusalem, John Cassian in his Conferences wrote: "And so these four previously mentioned figures coalesce, if we desire, in one subject, so that one and the same Jerusalem can be taken in four senses: historically as the city of the Jews; allegorically as the Church of Christ, anagogically as the heavenly city of God "which is the mother of us all," tropologically, as the soul of man, which is frequently subject to praise or blame from the Lord under this title."

So Genesis 41:55 would be applied to St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, in the spiritual sense, as being foreshadowed in the Old Testament. In the same way that Adam and Joshua and other Biblical figures are types of Christ, so Joseph of the Old Testament can also be seen as a type of St. Joseph as well. The point is that St. Joseph is a godly man who is a good example and guide for how fathers of families ought to behave, because of how Christ was the center of the Holy Family.

2.) "When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus." (Matthew 1:24-25) The word "until" in Matthew 1:25 is translated from the original Greek "heos", which means that "up to that point" but does not imply that Joseph and Mary had relations after. Matthew was emphasizing in this passage that Joseph was NOT the father of Jesus, but that His birth was of a divine origin. In the same way that people say, "I will love you until my dying day" that doesn't imply that "I'll love you up to that day, but once that day has come, I'll stop loving you." In fact, it means exactly the opposite. The implication is that even beyond that point of time, that same state will continue. There are other passages in Scripture, using the same word "heos" that imply the same thing. For example, in Acts 25:21, Festus says to King Agrippa, "But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be held until (Gk. heos hou) I could send him to Caesar" implying that even AFTER he sent him to Caesar, he was still kept in custody, which is what happened, as you can read from Acts.

Also, if Mary had been planning on having normal marital relations with Joseph after their marriage, her question to the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:34 really doesn't make sense. When the angel tells her she is to conceive a son and name him Jesus, she asks, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” The angel then reassures her that her pregnancy would be the result of the Holy Spirit's action in her. Her question doesn't make much sense if she wasn't planning on remaining a virgin. Obviously, if she were to have begun normal marital relations with Joseph after their marriage, she wouldn't have needed to ask the question. No where else in Scripture where a birth is predicted by an angel does someone ask how the pregnancy would come about. Because they assumed (obviously) that it would come about through normal marital relations.

Not only do the Scriptures attest to Mary's perpetual virginity, but also the Church Fathers and the history of the Church, and even your Protestant reformers attested to this ancient teaching and tradition of the Church. As a few examples:

"You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord’s body, that court of the eternal king" (Pope Siricius I, Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

"It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?" (St. Augustine, Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).

"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband" (St. Augustine, Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).

"[T]he Word himself, coming into the Blessed Virgin herself, assumed for himself his own temple from the substance of the Virgin and came forth from her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly he was true God. Therefore he kept his Mother a virgin even after her childbearing" (Cyril of Alexandria, Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4 [A.D. 430]).

And from the Protestant Reformers:
Martin Luther:

“Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb… This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that. […] Christ… was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him.”

"Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers."

"A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . ."

"When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom."


"I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity."


"The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."

Just as some examples. St. Jerome (347 - 420 A.D.) wrote a whole letter attacking the heretic Helvidius for his heretical belief that Mary was not a perpetual Virgin. You can read that here, in his word Against Helvidius.

3.) Catholics do not pray to idols. We are not asking pieces of wood to help us out! My goodness, what a childish notion! When Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, was he using necromancy of conjure up the dead? No! Necromancy is the occult practice of trying to call up dead spirits through demonic power to learn hidden or future information. When Catholics pray to the saints, we're asking other Christians to pray for us. We're asking holy men and women who are close to God to intercede for us. The Scriptures are replete with examples of admonishments to do this. Christians ought to pray for each other. In Revelations 5:8, it describes the saints in Heaven as interceding for those on earth and presenting their petitions before God: "When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones." God wants us to pray for each other. James says, "Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects" (James 5:16-17) and Paul says to the Romans: "I exhort you, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to strive with me in prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the disobedient in Judaea and that my ministry may be acceptable to the saints in Jerusalem, so that in the joy coming to you through the will of God I may rest with you" (Rom. 15:30-32), and in the Book of Job (Job 42:8) God instructs Job's friends to have Job make intercession and sacrifice for them. Those are just a few examples. And those saints who are in heaven are not dead, but alive, and indeed more alive than us, for they have completed their whole earthly course, and they are truer friends than our friends on earth. For as Jesus Himself says in Matthew 22:29,32: “You are misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God...have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Asking other Christians to pray for us in no way obstructs Christ's role as Mediator with God. The Catholic Church teaches that Christ is the sole Mediator between God and men, but that doesn't mean that He doesn't want us to pray for each other. In the same way that St. Paul can speak of "filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, the Church", so it is that we too can participate with Christ our Head in His sufferings and in His mediation, because He chooses to allow us to participate in His salvific mission.
RisenArt Featured By Owner Edited Jun 15, 2018  Professional General Artist
It's possible Theo, to love one's religion and traditions more than one loves God. I have met many many devout Catholics, nice, faithful people... but this doctrine blocked them from coming any further to our Daddy, God.

"We're asking holy men and women who are close to God to intercede for us."

And that's the problem.  We have just as much access to the Father in Christ as they do.  He tore the veil, sis.

Hebrew 4:16 said we can approach the Throne of Grace with confidence. No red tape or layers of bureaucracy. Jesus already broke all those barriers with the cross. I have bowed, closed my eyes and saw his throne in my mind. It was giant and glorious and I felt his presence around me. It was overwhelming... I never wanted to leave and I get to go there any time I want.

This red tape doctrine is telling people God can't hear them because they're "too far" as if he's too busy or not right here. Or as if he has favorites he listens to over others.... A bride only needs to whisper in the ear of her groom; a child need only sit on his father's lap, not play Chinese telephone with a line of people between them. I have laid hands and healed sick people and have been personally healed of chronic respiratory sickness. There was no red tape but simple and intimate interaction with the Holy Spirit, allowing him to come in and have his way.  Other  (living) saints that were there were simply standing with agreement and listening in to the same Holy Spirit for the answer. This was the way of the first church in Acts, the Church of Jerusalem. They had no such doctrine you described nor did any of Paul's letters to the churches.

These teachings have led too many astray. I have met too many. Too many, Theo to the point one woman became possessed. It even started talking saying "She's mine, she's mine, I'm her god!" Until she repented of saint veneration and saint prayer the demon would not leave her. She got rid of her icons as well. The spirit behind this doctrine is not the Holy Spirit, sis. Demons are capable of impersonating saints and even loved ones. Even angels tells us not to bow to them and they are far stronger than we are. I've seen this teaching make people rebellious and incapable of receiving the Word of God. It's like they were on a spiritual drug. Or just plain confused. They'd rather make offerings to and bow to statues and rely on the priest to have a relationship with God for them. I have seen this happen both in the US and in the Caribbean where I am from.

This saint veneration doctrine eventually cripples people's faith and makes 1-on-1 interaction with God somehow inaccessible to people. It distorts and even robs the intimacy Jesus payed so dearly for us to have. That is the sin of man's religion. Complicating what Jesus has made so simple.

I gave you simple scripture and you couldn't receive it and brought in text walls of man's teaching that is not on equal ground with Jesus's own words. You're saying it doesn't interfere with Jesus' place in people's lives but it does. SO very much.  Over and over. I am telling you LIVE experience not just nice ideas in the head. This teaching is a detriment to people's SOULS.

Other than that, I love some of the prayers, hymns and benedictions in Catholic traditions. Parts of Mass touches me so deeply. The founding of schools, hospitals, faithful service to the poor, missions, it is absolutely #faithgoals! This church would be flawless if it repented and truly put Jesus and the Word at the center.

I am not here to fight, I am writing this because I love you. I don't care about being right, I care about freedom and reconciliation with God without compromise or hindrance. You're free to ask the Holy Spirit if I'm talking nonsense or not, sis.
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm sure you're very sincere in what you're saying, and I appreciate that, but it does come off a bit patronizing when you say "It's possible Theo, to love one's religion and traditions more than one loves God" implying that that is indeed the case for me. It's very bold to presume to know and understand my spiritual state and then rebuke me for it, especially since you don't know me, nor know the state of my soul. You are assuming that I somehow subscribe to the notion that I can't apply directly to God or something. I never said anything of the sort. In fact, I said the opposite. But I DID say that we can also ask other people to pray for us, which is evident from the Scripture, but also simply from common sense. 

I don't know what denomination you belong to, but I too, have experienced beautiful spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit as well. A Catholic parish quite close to me where I sometimes go to Mass has a special emphasis on the charismatic gifts and other gifts of the Holy Spirit, so I am very well aware that many of the same wonders that happened in the times of the apostles are still happening in our day. And that action of the Holy Spirit is a great blessing and mercy. I am very grateful for it.

I will readily agree that it's certainly possible that there are Catholics who are poorly catechized and don't know their faith very well (especially in the Caribbean, where I know many can mix up mere cultural practices with darker and more occult activities like voodoo and other evils), and can be involved in superstitions or other nonsense. The Catholic Church also teaches all forms of superstitions to be sinful, and indeed, says this: "Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition." (CCC 2111). But simply because there are people out there who are poorly catechized, it doesn't invalidate the truth of the Church's teachings.

The saints have never made me feel as though I didn't have personal access to God. Of course I do, since He is my Father. But the saints are my brothers and sisters. We're all part of one family and part of Christ's Mystical Body. I don't understand the Protestant view that somehow because we have God as our Father that means we should not only ignore our brothers and sisters and pretend like they don't exist, but that if we even acknowledge that they can help us on our journey to God that that somehow interferes with God's sovereignty. That's not how life works, that's not how people work. God uses other people in our lives as instruments of grace for us. Our own parents certainly, but also our friends, spouses, etc. The saints too. "No man is an island" as John Donne once famously put it. We don't live in our own independent ecosystems without relation to anyone else. We are very interdependent and social creatures. We need other people, not just on a physical, emotional, or psychological basis, but also on a spiritual basis.

That's how Christ instituted the Church, as a family, made up of those who are still living and those who are dead but still part of God's Church because they are with God in Heaven. It's not "man's religion" but the religion that God made for man, as the way to come into right relationship with Him. True religion is a covenant with God, being part of God's people. It has a social dimension to it, as well as an individual one. Christ is the Head of the Mystical Body that makes up the Church. I choose to follow the teachings of the Biblical, historical Church that Christ founded, and that has been teaching and preaching through the mouths of her holy pastors, popes, bishops, priests, and other saints. Those are some of the people I was quoting from to show you how Christ's people have understood those texts, namely that since the beginning, God's people have rightly venerated the saints (especially the Virgin Mary) and asked for their intercession. The fact of the matter is that the Biblical canon (what was deemed to be divinely inspired Scripture) was compiled and accepted by saint-loving, relic-venerating Catholic bishops at the Synod of Hippo (393) and the Council of Carthage (419). If you believe they were incorrect about those teachings, how can you be confident that they really compiled the true canon of Scripture? if you want to find out what the biblical, historical Church of Christ has always taught, I cannot recommend more reading the writings of the church Fathers, who received their teachings directly from the mouths of the Apostles and then handed on that Faith. Men like Polycarp and Irenaeus and so many others.
RisenArt Featured By Owner Edited Jun 18, 2018  Professional General Artist
My apologies for sounding patronizing, Theo. I can't judge your heart but I can hear what you are saying because if you're being honest, your heart and mouth are connected (out of the mouth flows issues of life). You are indeed exposing your heart and priorities to me by what you say. I can't pretend I don't notice because that wouldn't be a real discussion.

I just showed you a passage for example that explicitly states that Mary consummated her marriage with her husband in Matthew 1:25. Translation, they had sex after Jesus was born.

Now I'm asking you: Did Mary and Joseph have sex after Jesus was born?

I personally don't care about Mary's virginity but there's a point to this.


I agree 100% we are not islands. We have plenty of saints right here on earth to pray for us (James 5:16).  The difference is I wouldn't hail you over and over with holy sweet talk, flip beads, and beg you to pray for me and lay flowers at your feet hoping you'll cooperate with me. That's not relationship, horizontal or vertical. That's bribery and begging. God doesn't even want us to treat HIM that way.

YHWH God expresses annoyance at vain repetition in Matthew 6:7, he wants us to talk to him as a Person. To speak and even declare with confidence he hears us clearly and is very willing to answer because the saints are his royal priesthood, his holy nation of ambassadors. We don't beg or bribe, we stand tall with the authority we have been given.

I see those same practices of repetition, imagery, beseeching the dead in Hinduism--they behave that way because they have no relationship or assurance about what or whom they pray to and no assurance for the dead. God does not want to be treated how the nations treat their idols and it is weird to treat another human that way, dead or alive.

Here I google "saint veneration"…

Then I google Hindu Worship…

What is confusing is you said you don't personally believe you don't have access to God yet you said those saints in heaven are closer. If you have the same access in Christ, why is the latter even needed?

When the Bible tells us to pray for each other, I learned from experience it's not because God hears us any less but because of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6). There are demonic principalities in high places and group agreements in prayer actually dispatches angelic support and bursts holes in satanic ranks even FASTER allowing Heaven to freely flow to Earth hence the prayer "your Kingdom come on earth".  The issue is authority, speed and accuracy. The Bible calls God a Warrior and regards us as the same.

What they taught me in the Caribbean for 10 years was straight out of the Catechism, at least at my school. We're not just a bunch of ignorant little islanders nor do I participate in the superstitions of my island. The institution I attended was a learned, top-notch private school with uniforms, house badges, nuns and clergy from all over the world and a British system of education better than anything I've had in the USA.  They were in fact very faithful to the Catechism. When I opened and read the Bible for myself, I realized it is a different Gospel:

a) Catechism states babies are born again in infant baptism. Infants cannot be saved by baptizing in water, in fact no one can. Water Baptism is a decision of repentance from sin when the Holy Spirit convicts them and precedes baptism by the Holy spirit and fire (supernatural power of the Kingdom to twalk like Jesus).
b) Bowing, praying to, kissing images is never permitted nor is using them to access the supernatural realm (2nd commandment, Exodus 20)
c) The Vatican completely erasing the 2nd commandment (no idolatry) and splitting the 10th one in two to make it 10 again which is anathema (End of Revelation actually curses those who do this).
d) Doing works to maintain your salvation when Ephesians 2:8 says only by faith you are saved (maintained by abiding, John 15)
e) Lifting up the incense of your prayers to someone other than God. (Incense is fragrant, holy only for Deity in both old and new testament Psalm 141:2, Psalm 24.) If 1 million people prayed to Mary at once, could she hear them all? That is implying she is all-knowing and all present when only God is. Not even powerful archangels are all-knowing or all-present. What if 1 million people prayed to you after you died?
f) Pope John Paul II declaring Mary Co-Mediatrix (1 Timothy 2:5 Christ is our only Mediator. From a POPE, not a wayward believer unless he counts as a wayward believer).
g) We are not to pray for the dead, their business is done and they are now accountable to the Father. Human free will at play and they have no excuses according to Romans 1:18 and onward.
h) Using mass to appease God's wrath (bribe him) when that was already finished at the cross by the Lamb of God
i) There is no purgatory payback zone in the Bible because it is already paid by Jesus

I don't even have to get into the beliefs of "wayward members." All I need is the Catechism beside the Bible.

I'm also not asking you to debate each of these points because even just one of them is a topic in itself.

Thanks for your thoughtful responses and I'm sure this has taken up a bit of your time!
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1.) I answered this pretty thoroughly, I believe, but I will say it very clearly. It is the teaching of the Church, based on Scripture, that Mary did not have sexual relations with Joseph, and that she remained a Virgin before, during, and after her pregnancy. The early Church Fathers are pretty clear that those who say otherwise are subscribing to heresy. 

2.) So basically, you're taking issue with the forms of how people ask for intercession, which because they can be more or less elaborate, you equate to worship. Worship is something done in the interior of the heart. It's not an intrinsically physical gesture (How absurd would that be! Imagine every time you kneel in a garden to weed some plants someone thought you were worshiping dandelions!). Physical gestures of respect vary from culture to culture. If it is the custom of one country that people bow or kneel before their kings or other important officials (for example, when the Japanese bow to each other simply as a way of greeting each other) this doesn't equate to worship. You can't "unintentionally" worship something. Physical gestures are a symbol of respect or reverence, and they can be done without paying someone or something religious worship. And what seems socially appropriate varies from culture to culture and from time and place. While the Japanese bow to each other (and we might find that strange), we shake hands or wave, or do something else. In traditional coronations of kings and queens, the people bow before their sovereign. Only a very ignorant person would assume that they were worshiping them. 

I feel like I've been beating a dead horse when you keep saying, "You worship idols!" And I reply, "No I don't! Stop accusing me of something I don't do!" I'm going to quote you a passage that St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430) wrote against a Manichean heretic named Faustus. About the veneration of saints, St. Augustus says this:
It is true that Christians pay religious honor to the memory of the martyrs, both to excite us to imitate them and to obtain a share in their merits, and the assistance of their prayers. But we build altars not to any martyr, but to the God of martyrs, although it is to the memory of the martyrs. No one officiating at the altar in the saints’ burying-place ever says, We bring an offering to you, O Peter! Or O Paul! Or O Cyprian! The offering is made to God, who gave the crown of martyrdom, while it is in memory of those thus crowned. The emotion is increased by the associations of the place, and love is excited both towards those who are our examples, and towards Him by whose help we may follow such examples. We regard the martyrs with the same affectionate intimacy that we feel towards holy men of God in this life, when we know that their hearts are prepared to endure the same suffering for the truth of the gospel. There is more devotion in our feeling towards the martyrs, because we know that their conflict is over; and we can speak with greater confidence in praise of those already victors in heaven, than of those still combating here. What is properly divine worship, which the Greeks call latria, and for which there is no word in Latin, both in doctrine and in practice, we give only to God. To this worship belongs the offering of sacrifices; as we see in the word idolatry, which means the giving of this worship to idols. Accordingly we never offer, or require any one to offer, sacrifice to a martyr, or to a holy soul, or to any angel. Any one falling into this error is instructed by doctrine, either in the way of correction or of caution. For holy beings themselves, whether saints or angels, refuse to accept what they know to be due to God alone. We see this in Paul and Barnabas, when the men of Lycaonia wished to sacrifice to them as gods, on account of the miracles they performed. They rent their clothes, and restrained the people, crying out to them, and persuading them that they were not gods. We see it also in the angels, as we read in the Apocalypse that an angel would not allow himself to be worshipped, and said to his worshipper, “I am your fellow-servant, and of your brethen.” Rev. 19:10 Those who claim this worship are proud spirits, the devil and his angels, as we see in all the temples and rites of the Gentiles. Some proud men, too, have copied their example; as is related of some kings of Babylon. Thus the holy Daniel was accused and persecuted, because when the king made a decree that no petition should be made to any god, but only to the king, he was found worshipping and praying to his own God, that is, the one true God. (Daniel 6) (Contra Faustum Book XX, 21)

I think he puts it more clearly than I could. St. Augustine in his famous work City of God also testifies to a number of miracles performed through the intercessions of the saints and their relics (and also testifieds to the fact that early Christians prayed to the saints and venerated their relics):
"For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints...The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; for not only is the city a large one, but also the emperor was there at the time, and the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people that had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, which had long lain concealed and unknown, but were now made known to the bishop Ambrose in a dream, and discovered by him. By virtue of these remains the darkness of that blind man was scattered, and he saw the light of day...

When the bishop Projectus was bringing the relics of the most glorious martyr Stephen to the waters of Tibilis, a great concourse of people came to meet him at the shrine. There a blind woman entreated that she might be led to the bishop who was carrying the relics. He gave her the flowers he was carrying. She took them, applied them to her eyes, and immediately saw. Those who were present were astounded, while she, with every expression of joy, preceded them, pursuing her way without further need of a guide....Eucharius, a Spanish priest, residing at Calama, was for a long time a sufferer from stone. By the relics of the same martyr, which the bishop Possidius brought him, he was cured. Afterwards the same priest, sinking under another disease, was lying dead, and already they were binding his hands. By the succor of the same martyr he was raised to life, the priest's cloak having been brought from the oratory and laid upon the corpse....

There was there an old nobleman named Martial, who had a great aversion to the Christian religion, but whose daughter was a Christian, while her husband had been baptized that same year. When he was ill, they besought him with tears and prayers to become a Christian, but he positively refused, and dismissed them from his presence in a storm of indignation. It occurred to the son-in-law to go to the oratory of St. Stephen, and there pray for him with all earnestness that God might give him a right mind, so that he should not delay believing in Christ. This he did with great groaning and tears, and the burning fervor of sincere piety; then, as he left the place, he took some of the flowers that were lying there, and, as it was already night, laid them by his father's head, who so slept. And lo! Before dawn, he cries out for some one to run for the bishop; but he happened at that time to be with me at Hippo. So when he had heard that he was from home, he asked the presbyters to come. They came. To the joy and amazement of all, he declared that he believed, and he was baptized. As long as he remained in life, these words were ever on his lips: Christ, receive my spirit, though he was not aware that these were the last words of the most blessed Stephen when he was stoned by the Jews. They were his last words also, for not long after he himself also gave up the ghost....

What am I to do? I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work, that I cannot record all the miracles I know; and doubtless several of our adherents, when they read what I have narrated, will regret that I have omitted so many which they, as well as I, certainly know. Even now I beg these persons to excuse me, and to consider how long it would take me to relate all those miracles, which the necessity of finishing the work I have undertaken forces me to omit. For were I to be silent of all others, and to record exclusively the miracles of healing which were wrought in the district of Calama and of Hippo by means of this martyr— I mean the most glorious Stephen — they would fill many volumes; and yet all even of these could not be collected, but only those of which narratives have been written for public recital. For when I saw, in our own times, frequent signs of the presence of divine powers similar to those which had been given of old, I desired that narratives might be written, judging that the multitude should not remain ignorant of these things. It is not yet two years since these relics were first brought to Hippo-regius, and though many of the miracles which have been wrought by it have not, as I have the most certain means of knowing, been recorded, those which have been published amount to almost seventy at the hour at which I write. But at Calama, where these relics have been for a longer time, and where more of the miracles were narrated for public information, there are incomparably more." (- City of God Book XXII)

These are just a few examples. Once again, I challenge you that if you disagree with these teachings, it is not simply some random stranger on the internet that you are disagreeing with, but you're going against the witness and testimony of 2,000 years of Christ's Church's unbroken teaching and testimony and witness. I hold fast to the Faith that they passed on. I don't believe in the individualistic tendencies of trying to invent my own church and theologies based on whatever I like or prefer or based on my own personal interpretations of Scripture. That's a sure way into error and heresy. To quote G.K. Chesterton, "We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”

3.) Yes, we can and should of course spontaneously pray to God. But liturgical prayer (praying as a Christian people) is also very important. Both social and individual prayer is vital for every Christian. I know modern Western culture prides itself on it's individualism and casual stance towards everything, but there's a reason God spent a good long time in the Law stipulating how the people were to worship Him. It's because He cares about right worship. The difference between Hindu worship and Catholic worship is that Hindus worship many gods, whereas Catholics worship one God, who is a Divine Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While Muslims may accuse Christians of worshiping three gods, the fact is that we worship only One God.

4.) I never said we pray to the saints because God can't hear us, like we need more people to yell our requests at Him or something absurd like that. As many have said, it's not that prayer changes God, prayer changes US. God wants us to ask other people to pray for us. Here on earth, it's good for others to pray for us because it helps us to grow in love for each other as well. The saints in heaven love us too, and they want to help us as well. So do the angels. That's why we ask for their help. And you just said yourself (though I wouldn't put it quite like that) that it's about spiritual warfare and speed and accuracy. I ask my Guardian Angel to help me all the time with various things, and he does. On a completely personal note, I have a special devotion to the Virgin Mary because it was she who first helped me to make my faith my own, and it wasn't after I started praying the Rosary that I started to read the Bible and learn more about my faith. Mary is a good mother who wants to help her spiritual children. Jesus gave her to us as our spiritual mother on the Cross, when in the person of St. John the Apostle he said, "Behold your son" and "Behold your mother." Mary has helped me to be a better Christian in so many ways, and she has done the same for countless other Christians around the world. 

5.) Of course babies are born again in Baptism. Everyone who is baptized is. It has nothing to do with them being an infant, it has to do with the Sacrament of Baptism itself, which Jesus commanded His Church to do as one of His last orders: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Are you saying that babies can't be Christians? That Jesus doesn't want them baptized? Especially as He explicitly said so in the Gospel? But perhaps your quibble is about the nature of the Sacraments themselves, in that, as a Protestant, you don't believe that God wants to confer grace through physical things, even though examples of Him doing so are replete in Scripture.

6.) Already addressed this in the worship part, but would you say the second commandment forbids someone kissing a photograph of their wife because that would somehow be idolatry?

7.) Okay. This is just patently false and dishonest. The Catechism did nothing of the sort with the Ten Commandments. You can see them right here:…

8.) And James says that Faith without works is dead.
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
(James 2:14-26)

9.) I already addressed this as well, but I will repeat what I said before. Yes, Mary is the Advocate, Co-Mediatrix, and Co-Redemptrix. You know why? Because as members of the Church we all are supposed to be advocates (for others through our prayers), Co-Mediatrixes (allowing God to use us to pour His grace through us and into the world), and Co-Redemptrixes (allowing God to use us to help bring others to Christ). Mary possesses these title par excellence, since she is not only a type of the Church, and it's most eminent member. To better explain Catholic devotion to Mary, let me quote you a passage from Fr. Michael Gaitley's Consoling the Heart of Jesus:
To properly understand the essence of total consecration to Jesus through Mary, we’ll first need to reflect on an important point: Jesus wants to include all of us in his work of salvation. In other words, he doesn’t just redeem us and then expect us to kick back and relax. On the contrary, he puts us to work. He wants all of us to labor in his Father’s vineyard in one way or another. Why he didn’t just snap his fingers and so order things that everyone in the world would individually hear and understand the Gospel by some private, mystical revelation, we don’t know. What we do know is that Jesus relies on others to spread his Gospel and that he commissions his disciples to preach it to all (see Mt 28:19-20). He basically says to them and to us, “Let’s get to work!” Of course, that God wants to include us in his work of salvation is a great gift and glorious privilege. Truly, there’s no more important work to be done.

While everyone is called to lend a hand in the great work of salvation, not everyone has the same role. For example, St. Paul says, “There are varieties of service and … there are varieties of working” (1 Cor 12:5-6). He goes on to say that God has appointed to the work of salvation “first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators” (v. 28). Whoever we are, God has appointed us to a special task in his great work.

Among the various roles God has given to his children, there’s one that’s radically more important than all the others: the task he gave to Mary. We all know that God uniquely blessed Mary by choosing her to conceive, bear, and nurture Jesus Christ, our Savior. But do we also realize that her blessed work didn’t end once Jesus left home and began his public ministry? After the three years of Mary’s hidden life during Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus brought her back into the picture of his work of salvation at its most crucial time, the “hour” of his Passion. At that hour, we might say he fully revealed Mary’s special task — the same task she had begun some 33 years before and that she still continues.

Jesus fully revealed Mary’s special task shortly before his death. It happened when he looked down from the Cross and said to Mary as she stood with the Apostle John, “Woman, behold, your son” and to John, “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:26-27). At that moment, Jesus gave us one of his greatest gifts: his mother as our mother. Of course, Mary isn’t our natural mother. She’s our spiritual mother. In other words, just as it was once her task some 2,000 years ago to give birth to Christ, to feed and nurture him, and to help him grow and develop into a man, so also, from the time she first said yes to being the mother of Jesus until the end of time, Mary’s task is to give spiritual birth to Christians, to feed and nurture them with grace, and to help them grow to full stature in Christ. In short, Mary’s job is to help us grow in holiness. It’s her mission to form us into saints.

“Now, wait just a minute,” someone might say, “isn’t it the job of the Holy Spirit to make us holy?” Indeed, it is. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. It is he who transforms us at our Baptism from being mere creatures into members of the Body of Christ, and it is he who helps us in our ongoing transformation into Christ through continued conversion. Great. So how does Mary come into all of this?

Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel declared to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son and that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her (see Lk 1:31-35). When Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), we can see most clearly that she’s the spouse of the Holy Spirit, for at that moment, she gave the Holy Spirit permission to conceive Christ in her womb. Thus, at that moment, the already unfathomably deep bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit that had begun (in time) at the first moment of her Immaculate Conception was revealed as nothing less than a two-become-one marital union (see Gen 2:24). As a result of that union, the Holy Spirit is pleased to work and act through his spouse, Mary, for the sanctification of the human race. Of course, he didn’t have to be so united to Mary. It was his free choice (and that of the Father and the Son), and in that choice he takes delight.

So, it’s Mary’s great God-given task, in union with and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to form every human being into “another Christ,” that is, to unite everyone to the Body of Christ and form each person into a fully mature member of this Body.

10. Clearly you don't understand what the Mass is. If you did, you would no more say that it was a way to "bribe" God than to say that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross was Jesus "bribing" God. Because that's what we believe that Mass is. I.e. Calvary. 

11. Only the perfect may enter Heaven. God's grace isn't magic. God's grace can only enter and transform where hearts and souls are willing to accept it, since God forces nothing on us. Can you honestly say that everyone who dies dies with hearts so perfectly attuned to God's grace that they have no attachment to sin? Purgatory is where those dead who during their earthly lives were not perfectly attuned to God's grace are purified and made completely perfect. God is a God of Mercy, but He is also a God of Justice. I think the Dream of Gerontius is a beautiful poem that illustrates this teaching very well (it's also a very good meditation on death):…
RisenArt Featured By Owner Edited Jun 22, 2018  Professional General Artist
Hi Theo,  I only need to stop at #1.

If you believe what the Bible is actually saying in black and white letters, you're a heretic according to these "church fathers?"

The Bible says "red" and the RCC is saying "blue".  You choose blue over red, therefore Bible goes in garbage when it does not conform to blue.

Really think about that.

God bless and help you with revelation because this is serious.

Theophilia Featured By Owner Edited Jun 23, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
But the Bible isn't saying that in black and white. Scripture never says that Joseph and Mary had sexual relations (and the Bible isn't shy on explicitly saying things like that). You assert that it did (or at least that the words of Scripture implied that they did). All it says is that Joseph didn't have relations with Mary until Jesus was born. As I explained earlier, that "until" in the original Greek doesn't imply (as in our language it does) that they had relations afterward. The Gospel writer wanted to emphasize in this passage that Joseph was not the father of Jesus, but that Jesus' origin was divine. That's the point of this sentence.

That's not what I'm saying at all. You're putting words into my mouth. But speaking of the Bible saying "red" and people saying "blue", how many Protestants believe Jesus when He commands us to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood? John 6:51-60: 
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."...Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?”

He's not being metaphorical here. Jesus hammered it into their heads over and over again and repeated Himself to make sure He was being clear to them. To emphasize this even more, he says "Amen, amen" (or "Truly, truly"). His listeners understood that the eating and drinking (the Greek words here are animal eating, like "chewing" and "slurping") He was speaking of was not metaphorical, and they left Him because of it. Then Jesus turned to the Apostles and asked if they were going to leave Him too. Of course, His listeners misunderstood Him by thinking that He was telling them to be cannibals, but He wasn't speaking in a metaphorical manner. As Catholics, we believe that He is speaking about the Eucharist (Luke 22:19-20: "Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."). And this is what the Church has taught and what Christians have believed for 2,000 years. If that wasn't the case, St. Paul wouldn't have warned Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:29, saying: "For those who unworthily eat and drink without recognizing the body of Christ eat and drink condemnation on themselves." If it's just ordinary bread and wine, why would people unworthily eating and drinking it be heaping damnation on themselves?

But on the topic of the Church and Scripture, let me just ask you this: When Jesus became incarnate, what was it that He did? He went about healing, preaching and teaching, but did He personally write anything down? No. The Gospels came decades after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. So what did those early Christians do? How were they to come to salvation if they didn't have the Gospels? How did Jesus plan on transmitting His teachings and the Gospel message of salvation and mercy? He founded His Church. It was the Church that was to be the primary way the Christian Faith would be transmitted. It's important to remember that the Church came first, and it was those first generation of Christians who wrote the New Testament (divinely inspired by God of course). As St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:15, "But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth." The teachings of the Church are firmly grounded in the Scriptures as the divinely revealed word of God. So obviously, one of the major points where Protestants and Catholics differ is in the issue of authority. Scripture is the divinely inspired word of God. Yes. But what happens when two people differ as to how to interpret a passage (as we have been)? Who is the final authority? Catholics hold that it is the Church and her rightly ordained ministers (in communion with the Pope) who have the authority to rightly interpret the Scriptures and the teachings of the Christian Faith. To give you a secular parallel, Scripture is like the U.S. Constitution, and the Magisterium of the Church is like the Supreme Court. It is the job of the U.S. Supreme Court to rightly interpret the Constitution. In the same way, it is the Church's teaching authority in her ministers who have the God-given authority to interpret the Scriptures. In the same way that law-abiding U.S. citizens can (and should) know the Constitution and the laws of the lands (similar to how Christians need to know, read and be fed by God's word in the Scriptures), it's up to the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution when there's a dispute about what it means (as it's the Church's bishops and minister's job to do that when a dispute comes up about theological teaching). 

This is what the Catechism says on divine revelation:
God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth": that is, of Christ Jesus. Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth: God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.


"Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."

In the apostolic preaching. . .

In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".

. . . continued in apostolic succession

"In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."


One common source. . .

"Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

"Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."

"And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."

As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.


The heritage of faith entrusted to the whole of the Church

The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei),contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."

The Magisterium of the Church

"The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

"Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."

Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms. (…)

We do not subscribe to sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) because we know that Christ founded a Church, and it is for the Church that the Gospels were written, so that all men might be gathered into God's family (the Church) and be saved.
JustHere4Icons Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is one of my favorite, if not my very favorite, image of St. Joseph. I love that you have made him look young. Too much sacred art shows St. Joseph as an old man and that really diminishes both his righteousness and his sacrifice of living as a virgin with His Virgin wife. I also just how Jewish he looks both with his features and the talis he is wearing. Outstanding, beautiful work. 
Theophilia Featured By Owner May 10, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, thank you! That means a lot!

I thought so too, which is one of the reasons I added in that Fulton Sheen quote. :nod:
NimwenHabareth Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2018
I absolutely love your works - the icons as well as the comments!
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so very much!!! :aww:
MightyMorphinPower4 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2017
Exllcent work
Theophilia Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
gtplus77 Featured By Owner May 3, 2017
I would appreciate info on the price of various sizes of prints of the
St. Joseph Icon by Theophilia, as well as ordering information.  I was
not able to find this information on line nor by contacting DeviantArt.    Thank you.
Theophilia Featured By Owner May 4, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hi there! Information for ordering my icons is available towards the bottom of my journal entry: Ash Wednesday: Beginning Lent 2017
rhunel Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2017   General Artist
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :aww:
iamthegps Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016
Merry Christmas! First of all, I love your work (I'm thinking seriously about buying a couple of your prints). Second of all, I hope this is okay and of course I'll take it down if it's not, but I used this image (crediting it to you, of course) in a Tumblr post I made about St. Joseph here:…  I just wanted to give that poor guy a little credit, because he always gets overlooked between Mary and the Christ Child. 
Theophilia Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! And Merry Christmas! :aww:
TexasGael Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
I love this, and as a father myself, I love seeing an icon of Joseph holding Jesus.  He often strikes me as one of the more forgotten biblical saints.  Maybe thats just me. 
Theophilia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I think he certainly was sadly forgotten and neglected in the past, but I think within the last few centuries he's risen to greater and greater prominence in the Church, which can only be all for the good! :D
MariColl Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
love it!
Theophilia Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Lovelyfiat2016 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2016
How can I purchase the icon of St. Joseph and Jesus?  It is so beautiful!
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! Ordering prints is very simple, just go to the bottom of my journal here… and follow the directions for how to order prints. All my prices are based on size. :nod:
Lovelyfiat2016 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2016
Thank you! I will be thinking about what to order soon!! ☺️ My patron saint is Mary Magdalene .  Do you have any icons of her?
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I do not yet, though I hope to have an icon finished of her this summer.
Lovelyfiat2016 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2016
That would be fabulous! ☺️
CarsonHaupt Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016
How could I go about ordering a copy of this? I'm in RCIA and St. Joseph is going to be my confirmation saint. This is one of my favorite icons of him I've seen.
CarsonHaupt Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2016
Okay thank you!
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Absolutely! Let me send you a note!
HolyArtsAlchemist Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
This was very beautiful. The art you make is awesome and the descriptions of the saints are heartwarming to see.
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awww! Thank you so very much! I'm always happy when I hear that people appreciate the descriptions. I think the writing of them sometimes takes longer than the actual making of the icon! For instance, I finished an icon of St. Augustine months ago but I haven't posted it yet since I'm still working on writing the description! Sometimes I feel I should say "A (not so very) Brief Biography of the Saint."
HolyArtsAlchemist Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Wow okay.
Hidden by Owner
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you appreciate the historical details I've put in. :D

I have to say, the Book of Maccabees are probabaly my favorite of the historical books in the Bible. :D
Patriot1776 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 2, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if, over the course of the likely many long days and sometimes even nights out in the carpentry and artisan shop with Joseph and so it being just Him and Joseph alone as He learned His adoptive father's trade, I wonder if teenage Jesus gradually fully conveyed to Joseph, under a sworn oath of secrecy, what was going to ultimately happen to Him, so that Joseph would understand well and be at peace with the fact He had NOT come to be a conqueror, but a Lamb, and convey to Joseph the rationale for it, fetching various scrolls of Scripture as needed to further show Joseph that He wasn't making any of this up, it was ALL PROPHESIED, so Joseph could come to terms with what His real mission was and be at peace with it, since Joseph was maybe by that time showing signs of his time of passing coming, and teenage Jesus did not want Joseph to pass to the Father while full of false hopes.  What do you think?
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, to put my thoughts briefly, I think that St. Joseph probabaly had an inkling of what would happen to Jesus without being told about it explicitly. After all, not only were Joseph and Mary supremely holy people who were great lovers of God and His Holy Word and would have studied and pondered on the Scriptures, but they also LIVED with the very Word of God. I don't think the prophecies of Isaiah and the Suffering Servant and the other prophets would have been lost on them. Not only that, but Joseph himself already witnessed and personally experienced the rejection of Jesus by his own people (first with his being a target of murder, then with the frustrated killing of the Innocents by Herod, the flight and exile in Egypt and living as political refugees there and all the hardships involved therein, etc.). And in the Temple he also heard Simeon's prophecy to Mary regarding the rejection of the Messiah, her Son, that "He would be a sign of contradiction" and that to Mary in particular "a sword your own heart shall pierce." I'm sure Joseph's heart was pierced many times as well for the same reason, that is, in seeing God's own Son--the best gift that could possibly be conceived of, let alone given to mankind as a free offering--was rejecting and scorned. So I don't think Joseph died with any false hopes. I think he was the last of the great patriarchs awaiting the redemption of the promised Messiah. And that he died happy, knowing that the Messiah had come and would very soon fulfill his mission of salvation.
Patriot1776 Featured By Owner Edited Nov 2, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
*nods* Thanks much for that insight!! ^^  Even though I don't believe in the veneration of Saints as a Protestant, I'm not at all closed minded about Catholic thinking, as I follow the United Methodist path, and so trace my heritage in the Church back through the Church of England. ^^  My current pastor, one who preaches from the Common Lectionary, has in the past been invited to give the Homily at the local Roman Catholic sanctuary during their celebrations of Holy Week and, after the local Roman Catholic Priest retired, my pastor invited said retired Priest recently to come to his United Methodist sanctuary give the Sermon on a recent special occasion.  I am so, so filled with joy that in the last two to three decades, over the span of my lifetime, there is a major trend of unity happening in the worldwide Church as a whole, with Catholics and Protestants coming together as friends and cooperating with one another more and more on a regular basis not just in lay terms, but on a clerical level too. ^^  I have prayed to the Father often that such a trend continues not only into the foreseeable future, but for decades to come, because more than ever the world needs a more unified Body of Christ more than ever.  ^^  May the Father make this process of unifying continue! ^^
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Amen! I absolutely agree! The division of Christians is completely scandalous, so I too am very glad to see that the prayer of Jesus "that they may all be one, as you Father and I are one" is coming true. "Where charity and love prevail, there God is!"
trimblethorn Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2015
I just ordered one of these prints from you, and I absolutely love it. It is hard to find icons of St. Joseph that depict him with the rugged, manly features he most likely had; or as the righteous, Jewish man that he was (prayer shawl).
Theophilia Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm so very happy to hear that you like it! :aww: I definitely wanted to take my time figuring out how I wanted to depict St. Joseph so he took me longer to finish than a lot of them but he's certainly worth it. :nod:
fatherbear1947 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
ok how do I ORDER this icon?
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The info is all in my journal! I have a table with the prices based on size. :D
Zurajanaikatsurada Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my gosh this is gorgeous... I think this might be my favorite of your icons.  This is really beautiful.
Theophilia Featured By Owner May 10, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
THANK YOU! I'm glad you like it! :glomp:
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