[color=blue:i3ok5v67]As Catholics we DON’T try to “prove” things from the Bible. [/color:i3ok5v67]
That’s a method of using the Bible which is called “proof-texting.” That is to say, a person has a particular position or point-of-view and goes to the Sacred Scripture to find a specific verse, passage, or story which ‘supports’ the already pre-determined position or point-of-view.
That is not our Catholic way of approaching the Bible.
Rather, we believe that our good and gracious God kindly chooses to reveal the Divine Self to us in more than one way.
Certainly the Bible includes within it all that is necessary for salvation, as the infallible document “Dei verbum” puts it. So, if a person believes ‘only’ what is the Bible, she or he has the basic knowledge which is necessary to be saved.
But, the God Who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves, realizes that we need to learn in multiple ways.
For instance, some people learn best through reading, but others learn best through hearing while still others learn best from being shown repetitively. Different people have different “styles” of learning, given that each of us is unique.
So, in what is known as the “Divine condescension” God wonderfully chooses to meet us “where we are,” addressing each of us in a way that is appropriate to who we are.
For example, in the Gospels, we see Jesus using stories about fishing when He is talking to people who make their living by fishing and stories about farming when speaking to farmers and about cleaning house when talking with women. Our God knows just how to communicate best with each of us.
So, as Catholics we recognize the goodness of our God by understanding that we have a vast richness from which to learn about God.
Within that vast richness we Catholics believe that two ‘sources’ are the most important: Scripture and Tradition. As Catholics we really can’t have one without the other, so to speak.
The Bible is the written account, compiled over many generations by many different people all of whom were guided by the Holy Spirit, of God’s dealing with humanity.
But just as no ONE book contains the entire history of the world, so no one book — not even the Bible as great and marvelous as it is — can contain the entire sweep and majesty of God’s dealing with humankind.
The Bible is somewhat like a series of snapshots taken of different people, at different times, of God reaching out in love to various persons and groups. And while those “snapshots” are really, really important, they cannot be expected to tell the WHOLE story of God’s interactions with everybody.
To be sure, the Bible is profoundly important to us as Catholics. In fact, we need to know more about the Bible and our Protestant friends can often be really good examples to us of the centrality of the Scripture in living a Christian life. Saint Jerome, who lived in the third century (if my memory serves!), said in essence, if we are ignorant of the Bible, then we are ignorant of Jesus.
Important as the Bible is, we Catholics believe that God has provided yet another way of knowing what God wants us to know. That other ‘stream,’ if you will, is called the “Tradition.”
God, you remember, is infinite, and so nothing finite — not even the Bible — can completely reveal the infinite God Whom we adore.
So this infinite and majestic God has most kindly chosen to give us a living, dynamic means of revealing the Divine Self to us — the Tradition.
Tradition is that constantly unfolding body of knowledge and experience that Jesus entrusted to the Church for faithful transmission from one generation to the next.
Tradition, as it were, gives us a better, richer, fuller ‘context’ from which to understand the Scripture. Tradition teaches us in a way that is different — though always consistent with — the Bible. Tradition offers us always-renewing insight into what God wants for us. Tradition is the gift of God to the Church so that we Christians will be part of a living, growing Body which is the Body of Christ.
Tradition never contradicts Scripture; they are complimentary; they support and help each other. But we might say that Tradition ‘fills out’ what we see sketched in outline form in the Bible.
You don’t ‘need’ to “prove” anything using the Bible — at least not from a Catholic perspective.
[color=blue:i3ok5v67]In fact, you won’t be able, really, to “prove everything using the bible.” [/color:i3ok5v67]
Many of our Catholic beliefs — specifically in regard to your question, many of the Mysteries of the Rosary — come directly from the Sacred Scripture. For example, the Annunciation, the Scourging of the Lord, the Descent of the Holy Spirit — these all are reflected in the Bible.
But because we have the gift of the Tradition, as Catholics we are not ‘upset’ when the Church articulates a belief that is not found explicitly in the Bible. The Tradition is another means of God teaching us, through the Church, of something that God wants us to know so that we can enjoy a fuller, richer, more complete faith.
The Assumption and the Crowning of the Blessed Mother are two such beliefs: they come to us through the Tradition. From the earliest days of Christian experience, men and women have believed that Mary was assumed into heaven and that she was crowned Queen of heaven and earth. These doctrines of our Catholic faith have been handed on — by word of mouth from one Bishop to the next — since virtually the beginning of Christianity.
We actually have, in the last century or so, found archeological remains of Churches built in the earliest centuries of the Christian era which were dedicated to Mary Assumed and/or Crowned. But our faith does not rest on these archeological remains. Rather, our faith is secure because of the unbroken line of faithful Bishops who have transmitted this teaching from one generation to the next — the Tradition.
So, you’ll probably not have a great deal of success in “proving” the Assumption and the Crowning to your wonderful Baptist boyfriend. Respect him for who God made him to be — let him be a good Baptist Christian. And you be a good Catholic Christian. Keep praying!
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