Monday, August 15, 2016
Pray for Croatia 8-15-16
The doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps others had been before her. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what the Assumption is not. Some people think Catholics believe Mary "ascended" into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.
The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not in fact die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, "after the completion of her earthly life" (note the silence regarding her death), "was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven." http://www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption
After talking to a leader of one of the churches here in Croatia, we understand in part the obsession with Mary worship. This brother shared that Croatians are very attached and admire their mothers, the matriarch of their families. Therefore, this strong affiliation with Mary is a psychological connection that somewhat translates to them spiritually. Another Croatian Christian explained how that Croatian Catholics pray to Mary because Jesus is the “suffering one” carrying the burdens of the world, therefore they feel it is best instead to pray to His mother, who can convey the heartfelt concern of redemption. Have you ever noticed that in many cathedrals Mary will be portrayed above Jesus? This is especially true in Croatia. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the immaculate conception of Jesus, he did say, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28) Yes she should have a special place in our heart, but Mary was a human being, a sinner. She should never be placed above the Lord Jesus Christ. The roots of this heresy go very deep in Croatia. This belief has pulled a thick veil over the eyes of many. Mary worship is an intricate part of the chains that bind many Croatians. We encounter born again Catholics and it is wonderful to see them love Jesus! Usually they face a long and hard process to walk away from Mary worship. This truly is a spiritual battle!
1) Thank the Lord for Croatian mothers. They have to be very courageous to have withstood the turbulent history of Croatia. Pray that they will be honored appropriately.
2) Let us pray with deep conviction against the cures of Mary worship that dominates Croatia.
3) Young Croatians are turning away from the Catholic church by the droves. This can present a challenge, because they associate the Catholic church with all Christian churches. Let us pray into this trend, in that their empty hearts will actually be filled by the Holy Spirit.
4) There is a strong movement of Charismatic Catholics in Croatia. Please pray that they would be so drawn close to Jesus that Mary worship would be revealed for what it is, and fade from their experiences.
5) With Croatia being 90%+ culturally Catholic, evangelization of the country is very slow. Pray for God’s strategies, wisdom, boldness and passion to reach Croatia.
6) Pray for evangelicals in Croatia, that they would not despise their Catholic neighbors but love them and reach out to them with Jesus’ love.
7) We should pray for the Charismatic Catholics. May the Lord move in a mighty way to rescue them from the empty rituals of the church.
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