The Kingdom of God is [Not] Like a Layer Cake
I encountered an interesting spin regarding a common Protestant objection to True Devotion on Facebook the other day which compelled me to think. Now, I don’t mean to sound snarky or arrogant. Being that I am a convert to Catholicism from Evangelical Protestantism, I feel pretty confident that I have heard just about every objection contrary to Marian devotion and therefore I’ve thought through most if not all of them—but this one urged more thinking.
Perhaps you have heard it before, but the objection goes something like this,
“if True Devotion to Mary requires one to consecrate one’s entire life to Christ through Mary, doesn’t that put an added layer over our relationship to the Father? Why not consecrate your entire life to the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit?”
So, why not? Why all the fuss with the Blessed Virgin Mary (and in the case of True Devotion, not just a little fuss, but ALL the fuss)? Why not keep our eyes on the prize (i.e. our relationship to the Father) and utilize the one mediator for our Salvation? Why add another layer to the cake? Because the Kingdom of Heaven is not like a layer cake, it’s like yeast.
Again he said, To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed [in] with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened. Luke 13:20-21
In Haydock, we read that St. Ambrose interpreted this scripture like so:
“The flour represents us Christians, who receive the Lord Jesus into the inner parts of our soul, till we are all inflamed with the fire of his heavenly wisdom.”
So, if the flour is us Christians, and the yeast is our Lord Jesus Christ, then who is this woman?
Haydock again, but this time on the same parable found in Matthew 13:33,
“By the woman here mentioned, St. Jerome understands the Church gathered from all nations; or the power and wisdom of God, according to St. Augustine.”
Interesting. In Luke, St. Ambrose believes the flour is all Christians. However in Matthew, St. Jerome believes the woman represents Christendom; and St. Augustine, the power and wisdom of God. So, who’s right? They all are.
At this point, I would usually jump to the obvious conclusion. In the Catholic faith we believe that Mary is the Mother of all Christians, the image of the Church, and the Mother and throne of the Incarnate Wisdom of God—so, she is indeed that woman in the parable. However, there’s a pretty basic principle here that can help carry our True Devotion over the obstacles of Protestant objections, and that is, we participate in God’s plan of salvation. We demonstrate the power and wisdom of God, both to each other and to the world. At all times we are both the flour being leavened and the Woman mixing in the yeast. This is why the Church is termed as a “kingdom” and not merely a “kingship”. It’s not just God, it’s God and His people—the king’s domain (king • dom). It’s the head and the body. Some in this kingdom have proven themselves better at mixing in the yeast, we call them Saints. The Blessed Mother was the mixer par excellence, she was the Woman par excellence. And so, she remains. We turn our flour over to her entirely so that she can better apply that yeast, the Grace of Christ, which leavens us to the heights of Heaven.
No layers to this cake, only varying and dynamic degrees of participation in the kingdom of God.
We fly unto thee, oh Virgin of virgins, for you are our Mother!