Worship. Adoration. Veneration. Honor. So many words that might, on the surface, seem interchangeable but are actually very (very) different.
When we think of God, the Virgin Mary, the Saints, the Pope, our parents – one thing we are expected to do is to honor them. The type of honor that we offer up is quite different for each. Honor is a word kind of like “love”. I love my husband, I love my son, and I love dark chocolate…but each of those is expressed and meant in a very different way.
The highest form of honor is adoration and is exclusive to God alone. Known as latria, it recognizes that God is our perfect creator. He is One, He is infinite, he is a perfect divine being. We worship God during mass. Think about this for a moment. The primary action behind worship is sacrifice…and while we are not sacrificing a lamb at mass, we are giving God the sacrifice of our time, attention, talents, and treasure. No where else will you celebrate a mass where you are giving sacrifice to anyone besides God. You may celebrate a mass and remember or honor someone at the mass, but the sacrifice is always given to God.
The next, though lower, form of honor is veneration…you’ve probably heard it in things like “veneration of the cross”. This takes two forms: hyperdulia and dulia. This type of honor is for Mary (hyperdulia) and the saints & angels (dulia)…the good angels, that is! Hyperdulia is just that *bit more* of honor reserved just for Mary. As the chosen Mother of God, she holds a special place in his heart – just as she does in ours. Dulia is a similar though slightly lesser honor given to saints and (good) angels, and is something that is still above “everyday” honor. Unless you are declared a bonafide Saint, you are not venerated. There is no worship, adoration, or sacrifice associated with hyperdulia or dulia.
Everyday, or ordinary honor, is what we give to our Pope…to our parents…to anyone deserving. There is no worship, adoration, or sacrifice associated with ordinary honor.