To Mary or Not to Mary: Where does our devotion go?

…the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (literally, God with us). Isaiah 7:14

Most Catholics have a very high regard, even a worshipful reverence for whom they call ‘The Virgin Mary’.

The question I ask is:

Why Mary?

Let’s take a close look at this notable person found in the scriptures. The Bible records these remarks made by Mary, found in Luke 1:47. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

I agree; I too call Mary blessed.

Let’s take a look at what prompted Mary to make that statement. That the angel Gabriel came to Mary to reveal God’s plan for her to conceive and give birth to Jesus. Gabriel called her the ‘highly favored one among women.’ She asked Gabriel, “How can this be since I do not know a man.” In plain English, she had never had sex; she was a virgin. The angel answered (I’m paraphrasing), ‘The Spirit of God will make it happen.’ The Spirit of God did indeed make it happen.

Knowing she was pregnant, Mary got out of Nazareth to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country. Elizabeth was also pregnant; by her husband Zacharais. I suspect Mary got out of Dodge (i.e., Nazareth) also to avoid the tongue wagging gossipers.

When Mary greeted her cousin, Elizabeth’s baby John leaped in her womb.

Then Mary made some remarks that indicate some reasons God chose her. You can find them in Luke 1:46-55. I hope you’ll read them for yourself! If you have a reference Bible, you’ll likely see numbers or letters that lead you to other scriptures. For example, Mary says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”. Luke 1:46,47

In those two verses alone, my Bible refers me to 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Psalm 34:2,3, Psalm 35:9, and Habakkuk 3:18. As you continue through the end of her salutation to Elizabeth which ends in verse 55, you’ll discover that Mary knew her Bible, for she quoted repeatedly from it.

This is one important reason I believe God chose Mary: she knew her Bible.

Why NOT Mary

I remember a time when I was talking to one of my coworkers about Jesus. Seems he was trying to counter my claims about the supremacy of Jesus by constantly referring to the ‘Virgin Mary’. Finally I said to him, “Mary didn’t remain a virgin.” He got highly offended. I told him I could prove it in the Bible. I searched the scriptures and found this:  and [Joseph] did not know [Mary] till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. So I asked my coworker what did Joseph and Mary do after she brought forth Jesus? I suggest that my Catholic friends have a seat. Joseph and Mary had sex!

Here’s proof that Jesus was not an only child: [People in the synagogue asked] Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us?

By my count, Jesus was one of at least seven children. He was the only one born to Mary by Immaculate  conception.

When I showed my coworker the evidence in the Bible, he snatched it out of my hand, threw it on the ground and angrily said, “I don’t care what the Bible says, Mary is a virgin!” 

I’m not Catholic bashing. I’m just pointing out how some people’s beliefs differ from the Bible.

Here’s just one other example: There are numerous prayers sanctioned by the Catholic church which ask Mary to intercede on behalf to the petitioner. Here’s what the Bible states: For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 

Listen to the concern the apostle Paul had for the church in Corinth:

I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Are you a virgin? Maybe you are and didn’t know it. Or, maybe you’re not and thought you were. You’ll find your purity in Christ alone.

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