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Do Catholics honor Mary more than Jesus? 


 

DIANA on social media says: “Let me explain something, Catholics. All of you put up an instant fight when it’s expressed that you worship Mary. However, the fact is you just don’t recognize it. Bear with me. The Catholic Church has convinced you to trust Mary, more than Jesus. Instead of praying to God, alone, you Trust Mary to pray for you. Does Mary love you more than Jesus? I’ve also been told “I pray to Mary because Jesus listens to His Mother.” Really?”

Nobody loves you more than God and His Son. NOBODY!!!"

LENNY says to Diana: I would just like to add that nobody loves Mary more than God and his Son Jesus. NOBODY!!!


Diana, you are not following the Bible, because the Bible does not put Mary at odds with Jesus, your tradition does. The Bible, with Mary speaking says, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Lk. 1:46). Mary does not magnify herself; she magnifies the Lord. You claim that the Church puts more trust on Mary than Jesus. Again, the Bible does not say that; your tradition does. 

The Bible does not say that Mary cannot intercede for us. In fact, Mary interceded to Jesus on behalf of the wedding party at the feast of Cana. She said to Jesus “they have no wine” (Jn. 2-3). Jesus, after initially objecting, worked His first public miracle at Mary’s intercession. The water became wine!

Verses meant for pagan gods are used to explain away Mary's role. Why do non-Catholics associate Mary with false pagan gods, rather than the Mother of God? It is because they have been taught Exodus 20: 4-5 (the making of images) out of context and then have applied these same verses to images of Mary. However, when non-Catholics quote these verses, they usually leave out verse 3 "other gods." Is Jesus' Mother Mary another god in competition with the one true God? No, she is not! People should not be using Bible verses that speak against other pagan gods and then apply them to Mary. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (Ex. 20 3-4).

Mary is not another god in competition with the one true God. She is the Mother of Jesus, who is the one true God. If you wish to know Mary's role with Jesus, you need to cite Bible verses that have to do with Mary. She never claimed to be anyone's god or the Lord. She said, "behold I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Lk. 1:38)!

Verses meant for Satan are used to explain away Mary's role. You also make reference to some of Jesus' words when you refer to "praying to God alone." And in so doing, you are alluding to what Jesus says in Mathew chapter 1. Diana, you're not the only one who does this. Another person speaking against the role of Mary used this same Bible verse, Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him (Mt. 4:10). She then posed this question, "why should we honor and exalt Mary, when Jesus claims that He alone is to be served?" 

On the surface this might appear to be an interesting, even compelling question. However, she left out the part of verse 10, that gives us the full context. The big question is this; who was Jesus speaking to? He isn't speaking to Mary; he wasn't putting her in her place. Jesus was speaking to Satan and putting him in his place. Satan was tempting Jesus and telling Him all the things he would give to Jesus if only He would fall down and worship him, Mathew 4:1-9. Then Jesus said to him, begone Satan for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him alone shall you serve' (Mt. 4:10).

If you were to apply these verses to Mary, then she would have been conspiring with Satan by tempting Jesus to fall down and worship Satan. However, Mary did no such thing. She did not oppose the Lord; she magnified the Lord.

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name (Lk. 1:46-49).

I find it most interesting in that when I see Luke 46:55 quoted in reference to Mary, it is usually being quoted by Catholics and when I see Mathew 4:10, being quoted in reference to Mary, it is being quoted by anti-Catholics and they don't mention that this verse is a reference to Satan. Why would anyone use a verse of the Bible that is used against Satan and then apply it to Mary? This is not a use of Scripture; it is an abuse of Scripture.

Diana, you come across quite angry when you speak of the role of Jesus’ mother Mary; however, your anger will subside when you leave your tradition behind and follow the words of Scripture as they refer to Mary. If we want to have a proper understanding of Mary's role in Scripture, would it be too much to ask that we use Bible verses having to do with Mary.  

At the same time, I would like to defend the woman who used a Bible verse designed for Satan, to explain away Mary. I do not believe that she is culpable. She did not knowingly misuse the Bible. She was simply and honestly believing her tradition that taught her to use the Scripture in this way. Furthermore, not all Protestants are trying to explain away Mary's role by associating her with pagan gods and Satan. They understand that Jesus honored his mother in keeping with the 4th commandment and we honor His mother in imitation of Jesus. And it is also Mary who honors, not herself, but Jesus, My soul magnifies the Lord (Lk. 46:55).

Please notice that when people quote Mathew 14:10 and use it against Mary, they only quote the second half of the verse worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Mt. 14:10). They do not quote the first half because the moment that they do, then the person listening would realize that

this is not a rebuke of Mary's role, but Satan's role. Away with you Satan! For it is written, 'worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone' (Mt 14:10). 

Jesus exalts the humble. Diana, you’re not the only one who misuses Scripture as it refers to Mary and others. It is true that Catholics exalt Mary and we admit that we do. One person objecting to this practice said “She [Mary] has never been referred to Biblically as exalted.” He saw the exaltation of Mary and others as being at odds with Scripture. He understood what his tradition teaches about Mary; but for all of his good intentions, he just didn’t understand what the Bible teaches about the humble. Jesus said, whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Mt. 23:12) and in Luke, He says "He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree" (Lk. 1:52). Mary in her humility said “for he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness” (Lk. 1:46). God exalts the humble, and Mary in her humility is included. 

One Protestant commentator objected to the Catholic exaltation of Mary. He said that we should not exalt Mary; after all she only claimed to be a humble handmaid of the Lord so it is wrong to exalt her. What he didn’t seem to grasp is that because she is that humble handmaid of the Lord, this is precisely why we do exalt her. Not only is Mary exalted, but when we humble ourselves, Jesus exalts us as well, (Mathew 23:12). The Apostle James said, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you” (Jm. 4:10). There are many who believe that we should not exalt the humble; however, Jesus didn’t see it that way. In fact, it was Jesus who emphasized that the humble shall be exalted. 

This commentator believed that exaltation was only given to God and was totally unaware of Bible verses where it shows, God exalting the humble.  

Can we call Mary blessed? Another way we honor Mary is to call here blessed. I was in a discussion about Mary with an Evangelical friend. I told her that we call Mary blessed every time we say the prayer the Hail Mary. I then asked her how she calls Mary blessed. She said, “We don’t do that. Calling Mary blessed is not Biblical; it is idolatry.” I then quoted from the Gospel of Luke emphasizing that Mary is called blessed in Scripture. “From now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name (Lk. 1:46). And when Mary visited Elizabeth she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! "Why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me" (Lk. 1:43)? 

I then asked her how do you, in this age in your church, call Mary blessed today. What she had just referred to as idolatry, now she says that her church does this at Christmas time. I complemented her and her church for doing this. I said to her that we both call Mary blessed, the only difference is that you and your church do this once a year and we do this every time we say the prayer the Hail Mary, “blessed art thou among women.”

Jesus, in the womb of Mary is also referred to as blessed; however, this same verse refers to Mary as blessed as well. “Most blessed are you [Mary] among women, and blessed is the fruit [Jesus] of your womb (Lk. 1:42). Man-made tradition puts Mary at odds with Jesus; however, Scripture does not put her at odds with Jesus.

God favors Mary. It is true that Catholics do favor Mary and historically, we have always favored her going all the way back to the time of Jesus and the Apostles. This can be a huge problem that divides many Catholics and non-Catholics. However, people who speak against Mary in favor of Jesus, don’t seem to realize that Scripture says Mary is favored as well. The angel Gabriel was sent from God and had a message for Mary. He said to her “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found FAVOR with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bare a son and you shall name him Jesus” (Lk. 1:26-31).

If Mary has found favor with God, then shouldn’t we favor her as well, in imitation of God and the Scripture.

Martin Luther favored Mary. What about Protestants in the 16th century, did they put Mary at odds with Jesus? There are many people who speak against Mary as though she is at odds with Jesus. On the other hand, it wasn’t always that way. Protestants at the time of the Reformation held Mary in high regard. The early Reformation did not have a problem with Mary.

Fr. Martin Luther in particular held Mary in extremely high regard. He said of her, “If our Lady were to enter Jerusalem today, in a golden coach drawn by 4,000 horses it would not be an honor great enough for she who bore in her womb our Savior!” (Protestantism and our Lady, Fr. George Rutler). But what about today, are there Protestants who speak in favor of Mary today? 

Lutheran minister speaks of the importance of Mary. Actually, there are some who do not oppose her. One of them, who speaks in glowing terms about Mary is a Lutheran minister, Rev. Charles Dickson. He says, “Having been raised in a traditional Protestant atmosphere, I was led to believe that Catholics placed far too great an emphasis on the Virgin Mary in their faith and practice and such an emphasis deflected from the centrality of Christ. But in some 30 years of ministry in a Protestant tradition, I have learned that just the opposite is true. By upholding the importance of the Blessed Virgin, Catholics do not minimize the importance of Christ, but actually emphasize and underline His mission” (Article, Why all the fuss about Mary).

Putting Mary at odds with Jesus is not Biblical. It may be very Protestant; it just isn’t historically Protestant, but a later development. It should also be emphasized that there are non-Catholics today, like Rev. Charles Dickson, who hold her in very high regard.

When we cite Jesus, James, Paul, Peter, or anyone else in Scripture, we will quote either something they said or something others said about them. The same is true of Mary. We should either quote something she said or what others in Scripture have said about her. We should not use verses for Mary that have to do with pagan gods or Satan.   

I have people, who on the one hand, will actually admit that we should honor Jesus' mother Mary and then in their next breath associate Mary with verses having to do with Satan and other gods. To their credit, they will say that we should honor Jesus as God; however, associating Jesus mother Mary with pagan gods and Satan does not honor Him, but insults Him. Jesus does not associate other gods and Satan with Mary and so why should we? If I were to use your mother's name and associated her with the enemies of Jesus, would I be honoring her?  

People, who are using verses of the Bible for Mary, that are intended for Satan and other gods are like the Apostle Paul before his conversion. Paul, by persecuting the Church, thought he was doing the right thing, but then God made him blind so that he would eventually see. He mentions this and how God showed him mercy. Though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief (I Tim. 1:13). When people see that they have insulted Jesus, by denigrating His mother, they will also be shown mercy. 

In defense of Diana, if I had grown up in her tradition and was taught to minimize Mary's importance and to put Mary at odds with Jesus, I would most likely be angry with other Protestants and Catholics, who express great love for her. We should not take offense to this. We should simply take the time to explain to people the truth about Mary and her relationship to Jesus. He said, you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (8:31-32). When we express this same truth, we have no right to be heavy handed about it. We should speak the truth in love.