Your Protestant friend puts down his coffee mug. He has that look on his face…like he’s about to ask you a big question…and he says:
“I think Catholics give too much honor to Mary.”
You let out a sigh of relief. This one’s easy, because you’ve been reading Get Fed!
Our Protestant brethren say that we Catholics honor Mary too much, as though she were a goddess.
The answer is, of course, no. But why?
Our Lady’s relation to God is arguably the greatest stumbling block for non-Catholics. Most of them are unwilling to hold that Mary is indeed the mother of Jesus who is God as well as Man.
But this unique motherhood is precisely why she has merited to receive honor.
As the Church teaches us in the Catechism:
The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs … This very special devotion … differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”
—Catechism of the Catholic Church, 971
In fact, in previous centuries, Protestants who had broken away from the Church acknowledged the profound honor that God gave to Mary. John Calvin, a major leader in the Protestant Revolt, said, “It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of His Son, granted her the highest honor… Elizabeth calls Mary the Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.”
Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli (the other two “Pillars of the Reformation”) say similar things of Our Lady, acknowledging that she is indeed the Mother of God, and therefore is set apart from all other creatures.
Think about it: a frail, mortal creature is chosen by her eternal Creator to enflesh Him, nurture Him in her womb, and bring Him into the world (which He created). This is an immense, miraculous honor!
This, of course, is just one of the reasons why we give Mary such great honor. What else does the Church teach about Mary, and are these dogmas found in the Bible? How do we know that she was immaculately conceived? How do we know that she was assumed into heaven? In Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines, Catholic apologist Tim Staples explains all the Marian doctrines and their biblical roots. This clear and thorough guide will strengthen your understanding of—and love for—the Mother of God. Available today at The Catholic Company!