How can I help someone understand that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was just a very obedient person and is not to be prayed to or elevated in mind or spirit above any other human?


Clarify Share Report Asked June 29 2013 Mini Pam Johnson

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B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
There are already many great answers here, but I want to add my own opinion, as well. We want our actions to be biblically-based, and there seems to be plenty of evidence in the Bible that would deny the support of praying to Mary or exalting her as someone who has achieved a level of holiness that warrants human worship of her.

First of all, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the one and only Mediator between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5 says:

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

The meanings given for "mediator" are:
1) one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant
2) a medium of communication, arbitrator

The Bible never mentions Mary or any of the other "saints" as additional mediators.

Second, Jesus is our "prototype," our ultimate model for Christian behavior. He never once prayed to His mother or gave instructions to do so after His or her death. His only dying instructions concerning her were for John to take care of her. When giving His disciples instruction about prayer, He says in Matthew 6:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

The other gospels give a similar account, and never once does Jesus instruct them or anyone else to pray to Mary. If Jesus Himself does not instruct us to pray to Mary, it seems extra-biblical at best to practice it.

Third, neither Jesus nor any writers of the Bible indicate that Mary was somehow more holy than others. Some might try to argue that the words that the angel Gabriel spoke to her when he came to announce to her that she was chosen to bear the Son of God might indicate that she was being "elevated" above other people, but a careful study of those words, such as, "favor," "the Lord is with you," "Holy Spirit will come upon you," and "power of the Most High will overshadow you" do not indicate in any way that her human status was being upgraded. The words used in this narrative are used in various other places surrounding others and are not exclusively used about Mary.

While there is plenty of biblical evidence to deny the exaltation of Mary, people who do so have been steeped in long-standing traditions that are comfortable to them and they are often hard to dissuade from these practices. Before we pass judgment on them, I think it's important to note that it would be difficult to find a church--Catholic or not--that doesn't adhere to some practices that are not found in the Bible. No church is perfect; we are human, and until we reach heaven, our practices will always be tainted with some degree of human error.

June 30 2013 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Sarah Winn Supporter Christian believer, college graduate + Walmart employee.
I agree with you. Mary was just a human that God chose to birth His son through. She died just like millions of people have. She was nothing special but God choses the ordinary to show His extraordinary power through. I have thought against praying to certain people for your needs. I heard someone tell me that if a person prays to say, Mary; Mary will then pray to God for us. But that is why Jesus came, to be the blameless, perfect connection to God.  Any more commentaries?

June 30 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Tammy Thorpe Factory assembler, wife, dog owner
All of mankind including Mary and all the saints are asleep in their graves and know nothing that goes on under the sun.(Ecclesiastes 9:2-6) It is a waste of time to pray to someone that is not in heaven, nor can hear your prayer. God, Jesus and the angels are the only ones in heaven. (Acts 2: 29-35) The dead in Christ will be raised from the dead on the 2nd coming of The Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

June 30 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
Hi Pam.

Whenever you say "Mary is just an obedient person", it raises red flags for the Catholics. If you say, "Mary IS an obedient person", there will not be conflict, and you will get Catholics to listen to you.

My wife is not Catholic, and my wish is that there will be more dialogues between Catholics and non-Catholics so there will be no hate among brethren. I sincerely believe we can achieve this by clearly defining what "worship" is.

We praise our children when they do something excellent. We celebrate a hero when we come back victorious from a battle. In both cases, praise and celebration are not worship.

We say in speeches, "I pray you will hear me". When I was studying, I asked my father for an increase in my lunch money. Asking and praying are not worship.

Worship requires a sacrifice, usually something that can be consumed, like bread, wine, lamb, bull, dove, etc..

June 30 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Abel Christian
I would agree that most denominations, especially Orthodox, Catholic, and some Protestant Churches, had vehemently agree and made clear that Mary should NOT be worshiped as though she was another deity, but to be honoured for being Christ-like in her response towards afflictions that she endured during her flight to Egypt with her most chaste spouse,Joseph (Matt 2:13-15); her conception (Lk 1:41-45), and many other moments during the time of Herod-among them was the slaughtering of the firstborns (Matt 2:16-18); and also for accepting the will of God in bringing into the world the Son of God WHOLEHEARTEDLY, as Lk 1:28-30 reads 'Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!. From this verse, she, among others, had been exalted as the 'Handmaid' of the Lord. Some translations have the salutations read as 'Hail! Full of grace!...' Being filled with the Holy Spirit, again Elizabeth exclaimed in Lk 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 

In my opinion, the phrase 'Blessed art thou among women' implies that she is exalted not only among women as is read literally, but the usage of 'women' would refer to humankind as a whole; just like the usage of 'man' used to refer to humankind, and not limited to the gender, 'male' 'man', alone. (Perhaps there was a cultural difference where Luke would have been raised to be inclined to a 'feminine' audience, whereas the Jews were inclined to a 'masculine' audience at that time; there might be a gender gap between cultures when they addressed man and woman collectively as mankind.)

A point to note here is that the word 'Hail' reflects the Latin translation, and 'Rejoice' reflects Greek, but both were valid English translations. Would this not mean she is definitely someone very 'important' in the Lord's eyes? Yes she is! But again, she is NOT a god. That is why the denomination which applies Marian prayers in service would say: "We do not pray TO Mary; we pray ONLY TO God THROUGH Mary,along with angels and other saints in Heaven, that they may pray for us to God, since God listens to them directly, and their prayers are 'Pleasing to God', just like pleasant aromas of burnt offerings dedicated to the Lord WITH AN OPEN HEART. Just as a child honours his/her mother, Mary is honoured like our mother as she is the mother of Jesus;she is our mother,too, a faultless Second Eve"

Being a model of humility and meekness, Mary was an obedient servant of the Lord, as Lk 1:38 reads, 'Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.' (Saints are given Veneration,dulia; and not Adoration,latria, which applies to God alone. In the case of Mary,hyperdulia,or higher veneration,is given as she encompasses all saints and angels, patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs,and all other holy men and women.)

June 30 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20130923 15840 15htij1 John Fernandes
We catholic pray to Jesus through Mary - she intervene 
Mary was instrumental to perform the first Miracle of Jesus Changing of Water to Wine.
She knew that Jesus would never let her down, inspite of Jesus saying "My time has not come"
She is not the one to take us away from Jesus

July 01 2013 9 responses Vote Up Share Report

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