Without Mary we would not have Jesus, so how can we expect to have Jesus without Mary?
A Question for Your Protestant Friends
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As much as that question may touch the heart and piety of a devout Catholic, I cannot imagine that it would have any influence on a Protestant. “Non sequitur” would (rightly) be the Protestant reply.
Then how about this……God alone was able to choose His own mother. Imagine being able to put that on your resume!
Always answered with “but Mary was JUST ________ (insert random depreciation of the value of motherhood here), NOT ______________ (insert random misrepresentation of Church teaching here).
One doesn’t have Jesus without Mary if one is Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant. It is the degree to which Mary is emphasized by at least some Catholics that Protestants tend to find excessive. The Immaculate Conception (when it is properly understood by Protestants to refer to Mary, not Jesus), for example, strikes many Protestants as a creation of Church tradition, not a Biblical teaching. Also, Catholic prayers that can give the impression of being addressed to Mary (even when that isn’t strictly the case) make Protestants uneasy because Mary is the Mother of God, but she is not God and should not be worshipped. But as a former Protestant, Fr., you know these and other common stumbling blocks between Catholics and Protestants when it comes to Mary. 🙂
Even when I was Protestant I wondered the same thing; in fact, unlike many converts, Marian devotion was not a hurdle for me at all. It always struck me as a little odd that Protestants bring Mary out at Christmas and then hide her away again for the rest of the year. The only thing I can think of is that they’re afraid any mention or honoring of Mary is “too Catholic” (almost a swear word in some Prot circles). This is a little weird too, since Luther himself really loved Mary.
When I was going through my conversion from Protestantism to the Church, I had a peculiar dream. I had a vision of my daughter, aged 3, being threatened with a demonic spirit. An angel appeared and said, “If you will recite the Hail Mary, your child will be protected.” As I opened my lips the angel interrupted, “In Latin.” Strangely, I had listened to enough Tomas Luis de Victoria that I knew it by heart. The dream deepened my appreciation of Mary, and I often recite the Latin as a way of keeping the dream vivid. It was a dramatic confirmation that the path to Rome was the right one.
My conversion, as a teenager, actually began when I found a rosary on the street, and my best friend, a Catholic, taught me the prayers. I had been a pretty serious Methodist, but was blown away when I went with Kathy to my first (Latin) Mass. Whew–all before V2, of course…
Reminds me of this from Chesterton’s Everlasting Man:”If the world wanted what is called a non-controversial aspect of Christianity, it would probably select Christmas. Yet it is obviously bound up with what is supposed to be a controversial aspect (I could never at any stage of my opinions imagine why); the respect paid to the Blessed Virgin. When I was a boy a more Puritan generation objected to a statue upon my parish church representing the Virgin and Child. After much controversy, they compromised by taking away the Child. One would think that this was even more corrupted with Mariolatry, unless the mother was counted less dangerous when deprived of a sort of weapon. But the practical difficulty is also a parable. You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a new-born child. You can not suspend the new-born child in mid-air; indeed you cannot really have a statue of a new-born child at all. Similarly, you cannot suspend the idea of a new-born child in the void or think of him without thinking of his mother. You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother; you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all, the other idea follows as it is followed in history. We must either leave Christ out of Christmas, or Christmas out of Christ, or we must admit, if only as we admit it in an old picture, that those holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross.”
Like other Protestants I’ve found the veneration of Mary by many Catholics I know out of line and not in accord with the scriptures. Mary is a holy woman and to be loved and respected but nothing more.