Just for Catholics

Christian Attitude Towards Mary

Question: How did you change your attitude towards Mary, the mother of Jesus?

Answer: As a young Catholic I was especially devoted to the Madonna. I participated enthusiastically in the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption in my hometown. In my evening prayers, I used to pray to Mary, asking her to take care of me and to keep my soul safe. 

My attitude changed as I read the Bible. Today I have more respect for Mary, the blessed mother of the Lord, than I ever had before.

I was quite surprised that the Bible doesn't say much about Mary. The last record of her speaking was her wise counsel to the servants at the feast at Cana at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry: "Whatever he says to you, do it." The last time she is mentioned in the Biblical narrative is in the opening chapter of Acts where she is found praying with the disciples before the coming of the Holy Spirit. From then on, the Bible is silent about the rest of her life and about her death.

By God's grace Mary was given the unique privilege of being the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. No other person had, or could have, the same privilege, and for this reason Mary will always be blessed by every generation. However, we must not assign to her a role that God did not give her. She is not the savior; only Jesus is. She is not the mediator; only Jesus is (please read 1 Timothy 2:5).

I used to call on the name of Jesus and on the name Mary to save me, as I had been taught at the catechism class and at church. "Are we then going to scruple to ask her to save us when...no one is saved except through her?" (St Alphonsus, The Glories of Mary). But then I read what the apostle Peter declared about Christ: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Today I call on the name of Jesus alone to save me, for He alone is the divine Messiah who came to save His people from their sins. By so doing, I show more respect to Mary than I ever did when I was a Catholic. For now I follow her example and fulfill her greatest desire:

"And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord; And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Luke 1:46,47).

Mary's aspiration was never to glorify herself. Like all the great saints of God, Mary wanted to exalt the Lord: "My soul magnifies the Lord." It is sad that later on in history, her desire was ignored by devout, yet misguided people, who went far beyond the teaching of the Scriptures and the traditions of the church in the first centuries, and assigned to her titles and offices which justly belong to the Lord Jesus alone. 

Moreover Mary teaches us about salvation that we should look unto God alone, for she did not trust in herself or in some other saint. She trusted in God. She said, 'My spirit has rejoiced in God my saviour.' If you respect Mary - and I know you do - magnify the Lord as she did; trust in God for your salvation, even as she did.

Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A