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Is Mary our Mother

Question: I shall pray that at the hour of your death Christ's mother will come to your side. And I know she will, for she is your mother also.

Answer: Mary, the mother of the Lord, is not the mother of the church. This doctrine is an invention of human tradition and is nowhere taught in the Bible.

It is sometimes argued that since Christians are Jesus' brothers, and Mary is Jesus' mother, then Mary is also our mother. This argument is fallacious because the word 'mother' is used in two different senses - in a physical meaning in relation to our Lord, and in a spiritual meaning in relation to Christians. Jesus speaks of the saved as His brothers (Hebrews 2:11,12) but this spiritual relationship should be distinguished from Jesus physical relationship with His mother, brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:46-50).

Catholic apologists make reference to John 19 as evidence that Jesus appointed Mary as the mother of His disciples. They assert that when Jesus told John "Behold your mother!" He was in fact referring to all His disciples. An attentive reading of John 19:26,27 reveals that Catholic tradition twists the meaning of Jesus' words:

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple who he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

There were several other disciples beneath the cross. If He meant to appoint Mary the mother of His church, surely He would have addressed all the disciples present. But instead He addressed Mary and John as individuals. At the hour of His death, the Lord asked His beloved disciple, John, to take care of Mary with filial affection and comfort her in her loneliness as a true son would. That John so understood the Lord's words is clear from his own explanation in the sentence immediately following: "And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home."

Catholics are given a false hope when they are encouraged to look unto Mary as their spiritual mother. For example, St. Alphonsus Liguori writes:

O most tender Mary, most loving Mother! This is just what you desire. You want us to become children and call out to you in every danger. For you long to help and save us, as you have saved all your children who had recourse to you (The Glories of Mary).

The Bible teaches no such thing. On the contrary, God's Word tells us to have recourse to the Lord, who is our help and our salvation: "Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy" (Psalm 109:26).

What is your choice? Are you going to follow human tradition or God's Word? Are you going to look unto Mary or unto the Lord Jesus for help and salvation?

Dr Joseph Mizzi