Just for Catholics

BLESSED MARY

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.

My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord

God has shown great favour to the virgin of Nazareth. Through her the eternal Son of God became human and came to the world for our salvation. The church rightly calls her the “Mother of God according to the manhood”. It is no wonder that wherever the gospel is proclaimed, God’s people call her blessed.

To keep her from vainglory and pride, the Lord adorned Mary with a wise and humble character. To the greetings of Elizabeth, Mary answered, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” As for herself, she was amazed that God would look favourably upon “his handmaid’s lowliness”. Her only desire was to glorify and praise the Lord God Almighty, and certainly not herself.

Sadly, throughout church history specious titles were attributed to Mary, totally ignoring her own desire. Some call her ‘the gate of heaven’ and even ‘our life’ and ‘our hope’. But the Bible calls Jesus alone our door, our life and our hope.

In 1858 and 1950 the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption even though the Bible is silent about these doctrines. The Bible explicitly teaches that Jesus was conceived without sin (Hebrews 7:26); and being perfectly holy, just and undefiled, he was qualified to die for us, the unjust, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Moreover, after the shame of the cross, God the Father raised up Jesus and received him into the glory of heaven. God demands that every knee should bend at the name of Jesus. At this very moment, along with all the saints and angels, Mary is praising and worshipping the Lord Jesus. We too ought to join with the mother of our Lord and the heavenly hosts to give Christ the Lord our undivided devotion, for he is worthy to receive thanks, honour and praise forevermore.

His Mercy is from Age to Age

In my childhood days, my religion teachers presented a distorted image of God. They told us that the Lord is a stern Judge and we should not dare approach him directly. We were advised to pray to Mary, the kind-hearted mother, so that she will intercede for us before her Son. Surely Jesus would not refuse anything his mother asks him, we were told.

Mary refutes such foolish arguments. Mary gloried in the goodness of the Lord, insisting that “his mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.” After all who made mothers sweet and kind? Should we then doubt the kindness of the Creator, the font of all blessings?

Mary herself experienced the kindness of the Lord. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, even a short time before his death, he was concerned about her well-being after his departure. He commanded his close friend and disciple John to take care of her. “Woman, behold, your son,” he told her, and to John he said, “Behold, your mother,” implying that it was his responsibility to care for her as a son cares for an aging widow. We are told that from that hour the disciple took her into his home (John 19:26, 27).

Mary wants us to appeal to him in our needs. At the wedding in Cana, when Mary noticed the problem, she prayed to Jesus for help, and told the servants to do whatever he tells them. We ought to do the same. We ought to pray to the Lord for our needs and intercede for others too.

After the Lord returned to heaven, Mary prayed with the disciples to the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture do we find an example, permission or commandment to pray to Mary or the departed saints after their death. If you truly respect Mary, follow her example and always seek the Lord in your prayers.

The Lord Jesus himself invites us to go directly to him. He promised, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus never turned back anyone who came to him. His disciples tried to keep away the young ones, but he said, “Let the little children come to me.” The people tried to silence the blind man, but Jesus heard his cry and restored his eyesight. Jesus reached out to the lepers, the outcasts of society, touched and healed them. With stones in their hands, the mob was about to stone the adulterer, but Jesus -- the only one who could have condemned her -- forgave her. Even at his very last hour, he promised a place in heaven to the repentant thief.

Friend, do you suppose that the Lord will not keep his promise, or that his heart has become hard? Do you think he will not receive you if you sincerely turn to him? Come then, come to Jesus today.

Come to Jesus for he alone is the bridge that spans the infinite gap between the holy God and sinful man. “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6). Mary gained heaven by his power and merit, and so will you if you believe Mary's testimony about the mercy of God, and by faith rely on him for forgiveness.

My Spirit Rejoices in God my Saviour

In my childhood I used to call on the name of Mary every night and commit my soul to her care, as I had been taught by religion teachers. I also remember praying, “Jesus, Mary, I love you, save souls.” I was sincere, but I was mistaken. Today I am concerned for the millions of Catholics who continue to call on the name of Mary for salvation.

A popular Catholic devotional gives this advice, “Let us then, 0 devout reader, beg God to grant us, that at death the name of Mary may be the last word on our lips.” It concludes with a prayer to Mary, “I ask thee, 0 Mary, for the glory of thy name, to come and meet my soul when it is departing from this world, and to take it in thine arms.” [Link]

In Scripture, Mary never invited sinners to come to her for salvation. On the contrary, Mary recognized God as her own saviour. “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” she said. Should we then dishonour the blessed Mother of our Lord by calling on her name to save us? Or should we rather follow her godly example and turn to the Lord for our salvation?

No one can save except Jesus. The apostle Peter declared that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

There is one name, and that name is not the name of Mary. The only name by which we can escape the fire of Hell is the precious Name of Jesus. For he alone is God and man. He alone is the Christ, appointed by God the Father to rescue his people. He alone shed his immaculate blood to free his people from their sin and the wrath to come. Mary did not die in our place. Mary cannot save; she herself needed to be saved. Nonetheless if you trust yourself in the hands of the Lord, just as Mary did, you too can share Mary’s joy, and sing with all the redeemed, “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

The Name of the Lord

God promises salvation to all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Many people simply ignore the promise of the gospel because they would rather continue to indulge in sin. Others reject God’s promise because they don’t really believe him or his Word - that we are saved by his mercy and not on account of our righteous deeds (Titus 3:5). They expect to merit heaven by their righteousness and religion. God will have nothing to do with them.

I beg you, come to God. Come, even though you are helpless and burdened with sins and guilt. Come with full confidence in his goodness and kindness - the cross of Jesus is the ultimate proof of God’s love for undeserving sinners. Don’t attempt to approach God on account of your personal merit or through Mary or anybody else. Come to God by faith, through the one and only mediator, Jesus Christ. “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

The Catholic devotional tells you to call on the name of Mary even with your last breath. But that is not what the Bible tells us. When the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was about to die, he called on the name of Jesus. “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

What, then, is your decision? Would you follow the Catholic teaching or the Bible?

My Decision

I trust in the Name of Jesus and the name of Mary for my salvation, even though the Bible warns us that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

or

Like Mary and all Christians, I trust in the Name of the Lord Jesus alone, for it is written in the Scripture that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Along with Mary and all the redeemed, I rejoice in God my Saviour.

© Dr Joseph Mizzi. Permission is given to reproduce and distribute this article in any format, provided that the wording is not altered and that no fee is charged. Please include the following statement on distributed copies:
© Dr Joseph Mizzi. Website: www.justforcatholics.org. Used by permission.