An interesting read. Rev. Martyn McGeown responds to a letter he received from a Catholic correspondent in Ireland …
I got an e-mail from a residents’ group in the Limerick area. It began, “As you are devoted to Our Lady, we are looking for your support.”
My response was as follows:
Thank you for your e-mail. I was surprised to receive it. You must not have read our website, from which, I assume, you got my e-mail address, because you make the false statement, “You are devoted to Our Lady.”
I will not be able to support you for one reason: the words “Our Lady.” By these words, you mean, I assume, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
I am not devoted to Mary, and nor should you be, because I am devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary did have an important position in that she was “blessed among [not “above”] women” to be chosen to be the earthly mother of Jesus, but her greatest blessedness was that she, like all of God’s people, received the forgiveness of her sins. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
The title you give to Mary, “Our Lady,” is a title of honour and authority. Our Lady is the female equivalent of “Our Lord.” Mary has no such honour or authority. We may not pray to her, rely on her to be a mediator, or an intercessor, or an advocate for us. When we do, we dishonour Jesus Christ, because He alone is Lord, Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate.
Consider that Jesus Christ is the Saviour, not Mary. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5). Jesus Christ intercedes for His people for whom He died on the cross, not Mary (Rom. 8:34). When we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, not Mary (I John 2:1-2).
Mary cannot help us. She needed a Saviour to save her from her sins. She sang, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47). Mary cannot hear our prayers in heaven. How could a mere woman, a creature, hear the millions of prayers offered to her, and then have the power to answer each of those prayers? But Jesus hears prayers, because He is the Eternal Son of God. No-one, certainly not Mary,is closer to the Father than Jesus. And He has grounds for asking God to bless His people because He died on the cross to cover their sins and to give them eternal life. Mary did not die on the cross and therefore has no grounds of her own to ask anything.
In fact, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus never honoured Mary in the way you suggest we should do. On one occasion, a woman in the crowd in misguided enthusiasm cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee” (Luke 11:27) but Jesus corrected her, not by honouring Mary, or exalting her above others, but by saying, “Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it (v. 28). Again, Jesus distanced Himself from His mother, Mary, when she became a hindrance to His ministry. In John 2:4 He said to her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” He was not being rude, but He was putting her in her place. In fact, Jesus never addressed Mary with the word, “Mother,” and certainly never called her “Lady.” Indeed, He again distanced Himself from any special relationship to Mary in Matthew 12. When His mother and brethren were standing outside wanting to speak to Him, He said, “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?” and then He said, “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother” (vv. 47-50).
Mary was the humble handmaiden of the Lord, and she would be horrified if she knew what was being done in her name, that prayers are offered, candles are burned, masses are said and devotion is given to her. What a beautiful example Mary is of humble, childlike faith and obedience to God. Please do not dishonour her by calling her “Our Lady.”
If the centrepiece of your Garden of Hope is a mural of Mary, whom you call “Our Lady of Hope,” I cannot support you, for that is idolatry. I Timothy 1:1 says this, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” Jesus Christ is my hope, not Mary.
Look to Christ, not Mary. Seek salvation and forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, not Mary. He alone is Lord and to Him every knee will bow and every tongue with confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God that Father (Phil. 2:10-11).