Roman Catholics often quote Luke 1:48 to support their devotional and doctrinal exaltation of Mary to the status of “Deity.” As a Christian, I believe Satan is responsible for masquerading as “the mother of Jesus,” deceiving many, and presenting a plan of world peace and salvation which is significantly different from God’s plan in the Bible. Recently on Facebook, some Catholics reacted to a comment I made about the ungodly exaltation of Mary. As anticipated, they quoted Mary’s statement in Luke 1:48 to justify their elevation of Mary. This article is an expanded version of my Facebook submission. Scripture quotations are based on the New International Version (NIV), unless otherwise specified. Of course, Catholics deny that they treat Mary as God. The evidence, however, shows otherwise. Simply stating that one does not worship Mary proves nothing. Official doctrinal statements (by the Magisterium), ecclesiastically approved prayers to Mary, Marian songs, and Marian devotional practices provide the strongest evidence based on which objective conclusions can be drawn. Luke 1:48 is part of Mary’s song of praise which can be found in Luke 1:46-55. Traditionally, Catholics refer to this passage as The Canticle of Mary or the Magnificat. As we shall soon discover, the Mary of the Magnificat is a true daughter of Abraham. She devoted her life to unwavering faith in the Word of God. She, therefore, is a shining example of how Christians must live as children of Abraham, holding fast to God’s Word and his promises. The Mary of the Magnificat does not solicit for devotion to her. Consequently, this Mary has nothing to do with the “Mary” of today who demands that the world be consecrated to her heart. Even God, to the best of my knowledge, has not demanded that the world be consecrated to him.
What catches the attention of Catholics is Luke 1: 48, where Mary says, “From now on all generations will call me blessed” (emphasis mine). This is amazing, because by quoting this passage, they prove my case. Here is why: Mary was specific about what would happen to her. She said all will call her “blessed.” She did not say more than that. Anything more than what she said is a problem we have created. Let us call her blessed, but we must stop where Mary stopped. Calling Mary blessed is not wrong; it is not idolatry; in fact, it is biblical. But, if we add anything else to what she said, then we have a problem and we must explain to God why we have added to Mary’s words. Luke 1:48 – which Catholics love to quote – is the same passage that proves them wrong about the Magnificat. The Scripture proves them wrong, because they have added to and altered what Mary herself said. Because Roman Catholics quote from the Magnificat to justify their practices, they have an obligation to show us from the Magnificat where Mary said “henceforth all shall call me their Queen and Lady, their Gate of Heaven, their Health of the Sick, their Mediator of Grace, their Co-Redeemer, their Refuge of Sinners, their Most Gracious Advocate, their Life, their Hope, and the Hope of Christians.” The “spirit” who keeps appearing as “Mary” is different from the real Mary who spoke the words of the Magnificat. The real mother of Jesus is innocent, because she knew her limit. Being called blessed is completely biblical. I have no problem calling Mary blessed, because she is blessed. In fact, I have no problem calling myself blessed, because I am blessed.
Roman Catholics often highlight Luke 1:48, but fail to give sufficient attention to the entire passage of the Magnificat. In so doing, they quote Mary out of context and, inevitably, fall into error. Let us recall what Mary said toward the end of the Magnificat. She referred to Abraham, saying, “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors” (Luke 1:54-55). God did not make a covenant with the mother of Jesus. Rather, he made a covenant with Abraham, promising that through Abraham all nations will be blessed (Gen 12:2-3; 22:16-18). Jesus was the promised offspring (or seed) of Abraham in whom the promised blessings would come upon all who believe in the Messiah. Paul points this out in Galatians 3:15-16: “Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ” (emphasis mine). As far as the Scripture is concerned, Mary’s role would involve being the woman of whom the Messiah would be born. However, Scripture keeps the focus on the spiritual nexus between Abraham – the recipient of the promise – and Jesus Christ, the point of fulfillment. As we shall later observe, Mary was aware of this truth.
Earlier in Galatians, Paul made his point even more clear: “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal 3:7-9). This is a profound revelation which shows how all who have faith in Christ shall be blessed. In the words of Apostle Paul, what makes us children of Abraham is faith – faith in Christ. No longer will people be called children of Abraham based on circumcision or their biological connection to Abraham. In Christ, God has done something new. If God’s promise to bless us is limited to one’s physical connection to Abraham, then only Jews will receive the blessing. But now, all who live by faith – trusting that God’s promises shall be fulfilled in Christ – are blessed. God announced the Gospel to Abraham about 2000 years before Jesus was born of Mary. This implies that – in a sense – Abraham was a “believer” before even Mary or the Apostles. This further explains why the Bible teaches that Abraham “is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” (Rom 4:16-17; emphasis mine). As far as faith in Christ is concerned – in God’s sight – Abraham is our father. Abraham is, therefore, Mary’s father – in terms of faith in Christ.
Contrary to what the Litany of the Blessed Virgin says, Mary is not “Queen of Patriarchs.” God has not made Mary queen over anyone, let alone Abraham. To believe that Mary is queen over Abraham is to believe in a myth. In terms of faith, Mary defers to Abraham. Abraham is not a child of Mary. Mary herself knew this. She is Abraham’s daughter, because of the faith which connects them – just as all Christians are children of Abraham. Abraham is our father, and it ends there. For the same reasons, Mary is neither the “Mother of Christians” nor “Mother of the Church.” These Marian titles are based on ungodly speculation and unjustified assumptions. Anyone with a minimum understanding of the Bible’s teaching on the relationship between Christians and Abraham will not fall victim to these false beliefs. The Church of Christ has no filial relationship with Mary. Mary is our sister in the Lord, and nothing more. Mary herself understands this. The relationship between Christ and Christians is that between Groom and Bride. Mary is mother of Jesus, but she is not the mother of the Bride of Christ. Moreover, Christians trace their “faith lineage” to Abraham, not Mary. We are connected by covenant, not to Mary, but to Abraham. Consequently, God recognizes Abraham alone as our father or parent in faith.
The only time the Bible refers to Christians as having a “mother” is found in Galatians 4:21-31. Speaking allegorically, Paul drew a distinction between Sarah (the free woman) and Hagar (the slave). He continued by pointing out the difference between Ishmael (the son born of Hagar) and Isaac (the son born of Sarah). Paul used this allegory to illustrate the fact that Christians are born of a free woman and are therefore not under the law. In his own words, “Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise . . . Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (Gal 4:28, 31; emphasis mine). The Apostle is explaining the realities of the New Covenant. Christians, he says, are children of promise, because we are descended from Abraham. We are the fruit of the promise God made to Abraham. Paul further asserts that we – Christians – are children of the free woman. The woman he is referring to is Sarah. In other words, allegorically speaking, Christians are “children of Sarah.” Yet, this does not give Christians the license to create a cult around Sarah. We can be sure that Paul knew about the mother of Jesus. But, interestingly, he does not refer to her as our mother. Paul understood that we are not related to Mary by covenant. If Christians are desperate for a mother, the best the Bible can offer is Sarah. To designate Mary as “Mother of Christians” and create a cult around her is to violate the Word of God, disregard apostolic teaching and compromise the integrity of Christian worship.
Mary said all will call her blessed not because she was the biological mother of Christ, but because she believed in the words and promises of God – brought by Gabriel – concerning the Christ. That made her a true Daughter of Abraham, because as the apostolic teaching says, all who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham the man of faith. Abraham, not Mary, is the point of reference for the blessedness of Christians. We are connected to Abraham, not by genetics, but by faith in the words and promises of God. This faith activates the New Covenant blessings in our lives. This is the point Mary was making in the Magnificat when she referred to God’s covenant with Abraham. Mary relied on faith, not on her works or personal worthiness. She relied on the promises of God concerning salvation through the coming Christ. Like her father, Abraham, Mary held on to the word of God, trusting that God was faithful and able to perform what he had promised. By believing, she aligned her faith with the faith of Abraham. Accordingly, she became blessed. She had every right, then, to declare that all shall call her blessed, because “blessedness” is the generational inheritance of all children of Abraham who put their trust in God’s salvation. This is the teaching of the Bible and the teaching of the Apostles.
What Mary said in the Magnificat was very profound. She was calling our attention to the fact that God is faithful and that his promise to bless us through Abraham was being fulfilled. She saw herself at that point as one who – because of faith – had become a beneficiary of God’s promises to Abraham. Remember what Elizabeth told Mary: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45; emphasis mine). Elizabeth spoke the truth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. She realized that Mary was blessed, not so much because she was to give birth to the Savior, but because she believed that God’s promises will be fulfilled. This made Mary a child of Abraham by faith and not just by natural descent. Being a child of Abraham by faith, therefore, she was right to say that all shall call her blessed. That is what happens to all children of Abraham: They shall be called blessed. Mary had no interest in people creating a cult around her or people giving her titles reserved for the God she worshiped. Mary understood the Scriptures. We did not. We missed the meaning of the Magnificat, because we failed to see the big picture in the Scriptures. In the Magnificat, Mary was pointing us to what God was accomplishing through Abraham. Unfortunately, we did not see this and we got stuck with Mary.
Jesus himself emphasized the connection between blessedness and faith in God’s word. Luke tells us that one day Jesus was teaching. A woman in the crowd was so impressed and “called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He [Jesus] replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’” (Luke 11:27-28; emphasis mine). The woman in the crowd gave glory to the mother of Jesus. But Jesus corrected her immediately, pointing to the real source of blessedness. Jesus knew, I am inclined to believe, that a day would come when many, out of affection for his mother, shall fall victim to Satan’s deception, slip into idolatry and turn Mary into something she is not. Blessedness is for all who put their trust in God’s promises just as Abraham did. Therefore, all who rely on faith shall be called blessed along with Mary. Jesus said that blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it. To obey God’s word, we must trust the word. This means putting unwavering faith in God’s word, trusting that his promises will not fail. This kind of trust is what motivates us to obey God even in the face of opposing circumstances. This is what Mary did and became blessed. An angel just appeared and delivered God’s word. Mary was stunned. She had nothing to lean on, except the word of the angel. She was supposed to believe that she would become pregnant through the Holy Spirit’s power. She had no scientific or empirical evidence that this would happen. Mary had no religious objects or images to hold on to, except the bare word of God. In the end, she completely trusted God’s word, believing that it will produce the outcome it promised. “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38; emphasis mine), she declared.
The promise that a virgin would bear a son without a man’s cooperation defied natural laws and human reasoning. But Mary resisted unbelief. She stuck to the word, because that is what children of Abraham do: They stick to the Word of God in the face of naturally impossible scenarios. Mary leaned on the angel’s assurance that “no word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1:37; emphasis mine). Mary thus became a woman of the Word. Not surprisingly, she told those serving at wedding in Cana, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5; emphasis mine). Mary knew that Jesus was the Son of God. Moreover, she had learned firsthand that God’s Word is dependable. Based on this faith, she instructed the servants at the wedding to do whatever Jesus told them. They did. And the words of Jesus prevailed. Mary had learned to trust whatever comes out of the mouth of God. And she urged the wedding servants to do the same. This is Abrahamic faith: believing that God’s Word will prevail no matter the circumstances. Mary points Christians to the Word of God, as though she was saying to us: “Brothers and sisters, Abraham relied on God’s Word and it worked for him. The Word worked for me, too. It’s your turn. Lean on God’s Word. Do whatever God tells you. You will not be disappointed.” Mary did not point us to herself. She did not ask anyone to pray to her or create a religion around her. She directed us, instead, to trust the Word of the God she worshiped – the God of Abraham. God has left us his inspired Word in the Scriptures. To deviate from the Scriptures is to deviate from God’s Word. And to deviate from God’s Word is to show disdain for Mary’s example of faith in God’s Word. All the inspired Scriptures point to Jesus and have their fulfillment in him. Disdain for the Scriptures is, therefore, disdain for Jesus. But, sticking to the inspired Word of God – and not adding to it – is the most appropriate way to imitate Mary.
Let us now recall that Abraham, Mary’s father in faith, had already faced a similar test of faith in God’s Word. Naturally speaking, it was impossible for him to bear a child by Sarah. Yet, as the Bible says, “he [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom 4:20-21; emphasis mine). This is the character of faith which all who follow Christ must have, for without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Mary exercised the kind of faith which the Bible defines as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb 11:1; emphasis mine). All who exercise this kind of faith (in Christ) are children of Abraham. Consequently, they shall be called blessed. Mary is called blessed along with all who are descendants of Abraham by faith. Being a daughter of Abraham, Mary was right to declare in the Magnificat that all generations shall call her blessed. She understood God’s promise to bless us through Abraham. She did not say that she alone shall call be called blessed. Several characters in the Bible have been called blessed – generation after generation. All generations shall call us blessed, because we are heirs of the promise God made to Abraham. Therefore, writing to the Christians in Ephesus, Paul declares, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (1:3; emphasis mine). That is how profoundly blessed we are. God has blessed us along with Abraham. We are a blessed people and all generations shall call us blessed. As a daughter of Abraham, Mary recognized her blessedness and declared it aloud. All believers have the same right to declare that all generations shall them blessed. Mary is one of us. Mary knew what she said, and the Scriptures bear her testimony. Everything else people have added to the Magnificat, she has nothing to do with it.
In view of Mary’s own words in the Scriptures, let us not deceive ourselves with semantics. Let us not, armed with our linguistic and philosophical skills, pretend to be wiser than God. If we make light of the Scriptures, we do so at our own risk. Prayer is an act of worship. When we pray, we are at worship. Prayer to Mary or any saint, for that matter, is an act of worship. Whoever is the object of our prayer takes the place of God, for God alone is the object of prayer. The Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church emphatically states, “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 971). It does not get clearer than that. If devotion to Mary is intrinsic to Christian worship, it means it is essential to, and inseparable from, it. If devotion to a creature becomes intrinsic to the worship of the Creator, we have crossed the line. We are now dealing with worship of God and Mary. In short, we are committing idolatry. The Mary of the Magnificat has nothing to do with this doctrine. We cannot separate prayer from worship, hoping to get away with the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is a broad term that encompasses a lot of things. The moment we turn our attention from God Almighty and direct our prayer or devotion toward a creature, we have entered the realm of idolatry. Repentance is our only means of escape. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible gives us a range of practices covered by idolatry. Addressing prayers to a creature, instead of God, is idolatry – plain and simple. We can deceive ourselves, but God cannot be deceived. The Mary of the Bible is not the “Mary” many people claim to follow today.
We all know that Satan can masquerade as “the mother of Jesus,” luring people to give him worship. He is completely capable of transforming himself into an angel of light, thereby deceiving the unsuspecting. Regarding this deceptive ability of Satan, Paul wrote, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Cor 11:14-15; emphasis mine). Our Lord Jesus, aware of this same problem, warned us, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt 24:24; emphasis mine). If Satan appeared as an angel of darkness, he would compromise his mission. He thrives, however, in his ability to transform himself into an angel of light and hide in plain sight. We should not be surprised if he transforms himself into “the mother of Jesus.” Our best chance of stopping him is to hold fast to God’s inspired Word. We can, armed with this Word, verify the authenticity of the messages of those claiming to be sent by God, including the “Mary” who keeps appearing with her own plans to save the world. Satan is powerless against the Spirit of God in us. Yet, we would be naïve to underestimate his cunning ways.
In one of the severest warnings in the New Testament, Paul told the Christians in Galatia to watch out, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal 1:8-9; emphasis mine). This should cause Christians to shudder. Paul did not mince words. He said that even if someone came claiming to be an Apostle and gave us a doctrine of salvation different from what has already been delivered, that person is under a curse. Paul took it one step further, stating that even if an angel did so, that angel is under a curse. He was not exaggerating. He simply wanted to emphasize the severity of altering the message of the Good News. The Galatians’ only fault was their effort to submit to the works of the law as a means – in addition to faith in Christ – to obtain right standing with God. They did not pray to the spirit of a dead saints. Nor did they say that devotion to Paul was intrinsic to Christian worship. Yet, the Apostle rebuked them sharply and warned them about the Enemy’s deceptions. Christians today must heed the Apostle’s warning. Imagine what he would say to us if, instead of directing our prayer to the living God, we were directing them to creatures in the name of Communion of Saints. One day, while meditating, the Lord prompted me to pay attention to the messages of the “Mary” who keeps appearing and giving instructions to the world. I began to consider the following: Has this “Mary” – ever quoted the Bible, a book inspired by the Holy Spirit of God? Has she ever quoted the Apostles to whom the Christian message was entrusted? If she has, how many times? and why? The answer is simple: The day this “Mary” points people to the Bible or the teachings of the Apostles, she risks being exposed, because the Bible is the Word of God, the light which helps us to discern between a true spirit and a false spirit.
In sum, no spirit from the living God – the God of the Bible – will want the whole world consecrated to her. If a certain spirit, “Mary,” claims to be sent by God, let her teach from Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, or Ephesians. We love the real mother of Jesus and we will protect her good name which has been dragged in the mud by the Enemy. If we follow Mary carefully, we will stick to what she said in the Magnificat and not add our own ungodly imaginations to it. She said all will call her blessed. She said nothing more. The rest is on us. We owe Mary an apology, if we add to or alter what she said in the Magnificat.