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HONORING MARY

Even though Catholics are sometimes falsely accused of worshiping the Blessed Virgin (which we don't and which the Church has never taught), there are many reasons why we do pay her special honor. A brief look at some of these reasons can make us wonder why all Christian religions don't do likewise.

   * The Ark of the Covenant carried the ten commandments, God's Word in stone. By carrying within her womb the Living Word Jesus, Mary has become the new Ark of the Covenant, and is often identified as the woman in Revelation 11:19-12:17.

   * The history of the Jews indicates that the king’s mother sat with him on the throne. Whether the king had no wife or many wives, it was to his mother that this honor was given. (See the many accounts in 1 and 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles where his mother is identified when the king begins his reign). In 1 Kings 2:19, Solomon, the son of David, provides a throne for his mother Bathsheba. Jesus, “the son of David” is the King of Kings, and thus Mary, His mother, is often honored as Queen of Heaven.

   * The angel Gabriel pays homage to Mary with his greeting (Luke 1:28). This is the only time that an angel greets a human as superior to himself, as evidenced by the word “Hail”, as if addressing royalty. (Think of "Hail Caesar", or mockingly to Jesus, "Hail King of the Jews"). Other angelic encounters do not evidence this type of greeting.

   * The elder Elizabeth pays homage to the younger Mary with her greeting: “Most blessed are you among women”, and “How does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:41-43).

   * Mary declares, “All ages will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48).

   * In John 2:4-5 Jesus follows His mother's direction at the wedding in Cana and refers to her as “woman”, recalling God's words in Genesis 3:15 and in John 19:26, where she is given universal motherhood and specifically made mother of the Church.

The Catholic Church has always recognized the unique role our Blessed Mother has in our salvation. Just as St. Paul claims that those who preside well deserve double honor (1Tim 5:17), we believe that Mary deserves this, and even more.

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