Monday, April 30, 2012

What the Magnificat Tells Us About Marian Veneration

One of the most beautiful prayers in the New Testament is the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), which tells of the holiness and mercy of God.  In that prayer, Mary proclaims (v. 46-49):
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Mary's statement, “behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” is both prophetic (she's saying what will happen in the future, for all generations) and prescriptive (she's saying that this is what should happen, since she's saying it happens on account of the holiness of God).  Let's consider the Magnificat, then, both as a prescription, and a prophesy.

I. The Magnificat as a Prescription

The first point here is an obvious one: Mary is saying that all generations are right to call to her blessed, because God has done great things for her, and holy is His Name.  I brought this passage up to an Evangelical  I was speaking to recently, and asked how all generations call Mary blessed.  The person I was speaking to immediately conceded, that for Evangelicals, “we don't.”  A number of other Protestant converts have noticed the same thing:
Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato,
The Virgin in Prayer (1640s)
It was a startling paradigm shift to realize we treated her so allergically-and one which, I have since noticed, isn't unusual for converts. Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, told me once that when he was still hanging back from the Church because of Mary, a blunt priest he knew asked him, “Do you believe her soul magnifies the Lord? It's right there in Scripture.” Ahlquist reflexively answered back, “Of course I do! I know the Bible!” But even as he replied he was thinking to himself, “I never really thought of that before.” It can be a disorienting experience. 
But, in fact, it is right there in the Bible. Her soul magnifies the Lord, and from that day to this all generations have called her blessed. So why, when we Evangelicals looked at Jesus, did we never look at Him through the divinely appointed magnifying glass? Why were we so edgy about calling her “blessed” and giving her any honor? That realization was my first clue that it was, perhaps, Catholics who were simply being normal and human in honoring Mary, while we Evangelicals were more like teetotalers fretting that far too much wine was being drunk at the wedding in Cana.
There are very few passages in the New Testament that explicitly address the way that future generations are to act. One of those passages is John 17:20-23, in which Jesus explicitly prays that the Church would remain One in subsequent generations. Another is this passage, calling all generations to bless Mary. To the point that Protestants can recognize that they're in violation of this call to honor Mary, it should be a wake-up call that perhaps they, rather than Catholics, are the ones with a Mary problem.


II. The Magnificat as a Prophesy

Virgin and Child with Balaam the Prophet,
Second century Marian art on the walls of the Catacombs.
The above point is one that I've heard before, and it's an important one.  But I think that there's another point, even more fundamental than the first, that gets overlooked. Mary isn't just saying that all generations should call her blessed.  She's saying that all generations will call her blessed.  That means that every generation, from the time of the Apostles up to the present, up to the end of time, has blessed Mary, or will bless Mary.

That's just taking the statement at face value, but consider: how did pre-Reformation Christians bless Mary?  There were no Evangelicals at the time, and so nobody within the Church treated Mary the way that Evangelicals treat her today. Christians were either Catholic or Orthodox, and we can say, as a matter of historical fact, that for several generations, Mary was blessed by several generations through Marian hymns, art, and prayers... the very things that Evangelicals object to.  These are ways that Catholics and Orthodox bless her still, down to the current generation.

We can know that the early Christians were strong believers in the Physical Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because their opponents used to accuse them of cannibalism.  Likewise, we can know that the Christians of the seventh century had a high view of Mary, because they were accused of being Mary-worshipers.  This is one of the charges leveled against us in the Qu'ran, for example.  The fifth chapter (or sura) of the Qu'ran is written as about, and then to, Christians.  Qu'ran 5:14 says,
A 6th century icon (a century before Muhammad)
depicting Mary and Jesus
And from those who say, “We are Christians” We took their covenant; but they forgot a portion of that of which they were reminded. So We caused among them animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. And Allah is going to inform them about what they used to do.
One of the specific problems cited against Christians is that they allegedly worship both Jesus and Mary (Qu'ran 5:116):
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?’” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.”
Now, obviously, this grossly misrepresents Christianity.  We don't believe Jesus is a separate God from the Father, and we don't worship Mary at all.  But you can bet that if the seventh century Christians treated Mary the way that modern Evangelicals do, nobody would be accusing them of Mary-worship.  For that matter, let's not overlook the fact that the most common way that the Qu'ran refers to Jesus is as “Jesus, Son of Mary.” All of this suggests that Christians at the time took a very high view of Mary of the very sort that many Protestants object to today.

Now, this isn't a particularly controversial point.  No Protestant that I know denies that pre-Reformation Christians venerated Mary to a degree (and in a manner) that makes them uncomfortable.  But look at how Scripture treats the matter.  The Holy Spirit knows how future generations will honor and venerate Mary, and if He thought of this as blasphemous or idolatrous, it would be easy  to include a word of warning in Scripture against it.  But there's no such warning against Marian veneration.  Nor is the Holy Spirit silent on the matter of future Marian veneration, either.  God-breathed Scripture says, through the lips of Mary,  “behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” On what basis can Protestants now say that these prior generations were wrong to do so?

20 comments:

  1. I have it on good authority that Scripture Alone has revealed that what Luke meant was that the Lord magnifies Mary's soul.

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    1. All joking aside, the Magnificat does teach that Mary's soul magnifies the Lord, and that the Lord magnifies Mary. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer captures this well by translating it:

      "My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
      For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
      For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
      For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name."

      I think this captures a profound truth. Mary and God aren't enemies, or in any sort of competition, or in some sort of zero-sum game where honoring one diminishes the other. The opposite is true. God freely honors and blesses Mary, Mary honors and blesses God, and as we honor each and bless both of them, we act in a way pleasing to God.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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  2. "makes this uncomfortable" or "makes them uncomfortable"?

    That's an excellent point in your last paragraph, re. the Holy Spirit's foreknowledge and approval of veneration of Mary. Thank you very much.

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    1. Thanks, Otepoti! And good catch on the typo.

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  3. Magnify, as defined by Webster and dictionary.reference.com is to extol, laud, or praise. If my understanding of this is correct, I believe the magnificat to say that Mary’s soul is filled with immense praise for her Lord: Father, Spirit, and Son. If you read the passage to say that “the Lord magnifies Mary’s soul” then you have deduced something from Scripture I have not. Perhaps I was poorly or miseducated on the subject of veneration but, I was taught 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 4:11 or 12 I think) Sidenote: This is also why I was taught to never call a man Father. My dad is my father. God is my Father. There may not be another Father in my life…especially not a religious figure sharing a name/title with God.
    And in context, your so-called first patri had just healed the lame man in the temple by the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Christ Jesus.
    I have no problem calling her blessed. She was blessed by God with a perfect son. She was even “full of grace.” Then again, aren’t we all? (Romans: try reading it subjectively;) Of course she’ll be revered as the most crucial piece (other than Christ’s death and resurrection) to the Salvation puzzle for “generations.” After all, she did bare the Son of God. But, to venerate her (and for that matter, any “Saint”) with prayer (really?) is to blaspheme the Word of God.
    How about, for instance, the Lord’s Prayer or the “Our Father” as you Catholics call it… Jesus himself says “This is how you should pray:” and then proceeds to pray to “Our Father.” Our Father, Not Peter or Saint John, St. Benedict, St. Elmo, St. Grover, St. Cookie-Monster and NOT Mary. In fact, I’d be interested to know if and where ANYONE prays to Mary or another saint directly in the 66 book canon. They don’t.
    If it was so important, why didn’t she write a book about herself “Mary: Behind the Scenes of the Son of God” and pray its way into the canon? If she was like a modern 21st Century woman, she would have just tried to guilt trip God into letting it slide: “C’mon God, I gave birth to your child. The least you could do is give my book another look…Oh, so I get a song? Great, that’s almost as good. Magnificat? I guess I can work with that title.”

    “We can know that the early Christians were strong believers in the Physical Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because their opponents used to accuse them of cannibalism.” Strong statement there.
    This seems to me to simply indicate an ignorance and misconception of non-Christians during the first millennium AD. We can only truly know what we can read or what we’re told; and sometimes, even those routes of gaining truth can be…deceptive? For instance, giving money to the Catholic Church to purchase salvation or reduced time in Purgatory for yourself and loved ones was made possible and socially acceptable by Tetzel. (Yes, I realize that going back to Tetzel is predictable for a Lutheran. And yes, I realize that Tetzel was not Pope, nor were his teachings in line with dogma. But Leo appointed him, and he represented a church that God supposedly has supported since time started counting forward.)

    Joe, no offense meant towards you. I simply disagree and couldn’t stand by to let you ridicule my belief system. I do very much enjoy your postings and wish you luck in your future endeavors.

    The Holy Spirit and Scripture don't speak directly against it because it poses no threat to immorality or salvation. Just my opinion and deduction from what I've read tonight.

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    1. Aaron,

      Don’t worry: I take no offense at your comment. It’s precisely because of our love of Christ and one another that these debates are worth having. We disagree on this issue, are openly acknowledging it, and arguing our respective positions. In that same vein, I hope you don’t think that in challenging your beliefs, I’m therefore “ridiculing” your belief system.

      Let me address each of your points in order:

      1) You say that “Mary’s soul is filled with immense praise for her Lord.” This is true. My point is that we look to Mary because she magnifies the Lord. In other words, we can see the glory of God, close-up, by looking at Mary. The Greek word in question, megalynō is translated by the KJV as “magnify,” “enlarge,” or “make great.” The image of a magnifying glass looking at God is appropriate. The beauty we see in Mary is God’s beauty: we’re just seeing it through her. Hopefully, that clarifies why it matters that Mary magnifies the Lord.

      2) We agree that Christ alone saves. What does that have to do with whether or not we honor Mary?

      3) In your sidenote, you say, “This is also why I was taught to never call a man Father” and then say of a man, “My dad is my father.” These can’t both be true. If you’re going to insist that Matthew 23:9 must be read literally, then you can’t call your dad “father.” But if Mt. 23:9 must be read literally, then how do you explain 1 Cor. 4:15, 1 Peter 5:13, Acts 7:2, Acts 4:25, Romans 9:10, etc.?  I don’t want to go too far down this tangent, so let me just share two previous posts I’ve written on the subject, if you want to learn more: why Catholics call priests “Father,” and why rejecting the title “father” doesn’t leave you with many other options.

      4) I would be careful about assuming that the angel Gabriel, in acknowledging Mary as “full of grace,” is saying nothing beyond what can be said of any and every Christian. Mary is clearly special: she alone was chosen to bear Jesus in her womb. She became a tabernacle for the Lord in an utterly unique way, and the human body taken on by the Second Person of the Trinity in the Incarnation was taken from her. To suggest she’s no big deal seems to almost second-guess God’s own opinion of her. Again… He could have chosen any woman at any point in all of human history, and He chose this one.  You seem to recognize this in calling her the most crucial piece in the Redemption, aside from Christ, so amen, brother.

      5) You claim that “to venerate her (and for that matter, any “Saint”) with prayer (really?) is to blaspheme the Word of God.” This seems to contradict your later claim that the “Holy Spirit and Scripture don't speak directly against it because it poses no threat to immorality or salvation.” Wouldn’t blasphemy hinder one’s ability to saved? So if you’re right, shouldn’t we expect to find the Holy Spirit and Scripture cautioning against venerating Mary, rather than encouraging it?

      6) The more fundamental problem is that you’re confusing “prayer” and “worship.” Asking a fellow Christian for something (be it prayers, or some favor) isn’t worshiping them. It doesn’t somehow become worshiping them just because that fellow Christian is in Heaven, and if your communications with God are nothing more than asking Him for stuff, you’re not really worshiping Him, either.

      In Lk. 16:24-31, the rich man in torments calls out to “father Abraham” in Paradise (apparently, he didn’t get the memo that the word ‘father’ is a forbidden). Abraham responds, although he refuses the man’s requests. Was the man blaspheming by asking Abraham for favors? Was Abraham blaspheming by acknowledging the man’s prayers?

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    2. 7) You ask (half-jokingly, I assume), “If it was so important, why didn’t she write a book about herself”? This gets to a broader problem, in both assuming sola Scriptura, and that one’s importance is measured by the amount of Scripture that they wrote. This mindset is perhaps why Protestants often talk more about the writings of St. Paul than the Gospels. But by that token, most of the Apostles (who never wrote a word) are unimportant… as is Jesus Christ. After all, your argument is as strong against Him as it is against His Mother.

      8) You then turn towards the Eucharistic beliefs of the first millennium Christians, and counter by talking about… Tetzel in the sixteenth century? I’m not sure I follow. Tetzel was in the wrong, but this has nothing to do with either the Eucharist or the first millennium. Surely, the Catholic claim isn’t that we are a Church without sinners. On the contrary, the Catholic Church uniquely acknowledges that the Kingdom of God on earth is a visible institution comprised of both the saved and the damned (read Matthew 13 if you explicit evidence of this). It’s Protestants that assume the Kingdom is invisible, and comprised solely of the saved.

      As for the Eucharistic beliefs of the first millennium Christians, here are some writings of Christians before 200 A.D., between 200-300 A.D., and between 300-400 A.D. You can look at the evidence for yourself. This isn’t a matter on which we’re just left guessing or wondering what the Christian position is. St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John, explicitly tells us no later than 110 A.D.

      9) Finally, if I can get back to my original argument, it was two-fold: (1) that the Magnificat is a prescription to honor and venerate Mary, and (2) that the Magnificat is a prophesy, that Mary will be honored and venerated.  You addressed the first of these two points, but I think that the second one is worth seriously considering. We know how Mary was honored, how she was declared blessed, prior to the Reformation. If the Holy Spirit viewed this as blasphemous, how can you explain the line, “behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” as prophesy?

      Once again, I’m thrilled to be able to openly and honestly discuss this issue with you, and hope I haven’t said anything to give offense.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    3. "...your argument is as strong against Him as it is against His Mother"

      One of my favourite Heshmeyerisms: "Aim at Mary, hit Jesus"

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    4. . Hi Aaron,
      .
      . I won't respond to your whole comment. Just one point.
      .
      . you said:


      Magnify, as defined by Webster and dictionary.reference.com is to extol, laud, or praise…..Sidenote: This is also why I was taught to never call a man Father. My dad is my father. God is my Father. There may not be another Father in my life…especially not a religious figure sharing a name/title with God.
      .
      . This is an excellent example of how differently Catholics and Protestants read the Scriptures. Would you walk me through the Scripture. Because this is what I see.
      .
      First, let us go to Matt 23 and see the entire context of that verse. The KJV renders it thus:


      Matthew 23:8-10
       8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

      I think you would agree with me that the original Scriptures were not written in English. They were written in Greek, Latin and Hebrew. And the words here translated Rabbi, Master and Father mean other things. Let us look at another non-Catholic translation:

      Matthew 23:8-10
       8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.

      So, I would not call anyone "Rabbi" because I'm not Jewish. So, forbidding to call anyone "Rabbi" would not affect me. However, Rabbi means Teacher and I've called all my teachers, "Teacher". Have I sinned? 

      In fact, I know many who have called their teachers, Teacher. And they are devout people from many Christian faiths. But many non-Catholics seem to be only concerned about the part which says, "call no man your father". But ignore the other parts which say, call no man "teacher, or master". Did you know that the title, mister is another form of the word, "master"? So, does anyone call you "mr."? Or do you call anyone else, "mr."?

      Now, I've talked to non-Catholics before on this subject and I ask them, "what do you call your "father"?" And they'll say, "I call him "dad"". As though they have somehow avoided calling him "father" by calling him "dad". But dad means father! So how did they avoid the sin they claim I make by calling a priest, "father"?

      For another, the verse says, don't call any man "YOUR father". Whereas, we don't say, Father Dan is my father. We say, Father Dan is my priest. Father is a title. I've never heard a Catholic say, my priest is MY "father". Whereas, many people of all denominations say, "My father's name is Joe." 

      So, please explain why you see there to be a sin in calling a priest, "father", whereas I don't hear you complain about folks calling a man, teacher, master, mister, Rabbi, dad, or any of the other titles which are forbidden in the context of Matt 23:9?

      Please help me to understand.

      Sincerely,
      De Maria

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  4. Joe,
    When you sign off I.X., what do you mean?
    Wikipedia gives these possiblilites (none of which I suspect is you - unless of course it is the Mayan jaguar goddess):
    Ix or IX may refer to:
    iX (magazine), a German monthly computer magazine
    Ix (Dune), a fictional planet in Frank Herbert's Dune
    IX (operating system), a Unix operating system
    IX (album), an album by Bulldozer
    Ix (Oz), a fictional country in Queen Zixi of Ix by L. Frank Baum
    IX, the Roman numeral for the number 9
    Ix, symbol for Air-India Express, budget arm of Air India
    IX, the cranial nerve Glossopharyngeal nerve
    IX, or Noveschi, an oligarchy ruling Siena, Italy during the late Middle Ages
    IX, abbreviation for Internet exchange point
    IX, a U.S. Navy hull classification for Unclassified Miscellaneous
    Ix, the central governmental supercomputer in Omikron: The Nomad Soul
    Ix, the 14th day in the Tzolk'in calendar
    Ix Chel, Mayan jaguar goddess
    ix, a series of Diebold 10xx automatic teller machines
    IX, the IATA code for Flandre Air
    Ix, the primary antagonist of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
    Ix, the nickname of Ford Prefect from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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    1. Brother Juniper,

      Ha, none of those! I.X. for In Christo, or "In Christ." It's an old Catholic acronym. (Using an X to stand for Christ is common... think X-Mas).

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    2. You often see "IC XC" in Christian art which comes from the first and last letters of "ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ" ("Jesus Christ").

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  5. This is a good post. I want to share the observation of a former (and very devout) Roman Catholic. She struggled with the Mary Veneration of the church that she saw. Her whole opinion hung on the words of Mary, but they are not the same words that you emphasize. She could not get past "my spirit rejoices in God my Savior". The church of her youth expressed that Mary was without sin. If she had no sin, then she did not need a savior. But she saw the words of Mary to express the humbling faith that we should all have. We all need the savior. Mary admits that she is not that savior.

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    1. Did those who were not enslaved rejoice when the Emancipation Proclaimation was released?

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    2. Rev. Hans,

      This is a conversation you and I have actually had before. This argument starts from the assumption that to be saved, one first must be sinful, and that if Mary didn't sin, she must not have needed a Savior. But these assumptions seem to be false. Consider:

      1) By grace, there are all sorts of sins that we don't fall into every day. Through the grace of God, our Savior, we avoid sins that, by our own power, we could not avoid. We are saved from these sins, too, are we not?  Or do we avoid these sins by our own power?

      2) In Psalm 30:3, for example, David speaks of two different forms of salvation from sins: “You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; You spared me from going down to the pit.” So you can either be saved by being permitted to fall into sin, and then brought up... or you can be saved by being spared from falling into the pit in the first place. The second form of salvation is more perfect than the first.  After all, is it better to save a person from poison by giving them the antidote after they drink it, or by taking the poison out of their hands before they drink it?

      So even from a Catholic perspective, Mary is both saved, and in need of a Savior.  But for the graces of God, she would have fallen into sin, just as but for the grace of God, you and I would turn away from our Savior back to our lives of reprobation.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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    3. Allow me to use a variation of St. Jerome’s explanation... Imagine that there is a man, let’s call him "Adam", walking down the road. As he’s walking he falls into a muddy pit. Another man, let’s call him "Joshua", comes along and pulls him out. We can say with absolute certainty that Joshua saved Adam.

      Now let’s imagine that there’s a woman, whom we shall call "Mary". She’s walking down the same road and approaches the same pit. She’s just about to fall in when Joshua turns up (a little earlier this time) and grabs her before she can fall. Has Mary not also been saved by Joshua? The only difference between Adam and Mary is that Mary was saved in anticipation.

      I work in software development and I’ve been on many projects which have only succeeded because we had someone join the project who managed to snatch success from the jaws of failure. Afterwards, everyone on the team would say that this person saved the project, and saved it before it had a chance to fail.

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    4. > "If she had no sin, then she did not need a savior"

      I would have asked:

      Q. By what merit of her own was Mary without sin?
      A. None

      Q. By whose merit then?
      A. By Christ's merit

      Ergo, Mary needed a saviour, one who saved her even from the stain of original sin.

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  6. Hey Joe, I have a question out of curiosity more than anything. I was thinking about the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany in Luke 14 with the expensive perfume, and Jesus says "I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her." He seems to be holding in fairly high regard, certainly in contrast to those nearby that he rebukes. Is there any additional way Catholics remember her, or is she simply remembered in that her story is told in the Bible, and we all come across it from time to time?

    Cheers.

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    1. There’s some controversy over the identity of the woman in Luke 14. The Latin Church typically views her, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany as the same person. For example, John 11:2 seems to tie Mary of Bethany with the woman of Luke 14. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on St. Mary Madgalene goes into more depth on this subject, and makes a pretty persuasive case.

      If it’s true that this woman is Mary Magdalene, we definitely hold her in high esteem, and there are numerous statues to her, and churches dedicated to her, including a beautiful one in Rome.

      I.X.,

      Joe

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  7. I believe Luke 1 is an instruction to us that we should venerate Mary. Let me explain:

    Scripture says that God's will should be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    And God wills that the Angels praise Mary:

    Luke 1:26-28
    King James Version (KJV)
    26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

    Let's break this down:
    ANGEL GABRIEL
    1. an angel is a messenger of God. That is what the word, angel, means.
    2. this angel, Gabriel, is one of the four angels that stands before the throne of God.

    WAS SENT FROM GOD
    1. God sent this angel to Mary.
    2. Since this angel is a messenger of God's, God sent Him to deliver a message.
    3. Therefore, the angel was not speaking on his own, but was communicating God's message to Mary.
    4. If we skip down to verse 28, we see that this was a message of praise (i.e. blessed art thou).
    5. Therefore God praised Mary through His Angel.

    That is great praise indeed. Do you know of any man whose praise is worth more than God's? In other words, what do you value more highly, the praise of man or the praise of God?

    But, there's more. God sent the Angel to do His Will. What is His Will. Obviously, God sent the Angel to deliver a message of praise. Therefore it is God's will that the Angels praise Mary.

    And there's yet more. Because the Holy Spirit inspired a holy woman to exclaim, ""Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! "
    still in:
    Luke 1:41-45
    King James Version (KJV)
    41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

    1. The Holy Spirit is God the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
    2. Therefore, God inspired Elisabeth to praise Mary.
    3. This praise is inscribed in the Word of God for all generations.
    4. Since Elisabeth is a member of the human race, then it is safe to conclude that God wills that men praise Mary.
    5. And we find, again, that God praised Mary through His Saint. Saint Elisabeth praised Mary when she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. That means that it is the Holy Spirit's praise which she passed on. That is why Scripture is called the Word of God. Because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    Mother of God
    Luke 1:43-45
    New International Version (NIV)
    43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

    1. The word "Lord" is here mentioned two times.
    2. In the second instance, it is an obvious reference to God. "Blessed is she who believes that the LORD would fulfill His promises." That is an obvious reference to God.
    3. Therefore, then, what could she possibly have meant when she said, "mother of my LORD"?
    4. Since she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to utter these words, she must have meant what is most obvious. Is Jesus, God? Yes. Therefore, the words she uttered could also be translated, "mother of my GOD".
    5. So, God explicitly teaches us, in His Word, that Mary is the Mother of God.

    Is there any higher praise than that?

    Aaron, a separated brother said above:
    Magnify, as defined by Webster and dictionary.reference.com is to extol, laud, or praise ….

    Thus, it seems clear that in these Scriptures, God has instructed mankind to extol, laud, praise and magnify the Mother of His Son, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Sincerely,

    De Maria

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