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Did God tell us to pray to Mary in the Bible?

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:13am on August 2nd 2018
Did God tell us to pray to Mary in the Bible? I have recently wondered that but all I can find is when Jesus said, "Behold your mother". When did God tell us to pray to her? Thank you!



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Hi Gabriel, as you know, Mary appears at key moments in the New Testament-obviously at the Annunciation, in her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, then throughout the birth of Jesus, and at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Then there's the time Jesus, Mary and Joseph go up to the Temple when Jesus was twelve years old. Later she appears at the wedding feast of Cana, and at least once during her Son's public life, when he's told she and members of his family are waiting to see him. Then she's standing by him as he's dying on the cross, when, as you point out, he says to St John, 'behold your mother,' and the Gospel goes on to say that he took her into his own keeping. Soon afterwards, St Luke in the Acts of the Apostles tells of her presence at Pentecost. And in chapters 12 and 22 of St John's Apocalypse, the last book of the New Testament, St John shows us how Mary, the Mother of God, fulfils the prophecy God made to Satan in the first book of the Bible when he promises to make 'the woman' the enemy of Satan, whose Son ('offspring') will crush the evil spirit's head.

Obviously the first task of the early Church was to clarify who Jesus was and what the Blessed Trinity was-so the earliest Church Councils developed our understanding of Jesus as One divine Person with two natures, divine and human. This was to deal with the Arian heresy, which regarded the humanity of Jesus as if he were a separate being, somehow taken up into the Second Person of the Trinity. Arianism was condemned at the Council of Nicea (325 ad). Since later, another heretic, Nestorius, held that Mary was the mother of the man Christ, a century later, the Council of Ephesus (431ad) declared that she was the 'Mother of God, Theotokos.' But even earlier in the life of the Church, there was deep appreciation of the role of Mary-already outlined by St John, with Saint Irenaeus calling her the 'New Eve' about 180ad.

The devotion the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have for Mary, the Mother of God, then flows naturally from who she is in relation to her Son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit lives in the Church, as Jesus told us when he said: 'When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth...He will declare to you the things that are to come...he will take what is mine and declare it to you' (Jn 16: 13, 14). So the Church's Tradition (what we know from the writings and practices of the Church after the Resurrection up to the later centuries of the first millennium) and Teaching Office or Magisterium, not to mention the writings and lives of many saints, all inform our understanding of and devotion to Mary-and I think could be seen to be an expansion of those words Jesus said to John which you quote, 'Behold your mother.' It's in that light that the later Marian dogmas, of her Immaculate Conception (1854) and her Assumption (1950), can be understood, as expressing the Church's growing understanding of the mystery of the Mother of God. Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 4:43pm on August 6th 2018 reply

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