Wednesday 12 February 2014

The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Orthodox Faith 2

In the first post in the series we considered that the Scriptures teach us that Mary is to be called Blessed, and that she had found favour with God, and so was manifestly pleasing to God by her manner of life, and that she was described as full of grace. We also saw that she consented to bear the Son of God.

The Scriptures also record for us the visit of Blessed Mary (surely we should obey the Scriptures and call her this) to her cousin Elisabeth. When Blessed Mary approached the home of Elisabeth her cousin it is said…

Luke 1:42-45 She spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
We see here again that Mary is called blessed, blessed among women and blessed because she believed. More than this, we see that Elisabeth refers to her as the Mother of My Lord. This word, Lord, means nothing other than God. It is the Greek word kurios, which translates the Hebrew Adonai, which is the word meaning Master or Lord which the Jews used to avoid speaking the name of God.

What does Elisabeth say other than that Mary is Blessed and the Mother of God. Of course we need to examine what this means, but it cannot be avoided. These are the terms used in the Scripture to describe Mary. She is Blessed and Mother of God.

Blessed Mary then responds to Elisabeth, being filled with the Holy Spirit since the Angelic salutation which said the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and therefore inspired to prophesy.

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

What do we find here? Firstly that Blessed Mary is a prophet, and as the Angel promised, the Holy Spirit has indeed descended upon her and filled her such that she is able to express in such a beautiful manner the Gospel of our salvation. Secondly, that she manifestly has such a knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures that her own prophetic outburst is filled with Biblical allusions. And thirdly that she prophesies that all generations shall call her Blessed.

If we say that we believe the Scriptures then it seems to me that we must be obedient to all of these testimonies and call her Blessed and Mother of God. We may feel uncomfortable for all manner of reasons but the Scriptures are clear and the teaching of the Church is universal, in these posts we are not considering a random Jewess who merely loaned her womb to God, as some evangelicals assert. But we are considering a woman whose life had led her to find favour with God, who knew the Scriptures, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, who conceived the Son of God, who is in every generation to be called blessed and who is the Mother of God.

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