Thursday, August 18, 2011

Towards a Protestant Marian Devotion

At the end of my article 'We You Shouldn't Pray to Saints', I wrote about the Blessed Virgin that, "Though Mary said herself that future generations would call her blessed, there are many Protestants who hate Mary with a passion, while others simply ignore her altogether. This is quite sad and we Protestants have a long way to go to recover a proper and balanced Maryology."
 
My friend Brad Littlejohn has recently laid some groundwork towards a Protestant Maryology in his recent blog post "Honouring Mary as Protestants." Littlejohn's article is worth reading in full, but here are some gems that particularly resonated with me:
We Protestants certainly have a problem when it comes to Mary--so allergic are we to any sign of Marian devotion that we flip out and run the other way at any sign of it, including thoroughly orthodox phrases like "Mother of God" and "Hail Mary, full of grace."
 ...the first part of the Ave Maria is of course straight from the Gospel of Luke: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you…. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."  And yet I found that the words caught in my throat during the service, as if I was saying something idolatrous.  I daresay most Protestants could not even imagine reciting these words, unless they happened upon them while reading aloud Luke ch. 1....
For almost as long as the Church has existed, it has held Mary in a place of special honour, and seen fit to show that honour liturgically.  No doubt Marian devotion has taken many harmful forms, but should we not defer to the consensus of many centuries of Christians that some kind of Marian devotion is appropriate and desirable?

...she is a symbol of God's grace toward all of us, the Church, which God has, through no merit of our own, made the agent of his redemptive purposes toward the world, and in whom he mysteriously dwells in the person of his Son.  In celebrating Mary, and her role in the history of redemption, we are not detracting from God, but rather celebrating the stupendousness of his grace; in honouring her, we are of course honouring Him.  After all, to call Mary "blessed" is of course to make the statement that she has been blessed--by God--and that we are in awe of the bounty of His blessings.
...it certainly seems that Protestants have impoverished their faith by completely excising from it any real consideration of Mary, and the disregard this shows for the faith of the early Church does not boost our credibility when we claim to be recovering that faith. 
To read Brad's article in full, click on the following link:





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