Elizabeth’s veneration of the Blessed Mary

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I was perusing an article by an anti-Catholic apologist, examining examples of “allegedly precocious veneration of Mary” and the thought occurred to me: “The first veneration of Mary is found in the Bible itself! I submit that we see it in [mother of John the Baptist] Elisabeth’s response to Mary:

Luke 1: 39-44 (KJV) In those days Mary arose and went in haste to the mountain to a city of Judah, [40] and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. [41] And when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt into her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she cried out with a loud cry: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!” [43] And why is it granted to me, that the mother of my Lord come to me? [44] For behold, when the voice of your salvation reached my ears, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.

Elizabeth’s jubilant and Spirit-filled exclamation (Lk 1:42) is particularly remarkable: “Blessed are you among women. . .! The following 25 English translations highlight the extraordinary nature of this, more than the most common rendering, seen above:

Amplified Bible Blessed [worthy to be praised] are you among women. . .

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition You are blessed (favored by God) above all other women!

Common English Bible (CEB) God has blessed you above all women

Contemporary English version (CEV) God has blessed you more than any other woman!

Easy to read version (ERV) God blessed you more than any other woman

Enlarged bible (EXB) God has blessed you. . . more than any other woman

Translation of the Word of God (GW) You are the most blessed of all women

Good news translation (GNT) You are the most blessed of all women

Living bible (LB) You are favored by God above all other women

Name of God Bible (NOG) You are the most blessed of all women

New century version (NCV) God has blessed you more than any other woman

New international version of the reader (NIRV) God blessed you more than other women

New life version (NLV) You are honored among women!

New living translation (NLT) God has blessed you above all women

New Testament for all (NTE) Of all women, you are the blessed!

The translation of passion (TPT) Marie! You are a woman who has received the highest favor and privilege above all others

English New Testament around the world (US) God made you happy and blessed more than all other women

Holman Christian Standard Bible You are the most blessed of women

Smith’s literal translation Praised among women

New Bible in English (NEB) God’s blessing is upon you before all women

Revised English Bible (REB) God’s blessing is upon you before all women

Barclay You are the most blessed of women

Jerusalem Bible Of all the women you are the most blessed

Kleist & Lilly Happy are you beyond all women!

Good speed You are the most favored of women

I would say, “how is it not reverence, whatever the reasonable definition of the word, as used by Catholics, Orthodox and some Protestants who agree with them? It’s all there: “praise” (Amplified, Smith’s literal), “honor” (NLV), “blessed” above or above “any other” or “all” women (many), “favor[ed]”(Amplified Classic, Living, Goodspeed, TPT) and” highest privilege “(TPT). What else is needed? It is most certainly reverence, which is essentially synonymous with “great honor and respect”.

Additionally, Catholics are quick to point out that all worship is based on the empowering grace of God to the person or angel being worshiped. All honor is his. All good things, holiness, righteousness and love come from Him. Therefore, when we worship a holy person or an angel, we are ultimately giving praise and glory to God (just as the reflected light of the moon actually comes from the sun): without whom the person or angel would not be holy in in the first place, and capable of being worshiped.

Absolutely every good deed is caused by the prior enabling grace of God.. It is the Catholic dogmatic teaching. And of course, how Mary respond to Elizabeth illustrates precisely where illustrated this Catholic teaching:

Luke 1: 46-50 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for he looked at the low condition of his maid. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for he that is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. [50] And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.

Note all the elements involved in Mary’s exclamation: 1) she immediately gives glory to God (1:46), rejoices in Him (1:47), calls him her “Savior” (1:47), note its own “lower condition” [humility] (1:48), notes that she is called “happy” because of God (1: 48-1: 50), says that it was God who “did great things” for her (1:49) , recognizes his holiness (1:49), and his mercy (1:50).

Mary takes no credit for herself; everything goes to God. And that’s why we revere the saints, because they always do that. Worshiping them is not antithetical or contrary worship and worship God; it’s part from this, while we make a clear distinction between the veneration or honor of saints and angels, as compared to worship and worship: reserved for God alone. The Blessed Virgin Mary expresses the same notion that Saint Paul underlines:

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, although it was not me, but the grace of God that is with me.

2 Corinthians 6: 1 As we work with him, therefore, we beg you not to accept God’s grace in vain.

Galatians 2: 8 (because the one who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised also worked through me for the Gentiles),

Galatians 2:20 I was crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; . . .

Philippians 2:13 for God is at work in you, both to want and to work for his good pleasure.

It’s the Bible, and it’s Catholicism. Glory always ultimately comes to God. But He allows us to work “with Him” ​​and He works through us to accomplish His purposes. In turn, we revere and honor exceptional people who exemplify this cooperation with the grace of God in an extraordinary way (Mary above all). It is totally and explicitly biblical, and there is nothing at all UNbiblical in all of this. If we are looking for “early veneration of Mary,” we don’t need to go any further than the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1. And the veneration there is a direct result of being “filled with the Holy. Spirit”. It is therefore an inspired scripture (the revelation of God) and an action inspired by the Spirit.

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Photo credit: The Annunciation (1644), by Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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Summary: Protestants who deny the first patristic examples of the veneration of Mary neglect the explicit and undeniable example of Luke 1 (Elizabeth’s veneration for Mary).

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