As a kid growing up playing baseball in New Jersey, I heard a lot of “Hail Marys” as my Roman Catholic friends came up to bat. Especially when we needed a hit, they asked for the Blessed Virgin to get them on base. Obviously, young kids don’t necessarily get their theology right, but as we mature, we need to listen carefully to what God tells us in the Scripture about who we pray to and who we depend upon for blessing.
If ever there was a clear set up for Jesus to call attention to the need for us to call on His mother for help, it was when a woman in the crowd suddenly shouted out a blessing on His mom,
“Now it happened while He said these things, a woman lifted up her voice out of the crowd and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that carried You and the breasts that nursed You.’ Jesus responded, ‘On the contrary blessed is the one who hears the Word of God and is following it.’” - Luke 11:27-28
The woman was right. Mary, Jesus’ mother was blessed and Elizabeth, John’s mother, told us this in the birth narrative when she greeted Mary and cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you bear” (Luke 1:42). Jesus, like Elizabeth, points to the reason Mary was blessed. She heard God’s Word and obeyed it. We don’t pray to Jesus’ mother, but we need to follow her example.
LORD, thanks for Roman Catholic friends who are deeply committed to God’s Word, just as the biblical Mary was. Like Mary, help me today to listen carefully to what You tell me in Your Word and then obey it. Give safety as I fly to Kenya over the next twenty hours and prepare hearts there to be blessed like Mary because they follow Your Word, not religious tradition.
Note: The phrase in the Hail Mary prayer asking her to “pray for us sinners” did not become part of the Catholic Catechism until the Council of Trent in 1566.
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