Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Reformers' Love For Mary

This isn't a posting arguing who is right and who is wrong; it isn't to argue teachings or where in the Scriptures this is or that. Rather, it's a posting showing the Protestant Reformers and their love for Mary. Devotion to Mary wasn't something foreign to the Reformers, but sadly, it was something that's been lost. If they ever return to loving the Mother that Jesus so dearly loves, then they will share with Catholics and Orthodox - and even Muslims - a love to the Mother of Jesus, that perfect and spotless tabernacle for the Lord. May Mary be the vehicle that brings all Christians together to celebrate our commonalities and may she encourage us to work and grow together until we all may be one.

The following quotes are from the Protestant Reformers - and are mainly in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther:
"Christ, ..was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him... 'brothers' really means 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers." (Sermons on John, chapters 1-4.1537-39).
"He, Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb.. .This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that." (Ibid.)
"God says... "Mary's Son is My only Son." Thus Mary is the Mother of God." (Ibid.).
"God did not derive his divinity from Mary; but it does not follow that it is therefore wrong to say that God was born of Mary, that God is Mary's Son, and that Mary is God's mother...She is the true mother of God and bearer of God...Mary suckled God, rocked God to sleep, prepared broth and soup for God, etc. For God and man are one person, one Christ, one Son, one Jesus. Not two Christs...just as your son is not two sons...even though he has two natures, body and soul, the body from you, the soul from God alone." (On the Councils and the Church, 1539).
"It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527).
"She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin — something exceedingly great. For God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil." (Personal {"Little"} Prayer Book, 1522).
"There can he no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith... It is enough to know that she lives in Christ." (Sermon on the Feast of the Assumption, 1552)
"The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart." (Sermon, September 1, 1522).
[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ...She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures." (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).
"No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity." (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation. 1537).
"One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace...Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ...Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).
"It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother, Christ is his brother. God is his father." (Sermon. Christmas, 1522)
"Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees...If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother." (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).
"Whoever possesses a good (firm) faith, says the Hail Mary without danger! Whoever is weak in faith can utter no Hail Mary without danger to his salvation." (Sermon, March 11, 1523).
"Our prayer should include the Mother of God.. .What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!" You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor.. .We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her...He who has no faith is advised to refrain from saying the Hail Mary." (Personal Prayer Book, 1522).
"A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ..." (That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523)
"Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity...When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her...This babble...is without justification...he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom. (Ibid.)
"Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees." (From the Commentary on the Magnificat)

John Calvin:
"Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God." (Calvini Opera [Braunshweig-Berlin, 1863-1900], Volume 45, 35)
"Helvidius has shown himself too ignorant, in saying that Mary had several sons, because mention is made in some passages of the brothers of Christ." (Bernard Leeming, "Protestants and Our Lady", Marian Library Studies, January 1967, p.9)
"It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor." (John Calvin, Calvini Opera [Braunshweig-Berlin, 1863-1900], Volume 45, 348)
"To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honour to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son." (John Calvin, A Harmony of Matthew, Mark and Luke (St. Andrew's Press, Edinburgh, 1972), p.32)

Ulrich Zwingli:
"It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God." (Ulrich Zwingli, In Evang. Luc., Opera Completa [Zurich, 1828-42], Volume 6, I, 639)
"I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin." (Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 424)
"I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary." (E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., (Rome, 1962), 456)
"Christ ... was born of a most undefiled Virgin." (Ibid.)
"It was fitting that such a holy Son should have a holy Mother." (Ibid.)
"The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow." (Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 427-428)

Heinrich Bullinger (Zwingli's successor):
"In Mary, then, everything is extraordinary and even more majestic, because it has sprung from the purest faith and burning love for God." (Sermon on Mary)
"Therefore we believe that the most pure chamber of the Bearer of God and Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, that is her holy body, was carried to heaven by angels." (Das Marianlob Der Refermatorum)