Where in the Bible do we find anyone praying to Mary or to any other person other than God?
First of all, what is “prayer”? According to Webster’s it is “the act of asking for a favor with earnestness”. So, you ask your friend “Pray for me that my blood tests turn out ok?” So you’re asking someone to ask God for a favor. This is the crux of intercessory prayer. You are, in effect, praying to that friend.
But where in the Bible is it? As I usually start off these “where in the Bible” questions, Catholics believe that the Bible is only part of the deposit of Faith, along side, and in equal partnership with Sacred Tradition and the Mageisterium.
However, there is biblical evidence. In the Old Testament, in Psalm 103, we pray, “Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!” (Ps. 103:20-21). And in Psalm 148 we pray, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!” (Ps. 148:1-2) In the New Testament we see that those in heaven (angels, and saints) have the power to intercede with God on our behalf – “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10). So, those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. “The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8). Here the saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth, and angels do the same thing: “[An] angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” (Rev. 8:3-4).
This does not eliminate or modify Christ’s position as Mediator between man and God. Neither does his position as the only Mediator eliminate the ability for those around us on earth and in heaven to pray for us.
Since Mary is in heaven, we can pray to her. Praying to Mary in particular was done at the wedding feast of Cana in the Gospel of John, when the head waiter complained to Mary that they had no more wine. Mary interceded to Jesus, who began his public ministry by creating many gallons of the finest wine ever seen on earth.
Lastly, we can see that, in the earliest creed, the Apostles Creed, it was a foundation of the apostles faith that we believe in…the communion of saints.
Where does the Bible call Mary the Mother of God?
This one is pretty simple. Is Jesus God? If so, then who is Jesus’ mother and father? Mary and the Holy Spirit are Jesus’ parents. So Mary is Jesus’ mother, Jesus is God, so Mary is the mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the physical matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.
“The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).
“To all generations they have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).
Where does the Bible say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven?
Rev 12: 1-5: A great and wondrous sign
appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven; an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
Here is a Bible passage that shows Mary crowned in heaven. She wears a heavenly crown of twelve stars. A crown plainly denotes Queenship. How much more clearly could Mary’s honour be illustrated?
1. The Woman in this Passage represents the Church. The twelve stars are the twelve Apostles.
2. The Woman represents Israel. The stars are the twelve tribes.
There are major problems with both interpretations…
1. The immediate paradox of the Church giving birth to Jesus! This is clearly nonsense.
2. If the Woman is taken as Israel, we have an exalted Israel. Yet Israel was not exalted at the time of Jesus’s birth. Most of Israel was astray.
3. Neither interpretation is a simple, literal reading of the text.
Direct question: Who is the woman who gave birth to Jesus? Jesus’s Mother. (That was easy!)
Both alternative interpretations are contextually wrong. All the other figures in this passage represent individuals, rather than ideas or classes of people. The Child is Jesus, the Dragon is Satan, the stars swept out of the sky are the rebel angels who followed Satan. Later in the passage, we find Michael and his angels, and also the Beast – the Antichrist. The Woman is the only figure in the passage who, according to some, is not the individual stated in the text, but a collective representation.
4. On the other hand, when Israel, Christians or the Church appear elsewhere in Revelation, they do not appear as personifications. They appear in literal form, as groups of individuals. Rev 7.4: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel; Rev 7.9: ..a great multitude that no-one could count...; Rev 12.17: ..the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments….
Even where the Church appears as the Bride of Christ, and a female personification would be expected, we do not get one. Instead of appearing as a woman, the Church appears as a City – the new Jerusalem. Rev 21: 9-10.
6. The figures that appear in Revelation 12 are the same as those that appear in the proto-gospel of Genesis. Genesis 3:15. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.“ Satan is both the Serpent of Genesis, and the Dragon of Revelation. Jesus is the “seed” who will crush the serpent in Genesis, and the child who will rule with a rod of iron in Revelation. In both, He and His mother, the Woman, are at permanent enmity with the serpent. The Woman of Genesis 3 and Revelation 12 is the same. However no one suggests that the woman of Genesis 3 is Israel.
7. If there is any doubt as to what a symbolic personage in Revelation might represent, or if a veiled meaning is intended, that meaning is immediately explained in the text. The Lamb is defined as the Lord of Lords, the Dragon is Satan. The Heads of the Beast are Kings. However no such explanation is given with respect to the Woman, underlining that the obvious meaning is the one that is intended.
8. If we look at the reference to the Sun, Moon and Stars in this passage, we can compare it with Joseph’s dream in Genesis. In the dream the Sun, Moon and Stars represented his father, Isaac, his mother, and his eleven brothers. Together with Joseph, this gives us the total of 12 stars which appear in the Revelation vision. Since Joseph and his brothers were the forebears of Israel, the Sun, Moon and stars can indeed be taken to represent Israel. BUT in Revelation the Sun, Moon and Stars are not the subjects of the Vision. They instead form the adornments of the woman. This shows that although the Woman is linked with Israel, she is quite clearly NOT Israel.
9. The woman of Revelation 12 is introduced as a great sign in Heaven. Where else in the bible can we see a woman announced as a great sign? Look at Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son.” We can see that this is exactly the same sign as in Revelation 12, confirming that the Woman in both occurences is Mary.
The one who fits perfectly is…Mary
There are subsidiary meanings to the figure of the Woman – as there are to some other figures in Revelation. But the obvious primary meaning – that the woman giving birth to Jesus is actually Jesus’s mother – must be accepted. The only reason that Protestant scholars fight so hard against it? Because it conflicts with their deep-seated anti-Mary bias.
Mary, although Mother of Jesus is also part of the church and Mother of all Christians (Rev 12:17). Hence the 12 stars representing the twelve apostles. Mary is also true Daughter of Israel and of the royal line of David. The twelve stars therefore also represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Mary thus forms a key transition, and link, between Israel and the Church. Neither of the Protestant interpretations fully links the parenthood of Jesus, the parenthood of Christians, the twelve Apostles and the twelve tribes. Only Mary fulfils all the requirements of this passage.
2 Tim 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me that day…..
James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life.
1 Peter 5:4 – And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Rev. 2:10 .“..Be faithful even unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”
Biblically, a crown indicates kingship. Jesus promises crowns of Glory, Life and Righteousness to all who persevere and endure with him to the end. This is certainly the case with Mary. And looking to Timothy, we read:
2 Timothy 2:12 – If we endure, we will also reign with Him…
In Revelation Jesus says:
Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.”
These are promises made to those who endure to the end with Christ–they will have a share in Jesus’s Kingship.
Mary’s Queenship has still more bases in Scripture. She was the “God-bearer”, and as such has a unique relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As the first to say “Yes” to God’s plan, she is also the first Christian, and Mother of the Church, our Mother.
The Old Testament has more support for the Queenship of Mary. Jesus is the Messianic King. He is pre-figured in the ancient and Godly Kingship of David and Solomon. At the time of the historic Israel the Queen was not the wife of the king, because kings often had many wives. So the king’s mother was the queen. It was a position of authority and honour. Her roles were advisor to the king, and advocate of the people; anyone who had a petition or sought an audience with the King did so through her. This was so when Adonijah cunningly sought a high-ranking bride from Solomon:
1 Kings 2: 17-21: So he continued, “Please ask King Solomon – he will not refuse you – to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife. “Very well,” Bathsheba replied, “I will speak to the king for you.” When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.
See also 1 Kings 15.13 and 2 Kings 10:13; 12:1; 14:2; 15.33; 22.1
In Scriptural terms , just as Jesus’s Messianic Kingship is prefigured in the role of King of Israel, so Mary’s role is prefigured in that of the Queen Mother. The existence of this rare and unusual institution in Israel and Judah is providential. It reflects and prefigures the Messianic order. Mary is Heavenly Queen Mother, because her son Jesus is the Heavenly King.
Where in the Bible do we find the teaching that Mary is sinless?
Since Jesus took flesh in and from Mary’s body, and also obtained His human nature from Her, she had to be perfectly sinless. The only question that then arises is when and how Mary was made sinless.
Protestants are quite willing to admit that we are cleansed of our sins at baptism. Yet Mary could not have been baptised at the time of the Annunciation, or even Jesus’s birth. For this reason her sinlessness had to come in a special and unique manner. To be pure and free from all sin as God required, she had not only to be free of sin at one point in time, (as one is immediately after baptism,) but to remain sinless throughout her life.
Mary did indeed agree she needed a Saviour:
Luke 1.46-47: And Mary said “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,”
But this presents no difficulty. We have seen that Mary needed to be perfectly sinless in order to bear Jesus. Did she attain that sinlessness through her own human efforts? No, she was redeemed by her son, as was all the rest of humanity. She needed God’s Grace. In order to be, and remain, sinless she needed that grace at the time of her birth.
In Luke 1.46 Mary speaks of God as her Saviour, but she speaks in the present tense, not “God, who will be my Saviour.” She has already been redeemed.
Looking at one of the Old Testament passages that Mary bases her words upon, we see this more clearly.
Isaiah 51.10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Every educated 1st Century Jew would have recognized, in this passage, that Mary clearly considered that God had already clothed her with the garments of salvation, and covered her with the robe of righteousness. Her sin had already been wiped away.
This is supported by the angel’s greeting to Mary:
Luke 1.28: The angel went to her and said, “Hail, you who are full of grace. The Lord is with you.”
Grace in the New Testament is seen as the antidote to sin.
Rom 3:24, Rom 5.15, Rom 5.20, Rom 6:14. So being filled with Grace indicates sinlessness. It is quite fitting that this happened at her conception. Is this a problem for God? No. Jesus is the perfect Redeemer, he redeemed one person perfectly, that person is Mary, having been redeemed by Jesus from Original Sin from the moment of her own conception.
Those who translate the angel’s greeting as “highly-favoured” have been guilty of making a false and rather misleading distinction. The Greek word used by the angel is Kecharitomene. The root of this word is Charis, meaning grace. The prefix Ke means that the grace was already perfectly present before the angel appeared. The suffix mene means that Mary was the recipient of this grace.
Now Charis can also be translated simply as favor. So Highly-favored could be a conceivable translation, but this would only be acceptable if the word “favor” were used as a translation for “Charis” elsewhere in the New Testament. Even those bibles which translate “Charis” as Favor” when referring to Mary, translate it as “Grace” everywhere else. This is highly misleading because in the New Testament the word “Grace” has a particular meaning distinct from “Favor”. In the New Testament “Grace” is a gift of God that saves from sin and its effects. So translating the word any differently is wrong. The correct translation is rightfully “Full of Grace”.