Tag Archives: Immaculate Conception

Reflections From the Saints: Bernadette on Suffering

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Image via Wikipedia

“The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice.”

St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes


Oldest of sixchildren born to Francois and Louise Casterot, and grew up very poor. Hired out as a servant from age 12 to 14.Shepherdess. On 11 February1858, around the time of her first Communion, she received a vision of the Virgin; her own account of it is in the Readings section below. She received seventeen more in the next five months, and was led to a spring of healing waters. She moved into a house with the Sisters of Nevers at Lourdes where she lived, worked, and learned to read and write. The sisters cared for the sick and indigent, and at age 22 they admitted Bernadette into their order since she was both. Always sick herself, and often mistreated by her superiors, she died with a prayer for Mary‘s aid. Since the appearances of Mary to young Bernadette in 1858, more than 200 million people have visited the shrine of Lourdes.

via Saints.SQPN.com » Blog Archive » Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.


Now some words from St. Paul on the matter:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ‘s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…”

Colossians (RSV) 1:24

“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…”

Philippians (RSV) 1:29

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

— Romans (RSV) 12:1

Reflections From the Saints: Bernadette on Suffering

Saint Bernadette Soubirous of the Lourdes Appa...

“The more I am crucified, the more I rejoice.”

St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes


Oldest of sixchildren born to Francois and Louise Casterot, and grew up very poor. Hired out as a servant from age 12 to 14.Shepherdess. On 11 February1858, around the time of her first Communion, she received a vision of the Virgin; her own account of it is in the Readings section below. She received seventeen more in the next five months, and was led to a spring of healing waters. She moved into a house with the Sisters of Nevers at Lourdes where she lived, worked, and learned to read and write. The sisters cared for the sick and indigent, and at age 22 they admitted Bernadette into their order since she was both. Always sick herself, and often mistreated by her superiors, she died with a prayer for Mary‘s aid. Since the appearances of Mary to young Bernadette in 1858, more than 200 million people have visited the shrine of Lourdes.

via Saints.SQPN.com » Blog Archive » Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.


Now some words from St. Paul on the matter:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…”

Colossians (RSV) 1:24

“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…”

Philippians (RSV) 1:29

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

— Romans (RSV) 12:1

Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

Media_httpuploadwikim_vcykg

Mary, mother of Jesus, as the Immaculate Conception. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Museo del Prado, c. 1660-1665. Image via Wikipedia.

“I am the Immaculate Conception.”

— Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes

It was this statement of the Blessed Mother to St. Bernadette at Lourdes that eventually led to the dogmatic pronouncement of the Truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Jesus, Who is God, did for His Mother at the time of her conception what He does for us after our birth – salvation and forgiveness.


Our Lady of Lourdes

The many miracles which have been performed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes prompted the Church to institute a special commemorative feast, the “Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.” The Office gives the historical background. Four years after the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), the Blessed Virgin appeared a number of times to a very poor and holy girl named Bernadette. The actual spot was in a grotto on the bank of the Gave River near Lourdes.

The Immaculate Conception had a youthful appearance and was clothed in a pure white gown and mantle, with an azure blue girdle. A golden rose adorned each of her bare feet. On her first apparition, February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin bade the girl make the sign of the Cross piously and say the rosary with her. Bernadette saw her take the rosary that was hanging from her arms into her hands. This was repeated in subsequent apparitions.

With childlike simplicity Bernadette once sprinkled holy water on the vision, fearing that it was a deception of the evil spirit; but the Blessed Virgin smiled pleasantly, and her face became even more lovely. The third time Mary appeared she invited the girl to come to the grotto daily for two weeks. Now she frequently spoke to Bernadette. On one occasion she ordered her to tell the ecclesiastical authorities to build a church on the spot and to organize processions. Bernadette also was told to drink and wash at the spring still hidden under the sand.

Finally on the feast of the Annunciation, the beautiful Lady announced her name, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The report of cures occurring at the grotto spread quickly and the more it spread, the greater the number of Christians who visited the hallowed place. The publicity given these miraculous events on the one hand and the seeming sincerity and innocence of the girl on the other made it necessary for the bishop of Tarbes to institute a judicial inquiry. Four years later he declared the apparitions to be supernatural and permitted the public veneration of the Immaculate Conception in the grotto. Soon a chapel was erected, and since that time countless pilgrims come every year to Lourdes to fulfill promises or to beg graces.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.


February 11 was proclaimed World Day of the Sick by Pope John Paul II. Therefore, it would be appropriate to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on this day during a Mass or Liturgy of the Word. (The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is only to be given to “those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age”, Roman Ritual. This Sacrament must not be given indiscriminately to all who take part in Masses for the sick.)


We pilgrims to Lourdes

Anyone who has made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Lourdes will not have missed the opportunity to pray at the Grotto where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the 11th of February 1858. A mystical place, similar to the welcoming “bosom” of a mother, almost a baptismal font, in which to immerse ourselves and rediscover the unrivalled beauty of being Christians: having God as our Father and Mary as our Mother!

Lourdes is one of the most important “places of grace” known to the Church. It is like a vast basin of purity where countless souls have removed the clothes of sin and put on the snow-white garments of spiritual rebirth! Some, like the author, found the light necessary to embrace the call to the priesthood, others, the strength to remain faithful to this commitment.

How can we deny that the Mother is the one who knows the Will of the Son better than anyone else and that turning to Her we understand better the mysterious plan God has for each one of us? No one better than Mary can convince us to “do whatever he tells you”!

In Lourdes, like the servants at Cana, we too sincerely open our hearts to the presence of the Mother and, attentive to her words, we are captivated by the mystery of the Son. Then we see His Will for what it truly is: our path to happiness!

Bernardette actually saw the Lady dressed in white, whereas we see her not with our eyes but with our heart, which is aware in faith of her presence on our journey. In front of the Grotto of Massabielle the pilgrim’s interior vision is illuminated with a light typical of that place of grace: the light of the spiritual motherhood of Mary who gives Jesus to us as at Christmas, again and again.

Those apparitions have sustained countless souls, encouraging them on the path of conversion and personal sanctification. And their change has helped improve the world because the whole world benefits from the conversion of even one heart.

For us, pilgrims to Lourdes, Mary’s universal motherhood is a mystery to discover again and again, so she may accompany us all through life. In Lourdes this Marian light is present everywhere: when we bathe in the waters, in the evening when we mingle with thousands of others to pray the rosary at the torchlight procession; in the afternoon when we join crowds of sick persons taking part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession …

Her presence is a mystery to savor in our soul and to learn, with Mary, to honour her Son, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The first to witness Our Lady’s presence at Lourdes was little Bernardette Soubirous, who became her intrepid messenger. Although she is buried far away in Nevers in the north of France, her body totally incorrupt, as if she were asleep, you can “meet” Saint Bernadette everywhere in Lourdes.

It is sweet to remember her and read the humble words she addressed to Our Lady: “Yes, gentle Mother, you lowered yourself, you came down to earth to appear to a helpless little girl… You, the Queen of Heaven and earth, deigned to make use of what was most humble for the world” (from her Journal dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, 1866).

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, recalling that “this year (2008) the beginning of Lent coincides providentially with the 150th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes”, said in his Angelus reflection on the 1st Sunday of Lent “the message which Our Lady still offers at Lourdes recalls the words Jesus said at the beginning of his public mission and that we hear so often in these first days of Lent: ‘Convert and believe in the Gospel, pray and do penance. Let us respond to the call of Mary who echoes that of Christ and let us ask Her to help us ‘enter’ Lent with faith and live this season of grace with deep joy and generous commitment” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 10 February 2008). (Agenzia Fides 13/2/2008; righe 47, parole 662)

— Mgr. Luciano Alimandi


Patron: Bodily ills.

Symbols: The Blessed Virgin (“The Immaculate Conception”) who wears a white dress, blue belt, and a rose on each foot.

Things to Do:

  • Watch The Song of Bernadette, a masterpiece filmed in 1943.
  • Bring flowers (roses would be appropriate) to your statue of Our Lady at your home altar, especially if you have a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.
  • Obtain some Lourdes holy water and give the parental blessing to your children (see link).
  • Give extra care to the sick in your community — cook dinner for a sick mother’s family, bring your children to the local nursing home (the elderly love to see children), send flowers to a member of your parish community who is ill.

via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year.


Daily Scripture Readings

First Reading: Gn 3:1-8

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of the day,
the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God
among the trees of the garden.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (1a) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.


Gospel: Mk 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

via USCCB | NAB – February 11, 2011

 

Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

Mary, mother of Jesus, as the Immaculate Conce...

“I am the Immaculate Conception.”

— Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes

It was this statement of the Blessed Mother to St. Bernadette at Lourdes that eventually led to the dogmatic pronouncement of the Truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Jesus, Who is God, did for His Mother at the time of her conception what He does for us after our birth – salvation and forgiveness.


Our Lady of Lourdes

The many miracles which have been performed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes prompted the Church to institute a special commemorative feast, the “Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.” The Office gives the historical background. Four years after the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), the Blessed Virgin appeared a number of times to a very poor and holy girl named Bernadette. The actual spot was in a grotto on the bank of the Gave River near Lourdes.

The Immaculate Conception had a youthful appearance and was clothed in a pure white gown and mantle, with an azure blue girdle. A golden rose adorned each of her bare feet. On her first apparition, February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin bade the girl make the sign of the Cross piously and say the rosary with her. Bernadette saw her take the rosary that was hanging from her arms into her hands. This was repeated in subsequent apparitions.

With childlike simplicity Bernadette once sprinkled holy water on the vision, fearing that it was a deception of the evil spirit; but the Blessed Virgin smiled pleasantly, and her face became even more lovely. The third time Mary appeared she invited the girl to come to the grotto daily for two weeks. Now she frequently spoke to Bernadette. On one occasion she ordered her to tell the ecclesiastical authorities to build a church on the spot and to organize processions. Bernadette also was told to drink and wash at the spring still hidden under the sand.

Finally on the feast of the Annunciation, the beautiful Lady announced her name, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The report of cures occurring at the grotto spread quickly and the more it spread, the greater the number of Christians who visited the hallowed place. The publicity given these miraculous events on the one hand and the seeming sincerity and innocence of the girl on the other made it necessary for the bishop of Tarbes to institute a judicial inquiry. Four years later he declared the apparitions to be supernatural and permitted the public veneration of the Immaculate Conception in the grotto. Soon a chapel was erected, and since that time countless pilgrims come every year to Lourdes to fulfill promises or to beg graces.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.


February 11 was proclaimed World Day of the Sick by Pope John Paul II. Therefore, it would be appropriate to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on this day during a Mass or Liturgy of the Word. (The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is only to be given to “those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age”, Roman Ritual. This Sacrament must not be given indiscriminately to all who take part in Masses for the sick.)


We pilgrims to Lourdes

Anyone who has made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Lourdes will not have missed the opportunity to pray at the Grotto where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the 11th of February 1858. A mystical place, similar to the welcoming “bosom” of a mother, almost a baptismal font, in which to immerse ourselves and rediscover the unrivalled beauty of being Christians: having God as our Father and Mary as our Mother!

Lourdes is one of the most important “places of grace” known to the Church. It is like a vast basin of purity where countless souls have removed the clothes of sin and put on the snow-white garments of spiritual rebirth! Some, like the author, found the light necessary to embrace the call to the priesthood, others, the strength to remain faithful to this commitment.

How can we deny that the Mother is the one who knows the Will of the Son better than anyone else and that turning to Her we understand better the mysterious plan God has for each one of us? No one better than Mary can convince us to “do whatever he tells you”!

In Lourdes, like the servants at Cana, we too sincerely open our hearts to the presence of the Mother and, attentive to her words, we are captivated by the mystery of the Son. Then we see His Will for what it truly is: our path to happiness!

Bernardette actually saw the Lady dressed in white, whereas we see her not with our eyes but with our heart, which is aware in faith of her presence on our journey. In front of the Grotto of Massabielle the pilgrim’s interior vision is illuminated with a light typical of that place of grace: the light of the spiritual motherhood of Mary who gives Jesus to us as at Christmas, again and again.

Those apparitions have sustained countless souls, encouraging them on the path of conversion and personal sanctification. And their change has helped improve the world because the whole world benefits from the conversion of even one heart.

For us, pilgrims to Lourdes, Mary’s universal motherhood is a mystery to discover again and again, so she may accompany us all through life. In Lourdes this Marian light is present everywhere: when we bathe in the waters, in the evening when we mingle with thousands of others to pray the rosary at the torchlight procession; in the afternoon when we join crowds of sick persons taking part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession …

Her presence is a mystery to savor in our soul and to learn, with Mary, to honour her Son, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The first to witness Our Lady’s presence
at Lourdes was little Bernardette Soubirous, who became her intrepid messenger. Although she is buried far away in Nevers in the north of France, her body totally incorrupt, as if she were asleep, you can “meet” Saint Bernadette everywhere in Lourdes.

It is sweet to remember her and read the humble words she addressed to Our Lady: “Yes, gentle Mother, you lowered yourself, you came down to earth to appear to a helpless little girl… You, the Queen of Heaven and earth, deigned to make use of what was most humble for the world” (from her Journal dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, 1866).

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, recalling that “this year (2008) the beginning of Lent coincides providentially with the 150th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes”, said in his Angelus reflection on the 1st Sunday of Lent “the message which Our Lady still offers at Lourdes recalls the words Jesus said at the beginning of his public mission and that we hear so often in these first days of Lent: ‘Convert and believe in the Gospel, pray and do penance. Let us respond to the call of Mary who echoes that of Christ and let us ask Her to help us ‘enter’ Lent with faith and live this season of grace with deep joy and generous commitment” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 10 February 2008). (Agenzia Fides 13/2/2008; righe 47, parole 662)

— Mgr. Luciano Alimandi


Patron: Bodily ills.

Symbols: The Blessed Virgin (“The Immaculate Conception”) who wears a white dress, blue belt, and a rose on each foot.

Things to Do:

  • Watch The Song of Bernadette, a masterpiece filmed in 1943.
  • Bring flowers (roses would be appropriate) to your statue of Our Lady at your home altar, especially if you have a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.
  • Obtain some Lourdes holy water and give the parental blessing to your children (see link).
  • Give extra care to the sick in your community — cook dinner for a sick mother’s family, bring your children to the local nursing home (the elderly love to see children), send flowers to a member of your parish community who is ill.

via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year.


Daily Scripture Readings

First Reading: Gn 3:1-8

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of the day,
the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God
among the trees of the garden.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (1a) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.

R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.


Gospel: Mk 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

via USCCB | NAB – February 11, 2011

 

Calvin, Luther and Zwingli: Devotees of Mary

Media_httpuploadwikim_glexd

Reformers” on Mary: An Assembly of Quotes

Martin Luther:

[Note from Scott 12/12/2010: Before we begin citing Luther, it must be noted that while he did continue honoring the Blessed Virgin in a very “Catholic” sense for a time after his departure from the visible Catholic Church; later in his life such sentiments are either flatly denied or have disappeared into silence.  Therefore, contextually speaking I can only support that Luther held these views in his Catholic and early Protestant days – but not through to the end of his life.  All this being said, the only purpose in looking at these sources is that of novelty.  What do we really care if Protestant defectors from the Catholic Faith held on to some beliefs and creeds from Catholicism?  Our position should be one of validating the teachings themselves, not so much of one getting Protestants to validate them. ]

Mary the Mother of God

Throughout his life, Luther maintained without change the historic Christian affirmation that Mary was the Mother of God:

She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God … It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.”[1]

Perpetual Virginity

Again throughout his life Luther held that Mary’s perpetual virginity was an article of faith for all Christians – and interpreted Galatians 4:4 to mean that Christ was “born of a woman” alone.

“It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a Virgin.”[2]

The Immaculate Conception

Yet again, the Immaculate Conception was a doctrine Luther defended to his death (as confirmed by Lutheran scholars like Arthur Piepkorn). Like Augustine, Luther saw an unbreakable link between Mary’s divine maternity, perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception. Although his formulation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not clear-cut, he held that her soul was devoid of sin from the beginning:

“But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin…[3]

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Although he did not make it an article of faith, Luther said of the doctrine of the Assumption:

“There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know.”[4]

Honor to Mary

Despite his unremitting criticism of the traditional doctrines of Marian mediation and intercession, to the end Luther continued to proclaim that Mary should be honored. He made it a point to preach on her feast days.

“The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.”[5]

“Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the holy Mother of God rather not to be honoured? This is the woman who crushed the Serpent’s head. Hear us. For your Son denies you nothing.”[6]

Luther made this statement in his last sermon at Wittenberg in January 1546. [Added note – in context, this sermon is actually critical of “Bernard’s” use of such honor – and though some very Catholic adjectives are used, we really should not cite this as Luther supporting such veneration to the Blessed Virgin.  I only keep this citation now for it has existed for so long on my site (and others) that those researching this should know the bigger picture here].

And here is more context for the reader:

“Therefore, when we preach faith, that we should worship nothing but God alone, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we say in the Creed: “I believe in God the Father almighty and in Jesus Christ,” then we are remaining in the temple at Jerusalem. Again, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” “You will find him in a manger”. He alone does it. But reason says the opposite: What, us? Are we to worship only Christ? Indeed, shouldn’t we also honor the holy mother of Christ? She is the woman who bruised the head of the serpent. Hear us, Mary, for thy Son so honors thee that he can refuse thee nothing. Here Bernard went too far in his “Homilies on the Gospel ‘Missus est Angelus.’” God has commanded that we should honor the parents; therefore, I will call upon Mary. She will intercede for me with the Son, and the Son with the Father, who will listen to the Son. So you have the picture of God as angry and Christ as judge; Mary shows to Christ her breast and Christ shows his wounds to the wrathful Father. That’s the kind of thing this comely bride, the wisdom of reason cooks up: Mary is the mother of Christ, surely, Christ will listen to her; Christ is a stern judge, therefore I will call upon St. George and St. Christopher. No, we have been by God’s command baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, just as the Jews were circumcised. Therefore, just as the Jews set up all over the land their own self-chosen shrines, as if Jerusalem were too narrow, so we also have done. As a young man must resist lust and an old man avarice, so reason is by nature a harmful whore. But she shall not harm me, if only I resist her. Ah, but she is so comely and glittering. That’s why there must be preachers who will point people to the catechism: I believe in Jesus Christ, not in St. George or St. Christopher, for only of Christ is it said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”; not of Mary or the angels. The Father did not speak of Gabriel or any others when he cried from heaven “Listen to him.” (LW, vol. 51, pp. 375-376)

“The Church has always extolled Mary simply in the spirit of the Magnificat.  Luther himself had published a printed exposition of the Magnificat in 1521.  There he still speaks of the Blessed Virgin in the usual way (“Werke” Weim.  ed., 7, p. 545 f.; Erl. ed., 45, p. 214 f.). At the commencement of the work he invokes her assistance with the words : ” May the same tender Mother of God obtain for me the spirit to interpret her song usefully and practically . . . that we may sing and chant this Magnificat eternally in the life to come. So help us God. Amen (p. 546 = 214). In the same way, at the close, he expresses his hope that a right understanding of the Magnificat ” may not only illumine and teach, but burn and live in body and soul; may Christ grant us this by the intercession and assistance of His dear Mother Mary.  Amen “(p. 601 = 287). Thus, he was then still in favour of the invocation and intercession of the Holy Mother of God, whereas later he set aside the invocation of any Saint, and declared it to be one of “the abuses of Antichrist.” (See Kostlin, ” Luther’s Theologies,” l 2, p. 370 ff.)” [Grisar, Luther…, 237 – http://www.archive.org/stream/luthergris04grisuoft/luthergris04grisuoft_djvu.txt]

John Calvin:

It has been said that John Calvin belonged to the second generation of the Reformers and certainly, his theology of double predestination governed his views on Marian and all other Christian doctrine. Although Calvin was not as profuse in his praise of Mary as Martin Luther was he did not deny her perpetual virginity. The term he used most commonly in referring to Mary was “Holy Virgin”. (Citation needed)

“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.[7]

“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.”[8] Calvin translated “brothers” in this context to mean cousins or relatives.

“It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son granted her the highest honor.”[9]

“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.”[10]

Ulrich Zwingli:

“It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.”[11]

“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.”[12] Zwingli used Exodus4:22 to defend the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

“I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary.”[13]

“Christ … was born of a most undefiled Virgin.”[14]

“It was fitting that such a holy Son should have a holy Mother.”[15]

“The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow.”[16]

Other Sources


[1] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, volume 24, (LW 24) 107.

[2] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Weimar Edition, Volume 11, (WA 11) 319-320.

[3] Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, English translation edited by J. Pelikan [Concordia: St. Louis], Volume 4, 694.

  • Correction on this citation, which many other Catholic apologetics sites have as well.  This quote actually comes from a sermon preached by Luther (“On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527) and was published with his permission, but prior to the end of his life it is not found in published editions of his works.  Modern Protestant apologists speculate that he rejected the Immaculate Conception, but this is an argument from silence.  The proper citation should be Grisar, Hartmann, Martin Luther: His Life and Work (Maryland: The Newman Press, 1950), p. 238. or Grisar, Hartmann, Luther, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 volumes, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1917, vol. 4, 238 (I have also ordered a copy of Grisar’s book and will update with my own research/citation when it arrives – I find it a bit ironic that both citations I’ve found online thus far state the same page number).
  • I’ve also just found the “Volume 4, 694” is not entirely “bogus” (as James Swan is saying -and has since withdrawn his objection to the citation) but it is not an English translation!  You can read it in LATIN here: http://www.archive.org/stream/werkekritischege04luthuoft#page/694/mode/2up – My Latin is not the greatest, but I believe this is the actual source.  I am still looking for where the “J. Pelikan” citation originates, if it does not turn up, I will delete it entirely and stick with wholly valid sources I have found.
  • [4] Cole, William J. Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” (Marian Studies), (1970), 123-124. Citing WA 10, III, 268.

    [5] [Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works 10, III (WA 10, III) p.313.

    [6] Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, Concordia: St. Louis, Volume 51, 128-129.

    [7] John Calvin, Calvini Opera [Braunshweig-Berlin, 1863-1900], Volume 45, 35.

    [8] Bernard Leeming, “Protestants and Our Lady”, Marian Library Studies, January 1967, p.9.

    [9] John Calvin, Calvini Opera [Braunshweig-Berlin, 1863-1900], Volume 45, 348.

    [10] John Calvin, A Harmony of Matthew, Mark and Luke (St. Andrew’s Press, Edinburgh, 1972), p.32.

    [11] Ulrich Zwingli, In Evang. Luc., Opera Completa [Zurich, 1828-42], Volume 6, I, 639

    [12] Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 424.

    [13] E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., (Rome, 1962), 456.

    [14] Ibid.

    [15] Ibid.

    [16] Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 427-428. David F. Wright, ed., Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989), 180.

    via CathApol: Reformers on Mary.

    A great post worthy of reproducing in full. (Hopefully the CathApol Blog won’t be mad.)