The Bible, Luther, & Calvin on Calling Mary “Blessed”

The Bible, Luther, & Calvin on Calling Mary “Blessed” November 5, 2015
Annunciation (1608-1610), by Caravaggio (1571-1610) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
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Luke 1:26, 28 (RSV: non-Catholic version): . . . the angel Gabriel . . . [28] . . . came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

Luke 1:41-42, 45 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” . . . [45] “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Elizabeth is described in 1:6 as “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”.

Luke 1:47-48 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

Luke 11:27 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!”

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Martin Luther used this language, too:

[W]e should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her [as one blessed by God]. . . . she is blessed above all other women . . . (Personal Prayer Book, 1522, tr. Martin H. Bertram; in Luther’s Works, v. 43; brackets in original)

 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)

So did John Calvin:

She deserves to be called blessed, for God has accorded her a singular distinction, to prepare his Son for the world, in whom she was spiritually reborn. To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave us as adornment and honor to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son.

(A Harmony of the Gospels Matthew, Mark & Luke, edited by David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1994, p. 32; comment on Luke 1:42)

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