Mary Knew.

Mary Knew. December 3, 2014

Mary Did You Know is a pretty song.

I rather like it myself.

But it is based on the false premise that there is a question as to whether Our Lady knew that the Baby she was carrying was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of Lords, Christ the King.

Here’s the short answer to that question: She knew.

Here’s how I know she knew.

When the Archangel Gabriel spoke to Mary, he asked — not told, but asked — her if she would consent to be the mother of the Son of God. He made it clear that was what he was asking.  He told her that the Holy Spirit would “come over her” and the “power of the most high would overshadow” her and for that reason the Holy Child will be called the Son of God. If that wasn’t clear enough, he also said, He will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

Do you still wonder if Mary “knew?” Then flip forward a few pages and read the Magnificat. This incredible hymn of praise comes from the lips of a young girl who has just had what the angel told her recognized and confirmed by her cousin Elizabeth who said, Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? when she saw Mary. Blessed are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, she said.

Elizabeth goes on to tell her that the baby she was carrying leapt in her womb in recognition of the presence of the unborn Christ Child.

Here is how Mary responded to this recognition. It is not the warbling of a naive youngster. It is the praise and acknowledgement of a theologically aware woman who knew absolutely that she was the Mother of God. The answer to the song’s question, Mary did you know? is yes, absolutely. She knew.

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,

and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

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6 responses to “Mary Knew.”

  1. Boy, this song gets a lot of flake, doesn’t it? Myself, I like it. I’ve always liked it. I always thought the lyrics were asking rhetorical questions and not really about questioning Mary’s knowledge of her son. Sheesh. The questions are just a device used to emphasize that Christ came, he performed miracles, he was Lord and in fact “the Great I AM,” (the ending words of the song). It may not be a musical masterpiece, in fact it’s somewhat sappy, but I still like it. But man, the amount of time spend writing about how these questions are just stupid to ask Mary is…well, kind of silly. But I suppose everyone has hot buttons and for some people this song is one.

  2. lets just enjoy the beauty of the song. I too believe it is asking rhetorical questions, but for some reason “Mary Did you Know” gets a lot of flak on the Patheos Catholic channel in particular. This is a beautiful version of the song that in my opinion is less “sappy” than the original:

  3. Whatever “flake” is, I’ve heard a Protestant preacher preach on this song, that Mary did not know what was happening and was surprised. It was all I could do to keep from asking what Bible he was reading and what he cut out.
    It’s a sweet song, but teaches wrongly. Yes, she very much knew and bore the wounds that pierced her heart from the Annunciation.
    O, Mary, conceived without sin,
    Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

  4. Daniela, the problem is that music teaches and I think a lot of Catholics get most of their theology from song lyrics. And most think the Immaculate Conception is Jesus.