Friday, January 28, 2011

The Hail Mary Explained for Protestants

I want very badly for my protestant friends to take up the practice of the Rosary because when we pray the Rosary it is like we are at the wedding at Cana. We petition Mary and she points to her Son and says "Do whatever HE tells you".

You don't have to be Catholic to pray the Rosary. But there are a few things that prevent protestants, by and large, from the practice of praying the Holy Rosary. Chief among them I would say is an aversion to the Hail Mary, the central prayer of the Rosary.

Now, one thing most protestants have in common is a profound belief in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. In other words, most protestants would argue that the Bible alone is the sole source of GOD's word. With that in mind, I will point out in this post where the Hail Mary comes from and why it is a treasured prayer of Catholics. We will go verse by verse and explore the biblical roots.

Our prayer begins "Hail Mary full of Grace the LORD is with you". In Luke 1:28(NAB) we see that the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary to Announce the Birth of Christ to her and greets her in this way, ""Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." So, already we are establishing a biblical basis for the prayer.

But, just because someone in the bible says something doesn't make it a prayer does it? An interesting thing about Gabriel, a few verses before in Luke 1:19 when Gabriel is speaking to Zechariah he says "I am Gabriel who stand before GOD". So, its not just someone who greets Mary in this way it is Gabriel "Who stands before GOD". He spends his time in the presence of Almighty. Still, he greets Mary in this way.

It is clear from the message that the angle delivers that GOD is pleased with Mary. After all, angle means "Messenger of GOD". So, Gabriel's message was from GOD. Do you doubt this? Then surely you don't doubt that the greeting also was from GOD.

Our prayer continues, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus". Later in the Gospel of Luke we see that Mary is going to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be the mother of John the Baptist.In Luke 1:41-42(NAB) when Mary comes to Elizabeth, we are told that Elizabeth is "filled with the holy Spirit". As Elizabeth is "filled with the holy Spirit" she "cries out in a loud voice" and greets Mary in this way.

Again, just because a person says something in the Bible doesn't make it a prayer. But she says it while she is "filled with the holy Spirit". Do you doubt that if a person says something when they are filled with the "holy Spirit" that it is true?

Sure, anyone can claim to be filled with the "holy Spirit". It's easy enough to say. But we as Christians believe that what is in the Bible is GOD's unerring word. So when the Bible says that someone is "filled with the holy Spirit" we know that they are. When someone "filled with the holy Spirit" says something we can trust in that saying.

Up to this point we are simply reciting verses from the Gospel. What protestant on earth could have a problem with that? so our prayer concludes "Holy Mary, Mother of GOD, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."

You know as well as I do that we cannot find this exact saying in the Sacred Scriptures but we can find plenty to back it up. In Revelations we see that saints are presenting the petitions of the faithful to GOD. So we know those already in Heaven are able to plead for us to the Father. Do you doubt that Mary is in Heaven? If she isn't then no one is!

We also know that in the ancient Jewish culture that the queen was not the king's wife, rather the queen was the king's mother. Do you deny that Christ is King of Heaven and Earth?

We also know from the Old Testament that the queen was someone the king's subject relied on to interceded on their behalf. Why shouldn't we petition Mary on our behalf as poor sinners to plead for us with the King?

Do you object to calling Mary "Mother of GOD"? If Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity and If Jesus is true man and true GOD then you cannot deny that Mary is Mother of GOD. That being said, it makes no sense to object to calling her "Mother of GOD".

Is there an objection that you have to this prayer that I have missed or do my arguments not convince you? It is not my point here to be right for the sake of being right. I want to show you that your aversion to this prayer is not necessary. If I have missed anything, please let me know in the comment box below and I will do my best to answer it for you.

Still, I know that protestants have more objections to the Rosary than just the Hail Mary and I intend to present a defense for those objections in a future post or 2 so stay tuned.

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