How Can Mary Be Sinless if She Rejoices in “God my Savior”?

by Steve Ray on August 14, 2020

A deacon wrote a question the other day about the sinlessness of Mary. Here is his question and my simple response in two parts.

“Hello Steve!  I received a question this morning from a very wise and astute co-worker regarding our Blessed Mother. He is NOT Catholic. He asked, “Well!!  If the Blessed Virgin Mary was without sin, why does she need a savior?  Why does she say in her Magnificat, “My spirit rejoices in God MY SAVIOR?” (Luke 1:47)  God wouldn’t need to save her if she had never sinned in her life! Right?”

“I stumbled, and bumbled a little bit in trying to give him an answer and told him I’d get back with him.  I know the answer in my spirit but wasn’t able to verbalize and articulate well enough. Can you help me.”

Dear Deacon:

Steve_splashes_mud@600Do you have my DVD documentary Mary, Mother of God by any chance? If you do, I answer that question very decisively and with the example of me falling face-first into a mud puddle.

I ask because in my movie I explain the verse that your friend mentioned. It’s a verse I used as a weapon against Catholics all the time. However, it only shows their own foolishness and lack of biblical and Catholic understanding.

MY FIRST OF TWO EXPLANATIONS ON THE VERSE ABOUT MARY’S SALVATION

There are two ways to be saved from a puddle of mud. In my movie I am walking toward a puddle of mud with a log laying in front of me. I say, “Mary says God is her savior but there are two ways to be saved from sin, represented by this puddle of mud.”

As you can see in the picture above, I trip over the log and fall face-first into the mud. Immediately a hand pulls me out and I am cleaned up. The first way to be saved from a puddle of mud is to be pulled out of the mud and cleaned up. This is how we sinners are saved through the death of Christ, faith and water baptism.

The second way to be saved from a puddle of mud was also demonstrated. The movie rewinds like a video and I approach the mud again, but…

…before I tripped and fell again—a hand reached out and stopped me from falling headlong into the mud. I say to the camera, “There are two ways to be saved from a puddle of mud:  1. A savior can pull us out of the mud and clean us up, or 2. A savior can prevent us from falling into the mud in the first place.”

I explained that Mary, as a daughter of Eve, was subject to sin like everyone else, but by a unique act of God, based on the merits of her Son Mary was prevented from falling into the mud puddle in the first place. She needed and had a savior. Simple enough for an eight-year-old to understand.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 7.48.42 AMIf you have my Mary DVD or want to get a copy at my store at www.catholicconvert.com or www.SteveRaysStore.com, you may want to give it to your Protestant friend. He will learn a lot not only about the Immaculate Conception but about the Virgin Birth of Our Lord, the Perpetual Virginity and Assumption of Mary and much more. It was all filmed on location.

It would clear up a lot of his misconceptions that are drilled into him and which he simply goes around parroting. It will also give you a lot of info and ammo to answer such questions in the future—also good homily material :-) There is a very complete Study Guide on Mary included with each DVD.

A SECOND EXPLANATION OF THE PHRASE “GOD MY SAVIOR” IS THE ACTUAL CONTEXT

One thing you might want to bring up to your friend is the importance of reading Scripture in context. In Luke chapter 1 Mary sings the Magnificat. It is based on the Magnificat of the Old Testament sung by Hannah after giving birth to the Prophet Samuel.

Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) is not about personal salvation from sin. You will search in vain for words like sin, redemption, forgiven, etc. What you see is Mary extolling God for national deliverance and the salvation that God has promised to Israel. She recalls God’s promises to her forefathers with the words, “He has given help to Israel his servant, in remembrance of his mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Reading the Magnificat of Hannah we see she expresses the same sentiment. Mary, it seems, is recrafting the prayer of Hannah in her own words, making Hannah’s Magnificat her own. Mary knew and loved Scripture. Hannah uses similar words,

“And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength.” (1 Samuel 2:1–4)

downloadMary, echoing the song of Hannah, sings a song of deliverance. She is proclaiming her joy that God is her savior and the savior of Israel—precisely by choosing her to be the mother of the Messiah, the deliverer of Israel. Mary knows she is now the mother of the hope of Israel, which is her Messiah-King Son. Because she has been chosen as the mother of this Deliverer and Savior she says she is blessed that even though she is humble among the people of Israel, “all generations will call me blessed.”

By the way, which Church is still known for calling her “blessed”?

Understanding that Mary did not have a New Testament and that the “Law and the Prophets” was her Bible and the source of her phrasing, I might suggest that she is drawing upon the Prophet Habakkuk 3:18 which is written in the context of the Babylonian Captivity and a prayer for Israel’s deliverance. Habakkuk prays for God to deliver Israel (corporate, not personal). He concludes his prayer with,

I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” (Hab 3:16–19)

Sound familiar? Notice the salvation Habakkuk is declaring is for the nation, of which he is a part. He is not speaking of individualistic salvation from a “personal Lord and savior”.  He is a part of the people of God, the country of Israel. His deliverance is the deliverance of the nation. His defeat or victory is tied to the fortunes of Israel. Mary is steeped in the “Old Testament” and she thought like a Jewish girl in the tradition of the patriarchs and prophets of Israel.

download (1)In the Magnificat there is no hint of her singing about personally having her sins forgiven or being made right with God as a sinner. It is far more than that. She is singing this as a member of the nation of Israel. Her son is the hope of Israel’s salvation and redemption. (See also the prayer of Simeon the Prophet at the presentation in the Temple, Luke 2:29-32.)

One can be saved from personal sin and one can be saved from a national enemy possessing your land. Both are the salvation of God and yet are quite different.

As a daughter of Abraham Mary was referring to the later and not the former. Context is everything! Unless of course you are a protestant and consider the Bible a list of numbered anti-Catholic arguments instead of a constant and flowing text which needs to be read not only in its linguistic context but also within its historical and cultural context.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Deacon Mitch Anderson August 20, 2020 at 1:53 PM

PROFOUND !! Thank you Brother Steve !!

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