A Catholic friend once said to me, “The Virgin Mary has absolutely nothing to do with my salvation.” Her point: “I don’t owe Mary anything.”
Certainly Mary did not die for our sins. She did not open the gates of Heaven for humankind. She did not save us. No, Jesus did all that. He carried that cross and hung upon it. He laid in that tomb and walked out of it. He and He alone died that we might live.
But... He did it in a human body... a body that grew inside the womb of Mary for nine months. A body that took genes, DNA, oxygen, food, and water from Mary. A body that came forth from Her, was nursed, held, and changed by Her. A body that wore a tunic made by a Her, and ate food cooked by Her.
The instrument of our salvation is the human body of Jesus Christ... which Mary helped bring about. No, God did not “need” Her to accomplish this. Jesus could have come down from Heaven a full grown Man without being born of a woman. But that’s not how He chose to do it.
He chose to put on flesh so that that that flesh could be sacrificed. He chose to be filled with human blood so that that blood could be spilled out in a scourging. He CHOSE to take these human attributes from Mary. And She chose to assist Him in this.
She could have said no. And had She said no, there would be no body to scourge or crucify. There was no plan B. All of the Old Testament points to God’s plan to come in flesh... through a Virgin prepared by God.
So what do we owe Mary? Certainly not what we owe Jesus, that is true. Jesus is God and we owe Him everything that we have—our entire being and our entire life. Mary is not God, but She brought God to us in a new and very real way, and so we do owe Her something for that.
We gladly give popular pastors and preachers and authors our gratitude when they help bring us closer to God through their words or counsel. Look at the beautiful way we have memorialized the great Billy Graham. Why then can’t we give the same to Mary who gave us not just words but THE Word?
The Virgin Mary is our benefactor... like someone who gives a student tuition money for college, or someone who donates toward a start up business... someone who makes something possible for someone else.
She gave us Her own resources—Her body, the fruit of Her “labor”—She risked persecution, divorce, and stoning so that we could experience new life. That’s not nothing. That deserves acknowledgement, gratitude and respect.