Is Mary the recipient or dispenser of grace?


#1

I am reading The Gospel of Luke by Geldenhuys. He uses the British Revised Version of 1881. In Luke 1:28…“Hail thou art highly favoured” he claims is translated from the Vulgate, “Ave, gratia plena.” In the footnote, he states, "Roman Catholic expositors take this to mean that Mary is full of gifts of grace and accordingly appears between God and man as mediator to dispense gifts. It is however, clear from the context that Mary is merely the recipient of the favour of God in that He had chosen her to become the mother of Jesus.
Karl Keating, in his book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, p 268, states '“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” is the traditional rendering based on the Vulgate.'
If both are from the Vulgate, how can both men come up with different translations?


#2

Dear K,

Let’s look at the reality. Geldenhuy states that it is “clear from the context that Mary is merely the recipient of the favour of God in that He has chosen her to become the mother of Jesus.” Hello! Can any one see the elephant in the living room? Mary is MERELY the recipient of the favor of God in that He has chosen her to become the mother of Jesus? This is the WHOLE POINT of WHY the Catholic Church honors her! Who in the history of the human race has ever received so great an honor? We are talking DIVINE INTERVENTION here. The more we acknowledge the greatness of God, the more we are bound to acknowledge the greatness of such an honor bestowed on the human race in the person of Mary!!

In trying to diminish Mary, Geldenhuy is only diminishing God. He is coming from a context in which the Catholic Church is seen to place Mary as an intermediary between Jesus and the human race—a kind of go-between and also a kind of obstacle.

For the Catholic Church, Mary is the channel through which God became incarnate. THIS is how she is an intermediary. THIS is how grace flowed through her to us. The Father chose to use her body as the means of sending His Son to us. His is the grace that flowed through her. When one acknowledges the significance of this, one cannot help but begin to see the ramifications. This mere human being nursed almighty God at her breast! One can say she was highly favored. One can also say that she is full of grace! Does Jesus deserve a mother who is anything less?

By the fact that she was, and always will be, the mother of the Redeemer, she will always be so favored and so graced.

How can both men come up with different translations? The answer comes from the context from which each approaches the passage. One context is comprised of what Protestants (in good faith) say Catholics believe. The other context is comprised of that which Catholics do in fact believe.

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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