Our Lady



I want to do a question about “Our Lord” and “Our Lady” expressions.

I suppose in English “Our Lord = Jesus”, and “Our Lady = Mary”, right? In Portuguese, we say “Nosso Senhor = Jesus”, and “Nossa Senhora = Maria”.

In Exodus 20,3, we have: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.”. It means Yahweh doesn’t admit other gods: just He exist.

We understand Jesus as being our God too, and we atribute to Jesus the title Our Lord recognising He’s God (Lord), and we’re His servants. Until here, very nice. But something strange – at least, in a first moment, for me – is when we call Mary by Our Lady. Although we understand She’s not a goddess (although a very respectable woman), doesn’t sound strange call Her by Our Lady?

It seems we’re putting Her in the same level of Jesus calling Her by “Lady” while Jesus by “Lord”: something like a Goddess and a God. I understand Mary is below Jesus in lordship terms…

How to solve this problem with words? Is really the word “Lady” appropriated?



“Lord” and “Lady” in no way imply divinity. King David was Lord over Israel while he was King. “Lord” in Latin is “Dominus” which can mean “Lord” or “Master.” In the middle ages, when you hear of “Lords” and “Ladys” in terms of royalty, these terms denote authority and respect. Jesus is “Lord of Lords” and Mary is “Lady of Ladies.” Calling Jesus “Lord” does not necessarily imply that He is God. We know that Jesus is God when He says He is equal to the Father. Mary was never spoken of as being anywhere near an equal to God.


The use of “Lord” and “Lady” wouldn’t seem as strange to Medieval Christians, I’m betting. These phrases go along the same logic as “Jesus is a King, Mary is his mother, the mother of a king is a queen, so Mary is a Queen.” It’s just common logic.

The Catholic faith cannot be judged based on it’s cover by any means of the imagination. You have to know the meanings behind hundreds of new words and phrases before you understand it, so assuming something means something may get you the right answer, but just as equally might lead you to judge something as wrong. It’s like a family; I have a copy of our family recipe for Carrot cake. If I followed each direction, I would get a carrot cake, but not the one my family goes nuts over every Easter. I have to learn the recipe from my Aunt, to learn just what exactly is meant by ‘1 cup of grounded carrots’ (because what says 1 cup actually refers to a flexible amount that is close to one cup, but actually slightly more). The Church is the same way. It’s not meant to be practiced alone, we’re a community, a family, so we need to learn our faith from one another so we come out with the right cak-er, faith. :stuck_out_tongue: This annoys some Protestants I’ve met, who don’t understand why they can’t just read one book and understand all of my church.

Not even Catholicism for Dummies covers EVERYTHING. :smiley:


since in many languages calling someone my lord or my lady is simply a polite form of address, I don’t think your arguement holds water.


Jesus is Lord of lords–which, of course, implies other people can be lords too. God is referred to as Lord in two different ways, as LORD, which is said in place of the name of God, or “Lord” which is literally calling Him a Lord, one who rules over others. When we say “Our Lady” we use it with the second “Lord” not the divine name.



I liked, ABostonCatholic, you answer!

Really, the word lord doesn’t imply necessarily the sense of God. In book I Kings 1,13, we see king David being called by lord.

As I wrote, in Portuguese we call Jesus Nosso Senhor, and Mary, Nossa Senhora. Looking at the dictionary, I found senhora is used, between other meanings, as synonymous of woman that occupies a prominence position for her qualities. Thus, in Nossa Senhora, the word Senhora seems to be in agreement with this meaning found in dictionary.

I guess we can think Senhor (of Nosso Senhor) with the same sense (but man), or with the sense of God.

Finally, it was just a question of consulting a dictionary!



I’m glad I could be of help.


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