I think some of the biggest misunderstandings that I’ve seen between Catholics and Protestants revolves around Mary. Now, don’t get me wrong, the theological and doctrinal differences are great between us, but the subject of Mary seems to be one of the most emotional. Unfortunately I think that Mary is often a “meeting point” in a negative sense; each belief being misunderstood and misconstrued by both sides. Even those Protestants who focus on Mary more than their brethren and have a much more Catholic understanding of her get lumped in with all Protestants, and in turn many Catholics feel that Mary is slighted in Protestant thought.
So, Protestants, if you would like, share your thoughts on Mary; What does she mean to you? What do you learn from her? How do you relate to her? Etc… Please avoid comparing your view to Catholicism; that is, IMO, causing the skewed view of Protestant beliefs on Mary. Instead make it personal to your ideas, and feelings about Mary.
Mary to me serves several very very important roles. Starting at Genesis and moving right on through she is alluded to and predicted in prophecy. Because of her, several key prophecies about Christ are fulfilled. One of the major ones is her own genealogy, being a descendent of King David. By her very bloodline she points to Jesus as Messiah, and by her faith and obedience she opens the way for Him to be incarnated.
By her ready acceptance of the words of Gabriel she showed great faith and great courage. She also showed true humility as evidenced in her bit of confusion when Gabriel greeted her. I believe in the will of humans, meaning I believe that Mary could have said no, but she didn’t. She is the highly favored of God, and she truly became the “bearer of God.” She is blessed amongst all women.
She is a model of faith, a model of Motherhood, a model of sexual purity, and a model of the role of a wife. As a female I am warmed and slightly prideful (forgive me ;)) that she shows forth the importance of women in the church, and how we are to relate to Christ, because as He says, if we do the will of the Father we can be his “sisters” and more, as His mother. She is one of the biggest models of the way we are all family in Him, and it hinges on faith and courage and the willingness to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him and say, “Yes, Lord” even if confused or scared. And that we too can, and should say,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Though only she can say, “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed” for she is the only one, past, present, or future that has ever been honored the way that she was honored. Further she is a model of how others should have stood with Jesus, followed Him, and loved Him all the way to the foot of the cross. She constantly pointed to her Son.
I love her and believe that she puts a human frame of reference on the major happenings in Jesus’ life, and who can resist thinking of what she must have experienced and felt especially during His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. I look forward to meeting her in Heaven and listening to her speak of it all.
Anyone else care to share?