Tiffay P. over at Catholic Sistas, like me, was once an evangelical Protestant. Like me, she once was caught up in bashing Catholics who revered Mother Mary. Unlike me, she's able to articulate effectively what was, and is, wrong with that mindset:
Many evangelical Protestant Christmas plays will focus their attention on the angels, shepherds, and the three wise men as the lead roles, while Mary is portrayed by an actress wearing robes, sitting silently in the barn holding an infant—or sitting at a distance away from the infant who lays in the manger. There is little mention of the events leading up to this birth, such as her visit with Elizabeth, who upon noticing the presence of Jesus with Mary says,“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear” (Lk. 1:42); as such, there is little depiction of Mary’s proclamation in response, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed” (Lk. 1: 46-48).
However, the small role Mary plays around Christmas time is very generous in comparison to the amount of attention given to the Blessed Mother throughout the rest of the year, despite the focus on other Biblical women who serve as godly examples, such as Esther, Leah, or Sarah. This raises the question for these Sola Scriptura Protestants, where in the Bible is their backing for this purposeful discarding of Jesus’ Mother? Though I was taught to back everything up with Scripture alone in my own evangelical Protestant days, it never occurred to me to find in Scripture where it says anything on the lines of “pay no mind to Mary, for she can do nothing for you”. Mary was simply associated with “unbiblical” Catholic traditions, and we wanted no part of that.
As the Church Teaches and Scripture confirms, Mary’s role in our Christian life begins before and continues beyond her labor and delivery in the barn. Mary, having physically carried Jesus into the world, is the Ark of the New Covenant. Just as the Ark of the Old Covenant was made of pure gold, not to be touched with man’s bare hands lest it become blemished (Ex. 25:10-21), the Ark of the New Covenant was also prepared by God to be the personified version of gold and unblemished: born without the stain of original sin. Not through her own power, but through God’s preparation for her to carry the New Covenant into the world. This belief does not elevate Mary to a level of worship, but magnifies our deep love for Jesus: would we want any less than perfect for our God?
Do read the rest as I think it worthy and suspect the open-minded will as well.
The notion of Mary being the Ark of the New Covenant is one I'd not heard about until just a couple of years ago while attending RCIA. I found it intriguing and today see the sense, and the beauty, in that articulation.
I've touched on Mary on this blog numerous times (here, here, here and here) but the following for me was something that truly opened my eyes. I pray that it might just do the same for those blinded to the beauty that is a devotion to Mary and how that devotion points us to her Son.