Very moving and well-said. As a protestant who converted to Catholicism in my 40’s, the piety and humility before great mysteries is a big part of what drew me out of the rationalism of my evangelical experience. This piece nicely captures one of the more beautiful and deep of these mysteries.
I meant thanks for the whole Xmas series. Intelligent, well-informed discussions of Christianity by practicing believers are so rare nowadays, especially by members of the pundit class.
A deeply challenging piece, Professor. I must confess to be one who has looked at the veneration of Mary in certain parts of Christendom with a measure of derision. As you deftly put it, the elevation and adoration of Mary has seemed to my eyes to diminish Jesus’ stature as the believer’s sole conduit to redemption. And for some, perhaps it does. But I have to agree that many Christians make the opposite error of regarding her too lowly.
Church history is important, as the faith has been carried from generation to generation by thousands – millions – of men and women who have suffered loss for it. We would do well, from time to time, to recognise them and give thanks for their courage, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice.
Many regard Peter or Paul as the first of these. But who was the first to believe that the Savior had come, to proclaim it openly, and to respond with obedience? It was Mary. She could rightly be called the first Christian.