Did God Bless Mary “More Than Any Other Created Person”?
This great woman is mentioned in the Bible almost 750 years before her birth. Speaking of Mary and the Perfect Being that would come from her womb, the prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Mary was the Jewish woman in whom “the Word” became flesh (John 1:1,14).
Some conclude that since Mary was chosen by God to bear his son, she was blessed more than any other woman in the history of mankind. Is this true?
From the Catholic Catechism
The Catholic Church teaches that “the Father blessed Mary more than any other created person ‘in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places’ and chose her ‘in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love'” (Eph 1:3-4, Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 492, emphasis mine —JF).
God Blessed “US”
In contrast, the passage quoted in the paragraph above actually says that the Father “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). This verse applied first of all to the Christians in Ephesus and, by extension, to all those who find themselves “in Christ.” Likewise, the next verse says that God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4).
The word “blessed” in Ephesians 1:3 comes from the same Greek word used by Elizabeth when she said to Mary, “Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:42). The Bible does not teach that God blessed Mary “more” than any other woman but rather that she was blessed “among” women. Furthermore, the Christians in Ephesus were just as “blessed” in that, by having obeyed the gospel (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), they had “every spiritual blessing … in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-14).
So it is with us today. If we enjoy “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, NASB), and if Mary enjoyed the same spiritual blessings, we are just as blessed as she was!
“Greetings, O Favored One”
When the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to tell her of God’s plan to bring the Christ through her, he saluted her with the words, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). It’s interesting to notice that the Greek word from which we have the phrase “favored one” is also found in Ephesians 1:6, where it says, that God “made us accepted in the Beloved” (NKJV) or that he has “graced us” (DRA, Douay-Rheims American Catholic Edition) in his beloved son.
Just as Mary, all Christians who find themselves in Christ are “favored ones” in God’s sight!