Since tomorrow, October 31, is the 500th Anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” on the door of Wittenberg Castle Church igniting what would become the Protestant Reformation, I thought I would provide you some quotes from Luther regarding his Marian Theology. Contrary to popular belief these days, Martin Luther had a love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Although many Protestants today ignore Mary’s important role in Salvation History as well as make lavish statements regarding the Catholic Church’s teaching on Mary, Martin Luther speaks highly about the Mother of God. In his Sermon on the Gospel of John, he states,
“…she is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God…it is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.”
I am aware, as many of you likely do as well, that many Protestants today are so far removed from Luther and have splintered countless times, most don’t recognize his teachings on many theological points, let alone his words on Mary. As you will read below, Luther’s Marian Theology, most pointedly his thoughts on Mary as the Mother of God, Mary as Ever-Virgin, the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, and Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood, are more closely related to the Catholic Church’s theology today than the modern-day theology of the Lutheran ecclesial community.
So with this being said, here are 7 quotes I found from different sources (see them below) focusing on Martin Luther’s Marian Theology –
1. “[She is the] highest woman and noblest gem in Christianity in Christ…She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures.” – Christmas Sermon, 1531
2. “One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace…Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ…Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God.” – Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521
3. “Christ…was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him…I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brother.”
4. “God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins, for she has conceived and borne the Lord Jesus.” – Luther’s Works (can’t find particular sermon).
5. “It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.” – On the Day of the Conception of the Mother God Sermon, 1527
6. There can he no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith… It is enough to know that she lives in Christ. – Feast of the Assumption Sermon, 1522
7. “Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees…If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother.” – Christmas Sermon, 1529
For further reading, I would suggest reading my sources. They were a great help to me today for writing this “Mondays with Mary”, most notably the article by Dave Armstrong. I would also suggest reading the book, which is also a study by the Augustine Institute, True Reformers: Saints of the Catholic Reformation.
Armstrong, Dave. “Martin Luther’s Devotion to Mary.” , Catholic Culture , 2017, http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=788.
Editor, ChurchPOP, et al. 6 Beautiful Quotes on Mary You Won’t Believe Are From Martin Luther. ChurchPop , 7 Mar. 2017, churchpop.com/2017/03/07/5-surprising-quotes-from-martin-luther-on-the-blessed-virgin-mary/.
“Martin Luther (Founder of the Reform), Speaks on Mary.” Catholic Bridge, catholicbridge.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.php.