“Mondays with Mary” – Martin Luther’s Teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary

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.

“Mondays with Mary” – Reflecting on the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cross

Since we have now entered the holiest weeks of all weeks in the Church’s liturgical year, also known as the Great Week in the East, I want to focus as I have done in years past, on Mary at the Cross. However, instead of focusing on the theology, I want to just examine some points in the hopes that you may reflect on them during this Holy Week.

In a culture that abhors suffering and pain, I remember the words of Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete of Communion and Liberation,

“Suffering is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.”

In regards to the cross of Jesus Christ, and the blood, sweat, agony, and suffering, I believe these words give us an insight to the suffering Our Lord endured and willfully embraced. I also believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary also lived these words out in her life, since she never fled from the suffering of her Son, even when it might have become too much to bear. She embraced his suffering and partook in that suffering, not physically, but spiritually as any mother would for their child.

We know that the walk to Calvary began at the Wedding Feast of Cana when the Blessed Mother requests that Jesus assist in the dilemma of the young couple having no more wine to offer. Unlike Cana, at the cross, Mary doesn’t utter one word. But what was she thinking? Could she have been remembering the life of Jesus as a child or her time when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would have a son? We will never know completely on this side of Heaven, but the one thing we do know is that Jesus gave her to us on the cross through the Beloved Disciple, Saint John. From that point on, John took her into his home and cared for her as his own mother.

In our relationship with the Blessed Mother, I have some questions for us – Have we taken Mary into our homes? Like the Apostle John, have we allowed her to enter into the lives of our families? Like the couple who ran out of wine, have we asked her to intercede to Our Lord for us?

Among many non-Catholic Christians today, and even some Catholics, the Blessed Virgin Mary is rejected, although in the Sacred Scriptures she is “blessed among women” and is professed “full of grace” by the Angel Gabriel. Many of our Protestant brothers and sisters because of poor theology and faulty catechesis, reject the Mother of God and degrade her to just another woman that doesn’t deserve any honor or recognition. She is often misunderstood and is portrayed as a pagan goddess, a mother-goddess. Again, here we see a lack of clear thinking and the conclusions of the many divisions among the Christian faithful.

Although seen as the forerunner of Protestantism, Martin Luther had a great love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He once wrote,

“Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of us all. If Christ be ours…all that he has must be ours, and His Mother also must be ours.”

In our daily lives, how do we include Mary? Simply, we must walk with her through faith, humility, and obedience. Through these three elements, Mary walked with Our Lord to the cross. Even though she was wounded, scorned, and in pain, she still walked with Him…and so must we.

One of the points I made above was that she did not speak at the Cross. More likely, she listened. How did she listen? She listened in her obedience. It seems to me that most Catholics want to be faithful and seek humility, but many reject obedience. We can’t follow Our Lord and His Catholic Church, as well as walk with his Mother, if we reject obedience.

In the book, Into Your Hands, Father, the Belgian Carmelite, Fr. Wilfred Stinissen, says the following,

“If God does not will something in every detail of our life, it is up to us to ‘discern the will of the Lord’. To be able to ‘obey’, we must ‘listen’…That is how Mary lived, with her eyes continually turned toward God. Her gaze was one single question, ‘What would you have me do?’”

These words I believe singularly define the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and most distinctly at the foot of the cross. Although I think many of us are fearful to “Behold, your mother”, the words of Jesus to St. John at Cross, this is precisely what we are called to do. We are to walk with Mary through faith, humility, and obedience.

To conclude this reflection, I leave you these words since they wrap up for me exactly what I tried to help you reflect upon today –

“Mary’s Way leads us to Calvary, and from there to the empty tomb. It is not an easy path, but Mary was unafraid. By her faithful and humble life, and by her presence at the cross, she shows us how to overcome the greatest obstacle to the spiritual life, fear. Let us meet her in her pain, her loss, and her grief. Let us choose, then, without fear, to accept suffering into our lives as she did, to welcome the wounds of love. Only in doing so can we also share with her the joy of the Resurrection” (The Prayer of Mary, Keith Fournier).

Stabat Mater Dolorosa…Pray for Us