Devotion to Mary in Paul’s Epistles

Q: Why don’t we see more Marian devotion in Paul’s epistles?

A: Two reasons. First, Paul was not writing devotional works for his audience. He was writing theological and pastoral documents to patch crises that were going on in the different local churches. The amount of devotional material in his letters is small compared to the amount of doctrinal and moral material, and none of his epistles is a devotional meditation on anything, much less on Mary.

Second, Mary was still on earth during most or all of the time Paul was writing his epistles (the last of which was penned in the early to mid-A.D. 60s). Because of this, if a person wished to ask Mary to pray on his behalf, he would have to go to Jerusalem (or wherever else Mary traveled) and ask her personally. Since Mary was not yet in heaven, she did not yet have the ability (apart from a special miracle) to be aware of prayer requests made from the far corners of the globe.

Mary was thus primarily the subject of local rather than global devotion at the time, seeing as how there were no telephones, faxes, or email to easily let her know of devotion people in distant lands had to her and to her example. Only after she was elevated to the realms of glory and she had access to far more information than is possible on earth did a global devotion to her develop.

The same is true with virtually all the saints, and in a sense is even true of Jesus–who before he was glorified was also primarily the subject of only local (to Israel) devotion (ironically, since he, of course, always had access to all information through the omniscience of his divine consciousness). Nobody thought to “pray to him at a distance” while he was on earth, though he actually would have had the ability to receive such a prayer.

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