Was Mary Saved?

by Joe Heschmeyer
From Shameless Popery

The Immaculate Conception (Murillo)

A Protestant friend of mine related his struggle with the Catholic view of Mary’s sinlessless, because Mary herself expressed that she needed a Savior, in Luke 1:46-47, when she proclaimed at the start of the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

I think that there’s a simple response to this, which we find in Psalm 30:3, in which David proclaims, “You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; You spared me from going down to the pit.” In that verse, David describes two different forms of salvation: God saves him from “the realm of the dead” by taking him out once he’s already in there. But He saved him from “the pit” by preventing him from going in the first place.

Think of sin as a mud puddle. The usual way that we talk and think about God’s salvation is the first way: He washes us free from the mud we’re caked in. But He can also save by keeping us from sinning in the first place. If He couldn’t, we wouldn’t pray, “lead us not into temptation” in the Our Father.

Of the two forms of salvation, which is more perfect? The answer is obvious: it is more perfect to be saved from falling into sin then it is to be permitted to fall in, and repaired afterwards. So, for example, in Psalm 22:21, when we hear the Psalmist cry, “Save me from the mouth of the lion,” there are two ways that God could answer this cry: by taking him out of the lion’s mouth, or by preventing him from being ensnared at all. Both forms are salvation, but the second is the more perfect salvation. So yes, Mary is saved in the Catholic view. And in fact, she’s saved more perfectly than anyone else, because she’s saved even from the temporary pain and self-damage of a life of sin.

To understand the majesty and the power of the Redemption, look at the lives of two people: Mary and St. Paul. In someone like Paul, we see the depth of the forgiveness of the Redemption: he killed Christians, but was brought out of his grave sins by the love of Christ, and forgiven a large debt (Luke 7:47). This shows us that how low the Lord can reach to pull us out of sin. In someone like Mary, we see the beauty of a life without any sin, venial or mortal, original or actual. Remember, this is the way mankind was intended to live from the beginning, in God’s Sovereign design. This is how He originally made Adam and Eve. And this is the life we’ll live in Heaven. So if Paul shows how low God can reach to save us, Mary shows how high He can elevate us.

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8 Responses to Was Mary Saved?

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    The orthodox theology concerning Mary’s lack of Sin is subtle.

    The simple and commonly used explanation is that Mary was free of even Original Sin.

    The more theologically precise one is that she was as involved with Original Sin the same as every man and woman born except for Jesus ; but that an especial and particular Grace of God preserved her from any harm nor any particular sins being created by any of her actions during her lifetime. That no harm and no moral suffering at all was ever provided by Mary, due to a particular attention and Grace provided to her by God.

    So that Original Sin had no effect whatsoever either upon Mary’s soul, or from Mary’s actions, notwithstanding that she does not enjoy the divine perfection of being utterly free of this Sin, which is an attribute of God alone.

    The only effect of her Original Sin that can be pinpointed is that she was capable of suffering and of pain, Mater Dolorosa, although she was preserved by Grace of being herself a cause of suffering and pain. Which is unique, but nevertheless unlike the divine perfection of Jesus’ complete and total absence of any sin whatsoever.


  2. Toadspittle says:

    Logically, if all humans have original sin, then Mary, a human, had it as well. But if that is so, then surely that would imply, etc, etc.
    Subtle indeed.
    And will resolving this seemingly irrelevant paradox make us better people?
    Toad is not complaining. This is the stuff CP&S is made of, in part and we take it or leave it.
    Just another impossible thing to believed before breakfast.


  3. Toadspittle says:


    (…and the words, “more perfect” will continute to stick obstinately in his pedantic little green craw.)


  4. The Raven says:

    “…and the words, “more perfect” will continute to stick obstinately in his pedantic little green craw.”

    Why is that,Toad, they seem to pass easily through this less perfect raven’s craw?

    Happy New Year, by the way!


  5. JabbaPapa says:

    There’s no actual logical paradox, toad.

    As to “more perfect”, this is “perfect” in its classical sense, where it is not an absolute, but a quality – therefore allowing for a comparative usage.


  6. Toadspittle says:

    Yes, but what is the nature of a “perfect” quality, Jabba?
    On second thoughts, let’s just move on to a more perfect discussion.


  7. JabbaPapa says:

    “accomplished” is not a synonym, but it’s close in meaning to the classical sense of the word.


  8. Jerry says:

    Interesting discussion, and a bit beyond my ken. Fascinating to see Toad waxing theological.
    How’s that for a platitude jabba? 😉


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