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Tim Peterson wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • I'm curious, why do Catholics hail Mary over John the Baptist?

Does not Luke 7:28 say:

28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; ...

Luke 7:28

Tim

  { Why do Catholics hail Mary over John the Baptist? }

Paul replied:

Tim,

Catholics can and do pray to St. John the Baptist, but we say "Hail Mary, full of grace..." because we are imitating the angel Gabriel at one of the most important moments in the history of creation, the Annunciation of the Incarnation: God becoming man.

Mary, being the mother of God incarnate, has an irreplaceable role in Jesus' life, as well as in ours, by virtue of being members of Christ's body enshrining His Spirit. A mother is the mother of her whole child, not just His Head. Mary showed her motherly intercessory power before Christ, her Son, in the Gospel of John, chapter 2:3-10; and she has served as our mother and intercessor ever since.

So the Hail Mary prayer is simply a combination of the angel's greeting and Elizabeth's greeting found in Luke 1:42, coupled with a petition for her motherly intercession.

At the same time, feel free to pray to John the Baptist or any of the other saints in Heaven.

Paul

Eric replied:

Tim —

Jesus was referring to the prophets (verse 26). i.e., among the prophets, John the Baptist is the greatest, but he is less than the least in the kingdom of God. (Luke 7:28b)

He obviously cannot be greater than anyone, otherwise you'd have a contradiction (he's greater than those who are greater than him).

Hope this helps,

Eric

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