Q: How often does Mary speak in the Bible?

A: There are all together four different occasions when Maryís words are recorded in the Bible. They are found in the gospels of Luke and John. Luke gives an account of the Virginís dialogue with the angel at the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-38), her encounter with Elizabeth and her Magnificat (Lk 1:46-56), and the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple (Lk 2:41-52). John describes Maryís intervention at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-11).

In her dialogue with the Angel Mary spoke twice. In reply to the Angel's message she asked:

"How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Lk 1:34)

Having received insight into God's plan Mary gave her consent:

"I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." (Lk 1:38)

After having been greeted by her cousin Elizabeth, Mary intoned her Magnificat, her song of praise, in which she recounts Godís intervention in her own life as well as the fulfillment of God's promises made to Abraham.

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." (Luke 1:46-55)

The next time Mary's words are recorded in the Bible was when the boy Jesus, at the age of twelve, remained and was found in the Temple. His mother's words expressed distress and grief:

"Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." (Lk 2:48)

The final time we come across Mary's words in the Bible is depicted in the fourth gospel. John narrates Mary's involvement in Jesus' first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Here we have Mary speak twice. Turning to her Son she said:

"They have no wine." (Jn 2:3)

Trusting that Jesus would prevent the embarrassment of those newly wed from happening, she told the servants:

"Do whatever he tells you." (Jn 2:5)

Mary's very last word rendered to us from Scripture point to her Son.  There are many more occasions where Mary appears in the Bible pointing or pondering her Son. Although she does not speak her presence, attitude and fidelity to Him give eloquent testimony of who she is. For example:

Mark 3:31

Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. (Mary is presented here as model of one who believes and follows Jesus as His mother and disciple.)

Luke 2:7:7

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:22. 34f.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. ... Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

John 19:25ff.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Acts 1:14

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

In conclusion, from the twenty-seven books in the New Testament only two (or 8%) render words spoken by Mary. Together with the other occasions which report about Mary in the Bible, these words allow us to catch a glimpse of who she is:  the only human person who accompanied Our Lord from crib to cross and who through her presence in the nascent church continued to give witness of Him after His ascension.

That means there are twenty-five books of the New Testament (or 92%) that have no recorded words from Mary at all.


Author: Sister M. Danielle Peters


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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Sister M. Danielle Peters , was last modified Tuesday, 10/21/2008 12:57:57 EDT by Omar Memon . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.