[Essay Contest 2017] Hyperdulia: The Reformed case for Marian Veneration.
Dulia, or honor, for the saints has a long history in the church catholic. As persuasively argued by a noted Reformed author, Reformed folks already practice dulia when it comes to honoring saints in glory like John Calvin1. That same author lays out a concrete case using the Reformation principal of Sola Scriptura for praying for the saints in heaven to intercede for us2. This is the same Reformation principal I will use to lay out as to why The Theotokos (God-bearer), The Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord, is worthy of the Hyperdulia (supreme honor), as traditionally applied to her in the church catholic.
Premise 1: Where God locally presides on earth is Holy and due honor, which includes concrete gestures that indicate said-honor.
Moses took his sandals off when approaching the burning bush3 . Special precautions were made to make sure that the Ark of the Covenant was not touched and those that disobeyed would die4 . Right after Mother Mary had been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and began carrying our Lord, she visited Elizabeth, who, filled with the Holy Spirit, gave The Holy Virgin a huge litany of honorifics including being called "Blessed among women"5.
Premise 2: God, in Christ, honors Mother Mary in a way particular only to her
The Lord honors those who honor him6 . His honoring of his Mother takes on a particular character, however, as Jesus' honoring of his Mother perfectly is a part of fulfilling the righteousness of the law. In fact, this law is the 'first with a promised attached', that of a long-life in the Land7 . The hyostatic-union means that the Son's humanity and Divinity are forever united–this is the picture of Heaven we see in Revelation of the Lamb who looked as if it was slain. St. Mary remains Jesus' human mother, the giver of his humanity, so the honor he bestows on her is eternal–thus the Son of Man forever continues his long-life in the promised land.
Premise 3: The Church is United to Christ
1 Corinthians 6:17 states this, "But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit."
As Christ's perfect humanity is contingent on his perfect honoring of his earthly mother and as we are united with Christ–one with him in spirit, we are called to honor the Theotokos with the same honor that Christ does. This honor should be articulated in gestures and prayers fitting for one who Christ honors in a truly exclusive way.
3) Exodus 3:5
4) Numbers 4:15
5) Luke 1:39-45
6) 1 Samuel 2:30
7) Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:2-3
Submitted by cnumbers