September 24, 2018 4:45 PM   Subscribe

I AM THE LORD is basically the biblical equivalent of a mic drop for when God really wants to make a point. Is there equivalent for Mary, Mother of God?

Most of my experience theologically with these sorts of things come from the Protestant traditions with the charismatic churches in particular, so I'm pretty comfortable with what God uses to get his point across hard to humanity, but does the Catholic and Orthodox traditions have something for Our Lady? Does she get a mic drop of some sort? I know she pops into the material world to have a chat with saints from time to time, does she have a sign off of some sort?

This isn't meant with any disrespect, so my apologies if it comes across as such. My limited understanding puts Mary pretty high up there in terms of hallowed figures, and I know she has personal relationships with many saints and holy places and has frequently appeared to mortals.
posted by Jilder to Religion & Philosophy (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At Fatima Mary appeared to Lucia and said, "I am the Lady of the Rosary"; at Lourdes she appeared to St. Bernadette and said, "I am the Immaculate Conception." Mary, in appearing to Catholics and in Catholic practice, has all manner of titles.

I don't know anything about the website I linked to up there (Miracle Hunter, which I had never heard of before now) but that page, which collects a number of Marian apparitions and has transcripts of their messages, should be very helpful in answering any other questions you might have. (For instance, there's an apparition in Rwanda in 1981, which I'm not familiar with, where she introduces herself to a young girl by saying "Ndi Nyina Wa Jambo," that is, "I am the Mother of the Word.".)
posted by Polycarp at 5:26 PM on September 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’m Catholic, and I would say probably not.

I think a major difference is that Mary is always going to be pointing to God rather than her own importance. The most common quotation attributed to her is probably from the Gospel of Luke: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” This is also the first line of the Magnificat, a hymn consisting of Mary’s words in Luke, which is incorporated into liturgy.

I grew up hearing about appearances of Mary. I knew the general content of some of her supposed prophecies at Fatima. I knew of the appearance at Lourdes, but I don’t remember what she said. I wouldn’t have been able to pull a direct quote except for the one above and “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” also from Luke, which is what she said to the angel Gabriel upon being told she was going to bear Jesus. Again, her emphasis is on God, not herself.
posted by FencingGal at 5:43 PM on September 24, 2018 [8 favorites]

I agree that Mary always points to God, but with regard to something she uses for emphasis, I remember (and just verified) that her messages from Medjugorje had a recurring theme of "pray and do not lose hope", "pray for peace" and "pray, pray, pray!"
posted by forthright at 6:19 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think a major difference is that Mary is always going to be pointing to God rather than her own importance.

Also literally in Byzantine icons, where the most common depiction of Mary-as-Theotokos has her pointing to the Christ Child as the path to salvation.

At Lourdes, she proclaimed "I am the Immaculate Conception!", which might come closest. Despite the common confusion, "Immaculate Conception" refers to Mary having been conceived and born without sin. Giving birth to Jesus as a virgin is, well, the virgin birth. So this is one of her few (Catholic) sayings that is exclusively about her.

If you want a Biblical (well, per some denominations) lady mic drop, I can suggest most of the deuterocanonical book of Judith, in which the titular Judith says things like "I am about to do something that will go down through all generations of our descendants"; "Look at their pride, and send your wrath upon their heads. Give to me, a widow, the strong hand to do what I plan. 10 By the deceit of my lips strike down the slave with the prince and the prince with his servant; crush their arrogance by the hand of a woman."; “I will gladly drink, my lord, because today is the greatest day in my whole life.” [before killing 'my lord']; "O Lord God of all might, look in this hour on the work of my hands for the exaltation of Jerusalem. 5 Now indeed is the time to help your heritage and to carry out my design to destroy the enemies who have risen up against us."; and right before beheading a man, "Give me strength today, O Lord God of Israel!”
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:20 PM on September 24, 2018 [5 favorites]

There is also the Catholic tradition of the Assumption of Mary in which, rather than dying, she was assumed bodily into Heaven. Perhaps that’s the ultimate mic drop.

There’s a Wikipedia page with details.
posted by FencingGal at 7:39 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

In the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe, she had appeared to Juan Diego 3 times already and spoke to him in Nahuatl, but the next time he was in a hurry to get to his sick uncle, so he went another way. She appeared to him anyway, and asked “¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?)

Then she healed the uncle, sent Juan Diego to find some roses from Castile which were growing in Mexico in December, and when he showed his cloak to the archbishop there was an image of the Virgin Mary on it.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:16 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're open to other female figures than Mary, you should look into a gnostic poem called The Thunder Perfect Mind.
posted by rjs at 11:51 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I think of Mary and mic drops, I think of verses like Luke 2:19 "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." That's more her style of having the last word. Cf. Luke 1:26-56.
posted by salvia at 5:19 AM on September 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Other possible lady mic drops:

Ruth's declaration of loyalty to Naomi, despite its schlockification for modern weddings, is a pretty powerful statement.

Deborah: the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman CW: violence

And Tamar: “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.” - that one's pretty subtle without context. With context - BOOM.
posted by bunderful at 5:47 AM on September 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I AM THE LORD is basically the biblical equivalent of a mic drop for when God really wants to make a point

Not necessarily. It's a long-standing typographical convention in English bibles that the Hebrew word Yhwh (Yahweh) is rendered as LORD in capital letters. To an English reader, that can look like a form of emphasis, but actually it's a way of distinguishing Yahweh from the other names of God, such as Elohim. In other words, it's not a mic drop, it's just something that bible translators do.

There's a huge scholarly literature on the different Jewish names for God, and why particular biblical passages use one name rather than another. Yahweh is by far the most frequent name, and there are a few passages where 'I am the LORD your God' is used to back up a divine command (e.g. Exodus 20:2, introducing the Ten Commandments). But the famous documentary hypothesis holds that the Torah was assembled from several different textual sources, one (the J-source) using the name Yahweh and another (the E-source) using the name Elohim. So we shouldn't assume that the use of Yahweh carries any special force or authority with it over and above the other names of God. It doesn't necessarily mean that 'God really wants to make a point', even though it may look that way in an English bible because of the use of CAPITAL LETTERS.
posted by verstegan at 5:52 AM on September 25, 2018 [7 favorites]

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising
Fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

Mind you the next bit after that is My soul doth magnify the lord
And my spirit shall rejoice in God my saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaiden
For behold all generations shall call me blessed.

The first bit is from the Song of Solomon so not originally referring to Mary but Catholics have added it on to the Magnificat when prayed by the Legion of Mary. (This is old school Catholicism by the way. I've always liked that powerful introduction to a prayer that is, as said above, pointing away from Mary towards god. Which is to say that Catholicism has manifested as more or less Marian according to the times.)
posted by glasseyes at 7:26 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

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