Non Catholics have a very difficult time with Catholic devotion to Mary.Catholics see no reason not to be devoted to the Mother of God. BTW,that term alone-Mother of God-disturbs a lot of non Catholics.To understand the title we go back in history to the Council of Ephesus:
When Nestorius (c.386 – c.451) was made Patriarch of Constantinople in 428, by the Roman emperor Theodosius II, he opposed the leading, Arian, heresy, but then he found himself embroiled in a new theological conflict over the term theotokos. Nestorius was condemned for heresy at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Nestorius believed that the Virgin Mary gave birth to the human embodiment of Jesus, and as such should be called by a term signifying "person who gives birth to the savior" and not "person who gives birth to a god." The term Nestorius preferred to use for Mary was "christotokos," based on the Greek for 'messiah/annointed one' christos. The prevailing orthodoxy preferred the term "theotokos," based on the Greek for 'god' theos (also seen in "theology"). A theotokos could be giving birth to a god who is a savior, but a christotokos is giving birth to a human savior. Thus the theotokos is in a sense more inclusive. The child of a theotokos could be human and divine, where the child of a christotokos would be human.http://boxerpaw6.wix.com/cpandf Or put it this way:
Jesus is God
Mary is the mother of Jesus
Therefore,Mary is the Mother of GodOtherwise Mary only gave birth to a human Jesus and would not deserve the title.
Catholics exalt Mary because God exalted her first. There are many women in the OT that are role models...many chosen by God that were blessed.None were,as Elizabeth proclaimed to Mary,blessed among women. Mary proclaims that ALL generations will come to call her blessed. I think we can see the difference in how the OT refers to the women God bestowed his blessing on compared to how Mary came to be BLESSED.
Can we put Mary on the same plane as the women of the OT? You would have to ask yourself.Did any of them conceive Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit?
The next question is I'm sure how is it Catholics claim she was immaculately conceived(hence the title the Immaculate Conception).
God is outside of time. We think in terms of space and time. God has no such limitation. God does not go by a calender or clock.Mary was kept from sin because her own Son saved her.The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary with God's message saying,"HAIL FULL OF GRACE." It was why Wordsworth wrote the words,"our tainted nature's solitary boast." The book of Genesis tell us a great deal about Mary.
1. We know from Genesis that she will be a virgin.
2. We know from Genesis that there will be enmity between the woman and Satan. It would have to be total enmity.This is Satan & the one putting enmity,making them total enemies,is God. We know that she will crush the head of the serpent(Satan)."I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.* ."The use of the word they and theirs suggests the verse refers both to the woman and the Messiah,especially since the verse clearly says she will crush the head of the serpent(Satan).Jesus is the New Adam. Mary is the New Eve.She truly is the mother of all the living. We now move into the NT and focus on the Magnificat.
All one has to do is hear Mary's Magnificat to Elizabeth to understand Mary's role. She knows God has exalted her. It is why Catholics exalt her-God did so first. We also know that no one could love Mary more than Jesus. I have no doubt in my mind that Jesus is not offended by our love and devotion to His mother, whom He calls OUR mother.
What better mother than the New Eve,Mary