I am a Christian who recently became very interested in the Catholic faith. I am curious how the Catholic community responds to these verses, which seem to bring to question the "blessedness" of Virgin Mary.

Luke 11:27-28:

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

I have minimum knowledge about the Catholic conception of Mary. Please also help me clarify, if it pertains to your response to these verses.


It simply means that Mary is blessed not only for bearing the flesh of Christ, but most of all because she heard the word of God and obeyed it.

"Mary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ, than in conceiving the flesh of Christ. ... For his brothers, his relatives according to the flesh who did not believe in him, of what advantage is that relationship? Even her maternal relationship would have done Mary no good unless she had borne Christ more happily in her heart than in her flesh." (Of Holy Virginity -3 - St. Augustine).

Please note that in the preceding verse a women acclaims, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!". Jesus is correcting that women by saying that bearing Him and nursing Him is of no importance.....

In His answer He did not disgrace His mother, but showed that His birth would have profited her nothing, had she not been really fruitful in works and faith. - St. Chrysostom

...Rather the blessedness of Mary (Luke 1:48) is because of her Fiat...

She was the mother of God, and therefore indeed blessed, in that she was made the temporal minister of the Word becoming incarnate; yet therefore much more blessed that she remained the eternal keeper of the same ever to be beloved Word. - St. Bede

  • and I would add, because she heard the word of God and obeyed it, His birth have profited her too. – Grasper Feb 23 '15 at 18:32

I was considering that verse several weeks ago and thinking that it could be Jesus saying "Yes, my mom Mary IS blessed, and so are any others who emulate her in hearing God's message and submitting to it in obedience!" (Especially in view of the Annunciation and Mary's game-changing "Yes" in response). And the original languages seem to bear this out.

The Greek word "menoun", which is translated as "rather" there in the ESV, can sometimes mean "on the contrary" but can also mean "indeed". Also, I don't think the Old(er) English usage of "rather" automatically connoted the former as strongly as it does today anyway—hence the KJV "Yea rather", perhaps. In any case, English translations are divided on that verse, with several more modern English versions making the affirmative very clear: https://biblehub.com/luke/11-28.htm

  • Almost all the English translations seem to be correcting rather than affirming. If you could add more insight from the Greek, that would be appreciated. Noting that menoun could mean two opposite meanings (rather vs indeed) in English elicits more development and support. Also, welcome to the site! I hope you will stick around and continue contributing good content. – Alex Strasser Apr 29 at 8:08

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