I'm mainly interested in an Orthodox or Catholic response. Although any protestant denomination which has a high Mariology is welcome to answer (eg Anglocatholics, high church Lutherans). If your denomination teaches that Mary "was just an ordinary women" then this question isn't for you: please don't bother answering.

Mary is seen as the supreme and perfect example of theosis (to use an Orthodox term). She is said to have maximum justification, maximum sanctification, maximum glorification. She experiences the beatific vision to the maximal extent possible for a created human being. She is as full of God's grace as it is possible to be. Fr Sergius Bulgakov once said that to look at Mary is to look at the Holy Spirit, for she is the most perfect and direct manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, almost like a second incarnation (but don't worry, he didn't actually go that far and call her a second incarnation).

It is common Catholic teaching that Mary is "Mediatrix of all graces", which means that all the gifts of God to us also pass through her. My understanding of this doctrine is that Mary is up in heaven constantly praying for us, and that her will is so perfectly aligned with the will of Christ that she only prays for things which God desires, and therefore every one of her prayers is directly answered. Therefore, every single grace that God sends to us is also associated with a prayer from Mary, as she is always praying for God's will to be done exactly as it actually gets done.

Part of theosis is that you become God by participation in the divine nature, while remaining human in essence. Presumably by becoming God by participation you also adopt some of the divine attributes. It seems to me that Mary would share in God's omniscience because she is perfectly divinized and able to pray continuously for exactly those things and everything which God himself desires ("all Graces"). But to do this it would seem that she needs to know everything that God knows, so that she can pray accordingly (otherwise it would be possible for her to pray in a way which is not in accord with God's will due to her ignorance and therefore she would be imperfect and not the mediatrix of all graces)

Does all this mean that Mary participates in God's omniscience?

  • How can one use private revelation to substantiate that Mary may be omniscient when the teachings of the Church do not require us to believe in private apparitions or revelations in the first place, even if appproved?
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 21, 2018 at 12:53
  • Yes, Jesus built His Church with the aid of prophets in private revelations."Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:"(Ephesians2:20) The Church Marian approved apparition helps a lot in discerning the sign of times. The Church was given authority by Jesus in approving private revelations and it has a Divine Purpose like Divine Mercy revelations. I will post an answer.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/maryd8.htm Oct 22, 2018 at 0:18
  • @marianagustin The Prophets of the Old Testament form part of Divine Revelation, all others are in the sphere of private revelation.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 22, 2018 at 23:58
  • Old Testament has no Pope & Church to bind & loose. Jesus founded a Church and gave them power.Saints, Mystics and Martyrs visions were given to inspire the Church and bring more clarity to Church Vision.The Church having the faculties and power are equipped to declare and approve a private apparition and revelation and this will form part of the Faith of the Church. The 2000 years Church Tradition states, the Church guided by the Holy Spirit cannot err.So, when it approved a private revelation it contains Divine Truth and Revelation needed by the Church for it's salvific mission.. Oct 23, 2018 at 0:48

4 Answers 4


Whether Mary has no share in the Omniscience of God

Objection 1 it would seem that Our Lady partakes in God's divine nature by the singular fact that prayers addressed to her are proven efficacious time and again;

... pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

... Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

... Pray for us, oh Holy Mother of God; that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Prayers for the recited in liturgies for the saints saints are usually asked to be heard "In Jesus' Name".

Objection 2 furthermore, it is necessary to be present to the one to whom we are addressing prayers

Through his Word, God speaks to man. By words, mental or vocal, our prayer takes flesh. Yet it is most important that the heart should be present to him to whom we are speaking in prayer: "Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls."

CCC 2700

If your prayers are addressed to Mary, then you must request her presence in the communion of saints. If you recite the "Hail Mary" as a mental prayer, then she must be able to listen to our thoughts.

Objection 3 Mary, is the Channel of Grace (i.e. Mediatrix of all Graces) therefore, she has a share in all divine plans because all grace flows from the source through her. Therefore Grace flows into our souls through unseen powers that she must be a party to. Because these powers are invisible and unrestrained, we must refer to them as omniscient.

On the contrary, Mary's glory is not in being omniscient, or sharing in any of the mighty attributes of God alone.

The Mother of God was above the angels as regards the dignity to which she was chosen by God.

Summa Theologica - 3rd part, Question 30, Article 2, Reply to Objection 2

I answer that even being greater than the angels does not necessarily put her closer to the infinite power of God; just the closest to the infinite power of God. If we see the Holy Spirit in her, it is because she best reflects the Holy Spirit.

the Virgin Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity. Thus she is a "preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church"; indeed, she is the "exemplary realization" (typus) of the Church.

CCC 967

She is a model for the Church because of this, if she were omniscient, she would cease to be a model and become an idol.

Reply to Objection 1 Prayers to Mary are unique because of her "singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit".

Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.

CCC 2679

This isn't participation in God's omniscience, it is still asking for her intercessory prayers. But it is on an very intimate level. We trust implicitly that prayers addressed to Our Lady will find favor with God; and it is through the grace of God that this is done.

Reply to Objection 2 clearly if this were true of Mary, it would be true of all the Saints in Heaven who are the subject of intercessory prayer and is the general case of Objection 1 ignoring the fact that prayers to other saints are often done "In Jesus Name" 1.. Ipso Facto, prayers addressed to Mary are a special case - but does it require omniscience to read thoughts?

No, for this is a charism given to the saint by God as evidenced by St. Pio's ability as a confessor to read hearts.

To this task he brought an advantage that few confessors have, the ability to read hearts. Padre Pio's charism enabled him to know when someone was being deceitful in confession or simply had forgotten a serious sin, perhaps through lack of an adequate examination of conscience. In such cases he was able to tel the penitent exactly what they did and when, as well as any relevant circumstances.

EWTN - Padre Pio - Confessor

And no one claimed that Padre Pio could read all souls - just those who came to him in the confessional. Therefore it doesn't require Omniscience (which is total) to read a soul or hear thoughts.

Reply to Objection 3 again, drawing on the previous answer, Mary as the Mediatrix of all Graces, if proclaimed as the Fifth Marian Dogma might fit in as a 5th charism of Our Lady defined by the Church. Being the Mother of God and having a Virgin Birth didn't make her Omnipotent; Her Assumption did not make her Omnipresent; Her Coronation as Queen of Heaven and Earth only confirmed her Benevolence, but did not make her Omnibenevolent. Therefore there is no reason to believe that her role as Mediatrix would make her Omniscient.

However, the confirmation of the would be a great step forward in opening our hearts to God's omnipotence

The fifth Marian dogma would certainly improve the world situation through the prayers of Mary to her divine Son.


It will make Catholics realize that just as Mary, through the merits of Jesus Christ, has become co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate for the whole human race, we too share in Mary’s threefold roles for the salvation of humankind.

Zenit Daily Dispatch - Interview With Syro-Malabar Cardinal Vithayathil

1. St. Thomas would have probably posited these in an alternate order

  • 1
    Your answer follows an interesting format. Is it a direct quote from the summa? Or are you just emulating St Thomas' style? (I suspect the later because you are including quotes from EWTN and the CCC, and I'm fairly sure St Thomas didn't have access to these resources :p) Jan 25, 2017 at 4:15
  • @TheIron yeah it's my cutsey way of answering the harder questions; feel free to downvote if I restated your question wrong .
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 25, 2017 at 4:18

No creature can be omniscient. Mary participates in God's knowledge to the greatest extent that a human person is capable, but that is still necessarily a limited participation. So no, she is not omniscient.

  • 2
    Welcome! To correct a common misconception, this isn't a discussion forum – it's a Q&A site with a specific format, which means that answers need to directly answer the question asked. In this case, that means providing the view of the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. It doesn't sound like you have answered from that perspective, but if you have, please add sources that back up your statements here. Thanks! Aug 11, 2018 at 0:25


Definition God's knowledge of all things. Revelation discloses that the wisdom of God is without measure (Psalm 146:5). And the Church teaches that his knowledge is infinite.

The primary object of divine cognition is God himself, whom he knows immediately, that is, without any medium by which he apprehends his nature. He knows himself through himself.

The secondary objects of divine knowledge are everything else, namely the purely possible, the real, and the conditionally future. He knows all that is merely possible by what is called the knowledge of simple intelligence. This means that, in comprehending his infinite imitability and his omnipotence, God knows therein the whole sphere of the possible.

He knows all real things in the past, present, and the future by his knowledge of vision. When God, in his self-consciousness, beholds his infinite operative power, he knows therein all that he, as the main effective cause actually comprehends, i.e., all reality. The difference between past, present, and future does not exist for the divine knowledge, since for God all is simultaneously present.

By the same knowledge of vision, God also foresees the future free acts of the rational creatures with infallible certainty. As taught by the Church, "All things are naked and open to His eyes, even those things that will happen through the free actions of creatures" (Denzinger 3003). The future free actions foreseen by God follow infallibly not because God substitutes his will for the free wills of his creatures but because he does not interfere with the freedom that he foresees creatures will exercise. (Etym. Latin omnis, all + scire, to know.)


The short understanding of Omniscience is to have knowledge of all things past,present and future.

Is Mary omniscient (by participation, not by nature)?


Mary is Omniscient by participation and by God's design on the Divine Plan of Man's Salvation.

Mary's predestination

CCC488 "God sent forth his Son", but to prepare a body for him,125 he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary":126

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life."

To understand fully the knowledge of God or to become Omniscient in the Divine Plan, one must possessed the Holy Spirit.

1.Mary is Omniscient by Her FIAT to the Will of the Father in his Divine Plan. Mary's FIAT reveals the Will of the Father.

2.Mary is Omniscient by participation in the Redemptive Mission of Christ. Mary's gave the Logos Her Immaculate body to accomplished His Redemptive Mission to DWELL with us.

3.Mary is Omniscient by submission to the Salvific Mission of the Holy Spirit Mary gave Her Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart to the Holy Spirit to INDWELT Her.

4. Jesus uses Mary's Immaculate Body for our Redemption, and the Holy Spirit dwelt in the Her Immaculate Heart to work-out the Salvation of all the Redeeemed.

5. Mary's role and presence is defined from book of Genesis to Revelation. Genesis3:15 to Revelation 12:1-5

6. God made a Holy Decree a "perennial enmity" between the Woman vs. serpent.(Genesis3:15)

7. Mary is Queen of all things. Sovereign Queen of all the Angels & Saints (CCC966)

CCC966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."508 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.5

Mary accepted fully the Will of the Father communicated thru the Logos by the Angel Gabriel in the Annunciation;

Lastly, Mary was Omniscient because God crown Her "Sovereign Queen over all things" The Holy Spirit "Overshadowing at the Annunciation and the Anointing She Received at the Upper Room" made Her Omniscient participation in fullness.

To possessed the Holy Spirit means a share in the knowledge of God. Mary said "I AM" the Immaculate Conception means Mary's pure soul was prepared by God to received the overflowing graces of God to fulfill Her Role in the the Divine Plan of Man's Salvation. And in order to fulfill the Divine Plan, Mary was "ANOINTED" to received the graces just like Jesus was "ANOINTED" in eternity to accomplish the Will of the Father. Remember the Name expressed your God given mission, both Jesus & Mary's name was conceived in eternity.That's why Lucifer and his demons must bow down not only in the Name of Jesus but also in the Holy Name of Mary as confessed by demons in Exorcism Rite.(Fr.Amorth and Fr.Bamonte books & testimony)

CCC486 The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is "Christ", that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples.123 Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."

The profound mystery of St.Liguori's word pointing to Mary as the "another Advocate" means the Anointing of Holy Spirit would be send to the Mother of the Redeemer for the Salvation of all the Redeemed. Jesus the Redeemer after He ascended into Heaven will now ask the Father thru His powerful intercession as Mediator to send the Holy Spirit to the Theotokos to 'Anoint" Her as the "another Advocate".

This Wisdom is only grasp by means of Spirit as St.Paul said;

"The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

Corinthians 2:14 New International Version (NIV)

In closing I will leave the words of St.Faustina;

"Mercy is the flower of Love. in Love it is conceived, and in deeds it is revealed."

Mary conceived the Love/Jesus and Her Motherly action expressed the Mercy of God, as the Church proclaimed Her Mother of Mercy.

But Mercy is called the flower of Love, what does it mean.

That means we can only ascend and enter God's Kingdom thru God's Mercy and since it a "flower" it mysteriously reveals why the Holy Rosary is a Rose.

The Salvation of man is written in the symbol of a flower, the Holy Rosary is the Mercy of God.

"Sweet Heart of Mary be my salvation" (Pieta Prayer booklet)


Is Mary omniscient (by participation, not by nature)?


The direct answer is, if we embraced the "quasi-incarnation" teaching of St.Kolbe then the "omniscient power of Mary is by virtue of the profound mystical union of Mary & the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit is fully & perfectly acting in Mary's surrendered "freewill". The "union of wills" is in perfection.

For a complete answer on "quasi-incarnation" please see my answered link;

Is "quasi-incarnation" been attributed to mystical union of the Holy Spirit and Mary?

Mary is "omniscient" by participation, She merited the Sevenfold Gifts of the Holy Spirit "At the Foot of the Cross" (Co-Redemptrix). and the fullness of this gifts was poured At the Upper Room.

Mary was anointed and became the Mother of the Church, and this title was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI and recently elevated by Pope Francis into a Feast for all Catholics faithfuls to celebrates.(CCC963)

963 Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. "The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is 'clearly the mother of the members of Christ' . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head."502 "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.

Mary although a mere creature like, a lowly handmaid as She sees herself was formed by the Holy Spirit into a new creature, a fitting holy vessel for the Logos. She became the First Tabernacle of God, and the Church Father's teaches Mary is the "New Ark of the Covenant".


Our bodies can become the Temple of the Holy Spirit as scriptures teaches us;

The Temple of the Holy Spirit

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.(1Corinthian6-19-20)

Possessing the Holy Spirit will make you Omniscient, but the question is how?

The key is in the Book of Wisdom;

"For the spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows whatever is said."(Wisdom 1:7)

The Sevenfold Gifts of the Holy Spirit thru the offering of Mary's "Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart" united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus redemptive mission merited all the gifts won by Christ. As St.Louis De MOntfort teaches all the graces won by Christ is channeled or was given to Mary, the Mother of the Church to dispense according to Her Motherly mediation. Mary Mediatrix of All Graces. (CCC969)

969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."

How can this be true? Jesus the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity was carried in Her most pure womb.

"The Highest Heavens cannot contain God whom you carried in her womb" (Book of Kings)

The Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary being depicted as Seven Sorrows corresponds to Seven Pillars. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the Door on which the Holy Spirit enters. (St.Louis De Montfort "True Devotion to Mary)

Mary gave Her "flesh & blood" to the Logos, and Her Immaculate Heart is intimately united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Holy Eucharist "transfigured" the Immaculate body of the Blessed Virgin Mary into a "glorified body" that transcends time & space like the resurrected body of Jesus. (Our Lady of the Pillar Apparition).

CCC1000 This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christ's transfiguration of our bodies:

Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection

Mary gave and thru Her Sorrows merited to "house" the Wisdom emanating from the Throne of God. She is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She "enflesh' the Holy Spirit. St. Maximillian Kolbe describes the mystical union of Mary & the Holy Spirit as "possessed', meaning Her thoughts, words & actions are fully animated by the Holy Spirit.

Mary's First fiat At Annunciation is for Man's Redemption and Her Second fiat at the Foot of the Cross - "Woman,behold your son" - is for Man's Salvation.

Mary fully embraces the Divine Will of the Father in the Salvation of Man.

The Most Holy Trinity fully resides in Her being.
This is clealry manifested in the Annunciation.

Mary accepted first the Will of the Father.

The Holy Spirit Overshadowed Her.

Then the Logos was formed in Her Womb.

Fully embracing the Trinitarian Life makes Her partaker of the omniscient power of the Most Holy Trinity by following the Will of the Father and living the abiding presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Mary is Co-Redemptrix,Advocate & Mediatrix of all Graces (Pending Fifth Dogma)

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    Spiritually rich answer, though I find it difficult to see how it answers the question. I have tried to fix the numerous format errors and improper usage. Also note that typing in all capitals is considered 'shouting' in internet based discussion, so those instances were rendered in more acceptable form. Aug 28, 2018 at 0:38
  • I will try to arrange it to addressed directly the question.I have now a matured understanding on the mystical union of Mary & the Holy Spirit thanks to St.Kolbe "quasi-incarnation". Mary is omniscient by participation, She merited the gifts At the Foot of the Cross being Co-Redemptrix that's the only way for the Sevenfold Gifts to dwell fully & perfectly in Her being.Seven Sorrows is the Seven Columns in Proverbs.9:1. I will amend my answer. Aug 28, 2018 at 0:49

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