Praise music from the past: “Mary, Did You Know?”

Here’s the issue I have with this song: The answer is, um, “yes,” to many of the questions posed in the lyrics. Doubtless Mary knew something about the promises in the Scriptures about the Messiah. Also, the Scriptures tell us that the angel informed her of at least some other stuff here.

But here’s the loophole that can be used to make these lyrics make a little less weird: Luke’ s gospel also notes that she did a lot of pondering. A-ha! See, now we can take guesses at what she’s thinking.

The song’s lyrics are written by Mark Lowry, a signer and Christian comedian (?). (I guess that’s a thing.)  Normally I’d do more of a bio section, but I just don’t think this guy is that interesting, so, sorry.

Mark Lowry. If this is Christian comedy, get me far away from it, please. (Promotional photo.)

Anyway, here’s the big question: Can/should this be used at Mass? (I’ve played it once for a choir, if memory serves, and I have a copy of it in case someone wants to sing it.) Turns out there’s a diversity of opinion on this topic. Now, I’m not a theologian, so I cannot vouch one way or the other as to whether these lyrics are heretical. (There are claims floating out there that the writer deliberately wrote one line to counter the Catholic teaching on the Immaculate Conception, but I cannot find anything to substantiate these claims, so Lowry gets the benefit of the doubt.) But these lyrics, to me, don’t pass the stupid test. Based on the things I know about the Visitation and the Nativity, I would feel stupid singing it. I know the answers to some of these questions. So for my money, I can’t recommend doing it at Mass. Do a Magnificat or a better Christmas carol instead. If you want something Marian-related, do “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”


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