"May that bright and gentle Lady, the
Blessed Virgin Mary, overcome you with her sweetness, and revenge herself on
her foes by interceding effectually for their conversion." - Cardinal
John Henry Newman
"And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of
Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy
Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed [art] thou among
women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb. And whence [is] this to me, that
the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy
salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And
blessed [is] she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those
things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify
the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded
the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations
shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and
holy [is] His name." - Luke 1:41-49
"And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They
have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine
hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith
unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the
manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up
to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor
of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the
water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew
the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith
unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men
have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine
until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana
of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his
disciples believed on him." - John 2:3-11
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be
delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red
dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And
his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the
earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered,
for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man
child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught
up unto God, and [to] his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where
she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand
two hundred [and] threescore days." - Revelation 12:1-6
Catechism of the Catholic Church says on "The Virgin Mary:"
64. "Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of
salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for
all, to be written on their hearts. [Cf. Is 2:2-4 ; Jer 31:31-34 ; Heb .] The prophets proclaim a radical
redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a
salvation which will include all the nations. [Cf. Ezek 3:6; Is 49:5-6; Is
53:11 .] Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope.
Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and
Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's
salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary. [Cf. Ezek 2:3 ; Lk .]"
148. "The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith.
By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel,
believing that 'with God nothing will be impossible' and so giving her assent:
'Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be (done) to me according to your
word.' [Lk 1:37-38; cf. Gen 18:14.] Elizabeth
greeted her: 'Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of
what was spoken to her from the Lord.' [Lk
.] It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed. [Cf. Lk
273. "Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty
power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself
Christ's power. [Cf. 2 Cor 12:9 ; Phil .]
The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that
'nothing will be impossible with God', and was able to magnify the Lord: 'For
he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.' [Lk 1:37,
487. "What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it
believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its
faith in Christ."
490. "To become the mother of the Saviour, Mary 'was enriched by God
with gifts appropriate to such a role.' [LG 56.] The angel Gabriel at the
moment of the annunciation salutes her as 'full of grace'. [Lk .] In fact, in order for Mary to be able
to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it
was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace."
491. "Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that
Mary, 'full of grace' through God, [Lk
.] was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of
the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a
singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of
Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of
original sin. [Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854): DS 2803.]"
492. "The 'splendour of an entirely unique holiness' by which Mary is
'enriched from the first instant of her conception' comes wholly from
Christ: she is 'redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the
merits of her Son'. [LG 53, 56.] The Father blessed Mary more than any other
created person 'in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places'
and chose her 'in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and
blameless before him in love'. [Cf. Eph 1:3-4 .]"
493. "The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God 'the
All-Holy' (Panagia), and celebrate her as 'free from any stain of sin, as
though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature'. [LG 56.] By
the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life
long. 'Let it be done to me according to your word. . .'"
494. "At the announcement that she would give birth to 'the Son of the
Most High' without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded
with the obedience of faith, certain that 'with God nothing will be
impossible': 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be (done) to
me according to your word.' [Lk 1:28-38 ; cf. Rom 1:5 .] Thus, giving her
consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine
will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she
gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order
to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's
grace: [Cf. LG 56.] As St. Irenaeus says, 'Being obedient she became the
cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.' [St. Irenaeus,
Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.] Hence not a few of the early Fathers
gladly assert. . .: 'The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's
obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by
her faith.' [St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.]
Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary 'the Mother of the living' and
frequently claim: 'Death through Eve, life through Mary.' [LC 56; St.
Epiphanius, Panarion 2, 78, 18: PG 42, 728CD-729AB; St.
Jerome, Ep. 22, 21: PL 22, 408.]"
495. "Called in the Gospels 'the mother of Jesus', Mary is acclaimed
by Elizabeth, at the prompting of
the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as 'the mother of my Lord'.
[Lk ; Jn 2:1 ; Jn ; cf. Mt
; et al.] In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit,
who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the
Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church
confesses that Mary is truly 'Mother of God' (Theotokos). [Council of Ephesus
(431): DS 251.]"
496. "From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has
confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in
the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event:
Jesus was conceived 'by the Holy Spirit without human seed'. [Council of the
Lateran (649): DS 503; cf. DS 10-64.] The Fathers see in the virginal
conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity
like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second
century says: You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of
the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and
power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us
in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly
risen. [St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn 1-2: Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B.
Lightfoot (London: Macmillan, 1889), 11/2, 289-293; SCh 10, 154-156; cf. Rom
1:3; Jn 1:13.]"
497. "The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus
as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: [Mt
1:18-25 ; Lk 1:26-38 .] 'That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit',
said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee. [Mt .] The Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine
promise given through the prophet Isaiah: 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and
bear a son.' [Is vLXX;
quoted in Mt
498. "People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark's
Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus' virginal conception. Some
might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs
not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal
conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension
of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; [Cf. St. Justin, Dial. 99, 7: PG 6,
708-709; Origen, Contra Celsum 1, 32, 69: PG 11, 720-721; et al.] so it could
hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to
the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith,
which understands in it the 'connection of these mysteries with one another'
[Dei Filius 4: DS 3016.] in the totality of Christ's mysteries, from his
Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch
already bears witness to this connection: 'Mary's virginity and giving
birth, and even the Lord's death escaped the notice of the prince of this
world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God's
silence.' [St. Ignatius of Antioch,
Ad Eph. 19, 1: AF 11/2 76-80: cf. 1 Cor 2:8 .]"
499. "The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church
to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth
to the Son of God made man. [Cf. DS 291; 294; 427; 442; 503; 571; 1880.] In
fact, Christ's birth 'did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but
sanctified it.' [LG 57.] And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as
Aeiparthenos, the 'Ever-virgin'. [Cf. LG 52.]"
500. "Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the
Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. [Cf. Mk 3:31-35; Mk 6:3; 1 Cor
9:5; Gal .] The Church has
always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the
Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, 'brothers of Jesus', are the sons of
another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls 'the
other Mary'. [Mt 13:55; Mt 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56 .] They are close relations of
Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression. [Cf. Gen 13:8 ; Gen 14:16; Gen
501. "Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends
to all men whom indeed he came to save: 'The Son whom she brought forth
is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the
faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother's
love.' [LG 63; cf. Jn 19:26-27; Rom ;
502. "The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation
the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of
a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive
mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men."
503. "Mary's virginity manifests God's absolute initiative in the
Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. 'He was never estranged from
the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally
Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his
humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.' [Council of Friuli
(796): DS 619; cf. Lk 2:48-49.]"
504. "Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb
because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: 'The first man
was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.'[1 Cor ,47.] From his conception, Christ's
humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God 'gives him the Spirit without
measure.' [Jn .] From 'his
fullness' as the head of redeemed humanity 'we have all received, grace upon
grace.' [Jn 1:16; cf. Col
505. "By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the
new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. 'How can this
be?' [Lk 1:34; cf. Jn 3:9.] Participation in the divine life arises 'not of
blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God'. [Jn
1:13.] The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the
Spirit's gift to man. The spousal character of the human vocation in relation
to God [Cf. 2 Cor 11:2.] is fulfilled perfectly in Mary's virginal
506. "Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith
'unadulterated by any doubt', and of her undivided gift of herself to God's
will. [LG 63; cf. l Cor -35.] It
is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: 'Mary is
more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives
the flesh of Christ.' [St. Augustine, De virg. 3: PL 40, 398.]"
507. "At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most
perfect realization of the Church: 'the Church indeed. . . by receiving the
word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she
brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a
new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and
purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.' [LG 64; cf. 63.]"
I will begin by paraphrasing St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Is it better
to honor Mary too much or too little? If one is a sin - which would be
more forgivable in the eyes of God? St. Bernard thought it better to be
guilty of honoring her too much as Christ will forgive a person for honoring His
Mother (if it were indeed a sin which it is not).
Below is the prayer "Sub Tuum Praesidium" from the 4th century.
As one can see from it, the early Christians who were being persecuted by the
Romans put their trust in the Mother of God as well as God Himself. Why
shouldn't we today? The most popular Marian prayer among Catholics today
is the "Hail Mary." Most of this prayer is taken directly from
Scripture (see Luke
and 42). Is it a sin to recite Scripture? The rest of the
prayer only asks for Mary to pray for us as sinners. Is that a sin?
In addition, Jesus Christ performed His first public miracle at the
"intercession" of His mother (John 2:1 ). Why would
that change now that she has joined Him in Heaven?
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is
Blessed are you among women and blessed
is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
the 4th century
We turn to you for protection, holy Mother of
Listen to our prayers and help us in our needs,
glorious and blessed Virgin!
PERPETUAL VIRGINITY OF MARY
"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those
who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was
born she was joined as one with her husband." - St. Augustine of Hippo (early 5th century)
Does the word "till (until)" in the following passage mean a
cessation of Mary's virginity after the birth of Christ?:
"And (Joseph) knew her not TILL she had brought forth her firstborn
son: and he called his name Jesus." (Matthew 1:25)
If it is true that Mary's virginity ceased after the birth of Christ, then
using this same "flawed" logic, Christ's reign will end at some point
according to the following passage:
"For he must reign, TILL he hath put all enemies under his feet."
(1 Corinthians 15:25)
However, this cannot be true as the following passage contradicts that one
when using this line of logic:
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven,
saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of
his Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever ." (Revelation
So "till (until)" cannot mean that the state of Mary's virginity
stopped for if that were so Christ's reign would also end.
According to history and the writings in the catacombs, the early
Christians called Mary "the Virgin Mary" or "the Blessed
Virgin" or "the Virgin." Why would the early Christians continue
to call her a "virgin" if she was no longer so? A person
does not continue to state "my unmarried brother" after that
brother has married.
In addition, Ezekiel 44:2 states that the "gate" in which
the Lord passes is closed further for others. Does this not apply to the
Blessed Virgin Mary's womb through which Christ passed during His birth?
All of the initial Protestant Reformers (Zwingli, Luther and Calvin) interpreted
this passage to mean that Mary's virginity continued after the birth
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon
me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for
his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness
for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10) Obviously, this is a
prophetic reference to Jesus Christ (i.e., "piercing" as described in
And it is definitely stated in this Scriptural passage that he is an "only
son" yet He is also "firstborn." The two do not contradict
each other as certain "Bible" Christians claim. Firstborn means
just that "the first to be born." It does not preclude
"the only to be born" also.
If Mary is the daughter of the Father (Luke 1:28), is the mother of
Christ (Acts 1:14), then is she not the spiritual bride of the Holy
Spirit as that is Who made her with child (Matthew 1:18 )? For Jesus
certainly was "legitimate," for Scripture states Jesus Christ
was "made under the law" (Galatians 4:4). Yet St.
Joseph and the Virgin Mary were not married when
Christ was conceived ("made") (Luke ). Consequently, the Holy Spirit must be
the "spiritual" husband of Mary, otherwise Christ would have been
illegitimate. If the Holy Spirit is the "spiritual" husband of
Mary, then would she not be "in essence" committing adultery if she
and St. Joseph were to have
sex? Therefore, both Mary and St. Joseph
must have remained chaste during their marriage. For they had to raise
and serve Jesus (God) as their son and it is better to remain chaste when one
is to serve the Lord (1 Corinthians ).
Scripture states it is best to remain chaste (1 Corinthians 7:1) and to
live as if one does not have a spouse (1 Corinthians 7:29). This
is exactly what both the Blessed Virgin Mary and St.
Joseph did. They were called by God while in
"the state of virginity" and that is the state in which they remained
(1 Corinthians ).
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused
you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2
Corinthians 11:2). How can Mary who was "espoused" to one
husband (St. Joseph) also remain a
"chaste virgin" (as she did according to Catholic teaching) if she
actually had sex with St. Joseph as
some non-Catholic Christians teach?
At this point, I will quote the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas
Aquinas regarding the virginity of Mary after the birth of Christ:
Third Part, Question 28, Answer 3
Whether Christ's Mother remained a virgin after
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ's Mother did not remain a virgin
after His Birth. For it is written (Mt. ):
"Before Joseph and Mary came together, she was found with child of the
Holy Ghost." Now the Evangelist would not have said this---"before
they came together"---unless he were certain of their subsequent coming
together; for no one says of one who does not eventually dine "before he
dines" (cf. Jerome, Contra Helvid.). It seems, therefore, that the Blessed
Virgin subsequently had intercourse with Joseph; and consequently that she did
not remain a virgin after (Christ's) Birth.
Reply to Objection 1: As Jerome says (Contra Helvid. i): "Although this
particle 'before' often indicates a subsequent event, yet we must observe that
it not infrequently points merely to some thing previously in the mind: nor is
there need that what was in the mind take place eventually, since something may
occur to prevent its happening. Thus if a man say: 'Before I dined in the port,
I set sail,' we do not understand him to have dined in port after he set sail:
but that his mind was set on dining in port." In like manner the
evangelist says: "Before they came together" Mary "was found
with child, of the Holy Ghost," not that they came together afterwards:
but that, when it seemed that they would come together, this was forestalled
through her conceiving by the Holy Ghost, the result being that afterwards they
did not come together.
Objection 2: Further, in the same passage (Mt. ) are related the words of the angel to Joseph: "Fear
not to take unto thee Mary thy wife." But marriage is consummated by
carnal intercourse. Therefore it seems that this must have at some time taken
place between Mary and Joseph: and that, consequently she did not remain a
virgin after (Christ's) Birth.
Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i): "The
Mother of God is called (Joseph's) wife from the first promise of her
espousals, whom he had not known nor ever was to know by carnal
intercourse." For, as Ambrose says on Lk. 1:27: "The fact of her
marriage is declared, not to insinuate the loss of virginity, but to witness to
the reality of the union."
Objection 3: Further, again in the same passage a little further on (Mt.
, 25) we read: "And" (Joseph) "took unto
him his wife; and he knew her not till she brought forth her first-born
Son." Now this conjunction "till" is wont to designate a fixed
time, on the completion of which that takes place which previously had not
taken place. And the verb "knew" refers here to knowledge by
intercourse (cf. Jerome, Contra Helvid.); just as (Gn. 4:1) it is said that
"Adam knew his wife." Therefore it seems that after (Christ's) Birth,
the Blessed Virgin was known by Joseph; and, consequently, that she did not
remain a virgin after the Birth (of Christ).
Reply to Objection 3: Some have said that this is not to be understood of
carnal knowledge, but of acquaintance. Thus Chrysostom says [Opus Imperf. in
Matth., Hom.1: St. John Chrysostom] that "Joseph did not know her, until she
gave birth, being unaware of her dignity: but after she had given birth, then
did he know her. Because by reason of her child she surpassed the whole world
in beauty and dignity: since she alone in the narrow abode of her womb received
Him Whom the world cannot contain."
Others again refer this to knowledge by sight. For as, while Moses was speaking
with God, his face was so bright "that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold it"; so Mary, while
being "overshadowed" by the brightness of the "power of the Most
High," could not be gazed on by Joseph, until she gave birth. But
afterwards she is acknowledged by Joseph, by looking on her face, not by
Jerome, however, grants that this is to be understood of knowledge by
intercourse; but he observes that "before" or "until" has a
twofold sense in Scripture. For sometimes it indicates a fixed time, as Gal.
3:19: The law "was set because of transgressions, until the seed should
come, to whom He made the promise." On the other hand, it sometimes
indicates an indefinite time, as in Ps. 122:2: "Our eyes are unto the Lord
our God, until He have mercy on us"; from which it is not to be gathered
that our eyes are turned from God as soon as His mercy has been obtained. In
this sense those things are indicated "of which we might doubt if they had
not been written down: while others are left out to be supplied by our
understanding. Thus the evangelist says that the Mother of God was not known by
her husband until she gave birth, that we may be given to understand that still
less did he know her afterwards" (Adversus Helvid. v).
Objection 4: Further, "first-born" can only be said of one who
has brothers afterwards: wherefore (Rm. ):
"Whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be made conformable to the
image of His Son; that He might be the first-born among many brethren."
But the evangelist calls Christ the first-born by His Mother. Therefore she had
other children after Christ. And therefore it seems that Christ's Mother did
not remain a virgin after His Birth.
Reply to Objection 4: The Scriptures are wont to designate as the first-born,
not only a child who is followed by others, but also the one that is born
first. "Otherwise, if a child were not first-born unless followed by
others, the first-fruits would not be due as long as there was no further
produce" [Jerome, Adversus Helvid. x]: which is clearly false, since
according to the law the first-fruits had to be redeemed within a month (Num.
Objection 5: Further, it is written (Jn. ): "After this He went down to Capharnaum,
He"---that is, Christ---"and His Mother and His brethren." But
brethren are those who are begotten of the same parent. Therefore it seems that
the Blessed Virgin had other sons after Christ.
Reply to Objection 5: Some, as Jerome says on Mt. 12:49, 50, "suppose that
the brethren of the Lord were Joseph's sons by another wife. But we understand
the brethren of the Lord to be not sons of Joseph, but cousins of the Saviour,
the sons of Mary, His Mother's sister." For "Scripture speaks of
brethren in four senses; namely, those who are united by being of the same
parents, of the same nation, of the same family, by common affection."
Wherefore the brethren of the Lord are so called, not by birth, as being born
of the same mother; but by relationship, as being blood-relations of His. But
Joseph, as Jerome says (Contra Helvid. ix), is rather to be believed to have remained
a virgin, "since he is not said to have had another wife," and
"a holy man does not live otherwise than chastely."
Objection 6: Further, it is written (Mt. 27:55, 56): "They were
there"---that is, by the cross of Christ---"many women afar off, who
had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him; among whom was Mary
Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons
of Zebedee." Now this Mary who is called "the mother of James and
Joseph" seems to have been also the Mother of Christ; for it is written
(Jn. ) that "there stood by the cross of Jesus, Mary His
Mother." Therefore it seems that Christ's Mother did not remain a virgin
after His Birth.
Reply to Objection 6: Mary who is called "the mother of James and
Joseph" is not to be taken for the Mother of our Lord, who is not wont to
be named in the Gospels save under this designation of her dignity---"the
Mother of Jesus." This Mary is to be taken for the wife of Alphaeus, whose
son was James the less, known as the "brother of the Lord" (Gal. ).
It is written (Ezech. 44:2): "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be
opened, and no man shall pass through it; because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it." Expounding these words,
Augustine says in a sermon (De Annunt. Dom. iii): "What means this closed
gate in the House of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What
does it mean that 'no man shall pass through it,' save that Joseph shall not
know her? And what is this---'The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by
it'---except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of
angels shall be born of her? And what means this---'it shall be shut for
evermore'---but that Mary is a virgin before His Birth, a virgin in His Birth,
and a virgin after His Birth?"
I answer that, without any hesitation we must abhor the error of Helvidius, who
dared to assert that Christ's Mother, after His Birth, was carnally known by
Joseph, and bore other children. For, in the first place, this is derogatory to
Christ's perfection: for as He is in His Godhead the Only-Begotten of the
Father, being thus His Son in every respect perfect, so it was becoming that He
should be the Only-Begotten son of His Mother, as being her perfect offspring.
Secondly, this error is an insult to the Holy Ghost, whose "shrine"
was the virginal womb ["Sacrarium Spiritus Sancti" (Office of B. M.
V., Ant. ad Benedictus, T. P.)], wherein He had formed the flesh
of Christ: wherefore it was unbecoming that it should be desecrated by intercourse
Thirdly, this is derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God's Mother: for
thus she would seem to be most ungrateful, were she not content with such a
Son; and were she, of her own accord, by carnal intercourse to forfeit that
virginity which had been miraculously preserved in her.
Fourthly, it would be tantamount to an imputation of extreme presumption in
Joseph, to assume that he attempted to violate her whom by the angel's
revelation he knew to have conceived by the Holy Ghost.
We must therefore simply assert that the Mother of God, as she was a virgin in
conceiving Him and a virgin in giving Him birth, did she remain a virgin ever
MOTHER OF GOD
"If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God, such a one is a stranger to the Godhead." - St.
Gregory Nazianzen (390 A.D.)
"And so you say, O heretic, whoever you may
be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord
Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotokos, i.e., Mother of God, but
Christotokos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God. For no one, you say,
brings forth what is anterior in time. And of this utterly foolish argument
whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and
fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human
reasoning...." - St. John Cassian (5th century A.D.)
This is a very appropriate title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. For in Luke
, St. Elizabeth calls
her this exact title: "And whence is this to me, that the
mother of my Lord (emphasis mine) should come to me?" Lord is
with a capital "L" meaning "God." So why do most
non-Catholic Christians not accept this as a proper title for Mary when the
title comes from Scripture Itself? For if Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:1)
and the Son of God is God also (Hebrews 1:8) and Mary is Jesus's mother
(Acts 1:14), then ergo: Mary is the Mother of God.
Since Mary is the mother of Jesus (John 2:1-3; Acts ), how did Jesus honor His mother
as per the Ten Commandments (Exodus )?
Here's how - He made her Queen of Heaven, He created her without sin, He made
her our mother (John
), He made her mother of the Church and He made her the mediatrix of all
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION AND THE SINLESSNESS OF MARY
"The Blessed Virgin never committed any
actual sin, not even a venial one. Otherwise she would not have been a
Mother worthy of Jesus Christ; for the ignominy of the Mother would also have
been that of the Son, for He would have had a sinner for His Mother." - St.
Thomas Aquinas (1274 A.D.)
If Mary is "blessed among women," does that not mean that she is
greater than any woman that is born, had been born, or will be born? If
this is so, why would she not be free from original sin? If she is greater than
Eve and Eve was created without original sin, then why wouldn't Mary also be
conceived (created) without original sin? Where does Scripture state that
every grace has to be given while on this earth? Mary was given grace as
the Mother of God before she was even born (prevenient grace).
Yes, God is her Savior (Luke 1:47) - He saved her from every
sin, including original sin.
Let us examine the phrase "full of grace" as it is applies to
Mary (Luke 1:28). For the Greek word used in this passage is
"kecharitomene" which means not just "highly favoured one"
(as commonly interpreted in Protestant versions of the Bible), but
"completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace." Thus,
the word "full" means that Mary cannot encompass any more of God's
graces. If God cannot give her anymore graces than she already has, then
He must have given her every grace possible. Is it even possible for Mary to
sin after receiving all of these graces from God? Conceivably, no.
Scripture also states that angels are superior to men (Luke 20:36;
Hebrews 2:7; 2 Peter 2:11) so why would a superior being (the archangel St.
Gabriel) "hail" (salute, honor or praise) Mary (a
"supposed" inferior being)? If this honor is given to Mary as
Scripture states, then Mary must be greater than the angels.
Who else can the following passage be speaking of except Mary? The
woman in this passage is "spotless" (i.e., immaculate; without sin):
"Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee." (Song of
What Christian would not give the grace of sinlessness to his/her mother if
he/she had the power to do so?
What Christian would not bring his/her mother into Heaven, body and soul,
if he/she had the power to do so?
These Marian doctrines are not "non-Scriptural" as many
non-Catholic Christians seem to believe. Jesus Christ was only fulfilling
the Fourth Commandment (Exodus )
to "honor" His mother by giving her these unique graces and
privileges. To say Christ did not give these graces to His mother when it
was possible for Him to do so, is to accuse Him of a sin of omission against
the Fourth Commandment. Therefore, since Christ did not sin (Hebrews ), Mary has to be sinless and was
assumed into Heaven for God Himself would not disobey one of His own
And, to this day, Christ continues to obey His own commandment by allowing Mary
to be our mediatrix, the dispenser of His graces and to share in His
omniscience to hear the millions of daily prayers addressed to her.