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Vic Biorseth, Thursday, July
The reason that the Church assigns Our Lady a higher place of reverence than any other Saint is that she is, as Scripture clearly reveals, the Mother Of God; Theotokos in Greek. The whole Church, East and West, have agreed on this from the beginning.
While Jesus Christ was the greatest among human beings, He was also God. Not so Mary. She was wholly human. Yet, she was without sin, and in a spotless state, worthy of intimate relationship with God. How do we know this?
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end."
And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible."
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. --Luke 1:26-38
We know the sinless state of Mary and her virginal state by the first lines of Luke's Gospel above:
Mary was to be the spotless vessel of the Lord our God. She was akin to the Ark of the Covenant, and the Holy of Holies of the Temple, and the Tabernacles in Catholic Churches.
In the Perpetual Virginity of Mary page we showed that James, the brother of the Lord, was not born of Mary and Joseph. He was the Apostle James, whose father was Alpheaeus and whose mother was the sister of the Mother of the Lord, whose name was also Mary, who stood at the cross with Mary and is identified as the mother of James and Joseph. Now, either Alpheaeus or this other Mary may have been siblings of St. Joseph, in which case this "sister" of Mary would be a sister-in-law. Or, she was a cousin.
The original Aramaic language of Galilee had no words for cousins; when translated to Greek, the word cousin was translated into the Greek words for son or daughter. Greek was the language of the Bible.
In any case James was not the son of Our Lady, and if James was not her son, then none of his siblings were her sons or daughters either.
The other aspect that is seldom looked at by non-Catholic detractors of Mary's perpetual virginity is the Jewish culture of the era, in which no man would wed or touch a non-virgin woman, who had been with another man, or who was the wife of another man. And Joseph had been informed by Gabriel, an Angel sent from God, that Mary had been "overshadowed" and made pregnant by the Holy Spirit, and that the child to be born would be the Son Of God.
No contemporary believing Jew in his right mind would ever touch a woman who had been espoused by God. St. Joseph became the absolutely dedicated chaste guardian and provider of Mother and Child.
Luke Chapter 1 continues:
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home. --Luke 1:39-56
The babe that leaped in Elizabeth's womb was John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord, who would make straight His path and prepare His way in this world.
When Mary began the words "My soul doth magnify the Lord", she began the prayer, forever known as the Magnificat, that Catholics have been reciting, probably, since the first Bible was ever published. Perhaps the most beautiful thanksgiving and dedication to the Lord ever uttered by human lips.
From the sinless character of Mary recognized by the universal Church, the Marian doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was developed, and declared dogmatically by Pope Pius IX in 1854, in Ineffabillis Deus.
The dogma states that Mary was conceived without sin, meaning, in a way known only to God, she was conceived without stain even of Original Sin, and thus not in need of Baptism, which takes away original sin, and every other sin. But Mary was sinless, and, as the Angel said, she was "full of grace".
It was a known teaching from the beginning, but not formulated or formalized, or written down. Pius IX simply made it official.
It was a similar situation with the Assumption of Mary. From the Catechism:
2853 Victory over the "prince of this world" was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out." "He pursued the woman" but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring." Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus," since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.
The Traditional teaching which was passed on from generation to generation is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St Modestus of Jerusalem, St. Gregory of Tours and others.
Interest was stirred and it became more researched when Emperor Marcian sought to posses the body of Our Lady, and was told the Tradition by St. Juvenal, Bishop of Chalcedon, at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
The Tradition held that Mary had died in the presence of the Apostles, except for Thomas. When the tomb was opened later at the request of Thomas, it was found to be empty, and the Apostles concluded that Mary's body had been assumed into heaven.
Belief in the Assumption of Mary was held, almost universally, both in the East and in the West, as it is to this day.
As Pius IX had done in 1854 with the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius XII did in 1950 with his declaration of the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, in Munificentissimus Deus. He formalized it and put it in writing.
There is no doubt that Mary is the "Woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" spoken of in Revelation 12:1 and after.
Nor is there any doubt that she is, body and soul, in heaven with God.
Daughter of the Father, Spouse of the Spirit, and Mother of the Son.
And our Mother, too (John 19:26-17).
And all generations shall call her blessed (Luke 1:48).
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death.
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Date: Tue Jul 19 08:10:17 2016
Location: Arvada CO USA
This was a breath of fresh air after listening to the Vortex video on "Bad Mothering" I always enjoy reading about our Blessed Mother. Seems you can never learn enough or hear it too often.
I thought for sure you would have mentioned the forth of the seven last words of Jesus on the cross. ( Behold your Mother) It appears that many Christian links conveniently leave out the part where Jesus introduces the world to His Mother, as our Mother.
Anyhow, thank you, I enjoyed this one.
Date: Tue Jul 19 2016
From: Vic Biorseth
Yes, that may have been an important oversight; I was concentrating more on Our Lady's relationship to God in His Trinity than her relationship to us.
Yes, when He gave His mother to John, and he took her into his home and his care from that very day, she became our mother too, by proxy. Thank you for reminding us.
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The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.—Ayn Rand
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