Mary as Mother of God
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus… therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. [Emphasis mine.]
“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman…” [Emphasis mine.]
Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.
“Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be Emmanuel.”
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God… to a virgin betrothed… and the virgin’s name was Mary.”And then there is the dialogue between Mary and the angel at the annunciation that leads to the miraculous “overshadowing” of Mary by the power of God. (Luke1:35.)
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. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.
Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. 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” They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
Finally, some would argue that if the marriage between Mary and Joseph was never consummated, then it would not have been a true marriage or would have been unnatural. However, the essence of the marriage bond between husband and wife is their complete and unconditional gift of self and union of the heart, of which the physical union is a concrete sign. If for a good and holy reason husband and wife should choose to refrain from relations, either for a time or permanently (under exceptional circumstances), this would not invalidate a marriage or affect its true bond, which is rooted not in the physical but in the spiritual union of the spouses.
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. It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: [St. Augustine taught:] “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”
The Immaculate Conception
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. “Full of grace”, Mary is the most excellent fruit of redemption: from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life.
Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, 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, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.The splendor 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. 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 theworld, to be holy and blameless before him in love.
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. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians.Finally, Mary’s assumption serves as an eschatological sign (pointing to things to come in the afterlife)… she reminds us of the perfected Church we will become in heaven, as she is an icon of the Church both now and in the future.
The Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.
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