- Slides: 30
Mary Mother of God Eve's 'no' to God closed the gates of heaven to all people. But, what EVA did AVE undid. Mary's role in salvation is foreshadowed from the very beginning of revelation
In the book of Genesis, God tells Satan: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Gen 3: 15) The woman referred to here is Mary, the offspring is her Son, Jesus Christ
Whatever the Catholic Church says about Mary must somehow be tied to the original deposit of faith. In other words, the Church cannot decide to make up new truths.
Little is known of her personal history from the New Testament. According to Luke, she was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Luke 1: 32).
According to the Gospel of James (which, though not considered part of the New Testament, contains biographical material about Mary widely accepted by Orthodox and Catholic Christians) she was the daughter of Joakim
In Christianity and Islam, Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ and the betrothed of Joseph. Mary (Miriam) is mentioned by name in each of the Gospels (except the Gospel of John) and in the Quran. It is generally agreed that she was a young woman when she first became a mother, and that she died between three and 15 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, while betrothed to Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah while remaining a virgin (Luke 1: 35).
Joseph was told in a dream (Matt. 1: 18 -25) of her condition, and took her to his own home.
After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zacharias at a considerable distance from Nazareth. Immediately on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Luke 1: 4656). (This hymn is commonly known as the Magnificat. ) After three months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home.
Soon after this, the decree of Augustus (Luke 2: 1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah 5: 2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth and “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. ” (Luke 2: 6 - 7). Her son was called Jesus (Matt. 1: 21), because he was to save his people from their sins.
This was followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt. 2). Mary apparently remained in Nazareth for thirty uneventful years.
During these years only one event in the history of the Holy Family is recorded, viz. , Jesus’ going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, where he was found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2: 41 -52). Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not mentioned again.
Mary was also present at the inauguration of Jesus' public ministry when, at the marriage in Cana, her intercession led to the first public miracle performed by Jesus (John 2: 111)
After this point, there is little mention of Mary in the Gospels until we find her at the cross along with Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (John 19: 26).
Of the roughly 100 people in the upper room after the Ascension on the day of Pentecost, she is one of the handful who are named (Acts 1: 14). From this time she wholly disappears from the historical biblical accounts.
Her death is not recorded in Scripture. According to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, between three and fifteen years after Christ's Ascension, in either Jerusalem or Ephesus, she died while surrounded by the apostles. Later when the apostles opened her tomb, they found it empty and concluded that she had been bodily assumed into Heaven.
The Assumption of Mary
The Assumption of Mary is a Roman Catholic doctrine, and to a lesser degree it is also taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Pope Pius XII proclaimed this doctrine on November 1, 1950. This dogma states that the "Immaculate Virgin, " the mother of Jesus, "after the completion of her earthly life was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven. " This means that after her death, Mary was resurrected and taken up into heaven, body and soul. The doctrine further states that Mary was glorified in heaven and is "exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things. "
For Orthodox and Roman Catholics alike, Mary's assumption, i. e. , the lifting up of her body into Heaven after her death, is seen as a concrete and present instance of the resurrection of the body; a belief asserted by virtually all Christians in the creeds, yet often replaced in the popular imagination by a more shadowy spiritual immortality.
Every time we pray the Apostle's Creed we say "He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. . . "Isaiah prophesized this when he wrote "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7: 14)
In Catholic tradition, Mary is referred to as the Virgin Mary because of the doctrine of her perpetual virginity: even after giving birth to Jesus she never had sexual relations with her husband, Joseph, and never gave birth to more children. Many Protestants also believe that Mary remained a virgin, but for most it’s not a doctrine of faith.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary In 1854, the Pope Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in these words, "The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin" (Ineffabilis Deus, Dec 8, 1954).
While all of us are brought forth into the world 'damaged', from the beginning, she is set apart. The angel Gabriel greets her by saying "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Lk 1: 28). She must have been in a state of grace from the very beginning. She was redeemed by anticipation.
At the Third Ecumenical council, the Council of Ephesus, it was decided that it was entirely appropriate to refer to Mary as the Theotokos, a Greek word which can be translated as "God bearer" or "Mother of God. " This was to emphasize that Mary's child, Jesus Christ, was in fact God. She is often referred to as "Theotokos" in Eastern Orthodox hymns.
She is also one of the most highly venerated saints in both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church; several major feast days are devoted to her each year. Protestants have generally been less enthusiastic about the cult of the Virgin than their Catholic and Orthodox cousins, often arguing that if too much attention is focused on Mary, there is a danger of detracting from the worship due to God alone.
Let us make it clear that we Catholics do do not worship the Virgin Mary. We honor the Virgin Mary in a special way for being the Mother of God and because of her closeness to her Divine Son, Jesus Christ.
Both Roman Catholics and Orthodox make a clear distinction between such veneration (which is also due to the other saints) and worship, which is due to God alone. Mary, they point out, is not in herself divine, and has only such powers to help as are granted to her by God in response to her prayers. Such miracles as may occur through Mary's intercession are ultimately the result of God's love and omnipotence.
We go to her as a means to draw closer to her Son, and her spouse, the Holy Spirit. All the graces and miracles that flow through her originate from her Son. The greatest way to honor our Mother in the faith is to love and worship her Son Jesus.
The Second Vatican Council urges us to not take extremes when talking about Our Lady: "This Synod earnestly exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word that in treating of the unique dignity of the Mother of God, they carefully and equally avoid the falsity of exaggeration on the one hand, and the excess of narrow mindedness on the other. . . let them rightly explain the offices and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which are always related to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity, and piety’ ( Constitution of the Church, 67).