Mary in the Bible

There are some that say that the Bible really says very little about Mary. However, that is quite contrary to the truth. There are actually a lot of references to Our Lady. For some of these references, you have to do a little bit of digging.

    Let’s start at the beginning of the Bible. She is first mentioned in Genesis 3:15, as the Woman whose offspring (Jesus) will crush the head of the serpent (Satan).

    Genesis 3:15:
    “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.”

    We see her, again, in a prophecy in the book of Isaiah.

    Isaiah 7:14:
    “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

    However, we find most of our references to Mary in the Gospels, probably mostly because she lived during the time that the New Testament depicts to us. We see many glimpses into the mystery of this masterpiece of God’s creation. Catholics hold that Mary was born free of sin thus making her fit enough to bear God’s only son. First, she is greeted by the Angel Gabriel. How did the Angel greet her?

    Luke 1:28:
    “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!”

    This translation is very familiar to Catholics and the Bible, but let’s take a look at how other translations read Luke 1:28.

    KJV:
    “…Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

    RSV:
    “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

    NIV:
    “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

    It seems a great deal of effort is being put in place to minimize Gabriel’s greeting to her. However, we can know that the greeting was unusual and astounding because of Mary’s reaction to it no matter what translation one uses.

    Luke 1:29:
    “But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.”

    What those other translations take great pains to hide is that Gabriel said she was “full of grace”. It was, indeed, an unusual greeting. What does this passage mean? It means she was 100% filled with sanctifying grace, with no blemish on her soul. It means that we have proof of her immaculate conception (which is when she was conceived by her mother and not when she conceived Jesus).

    What else does the Bible say about Mary?

    It tells us that she is the mother of God in no uncertain terms.

    Matthew 1:20:
    “But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’”

    Matthew 2:11
    “…and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

    Obviously if you are already a Christian then you know that this worship is not in vain since we are all taught that Mary was the mother of Jesus.

    And here is another Catholic favorite:

    Luke 1:41-43:
    “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!! [emphasis added] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

    Now, if Mary is “just another woman,” why would Elizabeth be in awe that she was granted a visit from “the mother of my lord?” It just doesn’t make sense that if Mary is any old person and not to be revered in some way that she is treated with such respect and has many honors bestowed upon her such as being “full of grace” and the other examples given.

    The Bible shows us that Mary was the perfect example of obedience and humility.

    Luke 1:38:
    “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.”

    It tells us how Mary meditated on all of God’s words and actions.

    Luke 2:19:
    “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

    It tells us that Jesus was obedient to her.

    Luke 2:51:
    “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.”

    It tells us that Jesus first Public miracle, even before His time, was performed because she asked it of Him.

    John 2:3-10:
    “When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.’ So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water it now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.’”

    Some say that Jesus was rebuking Mary by calling her “woman,” but that is another issue best left for another time.

    It tells us how Mary was anguished when she could not find her son for 3 days.

    Luke 2:46-49:
    “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’”

    It tells us that she came to see Him while He ministered.

    Matthew 12:46:
    “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.” *Note: “brothers” here means relatives…i.e. cousins
    [related: Brothers of Jesus?]

    It tells us that a “sword would pierce her soul” (her pain of Christ’s passion), in order that the heart’s of many would be revealed!

    Luke 2:34-35:
    “…and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.’”

    It tells us that “all generations would call her “blessed” yet this is not carried out today by some “Christians” as they tend to disregard Mary as ever being important.

    Luke 1:48:
    “…for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”

    It tells us that Mary stood at the very foot of the cross as her Holy Son died. And He gave her to us as a spiritual mother.

    John 19:25-27:
    “So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

    It tells us that when the apostles prayed in the upper room that, again, she was with them.

    Acts 1:13-14:
    “…and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”

    She is mentioned, yet again, by Paul.

    Galatians 4:4:
    “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…”

    Finally, we reach the book of Revelation where she is shown most compellingly in chapters 11 & 12. It is here, that we are given an eye-opening view of just who she is. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant.

    Everything in the OLD Covenant is a foreshadowing of the new. The Ark of the Covenant held the ‘Word of God’, both in the OLD Covenant (the Torah) and the new (Jesus). Read the first few lines of the Gospel of John. Jesus is the Word, the Word made flesh, so wouldn’t he deserve an ark as well? The Ark was so holy it wasn’t even to be touched. Those who had the Ark with them were never defeated. Make no mistake, The Ark of the Covenant, and the queen of the apostles (the 12 stars in Revelation) is Mary.

    Revelation 11:19-12:2:
    “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.”

    We know that the woman is Mary because we can see who her son is.

    Revelation 12:5:
    “She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne…”

    Then, we are told that the dragon wages war with HER and HER children, who are the true believers of God.

    Revelation 12:17:
    “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.”

    This last passage not only shows proof of Mary in the Bible and her importance, but it shows that all followers of Christ, all Christians, are children of Mary as well as we already know that we are children of God. The grammar and syntax of that passage do not say otherwise. “Her offspring” refers to the statement that immediately comes after the comma of that statement. “Her offspring” are the followers of Jesus Christ. We are new people reborn in Christ through baptism, thus his Father becoming our Father and only logically his mother becoming our mother.

    It is all there in the Bible. You see, for reasons I can not explain, some people are so convinced that Catholics worship Mary, that they overreact and commit what I feel is a grave sin. Mary is reduced to the role of an insignificant player in God’s plan that God used and then threw away! People like to say that none of this is on the Bible, but it was clearly demonstrated above that many and all Marian ideas are straight from Scripture! Now, I ask you? Can you think of a single other example, in Scripture, where God uses someone once then casts them aside like yesterday’s newspaper?

    While you ponder that, here are a few other things to may make one stop and think about for a moment:

    1. The Bible says Jesus “… grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. ” (Luke 2:40) Who taught him, and helped Him grow strong? While realizing that He had a Divine nature, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that He was fully human as well! He was a human who had to learn to talk, to walk and, yes, even to pray. This paradox seems inconceivable to us, but Scripture tells us that Jesus was like us IN ALL THINGS except sin. So Mary bore Him, fed Him, clothed Him, bathed Him and taught Him; all the things a mother would do. And some would like to go on like none of this is important.
    2. Jesus was the perfect man. As the perfect man, He would have perfectly obeyed the law, yes? Well, the law (Torah) says “honor your father and mother.” Jesus would not only honor her, but He would do it perfectly. If Jesus, the perfect man (and God) honors Mary, how can we do wrong by doing so? Now, some will say Catholics cross the line and worship Mary but that’s absurd and results from an incorrect view of worship.
    3. Jesus is the only person, in all of history, with the ability to choose His mother. That He chose Mary is reason enough for me!

    Comments

    1. APA says

      Mary rejoiced and said, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior(Jesus)”. Luke 1:47
      Mary knows that only Jesus could save her from the bondage of satan which is on all flesh, she confessed his name as her personal Savoir, Savior is the only one who saves from bondage of death.

      John says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an(one) advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2
      Jesus intercedes for every flesh, he interceded even for mary and for you and me too. He is the one and only righteous advocate and interceder for every flesh.

      “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Jesus Christ does not belong to him”. Romans 8:9, Everyone who posses Jesus spirit belongs to him, even mary belongs to Jesus, because those who belongs to Jesus surely has his spirit. Those who have spirit of Jesus they are called saints, Those who does not posses spirit of Jesus will not enter Heaven, since they have not become saint by possessing Jesus spirit.

      Mary received Spirit of Jesus on the day of Pentecost, becuase she knows her personal savior.

      “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” John 3:13
      “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also”. John 14:3
      Please understand no one entered heaven except Jesus, he will come again and everyone will go at same time in heaven after he comes and takes us. Even mary does not enetered heaven, she is eagerly waiting for Jesus.

      “we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive in spirit, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
      All saints have not precede before us into heaven, because all are waiting for the coming of the Lord, even mary who is alive in spirit waiting for Jesus for his second coming. Everyone will enter heaven at the same time.

      “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Yes everyone will receive this when Jesus comes in his second coming, even our beloved mary have to receive this gift like everyone.

      “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35
      let the beloved Sisters in christ becomes mother(like mother mary) and sister for Jesus by following his words and brothers let us become brother for Jesus, he is in every relationship for us, he is also a good friend for us.

      Let us worship only God and Holy Spirit is the only one who interced for us, from within us. Those who have holy Spirit they are called Saints, Wish every saints. Halleluiah

    2. Randy says

      What I’ve always wanted explained to me (not that it matters a whole lot i am a christian), if all the teachings of the catholic church about Mary is true then why are there not references to what they say to do. What i mean is if we are to pray to Mary , to her or ask her to pray for us, why didn’t Jesus give an outline of how to do this. What are the criteria that lets you know whether you are to pray to Mary or straight to God, or to Jesus. If i were ever to believe that i should pray to her or ask her to pray for me I would definitely want some guidelines on how to make sure she hears me. I have enough proof that God hears me just fine and i really don’t need Mary.

      • Mike Peterson says

        Randy:

        As Catholic Christians, and not “Protester” christians, we believe what Jesus said when he said the Church was the pillar and bulwark of the Truth. He left us a church and not the Bible. His Church had 59 Popes before it gave the Bible to the world. The Church taught about the reverence due to the first person to accept Jesus Christ, Mary and to the woman who nurtured him he staid with until the day he ascended into heaven. I think I will continue to believe the Church and not the 30,000 sects and millions of individuals that have been created by individual interpretation of the Bible.

        The Apostles in their writings said to hold fast the to the Written words and to Tradition (oral) that we taught you. All of the early Church fathers, some taught by the Apostles themselves believed or accepted what the Catholic Church taught because Jesus himself said it would be without error and would be here until the end of time. It is still here and 500 years from now after Non-Catholics continue to implode to where one day every one will believe something completely different because of Sola Scriptura , the Catholic Church will still be here because Jesus prayed that it would.

        Jesus did not tell the Apostles to write anything and he did not write anything. The Church is her wisdom through the holy spirited decided to declared the 27 books of the NT inspired and inerrant out of almost 300 was was debated on.

        As a convert and after reading the History of Christianity , I could not believe that everything I was taught by the Baptist preachers in the churches about Catholicism was a lie and if they knew that was not true , was blasphemy against the Church Jesus started. It was one thing to not to agree with the Church but another to lie about it and teach others to lie about it.

        To read History is to stop being Protestant.

        We hope and pray , just like Jesus did, the the Unity of his Church will one day happen again. It lasted for 1500 years until Martin Luther ( btw Luther completely endorsed the veneration of Mary) was enticed by something unknown to break away from the Church.

        We know that many Protestants , who have been saved by Baptism, and who do not die in a state of mortal sin will inherit the eternal life. But how much greater this life on earth would have been to be in complete fullness with Jesus Christ.

        Peace be with you.

        • APA says

          “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11 (NRSVCE).

          From the above scripture we can see seven churches. Churches are many, so there is no need for an argument that there is only one church. If u take Greek orthodox churches, they say they are more older than Roman Catholic church, ya its true. But, Syrian Orthodox Churches says, they are even more older than Greek orthodox churches, which is established by Peter. Its all true.

          But, what is church mean?
          Its not the buildings like Greek orthodox churches buildings, Syrian Orthodox Churches buildings, St.peter’s church building or Roman catholic churches buildings, Lutheran Churches buildings, Anglican churches buildings and Pentecostal churches buildings. Meaning and Etymology of the word Church is: its an assembly, gathering, ecclesiastical. Its not the building but grouping of people, that it means.

          Church is different from temple.

          We can gather in any place in the name of Jesus that is called church, even if two or more stands in street and pray in the name of Jesus that is also called Church.

          Many are fighting that I am this church, I am that church, but what Apostle Paul says about Divisions in the Church
          “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas (Peter),” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?. (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

          This what happening today in the name of church denominations. Those who say that I am belong to that denomination or this denomination, they only belong to denominations but not to Jesus Christ. Let us leave the names of denominations, but we have to say that we are Christian or followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ cannot be divided by the name of denominations.

          “For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?
          1 Corinthians 3:3-4

          “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11.

          So, The foundation is only Jesus Christ.

          The early churches was gathered in Jerusalem(started in Jerusalem first), Damascus(Syria, where Paul goes to trouble the Christians) & Antioch (which is also in Syria), Alexandria(Egypt), Turkey (which was Asia province, where Paul preached), Greek(where Paul preached), Cyprus island(where John saw Revelation) and Rome(where Paul and Peter preached lastly and died).

          Truth is true Christians are strangers for this world, they have headquarters in heaven but not in earth.

          “You are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. Matthew 23:8-10.

          But many christian religious leaders are against this above verse of Jesus.

          “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24.
          church which is wrongly meant by many christian people as a building is not required for our God to be worshiped. Those buildings cannot be called sacred place.

          Thus says the Lord:
          “Heaven is my throne
          and the earth is my footstool;
          what is the house that you would build for me,
          and what is my resting place?
          All these things my hand has made,
          and so all these things are mine,
          says the Lord.
          But this is the one to whom I will look,
          to the humble and contrite in spirit,
          who trembles at my word.
          Whoever slaughters an ox is like one who kills a human being;
          whoever sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
          whoever presents a grain offering, like one who offers swine’s blood;
          whoever makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.
          These have chosen their own ways,
          and in their abominations they take delight. Isaiah 66:1-3

          from the above verse God does not requires man made things.

          Further scripture says:
          “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

          Each one is called living temple for God.

          “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

          2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says like this
          “The Temple of the Living God
          Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar(satan)? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
          “I will live in them and walk among them,
          and I will be their God,
          and they shall be my people.
          Therefore come out from them(idol worshipers, immorality peoples),
          and be separate from them, says the Lord,
          and touch nothing unclean(idols);
          then I will welcome you,
          and I will be your father,
          and you shall be my sons and daughters,
          says the Lord Almighty.”

          Dear bothers and Sisters let us walk in Spirit and Truth, repenting from our ignorance and shall walk in the way to heaven through the word of god.

      • says

        Praying rosary is reading bible together with a prayer becos wat said in rosary is frm bible, for dos ask why should catholic ask mary to help dem beg God I see it very very good becos is like telling a mans of God to help u in prayer, if it means bad to do so, dat mean also bad to tell any one help u beg God someting. If u ask why not Jesus told us to pray rosary den i’m also asking you dat is’t not only (Our Father in heaven:)just read mtt 6 vs 9-13, and tell me why should u add other things?

      • JT says

        If we were to follow only what is explicitly contained in Scripture, Christianity would not be Catholic nor Protestant as it now exists. You will find no explicit command in Scripture that says, “pray to the Holy Spirit” or “worship the Holy Spirit.” Furthermore, there is no explicit example or portrayal of anyone praying to the Holy Spirit in all Scripture. We as Christians derive this from the implicit teachings on the Trinity, the explicit commands and examples of prayer to the Father, and the implicit teachings on the equality of Persons in God.

        Following your logic, since Jesus didn’t give us an outline, let alone command or example, to pray to the Holy Spirit then we don’t need to pray to Him to be a Christian? Recall that when Jesus was preaching the Gospel to the Jews, He stated that we should pray to the Father but omitted any mention of praying to the Holy Spirit (Matt 6:9; John 4:2-24). Needless to say, Christianity requires prayer to the Holy Spirit for salvation – although this doctrine is not explicit in Scripture.

        To complicate matters further, Scripture does give us an indication that prayer is received by those in heaven. In Revelation for example (8:4), we see that an angel offers up the prayers of the saints mixed with his “incense” to God. If we pause to reflect on this passage, many questions arise as to it’s meaning. We know that this revelation John sees is not a physical reality since angels for example do not have physical “hands” but are mere spirits (Hebrews 1:14). Hence, this passage is conveying a symbolic meaning. The text does not explain how the angel received these prayers. Did God receive these prayers and then give them to the angel only to have the angel return them to God after mixing them with his incense? This is a possibility albeit complicated. Or it could be, following a more simplistic view, that the angel received the prayers directly and then mixed in his own incense and then offered it to God. There is after all a biblical precedent for this view when Jacob praying on his death bed invokes the Father and the angel he wrestled with to bless his children (Genesis 48:16; Hosea 12:4). Additionally, in Revelation (1:4), John the Apostle invokes “grace and peace” from God and the seven ministering spirits before His throne. Note the similarity to Tobit 12:15 [a dueterocanonical Old Testament book] as the archangel identifies himself: “I am Raph′ael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One” (RSVCE).

    3. says

      It seems your verses and explanations are found wanting. You may want to finish that verse about when His mother and brothers came to see Him. If I recall correctly, He replyed to that summons with, “who are My mother and brothers?”. Followed closely by “these are My mother and brothers” indicating the crowd. Also, you put too much in store by by Mary being “full of grace”. However, even that is questionable, because only Catholic Bibles say full of grace. KJV does not. Furthermore, Luke 2:51 says THEM not her. And dont capitalize the references to the woman giving birth to the Seed in Genesis. The emphasis is on the Seed who is Jesus, not Mary.

      • Igenasio says

        @ Joel you need to know why the King James version is different from the Catholic bible. You better make a research on this before you start putting comments down..Cheers

      • JT says

        Concerning Matthew 12:46-50, see how an early Church Father, Saint Augustine, understood these words:

        “Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

        Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

        The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent – the most eminent – member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine – our head is God.

        Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.

        Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church”, I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ” (Sermo 25, 7-8:PL 46, 937-938). This was the common interpretation of the early Church. Mary was double blessed, first in God’s plan of election she was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, and secondly and most importantly because she was the preeminent member of the Church. At the moment that she responded with “be it done according to your word,” Mary simultaneously conceived Jesus in her womb physically as a mother and conceived Jesus in her heart spiritually as a believer. The context of Luke 2 demands that this be so because if Mary had not believed the will of the Father for her she would have said no to the angel.

      • JT says

        Concerning Luke 1:28, which reads: And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” The Greek word used in this passage is the same as Ephesians 1:6 however in a different form – both use charitoo. Note that traditional Catholic translations use “grace” in both instances. Where as Protestant translations use “favored” when applied to Mary (Luke 1:28) and graced when applied to us believers (Eph 1:6). This appears to be done only for doctrinal issues. In Luke, there is something greater happening than God just having a pleasing disposition towards Mary. It is the pivotal moment in the entire history of all creation – the Incarnation – the conception of the God Man. Since God is causing an action – the greatest of all divine mysteries He has ever done – the word “grace” here is completely justified. From this perspective, using “favored” is completely unwarranted.

        Paul’s entire thought of being “graced” through spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3-14) is entirely dependent on the Jesus as Christ (i.e. the Anointed of God that was born for man and died for man). Read Ephesians 1 again in light of Luke 1. Was not Mary blessed (Luke 1:28, 42; 45, 48; 11:27), predestined and chosen (Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14; Mic 5:2, 3; Jer 31:22), graced (Luke 1:28, 30), redeemed (Luke 1:47), had the mystery of the incarnation revealed (Luke 1:31), and believed in Him (Luke 1:45) and received the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).

        The Holy Spirit used “charitoo” (Greek to transform by grace) in both passages to link and illuminate them. These are the only instances in the entire New Testament where this word is used. We should not take this lightly or interpret them in diametrical opposition simply because our religious tradition insists that Mary was not given a special and continuing role in the Body of Christ.

      • JT says

        Catholics have understood Luke 1:28 as an indication of Mary’s holiness specifically from the term “kecharitomene” used of Mary here. As Origen – a Second Century Christian writer – noted, this form is used only of Mary in the New Testament. The term is a perfect passive participle indicating that Mary had already been graced by God in the past and it’s effect continues into the present. In contrast, Ephesians uses “echaritosen” which is the indicative active aorist tense of “charitoo” which does not indicate any permanent results. Additionally, verbs ending in “oo” in Greek indicate a transformation. The Holy Spirit’s use of the term kecharitomene for Mary is very telling. Although it is true that this term cannot be used to say that Mary was engraced by God at the first moment of her conception, the term does reveal that Mary was already engraced prior to the angel’s visitation and prior to Mary’s assent to be the mother of the Messiah. However, we can surmise from other Scriptures that Mary was predestined and chosen prior to the foundation of the world to be the mother of His Son (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2, 3; Luke 1:27). Consequently, we know that God actively protected Mary from the first moment of her existence to ensure her vocation as the Mother of God-with-us (Matthew 1:23). I recommend further reading at the links below:

        http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a116.htm
        http://bellarmineforum.xanga.com/661118502/question-69-%E2%80%93-what-is-the-greek-of-luke-128s-full-of-grace/

        Elsewhere in the Bible, there is further confirmation of Mary’s holiness. This comes from Genesis 3. There is much emphasis placed on who will be crushing the serpent’s head in this passage and the variant translations of this clause. However, often overlooked is the first clause which without variant states, “I will put enmity between you and the woman.” Note here that the Scriptures state that the serpent and the woman would be at war with each other. Furthermore, God reveals in this passage (“I will put”) that it is He that is placing each person in opposition to each other. Could Mary be said to be at war with the serpent if she ever fell under his dominion of sin? This same conflict is again seen in Revelation 12 where the conflict is further elaborated.

        Another important word used in Luke is the term “Hail.” It is a greeting of royalty as can be seen in the New Testament. It is used of Jesus when He was being mocked as King of the Jews by the soldiers (Matt 27:29; Mark 15:18; John 19:3). In the Old Testament, it was used of the rejoicing over the coming Messiah. Interestingly, scholars have noted a similarity between between Luke 1:28-32 and Zephaniah 3:14-17. The “daughter of Zion” of the Old Testament is fulfilled in Mary. That’s why when Mary is proclaiming that God had done great things for her she proclaims the things God has done for the people of Israel (Luke 1:46-55).

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