Mary and the Christian Life

BCRanger10 u

“Was Mary really anything special?”

This question was asked here in early 2022. I had already made my response, but as today, August 15th, is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a significant feast day for Catholics, I will take this opportunity to expand on my answer and do some basic apologetics on Marian belief in the Catholic Church. This will by no means be extensive, so be forewarned.

Mary and the Christian Life

Mary, the Queen Mother

At the Annunciation of the Birth of Christ, as recorded in Luke 1.26-38, the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive and bear a son, Who “will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David...and of His Kingdom, there will be no end” (Luke 1.32-33).

The relevance of the throne of David is found in the First Book of Kings in the Old Testament (1 Kings 2), when Solomon seats his mother, Bathsheba, next to him on the throne as what is known as the “queen mother”. In those days, the king’s mother would reign with him rather than the king’s wife because the king would often have multiple wives; polygamy was common practice then, even among the Jews. So it was for the sake of simplicity. Another reason is that the king’s mother was also the flesh link between the king and his father.

The queen mother would bring cares and concerns of the people of Israel to the king and would address him as “lord”. Conversely, the king, still subject to the Fourth Commandment (“Honor thy father and thy mother”) would rise and bow to her. She would herself wear a crown and be seated at the king’s right hand. That she is enthroned at his right is important, as the right was a position of honor and authority, as referenced in Psalm 110.1 and Psalm 45.9. So the role of the queen mother was not merely some ceremonial position, but was an official one in the Kingdom of Israel.

Another translation for the title of the queen mother was “gebirah”, or “Great Woman”.

Mary, the Mother of God

This title might seem like nonsense. If God is eternal and therefore has no beginning or end, how do Catholics say He have a mother?

The answer to this question is quite simple. We only need to look at the first chapter of Saint John’s Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1.1, 14). There’s only one place where this would have happened: in Mary’s womb, clearly demonstrating on its own that Mary has an absolutely indispensable role in the Christian life.

Mary, the First Christian and the First Evangelist

Mary was the first one to receive the Word of God. And not only that, but she carried the Word in her womb, gave birth to and nursed the Word, Jesus Christ. In accordance with what I said above, that necessarily makes her a Christian, and not just any Christian, but the greatest and most excellent one. And following from that, she would also in a very real way become the first Evangelist, the first one to announce Christ to another, as the following episode details Mary’s visit to her kinswoman, Elizabeth.

Think about it this way. If we want to know someone or something better, then we ought to consult a primary source, someone who knows the person or has achieved the thing. They will have a better understanding and knowledge of the person or thing in question. Our participation in the life of another person or in an accomplishment is the greater of two goods, but we nevertheless remember those who helped us along the way.

As it relates to the Christian life, faith comes through hearing (Romans 10.17); one cannot know or come to Christ if He is not proclaimed to them. As Mary exclaims to Elizabeth in Luke 1.46, “My soul magnifies the Lord”, and hers quite literally did at that point, as Christ, the God-Man, was a tiny unborn child in her womb. And her deeper and more intimate knowledge of Him would reasonably carry on throughout the course of her earthly life.

Mary, Conceived Without Sin

Some Christians look at Catholics’ belief in Mary’s Immaculate Conception, the belief that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin, and claim that this contradicts the Bible, citing Luke 1.47 in which she says “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. Imagine a woman walking along a busy street as she trips and falls. A man rushes to her aid and pulls her out of the street before she is hit by a vehicle. Now imagine another scene in which the same woman time trips but before falling, the man notices and grabs her by the arm, thus preventing her from injuries. In each case, was the woman not saved by the swift action of the man?

So it was with Mary. As Blessed Pope Pius IX wrote in his 1854 encyclical Ineffibalis Deus...

“The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and the virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

Blessed Pope Pius IX, r. 1846 to 1878
Blessed Pope Pius IX, r. 1846 to 1878

To dive in a little deeper, we need to briefly revisit the Annunciation dialog between Mary and the Archangel Gabriel. In the original Greek text of Luke, the phrase “full of grace” was written “kecharitomene”. This would be what is called a perfect passive participle, which indicates an action completed in the past but that still continues or has effects in the present. A transliteration then would be “Hail, she-who-was-fully-graced-in-the-past-and-continues-to-be-so-now”.

As such, there is no contradiction between Mary’s declaration of God as her Savior and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Did Mary have other children than Jesus?

No. At the Annunciation cited above, Gabriel tells Mary that God will “...give [Jesus] the throne of His father David…” (Luke 1.32). How could David be Jesus’ father when, by that time, David had been dead for nearly a thousand years? The Bible records David, between his wives and mistresses, having approximately twenty-one children, many of whom had children themselves. So if Jesus is recognized as the Son of David, would it not reasonably follow that other inhabitants of Israel during the earthly life of Christ could also acknowledge David as “father” and therefore be known as “brothers of Jesus”? Furthermore, did He Himself not say that those who do the will of God are his brother, sister, and mother (Mark 3.35, Matthew 12.50)?

So leaving aside early Jewish thinking regarding family, paternity, and heritage and the languages of the time, even from a modern vernacular standpoint, the claim that Jesus had other biological siblings and therefore Mary was not a perpetual virgin makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Devotion to Mary

Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary
Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary

The first thing that should be explained about devotion to Mary is what it is not. Catholics do not adore or worship Mary, as that is due only to God. Rather, we honor and revere her, and rightly so. If we believe Christ to be our King, then Mary is His Queen, as noted above. Some might claim one of the most common Catholic prayers, the “Hail Mary” prayer, as worship of Mary. However, the dictionary definition of the word “hail” is “to cheer, salute, or greet”. The rest of the prayer is an acknowledgment of her blessedness and a humble request for her to pray to her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, for us.

Here is the English text of the prayer, for those not familiar...

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst 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 death. Amen.

Another and more traditional title for the Hail Mary prayer is The Angelic Salutation, called so because of the Archangel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary, “Hail, full of grace” (Luke 1.28) at the Annunciation as described in Saint Luke’s Gospel. And if a faithful Christian believes that God is a God of the living and not the dead, as noted in Matthew 22.32, Mark 12.27, and Luke 20.38, then they ought to believe that Mary, of all people, is among the blessed living in Heaven and is the strongest possible intercessor for us.

And as a closing note, something I personally have often meditated on in prayer is that no one was more sorrowful at the Passion and Death of Jesus than Mary, but likewise, no one was more joyful at His Resurrection.

Conclusion

Mary is truly the best and strongest advocate to Christ on behalf of faithful Christians and ought to be called upon for aid in all necessities. There is much more that can be said, but that will have to be for another time. In the meantime, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us
Pope Blessed Pius IX, pray for us

Published on August 15th, 2022, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven

Mary and the Christian Life
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  • BlacklightShade

    Some say the Catholic religion is a continuation of paganism where the saints replace the multiple gods. But if you read the bible from a Protestant viewpoint then all the saints are just regular people and jesus is the only one to get resurrected.

    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guy

  • TroyDT

    Informative take.

    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • jennifer_bloom

    I’m not Catholic but I respect the Catholic tradition, in my non Catholic life, Mary is an honourable woman far above ordinary citizens but is not given privileged or priority mention in my verbalized prayers. I usually don’t mention her at all, I just say what I need from God, read out the Lord’s Prayer, and sometimes I do loving kindness meditation too. But I’m glad you have a tradition that works for you.

    Reply
  • Circlesgames

    Thanks for your tests, but

    1. we pray and worship only one person God who goes by many names,

    2. there is no need to worship anyone else, no where in the bible did it day give praise to this to that, to Abraham to Jacob to mary.

    3. mary was just a way God did his works again just like every other one, I. e Abraham

    4. we do not pray to jesus christ we pray to God, jesus christ helped us to connect better to God, jesus christ is the road for our prayers... For it says by the name of jesus every kneel most bow...

    5. you said you don't worship her but then you go about in your conclusion to say call upon Mary for aid, pray for you? Mary, guadalupe... wait wait wait, your making me laugh ryt now, are they to pray for you or you pray for yourself, you Catholics well, I can't say anything, the bible says leave the judgment to God not we, am not a Catholic and am glad to be in my church anyways.

    6. Please don't say Mary is the morther of God, there is no where in the bible it says that, John 1. 14 was talking about jesus in spirit, he has always been with God but was made flesh to do God's work.

    7. ok now back it up and rephrase your text mother Mary isn't the first evangelist please as far as she wasn't the first to encounter God, then she wasn't because everyone God had an encounter with part of the mission was to spread the works of the Lord.

    8. I accept she is the mother of jesus not God but the Bible also says that God, jesus and the Holy spirit are one, we can unless say that's what your saying. We appreciate and honour her for being the means jesus came to earth, but she only did as she was messaged by God like the others.

    Thank you and have a nice day. I don't get why people mixed things up tho, there is a bible, in that same bible it says everything you need to know.

    Especially the do not worship any other God for i am a jealous God.

    Helpful 1 Person
    Reply
  • genericname85

    there's nothing special about Marry Jesus and Joseph. just he age old story of politics. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, miss Levinsky (Mariah). same shit but older. the jesus story isn't about a miraculous sexless conception. it's about the Little boy born to a powerfull man in the bloodline of emperrors who needed an excuse, cause his son couldn't become emperror of the jewish tribes when people knew he was a bastard. but as we all know that was for one a lie and secondly, jesus wouldn't have been able to become emperror because the roman reich was actively controlling the area.

    and you know what happens to people in power while the country is being occupied. they typcically are murdered. which i'm not condoning. just saying it's a common thing all through history. even in modern times it happens. happened to Hussein too.

    Disagree 1 Person
    Reply
    • every time you quote the bible, you have to be aware you're quoting fictional legends. not the reality as it happened.

    • BCRanger10

      What do you base all this on?

    • if a woman is pregnant. she has had sex. everyone knows this and anyone who believes "but god made me pregnant" is a doofus. you could maybe tell that a goat herder from 2000 years ago. they didn't have an education. but these days, you really don't have an excuse to believe that crap.

      also it is really not a secret to anyone that the bible consists of different books written by different people writing down a legend (not historical facts).

      i'm basing this on the assumption that abraham and his bloodline actually were existing real people. it might as well all been made up bullshit, which would explain why nothing of that appears in the roman historical litterature that was actually written in that time unlike the bible.

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  • Alwayreckles93

    This is better then the Mormon church that worthshiping some dude name Joseph Smith.

    Reply
    • Hahahaha

    • Mormon men the ones that attended the Mormon temple think one day they will become Gods of their own planet , Ehhh No their is only one God and Mormons worthshiping Joseph Smith uhh Joseph Smith did not Die on the cross for my sins Jesus Christ did 😃👍🙏 Glory be to God !

    • 😂😂😂Amennnn

  • U4ea0

    Since the Fathers of the Church made much of the virgin birth, which, of course, is a prerequisite for Saviors, I have always thought they blundered when they did not include in their collection a gospel by James commonly called the Genesis Mariae. (An early papyrus of this gospel is now in the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana and was published in volume five of that library’s papyrological series.) According to the Apostle James, shortly after the birth of Jesus, Salome refused to believe that Mary was still a virgin. So, she insisted on thrusting her finger into Mary’s vagina to ascertain whether or not the hymenal membrane was intact. It was, but the residue of divine energy burned Salome’s finger to a crisp, and she was in quite a fix until an angel popped into the cave and told her to touch the divine babe; she did, whereupon her finger became every bit as good as new.

    Disagree 1 Person
    Reply
  • Jouth

    christian wasn't real and mary was a liar

    god didn't do all those things

    it was not the truth

    Disagree 2 People
    Reply
  • TheBigGuy9

    Jesus Christ is God

    Helpful 1 Person
    Reply
  • Anonymous

    let me know next time you hold GODS son in your belly

    ohh wait you aren't MARY

    or a women lol

    just stop talking

    atheist

    Atheist why are you always wrong?

    Disagree 1 Person
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