Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of
Antioch, 1st c. A.D
please read the page on Saints before
going on to this page!
will outline Catholic beliefs about Mary before exploring them more
as are all who are saved, was saved by the blood of Christ. She is the
greatest of Saints and her prayers for us are efficacious. She is a
fully human creature and not in any way a goddess.
is the Immaculate Conception who was filled with grace from
her first moments, she is the Ark of the New Covenant and the
is the "Theotokos," or the "God-bearer," i.e., the Mother of
remained both sinless and a virgin her entire life
was assumed into Heaven by the power of God, where she was crowned
Queen of Heaven
The Greatest of Saints
James 5:16 tells
us that "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much" -- and who is more righteous than Mary, the woman
chosen by God to bring forth His very Son? As Bishop Fulton Sheen
wrote, "It may be objected: 'Our Lord is enough for me. I have no need
of her.' But He needed her, whether we do or not. God, Who made the
sun, also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the
brilliance of the sun. All its light is reflected from the sun. The
Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son; without Him, she is
nothing. With Him, she is the Mother of Men." [emphasis mine]
Keep reading to see why Mary is the greatest of all Saints -- graced by
God in a special way, and why imitating her Christian obedience is a
path to holiness...
Full of Grace, the Immaculate Conception, the Ark of
the New Covenant
Mary was (and, of course, we Catholics believe that she still is)
full of Grace is clearly evident in Luke 1:28, when Gabriel addressed
her as "Full of Grace"! The problem for many non-Catholic Christians is
the idea that she was born that way and that she was sinless. But Mary had
to have been literally filled with Grace because Christ
is her Son -- and He is perfect!. She is more that some really cool,
spiritual woman who acted as a surrogate mother for the Holy Spirit;
she gave to Jesus His humanity in the same way that all mothers give to
their children their humanity. He took from her His very
Flesh and Blood! It was through her that
our Lord "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans
1:3). As Ireneus of Lyons asked in his Adversus haereses
(ca A.D. 180), "...why did He come down into her if He were to take
nothing of her?"
All Christians believe in saving grace and in sanctification. This
being so, what is hard to believe about the idea that God sanctified
Mary in her mother's womb, especially given that Mary bore Christ in
hers? Can't the Awesome God Who overshadowed Mary so that she would
conceive the Son be perfectly capable of preparing her from her own
mother's womb to be a pristine vessel for such a glorious task? He
created Eve without sin, would He not create His own Mother without
sin, also? St. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost even
from his mother's womb. His father, the priest Zecharias was told:
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is
heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt
call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many
shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the
Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he
shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
and this is, of course, exactly what happened. In the same Gospel we
see how St. John, in the womb of his mother Elisabeth, was filled with
the Holy Ghost along with his mother when Mary visited:
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary,
the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy
Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou
among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this
to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon
as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in
my womb for joy.
God can fill
St. John with such grace in his mother's womb, why
can't He do the same for Mary? And why wouldn't He?
The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament was adorned by two carved
cherubim, symbols of God's glory, and on top of it sat the Mercy Seat,
upon which goat's blood was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement -- the
only day of the year (after Moses) that the High Priest (and the High
Priest alone) could approach it in its Holy of Holies. Most
importantly, the presence of God was over it. Touching this Ark -- just
looking into it -- would kill a man. Powerful and holy
indeed was this sacred vessel! And what did it contain? See Hebrews
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the New Covenant, Mary
word of God inscribed on stones
Word, Christ Jesus
rod that "came back to life" and sprouted
Lord, Who rose again on the third day
the Heavenly bread
Savior, Who said "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink
indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in
him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so
he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which
came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead.
He who eats this bread will live forever." (John 6:52-58)
Luke clearly wanted us to see Mary as the New
Ark in that, inspired by God, he parallels many of his verses with
those used to describe the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament.
Compare, for example, Luke's words with 2 Samuel 6 below:
Samuel 6:2 And David arose, and went with all the people
that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark
of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that
dwelleth between the cherubims.
1:39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill
country with haste, into a city of Juda
Samuel 6:9 And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and
said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?
1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord
should come to me?
Samuel 6:11 And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of
Obededom the Gittite three months...
1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months...
Samuel 6:16 And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of
David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king
David leaping and dancing before the LORD [His Presence over the Ark]
1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the
salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was
filled with the Holy Ghost:
the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant,
overshadowed by the the Spirit of God, was the instrument through which
God came to dwell among men; in the New Testament, Mary, overshadowed
by the Holy Spirit, is the instrument through which God came to dwell
among men. She is the Ark of the New Covenant.
And here's a biggie: look carefully at Revelation 11:19-12:1. St. John
tells us what he sees in Heaven: "And the temple of God was opened in
heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and
there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake,
and great hail. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman
clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a
crown of twelve stars [this woman, we are told later in chapter 12, is
the one who brought forth the man child who would rule over the
nations, ie, Christ].
Keep in mind, too, that chapter and verse divisions did not
exist until the Middle Ages: what John says he saw is the Ark
of the Covenant -- a woman. Really -- think about this: there
is the Ark of the Covenant, lost for generations, in the Heavenly
Temple! Then come the "special effects" -- lightning! Thunder! The very
earth shakes! And there is the
woman who brought forth the man child who who would rule over the
nations... Mary, the pure and holy Ark of the New Covenant. [Note that
the Woman of Revelation 12 is also a symbol of the Church, which has
Mary for Her Mother; there is dual meaning here!]
The New Eve
and Eve, immaculate from their first moments, prefigure Mary and Jesus,
also without original sin from their conceptions -- the only four
people immaculate from their first moments, creating a brilliant poetic
symmetry in Scripture.1
And as Eve through her disobedience, was the means through whom Adam
brought sin into the world, Mary, the New Eve, through her obedience,
was the means through whom salvation entered the world when she gave
birth to her Son, the New Adam, our Savior. As Ireneus wrote in the 2nd
the Lord, having been born "the First-begotten of the dead," and
receiving into His bosom the ancient fathers, has regenerated them into
the life of God, He having been made Himself the beginning of those
that live, as Adam became the beginning of those who die. Wherefore
also Luke, commencing the genealogy with the Lord, carried it back to
Adam, indicating that it was He who regenerated them into the Gospel of
life, and not they Him. And thus also it was that the knot of Eve's
disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin
Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free
speaks of the woman who "brought forth the man child who
was to rule the nations (Christ)," saying, "And the earth helped the
woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which
the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the
woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep
the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ," a
direct allusion to Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee
and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it ["he" in most
translations] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
..." Read that slowly, Christian! "I will put enmity between you and
the woman!" What woman? Who is the woman whose "seed" (offspring)
saves? Who is this woman who is mentioned, in the context of Eve's sin,
as being one whom God will have as the enemy of Satan? While "the
woman" of Revelation 11-12 is also a type of the Church/Israel, who
else could the woman who brought forth Christ possibly
Remember, too, that God didn't "need" Mary, per se,
despite what Bishop Sheen wrote above; Jesus could
have spontaneously incarnated, if He'd chosen to. But in choosing a
human creature, He not only revealed His poetic Genius, He allowed Mary
act as the New Eve, playing a role in man's redemption as the First Eve
played a role in Man's fall. He "needed" Mary in order for there to be
a New Eve and in order to fulfill the words of the Prophets. Hence the
term "Co-Redemptrix" -- the "co-" meaning "with," not
"the equivalent of." Consider the terms "pilot" and "co-pilot." Are
they the same? Is the co-pilot "the pilot"? Is the co-pilot equal to or
subordinate to the pilot?
anthropological implications of the reality that Mary is the New
Eve are great and go far in showing the esteem in which women should be
held. As St. Augustine wrote in Christian Combat:
Lord Jesus Christ, however, who came to liberate mankind, in which both
males and females are destined to salvation, was not averse to males,
for He took the form of a male, nor to females, for of a female He was
born. Besides, there is a great mystery here: that just as death comes
to us through a woman, Life is born to us through a woman; that the
devil, defeated, would be tormented by each nature, feminine and
masculine, since he had taken delight in the defection of both.
affirms the status of women and is a beautiful symbol of our inherent,
God-given dignity -- but lest the modernist feminists cluck their
tongues, it must be remembered that it was through Mary's obedience
to God and by the blood of her Son that
she was redeemed.
Mother of God
simple statement of fact should be a "case closed" situation that could
be argued with a classic syllogism:
Mary is the mother of Jesus
Mary is the mother of God
some people still balk at referring to Mary as God's mother. The only
way they can get around that fact, though, is to do one of the
deny that Christ
is God (heresy);
that He is both fully human and fully God and that those two natures
are in perfect hypostasis and can't be divided (heresy);
that Jesus is the Son of Mary (heresy); or
that Jesus was God before His incarnation, but not while He was in the
1:43 tells us of Elisabeth greeting Mary with, "And whence is this to
me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
It's all very simple.
Does this mean she is the Mother of God, the Father? No.
Is she the Mother of God, the Holy Spirit? No.
But she is the Mother of Jesus, Who is God. She is
the Mother of His human nature, not His divine nature -- but these two
natures are now, since the Incarnation, in perfect union and cannot be
separated. Jesus is not a "collection of parts" and "natures"; He is a
Person. To say that Mary can't be the Mother of God because she isn't
the Mother of His divinity is to say that your own mother can't be your
mother because she didn't create your eternal soul. You are a person --
body and soul -- and your mother is your mother. You wouldn't say, "My
mother isn't really 'my mother'; she's only the mother of my body." It
is the same with Jesus, Who is fully human and fully
divine -- Who is God.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
will put enmity between Satan and the woman."
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle English enmite, from Middle French enemité, from Old
French enemisté, from enemi enemy
Date: 13th century
: positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will
synonyms ENMITY, HOSTILITY, ANTIPATHY, ANTAGONISM, ANIMOSITY, RANCOR,
ANIMUS mean deep-seated dislike or ill will. ENMITY suggests positive
hatred which may be open or concealed <an unspoken
enmity>. HOSTILITY suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks
or aggression <hostility between the two nations>.
ANTIPATHY and ANTAGONISM imply a natural or logical basis for one's
hatred or dislike, ANTIPATHY suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid
or reject, and ANTAGONISM suggesting a clash of temperaments leading
readily to hostility <a natural antipathy for
self-seekers><antagonism between the brothers>.
ANIMOSITY suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to
kindle hostility <animosity that led to revenge>. RANCOR
is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong <rancor
filled every line of his letters>. ANIMUS adds to animosity the
implication of strong prejudice <objections devoid of personal
sound to me as though the woman and Satan would co-operate much; they
Impossible! What about Romans 3:9-12?
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before
proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is
written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
about that? Well, that is yet another instance of those who take
everything literally except "This IS my body, this IS my blood" reading
out of context. First, have 2 month old babies "sinned" (note, that
being born in a state of "original sin" is not "personal sin")? Did
Jesus sin? Are the extremely mentally retarded responsible for "sin"?
What about Luke 1:6 which speaks of St. John the Baptist's parents, the
priest Zacharias and Elisabeth, who "were both righteous before God,
walking in all the commandments and ordinances of
the Lord blameless"? Either they were also
totally obedient to God, as Mary most certainly is, and are, therefore,
sinless (i.e., not guilty of personal sin,
though guilty of original sin), or the verse means something else. But
what? Well, look at Psalm 14, which is the verse Paul is quoting.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They
are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there
is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven
upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand,
and seek God. They are all gone aside, they
are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth
good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no
knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and call not upon the Lord. There were they in great fear: for God
is in the generation of the righteous. Ye
have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge. Oh
that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord
bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and
Israel shall be glad.
is contrasting "they" -- those who do no good, who are filthy, who are
not righteous, who do no good -- not one ---- with God's people who are
Catholic belief is that all of us, Mary included, need a Redeemer
because of our fallen nature and that no one can attain Heaven without
His Blood. We are saved from our fallen nature by His grace alone through faith
that worketh in charity. Mary, though, because God knew how she would
use the free will He gave to her, was saved, by His grace, from having
a fallen nature at the moment of her conception. She was redeemed from
her mother's womb, an act planned from Genesis 3 so that she could act
as the New Eve and so that Christ could be born of vessel even more
pure than the Ark of the Covenant. Christ would not have been born from
that which is impure! God knew of Mary's will to serve even before she
was conceived. He knew she would say yes to Him, and He saved her at
her first moment.
the Bible lead some Protestants to believe that Mary
was not ever-virgin: the reference to Jesus' "brothers", the use of the
word "until" in Matthew 1:25, and the reference to Jesus as Mary's
"firstborn." Let's look at these one at a time.
The word "brother" or "brethren" is often used in Scripture for
relationships other than that of those born of the same parents:
of Kish and Eleazar
"brethren" of King Azariah
23:7, Jeremiah 34:9
of the same religion
who love Christ
of the Church
- His disciples
witnesses to the resurrected Christ
This isn't every
reference to "brother(s)" or "brethren" in the Bible,
but it's enough to prove that the use of the words "brothers" or
"brethren" doesn't necessarily indicate "blood brothers" at all. This
is true because neither Hebrew nor Aramaic have words for "uncles,"
"nephew," "niece," "step-brother," "step-sister," etc. All were
referred to as "brother" and "sister," which were translated into Greek
as adelphos or adelphe.
Nonetheless, and despite Tradition, there are four people that some
Protestants claim are the blood brothers of Jesus, an idea which comes
from Mark 6:3 which says that Jesus is "the brother of James, and
Joses, and of Jude and Simon." But to find out who the real mother of
these four are, look at the following:
27: 55-56 tells us of three women at the Cross: "And many women were
there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee,
ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the
mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees
15:40 tells us of the three women there, "There were also women looking
on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of
James the less and of Joses, and Salome."
19:25 is the most inclusive, telling us of four women's presence, "Now
there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister,
Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." (Note here the
reference to Mary's "sister" who's named Mary!)
all these together, we can cross off Joses and James the Less as being
Jesus' blood brothers because their mother is the wife of Cleophas.
We can cross Simon off the list because Mark 3:18 tells us he is a
Canaanite, "And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and
Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the
Jude, we are told in Jude 1:1, is the "servant of Jesus Christ and the
brother of James."
Crossing just one name off the list is enough to prove the point that
the Hebrew word "brother" means many things (just as the word does in
English today, my "brother or sister in Christ!") and to prove that
this is so even in the very particular context of Mark 6:3.
St. Papias, writing in the first and early second centuries and called
by St. Irenaeus a "hearer of John," refers clearly to all the above
Marys in his letter, a fragment of which survives to this day. He
the mother of the Lord; Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus, who was
the mother of James the bishop and apostle, and of Simon and Thaddeus,
and of one Joseph; Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee, mother of John the
evangelist and James; Mary Magdalene. These four are found in the
Gospel. James and Judas and Joseph were sons of an aunt of the Lord's.
James also and John were sons of another aunt of the Lord's. Mary,
mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphaeus was the sister of
Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas, either from
her father or from the family of the clan, or for some other reason.
Mary Salome is called Salome either from her husband or her village.
Some affirm that she is the same as Mary of Cleophas, because she had
two husbands. [read the complete letter fragment here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0125.htm.
Will open in new browser window.]
this, Jesus could well have had step-brothers, as Church
Tradition and early Church writings tell us that Joseph was an older
man when Mary, a consecrated virgin, was betrothed to him so that he
could act as her protector when she got to be of age enough to
"defile the Temple" (though she could not, in fact
defile the Temple). Please read the Protoevangelium
of St. James, dated to ca A.D. 125, which, in chapter 9,
clearly states that St. Joseph had other children from a former
marriage. Though this document was rejected by the Church as being a
part of infallible Scripture, it is very early evidence of the belief,
held as possisble from the beginning of the Church, that Jesus had
"brothers" because his earthly father, Joseph, had children when he
married Mary, a consecrated virgin. Also see the apocryphal document,
the Gospel of the Nativity of
Mary, yet another early source which proves that many of the
earliest Christians believed in Mary's consecrated virginity, that
Joseph was an aged man when he married her, and that she was kept free
note on this: when Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive a child,
she says to him in Luke 1:34, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a
man?" We are told seven verses before that when this happened she was
"a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph." She was already
engaged, knew she was to be married, is visited by an angel who tells
her she will have a Son, and she acts bewildered, as though it's an
impossibility because she "knows not a man." She's not confused that
she will bring forth a Son who "shall be great, and shall be called the
Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of
his father David"; she is confused that she will bring forth a son at
all! She doesn't "get it" because she knows she is a consecrated virgin
and will not "know a man!" She is confused that she will have a son at
Yet another poser: why, in the name of all that's Holy, would Jesus
give Mary to John to care for if He had all these brothers and sisters
around? John 19:26-27 reads, "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and
the disciple standing by, whom he loved, He saith unto his mother,
Woman, behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy
mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
And finally, if Jesus had brothers and sisters, don't you think their
descendants would know it? At least in the first 300 years or so of the
Church? Where were they? Did they speak of "Uncle Jesus" often? I'd
think that if He had all of these brothers, sisters, nieces, and
nephews around, there'd have been some word of it.
It's argued that Joseph "knew" Mary at some point because Matthew 1:25
reads, "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn
son..." But, once again, language clouds the issue. "Until" is used to
mean "up to that point, and with no intimations that things changed
after that point." Example, 2 Samuel 6:23 reads, "Therefore Michal the
daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death." Would
Protestants say she had children after the day of her death because the
use of the word "unto" proves it? What about 1 Samuel 15:35? "And
Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death:
nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had
made Saul king over Israel." I really doubt Samuel and Saul hooked up
after his death, either! 1 Timothy 6:14 says, "That thou keep this
commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord
Jesus Christ." What? After that it's going to be one big orgy? I don't
think so! And the same goes for:
8:7: "the raven "did not return until the waters
were dried up" (the raven never returned even after the waters were
34:6: "and no one knows his [Moses'] grave until this
day." (Moses' grave was never found)
1:80: "[St. John the Baptist] was in the deserts until the
day of his manifestation to Israel." (St. John stayed in the desert
Corinthians 15:25: "For He must reign until He has
put all enemies under His feet" (Christ will reign forever and ever!)
Timothy 4:13: "until I come, give attention to
reading, to exhortation, to doctrine" (Trust me, St. Paul gave a lot of
attention to doctrine after he came!)
2:25-26: "But hold fast what you have until I
come. And he who overcomes and keeps My works until the
end, to him I will give power" (we should hold fast and obey even after
Some Protestants say that the use of the word "firstborn" proves
that Mary had other children, but they are simply being ignorant of
Jewish law, Pidyon ha-Ben in particular. Pidyon
ha-Ben is the "Redemption of the Firstborn," who were to have
been consecrated to God and serve as priests and Temple workers. The
"firstborn" is the male child that "opens the womb".
If the child that "opens the womb" is a female child, there is no
"firstborn" for the family because the child that "opened the womb" is
not a masculine child. If no more children are born after the
firstborn, the firstborn still has the status and title of "firstborn."
The relevant Torah verses are:
Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among
the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What
is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD
brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: And it came to
pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the
firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the
firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth
the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto
the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless
the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of
unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
the "Golden Calf" incident left the Temple roles to the Levites (see
Numbers 8:14-18 and Numbers 18:15-16), the significance of the
"firstborn" status remains to this day, and those who have this
position must be "redeemed," which is done when the child is 31 days
old by paying a small sum to a kohein (now a rabbi in the post-Temple
Pharisaism known as Judaism). Luke 2:27 tells us of Jesus' Pidyon
ha-Ben, "And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when
the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom
of the law..." Do a Google search for Pidyon ha-Ben
to find out how the "Redemption of the Firstborn" is still practiced
today (will open in a new browser window), or if you can't believe a
Catholic, ask a Jew what "firstborn" means.
Assumed into Heaven
into Heaven'? Chyeah, right.. More
Romish, papist superstition!"
Really? It happened to Elijah and Enoch:
"And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by
a whirlwind...And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood
to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan....And it came to pass,
as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a
chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and
Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven....And Elisha saw it, and he
cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
thereof. And he saw him no more..."
"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was
not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation
he had this testimony, that he pleased God."
predicted of Mary in Psalm 132:7-8:
will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. Arise,
O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength."
God would assume Elijah into Heaven, wouldn't Jesus do the same for His
own mother? Wouldn't God do the same for the New Eve, the Ark of His
Covenant, His most perfect creature, the woman who not only touched
God, but carried Him in her own body, nursed Him, raised Him up from
childhood, prompted His first miracle at Cana, stood at the foot of the
Cross, etc.? The Catholic Church is the restoration of the Davidic
Kingdom! Christ is the King, His Mother is the Queen, and we are their
And if Our Lady
isn't in Heaven and crowned, how did John see her there
as he wrote in the Book of Revelation? And, please, note the use of
words here: Mary was assumed into Heaven 2 she was
taken up under GOD'S power; she did not ascend into
Heaven under her own power as our Lord did! As always, the beauty of
Mary's story is due to the grace of God!
"Yeah, but you don't just say she was assumed into Heaven, you say she
is the Queen of Heaven -- and Jeremiah warned about those pagans who
offered incense to a goddess they called the 'queen of Heaven'"!
Yes, there was a pagan Canaanite goddess referred to as "queen of
heaven" -- but there is also a pagan king in Ezra 7:12 who is referred
to as "king of kings," just as Our Lord is in Revelation 19:16. Does
this mean that when Protestants sing Handel's "Messiah" -- "King of
Kings, Lord of Lords!" -- that they are worshipping a pagan king? Let's
hope not. Pagans call their gods "God," too; does that prevent
Protestants from calling God "God"? When Catholics sing the praises of
Mary, the Queen of Heaven, they are not worshipping some pagan "queen
of heaven" or worshipping her as God any more than Protestants worship
a pagan king by referring to the "King of Kings." They are simply
giving honor to the mother of Jesus per the Scriptural prophecy "all
generations will call me blessed."
St. John saw a woman, in Heaven. This woman is the woman who gave birth
to the "man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron."
That child was Jesus. The woman who is the mother of Jesus is crowned
-- with 12 stars, a symbol of the tribes of
Israel and the 12 Apostles of Israel. The crown shows clearly that she
is a Queen.
Listen: In Old Testament Israel, the Davidic Kingdom was ruled not by a
king and his wife -- but by a king and his mother,
the queen mother ("Gevirah" or "Gebirah" in
Hebrew). Rabbi Simchah Roth of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel wrote,
most prestigious of the women in the harem was the woman who was the mother
of the prince who was to succeed his father: When he became king in his
own right his mother would assume the title of
'Gevirah' and would have great power and influence.
This can not be said of the king's wives."
For ex., look at the role of Bathsheba with regard to
Bathsheba [the Queen Mother, Solomon's mother] therefore went unto king
Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet
her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused
a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.
Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me
not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I
will not say thee nay.
look at Psalm 45, which prophecies Christ, the 9th verse saying that
"upon [His] right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir." It
continues, addressing this "Queen in gold" directly:
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also
thine own people, and thy father's house; So shall the king greatly
desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. And the
daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the
people shall intreat thy favour. The king's
daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She
shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins
her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With
gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the
king's palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children,
whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make
thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the
people praise thee for ever and ever.
recall Mary's words in Luke 2:48: "For he hath regarded the low estate
of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall
call me blessed."
The Psalms prophecied and the Old Testament Kingdom foreshadowed the
New Testament Kingdom, ruled by Christ, Son of the Living God, and
earthly successor of King David by virtue of his having been born from
the womb of Mary, the Gevirah. In all Kingdoms of Israel, the Queen
Mother sat at the King's right hand; our Queen Mother is in Heaven now,
just as St. John saw her.
Our Relationship with Mary
soul magnifies the Lord
(Luke 1:46-55)! Think of what that means for just a
Function: verb Inflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ing
Etymology: Middle English magnifien, from Middle French magnifier, from
Latin magnificare, from magnificus Date: 14th century transitive senses
1 a : EXTOL, LAUD b : to cause to be held in greater esteem or respect
2 a : to increase in significance : INTENSIFY b : EXAGGERATE
3 : to enlarge in fact or in appearance intransitive senses : to have
the power of causing objects to appear larger than they are
about Our Lady points straight back to the Father, Whose faithful
daughter she is; to the Son, Whose mother she is; and to the Holy Ghost
Who overshadowed her. There is no one in all of History whose
relationship with God is as complex, fulfilled, and achingly beautiful
as Mary's. She is not only the greatest of Saints, she is our Mother,
as Jesus is our Brother and Savior. In honoring her, we honor Him --
and imitate Him, as we are admonished to both honor our parents and
imitate Christ, Who loved His Mother. Our relationship with Mary is
that of a child to a blessed Mother who was given to us as Jesus gave
her to John at the Cross. She is our spiritual
Mother (Revelation 12:17 -- And the dragon was wroth with the woman,
and went to make war with the remnant of her seed,
which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus
Christ), and she wants to pray for us.
Hail Mary Prayer
Mary, Full of Grace,
Lord is with thee.
blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
for us sinners now,
at the hour of our death.
some Catholics cross the line between honoring Mary as ourMother
and "Mariolatry"? I imagine it could happen, but I can't say I've ever
met any Catholic who does. If such a thing happens, it is not only
rare, it is firmly contradictory to Church teaching. Orthodox Catholics
simply do not worship Mary as God -- and it gets a little tiring being
accused of worshipping Mary as God when you don't. It amounts to being
called a liar and is quite rude. We Catholics would be the ones to know
Whom we consider God and whom we don't. I love my biological Mother,
too, but don't mistake her for the Lord! I honor her, keep in touch
with her, look after her, celebrate her special days, would get mad if
someone were to insult her -- and I do the same for Jesus's Mother. My
love for my Mother doesn't mean I don't love my Father, too.
It just strikes me as evil, this not uncommon attempt to diminish
Mary's status and the unceasing accusations against Catholics of trying
to raise her status to that of God's. There's something very sinister
and ugly in it, and I find it offensive. We Catholics take great care
in pointing out that worship in the sense of latria 3 is GOD'S
alone -- even to the point of having separate terms for the honor and adoration
due to God as opposed to the honor and venerationof
the Saints -- including His greatest Saint, Mary.
the honor due to God alone
dulia: the honor due to human creatures worthy of
the honor due to Mary as God's greatest creation and our
please, if you're of the "Catholics are of the Whore of Babylon"
variety, just calm down and use your energies
for other things.
...And ask yourself why the heck we'd lie about not worshipping Mary as
a divine being if we actually did. Do you think we'd be
afraid of what you might think? Do you think that we actually do
worship Mary as a goddess but don't tell converts until some secret
after they've been in the Church a few years and can be trusted? I
mean, really! Satanists have no qualms telling people they worship
Satan, pagans have no problem informing the world that they worship the
earth, Hindus are not uneager to reveal that they chant to Krishna.
some Evangelicals admit believing in "holy laughter" and such --
but Catholics are "afraid" to "admit" whom they consider God? Please!
We are not afraid to tell you we believe in Purgatory, indulgences, the
Communion of Saints, the efficacy of piously using sacramentals, the
true grace of the Sacraments, the infallibility of the Pope when he
uses his Extraordinary or Universal Magisterium, etc. Trust me; if we
thought Mary were a godess, we'd let you know.
...And ask yourself why some people behave as though they think that
honoring, and appealing to Mary to pray for us "takes away" from Jesus?
Are we given 16 oz of love or something, some finite amount we must
very carefully use lest we run out? When we love Christ, does that
prevent us from loving each other? No! Love is infinite because God,
Who is Love, is infinite! We can love and adore Jesus, love and
venerate Mary, love the other Saints, and love each other without
depriving anyone (or Anyone) of anything. How many children can you
have without running out of love? How many friends? What we "spend" in
love is replaced many times over; love for Christ can only bring the
fruits of more love to give.
love Mary takes nothing at all from Christ, but honors our Blessed
Lord by Whose grace she is who she is: His greatest creation, the
greatest of Saints, the Queen of Heaven, the Immaculate Conception, the
spotless Virgin, the Ark of the Covenant, the New Eve, the mother of
God, and the mother of Israel -- our mother who
wants nothing more for us than to pray for us and show us her Son.
Finally, consider the importance of Mary on a simple psychological and
sociological level: we describe God as Father and in masculine terms,
just as we should, and the Second Person of the Trinity took on flesh
and became man, giving us the model of masculine perfection. His Mother
gives us the prime model of femininie perfection. She relates to God as
daughter, mother, and spouse, exemplifying the feminine ways of being
in the world. God saved her at her very conception, and then took her
into Heaven and crowned her as our Queen after she died, thereby
showing us the inherent dignity and true power of women. Take Mary out
of Christianity, and -- well, ever wonder why a so deeply pernicious
form of radical feminism has such a powerful stronghold in the
Footnotes: 1 John
the Baptist, though, was also born filled with grace, as is evident by
his recognizing the Saviour even while in his mother's womb. However,
he was not conceived without original sin, as was
most ancient tradition is that she "fell asleep" some years after her
stay with St. John the Evangelist in Jerusalem and Ephesus (modern
Turkey), and before his exile at Patmos. All we know about Our Lady's
death and Assumption can be summed up in this bit of history written by
St. John of Damascus (b. A.D. 676):
Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451),
made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess
the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all
the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St.
Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body
was taken up to heaven.
is said that her otherwise empty tomb was filled with roses and lilies.
It is the ancient tradition of the Church that she "died" of love and
was then taken up into Heaven by the power of God. In any case, there
was no sickness beforehand, as she was not heir to the consequences of
original sin, such as sickness, disease and natural mortality. Some
Catholics believe she was assumed into Heaven while still alive; this
may be safely believed as the Church has never made any solemn
definitions on the matter.
Another note on
Mary's Assumption: it's funny to me how millions of
dispensationalists who believe in "The Rapture" can mock the idea of
Mary's being taken up to Heaven, but believe that they will
be taken up by Christ's power just before all the Jews, Muslims,
Hindus, and Catholics are "left behind" to be slaughtered.
The meaning of the word "worship" has changed over the centuries in
Protestant lands. The Protestant sense of the word is equivalent to latria
-- to worship as God -- whereas in the past, and to educated Catholics,
it meant/means any kind of honor or homage. British people to this
day address Judges as "Your Worship" and "Your Lordship," traditional
Anglican wedding vows use the phrase "with my body I thee worship,"
etc. -- and no one
I know of calls these things "idolatry." So, please, if you're reading
a traditional text that talks about the "worship of
Saints," don't start jumping up and down, screaming, "See? The Whore of
Babylon! Idolaters and children of the Devil!" It's ugly. Same goes
with the word "prayer": it can refer to talking to God, but it also
means to simply "ask" or "beseech" or "petition" (ask an attorney about
"praying" to a Court of Law, for ex.). When, pray tell, will you stop getting
hung up on semantics?
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all
living. [Note: And Mary is the mother of all living IN CHRIST]
And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall
be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and
a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with
pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make
upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of
gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings
shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark,
that the ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings
of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shalt put into
the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. And thou shalt make a
mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length
thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. And thou shalt
make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the
two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the
other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the
cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch
forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings,
and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall
the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above
upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall
give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with
thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which
are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee
in commandment unto the children of Israel.
I Samuel 5:8-10
They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto
them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And
they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto
Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. And
it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD
was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the
men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their
secret parts. Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came
to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out,
saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to
slay us and our people.
I Samuel 6:19
And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the
ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and
threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had
smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly
favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [The
Vulgate version of Luke 1:28 reads: "et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit
have gratia plena Dominus tecum benedicta tu in
mulieribus". The original Greek whence "gratia plena"
was translated is "kecharitomene" -- a name, a
title, as in "Hail, 'Full of Grace,' the Lord is with thee." She was
given a new "name," as was Peter when Christ called him "Rock."]
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath
rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his
handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me
blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy
is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to
generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the
proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty
from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the
hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath
helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to
our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. [Note: Catholics
refer to these verses as "The Magnificat"]
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them
bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I
say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father
giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which
cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they
unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them,
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he
that believeth on me shall never thirst.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom
he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith
he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple
took her unto his own home.
And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his
temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices,
and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. [Note: Revelation
11:19 directly precedes Revelation 12:1; chapter and verse divisions in
the Bible are an invention of the Middle Ages]
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve
stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained
to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and
behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven
crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of
heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the
woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon
as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all
nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and
to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a
place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two
hundred and threescore days. [Note that "the woman" is also a
type of the Church, i.e., Israel]
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted
the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were
given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the
wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and
times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent
cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might
cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the
woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which
the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the
woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep
the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. .[Note
that "the woman" is also a "type" of the Church,