Tag Archives: Mary

Mary ~ Jesus’ Mother


Some people question and many ask about Mary, Jesus’ Mother, being born without Original Sin. They say, that since Mary refers to her Redeemer and Savior, would she do that if she were without Original Sin?

Some reply that Mary probably did sin in her life – if she didn’t, then she would be considered a god like Jesus.

The church teaches Mary was free of Original Sin. How does the church come to this conclusion through scripture?

Mary is seen as the Ark of the New Covenant ~ a spotless vessel who carried a sinless Jesus ~ and that Ark would be sinless, too ~ of original sin.  God chose Mary among women, unblemished of sin, and full of grace to carry the baby Jesus in her womb.

There are many references which tie in this dogma to Scripture.  I found a Catholic interpretation and will repeat it here:   This is only one of the many ways it is explained ~~~~

“It seems clear that Luke has used typology to reveal something about the place of Mary in salvation history.”  God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled Mary.  At that time Mary’s womb became the dwelling place of the presence of God”  [Luke 1:35].

In the Ark of the Old Covenant, God came to his people with a spiritual presence, but in Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, God comes to dwell with his people not only spiritually but physically, in the womb of a specially prepared Jewish girl.   [Exodus 40:34-35] says “God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled the Ark. The Ark became the dwelling place of the presence of God”.

“The Old Testament tells us that one item was placed inside the Ark of the Old Covenant while in the Sinai wilderness:  God told Moses to put the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inside the ark [Deut. 10:3–5].  Hebrews 9:4 informs us that two additional items were placed in the Ark: “a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.”

“Notice the amazing parallels:

  • In the ark was the law of God inscribed in stone; in Mary’s womb was the Word of God in flesh.
  •  In the ark was the urn of manna, the bread from heaven that kept God’s people alive in the wilderness; in Mary’s womb is the Bread of Life come down from heaven that brings eternal life.
  • In the ark was the rod of Aaron, the proof of true priesthood; in Mary’s womb is the true priest.

In the third century, St. Gregory the Wonder Worker said that Mary is truly an ark—

  • “gold within and gold without, and she has received in her womb all the treasures of the sanctuary.”

 

© Marie Coppola, Revised December 2012   

Reference: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510fea5.asp

 

Are Statues Idols? And do Catholics Worship Them?

Question:   Where does the Catholic Church stand on images of Christ, statues of saints, pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.? Is it wrong for me to have these items in my home?     I know that our Church does not worship idols. Yet I would like some more information on what we believe.

Answer:  When I was a young man, I read a story by Stephen Vincent Benét titled “By the Waters of Babylon.” The mood was one of a traveler finding the ruins of a previous civilization. Throughout the story the hero kept coming across an idol of the God Ashing. At story’s end, the reader discovers Benét has looked into the future and the city of New York, after some great catastrophe. The “idol” is simply the ruins of a bust of George Washington.

My point is simply that people can misinterpret, misconstrue and fail to understand what others are doing or have done.

The next time someone criticizes your use of statues, or accuses you of idolatry, you might ask him if he has a picture of his wife or children in his wallet. If he says yes, ask him why he is worshiping them.

Or ask him if he thinks all those tourists going out to see the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., or the faces of the presidents on Mount Rushmore are guilty of idolatry.

Those statues, like pictures of George Washington in so many courthouses, are ways of honoring heroes from the past. They put us in touch with great people in our history. They become occasions for teaching children about the past and offering examples of great citizens.

Stained-glass windows, statues and paintings have long served these same purposes in the Church. Crucifixes and statues of the Good Shepherd or Sacred Heart remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice and love for us. Statues of Mary and the saints recall the heroism of the saints and suggest to us what we should strive to become.

They are occasions for telling the children of today about the real saints and heroes of the past, for telling children what it means to live out their faith and religion. To all of us they offer the occasion to reflect and pray on the action of God in our lives. They help us to better sentiments of piety, call upon us to express our own faith and love. In honoring the saint we honor God who has worked such good and holy things in and through the saint.

From St. Anthony Messenger; Ask a Franciscan.  Return to AmericanCatholic.org

Marie Coppola July 2014

Do we really understand all that Mary suffered?


 by Ron Quinlan

Today we hear a lot of criticism of Mary and the denial of her role in Redemption. There are novels and movies that portray Mary as the stereotypical Jewish Mother, far from perfect. Many Christians feel that Mary shouldn’t be considered any better than one else especially the Apostles. Peter who denied Jesus and Paul who persecuted the Church are held in higher esteem. I’ve even heard a sermon by a Catholic priest critical of the Miraculous Medal Novena.

If we really understood all of the pain and suffering Mary went through for our sakes we would be sure to honor her. Probably no one but Jesus suffered more for the Church. Mary suffered emotionally for almost the entire life of Jesus.

We might as well start at the beginning. Most of us think it was probably exciting to have the Angel appear with his message. But who would believe such a message? Joseph didn’t. He was going to divorce her quietly. How would you like to be pregnant and not married in a society where you get stoned to death for it?

Only the appearance of an angel in a dream to Joseph and Joseph’s decision to marry Mary saved Mary from that possibility. It didn’t save her from the gossips and backbiting. Think about that! People were speaking negatively about Mary right from the start. All through the life of Jesus there was gossip about her.

We all know about the journey to Bethlehem and the birth in a stable. We can imagine how hard that was. We read in Scripture about the Feast of the Presentation when Simeon held Jesus in his arms and prophesied that a “sword will pierce” Mary’s heart. Simeon confirmed that the prophecies of Isaiah applied to Jesus. He would not be a glorious king like David as many of the contemporary Jews thought but a suffering servant destined to die for our salvation. Would it ever be possible to Mary to forget that her son would suffer so bitterly?

We know about the Flight to Egypt and the deaths of the Holy Innocents. How did that feel? Your son isn’t even two years old and they tried to kill Him. On top of that women you knew had to suffer the murder of their children.

How would it feel later to watch your Son leave to begin His Mission knowing that it would end in the Cross? How would it feel to hear of the attacks of the Pharisees? How would it feel to hear of so many people who rejected Jesus and to see this happen personally in Nazareth?

How did it feel to go to Jerusalem for the Passover, knowing what was coming? How did it feel to hear from John that Jesus had been arrested? How painful must it have been to hear the crowd thunder “Crucify Him”? How painful could it be to see your only Son carrying the Cross after having endured the Scourging and Crowning with thorns, to see the blood running down His face and the stains all over His tunic? How would you feel to see rocks and other projectiles strike your Son, to hear Him cursed, mocked and called illegitimate?

What was it like to watch Him fall and hear people cheer? What was it like to see His hands nailed to a cross and then His feet? What was it like to see His body jolt as the Cross was placed in its hole? What was it like to watch His body convulse in pain? What was it like to see Him unable even to hold His head straight because of the thorns?

As bad as it was to watch all this Mary had to listen to the mocking of the Pharisees and others, to her Son cursed and mocked but also to hear herself abused. Think about it the one way to increase the pain of Jesus would be to abuse His mother in front of Him. Think about how Jesus felt then.

Think about how Jesus must feel now to see His Mother mocked in plays and books, to hear her role denied and degraded, to hear that she was a sinner as Protestants claim. Think about what we are doing as we do such things. We join with those on Calvary who hurt Jesus by mocking her.

Do we really want to do that? It is bad enough that Jesus had to suffer for our sins. But do we have to join those on Calvary mocking His Mother?

Jesus, we thank You that You chose Mary to play a special role in our Salvation and that You choose to continue to have Mary play a part in the Salvation of mankind. We ask You to open our hearts and the hearts of all to the love that You desire for us to have for Your Mother. Amen

ronquinlan | May 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Tags: Bleesed Virgin, Mary | Categories: Mary, Our Lady | URL: http://wp.me/p3b6q6-13

 

Catholics Revere Mary, the Mother of Jesus

December 8th is observed in the Catholic church as the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.  The church teaches that this observance should not be confused with Christ’s Virgin Birth.  It is the belief of the faithful that because of the fall of Adam and Eve, that each of us comes into the world born with original sin. The church teaches that this is true for all of us, except Mary, who from the grace and privilege of God is exempt from original sin and came into the world preserved and exemplified from any stain of sin.   She was conceived and born without original sin.

That is the meaning of the “Immaculate Conception” — it is in observance of Mary’s birth – that she was free from original sin at birth or conception.   The determination of this special grace was because God had selected her to become the mother of His sinless Son.  Although this was believed within the Church for many centuries, it was formally declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

The names of Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, appear in the “Gospel of James”, a book dating from the 2nd Century AD, not part of the authentic canon of Scripture.  According to this account, Joachim and Anna were also beyond the years of child-bearing, but prayed and fasted that God would grant their desire for a child.

Mary was a young girl, probably only about 12 or 13 years old when the angel Gabriel came to her.  She had recently become engaged to a carpenter named Joseph.  Mary was an ordinary Jewish girl, looking forward to marriage. Suddenly her life would forever be changed when she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.

Her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away.  But as he considered this, 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; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).’ Ref: Woman of Faith & Family

The Holy Family, consisting of Jesus, his Mother, and his foster father, Joseph, was one of perfect unity and harmony; a model for all Christian homes.  Mary is the model of Christian and Muslim women as she surrendered her will to God when the Angel announced to her that she would become a mother.  Scripture tells us that Mary said:  “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.”   She acknowledged it would be done, according to God’s Will.

Scripture does not reveal a great deal about Mary.  It does tell us about her journey and birth of her son, and her presence at his death. She was also with Jesus at his first miracle, the Wedding Cana, and at her request, Jesus turned water into wine.  It was common to drink wine at weddings inGalilee. At some point during the wedding reception they ran out of wine.

Mary was a guest accompanied by her son, Jesus, and told him this.  She encouraged Jesus to begin to show his power as the Son of God.  Although Jesus knew that it would be much later in his ministry before he would do his greatest work of salvation on the cross, yet, he chose to do his first miracle at this wedding. {John 1:1-11}.

It is for this reason, that Catholics pray to Mary for intercession through asking her, son, Jesus, to grant them special favors and intents.  Many pray to Mary to ask God for peace and intentions through the prayers of the rosary which are prayers to Mary to intercede for them.

Many people may be surprised that Muslims honor Mary, too ~ the mother of Jesus.  In the Quran, no woman is given more attention than Mary.  Mary receives the most attention of any woman mentioned in the Quran and of the Quran’s 114 chapters, she is among the eight people who have a chapter named after them.

Muslims also believe in the Virgin birth of Jesus and Mary plays a very significant role in Islam. She is an example and a sign for all people as she is in the Catholic religion.  In the Quran, Mary’s story begins while she is still in her mother’s womb. The mother of Mary, said: “O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things.” (Quran 3:35).

© Marie Coppola,  Revised December 2017