How to Keep Our Eyes on Jesus Through the Crossroads of Life by GEORGE W. RUTLER

How to Keep Our Eyes on Jesus Through the Crossroads of Life

GEORGE W. RUTLER

In New York City years ago, there was a pastor in the Garment District who advertised his church as the “crossroads of the world.” (New Yorkers are given to that kind of language.) Well, when he became pastor of a church in Midtown, he advertised that one as the “crossroads of the world.” This priest was an evangelist and a master of public relations. But he was on to something: Every church is at the crossroads of the world. Indeed, every generation and every civilization finds itself at a crossroads.

But wherever there is a crossroads, there is a cross. When the Cross of Christ appeared in the world, civilization truly was at a crossroads. It would seem that God in His infinite wisdom chose that moment in history precisely because of its drama. Consider that the Crucifixion of Christ happened almost equidistant between the capture of Rome by the general Pompey and the destruction of Rome by the emperor Titus. It was at that crossroads of civilization that the Lord of history made Himself known.

Pride and Humility

The crossroads of every biography is this challenge to the soul: How will we choose? The soul that is governed by what it thinks is freedom but is, in fact, the delusion of pride, falls into slavery. It is pride, the pretense that we can live without the Cross, that splits the soul. The soul is made of the intellect and the will: Passion enslaves the will; pride then co-opts the intellect.

That great voice of the nineteenth century and of all ages, John Henry Newman, spoke to a group of university scholars about pride, knowing that pride is a besetting sin of the intellectual.

He said famously, “Quarry the granite rock with razors. Moor the vessel with a thread of silk. And then you may hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man.”

Passion and pride: This is what Our Lord is speaking of in announcing the hour of darkness. He is describing the prince of lies, who wants us to think that passion — not the Lord’s divine and salvific Passion, but our fallen human passion — is the way to freedom, and that pride is the source of our dignity. Our Lord knows that passion and pride can be defeated only by suffering and failure. That’s what the Cross teaches us.

The Cross has been called the medicine of the world: It is the cure for this deep affliction, this neurosis within the soul that would have us mistake slavery for freedom. When the soul is divided, civilization begins to fall apart.

Accepting the Cross

The consciousness of God is the beginning of accepting the Cross. Once we understand that there is a God, He, by His grace, will show us that He is one, that He is merciful, and that He has the power to draw us unto Him. “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). Remember the way Our Lord revealed Himself to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exod. 3:14). He is the source of all life, and indeed of being itself.

But if our souls are divided, if our civilization is split apart, we begin to lose the vision of God and His life-giving goodness that had been given to us. God told us, “I AM.” And yet, amid the remnants of a broken and decaying civilization governed by passion and pride, instead of proclaiming that God is the great I AM, we are reduced to sniveling observations about truth and eventually gasping out, “I don’t even know what ‘is’ is!” Well, as long as we refuse to confront the reality of the great I AM, we will never really know what “is” is. We will never understand the grammar of civilization. We will never grasp the true content of justice.

We don’t have to speculate about who this great I AM is: He came into the world in Christ. “I AM the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). “I AM the Vine” (John 15:5). “I AM the Door” (John 10:9). “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). Here, in this God-man, we find the meaning of our existence, our civilization, our identity.

Our Lord went to the Cross at the crossroads of civilization, and conquered passion and pride through His suffering and His visible failure according to the terms of the world. We have to remember that the suffering of God in Christ was one of the most difficult things for His contemporaries to grasp. It was the mystery that caused many of them to flee the Cross. And even when people did try to identify with the Cross, they often tried to redefine or deny outright the suffering of Christ. These heretical groups within Christianity claimed that Christ was only pretending to suffer on the Cross. They could not understand that the divine glory and divine humility were one.

Joseph Goebbels, that vicious propaganda officer of the Nazi machine, wrote in a diary around Christmastime in 1941 that he had just had an impressive meeting with the Führer, who had told him that he very much admired the myth of the pagan god Zeus, the god of all the gods in the Greek pantheon. Why? The Führer explained that he valued Zeus as a figure of benevolence and kindness.

What a difference there is between the smiling Zeus and the pain-wracked, crucified Christ! That’s the experience of the twentieth century in a single anecdote. Our civilization suffered through another manifestation of the Gnostic denial of the Incarnation of God. Note especially how, for one of the cruelest men who ever lived, it was easier to choose the sentimental figure of a nonexistent deity than the suffering and failure of Christ on the Cross.

Christ suffered on the Cross to defeat the passion and pride of Satan. And He failed on the Cross. He had to fail — at least according to the lights of a deceived civilization. He had to contradict those criteria for worldly success that animate the passion and the pride of man. Christ cries out on the Cross, “My God! My God, why have You forsaken me?” (see Matt. 27:46). This is not some kind of mythical success story. No mythical god ever cried out like that!

Life at the Crossroads

When John Paul Getty was one of the richest men in the world, someone asked him his key to success. He replied, “It’s very easy. Rise early. Work hard. And strike oil.” (Not very helpful advice really.) Our Lord never said anything like that. Yes, He did rise early; He kept all-night vigils; and He worked hard to the point of sweating blood. But He never said, “Go out and strike oil.” Salvation does not depend on luck. “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). We must stand at the crossroads and choose truth over lies, and life over death.

There’s an old proverb that goes, “Success is not one of the names of God.” These words came from the experience of God’s chosen people. When you read those words, you can still hear the lamentations of the Jews in their captivity in Egypt, in their forty years of wandering, in the desolation of their temple, in the Babylonian captivity, in the suffering through the ages, and in the horrors of the twentieth century. The choice between despairing of this world and hope in God’s providence is in every life lived at the crossroads.

Christ, the Messiah of the Jews, came into history to show us the resolution between light and dark, between life and death. As He walked through the crowds on one occasion, He suddenly said, “Who was it that touched me?” (Luke 8:45). One woman of the throng that surrounded Him had touched the hem of His garment, and He knew it. For however many civilizations there are, however many billions of people ever lived, each one of us is known to God when we touch Him.

But we have to call Him by name. We cannot call Him according to our own name, our own concept of what He is or should be. We cannot pretend that He is anything less than the pain-wracked, suffering Christ. Certainly success is not one of His names. When He hung on the Cross and cried out, “My God! My God, why have You forsaken me?” He was saying something that you will not find in any book or saccharine sermon about positive thinking. You will not see it engraved on any smile button. That kind of language is not “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It is, however, the voice of the Lord of history — at the crossroads of history — hanging on the Cross.

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He is speaking of you and of me and of every man and woman who has walked through the drama of the human experience. “Who touched me?” I did. “Well then, who crucified me?” I did. If we deny that, then we are governed by passion and pride, and the house of our soul is divided.

Yogi Berra, the master of malapropism, said that when you come to the crossroads of life, “take it.” It’s not much better advice than that of Mr. Getty, but I think you know what he meant. Christ gives everyone, every day, every time we wake up, a chance to choose. And of all the people who ever lived, we have less excuse than any to make a wrong choice, for we have access to the experience of all the civilizations that have gone before. We have the hard lessons of those who have rejected Christ. We have the consequences of civilizations that have turned their backs on God’s beauty and truth and love.

And every soul is offered the perception of the saints, who see at every crossroads the Cross of Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. End Quotes

This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Rutler’s Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving CivilizationIt is available from Sophia Institute Press.

Photo by Jason Betz on Unsplash

I AM a Catholic: Explaining the Eucharist by Patrick Miron

 

I am Catholic: Explaining the Eucharist

 By pat Miron

 A great many things found in the New Testament can find there origin in Tradition and Practice in the Old Testament. Such is the case of Christ Real Presence in the Sacrament of unphathomable love, Holy Eucharist.

Christ eternal decision to use His Passion, Death and Resurrection, to give us a living memorial of this Sacrifice makes evident the Divine Wisdom of God, and follows the same path of Divine Worship, for the forgiveness of sins, evident in much earlier Jewish Tradition and religious practice.

“All the sacrifices of the old law were figures of the sacrifice of our divine Redeemer, and there were four kinds of these sacrifices; namely, the scarified of peace, of thanksgiving, of expiation, and of impetration.

 The sacrifices of peace were instituted to render God the worship of adoration that is due to Him as the sovereign master of all things. These were holocausts.

  1. The sacrifices of thanksgiving were destined to give thanks to the Lord for all His benefits.
  2. The sacrifices of expiation were established to obtain pardon of sins. This kind of sacrifice was specially represented in the Feast of Expiation by ‘the emissary goat’

 [Liv.16: 7-10  Then he shall take the two goats, and set them before the LORD at the door of the tent of meeting;  and Aaron [the chief Priest] shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Aza’zel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Aza’zel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Aza’zel. “] where it would be devoured by ferocious beast.

This sacrifice was the most expressive figure of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Jesus was [too] laden with the sins of humanity and ‘devoured’ by [killed] ferocious beast’ [those responsible for His death; namely, all of us.]

 Finally the sacrifices of impetration had as there object to obtain from God His aid and His grace.

Now, all of these sacrifices were abolished by the coming of the Redeemer, because only the sacrifice of Jeus Christ, which was [is] a perfect sacrifice, while all the others were imperfect; Christ Sacrifice was [alone] sufficient to expatiate sin AND merit every Grace for mankind.” [Hebrews 8:13 “In speaking of a new covenant he [God] treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. “]

 We must also know that the Old Law exacted five conditions in regard to the victims which were to offered to God, as acceptable to Him.

 The victim had to be sanctified, or consecrated to him, so that there would not be offered to God anything that was not holy or unworthy of His Divine majesty. Thus, the offering had to be ‘without blemish,’ in a word; perfect.

  1. The victim had to be offered to God, this was accomplished by words that God himself provided.
  2. The victim had to be immolated, or put to death. There can be no sacrifice without the shedding of Blood.
  3. The victim had to be consumed. This was done by fire and called a holocaust.

[Liv.6: 26-29 “The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it; in a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting. Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy; and when any of its blood is sprinkled on a garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled in a holy place. And the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken; but if it is boiled in a bronze vessel, that shall be scoured, and rinsed in water. Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy.”

Num. 28:9 “On the Sabbath day two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a cereal offering, mixed with oil, and its drink [wine] offering: “….  notice here the use of “bread and wine.”

 Gen.14:18 “And Mel-chiz’edek king [and High Priest] of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. “To be sacrificed.]

  1. All the people, along with the priest, had to participate in the consumption [except for the holocaust]. ’The victim was divided into three parts, one part for the priest, one part for the holocaust and one part for the people.’

All of these elements are present in the celebration of the “Paschal Lamb,” [PASSOVER celebration,] which Christ used to introduce this memorial. Luke 19-20 “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [It is with these precise WORDS; ’do this in memory of Me,’ that Jesus Instituted the Sacrament of Holy Order, and the sum of these words that He Instituted the Sacrament  of the Most Holy Eucharist.] And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Matthew 26: “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Also in Mark 14: 22-24, John 6:40-69, and Paul’s 1 Cor. 11:23-29.

From John 1:[Quoting John the Baptist]  v. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  V36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

 Jesus is:

1. The Holy and perfect [unblemished – male] victim

  1. Offered to God. [Eucharist is by God, of God and for God; and then through God for us]
  2. Put to death; a sacrifice requires the shedding of blood.
  3. Has to be consumed, which explains further the selection by Christ of Bread and Wine.
  4. The priest and the people must participate in the consumption of Christ Sacrifice.

Certainly a few things are evident. Most notably, the Unlimited Power of God to effect any Good Thing; a desire to tie in New Sacred practice with the Old Testament sacred practices, and unwillingness to leave us orphans.

 God, who is all-Knowing, all-Wise, Perfect in every Good Thing, does not utter useless words, or make promises He does not intend to honor.

Think of these promises in relation to the Most Holy Eucharist

John 14: 18-20 “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you.

 Mt. 28: 20 “and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”  And in another place Jesus promises us that: I will not leave you orphans.”

Additionally Jesus from the Cross said “I Thirst” [John 19:28.] Theologians explain that this was not only a physical thirst; after all that Christ had endured a physical thirst was clearly evident, and did not need to be expressed. [Also he was offered a drugged wine which He refused], so this statement clearly implies that even after all that Jesus had done for us, “he still desired to do more, suffer more, endure more and LOVE us more.” Mt. 28: 20 “and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” 

 A DEADFUL warning for those who choose not to hear and accept these teachings, from Christ Himself in John’s Chapter Five, which precedes the BREAD OF LIFE DISCOUSE OF CHAPTER SIX:

 John 5:31-47 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. You sent to John, [The Baptist] and he gave testimony to the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but I say these things, that you may be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

But I have a greater testimony than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to perfect; the works themselves, which I do, give testimony of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself who hath sent me, hath given testimony of me: neither have you heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.   And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him you believe not. You Search the scriptures, for you think in them to have life everlasting; and the same are they that give testimony of me. And you will not come to me that you may have life.

[Explanation of Douay Bible] [39] Search the scriptures: Scrutamini. It is not a command for all to read the scriptures; but a reproach to the Pharisees, that reading the scriptures as they did, and thinking to find everlasting life in them, they would not receive him to whom all those scriptures gave testimony, and through whom alone they could have that true life. [And it is even more true in this present age…PJM]

I receive glory not from men. But I know you, that you have not the [TRUE] love of God in you. I am come in the name of my Father, and you receive me not: [YET] if another [MAN] shall come in his own name, him you will receive.  How can you believe, who receive glory one from another: and the glory which is from God alone, you do not seek? Think not that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one that accuseth you, Moses, in whom you trust. For if you did believe Moses, you would perhaps believe me also; for he wrote of me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?

Can it be true? Is Jesus Really in Catholic Holy Communion?

 Jesus willed to stay with us. Mt. 28: “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me… and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

 The gift from God, by God (His Son, Jesus the Christ) and for God, and then for us, makes the Eucharist the greatest source of grace, leading to our eternal salvation.

 When the Catholic priest or bishop pronounces the words: “This is My Body…. This is My Bloodtwo miracles take place. First the priest is momentarily miraculously transformed into Christ Himself, as it is Christ who makes the transformation (Transubstanuation…Catholic theological term) of what appears to be ordinary bread and wine, into the very [now GLORIFIED /unbloody] Flesh and Blood of Jesus Himself. Thus we proclaim that what was, is no more” The second miracle. Jesus Himself, not a sign, and not a symbol: Jesus Himself is made present. All that remains are “the accidents” that is to say the ONLY the appearance of bread and wine.

John: Ch. 6:

 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed

66 after this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. (Disciples…not Apostles.” no longer” means that they deserted Jesus and His teaching.) 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  

Jesus didn’t say …oops, “you didn’t understand what I was trying to say.” He simply asked ‘do you not understand, not believe and wish to go away (desert me)?

 Saint Paul: 1st. Corinthians 11:

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 for anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

 33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home–lest you come together to be condemned. Paul is saying this “this not a meal! It is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Himself.” Were he not saying this, why would one be” condemned” for eating what is only ordinary bread, and drinking ordinary wine? NOT!

 Only through the window of Divine Love, can one even come close to understanding why God did this.

 Heb. 2:  “5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6* It has been testified somewhere, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou cares for him? 7 Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Desiring to do more, to be more, to LOVE us more, and to save more; Christ became our Bread and our Drink. God didn’t settle for (dare I say)  “just” becoming a man like us in every way but sin. Jesus the God-man, didn’t just die for us. No, God who promised to be “with us until the end if time,” (Mt. 28:20), Willed to assume the mantel of an inanimate object, assuming the appearance of ordinary bread and wine, to be able to nourish us Spiritually and physically, AND so as not to frighten us in His Majestic Splendor. 

 Matt.17: 1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.  And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli’jah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah.” He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only

 Why did Jesus allow Himself to be born as a small, helpless, baby? Remember he was “laid in a manger.” What is a “manager? Something that holds food. Where did this take place? Lk. 2: “15 when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And what does the work “Bethlehem” mean in Hebrew?” It means, “House of bread.”

 Jesus came to us as a tiny harmless baby, so as not to scare or to intimidate us. For the very same reason, he assumes the appearance of bread and wine. Mt. 11: 28”Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus loves us too much to scare us, to force us, but loves us so very much that He desires to lead us to Himself.

This, my friend can only be understood through the window of Divine Love!

The Holy Eucharist, Catholic Holy Communion:

The gift from God, of God (His Son, Jesus the Christ) by and for God, and for us. in that it is the greatest source of grace, leading to our eternal salvation, and thus, greatly assist in accomplishing GOD”S PLAN FOR EACH OF US.

The truth of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in Catholic Holy Communion, properly received is verified in all four “Synoptic Gospels” as well as the writings of Saint Paul. Catholic Holy Communion is not simply a sign or a symbol, or a simple remembrance. It is the Real Presence of the GLORIFIED BODY of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus born of Mary, the same Jesus that was Crucified and the same Jesus that Rose from the Dead!

The more often the various authors of the bible express a mystery, the more significance, a Divine intervention has to the salvation of souls. No other Gift from God, no other Sacrament can provide the super abundance of Grace than Catholic Holy Communion. Why? Because in Catholic Holy Communion properly received, we are united in the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Glorified Body of Jesus Himself. We literally consume Jesus, He becomes a part of us, and we become a part of Him in a most mysterious, unique and intimate way. The teaching authority of the Church, the Magisterium, teaches that “all Sacraments lead to and towards the Holy Eucharist, because it is Christ Himself.”

                One can find this biblical truth in the following books:

Saint Matthew: Chapter 26: 26-29

[26] Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” [27] And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; [28] for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Saint Mark: Chapter 14: 22-25

[22] And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” [23] And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. [24] And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Saint Luke: Chapter 22: 14-20

[19] And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [20] And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. [21] But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.

Saint John: All of Chapter six, but especially verses 41-65

[41] Th Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” [42] They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven’?” [43] Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. [44] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. [45] It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. [46] Not that anyone has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. [47] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. [48] I am the bread of life. [49] Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. [50] This is the bread which comes down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die.

[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” [52] The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, [How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”[See explanation of verse 63 below]  [53] So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; [54] he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. [57] As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. [58] This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” [59] This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum-um. [60] Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” [61] But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? [62] Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? [63] It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

[64] But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.

Explanation of verse 63: By Haydock’s Commentary [Eucharist is the GLORIFIED UNBLOODY Christ]

Ver. 63. The flesh profiteth nothing. Dead flesh, separated from the spirit, in the gross manner they supposed they were to eat his flesh, would profit nothing. Neither doth man’s flesh, that is to say, man’s natural and carnal apprehension, (which refuses to be subject to the spirit, and words of Christ) profit anything. But it would be the height of blasphemy, to say the living flesh of Christ (which we receive in the Blessed Sacrament, with his spirit, that is, with his soul and divinity) profiteth nothing. For if Christ’s flesh had profited us nothing, he would never have taken flesh for us, nor died in the flesh for us. — Are spirit and life. By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace and life. These words sufficiently correct the gross and carnal imagination of these Capharnaites, that he meant to give them his body and blood to eat in a visible and bloody manner, as flesh, says St. Augustine, is sold in the market, and in the shambles;

[3] but they do not imply a figurative or metaphorical presence only. The manner of Christ’s presence is spiritual and under the outward appearances of bread and wine; but yet he is there truly and really present, by a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of his body and blood, which truly and really become our spiritual food, and are truly and really received in the holy sacrament. — The flesh[4] of itself profiteth nothing, not even the flesh of our Saviour Christ, were it not united to the divine person of Christ. But we must take care how we understand these words spoken by our Saviour: for it is certain, says St. Augustine, that the word made flesh, is the cause of all our happiness. When I promise you life if you eat my flesh, I do not wish you to understand this of that gross and carnal manner, of cutting my members in pieces: such ideas are far from my mind: the flesh profiteth nothing. In the Scriptures, the word flesh is often put for the carnal manner of understanding anything. If you wish to enter into the spirit of my words, raise your hearts to a more elevated and spiritual way of understanding them. (Calmet) — The reader may consult Des Mahis, p. 165, a convert from Protestantism, and who has proved the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist in the most satisfactory manner, from the written word. Where he shows that Jesus Christ, speaking of his own body, never says the flesh, but my flesh: the former mode of expression is used to signify, as we have observed above, a carnal manner of understanding anything.

                Saint Paul: 1st. Corinthians 11: 23-32

 [23] For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, [24] and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [25] In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” [26] For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. [27] Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. [28] Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. [29] For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. [30] that is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. [Meaning lost faith and are hell bound. PJM]

Verse 27 is highly significant and highly logical and practical. How could eating ordinary bread, drinking ordinary wine, “Profane the body and blood” of Christ. IT CAN”T!

 The Last Supper from Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s: “Life of Christ”

 “In one sublime act He interpreted the meaning of His death. He declared that He was marking the beginning of the New Testament or Covenant ratified by His sacrificial death….

Since His death was the reason for His coming, He now instituted for His Apostles and prosperity a Memorial Action of His Redemption, which He promised when He said that He was the Bread of Life.

He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it; and He gave it to them, with these words: “This is My Body which is given to you” Luke 22:19

 He did not say,” this represents my body,” but He said,” This is My Body.” – A body that would be broken in His Passion. Then taking wine into His hands, He said:

Drink from it all of you. For this is My Blood, the blood of the covenant, shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28

 He did not consecrate the bread and wine together, but separately to show forth the manner of His death by the separation of His body and His blood. In this act Our Lord was what He would be on the Cross the next day: both Priest and Victim. In the Old Testament and among pagans, the victim such as a goat or a sheep was a part of the priest who offered it. In this Eucharistic action and on the Cross, He, the Priest, offered Himself, therefore He was also the victim…

Why did our Lord use bread and wine as the elements of His memorial? First of all because no two substances in nature better symbolize unity than bread and wine. As bread is made of a multiplicity of grains and wheat, and wine is made from a multiplicity of grapes, so the many believe are one in Christ. Second, no two substances in nature have to suffer more to become what they are than bread and wine. Wheat has to pass through the rigors of winter, be ground beneath the Calvary of a mill, and then subjected to purging fire before it can become bread. Grapes in there stead must be subjected the Gethsemane of a wine press and have there life crushed from them by the wine press. Thus do they symbolize the Passion and suffering of Christ, and the condition for Salvation, for our Lord said that unless we die to ourselves, we cannot live in Him. A third reason is that there are no two substances in nature which traditionally nourished man than bread and wine…He gave the command to commemorate and announce His Redemptive death until He comes again.

What He asked His Apostles to do was to set forth in the future this Memorial of His Passion, Death and resurrection. What He did looked forward to the Cross; what He did, and which has continued ever since in the Mass, was to look back at His redemptive death…

He broke the bread to set forth the breaking of His own human body and also to show that He is the victim by His own freewill. He broke it by voluntary surrender, before the executioners would break it by their voluntary cruelty…

He gave a new manner of Presence. It would not be a new sacrifice, for there is only one; He gave a new Presence of that unique sacrifice. In the Last Supper, our Lord acted independently of His Apostles in presenting His sacrifice under the appearance of bread and wine.

After His Resurrection and Ascension and in obedience to the Divine Command, Christ would offer to His Heavenly Father through them or depending on them. Whenever that sacrifice of Christ is memorialized in the Church [SINGULAR], there is an application to a new moment in time and a new presence in space of the unique sacrifice of Christ who is now in GLORY. In obeying His mandate, His followers would be representing in an unbloody manner that which He presented to His Father in the bloody sacrifice of Calvary….

 As the highest peak of love in the human order is the unity of the husband and wife in the flesh, so the highest unity in the Divine Order is the unity of soul and Christ in communion…. The Body and blood would not be of the physical Christ before them, but that of the GLORIFIED CHRIST IN HEAVEN.

When Our Lord, after He changed the bread and wine into His body and blood, He told His Apostles to eat and drink. He was doing for the soul of man, what bread and wine do for the body.

 Our Lord never told anyone to write about His Redemption, BUT Her did tell His apostles to RENEW it, APPLY it, COMMEMORATE it, PROLONG it by obeying His Order at the last Supper. He wanted the great drama of Calvary to be played not once, but for every age of His own choosing… [Luke 22:19 and he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”]
“This is My Body and this is in My Blood“; dying to their lower natures to live to grace; saying that they cared not for the appearance of species of their lives such as their family relations, jobs, duties, physical appearance, or talents, but that there intellects, there wills, there substance- all that they truly were would be changed into Christ; that the Heavenly Father looking down on them would see them in His Son, see there sacrifice, there mortifications incorporated with His death, so eventually they might share His glory.”

In summation, the Mass said today is nearly identical to the Mass said over 1800 years ago! Many thousands of martyrs, beginning with the Apostles gave there very life’s in brutal and savage ways in belief of this Truth. More than any other single reason it is why the CC has lasted 2000 years and continues to be the largest Christian Church, with BILLIONS of Catholics throughout the world.

 God in-person, say’s its true, God does not, cannot lie. It is TRULY, the most sublime act of LOVE, in the annals of history; God continuing to seek a most personal relationship with His created humanity, beckons us to first accept, and then return love for LOVE.

 Love and prayers,

 To Jesus THROUGH Mary

Patrick

Is the Eucharist a Memorial, Sacrifice, or Both? by unknown author

 

Is the Eucharist a Memorial, Sacrifice, or Both?

In the first two hundred years of the Protestant Reformation, there was little debate over whether the Eucharist is Jesus Christ’s flesh and blood. Protestants, other than a few fanatics such as Zwingli, generally agreed that Christ was present, somehow, in the Eucharist. Their disagreement with Roman Catholics was over how the Eucharist was Christ’s flesh and blood, and over the alleged sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist.

Protestants rejected the idea that the Eucharist was a literal sacrifice. Instead, it was merely a memorial where Christ’s sacrifice was remembered. Reformed theologian Matthew Henry in his magesterial commentary sums up for us the standard Protestant party line: “[W]e do this in remembrance of what He did for us, when he died for us; and for a memorial of what we do, in joining ourselves to him.”

In more modern parlance, Protestants simply feel like saying, “What part of ‘do this in remembrance of me’ do you not understand?!?”

Are We Understanding the Word “Remembrance” Correctly? The preceding rhetorical question seems to settle the question–the Orthodox and Roman Catholics have added Satanic doctrines to the plain teachings of the Scriptures. However, what people little realize is that the meaning of words such as remembrance, seemingly “plain” in English, are not so plain in the Greek.

In fact, the Greek term ἀνάμνησις which we commonly render as “memorial” or “remembrance” has two different meanings. One meaning is “memorial,” and this is rather non-controversial for those Protestants familiar with the term ἀνάμνησις. The other meaning modern etymologists ascribe to ἀνάμνησις not so surprisingly adds credibility to the traditional, Orthodox understanding of the Eucharist. We will cover this meaning later in the article.

The idea of a word having two legitimately different meanings is not something that only exists in the Greek language. We have a term for it in fact: homonym.

Misunderstandings that arise over homonyms can create all sorts of confusion. Let’s take for example the homonym “cabinet” and apply it to a situation I literally just made up on the fly:

In post-apocalyptic America 2049 AD, humanity has just begun recovering from a nuclear war of 2019, which claimed the lives of 99.99 percent of the Earth’s population. The survivors, desperate to bring back “the original America,” tasked archaeologists with digging up whatever they can find from the past so they can find out what it was like.

Shortly afterwards, the archaeologists unearthed a high school US civics textbook that spoke about how the US government worked. Sadly for these archaeologists, only 22 percent of its contents are intact. It is from this document that the New Founding Fathers are re-constituting the United Neo-States of America.

The documents have created no little controversy, however. The document reads, ‘The President must choose his cabinet’ before abruptly ending. A few old codgers maintain, “A cabinet is a body of advisers.” The new President dismisses this as “Satanic foolishness” and is more concerned with what color his new cabinet should be.

 

The Testimony of the Early Church. Before we get into arguing over the meaning of words, let’s reflect upon the example we just read. As we can see, confusion arose over the usage of the homonym “cabinet.” The foolishness of the new President was that he ignored the interpretation of the term given by old-timers that remembered how the US government functioned before the nuclear war. In result, his concerns over a literal cabinet were entirely misplaced, even though divorced from a correct understanding of American traditions it might have made sense linguistically.

In light of this, let us ask ourselves: Were the Reformers, in their reading of the Greek word “remembrance,” overly dismissive of the testimony of what the historical understanding of what the Eucharist was? Let’s allow one of the Reformers to speak for himself.

John Calvin, in response to the obvious fact that the whole Christian world traditionally maintained that the Eucharist was a sacrifice, wrote in Book IV, Chapter 18 of the Institutes that Satan “blinded almost the whole world into the belief that the Mass was a sacrifice and oblation for obtaining the remission of sins.”

 

Calvin was not entirely ignorant of Christian history, however. In the same chapter he contended that the early church fathers “use the term sacrifice, but they, at the same time, explain that they mean nothing more than the [mere] commemoration of that one true sacrifice which Christ, our only sacrifice.” Yet, merely a paragraph later, Calvin admits, “I see that those ancient writers have wrested this commemoration to a different purpose than was accordant to the divine institution, (the Supper somehow seemed to them to present the appearance of a repeated or at least renewed, immolation.)”

In short, Calvin was like the new President, dismissing what tradition showed him to be the historical understanding of the Eucharist in favor of his interpretation of what “the divine institution” (Christ’s words in Luke 22) meant.

Perhaps what gave Calvin peace of mind was that he was aware of only third to fifth century sources that called the Eucharist a sacrifice. He may have figured that 200 years would appear enough time for the early Church to start adding zany, new theology which ignored the plain words of the “divine institution.”

In retrospect, would such thinking be justified? Let’s consider the following second century sources written within a 100 years of the time of the Apostles:

But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving [lit. Eucharist] after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure (Didache, Chap 14). 

 

For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth ] the unity of His blood; one altar (Ignatius, Philadelphians, Chap 4).  

 

‘I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands: for, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, My name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure offering: for My name is great among the Gentiles, says the Lord: but you profane it.’ Malachi 1:10-12 [So] He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us, who in every place offer sacrifices to Him, i.e., the bread of the Eucharist, and also the cup of the Eucharist, affirming both that we glorify His name, and that you profane [it] (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chap 41).

 

To be fair to Calvin, scholarship in the 16th century did not yet affirm the authenticity of Ignatius’ work and the Didache was not discovered until 350 years later. Furthermore, it is entirely possible that Calvin simply forgot the passage from Justin Martyr in question, or skipped over a page in his personal reading of the book. It was not like Calvin was able to Google the passage in the case he missed it. He would have had to travel to a library by foot or horse in order to find Saint Justin’s book again.

It is wise to defend Calvin some more. We must keep in mind that the study of the Greek language was still rather new in the West and the meaning of “memorial” was not entirely understood. So, Calvin at least had some justification to look at his 16th century Greek to Latin lexicon and conclude that all this talk of “sacrifice” is seemingly extrabiblical.

The Greek Meaning of “Memorial” (ἀνάμνησις).  Thankfully for us, since the Industrial Revolution, scholarship in the field of languages has greatly improved. With these improvements in scholarship, Protestant, Catholic, and secular etymologists have concluded that the term “memorial” or “remembrance,” which is the focal point of all of this contention, has a meaning consistent with the traditional understanding of the Eucharist.

For example, in Liddell and Scott’s A Greek-English Lexicon, the Greek term “memorial” explicitly has “memorial sacrifice” as one of its definitions.

Other lexicons agree. In Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the word for “remembrance”/”memorial” is defined as follows:

…ἀνάμνησις ἁμαρτιῶν in offering sacrifices there is a remembrance of sins, i. e. the memory of sins committed is revived by the sacrifices…

 

In other words, Thayer’s agrees that a “remembrance”/”memorial” is specifically a “memorial sacrifice.”

Ancient pagan works bear out the meanings we see ascribed to the Greek term ἀνάμνησις in the lexicons. Lysias’ Funeral Oration 2:39 is one such example.

This is why even modern Protestant scholars are able to concede what Calvin could not. In the words of Anglican early Church scholar JND Kelly:

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It was natural for early Christians to think of the Eucharist as a sacrifice. The fulfillment of prophecy demanded a solemn Christian offering, and the rite itself was wrapped in the sacrificial atmosphere with which our Lord invested the Last Supper. The words of institution, ‘Do this’ (touto poieite), must have been charged with sacrificial overtones for second-century ears; Justin at any rate understood them to mean, ‘Offer this.’ . . . The bread and wine, moreover, are offered ‘for a memorial (eis anamnasin) of the passion,’ a phrase which in view of his identification of them with the Lord’s body and blood implies much more than an act of purely spiritual recollection (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 196–7).

 

The Word “Memorial”/”Remembrance” In the Scriptures. Another thing Calvin nor any of the Reformers had access to were searchable databases to verify the claims of scholars they disagreed with. For example, if someone presented to Calvin a Greek to Latin lexicon that made clear that a memorial was a sacrifice in early Greek, he could have simply accused them of lying or of presenting one Greek usage and drawing the wrong conclusion.

 

Thanks to ready access to information, such tenuous argumentation is more difficult to maintain today. For example, in the New Testament the term ἀνάμνησιν is used four times. Three of the references are explicitly pertaining to the Lord’s Supper. In Heb 10:3, it pertains to the sacrifices of the Old Covenant:

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those [sacrifices] a reminder [ἀνάμνησιν, i.e. “memorial sacrifice”] of sins year by year (Heb 10:1-3).

 

Here, we see the term “remembrance” explicitly used in a sacrificial context. It is true, however, that one can simply read the term “reminder” as a mere-reminder of sins committed instead of a euphemism for a “memorial sacrifice.” This is because one may rhetorically ask, “What kind of sacrifices have a memorial sacrifice? Isn’t that redundant?”

However, this is mitigated against by the same term’s usage in the Old Testament in its original Greek translation (LXX):

Also in the days of gladness and in your feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your whole burnt offerings and the sacrifices of your peace offerings, and they shall be a remembrance [ἀνάμνησις, i.e. memorial sacrifice] for you before your God (Num 10:10).

 

You shall put pure frankincense with salt on each row, that it may be to the bread for a memorial [ἀνάμνησιν, i.e. memorial sacrifice], even an offering made by fire to the Lord (Lev 24:7).

 

In both passages, we can see how a sacrifice can, in a seemingly redundant sense, be presented as a memorial sacrifice. This is especially clear in the latter passage, where the frankincense is not our reminder, but it is “to the bread…a memorial…an offering made by fire to the Lord.” In other words, it is the bread’s “memorial sacrifice.” After all, bread does not need to be a reminded of anything.

There is another Greek term that is considered a synonym and “is used interchangeably” with ἀνάμνησις “in the classical Greek” according to Thayer’s lexicon–ὑπόμνησις (“reminder.”) This term is used three times in the New Testament, none of which in a sacrificial context. Yet, in the LXX, it is used six times in Leviticus and twice in Numbers in a sacrificial context. In its usage in Num 5:26, it is clear what is spoken about is not a mere reminder, but a kind of sacrifice:

The priest shall take a handful of the meal offering, as its memorial [μνημόσυνον], and burn it on the altar…

Obviously, the handful that is burned on the altar is not our reminder in that passage. It is “its memorial” or in other words the meal offering’s “memorial sacrifice.”

It is worth pointing out that in the LXX, the words that mean memorial (ἀνάμνησιν and μνημόσυνον) do not always mean “sacrifice.” Rather, they sometimes do, indicating that “memorial sacrifice” is a legitimate rendering of the term.

Did the Early Church Understand the Problem with Homonyms? For us moderns, far removed from the days where Koine Greek was spoken and embroiled in doctrinal controversies that obfuscate the matter, the confusion created by the term “memorial” is forgivable. Almost two years ago I underwent a study of Saint Chrysostom’s view of the Eucharist and smugly concluded that Chrysostom viewed the Eucharist as a mere memorial. Yet, in that same article, it is painfully obvious that I attempted explaining away the fact that Chrysostom, even when calling the Eucharist a “memorial,” obviously meant more by the the term.

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For example, Saint Chrysostom wrote, “He has bound up the memorial of the benefit with the mystery [“Sacrament” in English]” (Homily 82 on Matthew). Here, we see Chrysostom is aware that the Eucharist is indeed a visible reminder, but at the same time something more.

Yet, some of my confusion was understandable. I did not realize that when Chrysostom was speaking of a “memorial,” the word was not being translated correctly. Rather, translator should have rendered the term as “memorial sacrifice.” In fact, we can see Chrysostom explaining the term as such, attempting to clear up any confusion that may arise when we contemplate how on Earth the priest in an Orthodox/Catholic Church offers the Eucharist as a sacrifice when in fact there was just one sacrifice of Jesus Christ that forgives sins for all time:

He is our High Priest, who offered the sacrifice [on Calvary] that cleanses us. That [sacrifice on Calvary] we offer now also, which was then offered, which cannot be exhausted. This is done in remembrance of what was then done. For (says He) do this in remembrance of Me. It is not another sacrifice, as the High Priest, but we offer always the same, or rather we perform a remembrance [lit. ἀνάμνησιν, i.e. “memorial sacrifice”] of a Sacrifice. (It is the ONE Original-Sacrifice of Christ Death at Calvary, on the Cross that is MADE ‘Really; Truly and Substanually PRESENT; Re-Presented time and time again {not “represented” but Re-Presented’ “ Even Jesus/God, the GOD made man can only die one time… God CAN do “any good thing.” And THIS IS the greatest possible good and the very Perfection of Goodness, which God alone can make happen.  Patrick Miron insert.)

But since I have mentioned this [memorial] sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit . What then is it? Many partake of this [memorial] sacrifice once in the whole year, others twice; others many times (Homily 17 on Hebrews, Paragraphs 6 and 7).

In short, we can conclude two things.

  1. Chrysostom obviously parses the Greek in that “reminder,” as it is translated by a Roman Catholic translator, should be in fact rendered “memorial sacrifice.” We know this because we literally see him call the “reminder” a “sacrifice” in the very next sentence.
  2. The “memorial sacrifice” of the Eucharist is not“another sacrifice.” Christ is sacrificed once and for all. Rather, “we offer always the same” sacrifice that was on Calvary. The mystery is that the Eucharist exists outside of time.

THIS ADIronically, if Calvin and the other Reformers understood 1. the Greek better and 2. Chrysostom’s homilies on Hebrews, they would have never rejected the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist (which is substantially the same as the Orthodox doctrine.) Quite frankly, accusing the Orthodox or Roman Catholics of masquerading in repeating the sacrifice of Christ is idiotic and completely ignores the theological rationalizations that have been given for the Eucharist for nearly 2,000 years. I am personally not without sin in this regard.

Conclusion. As a former Protestant, I am well aware of the difficulties that Protestant-traditions of men pose us. They confuse our interpretation of the Scriptures. In the preceding, I have shown that the main Protestant objection to the Orthodox understanding of the Eucharist is entirely predicated upon 1. shoddy exegesis and 2. shoddy lexicography.

I would like to conclude this article by invoking the passage Jesus Christ probably had in mind in John 3:14-16. It is Wisdom 16:5-7–

For when the terrible rage of wild animals came upon your people and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents, your wrath did not continue to the end; they were troubled for a little while as a warning, and received a symbol of deliverance to remind [ἀνάμνησιν] them of your law’s command. For the one who turned toward it was saved, not by the thing that was beheld, but by you, the Savior of all.

In this case, the reminder was not a “memorial sacrifice.” It was a snake that the Jews looked towards to remember their deliverance in the wilderness. By looking to the symbol, they were saved by the God whose deliverance they were reminded of.

In the same way:

[J]ust as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

When the cup of the Eucharist is lifted up and we partake in the memorial that, bound up in it, has the benefit bestowed to us in Christ’s atoning death on the cross, we truly taste and see the Lord is good. The memory is made a reality for us in the Eucharist.

To Him who is lifted up, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, be the praise, honor, and glory forever. Amen. End Quotes

Added by Patrick Miron

It is of critical importance and significance to point out that the early Church correctly understand what the Apostles Taught on this; the very BEDROCK, the Suma and the Summit of Catholicism from which Protestantism was illegitmately birthed.

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FROM the Catechism of the roman Catholic Church

The Liturgical Celebration of the Eucharist

The Mass of all ages

1345 As early as the second century we have the witness of StJustin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration. They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical familiesStJustin wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138161) around the year 155, explaining what Christians (Catholics were the ONLY “Christians” at that time)  did:

On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place.
The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits.
When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.
Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.
When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.
Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren.
He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.
When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: Amen.’  (Which MEANS “I DO Believe it}.
When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the “eucharisted” breadwine and water and take them to those who are absent.End quoted

 (On the Road to Emmaus) Luke 24:[30] And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. {On the Road to Emmas) [31] And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. [32] And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? [33]And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, [34]Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. [35] And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.”

Acts 2: 41-42 “[41] They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. [42] And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

FYI: The term “breaking of the bread was the Original for the Eucharist; Catholic Holy Communion.”

Catholic Holy Communion (the Eucharist) IS

From God the Father

Of God the Son

BY God the Holy Spirit {acting in and through His Catholic Priest

Mary Ols and New: pt 2 of 2 by Patrick & friends

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7 Unexpected Ways the Old Testament Prefigures Mary

STEPHEN BEALE

ttps://catholicexchange.com/7-unexpected-ways-old-testament-prefigures-mary

 

As Catholics, we are familiar with how Mary is the New Eve — as well as the many ways that the other women of ancient Israel look forward to the Mother of God. But Mary is also prefigured in some unexpected parts of the Old Testament. Here are seven of them.

Noah’s ark.

We tend to think of the wooden ark that saved humanity from destruction as a type of the cross. (A type is commonly defined as a person, place, event, or thing in the Old Testament that prefigures something in the New.) But some also see it as a type of Mary. For example, St. Alphonsus Liguori envisions Mary as being ‘more spacious’ than the ark. Also, the ark was spared universal destruction due to sin and Mary was preserved from original sin. Moreover, the ark was a refuge for Noah just as Mary is for us (source here).

Jacob’s ladder.

Though the text of Genesis 28 might not have an obvious Marian link, there is a deep-seated association between Jacob’s ladder and Mary in both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. This icon of Mary shows four scenes from the Old Testament which foreshadow the Incarnation in some way. In the lower right is Jacob’s ladder.

Mary is the ladder by which we ascend to God. And, she is also the ladder “through whom the glory of God descended from Heaven to earth and was incarnate as Jesus Christ,” as one guide to the icon explains. Christ is the Mediator and Mary is the medium through which such mediation occurs. She is the sacred space within which God and man intermingle. (Pope Pius IX’s encyclical Ineffabilis Deus also mentions Jacob’s ladder, among many other biblical types, including the one below.)

The burning bush.

The Akathist hymn of the Eastern Orthodox Church proclaims,

“The great mystery of your childbirth did Moses perceive within the burning bush. The youth vividly prefigured this, standing in the midst of fire and remaining unconsumed, O undefiled and holy Virgin. We praise you therefore in hymns to the ages.”

Moreover, the burning bush is also a figure for both the manner in which Mary gave birth as a virgin and carried the divine while remaining human, according to St. Gregory of Nyssa. This symbolism is what is behind the mysterious icons of Mother of God of the Unburnt Bush. (See my previous article on this here.)

Ark of the Covenant.

This might seem like one of the stranger types. But it’s actually pretty solid biblically speaking. A close analysis of the Greek text of Luke’s account of the Visitation shows that the gospel writer wove in language from Old Testament accounts of how the ark of the covenant was venerated. (See my previous article here.)

And the woman who appears in Revelation 12 ‘clothed with the sun’ and crowned with the star comes immediately after the ark of the covenant was shown in heaven at the end of Revelation 11, thus confirming the connection. (And remember, when Scripture was written, it did not have chapters and verses.) Just as the ark of the covenant held the Ten Commandments, the word of God, so also Mary bore the Word of God Incarnate.

The cloud of Elijah.

This one is easy to miss. At the end of Elijah 18, after the book’s titular prophet has vanquished the prophets of Baal and ended a drought, he goes up to Mt. Carmel and issues an odd order to his servant: to look out over the sea. The servant sees nothing, yet is repeatedly instructed to go back. Only on the seventh venture does he spy something: “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Upon hearing this, Elijah notifies Ahab—who is nearby—to leave the mountain before the impending rain comes. Now that might seem unlikely given such a small cloud, but that’s exactly what happens at the end of the chapter.

An interesting and bizarre story, to be sure—but is it Marian? A number of interpreters say yes. Here is one explanation: “Mary is the cloud that rises out of the sea. The sea is saltwater, undrinkable, a vast body of water, next to which the kingdom can still thirst and die. The sea is salty, impure, an image of fallen humanity with its admixture of sin. Mary rises out of this sea, pure and perfect, laden with the water of grace that will pour out through her to all humanity.”

The shut door of the temple.

Some interpreters also discern a type of Mary in Ezekiel’s vision of the temple. Here are the key verses:

“Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary facing east, but it was closed. The LORD said to me: ‘This gate must remain closed; it must not be opened, and no one should come through it. Because the LORD, the God of Israel, came through it, it must remain closed’” (Ezekiel 44:1-2).

The imagery here is readily explainable in Marian terms. Just as the temple of the Old Testament was the place where God’s presence was manifested on earth, so also Mary was the site of God’s Incarnation on earth. These verses particularly hint at Mary’s perpetual virginity. As one scholar explains,

“According to the most accredited exegetical Tradition, this door is the intact virginity of Mary, which before, during and after divine childbirth ‘has always kept intact the virginal seal, as a door sealed, to remain always closed,’ all the more so because, as St. Ambrose says, ‘Christ has passed through it, but not opened it.’”

There is a certain irony at work here. Mary is the ladder — one might also say the portal or opening — between heaven and earth. Yet she is also closed off in a certain sense. She is pure accessibility while remaining entirely untouched. In her then, we see a figure for the Incarnation itself, in which God came to us while remaining unseen in His essence.

The gate of heaven.

Several Old Testament passages talk about a gate to heaven. Psalm 24:9 cries out, “Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.” Likewise, there is Isaiah 26:2, “Open up the gates that a righteous nation may enter, one that keeps faith.” There is a kind of expectant joy in these verses—one that is distinctly Marian. In both cases the writers demand the opening of the gate knowing that it will be answered—kind of like how an army that reclaims its homeland returns to the city gates.

In Mary, we have confidence and joy because the Incarnation that occurred through her has already assured believers of victory. Just as salvation has entered the world through Mary we may now enter paradise through her. (My source for this type is here.)

 

 

https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/o/old-testament-types-of-mary.php

 

Old Testament Types of Mary

– Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Marian Types of the Old Testament

The following is an attempt to mirror Old and New Testament on behalf of Mary. In our understanding of the Bible there exists continuity between the two Testaments. The Old Testament anticipates, announces, and points to the New Testament. The two relate to each other like promise and fulfillment. Looking from the New Testament back into the Old Testament, we recognize a number of women of importance who prefigure Mary in some aspects of their destiny, personality and vocation. They are given the name type, because they typify in some ways the future mother of Jesus Christ. Mary is their anti-type, not in opposition but in contrast, a contrast which takes its measure from the uniqueness of Mary’s mission. She is the mother of the Messiah, whereas her prefigurations in the Old Testament prepare, suggest and intuit his future coming.

There will be sketches of fourteen feminine Old Testament figures, beginning with Eve and ending with Bathsheba. Their portrait, will be followed by a comparison between each of the Old Testament figures and Mary.

Eve | Sarah | Rebekah | Rachel | Leah | Deborah | Jachobed | Miriam | Judith | Esther | Tamar | Rahab | Ruth | Bathsheba | Chosen Daughter of Israel


First Mother of All the Living

Eve’s name in Hebrew means “life.” She is called Chavvah (in the Septuagint, Eva; in the Vulgate, Heva because she is the mother of all the living (Gn 3:20). Her initial appearance in the Hebrew Scriptures is one of beauty, goodness, wisdom, and life…. The rabbinic writings praise the beauty and adornment of Eve while commenting on Genesis 2:22: “The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from man.” For example, Rabbi Chama ben Chanina (260 C.E.) wrote that certainly God first clothed her (Eve) with twenty-four precious decorations (those which describe the women of Israel in Isaiah 3:18-24) and then God brings her to the man. Therefore the Lord through the mouth of Ezekiel applies the following (which was originally addressed to the prince of Tyre) to her:

In Eden, the garden of God, you were, and every precious stone was your covering [carnelian, topaz, and beryl, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, garnet, and emerald]; of gold your pendants and jewels were made, on the day you were created (Ezk 28:13).

You are stamped with the seal of perfection, of complete wisdom and perfect beauty (Ezk 28:12; cf. Genesis Rabbah 18, 1 and 2, 22 and the Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra 75a).

Later Jewish writings contrast Eve’s disobedience with the fidelity and obedience of the Israelites to God on Mount Sinai…. In the New Testament, Eve is never mentioned in the Gospels. Adam is mentioned only in Luke’s genealogy (Lk 3:38). Eve is mentioned in two Pauline writings:

“For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere [and pure] commitment to Christ ” (2 Cor 11:2-3).

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Tm 2:13-15).

Both passages emphasize the negative aspects of Eve’s role in salvation history. Early Christian writers will contrast Eve’s disobedience with Mary’s obedience. However, it is only through the comprehensive reading of all texts of the First Testament that we will fully appreciate the greatness of Israel’s first mother, Eve, the mother of the living.

Eve and Mary

Parallels are seen between Mary’s dialogue with Gabriel and Eve’s dialogue with the serpent (Gn 3:17, Lk 1:28-35). The text of Genesis 3:15 is also compared with the scene of Mary at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25-28a)…. One could view the process of salvation history from Eve to Mary as a double movement: first the breaking up of the human race into many disparate individuals, and then the gradual concentration of all expectations of salvation in the Messiah born of Mary, the Mother of God. All the eminent women in the Old Testament are concrete and partial realizations of the primal mother from ancient times (Eve) who perdures and extends herself in them. As the new Adam extends himself in the “Mystical Body” of Christ (the ecclesial community of the new People of God), so also does Mary represent all those “children of God, once dispersed, but now brought together” by her Son.

Jesus’ words on the cross, “There is your mother” (Jn 19:27), may point to the popular etymological explanation of Eve’s name in Genesis 3:20: “The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.” Just as the Church is “the Jerusalem above … our mother” (Gal 4:26), so also is Mary the mother of believers, who, at the cross, were concretely present in the person “of the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Sarah

God’s loving-kindness for humanity continues with the call of Abram and extends throughout the two testaments in the vocation stories of the followers of Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham is the archetype for responding in faith to God; together with Sarah, this patriarch responds to the divine initiative. Through him God promises the future of the People of God. The testing of Abraham’s faith is an important pedagogical and spiritual model for our own pilgrimage and our growth in faith. He was chosen and he freely responded to Divine Providence, to salvation, and to the future of a People. Abraham is rightly called “our Father in faith.”

It is Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who brings the promise to fruition and helps Abraham to live out his faith in God. Sarai, the beautiful and dominant wife of Abraham, has her name changed by God thereby signifying her election and vocation to be the mother of Isaac and the mother of believers. Her story commences in Genesis 12 and ends with her burial in the cave of Machpelah (Gn 23:19; 25:10; 49:31).

In the Bible she is described as beautiful, generous in hospitality, faith-filled and gifted with a sense of humor! The New Testament Epistles mention her four times (Rm 4:19; 9:9; Heb 11:11; and 1 Peter 3:6). These passages show how God worked through her to bear a son despite her barrenness; she is the believing wife and mother of the promise; she is also compared to the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:21-30). Her faith and her obedience are extolled in Hebrews 11:11 and 1 Peter 3:6, respectively. Sarah initiates the series of matriarchs of the Hebrew Scriptures (Rebekah and Rachel).

Sarah and Mary

Sarah’s only appearance in the reading of the liturgy for masses in honor of the Virgin is in the Mass called “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Chosen Daughter of Israel.” This mention of Sarah points to Mary’s continuity with the great matriarch who through faith overcomes barrenness. Mary conceives Jesus because of her faith. Sarah’s barrenness is ended with the “Lord” saying to Abraham, “Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son” (Gn 18:14). Mary is told something similar by Gabriel, the messenger of God: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God … for nothing will be impossible for God” (Lk 1:35, 37).

Mary has Sarah’s trait of generous hospitality seen in her visit to Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-45). Mary is also blessed by God with a son despite the problem of her status as a virgin. She also is a model in faith seen throughout her whole life in the few

Rebekah

Rebekah is the second matriarch of Israel. She is described in Genesis 24:16: “The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, untouched by man.” Her story is the conclusion of the Abraham saga.

She is the most clever and authoritative of the matriarchs, and yet she epitomizes womanly beauty and virtue, in her conduct (her virginity, her actions at the well), in her energetic speech, in her thoughtful courtesy, and in her self-assurance. ” [See: David Noel Freedman, ed-in-chief., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol 5 (New York: Doubleday, 1992) 629.]
Rebekah as a woman of Israel, in fact the mother of Jacob who is later called Israel, is presented as virgin the first time she is mentioned in Genesis. As her story continues and she is married to Isaac, we discover she is sterile up to the moment when she prays God to deliver her from this situation. She gives birth to Esau and Jacob, but has a special preference for Jacob. It is through her mediation and cleverness that she wins for Jacob the blessing of the aging and blind Isaac. Jacob has to flee from Esau, thus creating a separation of the mother from her preferred child.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans the following theological insight displays Rebekah’s role in the history of God’s People, Israel:

… when Rebecca had conceived children by one husband, our father Isaac before they had yet been born or had done anything, good or bad, in order that God’s elective plan might continue, not only by work but by his call she was told, “The older shall serve the younger” (Rm 9:10-12).
Paul’s marvelous commentary on the messianic promise, carried on in a more dramatic way in the history of salvation through Jacob, emphasizes the free election of God through the persons of faith, the great matriarchs and patriarchs of the Genesis account.

Teresa Okure, a Nigerian scholar, perceived a connection between Rebekah’s role and that of Mary by pointing out that Rebekah’s action of helping Jacob was not ingenuity directed toward personal gain, but it was her cooperation with God in her own way to bring about realization of the divine plan, for God had revealed to her the destiny of her two children before they were born. The mother of Jesus cooperated with God in the final and greatest stage in salvation history.

[See: Teresa Okure (Nigeria), “Women in the Bible,” With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology (New York: Maryknoll, 1988) 47-59.]

Rebekah and Mary

Mary’s call comes to her through Gabriel and she is named the Virgin Mary. She, too, is eventually separated from her son both in the three days of searching for him and in the year or years of his active ministry. Her role in the messianic promise continues what had begun in her ancestors Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel.

Carol Meyers in her epilogue shows the importance of the biblical women such as Rebekah when she states that women who occasionally appear in leadership roles in the biblical record should not be viewed as exceptions but as representation of perhaps a larger group of publicly active females whose identity was lost because of the male-controlled canonical process; that the female prophets and wisdom figures could not have found their place in the canon if they were not part of an acknowledgment of female worth and authority.

Rebekah is a virgin at the time of her marriage to Isaac. Her single-mindedness, fidelity, and love of predilection for Jacob are qualities that perdure in the narratives about her. She is creative in her manner of helping Jacob to steal the blessing of the firstborn from Isaac (Gn 22:23; 24; 26:6-11; 27). Mary is a virgin in the accounts of Matthew (1:16; 18-25) and Luke (1:26-38). Her blessedness is extolled by Elizabeth (Lk 1:45). Her single-mindedness is seen in the events which relate her to her son Jesus on almost every occasion in which she is mentioned in the New Testament.

Rachel

It is from Rachel that the most genuine of the Israelite tribes issue, Hence she is a woman of Israel par excellence since she is the mother of Joseph and Benjamin by Jacob. “The story of Rachel is a story of unparalleled love and devotion in the biblical narrative.” [See: Anchor Bible,vol 5, 605.}

Matthew 2:17-18 sees the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah which speaks of Rachel’s great sorrow: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” This citation from Jeremiah 31:15 refers to the taking of Israel by Assyria in 722-21 BC. Rachel’s death in giving birth to her second son (Gen.’ 35:16-19). Matthew, who is clearly speaking of the birth of the Messiah Jesus, uses the text from Jeremiah to show that the Holy Family escapes the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem.

Rachel gains God’s ear because she speaks of love and of family relationships. There is a healing of blood relationships because she not only speaks of love but has lived out of love and experienced it throughout her life. “Rachel’s message to God is to relate to Israel with the love that comes from within the family, the holy family” [Neusner’s words].

Rachel and Mary

Rachel overcomes her sterility through the help of God. She is clever in her stealing of the teraphim, or household gods, of Laban, her father; thereby securing her independence and the predominance of the heritage of Israel. Her sorrow is evident in the loss of Joseph, her son. This is recalled by Jeremiah, the prophet (Jr 31:15). She is the beloved bride of Jacob who labored extensively for her hand.

Mary’s virginity is blessed through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and she gives birth to Jesus. Matthew recalls the incident of Rachel’s weeping when narrating the slaughter of the Innocents. Mary, like Rachel, is a sorrowful mother who endures the death of her son, Jesus on Calvary.

Leah 

Leah is an important mother of the Israelites. She stems from Terah of Mesopotamia through Nahor and Bethuel. Her father is Laban, son of Bethuel and brother to Rebekah. Leah is the mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulus, and Dinah. The sons of her slave are Gad and Asher who are also reckoned as her sons. Leah through divine Providence is the ancestor of two great figures in Israel, namely, Moses and David. This gift to her is from God despite Jacob’s preference for Rachel. The last mention of Leah is Genesis 49:31: “There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried, and so are Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there, too, I buried Leah. The field and the cave in it had been purchased from the Hittites.”

During the patriarchal age the marriage laws were not as strict as those prescribed in Leviticus 18:6-8. How does Leah fit into the Marian tradition? Through the fact that Judah, one of her sons, is the originator of the Davidic lineage. Though she is not mentioned in the genealogy of Matthew 1:1-17 there is a connection through Judah and through her unusual marriage to Jacob. She is the prolific mother of eight of the twelve tribes named after her sons.

Leah and Mary

Leah’s fidelity to Jacob is among her strengths. She is the mother of ten sons, the “Leah tribes.” Her devotedness to family life and parents is among her virtues. She is a person who is no stranger to self-sacrifice.

Mary gives birth to Jesus who is a descendent of Judah (a son of Leah). Mary likewise is faithful to her family throughout the hidden years and in the public life of Jesus. Her presence in John’s Gospel at the foot of the Cross attests to her compassion, her suffering, and her love.

Deborah 

There are two Deborahs mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, the nurse of Rebekah who is buried near Bethel (Gn 35:8) and the prophetess Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth (Jg 4:4-5:31). Judges 5 is the important chapter for remembering her, while Pseudo-Philo offers fascinating information about her in the Tradition of Israel.

Deborah, the prophetess, because of her leadership, courage, and prophetic-call is honored in the victory song over Jabin and Sisera, the Canaanite leaders. The victory song reference is one of the oldest pieces within the Hebrew Scriptures, perhaps going back to the epoch of the Judges (1200 BCE).

Deborah’s song consists of 106 lines. It is written or sung not by her but about her. The song is about water and glory–the mediation of God. Yahweh, through a storm, brings about God’s glory through the victory. Jael, another woman, finalizes the victory by killing Sisera the commander of the Canaanites. Blessings and curses make up the latter part of the poem. Jael is praised as “Blessed among women” (Jg 5:24).

Deborah and Mary

In a rereading of the Hebrew Scriptures and of Pseudo-Philo, it can be seen by analogy how the Catholic Church has seen similarities in the Virgin Mary to both Deborah and Jael. First, Deborah as Mother of Israel, calls her children to walk in the way of the Torah. (The information primarily comes from Pseudo-Philo.) Mary, likewise, exhorts the servants at Cana to do whatever Jesus tells them (Jn 2:1-5). Deborah is exhorting Israel to glory in the Lord. Water is the symbol or means of victory. This parallels Jesus changing the water into wine, thereby manifesting his glory and his disciples believed in him (Jn 2:11).

In the victory song, Jael, the wife of Heber, is praised: “Blessed among women be Jael, blessed among tent-dwelling women” (Jg 5:24). We read in Luke the beatitudes bestowed on Mary by Elizabeth (Lk 1:45), by Gabriel in the Annunciation (1:28), and also by the unknown woman in the crowd (Lk 11:27). Deborah is seen as Mother of Israel in spirit; Mary is the Mother of all believers represented by the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25-27).

There is also the similarity of the Holy Spirit resting upon both Deborah and Mary. Deborah is a remarkable leader who has the gifts of prophecy and wisdom. Her decisions result in victory for Israel at the hands of another courageous woman, Jael. Deborah, in her Canticle (Jg 5) shows total confidence in God and attributes the victory to God’s power over the foreign kings.

Mary does not enter into the realm of judging and prophesying nor is she a leader in time of war. She does display a similar gift of practical wisdom and in her Magnificat Canticle sings of the power of God over Israel’s enemies. Mary compares with Jael in sharing a similar macarism: “Blessed art thou among women.”

Jochebed

Jochebed, the mother of Moses, Miriam, and Aaron, is considered as a “Mother of Israel” in the Jewish tradition. She is a Levite and is mentioned in the genealogies of Exodus 6:20 as the wife of Amram and as the mother of Moses and Aaron. In Numbers 26:59 she is described as “of the tribe of Levi, born to the tribe in Egypt.”

  1. Serra presents the dismissal of Jochebed by her husband Amram from the Haggadah Sotah 12a (200-300 CE). This story tells of the decision of Amram and all Israelites to cease having children because of the persecution of Pharaoh. Miriam, his daughter, convinces him to take back Jochebed secretly. Upon this renewal of their wedding ceremony Psalm 113:9 is sung. Miriam, true to her prophetic calling then foresees the birth and destiny of Moses, her brother. She says, “My mother will give birth to a son who will be the savior of Israel” (Sothah 12b-13a). After the child’s birth, it is Miriam who saves Moses from the waters of the Nile and has Moses’ own mother, Jochebed, nurse him for the daughter of Pharaoh.

There is within the Haggadah many similarities to Matthew’s Annunciation to Joseph (Mt 1:18-25): We see this in the parallels to Joseph’s struggle whether to be husband to Mary of Nazareth, the prophetic announcement of the birth by a divine messenger, and the miraculous circumstances in which Mary conceives. In the Haggadah, Jochebed becomes youthful again and gives birth to Moses at 130 years of age! She also bears Moses with minimal pain and without any signs of having been pregnant. This quiet birth of Moses conceals him from the Egyptian spies.

Matthew’s account about the virgin birth is within the same theological framework and is at least two hundred years earlier than the Jewish Haggadah. Within this tradition is the Apocrypha of Baruch (100-150 CE): “Women will no longer suffer during their pregnancies, and the anguish of child-bearing will be spared for the fruit of their womb” (Apoc. Baruch 73:1-7; 74-1).

Jochebed and Mary

Jochebed is the mother of Moses the savior and liberator of Israel. Jewish tradition has her miraculously giving birth to him without pain. She also protects him from Pharao. She is considered as the Mother of Israel.

Mary is the mother of Jesus who is the Messiah and Savior in Christian belief. She gives birth to Jesus miraculously and together with her husband Joseph protects him from the murderous hands of Herod.

Miriam

Undoubtedly, the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was given to her by her parents honoring the great person of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron (in the Old Testament). She, under Moses, her brother, was a prophetess, a leader of the people who brought them through the Red Sea and through the desert. Probably a desire for rebirthing the People Israel … led Joachim and Anna to bestow this name, likewise the same for the parents of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary the mother of James, the mother of Mark.
Her name signifies “lady princess” or, if named after the place called Meribah, “waters of bitterness.” Most likely Miriam, the sister of Moses, is the only person in the Hebrew Scriptures to have such a name excepting a Judahite who possesses a variant of this name. St. Luke uses the Septuagintal form of Miriam in his Gospel. O. Bardenhewer maintained there are at least sixty-seven different etymologies connected with the name “Miriam”!

Most likely the name describes a woman who is stately, hence, princess, and likewise, beautiful. If the name Miriam is seen as Egyptian, then the meaning of “dear” or “cherie” is best in translation. If we accept de la Potterie’s interpretation of kecharitomene in Luke 1:28, then it would refer to Mary as being a woman graced by God and one who is also graceful and beautiful.

Miriam is considered a prophetess in Judaism. She also sings the victorious song about God, the deliverer of her people during the Exodus:

“The prophetess Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, while all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing; and she led them in the refrain: Sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea” (Ex 15:20-21).

In the Lucan Infancy narrative the Magnificat is attributed to Mary with a few minor manuscripts ascribing it to Elizabeth. Both hymns have several themes in common. Mary glorifies God as her Savior, while Moses or Miriam sing about the glory, kabôd, of God; both identify God as Lord and Savior. Abraham is the father in faith of both women, both exalt God in their triumph over the mighty ones; Pharao is cast down just as the proud and mighty ones are in Mary’s Magnificat. The powerful right hand or arm of God is outstretched for both singers. The mighty works of God are extolled; God’s steadfast love has saved and liberated Israel, the people. These parallels are more easily seen in a contextual reading of the “Song of the Sea” in the Septuagint with Mary’s Magnificat in the Greek of St. Luke. Luke not only used this earliest version of the Hebrew text but also imitated its style, expression, and vocabulary.

The flight into Egypt by Mary and Joseph to avoid the tyranny and violence of Herod is a reversal of Moses; Miriam’s, and Aaron’s flight from Pharao. Mary of Nazareth, however, touches the same Egyptian soil as her matronymic Miriam (Mt 2:13-15).

The fact that there are seven distinct texts which speak of Miriam attest to her as a woman leader in Israel. The prophet Micah extols her: “For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (Mi 6:4).

Miriam and Mary

Tracing the attributes of Miriam, the sister of Moses, we discover the following: she is a leader, a prophetess, a mediator, an initiator, a servant. a nurse. a caring person, a model of discretion and timing, a negotiator, and a woman who secretly and effectively works behind the scenes in the salvific history of the people.

The Catholic Tradition uses such attributes for Mary of Galilee in the Church’s devotional hymns and litanies. The biblical sources for such expressions are taken from the Cana event (Jn 2:1-11) and from the Annunciation and Visitation accounts (Lk 1:28-45).

Judith

Judith is the heroine of the deutero-canonical book with the same name. She exemplifies the ideal woman of later Jewish piety (150-100 BCE). In many of the events of her life she fits the description of a woman who was a Pharisee. In her victory over Holofernes she resembles Deborah and Jael in their victory over Sisera. She describes herself in Judith 11:17: “Your handmaid is, indeed, a God-fearing woman, serving the God of heaven night and day.”

In her religious observance Judith is a righteous person. She observes the prescriptions of the Torah, is a chaste widow, observes the feasts and even eves of the feasts as well (8:6). She observes the laws of ritual purification and cleansing (12:2, 9, 19; 16:18). ” … she is a model of Pharisaic religion. It is no wonder that her devotion is blessed; she is rich, she is beautiful, she is held in high repute by all 8:7-8 though it may be noted there is no mention of her having children. The story centers round her courage, her initiative, her selflessness 13:20 . . . . ” [See: Reginald C. Fuller, gen. ed., A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, rev. and updated (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1969) 404.]

Judith represents the entire faithful people of Israel. This is especially seen in her final hymn (16:1-17). Judith belongs to the poor of Yahweh (tapeinoi) (6:19; 13:20; 16:11). Scholars say, “The spiritual physiognomy of Judith is undoubtedly that of the poor in spirit.” In her actions Judith “serves as a paradigm for human liberation. Judith upholds the fundamental truths that faith does not depend on visible results (8:17-27) and that God’s might is not in numbers” (9:11).

Judith and Mary

In Mary of Nazareth there are similarities to Judith’s absolute trust in God as one of the anawîm or poor ones; there are the ritual observances to the laws of purification and celebration of the feasts, especially Passover. Both are exemplary in their prayer-life and in their religious participation.

In the liturgical readings of masses in honor of Mary, the blessing of Judith is similar to the angelic salutation of Luke: “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth” (Jdt 13:18). Frequently in song and response the praise of Judith is celebrated also in Mary: “You are the glory of Jerusalem, the surpassing joy of Israel; You are the splendid boast of our people” (Jdt 15:9), and finally from her own hymn (Jdt 16:13-14):

“O Lord, great are you and glorious, wonderful in power and unsurpassable. Let your every creature serve you; for you spoke, and they were made, You sent forth your spirit, and they were created; no one can resist your word.”

Esther 

Esther is the heroine and is the paradigm for a fully liberated woman who places all her confidence in God. Through prayer and fasting she is able to challenge the evil perpetrated by the Persians and to intercede for her people Israel before King Ahasuirus. Esther was involved in the fate of the Jews. She was subject to the decree to annihilate her people, although she may have been exempt due to her status. She joined the fast of the Jews for three days in preparation for going to the king resolute that if she would perish, she had to do what she had to do to save her people! There is both resignation and freedom inspired by courage in her fasting and a certain measure of confidence that the public outcry will be successful. [See: John F. Craghan, “Esther: A Fully Liberated Woman,” The Bible Today 24 (1986): 6-11.]

Contemporary celebrations of the Book of Esther take place on the Jewish feast of Purimwherein the children reenact the scenes of the book while dressing in all kinds of costumes. The archenemy of the Jewish people, Haman, is usually dressed in a black costume. In the celebration of Purim the two main ethical ideas are self-sacrifice and divine intervention. These two concepts are the themes which form the book of Esther. [See: C. G. Montefiore and H. Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology (New York: Schocken, 1974) 99-101.]

In the celebration of Hebrew feasts the five scrolls are read. They are called the Five Megillot. Esther, however, is considered to be the “Megillah” par excellence. “Unless another of the five is indicated, Megillah is taken to mean the Book of Esther.” [See: Rufus Learsi, Israel: A History of the Jewish People (New York: Meridian, 1966) 120.]

Esther and Mary

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is similar to Esther in prayer and in her intercessory power with God. She also advances the good of both the Jewish and of the Christian people in her role as Queen Mother.

Three selections from the Book of Esther are used in the Mariology of the early Christian writers and in the Catholic liturgy (Est 2:16-18; C:12, 14-15, 25, 30; and 8:3-8, 16-17).


TamarTamar, “Palm Tree,” is the first woman named in the genealogy of Matthew: “Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar” (Mt 1:3). The source for the mention of Tamar is Genesis 38. Judah, because of the death of two of his sons who were married successively to Tamar, fears for the third son Shelah. He sends Tamar away childless as a widow. Tamar, through a creative and deceptive disguise, has Judah, her father-in-law, solicit her as a prostitute. Before consenting, she makes sure she has several signs of Judah, his seal, his stick, and a cord, so as to vindicate herself and assure his pledge. She conceives. After first condemning Tamar, Judah realizes he is the offender of God’s law: “She is more in the right than I am, since I did not give her to my son Shelah” (Gn 38:26). She gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Perez is the ancestor ofDavid (Rt 4:18f), and, hence, of the eventual Messiah.

The entire story is illustrative of the law of the levirate:

“When brothers live together and one of them dies without a son, the widow of the deceased shall not marry anyone outside the family, but her husband’s brother shall go to her and perform the duty of a brother-in-law by marrying her. The first-born son she bears shall continue the line of the deceased brother, that his name may not be blotted out from Israel” (Dt 25:5-6).

Tamar and Mary

Why does Matthew start with Tamar in his genealogy? Because it is from the messianic line of Judah that David will spring. Tamar also demonstrates the anomalous situation of her being a widow and needing intervention from God to redeem her and to clarify her righteousness.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is likewise in an anomalous situation through a pregnancy which did not come about from Joseph her fiancée. Just as Tamar was vindicated as righteous before God, Mary, too, is seen to be innocent. Joseph discovers this through a dream.

Rahab

Just as Tamar is not condemned as a prostitute when she sought justice from the family of Judah who was pledged to provide for her, neither is Rahab (Jos 2) who is praised for her faith, her ingenuity, and her hospitality, one of the greatest virtues extolled in the Scriptures. She is revered both in the New Testament (Heb 11:31; Jm 2:25) and in later traditions in Christianity (1 Clement 12:1) and in Judaism (Mek Ex 18:1; Midr. Ruth 2:1).

Her unusual sexual status is probably one of the reasons Matthew includes her in the genealogy of Jesus. “She is neither virginal daughter nor non-virginal wife and hence represents a danger to the patriarchal social structure, but as professional harlot she is also an endangered woman in the hands of this same system.” [Footnote: Wainwright, Feminist Critical164]

“The woman who is outsider to the patriarchal culture generally and outsider to the ethnic culture of Israel is incorporated into both (6:25). The ‘profession of faith’ of Rahab (Jos 2:9-11) is linked closely to her securing a promise of safety from the spies (vv. 12-13) and hence it would seem that the ancient text is already hinting at the power of God which is associated with the extraordinary initiative taken by Rahab in the face of the powers of the patriarchal world.”

Wainwright points out that there is no male descendent from her and yet she is mentioned in the genealogy. Her faith and assistance to God’s chosen one, Israel, may be the link in the genealogy from which the Messiah springs.

  1. E. Brown asserts it is because of the fact of the irregular marital status of the women that they are included in the genealogy rather than the fact of their sinfulness or their being foreigners.

The fact that she gains for herself and her family a place in the history of Israel is another factor in Matthew’s inclusion of her in his genealogy. She is a woman open and sensitive to the power of God and creative in her use of God-given gifts. As such she is worthy to be noted among the mothers of Israel. Though bound within the patriarchal structure of her culture and society, she goes beyond them by her faith, her creative instincts, and her reading of the signs of God’s activity in Israel’s warriors. Rabbinic literature extols her as the Mother of Israel from whom eight priests and eight prophets descend.

Rahab and Mary

There are several points of convergence between the stories of Rahab and Mary; these help us gain a greater understanding of both women, and the faith that has linked them in the biblical tradition: sexuality is an issue in both stories; both women ran the risk of punishment (death); both were the means through which God took possession of the land and of human hearts; both were signs and exemplars of faith (Heb 11); both were mother to the household of faith.


Ruth is placed among the “Mothers of Israel.” Targum on Ruth, 2, 12 translates: “. . . you are one who has arrived . . . . protected under the shadow of the Majesty of God and under God’s glory, and thanks to this reward you will be liberated from the judgment of Gehenna because you have a place among Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Lia; that is among the mothers of Israel.” (Rabbah Ruth 5.5 at 2:13; Pesikta of Rob. Kohaha 26, 1.)

 

Ruth is personified as Israel while Boaz her husband symbolizes God. The rabbinic literature parallels her relationship with Boaz to that of Israel in relationship to God apart from whom there shall be no other god (cf. Ex 20:3) and Israel is to glorify God (cf. Ex 15:2). This is intimately bound up with the Covenant between God and Israel which is similar to Ruth’s spousal covenant with Boaz. From such a covenantal union springs the Anointed One, the Messiah.

The Church, too, in its earlier tradition continues the typology showing Boaz as a figure of Christ while Ruth images the Church. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Mary also is seen to be symbolized in Ruth. Peter of Celle (1115-1182) sees a parallel in Ruth’s words, “I am Ruth, your handmaid,” with Mary’s, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Both Ruth and Mary are active respondents to God in their life stations. As such they represent their people Israel in its primordial covenant response on Sinai. Ruth anticipates the response, “All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do” (Ex 24:7). Ruth says to Boaz, “Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your notice?” (Rt 2:10), and to Naomi she says, “I will do whatever you advise” (Rt 3:5). Mary, too, has been looked upon with favor: “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). Mary affirms this in her own canticle, “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on, will all ages call me blessed” (Lk 1:48). Mary, too, like Israel on Sinai responds to God’s call saying, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Both women have been looked upon with favor and both respond to this affirmatively. Ruth is named among the mothers of Israel in the final verses of the book!

One last reflection concerns the paradox of God working within human history. Ruth’s situation of being a foreigner without progeny is transformed through her loving-kindness (hesed) towards Naomi. In turn, Boaz acts as go’el or redeemer in order to restore the name of Elimelech for Naomi. Phyllis Trible shows that Ruth becomes the wife of Boaz but it is God who gives her the power to conceive. This, too, is suggested by Matthew in the paradox of Mary who is the last woman to be mentioned in the genealogy: “Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Mt 1:16).

Ruth and Mary

At the center of Mary’s canticle is the loving-kindness of God. The Hebrew word hesed is at the basis of this disposition of God. In Elaine Mary Wainwright’s study hesed is also at the heart of the story of Ruth. Wainwright says, “The Book of Ruth also celebrates the [hesed] of the woman (Ruth 1:8; 2:20; 3:10) and even though the innuendo of uncovering the feet of Boaz raises questions regarding the anomalous situation this action creates, there is no language of sin in relation to Ruth throughout the book.”[See: Wainwright, Feminist Critical 64 (cf. 166-168). David Daube, The New Testatment and Rabbinic Judaism (London: Athlone, 1956) 27-36. J. Massingberd Ford, “Mary’s Virginitas Post-Partum and Jewish Law,” Biblica 54 (1973): 269-272.]

This, too, is the evaluation we have with texts in Luke surrounding the Virgin Mother of Jesus. The traditions of both Synagogue and Church keep the sinlessness of both these mothers of Israel, respectively.

Bathsheba

In Matthew’s genealogy, without mentioning her name, (1:6) Bathsheba is described as the “wife of Uriah.” Bathsheba is essential to the genealogy in Matthew. The purpose is seen in what at first is an irregular marital union with David. After Uriah’s death she is the wife of David, and in a certain sense “Queen Mother” or Gebirah, giving birth to four other sons after the death of her first son. Solomon succeeds David through her influence and that of the prophet Nathan (1 K 1:11-37)

 

A queen mother (gebirah) fills a clearly defined role in a number of ancient and modern societies. The omphalos-myth, pertaining to the earth with its life giving center and symbolized by the mother-goddess (divine mother), was suppressed by Old Testament prophets and historians. Her presence appears only in a modified form as wisdom (Pr 1-9). A role remained for Judean queen mothers which corresponded to a position of seniority in the court (lady counselor) and fit the motif of Lady Wisdom in Proverbs. Bathsheba was not given a title of gebirah but did occupy a position from which she functioned as counselor and as a source of wisdom, and with a concern as to succession and stability of the kingdom upon David’s impending death. In an effort to secure the throne for her son she appealed directly to David. As queen mother she may have also performed as counselor in political and judiciary affairs at court and as mediator between political factions in the nation. Her son Solomon did indeed give hearing to her counsel which demonstrates the regard to which the position of queen mother was held in Jerusalem. “. . . the queen mother was a lady counselor’ whose role was reflected in the motif of Lady Wisdom’ in Proverbs.” (Anchor Bible, vol. 5, 585)

 

In the Jewish tradition contemporaneous with the formation of the New Testament, Bathsheba is seen as a noble woman of Israel. As Queen Mother, Gebirah, she had great influence both with David and his successor Solomon. As with the other women in the genealogy, Bathsheba is seen within the history of salvation for Israel and within the action and plan of God. Thus, Bathsheba is also be a key woman figure who helps in understanding the final woman to be mentioned, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Bathsheba, too, is involved in the action of the Spirit and in the history of salvation.

 

Bathsheba and Mary

In any comparison of Bathsheba with Mary, the mother of Jesus, the notion of “Queen Mother” perhaps can help with understanding that the theme came from the Hebrew Scriptures and later developed into the Queenship of Mary through devotion and liturgy. How may we understand Mary’s Queenship in light of the Queen-Mother tradition? It has been said that some ‘powerful women’ of the Hebrew Scriptures are types of Mary. Verses from Esther and Judith in particular have been used in reference to Mary in the Church’s liturgy: “You are the glory of Jerusalem, the surpassing joy of Israel; you are the splendid boast of our people” (Jdt 15:9). The verse may express the sentiments of the Christian community.

The Queen-mother plays an active and assertive role in relation to her son. She is totally concerned with their kingdom. In a sense, Mary can be said to be responsible for her son’s kingship by reason of her motherhood and real concern for the reign of God (Lumen Gentium, 56). It would be difficult to prove, however, that Mary was aware of any royal character to her assent at the time of the Annunciation. Mary did not seek the throne for her son as did other ‘queen-mothers’. On the contrary, she served the mystery of the redemption “in subordination to Christ” (Lumen Gentium, 56). Her service was one of self-effacement as was her son’s. Both lived an experience of kenosis.

 

The queen-mother had powerful influence in the kingdom. This power flowed from her status as mother of the king. If we compare this to Mary’s mediation, we can see the relation of her mediation to her maternity. Mary’s role is relative to the activity of Christ. She never ruled in Christ’s place as would the queen-mother.

The role of Mary, like that of Christ, is not to be understood in terms of domination, except over evil. Her rule, like Christ’s, is based on humility and obedience and is characterized by faith, hope and love. This is how she and Christ relate to the members of the faith.[See : George Francis Kirwin, “The Nature of the Queenship of Mary,” diss., Catholic U of America, 1973, 320.]

Mary’s activity as queen-mother is her present role: she is faithful to God; she identifies with the community of those who follow Christ. Her influence is captured in the words, “Do whatever he tells you.” Mary’s influence is felt within the communion of saints. Her intercessory power is the same as any creature before God. Her maternal intercession, her “manifold intercession,” (Lumen Gentium, 62) is what is close to and expressive of the Gebirahtheme. One ancient song that praises Mary as queen, as mother, and as mediator is the Salve Regina:

 

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope
To you do we cry, poor banished Children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this exile
show us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O living, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Chosen Daughter of Israel

During Advent, the Roman Catholic liturgy celebrates the plan of salvation by which the merciful God called the patriarchs, united them to himself in a covenant of love, established the Law through Moses, raised up the prophets, and chose David and Bathsheba as the ones from whose line the Savior of the world was to be born. The books of the First Testament, in foretelling the coming of Christ, “gradually bring to light the figure of a woman, the Mother of the Redeemer” (Lumen Gentium 55): she is the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the Church proclaims as the joy of Israel and the noble daughter of Zion.

Our Lady “is by nature the daughter of Adam;” in believing the message of the angel she conceived the Son of God in her virginal womb: “she is by faith the true child of Abraham;” “she is by descent the branch from the root of Jesse, bearing the flower that is Jesus Christ our Lord” (Quoted from the Preface of the seasonal Mass, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Chosen Daughter of Israel)

In her sincere obedience to the Law and her wholehearted acceptance of God’s will, she is, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, “exalted among the humble and poor of the Lord, who trustingly hope in him for salvation and from him receive it. After the long period of waiting for the fulfillment of the promise, in her at last the fullness of time is reached, and a new order of providence is begun, when the Son of God takes from her a human nature in order to free the human family from sin through the mysteries of his earthly life.” (Lumen Gentium 55).

We invite you to pray with the Church the following prayer from the seasonal Mass, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Chosen Daughter of Israel:

Lord our God,
to fulfill the promises you make of old
you chose the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the noble daughter of Zion;
grant that we may follow her,
whose humility won your favor
and whose obedience brought us your blessing.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/59895/virgin-mary-in-old-testament

 Luke 7:28

For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. But he that is the lesser in the kingdom of God, is greater than he.

Luke 1:38

And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her

 This woman appears again at enmity with the devil in the Book of Revelation, in which her seed is identified as Jesus Christ, but also His followers, His disciples, those who follow Him.

This time, she is inserted into a symbolic-narrative vision, yet it’s clear that the woman of Genesis 3 is here in view, complete with enmity with a serpent, and her seed Revelation 12:

And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman … and behold a great red dragon,… and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod [Jesus]: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne [the Ascension]. … And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: …  And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him … the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. … And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. ..

Genesis 3:20

And Adam called the name of [the woman] Eve: because she was the mother of all the living.

John 19:26

When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

The similarity between Eve and the New Eve doesn’t stop at their perogatives (as mother of fleshly and spiritual offspring, respectively), or how they were interacted with by angels to bring about the Fall and the Redemption, respectively, of the human race. We see even more parallels. Even in the very way the respective Adam’s bring about the respective Fall and Redemption is very similar in connection with the respective ‘Eves’.

  • Evil angel, Satan, tempts Eve to disobey God’s decree; woman tempts Adam with what will bring about the Fall; Adam knows but gives in.
  • Good angel, Gabriel, asks Mary to obey God’s plan; Mary ‘tempts’ the New Adam to begin His ministry and thus the suffering of His Passion, and ultimately the Redemption; He knows, but gives in:

 One of the most striking types of Mary is the Ark of the Covenant. Looking at this image, you might see why. Take a close look at what this sacred vessel was to built to contain.

Hebrews 9:4

…the ark of the covenant covered about on every part with gold, in which was a golden pot that had manna [which fell from heaven], and the rod of Aaron [the highpriest, and the founder of Israel’s priesthood], that had blossomed, and the tables of the testament [word of God on stone].

These were of course symbols of Christ: the true manna which came from heaven (John 6:25-42), the ultimate Highpriest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), instead of on stone tablets.

Who or what does the container made for Jesus symbolize, then?—it’s the same woman “clothed with the sun,” or here, gold. (Revlation 11;19; 12:1! cf. Ps 45:9; Mk 10:40; 1 Kings 2:19). Mary is the New Ark. Maybe that’s why the old one had to give way to the new (Jeremiah 3:16).

Still not convinced? See how St. Luke quite deliberately, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, records the similarities between the ark and Mary!

Luke 1:39-56

And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Judea. And she entered into the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried 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 behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. … And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house.

Compare the striking parallels with what happens in regard to Mary, and what happens in regard to the Ark of the Covenant—not scattered through its history or Scripture, but in the one scene, even in the one chapter!

2 Samuel 6:1-17

And David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went, with all the people that were with him of the men of Judea to fetch the ark of God, upon which the name of the Lord of hosts is invoked, who sitteth over it upon the cherubims. … And when they had taken it out of the house of Abinadab, who was in Gabaa, Ahio having care of the ark of God went before the ark. But David and all Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of wood, on harps and lutes and timbrels and cornets and cymbals. And when they came to the floor of Nachon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it: because the oxen kicked and made it lean aside. And the indignation of the Lord was enkindled against Uzzah, and he struck him for his rashness: and he died* there before the ark of God. … And David was afraid of the Lord that day, saying: How shall the ark of the Lord come to me? And he would not have the ark of the Lord brought in to himself into the city of David: but he caused it to be carried into the house of Obededom the Gethite. And the ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household. … And David and all the house of Israel brought the ark of the of the Lord with joyful shouting, and with sound of trumpet. And when the ark of the Lord was come into the city of David, Michol the daughter of Saul, looking out through a window, saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord…

I’ve highlighted this to show how God regards His Ark, and how it is unseemly that any man would touch Mary sexually, who bore the Holy One and “God…made flesh,” (John 1:1,14) and that she remained a virgin as Christians always taught: even though married to Joseph she asks Gabriel, “How shall this [conception] be, since I know not man?” (Luke 1:34) (a euphemism for ‘do not have sexual intercourse’).

One could develop this further. There are other strong types of Mary, and they are all linked. But these are a taster.

How about just one more…

Judith, proto-fulfillment of the Woman of Genesis 3—and type of Mary.

Judith 13:14-26

And it came to pass, when the men had heard her voice, that they called the ancients of the city. And all ran to meet her from the least to the greatest: for they now had no hopes that she would come. And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace, Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him. And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night. Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the bag, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman. But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance. Give all of you glory to him, because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever. And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought. And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies. Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God. And all the people said: So be it, so be it.

The typology is strong! Not only does this fulfill in a lesser more material sense Genesis 3:15 but again St. Luke (‘Mary’s Gospel’) we see striking parallels between this and Luke 1 (26-55):

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried 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 behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary said:

My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Mary has such enmity with the devil (as well as those redeemed by Christ as she herself was—”and the rest of her seed”) because she was preserved from from ever being prey to original sin—to his snare and poison.

Hence all the types of Judith being ‘undefiled’ by the enemy and with ‘sin’, and the ark being made of ‘pure gold’ to be fit for the presence of the glory of God, being ‘blessed of all women’, and ‘full of grace’ before the Incarnation, in preparation for it, and because of its merits: the Redemption of Jesus Christ. This is why ‘all generations call her blessed’, as the New Eve who did not partake in the fallen creation inasmuch as she was the New Eve who was to be the beginning of the doing-away-with of it. This is perhaps—God knows—why shes says “He who is might has done great things to me.” And why unlike anyone else ever, an angel greets a human in this way:

“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

Maybe this is why he basically renames her, or addresses her as, kecharitomene (full of grace) and doesn’t even call her by her name. Because she was the first to be reinstated with the original grace and justice Adam and Eve were made to have, as the New Eve.

There is much to be said (and speculated) about Mary, the mother of God the Word made flesh, but this is just a small taster.

Silent little Mary God has hidden as a kind of treasure in Scripture, and she is content to keep relatively silent and give all glory, as a model Christian and follower of Jesus, to her Son. Remaining in various (and many!) types and prefigurements and subtle prophecies throughout Scripture, of which you’ve seen but two touched upon.

The more famous references are:

Genesis 3:15

Genesis 3:15 (the so-called proto-evangelium or “pre-Gospel”):

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she[i.e., ipsa, the Blessed Mother, or ipsum, her seed, Jesus; cf. the commentary below] shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

The Haydock Commentary on Gen. 3:15 says:

Ver. 15. She shall crush. Ipsa, the woman: so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latin: others read it ipsum, viz. the seed. The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head. (Challoner) — The Hebrew text, as Bellarmine observes, is ambiguous: He mentions one copy which had ipsa instead of ipsum; and so it is even printed in the Hebrew interlineary edition, 1572, by Plantin, under the inspection of Boderianus. Whether the Jewish editions ought to have more weight with Christians, or whether all the other manuscripts conspire against this reading, let others inquire. The fathers who have cited the old Italic version, taken from the Septuagint agree with the Vulgate, which is followed by almost all the Latins; and hence we may argue with probability, that the Septuagint and the Hebrew formerly acknowledged ipsa, which now moves the indignation of Protestants so much, as if we intended by it to give any divine honour to the blessed Virgin Mary. We believe, however, with St. Epiphanius, that “it is no less criminal to vilify the holy Virgin, than to glorify her above measure.” We know that all the power of the mother of God is derived from the merits of her Son. We are no otherwise concerned about the retaining of ipsa, she, in this place, than in as much as we have yet no certain reason to suspect its being genuine. As some words have been corrected in the Vulgate since the Council of Trent by Pope Sixtus V. and others, by Pope Clement VIII. so, if, upon stricter search, it be found that it, and not she, is the true reading, we shall not hesitate to admit the correction: but we must wait in the mean time respectfully, till our superiors determine. (Haydock) Kemnitzius certainly advanced a step too far, when he said that all the ancient fathers read ipsum. Victor, Avitus, St. Augustine, St. Gregory, &c. mentioned in the Douay Bible, will convict him of falsehood. Christ crushed the serpent’s head by his death, suffering himself to be wounded in the heel. His blessed mother crushed him likewise, by her co-operation in the mystery of the Incarnation; and by rejecting, with horror, the very first suggestions of the enemy, to commit even the smallest sin. (St. Bernard, ser. 2, on Missus est.) “We crush,” says St. Gregory, Mor. 1. 38, “the serpent’s head, when we extirpate from our heart the beginnings of temptation, and then he lays snares for our heel, because he opposes the end of a good action with greater craft and power.” The serpent may hiss and threaten; he cannot hurt, if we resist him. (Haydock)

Isaias 7:14

Isaias 7:14:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin [i.e., the Blessed Virgin Mother; cf. the commentary below] shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

The Haydock Commentary on Is. 7:14 says:

Ver. 14. Virgin, halma, (Haydock) one secluded from the company of men. Alma in Latin signifies “a holy person,” and in Punic “a virgin.” The term is never applied to any but “a young virgin.” If it meant a young woman, what sort of a sign would this be? (St. Jerome) — It was indeed above the sagacity of man to declare that the child to be born would be a boy, and live till the kings should be destroyed. But the prophet undoubtedly speaks of Jesus Christ, the wonderful, &c., (chap. ix. 5.) as well as of a boy, who should prefigure him, and be an earnest of the speedy destruction of the two kings. He was to be born of Isaias, (chap. viii. 4.) and of all the qualities belonging to the true Emmanuel, only that regards him, which intimates that the country should be delivered before he should come to years of discretion, ver. 16. (Calmet, Diss.) (Bossuet) — The Fathers generally apply all to Christ. — Called. Or shall be in effect, chap. i. 26. (Calmet) — The king hardly trusted in God’s mercies, whereupon the incarnation of Christ, &c., is foretold. (Worthington)

END QUOTES This SITE

 http://hismasterservantministries.com.ng/2017/09/13/biblical-typologies-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary/

 Some of the figures/titles that prefigure Mary from the Old Testament include: A woman of Valour (Proverb 31), Chosen daughter of Zion (Zechariah 2:10-11; 9:9-10, Isaiah 66:7-14, Zeph. 3:14-20), the Bride of the Song of Songs (cf. Hosea 2:19-23; Song of Songs 4:1-7; Eph. 5:27), the created Wisdom (cf. Sirach 24; Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 7:22 ff), the garden enclosed (Song of Songs 4:12) and the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25).

Mary “Ever Virgin”

Puto (1490–1576), “The Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem”

BLOGS |  APR. 13, 2018

Biblical Evidence for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/darmstrong/biblical-evidence-for-the-perpetual-virginity-of-mary

Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (CCC 510)

Dave Armstrong

Once upon a time, almost no Christians denied that Mary the mother of Jesus was perpetually a virgin: including Protestants. Of the early leaders of that movement, virtually all fully accepted this doctrine: including Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, Turretin, and Cranmer. Moreover, most Protestant exegetes continued to believe it for at least another 350 years or so.

But today, for various reasons, things are very different, so it’s helpful to revisit the biblical arguments, since the Bible is the authority all Christians revere in common. A surprising number can be found.

1)  Luke 2:41-51 describes Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple at the age of twelve, for the required observance of Passover. Everyone agrees that He was the first child of Mary, so if there were up to five or more siblings, as some maintain (or even one), why is there no hint of them at all in this account?

2) Neither Hebrew nor Aramaic have words for “cousin.” The New Testament was written in Greek, which does have such a word (sungenis), but Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic (a late version of Hebrew), and the Hebrew word ach is literally translated as adelphos, the literal equivalent of the English “brother.” In the Bible, it has a very wide range of meanings beyond “sibling”: just as “brother” does in English. Thus, it is routinely used in the New Testament to describe cousins or kinsmen, etc.

3) Jesus Himself uses “brethren” (adelphos) in the non-sibling sense. In Matthew 23:8 (cf. 12:49-50), He calls, for example, the “crowds” and His “disciples” (23:1) “brethren.” In other words, they are each other’s“brothers”: the brotherhood of Christians.

4) In comparing Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25, we find that James and Joseph (mentioned in Mt 13:55 with Simon and Jude as Jesus’ “brothers”) are the sons of Mary, wife of Clopas. This other Mary (Mt 27:61; 28:1) is called Our Lady’sadelphein John 19:25. Assuming that there are not two women named “Mary” in one family, this usage apparently means “cousin” or more distant relative. Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 mention Simon, Jude and “sisters” along with James and Joseph, calling all adelphoi. The most plausible interpretation of all this related data is a use of adelphos as “cousins” (or possibly, step-brothers) rather than “siblings.” We know for sure, from the above information, that James and Joseph were not Jesus’ siblings.

It’s not mere special pleading to argue in this fashion, nor an alleged “desperation” of Catholics who supposedly “read into” the texts their prior belief in the dogma of perpetual virginity. Plenty of Protestant exegesis and scholarship confirms these views: especially in older commentaries. For example, the prominent 19th century Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, states, regarding Matthew 13:55 (my italics added):

An exceedingly difficult question here arises – What were these “brethren” and “sisters” to Jesus? Were they, First, His full brothers and sisters? or, Secondly, Were they His step-brothers and step-sisters, children of Joseph by a former marriage? or, Thirdly, Were they His cousins, according to a common way of speaking among the Jews respecting persons of collateral descent? On this subject an immense deal has been written, nor are opinions yet by any means agreed . . . In addition to other objections, many of the best interpreters, . . . prefer the third opinion. . . Thus dubiously we prefer to leave this vexed question, encompassed as it is with difficulties.

5) The Blessed Virgin Mary is committed to the care of the Apostle John by Jesus from the Cross (John 19:26-27). Jesus certainly wouldn’t have done this if He had brothers (all of whom would have been younger than He was).

6) Matthew 1:24-25 Joseph . . . knew her not until she had borne a son . . .

This passage has been used as an argument that Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus, but the same Protestant commentary also states (my italics again):

The word “till” [until above] does not necessarily imply that they lived on a different footing afterwards (as will be evident from the use of the same word in 1 Samuel 15:35; 2 Samuel 6:23; Matthew 12:20); nor does the word “first-born” decide the much-disputed question, whether Mary had any children to Joseph after the birth of Christ; for, as Lightfoot says, “The law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded not whether any were born after or no, but only that none were born before.”

John Calvin used the same counter-argument in favor of Mary’s perpetual virginity. In fact, in his Harmony of the Gospels, commenting on Matthew 1:25, he thought the contention of further siblings based on this passage was so unfounded that he wrote, “No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.”

7) Jude is called the Lord’s “brother” in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. If this is the same Jude who wrote the epistle bearing that name (as many think), he calls himself “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1:1). Now, suppose for a moment that he was Jesus’ blood brother. In that case, he refrains from referring to himself as the Lord’s own sibling (while we are told that such a phraseology occurs several times in the New Testament, referring to a sibling relationship) and chooses instead to identify himself as James‘ brother.

This is far too strange and implausible to believe. Moreover, James also refrains from calling himself Jesus’ brother, in his epistle (James 1:1: “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”): even though St. Paul calls him “the Lord’s brother” (Gal 1:19).

It’s true that Scripture doesn’t come right out and explicitly state that Mary was a perpetual virgin. But nothing in Scripture contradicts that notion, and — to say the same thing another way — nothing in the perpetual virginity doctrine contradicts Scripture.

END QUOTES

 https://www.catholic.com/tract/mary-ever-virgin

An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

According to the world-renowned patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten: “The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).

To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).

According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as “brethren.” The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

Today most Protestants are unaware of these early beliefs regarding Mary’s virginity and the proper interpretation of “the brethren of the Lord.” And yet, the Protestant Reformers themselves—Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli—honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have other, more modern Protestants.

Origen

“The Book [the Protoevangelium] of James [records] that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honor of Mary in virginity to the end, so that body of hers which was appointed to minister to the Word . . . might not know intercourse with a man after the Holy Spirit came into her and the power from on high overshadowed her. And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the firstfruit among men of the purity which consists in [perpetual] chastity, and Mary was among women. For it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the firstfruit of virginity” (Commentary on Matthew 2:17 [A.D. 248]).

Hilary of Poitiers

“If they [the brethren of the Lord] had been Mary’s sons and not those taken from Joseph’s former marriage, she would never have been given over in the moment of the passion [crucifixion] to the apostle John as his mother, the Lord saying to each, ‘Woman, behold your son,’ and to John, ‘Behold your mother’ [John 19:26–27), as he bequeathed filial love to a disciple as a consolation to the one desolate” (Commentary on Matthew 1:4 [A.D. 354]).

Athanasius

“Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary” (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

Epiphanius of Salamis

“We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things, both visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . who for us men and for our salvation came down and took flesh, that is, was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit” (The Man Well-Anchored 120 [A.D. 374]).

“And to holy Mary, [the title] ‘Virgin’ is invariably added, for that holy woman remains undefiled” (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 78:6 [A.D. 375]).
Jerome

“[Helvidius] produces Tertullian as a witness [to his view] and quotes Victorinus, bishop of Petavium. Of Tertullian, I say no more than that he did not belong to the Church. But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proven from the gospel—that he [Victorinus] spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship, not by nature. [By discussing such things we] are . . . following the tiny streams of opinion. Might I not array against you the whole series of ancient writers? Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and many other apostolic and eloquent men, who against [the heretics] Ebion, Theodotus of Byzantium, and Valentinus, held these same views and wrote volumes replete with wisdom. If you had ever read what they wrote, you would be a wiser man” (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).

“We believe that God was born of a virgin, because we read it. We do not believe that Mary was married after she brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . You [Helvidius] say that Mary did not remain a virgin. As for myself, I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin, through Mary, so that a virgin Son might be born of a virginal wedlock” (ibid., 21).

Didymus the Blind

“It helps us to understand the terms ‘first-born’ and ‘only-begotten’ when the Evangelist tells that Mary remained a virgin ‘until she brought forth her first-born son’ [Matt. 1:25]; for neither did Mary, who is to be honored and praised above all others, marry anyone else, nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else, but even after childbirth she remained always and forever an immaculate virgin” (The Trinity 3:4 [A.D. 386]).

Ambrose of Milan

“Imitate her [Mary], holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of material virtue; for neither have you sweeter children [than Jesus], nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son” (Letters 63:111 [A.D. 388]).

Pope Siricius I

“You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord’s body, that court of the eternal king” (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

Augustine

“In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave” (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

“It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?” (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).

“Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband” (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).

Leporius

“We confess, therefore, that our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, born of the Father before the ages, and in times most recent, made man of the Holy Spirit and the ever-virgin Mary” (Document of Amendment 3 [A.D. 426]).

Cyril of Alexandria

“[T]he Word himself, coming into the Blessed Virgin herself, assumed for himself his own temple from the substance of the Virgin and came forth from her a man in all that could be externally discerned, while interiorly he was true God. Therefore he kept his Mother a virgin even after her childbearing” (Against Those Who Do Not Wish to Confess That the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God 4 [A.D. 430]).

Pope Leo I

“His [Christ’s] origin is different, but his [human] nature is the same. Human usage and custom were lacking, but by divine power a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and Virgin she remained” (Sermons 22:2 [A.D. 450]).

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

 https://www.catholic.com/tract/mary-ever-virgin

An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

According to the world-renowned patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten: “The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).

To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).

According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as “brethren.” The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

Today most Protestants are unaware of these early beliefs regarding Mary’s virginity and the proper interpretation of “the brethren of the Lord.” And yet, the Protestant Reformers themselves—Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli—honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have other, more modern Protestants

 END QUOTES

To Jesus THROUGH Mary, Patrick

 

 

How to Keep Our Eyes on Jesus Through the Crossroads of Life GEORGE W. RUTLER

How to Keep Our Eyes on Jesus Through the Crossroads of Life

GEORGE W. RUTLER

In New York City years ago, there was a pastor in the Garment District who advertised his church as the “crossroads of the world.” (New Yorkers are given to that kind of language.) Well, when he became pastor of a church in Midtown, he advertised that one as the “crossroads of the world.” This priest was an evangelist and a master of public relations. But he was on to something: Every church is at the crossroads of the world. Indeed, every generation and every civilization finds itself at a crossroads.

But wherever there is a crossroads, there is a cross. When the Cross of Christ appeared in the world, civilization truly was at a crossroads. It would seem that God in His infinite wisdom chose that moment in history precisely because of its drama. Consider that the Crucifixion of Christ happened almost equidistant between the capture of Rome by the general Pompey and the destruction of Rome by the emperor Titus. It was at that crossroads of civilization that the Lord of history made Himself known.

Pride and Humility

The crossroads of every biography is this challenge to the soul: How will we choose? The soul that is governed by what it thinks is freedom but is, in fact, the delusion of pride, falls into slavery. It is pride, the pretense that we can live without the Cross, that splits the soul. The soul is made of the intellect and the will: Passion enslaves the will; pride then co-opts the intellect.

That great voice of the nineteenth century and of all ages, John Henry Newman, spoke to a group of university scholars about pride, knowing that pride is a besetting sin of the intellectual.

He said famously, “Quarry the granite rock with razors. Moor the vessel with a thread of silk. And then you may hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and the pride of man.”

Passion and pride: This is what Our Lord is speaking of in announcing the hour of darkness. He is describing the prince of lies, who wants us to think that passion — not the Lord’s divine and salvific Passion, but our fallen human passion — is the way to freedom, and that pride is the source of our dignity. Our Lord knows that passion and pride can be defeated only by suffering and failure. That’s what the Cross teaches us.

The Cross has been called the medicine of the world: It is the cure for this deep affliction, this neurosis within the soul that would have us mistake slavery for freedom. When the soul is divided, civilization begins to fall apart.

Accepting the Cross

The consciousness of God is the beginning of accepting the Cross. Once we understand that there is a God, He, by His grace, will show us that He is one, that He is merciful, and that He has the power to draw us unto Him. “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). Remember the way Our Lord revealed Himself to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exod. 3:14). He is the source of all life, and indeed of being itself.

But if our souls are divided, if our civilization is split apart, we begin to lose the vision of God and His life-giving goodness that had been given to us. God told us, “I AM.” And yet, amid the remnants of a broken and decaying civilization governed by passion and pride, instead of proclaiming that God is the great I AM, we are reduced to sniveling observations about truth and eventually gasping out, “I don’t even know what ‘is’ is!” Well, as long as we refuse to confront the reality of the great I AM, we will never really know what “is” is. We will never understand the grammar of civilization. We will never grasp the true content of justice.

We don’t have to speculate about who this great I AM is: He came into the world in Christ. “I AM the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). “I AM the Vine” (John 15:5). “I AM the Door” (John 10:9). “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). Here, in this God-man, we find the meaning of our existence, our civilization, our identity.

Our Lord went to the Cross at the crossroads of civilization, and conquered passion and pride through His suffering and His visible failure according to the terms of the world. We have to remember that the suffering of God in Christ was one of the most difficult things for His contemporaries to grasp. It was the mystery that caused many of them to flee the Cross. And even when people did try to identify with the Cross, they often tried to redefine or deny outright the suffering of Christ. These heretical groups within Christianity claimed that Christ was only pretending to suffer on the Cross. They could not understand that the divine glory and divine humility were one.

Joseph Goebbels, that vicious propaganda officer of the Nazi machine, wrote in a diary around Christmastime in 1941 that he had just had an impressive meeting with the Führer, who had told him that he very much admired the myth of the pagan god Zeus, the god of all the gods in the Greek pantheon. Why? The Führer explained that he valued Zeus as a figure of benevolence and kindness.

What a difference there is between the smiling Zeus and the pain-wracked, crucified Christ! That’s the experience of the twentieth century in a single anecdote. Our civilization suffered through another manifestation of the Gnostic denial of the Incarnation of God. Note especially how, for one of the cruelest men who ever lived, it was easier to choose the sentimental figure of a nonexistent deity than the suffering and failure of Christ on the Cross.

Christ suffered on the Cross to defeat the passion and pride of Satan. And He failed on the Cross. He had to fail — at least according to the lights of a deceived civilization. He had to contradict those criteria for worldly success that animate the passion and the pride of man. Christ cries out on the Cross, “My God! My God, why have You forsaken me?” (see Matt. 27:46). This is not some kind of mythical success story. No mythical god ever cried out like that!

Life at the Crossroads

When John Paul Getty was one of the richest men in the world, someone asked him his key to success. He replied, “It’s very easy. Rise early. Work hard. And strike oil.” (Not very helpful advice really.) Our Lord never said anything like that. Yes, He did rise early; He kept all-night vigils; and He worked hard to the point of sweating blood. But He never said, “Go out and strike oil.” Salvation does not depend on luck. “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). We must stand at the crossroads and choose truth over lies, and life over death.

There’s an old proverb that goes, “Success is not one of the names of God.” These words came from the experience of God’s chosen people. When you read those words, you can still hear the lamentations of the Jews in their captivity in Egypt, in their forty years of wandering, in the desolation of their temple, in the Babylonian captivity, in the suffering through the ages, and in the horrors of the twentieth century. The choice between despairing of this world and hope in God’s providence is in every life lived at the crossroads.

Christ, the Messiah of the Jews, came into history to show us the resolution between light and dark, between life and death. As He walked through the crowds on one occasion, He suddenly said, “Who was it that touched me?” (Luke 8:45). One woman of the throng that surrounded Him had touched the hem of His garment, and He knew it. For however many civilizations there are, however many billions of people ever lived, each one of us is known to God when we touch Him.

But we have to call Him by name. We cannot call Him according to our own name, our own concept of what He is or should be. We cannot pretend that He is anything less than the pain-wracked, suffering Christ. Certainly success is not one of His names. When He hung on the Cross and cried out, “My God! My God, why have You forsaken me?” He was saying something that you will not find in any book or saccharine sermon about positive thinking. You will not see it engraved on any smile button. That kind of language is not “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It is, however, the voice of the Lord of history — at the crossroads of history — hanging on the Cross.

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He is speaking of you and of me and of every man and woman who has walked through the drama of the human experience. “Who touched me?” I did. “Well then, who crucified me?” I did. If we deny that, then we are governed by passion and pride, and the house of our soul is divided.

Yogi Berra, the master of malapropism, said that when you come to the crossroads of life, “take it.” It’s not much better advice than that of Mr. Getty, but I think you know what he meant. Christ gives everyone, every day, every time we wake up, a chance to choose. And of all the people who ever lived, we have less excuse than any to make a wrong choice, for we have access to the experience of all the civilizations that have gone before. We have the hard lessons of those who have rejected Christ. We have the consequences of civilizations that have turned their backs on God’s beauty and truth and love.

And every soul is offered the perception of the saints, who see at every crossroads the Cross of Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. End Quotes

This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Rutler’s Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving CivilizationIt is available from Sophia Institute Press.

Photo by Jason Betz on Unsplash

Mary Old and New by Patrick & friends In two parts part 1

Mary Old and ever New

The unveiling of Biblical Truth about Mary

By Patrick Miron {with TONS of reference assistance}

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: [the woman/her seed] shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for [her/the seed’s] heel.

 “Who, What and Why Mary is, is nowhere better or more fully expressed than it is in John 2:5 “Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye..” This brief articulation explains fully what God’s plan for Mary’s life as Mother of Jesus; Mother of GOD is to mean to humanity.

 http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/maryinsc.htm

The New Eve, the Virgin Mother prophesied in the Old Testament
The embodiment of all the qualities prefigured in the heroines of the Old Testament
The people of Israel, the Daughter of Zion
The Ark of the Covenant: the parallels are too numerous to be ignored

https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/59895/virgin-mary-in-old-testament

The Ark of the Covenant : a Type of Mary

One of the most striking types of Mary is the Ark of the Covenant. Looking at this image, you might see why. Take a close look at what this sacred vessel was to built to contain.

Hebrews 9:4

…the ark of the covenant covered about on every part with gold, in which was a golden pot that had manna [which fell from heaven], and the rod of Aaron [the highpriest, and the founder of Israel’s priesthood], that had blossomed, and the tables of the testament [word of God on stone].

These were of course symbols of Christ: the true manna which came from heaven (John 6:25-42), the ultimate Highpriest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), instead of on stone tablets.

Who or what does the container made for Jesus symbolize, then?—it’s the same woman “clothed with the sun,” or here, gold. (Revlation 11;19; 12:1! cf. Ps 45:9; Mk 10:40; 1 Kings 2:19). Mary is the New Ark. Maybe that’s why the old one had to give way to the new (Jeremiah 3:16).

Still not convinced? See how St. Luke quite deliberately, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, records the similarities between the ark and Mary!

Luke 1:39-56

And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Judea. And she entered into the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried 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 behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. … And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house.

Compare the striking parallels with what happens in regard to Mary, and what happens in regard to the Ark of the Covenant—not scattered through its history or Scripture, but in the one scene, even in the one chapter!

2 Samuel 6:1-17

And David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went, with all the people that were with him of the men of Judea to fetch the ark of God, upon which the name of the Lord of hosts is invoked, who sitteth over it upon the cherubims. … And when they had taken it out of the house of Abinadab, who was in Gabaa, Ahio having care of the ark of God went before the ark. But David and all Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of wood, on harps and lutes and timbrels and cornets and cymbals. And when they came to the floor of Nachon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it: because the oxen kicked and made it lean aside. And the indignation of the Lord was enkindled against Uzzah, and he struck him for his rashness: and he died* there before the ark of God. … And David was afraid of the Lord that day, saying: How shall the ark of the Lord come to me? And he would not have the ark of the Lord brought in to himself into the city of David: but he caused it to be carried into the house of Obededom the Gethite. And the ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household. … And David and all the house of Israel brought the ark of the of the Lord with joyful shouting, and with sound of trumpet. And when the ark of the Lord was come into the city of David, Michol the daughter of Saul, looking out through a window, saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord…

I’ve highlighted this to show how God regards His Ark, and how it is unseemly that any man would touch Mary sexually, who bore the Holy One and “God…made flesh,” (John 1:1,14) and that she remained a virgin as Christians always taught: even though married to Joseph she asks Gabriel, “How shall this [conception] be, since I know not man?” (Luke 1:34) (a euphemism for ‘do not have sexual intercourse’)

The Church
The exalted Mother of Jesus
The Mother of all the Faithful
Spouse, Mother and Daughter

The Queen Mother of the King

Medatrix of ALL graces

The evidence of the Of God’s omnipotence and omniscience affirms that the relationship of Mary and God Triune is inseperatable. It was GOD who choose Mary to Bear His Son; it was GOD who determined that She should be a Virgin; not of any absolute necessity, but because Jesus {GOD] merited it and Mary was to prove worthy of such a grace. Mary’s Immaculate Conception was all God’s doing; God’s plan and God’s work for Mary. Again not an essential feat, but one worthy of the God child and of Mary, chosen to be God’s Mother.

Hence it ought not be surprising that God’s plans for Mary are expressed and found throughout the bible from Genesis to Revelations and a great many places and roles in-between.

 Genesis 3:20

And Adam called the name of [the woman] Eve: because she was the mother of all the living.

John 19:26

When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

 John 2:1-5

And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed: she will crush your head, and you will lie in wait for her heel” (3:15). The second is that of Revelation: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (12:1).

Prophecy and final (eschatological) fulfillment, Incarnation and redemption are recapitulated in these two biblical texts intertwined with one another in delineating for us the exalted figure of Mary: at her first appearance in the Old Testament as “the morning rising” (Song 6:9), and in the New Testament with the full brightness of midday, “clothed with the sun” (Rev 12:1).

In the first text (Gen 3:15), significantly called the Protoevangelium, we are made aware of the figure and mission of Mary that foretell the messianic salvation of mankind.

The “woman” is the Mother of the Messiah-Redeemer, prefigured and symbolized down the subsequent centuries and millennia on many pages of the ancient revelation that accompanied and illumined the path of the Chosen People. In the second text (and its context: Rev 12:1-18), as it were a summary of the entire biblical “revelation” of the mystery of Mary, we contemplate her image and mission in the splendor of the eternal midday, the superhuman prodigy of maternal Queenship over the created universe, over both heaven and earth.

In the first text (Gen 3:15), significantly called the Protoevangelium, we are made aware of the figure and mission of Mary that foretell the messianic salvation of mankind.

The “woman” is the Mother of the Messiah-Redeemer, prefigured and symbolized down the subsequent centuries and millennia on many pages of the ancient revelation that accompanied and illumined the path of the Chosen People. In the second text (and its context: Rev 12:1-18), as it were a summary of the entire biblical “revelation” of the mystery of Mary, we contemplate her image and mission in the splendor of the eternal midday, the superhuman prodigy of maternal Queenship over the created universe, over both heaven and earth.

In the first text (Gen 3:15) we preview, antithetically, the reality of Mary’s mission: in opposition to the serpent (the “enmity”); in union with the Messiah-Redeemer (her “seed”) fighting and crushing the head of the serpent; in contrast with Eve, seduced and conquered by the serpent (Gen 3:13; 2 Cor 11:13). The prophetic vision embraces the entire salvific plan. In the words of Genesis 3:15, “there opens a vision of the whole of Revelation,” writes Pope John Paul II, “first as a preparation for the Gospel and then as the Gospel itself”. The dramatic scene of Genesis 3:15 speaks of mystery and in revealing it pinpoints our gaze on this “woman”, so heroic and sublime—the antithesis of poor Eve—who goes forth with her Son to reverse the fortunes of fallen man

Mary is the “woman” (Rev 12:1), the same “woman” of the Protoevangelium (Gen 3:15), of whom “is born” the son of God; sent by the Father (Gal 4:4);3 the “woman” present and wholly absorbed in the sufferings of her Son crucified on Calvary (Jn 19:25-26).

Mary is the “virgin” who is shown alone with the Son, without husband, in the proto-evangelium (Gen 3:15), then in Isaiah (7:14), and in Micah (5:2); her virginity prefigured by the “burning bush” (Ex 3:1-11), by the “rod of Aaron” (Num 9:16-24), by the “fleece of Gideon” (Jg 6:36-40), by the “enclosed garden, sealed fountain” (Song 4:12); finally, described by St. Matthew and by St. Jude in terms of the most essential biographical and historical facts of her life.

Mary is the “mother”, pregnant and giving birth to a son, though remaining a virgin, according to the prophecies of Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:1-2; and the woman “Mother of the Lord” or “Mother of Jesus”, as she is called eleven times in the New Testament; she is the “mother” of mankind, represented by St. John on Calvary (Jn 19:25-27).

Mary is the “spouse”: not only the virginal, legal spouse of St. Joseph (Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27), but the virginal, real spouse of God the Father who willed her to be the Mother, according to His human nature, of His only-begotten Son (Gal 4:4); the spouse of God the Son, the redeemer, who intimately associated her with Himself in His redemptive work, as the new Eve beside the “new Adam”; the spouse of God the Holy Spirit, who, overshadowing her enabled her to conceive Jesus (Lk 1:35).

Mary is the “mother”, pregnant and giving birth to a son, though remaining a virgin, according to the prophecies of Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:1-2; and the woman “Mother of the Lord” or “Mother of Jesus”, as she is called eleven times in the New Testament; she is the “mother” of mankind, represented by St. John on Calvary (Jn 19:25-27).

Mary is the “spouse”: not only the virginal, legal spouse of St. Joseph (Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27), but the virginal, real spouse of God the Father who willed her to be the Mother, according to His human nature, of His only-begotten Son (Gal 4:4); the spouse of God the Son, the redeemer, who intimately associated her with Himself in His redemptive work, as the new Eve beside the “new Adam”; the spouse of God the Holy Spirit, who, overshadowing her enabled her to conceive Jesus (Lk 1:35).

Mary is the woman immaculate: namely, she is the only human creature unstained by sin, because, together with her Son, she is the unvanquished, victorious adversary of the infernal serpent (Gen 3:15); not only this, but she is the only creature “full of grace” (Lk 1:28), true panhaghia (all holy one), pure “dawn” (Song 6:9) of the sun who is Christ, “fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature” in order to become Mother of Word Incarnate.

Mary is the co-redemptrix, associated with her Son in the work of ransoming man from sin (Gen 3:15), strong as “an army set in array” (Song 6:9), already prefigured by the “strong”, courageous women of Israel, present at the foot of the cross on Calvary (Jn 19:25-27).

Mary is the Mediatrix, who brings Jesus to men and men to Jesus, who cares for things spiritual and temporal (Lk 1:39ff.; Jn 2:1-11) present and active at the birth of the Church on Calvary (Jn 19:25-27) and in the Cenacle (Acts 1:14).

Mary is the Queen, who wears on her head the crown of twelve stars (Rev 12:2) signifying the angels (the “stars”), the twelve tribes of Israel (the Chosen People) and the twelve apostles (the Church). She is the Queen assumed into heaven, carried on the wings of the “great eagle” (Rev 12:14), dashing to the ground the destructive furies of the “dragon” (Rev 12:3-4). She is the “exalted daughter of Zion”, seated as “Queen at the right hand” of the King in the kingdom of heaven (Ps 44:10)

Mary is the woman “blessed” for the faith she placed in the words of the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation (Lk 1:45), for hearing and observing the Word of God (Lk 11:27-28), for her faithful fulfillment of the will of the Father (Mk 3:31-35), as the “poor one of Yahweh” (Ps 9) and “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).

From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, therefore, we may well underscore how this “woman” according to the design of God the Father is always one with her Son, always relative to that Son, “leaning upon her beloved” (Song 8:15), intimately associated with Him in the same mission of saving man and leading him back to the bosom of the Father.

At every crucial point in the history of salvation, from the Protoevangelium, after the fall of our first parents (Gen 3:15), to the announcement of the incarnation of the Word (Lk 1:26ff.), from the beginning of the public mission of Jesus at Cana (Jn 2:1-11), to His redemptive sacrifice consummated on the Cross (in 19:25-27), up to the accomplishment of the very last detail in the universal salvific plan (Rev 12), Mary is the “woman” always present with her Son, never alone, to fulfill her role of “generous companion and humble handmaid of the Lord”.

And together with the Son there are “children”, these also brothers and “co-heirs” of Christ (Rom 8:17), who constitute the Mystical Body, the Church. Thus, in Genesis 3:15, the “woman” is presented together with her “seed” (which also has an inclusive sense); at Cana (Jn 2:1-11) the “woman” is with the first “disciples” of Jesus; on Calvary (Jn 19: 25-27), at the foot of the Cross the “woman” has beside her John the Evangelist, who represents all the “disciples” of Jesus; in Revelation 12, finally, the “woman” is found again with “the rest of her offspring” (the Church).

To conclude, then, Mary’s whole reason for existing is found in the Son (and in the children), according to the salvific plan of God the Father. Without the Son, Mary would not have existed at all. This is a thesis dear to dogmatic theologians, and “soundly based on fact”.

 In Down to Earth: The New Protestant Vision of the Virgin Mary, the Protestant theologian John de Satge highlights Mary’s position with respect to the Old and the New Testaments: “She is the climax of the Old Testament people, the one to whom the cloud of witnesses from the ancient era look as their crowning glory, for it was through her response to grace that their Vindicator came to stand upon the earth. In the order of redemption she is the first fruits of her Son’s saving work, the one among her Son’s people who has gone all the way. And in the order of her Son’s people, she is the mother.” (4

The angel says to Mary: ‘Hail full of grace, (or10 favoured one’), the Lord is with you,. And then ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have favour (or ‘grace’) with God.

And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus (Yahweh-Saviour) (Luke 1:28-31). The Old Testament background to this is Zephaniah 3:14-17: ‘Sing aloud, O daughter of Sion … The Lord is in your midst … Do not fear, O Sion, the Lord your God is in your midst (your womb), a warrior who gives victory’. So in Luke ‘hail’ means rejoice, with messianic joy, and Mary, ‘favoured one’ or ‘full of grace’ is seen as the Daughter of Sion, who realizes the hopes and longings of Israel’s history, and in a more wonderful way the Lord will be in her midst. The angel goes on, in the words of the prophecy of Nathan, to tell her that her Son will be the Messiah, and when Mary asks ‘How shall this be, because I have not husband?’ he explains: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, Son of God’ (Luke 1:32-35). ‘Overshadow’ refers to the Shekinah, the cloud of God’s presence which went with the Israelites in the desert, filled the temple of Solomon, appeared at the transfiguration and the ascension, and according to Israelite tradition, covered with its shadow the Ark of the Covenant (cf. Exodus 40:35). Thus Mary, like the Ark, becomes God’s resting place on earth. ‘Son of God’ is a messianic title, but its full meaning will be gradually unfolded, and gradually also Christian faith will come to Be what it means to be God’s Mother. Mary’s humble answer, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” is an unhesitating acceptance of her place in God’s redemptive plan. This is what the second century fathers saw, together with its consequences for salvation: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience, says Irenaeus, ‘was untied by Mary’s obedience, and in her obedience Mary became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race’ (Adv. Haer. 3, 22, 4; PG 7, 959).” (5).

 Rene Laurentin sees Mary’s presence in the OT on three planes:

Mary is seen to be envisaged in three ways by the Old Testament.

  1. Moral Preparation

From among mankind disgraced by sin, God untangles a line of faith and holiness at the end of which his Son will be able to be born into the human race without the contamination of sin. The last stage of this progress is found in the privileged circle of the “poor of Israel.” Mary explicitly places herself in this group in the Magnificat (Lk. 1:48, 52) …

  1. Typological Preparation

God’s plan for the world works toward accomplishment according to the slow cadence of human duration, slowed down the more by the inertia of sin. God does not bring perfection to be all at once, but gradually. At each stage of the plan of salvation—Israel, the Church, heaven—one can discern the sketch and prefiguration of the perfect forms that will be reached at the end. At each stage in the development of an embryo the imperfect forms of the organs on their way to full formation can be detected. There is no more delicate task than to appreciate these developmental relationships. In the final analysis, only Scripture and Tradition can authentically discern typological equivalents. In what concerns Mary, the types are found principally in three lines:

  1. First there are the women of the Old Testament, notably those who were favored with miraculous births, those who were ancestors of the Messiah, those who contributed to the triumph and salvation of Israel. By taking up in connection with Mary the words that concerned Sarah, “Nothing is impossible with God,” (Gen 18:14 and Lk. 1:37), or Judith (Jud 13:18-19 and Lk. 1:42), Luke gave the first guidelines for this typology.
  2. But Luke compares Mary especially to Israel in its ensemble. He identifies her with the Daughter of Zion according to Zeph. 3:14-17, an identification that is found again in substance in John 19:25-27 and in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse …
  3. Finally, the Daughter of Zion was the place where Yahweh rested. Thus Luke glimpsed in Mary the new Ark of the Covenant, the eschatological resting-place of Yahweh Savior. In this comparison he opened the way to a typology involving sacred objects …
  4. Typological Preparation

God’s plan for the world works toward accomplishment according to the slow cadence of human duration, slowed down the more by the inertia of sin. God does not bring perfection to be all at once, but gradually. At each stage of the plan of salvation—Israel, the Church, heaven—one can discern the sketch and prefiguration of the perfect forms that will be reached at the end. At each stage in the development of an embryo the imperfect forms of the organs on their way to full formation can be detected. There is no more delicate task than to appreciate these developmental relationships. In the final analysis, only Scripture and Tradition can authentically discern typological equivalents. In what concerns Mary, the types are found principally in three lines:

  1. First there are the women of the Old Testament, notably those who were favored with miraculous births, those who were ancestors of the Messiah, those who contributed to the triumph and salvation of Israel. By taking up in connection with Mary the words that concerned Sarah, “Nothing is impossible with God,” (Gen 18:14 and Lk. 1:37), or Judith (Jud 13:18-19 and Lk. 1:42), Luke gave the first guidelines for this typology.
  2. But Luke compares Mary especially to Israel in its ensemble. He identifies her with the Daughter of Zion according to Zeph. 3:14-17, an identification that is found again in substance in John 19:25-27 and in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse …
  3. Finally, the Daughter of Zion was the place where Yahweh rested. Thus Luke glimpsed in Mary the new Ark of the Covenant, the eschatological resting-place of Yahweh Savior. In this comparison he opened the way to a typology involving sacred objects …
(c) Old Testament Pre-figurings of Mary

In addition to prophecies, many of the individuals and events in the Old Testament pre-figure New Testament individuals and events. Just as the Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, for instance, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. The twelve tribes of Israel pre-figure the coming of the 12 Apostles. Because Jesus exercised His Messianic Office as Priest, Prophet and King, all the priests, prophets and kings of Israel in some sense pre-figured Him. Similarly, many of the heroines of the Old Testament pre-figured Mary and at times the parallels are startling.

A table of comparisons is given below:

Sarah

“Free” wife of Abraham unlike Hagar the slave wife. Although sterile she bears Isaac in her old age through a miracle of God. Isaac is the father of a great nation [Genesis 11].

Mary

Mary is the “free” wife who is free of any subjection to sin—”whoever commits sin is the slave of sin” [John 8:34]. She is a voluntary virgin who nevertheless conceives and bears her Son through a miracle. Her Son Jesus is the Head of the Mystical Body, the “firstborn among many brethren.” [Romans 8:29].

Rebecca

Wife of Isaac who played a key role in the history of salvation. Abraham asked his servant Eliezer to request Rebecca to be the wife of Isaac. Her brothers tell Rebecca: “May you increase to thousands of thousands and may your seed possess the gates of their enemies.” [Genesis 24:60]. Rebecca dresses Jacob in the clothes of his older brother Esau to secure the blessing of Isaac.

Mary

God the Father asks the angel Gabriel to request Mary to be the Mother of God the Son. Mary’s seed are the multitudes “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Mary clothes Jesus in human flesh and offers Him to the Father to secure His blessing on the human race.

Rachael

Jacob is entranced by Rachel’s beauty. Rachel is the mother of Joseph who was sold for 20 pieces of silver. Joseph comes to power in Egypt and is the savior of his family.

Mary

Mary has “found favor with God”. Her Son Jesus is sold for thirty pieces of silver. By His death He becomes the savior of the human race.

Miriam

Miriam the sister of Moses, the liberator of the People of God, and the sister of Aaron, the first priest of the Old Covenant.

Miriam is present with Moses and Aaron at the “Tent of Meeting” in which the Lord descended and spoke to them.

Mary

Just as Miriam was associated with the lawgiver of the People of God, Mary is associated with the Supreme Lawgiver Who Moses pre-figured. Similarly Mary is associated with the High Priest of the New Covenant who again is pre-figured by Aaron.

Deborah

Deborah saves her people from the Canaanites by helping Barak victoriously lead a small army against the much larger army of Sisera. Deborah is a prophetess and renowned for her mercy. Judges 5 is a song of praise from Deborah to the Almighty thanking Him for the victory over Sisera.

Mary

Mary assists Christ in His redemptive mission—a mission He performs against all odds. Mary is the Queen of Prophets and Merciful Mother. Deborah’s song is a foreshadowing of the Magnificat.

Ruth

Ruth, a Moabite, is the wife of Boaz and the mother of Obed the grandfather of David. She leaves her people behind and declares herself the servant of Boaz.

Mary

Mary will bear a Son in the line of David. She offers herself as a handmaiden of the Lord.

Abigail

Abigail means “exaltation of the Father.” Because of her great virtue David marries her and makes her queen of the house of David. In I Samuel 25:41, she tells David, “Behold your servant Mary.”  Mary’s exaltation of the Father is seen especially in the Magnificat. Because she has won favor with Him, God the Father makes her the Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of the Son. At the Annunciation, Luke 1:38, she says, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”

Esther

Esther is chosen to be queen by King Ahasuerus for her beauty. All of Esther’s people have been condemned to death through the schemes of an enemy. She alone is excepted from this condemnation. Esther manages to foil the schemes of the enemy and saves her people from death.

Mary

Alone of her race, Mary was not subject to Original Sin, the condemnation to spiritual death. She assists her Son in His mission of defeating the enemy and rescuing her people from the decree of damnation. She continues to intercede for her people as they continue in their journey from death.

About the influence of the Old Testament pre-figurings on the New Testament, Marie Isaacs, a Baptist, writes:

Luke portrays Mary as the supreme example of the faithful of Israel, of whom the Messiah was to be born. He does this, not only the way he structures the narrative, but also in the language he employs: language which is full of OT allusions and symbols. To miss these is to fail to appreciate the claims that Luke is making. Already we have seen that Mary is one of the anawim. Now we must explore the other biblical allusions.

To read Lk 1-2, even superficially, is immediately to call to mind stories in the OT of women who gave birth to remarkable offspring: Sarah, old and childless and yet who was blessed with the birth of Isaac; the mother of Samson (the last and greatest of the Judges), who like Elisabeth, had previously been barren, but to whom an angel was to announce that she would have a son. The similarities between these and the lucan Infancy Narratives are obvious: all describe miraculous conceptions, announced by angelic messengers and issuing in the birth of a great hero. John the Baptist, like Samson, is to take a Nazarite vow. But it is probably to the story of the birth of Samuel that Luke is most indebted. In many ways Mary, ‘the handmaid of the Lord’ is patterned on Hannah, ‘the handmaid, who, of all OT mothers, is the archetypal figure of maternal devotion and religious piety, dedicating her son entirely to the service of Yahweh in the temple, and there rejoicing over her son’s birth with a paean of praise. Much of the thought and even the language of Hannah’s song is taken up by Mary, the new Hannah, in the Magnificat. So now Mary becomes, not merely the symbol of the faithful of Israel in general, but the symbol of the faithful mother in particular. (11).

Mary’s role at the side of her royal Son is prefigured in the Old Testament depictions of the Queen Mother. The title of Queen Mother or Gebirah was very common in Old Testament times and was a position independent of the King. The Queen Mother had a very influential role in national affairs and acted as regent when the king was absent or dead. Since the importance of the Queen Mother was recognized by the ancient Hebrews, the first Christians saw no conflict in honoring the Mother of their King.

Rene Laurentin dwells further on this theme:

Queen mothers had an important position in eastern courts and especially in Israel. Their names have been preserved with care in the Books of Kings (1 Kgs 14:21; 15:2; 22:42; cf. 53. 2 Kgs 9:6; 12;2: 14:2; 15:2,33; 18:2; 22:1; 23:31,36; 24:18). They bore the title gebirah and were found closely associated in the honor and position of the monarch (Jer 13:18; 22:6). It is important to note that it was not the position of the wife of the kind that counted, but that of the king’s mother. Very significant in this regard is the comparison between 1 Kings 1:16,31 and 2:19, where Bethsheba prostrates herself before King David, her husband, whereas Solomon, her son, after he has become king, prostrates himself before her and makes her sit at his right hand.

The prophetic texts studied above therefore glimpse Mary essentially as the queen mother of the eschatological king, involved as such in the honor paid his reign. Thus the Old Testament brings the positive contribution of a source to the doctrine of Mary’s Queenship. … Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:1-2 all in varying degrees bring into striking relief a “maiden,” a “queen,” “one who was to give birth” in eschatological times to this “son of David” who mysteriously would be Son of God (2 Sam 7:14; Ps. 2 and 110). (12)

Mark Miravalle goes further on the implications of the Queen Mother theme:

We can see an authentic foreshadowing of the role of the Mother of Jesus as Advocate for the People of God in the Old Testament role of the Queen Mother, the role and office held by the mothers of the great Davidic kings of Israel …

The office and authority of the queen mother in her close relationship to the king made her the strongest advocate to the king for the people of the kingdom. The Old Testament understanding of an advocate is a person who is called in to intercede for another in need and particularly at court, and no one had more intercessory power to the king than the queen mother, who at times sat enthroned at the right side of the king (cf. 1 Kings 2:19-20). The queen mother also had the function of counselor to the king in regards to matters of the kingdom (cf. Prov 31:8-9; 2 Chr 22:2-4).

The recognized role of advocate of the queen mother with the king for members of the kingdom is manifested in the immediate response of King Solomon to his mother, Bathsheba, in this queen mother’s petition for a member of the kingdom:

“And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, ‘I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.’ And the king said to her, ‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.’ (1 Kings 2: 19-20).

The Old Testament image and role of the queen mother, the “great Lady,” as advocate to the king for the people of the kingdom prophetically foreshadows the role of the great Queen Mother and Lady of the New Testament. For it is Mary of Nazareth who becomes the Queen and Mother in the Kingdom of God, as the Mother of Christ, King of all nations. The Woman at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:26) becomes the Great Lady (Domina) with the Lord and King, and thereby will be the Advocate and Queen for the People of God from heaven, where she is the “woman clothed with the sun … and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). (13).

It has also often been said that Abraham pre-figured Mary for reasons explained here by the exegete John McHugh: God made three promises to Abraham that his children would be a great nation (Gen 12:2; 13f,6; 15:5; 17:6, 19; 22:17); that his descendants would possess the land of Canaan (Gen 12:7; 13:15; 15:18-21; 17:8); and that in him all the nations of world would count themselves blessed (Gen 12:3; 22:18). In Mary’s child, the last of the three promises was fulfilled, and it is not surprising that Luke draws out many parallels between Mary and Abraham. Like Abraham (Gen 18:3), Mary found favour with God (Lk 1:30); like Abraham (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18), she is a source of blessing for, and is blessed by, all nations (Lk 1: 42,48); like Abraham (Gen 15:6), she is praised for her faith in the promise that, by a miracle, she would have a son (Lk 1:45). (14).

Another striking parallel has been drawn between Mary and Old Testament mediators like Moses in recent exegesis as Ignace de la Potterie shows here:

“His mother said to the servants: ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” In passing let us note that these are the final words of Mary in the Gospels …

A. Serra having examined in depth the use of this expression in the Old Testament proposes another exegesis, which to us seems more solid and which at the same time is very attractive. He puts forth evidence that here we are dealing with an expression that is almost a technical one, which appears several times in the Old Testament in connection with the Covenant when Israel, in response to the promises which have been made to her, pledges obedience to God. It is utilized as well on the occasion of the conclusion of the Covenant at Sinai (Ex 19:8; 24:3-7; Dt 5:27), as well as its renewal later (cf. Jos 24:24; Ex 10:12: Ne 5:12). We find it for the first time in Exodus 19:8. Situated in its context it is the following: “In the third month of their departure from the land of Egypt … the Israelites came to the desert of Sinai … Moses then went up the mountain to God. Yahweh called to him and said: ‘Here is how you shall address the house of Jacob … If you obey me and respect my Covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine … That is what you must tell the Israelites.’ Moses then went, convoked all the elders of the people and related to them all that Yahweh had ordered him to tell them. Then the entire people, with one accord responded: ‘All that Yahweh has said, we will do.’ And Moses brought back to Yahweh the response of the people.” (Ex 19:1-8). In this text and the others that we pointed out, even though they appear with several variants, there are always two constants: the word of the mediator and the response of the people.

Serra correctly noticed that the expression of the Covenant (“All that Yahweh has said, we will do”), closely parallels the words of Mary to the servants at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). From this one can conclude that Mary—in her very last words—uses the formula of the Covenant; she personifies in a certain manner the people of Israel in the context of the Covenant. For, as A. Serra continues, “John puts on the lips of Mary the profession of faith that the whole community of the chosen people pronounced one day in front of Sinai.” Mary therefore asks of the “servants” to adopt vis-a-vis Jesus an attitude, which is in reality the attitude of the Covenant, that is an attitude of perfect submission to the will of God, expressed here in the command given by Jesus.” (15).

The significance of the angel Gabriel’s appearance is pre-figured in the Book of Daniel and the angels announcements to Zechariah closely parallel his announcements to Daniel:

The mere mention of the name Gabriel in Lk 1:19, 26 would be sufficient to alert a reader familiar with the Jewish Scriptures, for Gabriel’s name occurs only twice in the Old Testament, in the second half of Daniel (Dan 8:16; 9:21): on both occasions his mission is to explain the import of a prophecy about the deliverance of Israel and the dawn of a new age. The close verbal similarities between Lk 1:1 and these chapters of Daniel leave no doubt that Luke is here consciously alluding to the Book of Daniel. (16)

Similarly the proclamations of the angel to Gideon in Judges 6:11-24 closely parallel the angel Gabriel’s proclamations to Mary in Luke 1:26-38.

Again, the proclamations of the prophet Nathan to David parallel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary:

2 Samuel 7:12: “I will preserve the offspring of your body after you, and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me.”
Luke 1:32-3: “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.”
2 Samuel 7:16b: “Your throne will be established forever:”
Luke 1:32-33: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.”
2 Samuel 7:16a: “Your house and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me.”
Luke 1:32-33: “He will rule forever over the house of Jacob.”
2 Samuel 7:13: “I will make his royal throne secure forever.”
Luke 1:33: “And his reign will have no end.”

(d) Daughter of Zion

Perhaps the most striking and obvious Marian image in Scripture is that of the Daughter of Zion. The Daughter of Zion representation of Mary is evident in the parallelism between a great number of texts in the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old Testament Zion is shown as Spouse and Daughter, Virgin and Mother as is Mary in the New. Daughter Zion is the Spouse of Yahweh, Mother of the People of God (Mother Zion), the Virgin Israel. Many of the Old Testament texts describing the Daughter of Zion are amazingly enough applied to Mary, for instance in Luke 1:26-38, John 2:1-12, John 19:25-27. “Here,” writes de la Potterie, “the Old Testament texts of the ‘Daughter of Zion’ are applied to a definite woman. … This is precisely the reason why, in the Fourth Gospel, both at Cana and at the Cross, Jesus addresses Mary calling her ‘Woman.”, (17). “The definite woman Mary,” he continues, “the Mother of Jesus, is in a certain way the historical realization of this symbolic figure, who is called in the prophets—depending on the context—the ‘Daughter of Zion,’ the ‘Mother-Zion” or the ‘Virgin Israel.’ All of Israel’s expectation of salvation was projected upon this symbolic figure of the “Messianic Daughter of Zion”; this symbolic figure, described by the prophets, is concretized at once in a daughter of Israel, Mary, who thus becomes the personification of the messianic people in eschatological times.” (18). A truly biblical interpretation of Mary will see her as representing both the people of Israel and the future Church.

The comparison of Zephaniah 3:17-17 and Luke 1:28-33 is especially striking:

“Rejoice, Daugher of Zion, the King of Israel, Yahweh, is IN you. Do not be afraid Zion, Yahweh your God is in your womb as a strong Savior.” [Zephaniah 3:14-17] “Rejoice so highly favored. The Lord is WITH you. Do not be afraid, Mary … Listen, you are to conceive in your womb and bear a son and you must name him “Yahweh Savior.” He will reign [Luke 1:28-33]. (19).

Applying the Daughter of Zion symbolism, de la Potterie notes,

More and more frequently today’s exegetes translate the first word of the angel to Mary, ‘Chaire’, by ‘Rejoice!’ … It is interesting to verify that in the Septuagint the formula ‘Chaire’ always appears in a context where Zion is invited to the messianic joy in the perspective of the future (Joel 2:21-23; Zp 3:14; Zc 9:9; cf. Lm. 4:21). In the announcement to Mary, the angel utilizes the formula which the prophets employ to invite the eschatological Zion to rejoice in the salvation which God accords her. Thus we read in the prophet Zephaniah 3:14-15: ‘Shout for joy, daughter of Zion!’ … In the tradition of the Greek Fathers of the Church and in the Byzantine liturgy, the words of the angel have been almost universally understood and explained as an invitation to joy.

It is clear that from the very first words of the angel there is already an echo of the theme of the ‘Daughter of Zion.’ The joy which was announced by the prophets in the Old Testament to the people of Israel—the Woman Zion—diffuses itself and comes to be focused on one particular woman, Mary, who unites in her person, so to speak, the desires and the hopes of all the people of Israel. The Fathers of the Church also understood it in this way.” (20).

Writes Rene Laurentin:

The first word of the angel, chaire, does not correspond to the ordinary Hebrew greeting of peace, shalom, the equivalent of our “Good day!” or “Hello!” It is rather the echo of the greetings of messianic joy addressed by the prophets to the Daughter of Zion in Zech. 9:9, Joel 2:21-27, and especially Zeph. 3:14-17. Once this motif of eschatological joy has been proclaimed, it is the Lord who is to come into the midst of Israel, or translating in its etymological sense the expression bequirbek employed here, “in the womb” of Israel. The message of the angel echoes that of Zephaniah but this time with respect to an immediate realization.

… This first revelation of the Incarnation … is something accomplished … simply by the virtual application of the Old Testament scriptures to the new event. Illuminated by Scripture, the event discloses its divine dimensions; actualized by the event, Scripture attains a marvelous and unforeseen fulfillment …

The joy announced by the angel is messianic joy, the eschatological joy expressed by Zephanaiah. Mary who receives the angel’s message, is the “Daughter of Zion”: she stands for Israel at this decisive hour. The presence of the Lord in Israells midst, this new and mysterious presence announced for the last days, becomes a conception and a childbearing for her. Finally Zephanaiah designates teh one whom she is to bear under the name “Yahweh Savior”. According to the Hebrew, this is the very meaning of the name “Jesus,” designated by the angel, and this name thereby takes on the fullness of its etymological meaning. (21)

John McHugh notes that the passages in Joel and Zechariah are modelled on the Zephaniah passage which is the most ancient of the three. He describes Zephaniah 3:14-17 as “two short poems in which the prophet envisages the day of salvation as already begun, and calls upon the Daughter of Zion to rejoice with all her heart, not to fear, because the Lord is with her, as her king and saviour. This is exactly the message of the angel in Lk 1:28-33 … The texts of Joel and of Zechariah carry the same message in almost the same phrases.” In his commentary on the Magnificat, McHugh points out that when Mary “speaks of what God has done for her, she speaks of what God has done for Israel: that is, she speaks of herself as the Daughter of Zion.” (22)

Respected Protestant scholars such as A.G. Herbert (“The Virgin Mary as the Daughter of Zion”), A. F. Knight (“The Virgin and the Old Testament”) and the Swedish Lutheran Harald Sahlin (“Der Messias und das Gotteovolk”) have also acknowledged Mary’s identification with the Daughter of Zion.

(e) Ark of the Covenant

In speaking of Mary as the bridge between the Old an the New, we are inevitably led to the theme of Mary as the Ark of the Covenant. From Luke’s initial characterization of Mary as the Daughter of Zion we are led to his grand vision of Mary as the Ark of the Covenant, a vision that is continued in both the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. As noted earlier, Luke’s way of introducing Old Testament themes or prophecies is through allusions rather than direct assertions of “prophetic fulfillment.” In introducing Mary as the Ark, he draws on Old Testament texts that any Jewish reader would understand and identify with the Ark.

Rene Laurentin draws attention to the similitude between Exodus 40:34,35 and Luke 1:35:

“The divine overshadowing, designated by the characteristic word episkiasei, evoked the cloud which was the sign of Yahweh’s presence. This cloud was seen for the first time when the Mosaic worship was established. With its shadow it covered the Ark of the Covenant, while the glory of God—that is, God himself—filled it from within. In her turn Mary is going to be the object of this double manifestation:

a presence from above that signifies transcendence, and a presence of the Lord from within. That is what is implied in the comparison of the two texts:

Exodus 40:34: “The cloud covered the Tent of meeting and the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle.” Luke 1:35: “The power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.”

The same idea seems to be taken up in the episode of the visitation, a story told in reference to the account of the transfer of the Ark in 2 Sam. 6:1, 14 … The episode of the Visitation is drawn up in close parallelism with 2 Sam 6:14, the story of the transportation of the Ark of the Covenant, narrated just before the messianic prophecy (7:1-17) to which Luke 1:32-3 alludes. The events, the atmosphere, the terms used to describe them correspond closely: the ascent of the Ark (2 Samuel 6:5) and the ascent of Mary (Luke 1:39), the joyous outcry of the people and Elizabeth’s cry of greeting; the exultation of David and of John the Baptist. At times the expressions are in striking correspondence with each other:

2 Samuel 6:9: “However can the Ark of Yahweh (- My Lord) come to me?”
Luke 1:43: “Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of My Lord?”
2 Samuel 6:11: “The Ark of Yahweh remained for three months in the house..”
Luke 1:56: “Mary remained about three months in the home of Elizabeth.”

In short, in the marvelously artful account of the Visitation the image of the Ark of the Covenant is worked into the person of Mary, and here and there in a typological approach it is possible to see that the “Lord” whose mother she is is no other than than the “Lord” who resided in the Ark.

The theme is taken up a final time at the end of the infancy gospel. As Jesus enters the Temple Simeon greets him as ‘the glory of Israel, (Luke 2:32). This is a divine title. The glory of Yahweh that had deserted the Temple once it was bereft of the Ark of the Covenant now reenters the Temple as Mary comes there carrying Jesus. Thus it is that Simeon can die happy (Luke 2:26, 29); he now can “see death” since he has “seen the glory of the Lord.” The time has been fulfilled. Here Mary, eschatalogical Daughter of Zion and new Ark of the Covenant, accomplishes her mission in a way in bringing to the Temple the one whose place it properly is. This is what Jesus himself will affirm in the very last episode of the infancy gospel, that of his being found in the Temple: ‘I must be in my Father’s house.’ [Luke 2:49]. (23).

Manelli points out the following parallels between the Visitation and the transportation of the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Abinadab to that of Obededom and to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:1-15):

The two “journeys” take place in Judea; the shouts of jubilation of the people and of Elizabeth; David and John’ the Baptist “exult for joy”; the presence of the Ark and that of Mary are blessing for the house; the Ark and Mary remain in the house for three months. (24)

About the Ark symbolism, John McHugh writes:

[Luke 1] Verse 35 asserts that this creative, life-giving Power of the Most High will overshadow Mary. Luke’s choice of the word ‘overshadow, is of first importance. Several recent writers, Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic, have stressed the significance of this verb in this context: they see in it an indication that the Divine Presence descended on Mary as it had once descended on the Ark of the Covenant. At the very end of the Book of Exodus, when the Tent has at last been completed, the writer adds: ‘Then the Cloud enveloped the Tent of Witness, and the Tent was filled with the Glory of the Lord. And Moses could not enter the Tent of Witness, because the Cloud was overshadowing it, and the Tent had been filled with the Glory of the Lord’ (Ex 40:34-5). In the Greek Old Testament, words meaning ‘to overshadow, are comparatively rare, and they are nearly always found in passages which speak of the presence of God … In Is 4:2-6 the prophet … promises that on the Day of Yahweh, the Divine Presence will once again overshadow the purified Daughter of Zion with its glory.

St. Luke, when he wrote the word ‘overshadow” must have known what,associations it would evoke in the Jewish mind. No Jew, reading the words ‘A Power of the Most High will overshadow thee’, could fail to think of the Divine Presence or Shekinah. The meaning of Lk 1:35, therefore, is that the creative Power of God’s Holy Spirit is going to descend upon Mary, as the Glory of the Lord had once descended upon the Tent of Witness and filled it with a Divine Presence. (25).

A number of exegetes have commented on the parallels between the Infancy narrative in Luke and the Prologue of the Gospel of John. There is reason to believe that John refers both to the Virgin Birth and to the Ark symbolism:

John 1:13: “Not born of blood or of the desire of the flesh or of the desire of God.”
Luke 1:34: “I do not know man.”
John 1:13: “But of God.”
Luke 1:35: “The power of the Most High will cover you
John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh and pitched his tent among us.”
Luke 1:35-46 and 2 Samuel 6 on the theme of the Ark of the Covenant.

In this passage from John there is an allusion to “the tent or tabernacle where God resided since the making of the Covenant (Exodus 40:34-35; cf. 25:8; 26, etc.).” (26)

This symbolism and its relationship to Mary continues in the Book of Revelation. John explicitly brings out this nuance in Revelation 21:3 ‘Behold the tent of God with men; he will tent with them.’ It will be noted that in this text (and apparently in Revelation 11:19 and 12:1, two closely linked verses) the ‘tent’ is also a ‘woman’: ‘I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband, and then I heard a loud voice call out from the throne, ‘Behold the tent of God with men … 1 (21:2-3). ‘Then the sanctuary of God in heaven opened, and the Ark of the Covenant could be seen inside it … Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun … She was pregnant.’ (11:19-12:1). When the book of Revelation was written there were no chapter divisions and so there should be a continuous flow from 11:19 to 12:1: the revelation of the Ark of the Covenant in God’s temple in Heaven is followed immediately by the vision of the woman clothed by the sun because the Ark is identified with her who is none other than Mary.

The identification of the Ark of the Covenant with Mary, so clear to Jewish readers of Luke and John, was grasped by the early Christian community as confirmed by references in ancient liturgies, litanies, hymns such as the Akathistos and the writings of the Fathers (for instance Athanasius). Thus the affirmation of Mary as the Ark of the Covenant directly derived from Scripture became a part of the Apostolic Faith. The Ark lies at the center ‘of the Old Covenant and its continuation into the New Covenant in the person of Mary is an invitation to awe-filled meditation on the Marian role in the mystery of salvation.

3. Luke 1-2: A Compendium Of Marian Doctrine

(a) Compendium

In its dramatic overview of the salvation mysteries of the New Covenant, Luke 1-2 also gives us a magnificent affirmation and summation of the major Marian doctrines. So significant is Luke 1-2 for an understanding of the Scriptural portrait of Mary that the great French exegete Rene Laurentin produced a monumental study on it called The Structure and Theology of Luke 1-2.

Although none of the Gospels are written as textbooks of theology or doctrine, the sacred texts often assume or implicitly support certain doctrinal formulations. In this regard Luke 1-2 is a masterpiece spanning the entire spectrum of Marian doctrine.

We will briefly survey the verses relevant to specific doctrines without going into any detail. The basis of these doctrines will be presented in a later chapter.

Immaculate Conception Of Mary:

“Rejoice so highly favored” “Hail full of grace”. Luke 1:28. Both translations are derived from the Greek word kecharitomene which refers to a person transformed by the grace of God. This verse is considered in more detail below.

Mary’s Divine Maternity:

“And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43 “Lord” is used here in the same sense as “Yahweh” which refers to God in the Old Testament. Mary is the mother of God.

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity:

“How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Luke 1:34 The significance of this as a vow of virginity will be examined below.

Mary’s Assumption Into Heaven:

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.11 Luke 1:35

This is the first of the verses that depict Mary as the Ark of the Covenant. In Revelation 11 and 12, the Ark is shown in Heaven and is identified with the woman clothed with the sun who is Mary.

“All generations shall call me blessed.” Luke 1:48.

This verse can be seen as a pre-figuring of Mary’s assumption. The Protestant scholar Donald Dawe notes that “The Magnificat foretells the time when all generations, will call her ‘blessed’ (Greek: makaria [1, 48b]). The Greek word translated ‘blessed’ here is more than a polite honorific term. The blessed, are those who stand in a special relationship to God. In the early patristic literature, it was used as a characterization of the martyrs. The highest expression of this ‘blessedness’ was in the possibility of their ascension in to heaven to dwell in the immediate presence of God.” This passage is crucial for the doctrine of the Assumption because of “the future tense of the verb in verse 1:48: All generations will call me blessed’.” In this verse we can see that “Mary was related not only to her role in the Incarnation but also to the final consummation of salvation in the kingdom.” This consummation, in Mary’s case, would be her assumption into heaven.

(Donald G. Dawe, “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in Ecumenical Perspective.” The Way, Summer 1982, p.45.]

Mary Coredemptrix:

“A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” Luke 2:35. This prophecy comes to fulfillment at Calvary where Mary participates in the suffering of her Son. This is explained further below.

The Veneration Of Mary:

“Rejoice so highly favored” / “Hail full of grace”. Luke 1:28.
“Blessed art thou amongst women.” Luke 1:42.
“And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43
“All generations shall call me blessed.” Luke 1:48.

(b) Hail Full of Grace / Rejoice Highly Favored One

The angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is of great consequence for our understanding of Mary and Marian doctrine. The greeting has been variously translated as “Rejoice highly favored” and “Hail full of grace.” The object of the varied translations is the Greek word kecharitomene which refers to one who has been transformed by God’s grace. The word is used only other time in the New Testament and that is in the epistle to the Ephesians where Paul is addressing those who by becoming Christians are transformed by grace and receive the remission of sins. It is clearly significant that Mary is considered to already have been transformed by grace before the birth of Christ. Four Scripture scholars are cited below on the meaning and significance of this greeting.

First we refer to Rene Laurentin:

The exaltation of Mary by God’s gratuitous choice is one of the salient themes of the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The angel Gabriel greets her with the name kecharitomene (1:28). The word defies translation in most languages. Recourse must be had to a circumlocution such as one who has won God’s favor,’ or object of God’s favor.’ The word is a perfect participle and in Greek the perfect tense indicates permanence or stability. A favor that is stable and definitive is therefore implied. Furthermore, this name is given her from on high; it is Mary’s true name in the eyes of God, her name of grace. Indeed, the name kecharitomene is formed from the word charis, meaning ‘grace,’ as its root. Mary is the object of favor, in a pre-eminent way. She is the-one-who-has-found-grace, (charin), in the words of the Angel Gabriel in Luke 1:30. (27).

Stefano Manelli continues this pattern of thought:

The angel Gabriel calls Mary with an expression identifying her and unveiling her hiddenmost being: she is the Full of Grace. In Greek, the expression is a past participle (kechaz-itomene), not easily translatable. Other proposed translations are these: “highest in grace”, “most beloved”, “privileged”, and “gratified”. The Vulgate translation full of grace is certainly a good one, but does not fully express all of the nuances of the Greek. The fullness of grace here meant is, obviously, a fullness above all spiritual, but not excluding that which is physical.

The exceptional character of the angel’s greeting to Mary consists not so much in the single phrases, also found elsewhere in the Old Testament, as in the linking of the two expressions. “Rejoice” and “full of grace”, as a form of address. No similar instance of this in relation to any other creature can be verified in the Old or New Testament.

Hence, Origen could write* “Because the angel greeted Mary with new expressions, which I have never encountered elsewhere in the Scriptures, it is necessary to comment on this. I do not, in fact, recall having read in any other place in the Sacred Scriptures these words: Rejoice, O Full of Grace. neither of these expressions is ever addressed to a man: such a special greeting was reserved only for Mary.”

St. Luke, moreover, also makes it clear, even if not expressly, that Mary had had the fullness of grace” from the first moment of her conception. In fact, the use of the past perfect participle (kecharitomene) is to indicate something already true of the subject in the past, and hence possibly extending even to the very first moment of her existence. Here can be recognized one of the implicit foundations for the truth of the Immaculate Conception, which excludes from the very beginning of her existence any presence of sin, and which alone with perfect exactitude is “fullness of grace”. (28)

Ignace de la Potterie continues the exploration on a more technical level:

The dominant translation which ancient Christianity has given is very clear: the Byzantine tradition in the East and the medieval tradition in the West have seen in “kecharitomene,” the indication of Mary’s perfect holiness…

The verb utilized here by Luke (charitoun) is extremely rare in Greek. It is present only two times in the New Testament: in the text of Luke on the Annunciation (Luke 1:28). “kecharitomene,” and in the Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:6), “echaritosen.” … These verbs, then, effect a change of something in the person or the thing affected. Thus, the radical of the verb ‘charitoo’ being ‘charis’ (= grace), the idea which is expressed is that of a change brought about by grace. In addition the verb used by Luke is in the past participial form. “Kecharitomene” signifies then, in the person to whom the verb relates, that is, Mary, that the action of the grace of God has already brought about a change. It does not tell us how that came about. What is essential here is that it affirms that Mary has been transformed by the grace of God …

The perfect passive participle is used by Luke to indicate that the transformation by grace has already taken place in Mary, well before the moment of the Annunciation.

In what then would this transformation of grace consist? According to the parallel text of the Letter to the Ephesians 1:6 the Christians have been ‘transformed by grace’ in the sense that ‘according to the richness of His grace, they find redemption by his blood, the remission of sins.’ (Ephesians 1:7). This grace, in reality, takes away sin. This is elucidating for our particular case. Mary is ‘transformed by grace’, because she has been sanctified by the grace of God. It is there, moreover, in the Church’s tradition that we have the most customary translation. Sophronius of Jerusalem, for example, interprets the term ,full of grace, in this manner: ‘No one has been fully sanctified as you … ; no one has been purified in advance as you.’ In addition, he takes from the total context that Mary had been ‘transformed by the grace’ of God in view of the task which she awaits, that of becoming the Mother of the Son of God, and to do so while remaining a virgin.

There we have the double announcement of the angel: as mother she brings to the world the Son of the Most High (v.33), but that will take place by the ‘power of the Most High’ (v.35), that is virginally. God had prepared Mary for this by inspiring in her the desire for virginity. This desire of Mary was then for her a result of her transformation by grace.

It is true that we do not find in the text of Luke evidence that Mary is “full of grace” from the first moment of her existence. But what in reality does the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception say? Grace has preserved Mary of all sin and of all consequences of sin (concupiscence). This is also the biblical understanding of the concept of “grace.” Grace takes away sin (Ephesians 1:6-7). If it is true that Mary was entirely transformed by the grace of God, that then means that God has preserved her from sin, “purified” her, and sanctified her….

As one can notice in the schema of the structured text the theme of “being full of grace” is continued in the first proclamation, “You have found grace with God”; then follows the substance of the announcement: Mary will become the mother of the Messiah. It is apparent that Mary was “full of grace” by God in view of this maternity, and even that she was prepared, by the grace of her virginity, for her own mission, that of being the virginal mother of the Savior. (29).

Finally William Most makes an important clarification:

St. Luke used the Greek word kecharitomene, a perfect passive participle, which is a very strong form. Further, the basic verb is ‘charitoo’. Verbs ending in omicron omega form a class which in general means to put a person or thing into the state indicated by the root of the verb, e.g. ‘leukos’ means white, leukoo means to make white. The meaning of the root of charitoo is favor or grace. Hence the verb means to put her into favor or grace. But we need to be careful. If by favor we have in mind only that God as it were sat and smiled at her, but gave her nothing, we would have the Pelagian heresy. Thus we might as well use the word grace at the start to indicate a gift He gave. Still further, the Gospel uses kecharitomene in place of her personal name, Mary. That is a usage comparable to our English pattern in which we might say of someone that he is “Mr. Tennis,” meaning the ultimate in the category of tennis. So then she would be Miss Grace, the ultimate in the category of grace. (30).

(c) The Exaltation of Mary in Luke 1-2

Gabriel’s greeting indicates to us that Mary is highly exalted. This theme of exaltation is continued in the rest of Luke 1 to the point that Laurentin is led to remark that “No other biblical personage has been given such strong praise”:

This initial greeting of praise is prolonged throughout the accounts of the annunciation and the visitation. The Lord is with her (1:28), the Holy Spirit comes down upon her (1:35), great things are accomplished in her (1:49) thanks to her faith (1:45), and that is why, (as she herself recognizes) ‘all generations will call [her] blessed’ (1:48). No other biblical personage has been given such strong praise, and without anything said to the contrary.

Were it not the inspired text, one would be tempted almost to wonder whether the Christocentrism of the gospels were here in default. In Luke 1:35 the angel tells Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.’ In the light of Isaiah 11:2 would it not have been more normal to say that the Holy Spirit was coming on the Emmanuel rather than on his Mother? In Luke 1:42 Elizabeth proclaims Mary’s blessing before that of her Son and adds, ‘Why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?’ even though the honour that falls to her is actually the visit of the Lord rather than of the Mother. She adds, ‘For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy,’ even though in reality the benefit of the visitation is to be attributed to the action of Mary’s child rather than to Mary’s voice. That Mary should thus be placed in the forefront is most astonishing and gives food for reflection to those who fear that they do Christ some offense in exalting his Mother.” (31).

The veneration of Mary indicated in these passages of Scripture provided a sound basis for Marian devotion for the Christian community from the beginning. John McHugh says in addition:

There is nothing improbable in the suggestion that the early Christians sang hymns of praise in honour of Mary. We know that St. John’s disciples in particular searched’ (darash) the Scriptures (Jn 2:22; 5:39; 7:38,42; 10:35; 13:18; 17:12; 19:24, 28, 36,37; 20:9) to discover hidden references to Jesus in the Old Testament; indeed, many authors think that the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse look upon Mary as filling the role assigned to the woman mentioned in Genesis 3:15. That her special rank was acknowledged by the Church is implied by the text of the Magnificat, where Luke says that ‘from this present time, (1:48b) all generations will call her blessed. Could Luke have written that phrase if, at the time when he was writing (A.D. 70-80), his own generation had not begun to call her blessed? The text of Lk 1:42 would seem conclusive proof that the early Church expressed its reverence for the mother Of its Lord by singing hymns in her honour. (32).

(d) “I know not man”: A vow of virginity

Luke 1:34 “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” has traditionally been considered a reference by Mary to a vow of life-long virginity. Laurentin notes that here we must “recognize the present tense ‘I do not know’ as having to do with a condition rather than an instant of time. To give an example, if someone to whom a cigarette is offered replies, ‘I don’t smoke,’ he is understood to mean ‘I never smoke’ and not ‘I am not smoking right now.'” (33)

Manelli’s comments on this verse are instructive:

Confronted by this [the angel Gabriel’s] wondrous announcement, however, the Virgin finds herself embarrassed; not because of the sublime greatness of the majesty announced to her, but rather for the way in which such a maternity might be realized. The embarasoment would seem inexplicable because, on any reasonable grounds, she is precisely a woman in ideal conditions to conceive a son. She is the young spouse of Joseph. What young spouse would not be inclined to desire a beautiful son? It is obvious, therefore, and must be acknowledged that Mary’s difficulty stems from a precise commitment—vow or promise—”not to know man”, that is, to be and remain a virgin. St. Augustine rightly says, that “Mary certainly would not have spoken those words if she had not vowed her virginity to God.” In fact, only by admitting Mary’s virginal consecration to God, can it be understood why she found herself facing an unsolvable dilemma: How to reconcile her virginal offering to God with the request of maternity on the part of God? How could she become a mother without betraying a promise of virginal consecration to God.

Some scholars find such a dilemma implausible, because a proposal entailing virginal life in those days seems inconceivable. But Laurentin convincingly refutes this and affirms that in any case “Mary was so spiritually endowed as to be in the vanguary undertaking such an engagement.”

As for any point concerning the vow or proposal of virginity on Mary’s part, we must consider convincing and definitive the wide-ranging and detailed study of G. Graystone. His solid, final conclusion is this: “After much reflection we believe that the traditional, interpretation [that is, on the subject of Mary’s virginity], as we have argued it above, offers the only reasonable and satisfying explanation of Mary’s words.” (34).

The question of Mary’s perpetual virginity will be discussed elsewhere but here it is only important to recognize that this verse is relevant to the discussion. The conclusive evidence in favor of interpreting this saying of Mary as an indication of a vow of virginity is the fact that it was accepted by almost all of Christendom as it was by Fathers of the Church ranging from Ambrose and Augustine in the West to Gregory of Nyasa in the East in the 4th century.

Notes

1. Marie E. Isaacs, “Mary in the Lucan Infancy Narrative,” The Way, Summer 1975, pp. 82-83.

2. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call He Blessed (New Bedford, Massachussetts: Academy of the Inmaculate, 1995), pp.363-369.

3. Ignace de la Potterie, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant (New York: Alba House, 1992), P. 262

4. John de Satge, Down to Earth: The Now Protestant Vision of the Virgin Mary (Consortium, 1976), P. 111.

5. Ralph Russell, “The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Bible” in Mary’s Place in Christian Dialogue, edited by Alberic Stacpoole (Middlegreen, Slough: St. Paul Publications, 1982), pp.45-7.

6. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary (Washington, New Jersey: AMI Press, 1991). pp.269-271

7. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call He Blessed, pp.81-83, 89.

8. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed, pp.35-71 39l 41-2.

9. William G. Most, “Mary Coredemptrix in Scripture: Cooperation in Redemption” in Mary Corademptrix mediatrix Advocate: Theological Foundations edited by Mark I. Miravalle (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1995), pp.150-1.

10. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed, pp.46-48.

11. Marie E. Isaacs, “Mary in the Lucan Infancy Narrative,” p.91.

12. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary (Washington, New Jersey: AMI Press, 1991), pp.278-9, 281.

13. Mark I. Miravalle, Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1993), pp.58-59.

14. John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1975), p. 78.

15. Ignace de la Potterie, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant (New York: Alba House, 1992), p. 189-190.

16. John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the New Testament, p.25.

17. Ignace de la Potterie, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, p. 48.

18. Ignace de la Potterie, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, p. 203.

19. Cited in Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, p.25.

20. Ignace de la Potterie, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, pp.14-16.

21. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, pp.25-26.

22. John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the Now Testament, pp.41-21 p.76.

23. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, pp.27-30.

24. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call No Blessed, p.152.

25. John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the Now Testnt, pp.57-58.

26. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, pp.34-35.

27. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, p.20.

28. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed, p.131-2.

29. Ignace de la Potterie, Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, pp.17-20.

30. William G. Most, “Mary Coredemptrix in Scripture: Cooperation in Redemption”, p.150.

31. Rene Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, p.20-21.

32. John McHugh, The Mother of Jesus in the Now Testament, p.71.

33. Rene Lautentin, A Short Treatise an the Virgin Mary, p.285.

34. Stefano Manelli, All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed, p.137-140.

Scripture’s Seven-Splendored Story Of Mary

It is a hard fact of history that Marian doctrine and devotion have been an indivisible part of Christian belief—both in the East and the West—for 20 centuries. Any criticism of Marian doctrine or devotion must overcome this “hard fact.” If Christians have been consistently wrong for 20 centuries on their interpretation of Scripture and the Gospel message then there is no guarantee that they will be right on anything. If the Holy Spirit has not been leading them for all these centuries, there is no reason to believe that the Holy Spirit guides anybody. This must be considered by any critic of Marian doctrine before he sharpens his knives.

The primary sources of Marian doctrine and devotion are the following: the earliest Tradition of the Church which in the first four centuries served as the main framework of instruction for believers prior to the fixing of the canon of Scripture;

Sacred Scripture; the inner dynamic of Christianity as this emerged through the authoritative interpretation of Scripture by the Councils and creeds; the liturgy which reflected the Apostolic Faith; the reflections of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church; the testimony of the Saints and Martyrs; the consensus of the faithful. United with all of this also was the living experience of Mary enjoyed by millions.

In understanding the Mary of the historic Christian Faith we will start with a study of the Mary of Scripture who is also the Mary of doctrine and devotion. Scripture’s story of Mary is a story of seven splendors:

The Salvific Splendor—God’s Promise of a Second Eve Whose Seed will Crush Satan

“And the Lord God said unto the serpent, … I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:14,15]

[Christians have historically believed that the “woman” referred to in this prophecy of salvation is Mary and her “seed” of course is Jesus. In his last sermon in Wittenberg, Martin Luther echoes the Christian teaching that the Woman of Genesis 1 is Mary:

“Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the holy Mother of God rather not to be honoured? This is the woman who crushed the Serpent’s head.” Ancient Jewish commentaries on the Old Testament called the Targums have also drawn attention to the prophetic nature of this passage.]

The Prophetic Splendor—the Prophecy of the Virgin Birth “The Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:10-14].

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” [Isaiah 9:6-7].

The Maternal Splendor—Mary, Daughter of the Father, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mother of the Son

“The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 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. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He 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: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. … The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. … And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” [Luke 1:26-33, 35,38].

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18]. “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? … And blessed is she that believed.,’ [Luke 2:41-43,45].

“And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary … A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” [Luke 2:34-35].

“And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” [Luke 2:51)

The Merciful Splendor—Mary in the Public Ministry of Jesus

“And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine … His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” (John 2:3,5]

The Sorrowful Splendor—Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Crowned as the Mother of All the Faithful

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother … 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.’” [John 19:25-27].

The Holy Splendor—Mary at Pentecost

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus … And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. … And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 1:14, 2:3-4].

The Heavenly Splendor—the Second Eve Continues Her Mission in the War with the Dragon

“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 … 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 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, (Revelation 12]. [Since the Son here is clearly Jesus, His mother, the Woman, is just as clearly Mary. Those who acknowledge the “man child” as referring to Jesus but say (in sheer opposition to the text) that the mother is Nation Israel or the messianic people must answer this difficulty raised by Ignace de la Potterie: “If the Woman who gives birth is the Woman Zion, the messianic people, and if her infant is the Christ, the Messiah, is it not strange to propose in this manner a collective interpretation for the mother and an individual interpretation for her son? … When one considers all that has been said, notably about this Old Testament figure of a woman which provided the background thought from which several evangelical texts have spoken of Mary, it seems impossible that the first Christian generation and all the subsequent ecclesial tradition did not also give, in this broader framework, a Marian interpretation to the victorious Woman of Revelation 12. In fact, that is precisely what has happened.”] This seven-splendored story was the story of Mary that the Fathers of the Church and all Christians for 1600 years saw in Scripture and this is still the story grasped by the vast majority of Christians to this day in the Holy Bible. The glorious tapestry of Mary’s mission woven in the Word of God gave rise to the great Marian titles and devotions of the centuries.

The Fathers recognized in Mary a bridge between the Old and the New Testaments, a Second Eve whose cooperation with the Second Adam was foretold and fulfilled. For our part, we cannot know the truth about Mary if we do not contemplate and appropriate each one of the seven Scriptural splendors of Mary. If Mary is seen in the light of only one or a few of the seven splendors the Mary we see is not the Mary of either Scripture or the historic Christian faith (the Mary of the Fundamentalists, for instance, is simply a caricature of the Scriptural Mary because it focuses simply on one aspect of one Splendor, the Virgin Birth, and ignores all the other splendors.)

What Not to Say in Theological Debate by CASEY CHALK

What Not to Say in Theological Debate

CASEY CHALK

 

It’s all just so darn clear. Every day, pundits, politicians, and plebeians the world over make arguments about what is “clearly” the case. Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw declares that Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 comments were “clearly … not taken out of context.” California Senator Kamala Harris asserts that Attorney General William Barr “clearly” intended to mislead the public. Prominent atheist and evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, meanwhile, says that secular humanism is “clearly” not a religion. And yet, confusedly, the debates—on politics, on religion, on, well, just about everything—keep going. Perhaps things aren’t as “clear” as we often like to believe.

In my debates with Protestants, I am constantly being told what is “clearly” the case. There is a reason for this. One of the fundamental tenets of the Reformation was a belief in the clarity, or “perspicuity” of Scripture. By this, early Protestants meant that the Bible was so clear that anyone should be able to understand its essential message. The Westminster Confession of Faith, one of the most important creedal documents of historic Protestantism, states that “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.” These “ordinary means” include things like a good translation, listening to good, biblical preaching, and prayerful contemplation.

And yet … there’s a bit of a problem. I often don’t happen to see what my Protestant interlocutors claim is “clearly” true, whether it is about Scripture’s interpretation or Christian history. Nor do a lot of other Catholics, or Orthodox, or even many Protestants in different denominations or theological strands than the one making the argument. If a certain interpretation of the Bible, or a certain conception of Christian history is clearly to be understood a certain way, what does it mean when people don’t see it that way?

There are more-or-less three options, and none of them speak well of the person who disagrees with the Protestant. The first is that the person is too ignorant or stupid to perceive what is “clear.” The second is that the person does indeed know what’s clearly the case, but he or she decides to willingly ignore it. The third is that the person is deceived by Satanic forces, which prevents him or her from recognizing what is clear. Note that all three of these options presume some sort of fundamental defect in the Protestant’s interlocutor. Note also, interestingly, these three accusations were frequently employed by Martin Luther when engaging with those with whom he disagreed. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Protestants still make such charges.

To presume any of these things about one’s opponent is uncharitable. It is to begin from a default position of launching an ad hominem assault. If one argues with another about a topic, and then employs the “it’s clearly X” card, it short circuits the conversation by undermining any shared, common ground. It is, by extension, inimical to the ecumenical project. You can’t dialogue with someone in good faith about Christian doctrine when you think he or she is stupid, willfully ignorant, or possessed by the Devil.

Ironically, what is rarely considered by those employing the “clarity card” is the possibility that the individual who resorts to it may actually be wrong. There’s also good reason for this within the Protestant paradigm. Again, it stems from another section of the Westminster Confession of Faith regarding the nature of Holy Scripture. It reads: “our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.” In other words, one knows what constitutes Holy Scripture (and it’s divine nature) based on an inner, subjective confirmation of the Spirit—something that cannot be objectively evaluated by external criteria. It amounts to, in the words of the Mormons, a “burning in the bosom” regarding the nature of religious truth. If one’s criteria for determining religious truth is a subjective emotional experience, then to question its validity is to pull the bottom out of the house of cards.

I know about all of this from first-hand experience. It was my life for many years as an evangelical and then Calvinist. In conversations about theology, my appeals to clarity were frequent, but I never noticed that I was demeaning my interlocutors and presuming an elevated intellectual and spiritual experience over against theirs. My own “house” started to crumble when I kept bumping into intelligent and pious Christians (including some Catholics) who possessed interpretations of Scripture incompatible with my own, and which we never seemed capable of resolving with recourse to a deeper study of Scripture. Yet it was only when I began to be exposed to philosophical argumentation—separated from “Bible battles”—that I recognized the inherent tension within the Protestant paradigm, which places the individual Protestant and his conscience on an unparalleled (and unwarranted) pedestal of epistemic superiority.

Now I’m hesitant to ever employ the word “clearly” in religious debates, whether with Protestants, Catholics, or anyone else. The use of “clearly” is an abandonment of charitable discourse, a breaking open of the glass, and the beating of one’s opponent over the head. It is to say, whether one realizes it or not: “It’s clear, why don’t you get it, knucklehead!” But that’s rarely profitable, for either side. If it were clear, we wouldn’t have to say it. By saying it’s clear, when it’s obviously not to the one we are debating, we are, in a way, communicating that there’s no point in even debating any longer. You don’t argue with someone who can’t recognize what’s clearly the case. Much better, I’ve found, just to make my argument, with the appropriate theses and evidence. It’s possible my argument isn’t clear, in which case it needs refining, or perhaps I’m wrong. Or perhaps, on some rare occasions, my opponent might declare “why, you’re clearly right!” Though he, not me, must come to that conclusion.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is “Disputation between Luther and Eck at the Pleissenburg in Leipzig” painted by Karl Friedrich Lessing (1808–1880) in 1867.

By Casey Chalk

Casey Chalk is a graduate student at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College