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Some Thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary

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The Blessed Virgin

Some Thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary

The humble Virgin is so important to our salvation, yet many events of her life can easily pass by unnoticed as we concentrate solely on the words of Sacred Scripture. In some instances, Mary seems to be in the background in the Bible, while in other cases, she is right in the foreground (e.g. the Annunciation, the Birth of the Lord, the Wedding at Cana, etc.). There are many elements / events in Mary's life that are either briefly mentioned or not specifically addressed in Scripture, but yet are still worthy of contemplation. For example:

  • Jesus freely subjected himself to Mary's authority as his mother.

  • Mary prayed with Jesus, ate with him, kissed him, comforted him, fed him, clothed him, carried him in her womb and in her arms, daily looked at his face, and cared for all his needs.

  • Mary is closer to Jesus than even the apostles.

  • God made His plan dependent upon the "yes" of this sinless young girl.

  • Jesus trusted himself completely to Mary.

  • Mary's body actually contained God. Jesus actually lived inside of Mary.

  • Mary provided Jesus' sustenance after His birth.

  • Salvation literally comes to us through Mary.

  • Mary was there for Jesus from the beginning to the end.

  • Mary is the only human being who has been physically united with Jesus (excepting the Eucharist, of course).

  • Of all the people who have ever lived, Jesus was the only one to choose his mother.

  • Mary endured great suffering from the beginning. First, she faced rejection from Joseph as well as possible death by stoning (due to her pregnancy). When advanced in pregnancy, Mary was taken away from all she knew to give birth in a manger. After the birth of Christ, the Holy Family had to flee to protect the Child's life. When Jesus was just 40 days old, Simeon told Mary of the sword of sorrow that would pierce her heart. Since the prophecy was directed at her alone, it may also have implied Mary's future widowhood. When Jesus was just a youth, His Mother searched for him in sorrow. During his public ministry, she may seem to have been rejected by Christ (click here). And, at the end, Mary was present for hours during her Son's torturous and bloody death.

  • On the last day of Jesus' life, Mary silently watched her son be tortured, humiliated, blasphemed, and murdered, and buried. In her humble obedience, she did not even cry out. (Remember what Jesus said to Peter who tried to stop Jesus from suffering: "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.") What an incredible strength she had to so patiently endure such great suffering without complaint or protest. As a loving mother, it is certain that she would have wished to take His place if that were possible. But, being unable to do so, Mary suffered even more.

  • Imagine Mary's suffering while walking the path of the Crucifixion (the Via Dolorosa) after her son was crucified. Tradition says that Mary visited this path daily.  

  • Mary's greatness can be deduced from Scripture. In Mark 10:43, Jesus says: "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant". Note that a synonym for servant is "handmaid". As Mary stated, "For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed." (Lk. 1:48) 

  • Mary is called "blessed" by St. Elizabeth twice in her greeting ("in a loud voice"). The first time, Mary is called "most blessed" [NAB translation].

  • An angel is by nature greater than a human, but an angel gave Mary honor when he greeted her.

  • Both the angel and St. Elizabeth used the same words with reference to Mary ("blessed art thou among women"). As stated by St. Bede the Venerable, "Mary is blessed by Elisabeth with the same words as before by Gabriel, to show that she was to be reverenced both by men and angels." 

  • Of all creation, Mary has an entirely unique relationship with the Holy Trinity. She is Daughter to the Father, Spouse to the Holy Spirit, and Mother of the Son.

  • Mary is the only creature who ever bore her creator.

  • In Luke 14:11, Jesus says: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." One who is exalted by Jesus is worthy of honor. Clearly, Mary is worthy of our honor. In fact, it is impossible for us humans to honor Mary more than God has already chosen to do.

  • Mary alone has a unique relationship with God: She was chosen by God the Father and overshadowed by God the Holy Spirit to give birth to God the Son. She is the only one for all eternity to have this incomparable honor. Of all God's creatures, Mary is closest to God.

  • From Genesis, Mary is associated with Jesus in the victory over Satan. A similar association between Mary and Satan occurs in Revelation.

  • God found Mary worthy to be his mother and worthy to be exalted. This wasn't a haphazard or accidental decision on God's part (God doesn't make such decisions, of course). Clearly, God planned this from the beginning. God knew Mary would cooperate with His plan. Even God can't do all that He wants without the necessary human cooperation (by His own design). 

  • Jesus gave us his Mother while he was consummating the sacrifice of Himself. The gift of his Mother was one of his last wishes and gifts to us.

  • Mary was the only one there both at the beginning and the end of Jesus' earthly life.

  • Jesus refers to Mary as "woman" both at the beginning of his public ministry and at the end - this has often been interpreted to refer to the promise of the "woman" in Genesis who would crush the head of Satan.

  • We see in Revelation that "to stand with Mary is to stand against Satan and to be against Mary is to be on Satan's side."

  • Mary is referred to as the new "Ark of the Covenant" due to the significant parallels between the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament and Mary in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Ark contained the covenant of the Lord. "And I have placed there the ark, in which abides the covenant of the LORD which he made with the Israelites." (2 Chron. 6:11). By contrast, Mary held the new, living, Covenant within her womb. In the Old Testament, the Ark was highly revered, bringing joy and celebration to those who would greet it. Some who didn't greet the Ark of the Covenant were struck down (1 Sam. 6:19) and, when Uzzah merely placed his hand on the Ark, he was struck down (1 Chron. 13:10). In 1 Sam. 7:2, the Ark affected a full conversion of the Israelite people in Kiriath-jearim. Clearly God didn't take lightly the place where the word of God resided. In fact, he required that the Ark be adorned in a specific manner to be worthy of holding the Covenant (i.e. specific material design, and size, plated with pure gold, adorned with golden cherubim, etc., see Ex. 25:10-22). Surely, Mary, who held the living Word of God in her womb, was also properly adorned. If the Ark which held the written words of God was to be so revered, how much more should the Ark which contained the living Word be revered? Note that both David & St. Elizabeth responded very similarly to the arrival of the Ark (See 2 Sam. 6:9: "David feared the LORD that day and said, 'How can the ark of the LORD come to me?'" and Lk.1:43: "[Elizabeth said,] 'And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'")

  • Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, and was greatly rewarded for it (even though he didn't have to actually go through with the sacrifice of his son). Mary, on the other hand, actually did sacrifice her Son.

  • Mary is called by many names, such as Queen of Heaven, Our Lady of Good Remedy, Our Blessed Mother, etc. but reflect on her most important title for a moment: Mother of God. That is an amazing title for a human being. If one rejects that title, they must either be denying that Jesus is God or that Mary is Jesus' mother. It is quite clear from Scripture that Mary is Jesus' mother. It is also clear that Elizabeth calls Mary "the mother of my Lord". And, do not forget Jesus' own words: "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Lk.10:16). If one rejects Jesus, he or she rejects Jesus' Father too. 

  • Take a moment to reflect on how Adam & Eve's disobedience offended God and how Mary's obedience helped to appease God. In fact, our salvation actually depended on Mary's obedience. Also, focusing on Mary's obedience can help us to live a more holy life. 

  • If you had the opportunity to visit (at no expense to you) the tomb where Jesus laid for 3 days, wouldn't you be delighted to make the pilgrimage? Wouldn't you feel compelled to say a prayer or two once there? Well, this tomb simply consists of some stone and earth that protected Jesus' body for 3 days [actually less than 2 days (Friday evening to Sunday morning)] about 2000 years ago. By contrast, Mary provided a womb in which the Holy Spirit brought forward the living Jesus. In this womb, Jesus took on his entire human nature, flesh and blood, shared nourishment, and lived for 9 months. If you would delight in praying at the site of Jesus tomb, why not delight in offering a prayer through Mary to Jesus. Mary is a powerful intercessor with her Son, the flesh of her flesh.

  • Mary did not stop being Jesus' Mother after His birth. She will continue to be his mother for all eternity.

  • "Mary carried the Lord of heaven and earth within her."

  • There are a number of parallels between Mary and the Church: Both are chaste, both were made fruitful by the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to the head of the Church, while the Church gives life to the members of the Church...

  • The only man who accompanied Mary beneath the cross - the only Apostle who didn't desert Christ - was St. John the apostle. He was given Mary as his mother and was the only apostle to survive attempted martyrdom. He cared for Mary and lived a long life, as Scripture indicates: "'Honor your father and mother.' This is the first commandment with a promise: 'that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.'" (Eph. 6:2-3)

  • The immaculate Mary was above the law, but she did not disdain, in her humility, to submit to the law.

  • While we would say, "My Lord and my God!", Mary could say, "My Son and my God!"

  • Mary enjoys a privilege no other creature has or ever will have. 

  • Mary was found worthy to bear and hold God Incarnate.

  • Mary was chosen before the ages to be Christ's mother, as foretold in Genesis.

  • Our Lord took his very flesh from Mary - Mary brought forth God!

  • "A creature brought forth the Creator."

  • "Mary contained heaven in her womb."

  • Mary spent more time with Jesus than any one else did - 33 years!

  • Mary saw Jesus speak his first words, take his first step, etc. She even guided him with her own hands.

  • Jesus must have conversed with Mary more than any other person on earth.

  • The Gospel writers knew Jesus only for a few years. Mary knew Him intimately for about 33 years. 

  • Mary was in the company of God for over 30 years on earth, from the Annunciation to the moment of his death - and even afterwards.

  • Mary was the only one ever overshadowed by the Spirit.

  • Mary is "The only Mother ever chosen by her child".

  • Since we are also Mary's children, she suffers for each one of us and tries to protect us. 

  • No one has ever been able to love the Lord as Mary has.

  • Jesus will have the same body for all eternity - the same body He used to conquer death and affect our redemption - this body came from Mary.

  • Jesus' first recorded words were in response to Mary's question

  • Jesus' first recorded miracle was in response to Mary's request. It was also the first recorded instance of intercession with Jesus. 

  • The reception of the Holy Spirit by St. John the Baptist occurred upon Mary's greeting to Elizabeth.

  • As pointed out by Pope Leo XIII, Christ associated Mary with His first two miracles: "The only begotten Son of God at all times paid to his most holy Mother the most evident marks of honor... He associated her with himself in each of his first two miracles - the miracle of grace when, at the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in the womb of Elizabeth; the miracle of nature when he turned water into wine at the marriage feast of Cana." 

  • Only Mary and the Father can call Jesus "Son" - not even the angels can say that. (Note: This does not include Jesus' foster father, St. Joseph.)

  • Jesus was subject to Mary (Luke 2:51). He who commands angels is subject to a woman. A woman commands God!

  • Mary led the Lamb, caressed Him, fed Him, taught Him, etc.

  • Christ is the living temple. We can see from the Old Testament that when God chose those to help build His temple, he selected master craftsman. Clearly, He would do no less for the Living temple. For this, He chose Mary.

  • "No one has ever or ever will be more intimately and effectively associated with Christ in the objective redemption than his mother."

  • In accordance with God's plan, we receive redemption as a result of Mary's physical motherhood.

  • Mary gave birth not only to our Savior - but to our Judge as well!

  • A quick count of the number to times "Hail" was applied to a person in Holy Scripture (NAB translation) reveals: "Hail" is applied to Jesus four times [once by the betrayer Judas as he betrayed Christ (Mt. 26:49), and three times as mockery during the crucifixion (Mt. 27:29, Mk. 15:18, Jn. 19:3)], and to Mary one time (by the angel in Lk 1:28)]. 

  • On the practical end, imagine that God came down and informed you of a humble girl who could be totally trusted to raise His very own Son. Wouldn't you be in awe of this person and want to follow her example? Well, that person is Mary.

Also See...

Some Reasons to Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary

Praise of Mary (Reflections)

Mary's Virtues (Reflections)

The Blessed Virgin's Intercession (Reflections)

Mary as Mediatrix / Co-Redemptrix (Reflections)

Mary & Grace / Graces (Reflections)

Immaculate Conception / Sinlessness (Reflections)

Annunciation / Incarnation (Reflections)

Mary's Maternity (Reflections)

Jesus & Mary (Reflections)

The Queenship of Mary (Reflections)

Devotion to Mary / Devotion to Mary is Recommended (Reflections)

We Should Imitate Mary / Mary is Our Model (Reflections)

More 'Mary, Our Mother' Reflections

Do Catholics Worship Mary?

Marian Facts

Marian Scriptural References

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* Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page)

* Jesus (Topic Page)

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