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Reflections: Mary, Our Mother Sctn. (Virginity)

The Blessed Virgin Mary

Return to Mary, Our Mthr.Reflctns. | Mary Our Mthr.Sctn.


Mary, Our Mother Sctn.:

Mary / Virginity

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Mary / Virginity



Mary / Virginity

Also See: Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page)

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." (Isa. 7:14)

"Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, facing the east; but it was closed. He said to me: This gate is to remain closed; it is not to be opened for anyone to enter by it; since the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it, it shall remain closed." (Ezek. 44:1-2) [Note: This Old Testament passage may also be a reference to Mary's perpetual virginity.]

"Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,' which means 'God is with us.' When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus." (Mt. 1:18-25) [Note: The use of the word "until" does not mean they had marital relations after the birth of Jesus. For more information on Mary's perpetual virginity, try the Non-Catholics (apologetics) Section.]

"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." (Lk. 1:26-38)

"A Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and a Virgin she remains." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church, c. 435 A.D.)

"And as the ray does not diminish the rightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary's virginity." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"Through an ineffable sacrament of a holy conception and a birth inviolable, agreeable to the truth of each nature, the same virgin was both the handmaid and mother of the Lord." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"To the substance of a body in which was the Godhead closed doors were no obstacle. For truly He had power to enter in by doors not open, in Whose Birth His Mother's virginity remained inviolate." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is truly meet to give thee thanks, O eternal God. Who didst will that the most blessed Virgin Mary should be the Mother of thy only-begotten Son: for it was not fitting that God's Mother should be other than a Virgin, nor that a virgin's Son should be other than God." (Preface)

"The Mother of God was both a maid and espoused. Virginity and wedlock are honored in her person. She is a challenge to heretics who disparage either one or the other." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]hou, the Star, givest birth to the Sun, as the Moon emits its ray. This birth injures thee not; thou remainest a Virgin as before. As a flower loses not its beauty by sending forth its fragrance; so neither losest thou the bloom of thy Virginity by giving birth to thy Creator." (Sequence)

"In fact, the Son of God has no mother in any sense which would involve impurity. Though to appearances she was married, she did not enter into a marital union." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), c. 197 A.D.]

"The gate which was shut (Ezech. 44,2) was her virginity. Through it the Lord God of Israel entered; through it He advanced into this world from the Virgin's womb. And, because her virginity was preserved intact, the Virgin's gate has remained shut forever." {Rufinus, c. 5th century A.D.}

"Indeed, her virginity was itself more beautiful and more pleasing, because Christ, in His conception, did not Himself take away that which He was preserving from violation by man; but, before He was conceived He chose one already consecrated to God of Whom He would be born." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"From the words, her first-born Son, some most erroneously suspect that Mary had other sons, saying that first-born can only be said of one that has brethren. But this is the manner of Scripture, to call the first-born not only One who is followed by brethren, but the first-birth of the mother." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Reverence her, O you who are married, the purity of the flesh in incorruptible flesh: you also, holy virgins, admire the motherhood in a virgin: and all you who are men, imitate the humility of the Mother of God. Holy angels, honor the Mother of your King, you who adore the Son of a virgin of our race, Who is at once our King and yours, the Restorer of our race and the Founder of your state." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"It is clear, therefore, that the Virgin gave birth contrary to the order of nature. And this Body which we consecrate is from the Virgin; why do you seek the natural order here in the case of the Body of Christ, when the Lord Jesus Himself was born of the Virgin contrary to nature? It was certainly the true flesh of Christ which was crucified, which was buried; truly, therefore, the Sacrament is a sacrament of that flesh." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"Jesus did not first come into being as a simple man, before the union and communion of God in Him; but the 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 child-bearing, which was done for none of the other saints." (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church)

"Let us rejoice, brethren; let the nations exult and be glad. 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? It was fitting for God to be born thus, when He deigned to become man" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Surely, we cannot deny that regarding the sons of Mary the statement is justly censured, and your holiness has rightly abhorred it, that from the same virginal womb, from which according to the flesh Christ was born, another offspring was brought forth. For neither would the Lord Jesus have chosen to be born of a virgin, if he had judged she would be so incontinent, that with the seed of human copulation she would pollute that generative chamber of the Lord's body, that palace of the eternal King. For he who imputes this, imputes nothing other than the falsehood of the Jews, who say that he could not have been born of a virgin. For, if they accept this authority from the priests, that Mary seems to have brought forth many children, they strive to sweep away the truth of faith with greater zeal." (Pope St. Siricius, 392 A.D.)

"Besides, what is admirable beyond the power of thoughts or words to express, He is born of His Mother without any diminution of her maternal virginity, just as He afterwards went forth from the sepulchre while it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which His disciples were assembled, the doors being shut; or, not to depart from every-day examples, just as the rays of the sun penetrate without breaking or injuring in the least the solid substance of glass, so after a like but more exalted manner did Jesus Christ come forth from His mother's womb without injury to her material virginity. This immaculate and perpetual virginity forms, therefore, the just theme of our eulogy. Such was the work of the Holy Ghost, who at the Conception and birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart to her fecundity while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Without any doubt whatever we must assert that the Mother of Christ was a virgin even in His Birth: for the prophet says not only: 'Behold a virgin shall conceive,' but adds: 'and shall bear a son.' This indeed was befitting for three reasons. First, because this was in keeping with a property of Him whose Birth is in question, for He is the Word of God. For the word is not only conceived in the mind without corruption, but also proceeds from the mind without corruption. Wherefore in order to show that body to be the body of the very Word of God, it was fitting that it should be born of a virgin incorrupt. Whence in the sermon of the Council of Ephesus...we read: 'Whosoever brings forth mere flesh, ceases to be a virgin.' But since she gave birth to the Word made flesh, God safeguarded her virginity so as to manifest His Word, by which Word He thus manifested Himself: for neither does our word, when brought forth, corrupt the mind; nor does God, the substantial Word, deigning to be born, destroy virginity.' Secondly, this is fitting as regards the effect of Christ's Incarnation: since He came for this purpose, that He might take away our corruption. Wherefore it is unfitting that in His Birth He should corrupt His Mother's virginity. Thus Augustine says in a sermon on the Nativity of Our Lord: 'It was not right that He who came to heal corruption, should by His advent violate integrity.' Thirdly, it was fitting that He Who commanded us to honor our father and mother should not in His Birth lessen the honor due to His Mother." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is written (Ezekiel 44:2): 'This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it; because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it.' Expounding these words, Augustine says in a sermon (De Annunt. Dom. iii): 'What means this closed gate in the House of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that no man shall pass through it, save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it - except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of angels shall be born of her? And what means this - it shall be shut for evermore - but that Mary is a virgin before His Birth, a virgin in His Birth, and a virgin after His Birth?' I answer that, Without any hesitation we must abhor the error of Helvidius, who dared to assert that Christ's Mother, after His Birth, was carnally known by Joseph, and bore other children. For, in the first place, this is derogatory to Christ's perfection: for as He is in His Godhead the Only-Begotten of the Father, being thus His Son in every respect perfect, so it was becoming that He should be the Only-begotten son of His Mother, as being her perfect offspring. Secondly, this error is an insult to the Holy Ghost, whose shrine was the virginal womb (Sacrarium Spiritus Sancti), wherein He had formed the flesh of Christ: wherefore it was unbecoming that it should be desecrated by intercourse with man. Thirdly, this is derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God's Mother: for thus she would seem to be most ungrateful, were she not content with such a Son; and were she, of her own accord, by carnal intercourse to forfeit that virginity which had been miraculously preserved in her. Fourthly, it would be tantamount to an imputation of extreme presumption in Joseph, to assume that he attempted to violate her whom by the angel's revelation he knew to have conceived by the Holy Ghost. We must therefore simply assert that the Mother of God, as she was a virgin in conceiving Him and a virgin in giving Him birth, did she remain a virgin ever afterwards." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Mary's Maternity [Pg.] | Annunciation / Incarnation [Pg.] | Jesus & Mary [Pg.] | Praise of Mary | Mary's Virtues | We Should Imitate Mary / Mary is Our Model | Mary is Always Ready To Help Us | Powerful Intercession of Mary | Marian Facts | Marian Scriptural References | Some Reasons to Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary | Some Thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary

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