Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thoughts on Mary

The topic at RCIA last night was Mary and the Saints. We read several passages which included Mary and the following things spoke to me specifically...

John 19:26-27
When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

What strikes me here is that this disciple was not actually the son of Mary and this passage makes it clear to me that Jesus is giving his mother to all of us and giving us to his mother... What other possible explanation could there be for Jesus to say this as he was dying on the cross for our sins?

Along with this is something else I never knew as a Protestant... that Mary never had other children and that the "brothers" or "brethren" of Jesus were actually cousins or step-brother (through Joseph). Christians always held, until recently, the view that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Christ.

Even Martin Luther believed this:

Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that. {Luther's Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers. {Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . . {Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }

This view of Mary’s perpetual virginity was also held by Calvin, Zwingli and others. For more quotes you can go to Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

But even more interesting is that IF Mary had other children, she would not have gone to live with this disciple after the death of Jesus but with one of her other children... as it would have been their duty to care for her and not commit her to the care of someone else.

It also seems fitting to me that Christ would be born of a woman whose womb would be reserved only for the Son of God and no other.

It is clear that the idea of Jesus having brothers is a new idea that doesn't seem to hold true... according to Scripture and according to the beliefs of Christians held for centuries.

Another verse that struck me on a more personal level:

Luke 1:48
"For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

Here, Mary states, "all generations will count me blessed". As a Protestant, I thought of Mary at Christmas only. But this passage indicates that I should give her more thought throughout the year. Contrary to what I thought before, Catholics do not worship Mary but they do honor her for the role she played in the life of Christ. I am sorry I ignored her for so long. Christ obviously has a tremendous amount of love for her. It seems only fitting that I should follow His example.

Everyone at RCIA received a miraculous medal on a chain and we learned to pray the rosary. It was an emotional time for me because I felt I had uncovered another treasure given to me by the Lord and I'm so thankful that he's brought me "home".

Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for me.

People to pray for today:
my children

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