Perpetual Virginity of Mary Part 2

Some more notes for you to ponder as we continue the series about Mary.

To begin, this Ancient image of our Lady in the catacombs (probably the oldest that has come down to us from the early Christians) depicts the prophet Isaias clothed in a pallium, wearing sandals on his feet, and pointing with his right hand to a scroll in his left. At his right is a picture of the Madonna, in sitting posture, with stole and a sort veil, holding the infant Jesus in her arms.

-Mystery of the Incarnation; Luke 1:26 “the Angel Gabriel was sent from God…to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.”

· Her virginity was not violated when she conceived; Luke 1:35 “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the most High shall overshadow you.”

· Matthew 1:18 “As his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child, of the Holy Spirit.”

· Conceived of the Holy Spirit—without the cooperation of the human male

  • Jesus was/is not the son of Joseph

  • Matthew refers to Old Testament prophecy to explain this:

  • § “now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold , a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel which being interpreted is, God with us.”

-Christian Tradition has always taken this passage to refer to the conception and birth of the Messiah.

  • None other can hold the name Emmanuel

  • In Hebrew, the term used for virgin hardly ever means “girl” rather the term almost without exception means “virgin”

  • “a virgin shall be with child” must therefore be taken in sensu composito, that is, as denoting virginal conception without male cooperation.

  • There would be nothing “extraordinary” in the prophecy of Isaias if it were interpreted meaning that the virgin who was to be with child was to be a virgin only till the time of her conception, but not thereafter.

  • St. Justin Martyr “The words ‘behold, a virgin shall be with child’ mean that the virgin shall conceive without fleshly commerce. For had she admitted such commerce, she would no longer be a virgin. But the power of God effected that she conceived as a virgin.”

· St. Augustine “It behooved a virgin to bring forth Him who was conceived by His mother’s faith, not by her lust”

· St. Thomas

  • § It was meet that the Heavenly Father should be the sole progenitor of His Divine Son

  • § It was in accord with the purity of Christ

  • § It behooved the sacred humanity of our Lord to be exempt from the taint of original sin

  • § The virginal conception of Christ was highly appropriate in view of the chief purpose of the

  • Incarnation, which was the regeneration of the human race

· Not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God

-The virginal conception of Our Lord offers less difficulty to the human mind than His virgin birth, for the reason that maternity necessarily presupposes parturition (childbirth).

  • St. Ambrose “Perversely they assert that she conceived as a virgin but was no longer a virgin when she brought forth [her son] … But if men will not believe the teaching of the priests, let them believe the pronouncements of Christ, let them believe the Apostles’ Creed [He was born of the Virgin Mary] which the Church has always guarded and continues to preserve.”

  • The Gospel narrative contains nothing either to prove or to disprove His virgin birth

  • Dogma Scriptural warrant in the prophecy of Isaias “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son”

o In Hebrew “a virgin will bear a son” means that she will remain a virgin though bearing a son

-Difficulties arise from scriptural account of the Presentation

· “Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord” Luke 22

· Seems to put Mary on a level with ordinary mothers

· However, it appears that Luke merely cites a provision of the Moasaic law

  • Which the Mother of God conformed in all humility and obedience

  • Despite the physiological suppositions did not exist in her case

  • Jesus was the first born son of His virgin mother, hence He had to be presented in the Temple and consecrated to God according to the law

-The nineteenth among the “Odes and Psalms of Solomon”

  • Dated around 70 A.D.; written by Jewish Christians

  • Expresses belief in the virgin birth

  • Regarded as the most ancient extra biblical testimony to the dogma of the virgin

o Reads in part “the virgin’s body sprouted and she conceived and gave birth without pain to a Son; and by the fact that He became nought [humbled himself] she received aplenty [became rich] and she asked not for a midwife; for He made her to live.”

o St. Ambrose “Mary is the gate through which Christ came into this world when he was shed forth by a virginal birth, without loosing the bars of virginity” “A Good gate is Mary, that was closed and was not opened. By her Christ passed, but He opened not.”

o St. Augustine “The same power evolved the body of the infant from the virginal viscera of the inviolate mother, which afterwards conducted the body of the grown-up youth through locked doors.” “Let us grant that God can do something which we may as well admit we cannot fathom.”

o Pope Hormisdas (514-523) “The child by the power of God did not open his mother’s womb nor destroy her virginity…He who wrought the conception without seed, preserved the birth from corruption.”

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