Youth New Evangelization & Spiritual Renewal Seminar Series
The Foundations of Faith: Seminar 8

Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos)

Mary, mother of our Lord has had a very special position and is among the most important saints in Heaven. By being the mother of Jesus, she also is the most revered saint by the Catholic Church.

Mary was born of Joachim (Heli), a descendant of royal family of David, and Anna who was a descendant of the priestly family of Aaron. Mary was born in Jerusalem. At the age of three she was presented in the temple to GOD. According one legend she remained there to be educated till the age of 13 when she was sent to Nazareth in Galilee to be betrothed to Joseph. It was in Jerusalem that she enjoyed ecstatic visions and daily visitations of holy angels. This should not be surprizing as she was already being prepared for her crucial mission as the Mother of Christ. It was in Nazareth, where the annunciation and incarnation of Jesus took place.

To Mary, the apparition of Archangel Gabriel in Nazareth should not have been much of a surprize, the annunciation of her conception however was. A young girl of 13 just promised to Joseph, in Jewish custom de facto married to him, and now this! In human terms, her YES to the angel's request could result in her public shame, disgrace and possible death by stoning. Mary's faith was very strong however, just as was the faith of Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his first-born son. During the angel's annunciation Mary's reasoning was elevated above all that of this world:

"I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done onto me according thy word".

was her reply at an instant. The Angel also told her about Elizabeth, and her conception of John in her womb. In order to receive support and guidance from her much older auntie, Mary decided to pay her a visit in the high hill country in Judea.

The two women had much in common. Both were pregnant by the grace of the Holy Spirit. One with John, God's prophet and the other with the very Son of God. As the Gospel reveals, when they both met, they both were much aware of their own mission resulting in their so well known greeting. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's first greeting, she exclaimed:
 

Elizabeth:

"You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Why should this great thing happen to me that my Lord's mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heared your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. How happy you are to believe that the Lord's message to you will come true!"
 

Mary promptly responded in what we now know as the Magnificat:

"My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid. For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed because He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name".

It was not until Mary's return from Elizabeth that Joseph found out about her pregnancy. Joseph could not belive his wife. Being righteous, Joseph planned disposing of her quietly in order to save her life. Subsequently in his dream Joseph was visited by an holy angel to convince him to take Mary as his wife. So it was.

Mary lived a holy life throughout her life and shared much of Jesus' suffering during His rejection, condemnation and  crucifiction. This happened when she was about 46 or 47 years old. Subsequently she became an active member and builder of Christ's Church.

After her "death" she was said to be raised to heaven "body and soul" by the act of Assumption. I.e. we say, "Mary was assumed to heaven". Our Church believes that subsequently Mary was crowned as a "Queen of Heaven and Earth", thus becoming the "Queen of our Church".

After her assumption to heaven however, Mary's servitude to God and to our Church did not end. There have been hundreds of reported apparitions of Jesus and Mary worlwide, especially in the last 100 years.
 


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