"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."
"Do whatever he tells you."
Mary is, without doubt, the most complex and nuanced subject of Scriptural exegesis. For this reason, the Scripture under this heading has more commentary than any other subject treated in this work. Mary is the archetype for the Church. Unless you have spent time studying the interplay of the sacraments, sin, salvation, grace, and authority, you may have a difficult time understanding Marian teaching. On the other hand, if you understand Marian doctrine, you understand the Church in toto, for she is the Bride of Christ.
There are four dogmas and one doctrine concerning Mary.
The four dogmas:
(1) She is the Mother of God, defined at the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D.,
(2) She is perpetually virginal, defined by the First Lateran Council, 649 A.D., under Pope Martin I, and confirmed by the ecumenical Second Council of Constantinople,
(3) She is Immaculately Conceived, that is she was conceived without sin, and lived her whole life without sinning, defined by Pope Pius IX, Dec. 8, 1854, in Ineffebilus Deus,
(4) She was assumed bodily into heaven through the power of God, defined by Pope Pius XII, Nov. 1, 1950, in Munificentissimus Deus.
The doctrine: Mary is the mother of the Church and our spiritual mother in the order of grace. For this reason, we may properly call her:
(1) our maternal mediator with God, being the Advocate for all the peoples of the world before the throne of Christ,
(2) the Mediatrix of all graces, for all grace came into the world through her womb, and the timeless work of the Holy Spirit continues to pour through her now in the same way He worked through her in the Annunciation,
(3) the Co-Redemptrix, who worked as the squire of God in subordination to Christ, actively participating with and under Him, in His redemption of the world.
Sinless New Eve, Ark of the Covenant, Perpetual Virgin, Queen of Heaven, Our Mother, Mediatrix, Assumption, Virtues, Martin Luther on Mary
Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
This is the Proto-evangelium - the first declaration of the coming of a Saviour. It is one of the foundational Scripture passages for all Marian doctrine and dogma. The pivotal aspects are the reference to enmity, seed, and Saviour.
The word "enmity" had connotations to the Hebrew mind which simply do not obtain today. Enmity for them did not just mean distaste, it meant total opposition, polar separation, a complete antipathy of interest and inclination. If you had enmity for someone, you shared no common ground with that person at all. The enmity spoken of here is a future enmity, an enmity which "will" be placed between the woman and the serpent. It cannot refer to Eve, for Eve already has common ground with the serpent - she has done what the serpent asked. It refers to a future woman. That woman will never share common ground with the serpent, she will never do what the serpent asks.
Note also the phrase "her seed." This phrase occurs nowhere else in Scripture. Strictly speaking, it should be a nonsensical expression, since seed (and lineage) was understood to come from the man, not from the woman. The fact that the words were used as they were indicates that a woman will play a unique role in the lineage which will result in the destruction of the power of Satan. This relationship between offspring and woman is not only unique to her as parent, but unique to her, period.
Finally, note the parallelism of the passage. Serpent vs. woman, serpent's offspring vs. woman's offspring. Woman and offspring share the same enmity towards serpent and offspring. She will stand in perfect harmony with her offspring, both will stand in total opposition to the serpent. The serpent's head will be crushed while the serpent will merely "lie in wait," paralyzed and unable to move.
Who does the crushing of the serpent's head? According to Franciscan University's Dr. Mark Miravelle and his class lectures on the subject, the oldest extant manuscripts in the Greek show a neuter pronoun, the oldest Hebrew texts use a pronoun which meant variously "he" or "she" depending on the time period. It is unknown exactly when Genesis was written. Jerome, using texts no longer available to us and conversing with Jewish scholars now long dead, translated the text into Latin as "she will crush your head," while the 1985 New Vulgate uses the neuter.
Early Christians' comments on Mary, Mother of God
Jer 31:22 For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth: a woman protects a man."
Why is this a new thing? Because the woman in question will bring forth a saviour.
Gen 2:21-24 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Gen 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
Adam and Eve were created sinless. Eve commits one sin - she eats of the fruit of the tree. Adam commits two sins. He eats of the fruit himself, and he fails to preserve Eve from sinning - he fails in his role of headship. For these failures, both were banished from the garden and death entered the world. The sin in the Garden was a corporate sin - the couple sinned together. Just as a transgression of your parents against your grandfather might cause your parents to lose their inheritance, resulting in a loss which will affect their own children, i.e., you, so the disorder Adam and Eve introduced affected everyone that came from them, and everything they had rule over. In them, we all lost our inheritance and our rights to the grace of God's presence and preternatural existence. This privation of privilege and grace is original sin. In order to regain our inheritance, we must be brought into a new family relationship with God.
Rom 5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
1 Cor 15:45-49 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
Christ is the new Adam. Scripture is clear on that. Who, then, is the new Eve?
Lk 1:28 And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
The word "kekaritomene" is here translated as "full of grace." It is the perfect participle of the verb which means "to endow, to grace." This bespeaks an action completed in the past, and relevant to the present. A slightly better translation might be "Hail, you who have been transformed in grace" or "Hail, you who have been fully graced."
Jn 19:33-34 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
The first Eve was formed from the first Adam's side as he slept on the ground. She was made sinless, as was he. The second Eve was formed from the second Adam's side as He slept on the cross. From His side flowed the blood and water which preserved her from the sin she would otherwise have certainly fallen into. Thus, she was made sinless in her humanity, just as He was in His. Christ acquired His humanity as all men do, from His mother. His humanity was given to Him by His mother - it was given sinless, because she was sinless. She was sinless because Her Son and Saviour died to preserve her so. Adam failed in his role of headship. He failed to preserve Eve from sin. Jesus does not fail in HIS role of headship. He successfully preserves the New Eve from sin.
But Scripture says:
Rom 3:10-12 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands, no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one." (Psalm 10:7)
Are infants in sin? Are the mentally incompetent sinners as well? What of Paul himself?
Phil 3:6 as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless.
Paul claims to be blameless, free from personal sin. How can he make such a claim? In any case, Mary made a sin offering. Was this not sign of sin?
Lk 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
Mary did make a sin offering, but all women had to do so after childbirth and menstruation. They had come into contact with blood, which made one ritually unclean. Menstruation is not a sin, neither is childbirth, especially giving birth to the Saviour. Mary's sin offering was an obedient response to an external purity ritual, it has no bearing on her personal sinfulness.
Heb 4:15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Just as Jesus was tested, so was Mary. But Christ intervened every time the serpent spoke, so that she would not even be inclined towards the serpent.
Rom 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
Lk 1:28 And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
The word"kekaritomene" is used nowhere else in Scripture. It is used as a title.
Lk 1:42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
The blessing of God which rests upon Mary is made parallel with the blessing of God which rests upon Christ's humanity. This repeat of the Genesis parallelism suggests that Mary, like Christ, was free from sin from her conception.
There are additional reasons to believe Mary was created sinless by virtue of Christ's salvific work on the Cross. In addition to the parallelism with the New Genesis (Adam and Eve formed sinless, the new Adam and the new Eve also formed sinless), we must consider the nature of the love flowing within the Trinity, the nature of sacramental marriage, and the effects of pride.
The nature of the Trinity is pure love. God so loves His Son, and the Son so loves the Father, that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, proceeds from that love. Would God have created a mother for His Son, whom He loved so much, who was anything less than perfect? Would Jesus permit Satan to lay the smallest finger upon His own mother?
Related to that, we must consider the nature of marriage. Marriage requires totally free consent. There can be no compulsion in a marriage, or it is not a true marriage. Mary bore the son of God; she was, in a very real way, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, who engendered Jesus Christ in her womb. In order for her to freely consent to this sacramental marriage, she needed true and total freedom, with no shadow of sin darkening her intellect, will or spirit. God granted her that grace for His own sake.
Ezek 20:9 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they dwelt, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt
Finally, we must consider God's reaction to pride. Pride is the first sin, committed by Satan, and it lies at the root of all sin. Pride says, "Not Thy will, but MY will be done." God shows Himself in those who are humble and low-born.
Num 12:3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth.
Ex 33:11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
He shows Himself most fully in those who have the least pride. Jesus Christ is the completed fullness of God's revelation, so He must have come in the midst of absolute humility, with no trace of pride, either internally or externally. For this reason, Mary must have been absolutely devoid of the sin of pride. Where there is no pride, there can be no other sin. She did not accomplish this on her own, but God accomplished it in her.
Lk 1:46-49 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Indeed, Mary herself proclaims that God is her saviour. If a person loses his balance on the edge of a pit and falls in, the one who pulls him out has saved him from the pit. Likewise, the person who loses his balance on the edge of a pit, but does not fall in because that same rescuer reaches out and grabs him, is also saved by that rescuer. Christ preserved Mary from the pit, and is rightly her Saviour. Aquinas rightly denied the proposition that Mary did not need a Saviour. He did not deny the Immaculate Conception, he denied all explanations of it which said that she had no need of a Saviour.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.
This describes the relationship between Adam and Christ - Christ's obedience brings righteousness to us all. However, it also describes the relationship between Eve and Mary - Eve's disobedience made us all sinners, Mary's obedience brought Righteousness into the world.
Rom 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
Rom 16:26 but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith...
Paul's letter to the Romans opens and closes by equating obedience and faith. Mary was the perfection of obedience with her "Fiat - let it be done to me according to Thy word". The greatest apostle is the apostle who most perfectly proclaims the Good News. No one in all of history has ever or will ever proclaim the Good News as perfectly as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her perfect obedience allowed her to make the perfect proclamation of the Good News, with perfect faith. She made the proclamation in a stable, for there was no room in the inn, yet at that proclamation the very heavens shouted for joy.
From the earliest times, every Christian writer who spoke of Mary referred to her as the New Eve.
Early Christians' comments on Mary: Full of Grace
2 Sam 6:9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, "How can the ark of the Lord come to me?"
Lk 1:41-43 ... And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Elizabeth's words are identical to David's upon seeing the Ark of the Covenant.
2 Sam 6:12-14 And it was told King David, "The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
Lk 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit...
John the Baptist danced for joy in Elizabeth's womb, just as David danced before the ark.
Ex 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
Lk 1:35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
The verb "overshadow" used in Luke is the same verb used in Exodus to describe how the Lord "filled" the tabernacle. The ark contained the Ten Commandments (the Word), the rod of Aaron (power), and manna (food). Mary carries the Word of God, the Power of God, and the True Bread which is come down from heaven. She is the Ark of the New Covenant. That is why Jeremiah could prophesy:
Jer 3:15-19 "'And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the Lord, they shall no more say, "The ark of the covenant of the Lord." It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
That time is now. The original ark will not be remade, nor missed. God has given us new shepherds after His own heart, the houses of Judah and Israel are joined. Through Mary's "Yes," the promise has been fulfilled.
Some argue that the phrase "young woman" does not imply "virgin." There are two versions of the Old Testament, one called the Septuagint, the other referred to as the Jamnian canon. The Jamnian canon has the word "young woman," while the Septuagint has the word "virgin." The Septuagint is the canonical version accepted by the Catholic Church and used by Christ and the Apostles. Keep in mind also that the sign value of a young woman bearing a child is not nearly so great as that of a virgin bearing a child. Why King Ahaz (the person to whom the prophecy was made) would regard the former as fulfillment of prophecy is not at all clear, while his (and our) motivation to consider the latter to be fulfillment is, to say the least, somewhat easier to understand.
Is 66:6-8 "Hark, an uproar from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the Lord, rendering recompense to his enemies! 7 "Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son. 8 Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her sons.
She will give birth to the Saviour without experiencing pain. Thus, in a certain sense, the virgin birth prefigured the Resurrection. Just as Christ miraculously leaves His mother's womb, so will He miraculously leave the tomb.
Mic 5:1-2 Now you are walled about with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the ruler of Israel. 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
The birth will take place in Bethlehem.
Joel 2:29 Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
Lk 1:34-35,38 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" 35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.... And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Song 4:12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed
The Song of Songs has long been held to be not only a description of Christ's love for the Church, but of God's love for Mary, who is the Bride of the Holy Spirit, for God does not rape nor does He fornicate, but He marries.
Prov 31:10-12 A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Ezek 44:2-3 And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. 3 Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way."
Ezekial's poetic vision of the Temple of the New Jerusalem confirms the reference made in Isaiah. The mother of the Lord will be a virgin.
Mt 1:24-25 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.
This does NOT mean he had marital relations with her afterward.
Mt 27:59-60 And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock;
Lk 23:53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid.
Jn 19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.
Jerome, arguably the greatest Biblical scholar in the history of the Western Church, asserted that Mary's perpetual virginity complemented Christ's burial in the "virginal" sepulchre - no one would be buried in Christ's tomb after Him, and no child would be born of Mary's womb after Him.
Early Christians' comments on Mary Ever-Virgin
See the section on the Brothers of Christ
This section comes largely from Dr. Scott Hahn's tape "Immaculately Conceived."
The title "Queen of Heaven" is very difficult for some sola scriptura Christians, and for a very good reason:
Jer 7:18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.
Jer 44:6:-27 Therefore my wrath and my anger were poured forth and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they became a waste and a desolation, as at this day. 7 And now thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and child, from the midst of Judah, leaving you no remnant? 8 Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth? 9 Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes which I set before you and before your fathers.
11 "Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, to cut off all Judah. 12 I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to come to the land of Egypt to live, and they shall all be consumed; in the land of Egypt they shall fall; by the sword and by famine they shall be consumed; from the least to the greatest, they shall die by the sword and by famine; and they shall become an execration, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. 13 I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, 14 so that none of the remnant of Judah who have come to live in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive or return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return to dwell there; for they shall not return, except some fugitives."
15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had offered incense to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who dwelt in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: 16 "As for the word which you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. 17 But we will do everything that we have vowed, burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out libations to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no evil. 18 But since we left off burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine." 19 And the women said, "When we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out libations to her, was it without our husbands' approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out libations to her?"
20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who had given him this answer: 21 "As for the incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember it? Did it not come into his mind? 22 The Lord could no longer bear your evil doings and the abominations which you committed; therefore your land has become a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 It is because you burned incense, and because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey the voice of the Lord or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies, that this evil has befallen you, as at this day."
24 Jeremiah said to all the people and all the women, "Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who are in the land of Egypt, 25 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have declared with your mouths, and have fulfilled it with your hands, saying, 'We will surely perform our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out libations to her.' Then confirm your vows and perform your vows! 26 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the Lord, that my name shall no more be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, 'As the Lord GOD lives.' 27 Behold, I am watching over them for evil and not for good; all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end of them.
It is important to know the context of these remarks in ancient Jewish society, and the practices of pagan cults. The title "Queen of Heaven" was first attached to the Assyro-Babylonian fertility goddess Ishtar, whose worship was introduced under King Manessah and was revived after King Josiah's death. The baking of bread cakes in the shape of stars and the burning of incense were the way in which sacrifice was made to this goddess, who was associated with the planet Venus. This is the pagan cult which Jeremiah rightly condemns. The Church was and is fully aware of this pagan cult, for Mary is Christ's triumph over this cult. As is so often the case, these pagans had a dim, twisted idea of reality and how God works. Just as the demi-gods of Greek and Roman legend, half-human, half-divine, are dim, twisted images of the fully-human, fully-divine Christ, the "fertility goddess" figure is a very dim, twisted view of Mary, the simple Jewish woman through whose womb the living God, the Creator of all that exists, entered the world.
Thus, the first century heresy of Collyridianism, which arose out of Arabia, was immediately rejected by the Church. Collyridianism held Mary to be divine and offered her sacrifice, through the baking of bread cakes and the burning of incense. The heresy was immediately put down by the Church, and has never revived. While Mary must be treated with the same honor with which God treats her, it is blasphemy to offer sacrifice to a human being. Only God is due sacrifice.
So, how does Jesus Christ honor His mother? For centuries before Christ's birth, the queen of a Near Eastern kingdom was not the wife of the king, but the king's mother. She assisted the king in ruling over the land, was his counselor, led the people in song worship, and was a major advocate for the people before him. Scripture confirms the existence of the institution of Queen Mother in Israel and her role:
Ex 15:20-21 Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea."
Jer 13:18,20 Say to the king and the queen mother: "Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head."... "Lift up your eyes and see those who come from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?
Prov 31:1-2,8-9 - (written by a Queen Mother) The words of Lemuel, king of Massa, which his mother taught him:2 What, my son? What, son of my womb?What, son of my vows?... Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all who are left desolate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, maintain the rights of the poor and needy.
2 Chron 22:2-4 Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri. 3 He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly. 4 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done; for after the death of his father they were his counselors, to his undoing.
2 Kings 11:1-3 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons who were about to be slain, and she put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; 3 and he remained with her six years, hid in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
1 Kings 15:9-13 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel Asa began to reign over Judah, 10 and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done. 12 He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had an abominable image made for Asherah; and Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.
2 Kings 10:13-14 Jehu met the kinsmen of Ahaziah king of Judah, and he said, "Who are you?" And they answered, "We are the kinsmen of Ahaziah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother." 14 He said, "Take them alive." And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them.
Jezebel was the only Queen Mother the Northern Kingdom had. Her death without replacement signalled the political instability and eventual fall of the Northern Kingdom. When the Davidic line goes underground during the Babylonian captivity, so does the position of Queen Mother. It re-emerges with the Davidic line demonstrated in Mark 1. Christ is king in the line of Solomon and David, therefore His mother must occupy the position of Queen Mother.
Psalm 45:1-9 My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 You are the fairest of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you for ever. 3 Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, in your glory and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right; let your right hand teach you dread deeds! 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your divine throne endures for ever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; 7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; 9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Phil 2:6-11 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The word used for "servant" in Phillippians is "doulos" - the word for "handmaid" in Luke, below, is the feminine form of "doulous."
Lk 1:38,46-55 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her....And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, 52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
1 Pet 5:4-5 And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Peter, Paul, and Luke stress humbleness and obedience, and both assert that exaltation results from those virtues: Christ is above every other name, his mother is uniquely blessed, and uniquely crowned. What honor is due to a queen mother?
1 Kings 2:19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king's mother; and she sat on his right.
King Solomon pays filial honor to his mother, honoring God's commandments. God commands that we must honor our mother. If we are truly brothers of Jesus Christ, then Mary is truly our mother, and our queen, for Christ is truly the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1 Cor 9:25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
2 Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Who loved His appearing more than the one who gave Him birth?
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.
Keep this verse in mind when you read of Mary's heart being pierced by a sword, or when you think on her standing at the foot of the cross, watching her only Son's blood running in rivulets down the wood.
1 Pet 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.
Rev 2:10 Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Song 6:10 Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?
One of the most ancient Marian prayers known, the Sub Tuum Praesidium, written no later than 250 A.D., acknowledges her role: "We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin!" It is a direct prayer to Mary, Queen Mother and Theotokos (God-bearer) at least 200 years before the formal definition at Ephesus, composed amidst the countless martyrdoms flowing from Roman persecution.
"Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of us all...There where He is, we ought also to be; and all that He has ought to be ours, and His Mother is also our mother." - Martin Luther, Sermon, Christmas, 1529
Lk 11:27-28 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!" 28 But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Again, the translation is poor. The Greek is better translated "Yes, but blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" It is not a denial of her blessedness, but a confirmation that she is even more blessed because of her obedience than because of her motherhood.
Mt 12:49-50 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Mk 3:34-35 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Lk 8:21 But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
However, Christ insists we understand: Mary is our spiritual mother. She is not to be called blessed simply because she physically gave Him birth, but because she hears the word of God and keeps it always.
Lk 1:31-35,38 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" 35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.... And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Psalm 86:16 Turn to me and take pity on me;give thy strength to thy servant, and save the son of thy handmaid.
David calls himself the child of God's handmaid. It is interesting to note that the word "handmaid" appears only once in the New Testament, but almost two dozen times in the Old Testament. In each case, the woman who is called or calls herself a "handmaid" prefigures some aspect of Mary's role.
Judg 9:18 and you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the citizens of Shechem, because he is your kinsman
Abimelech's claim to the throne lies in the fact that he is the son of the old king's handmaid.
Ex 2:5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked beside the river; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to fetch it
Moses, the prophet who prefigures Christ, is rescued by a handmaid. All Israel is rescued through Moses.
1 Sam 1:11 And [Hannah] vowed a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."
Hannah bore Samuel, the prophet who would anoint both Saul and David king over Israel.
1 Sam 25:24-25,32-35 She fell at his feet and said, "Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; pray let your handmaid speak in your ears, and hear the words of your handmaid. 25 Let not my lord regard this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I your handmaid did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.... And David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! 34 For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had made haste and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male." 35 Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; and he said to her, "Go up in peace to your house; see, I have hearkened to your voice, and I have granted your petition."
Abigail successfully intercedes for her guilty husband Nabal, sparing him from the wrath of King David. David is so impressed by how eloquently she intercedes for her husband that he later marries her after her husband is struck down by the Lord.
2 Sam 14:15 Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid; and your handmaid thought, 'I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant. 16 For the king will hear, and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the heritage of God.' 17 And your handmaid thought, 'The word of my lord the king will set me at rest'; for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!"
Joab did not himself intercede before the king, but sent a maidservant to do so.
1 Kings 1:13 Go in at once to King David, and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne"? Why then is Adonijah king?'
Bathsheba, wife of the king and mother of Solomon, successfully intercedes with the king for her child. She is Solomon's Queen Mother.
1 Kings 3:20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while your maidservant slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom.
The sinless woman successfully fights for her child's life before the king.
Jud 11:5,12:4 Judith replied to him, "Accept the words of your servant, and let your maidservant speak in your presence, and I will tell nothing false to my lord this night... 12:4 Judith replied, "As your soul lives, my lord, your servant will not use up the things I have with me before the Lord carries out by my hand what he has determined to do."
Judith saves all Israel from invasion by Holofernes and the Assyrian army he leads. She accomplishes this by entering Holofernes camp, cutting off Holofernes head, and displaying it from the walls of the fortified city Holofernes had under siege. The entire army flees in terror as the Israelites attack. The sacred author portrays Judith as the pure defender of Israel.
Wis 9:5 For I am thy slave and the son of thy maidservant, a man who is weak and short-lived, with little understanding of judgment and laws;
Solomon, king of Israel, again affirms that the Queen Mother is the handmaid of the Lord, and he, the King of Israel, is her son.
Lk 7:12-15 As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." 14 And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." 15 And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.
This passage is the closest parallel in all Scripture to His relationship to His mother in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. The parallels between what happens here and what happens at the foot of the Cross cannot be ignored.
Lk 23:27-28 And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children..."
Jn 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
The difference, of course, is that after He brings us back to life, He gives each of us to His mother, and gives each of us His mother.
Rev 12:17 Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.
The dragon wages war against HER offspring, those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus. Do you do these things? Then you are her children in the order of grace.
Gal 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,...
Heb 10:10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
It is the body of Christ which sanctifies us. Mary, the squire of God, gave Christ the instrument which He used to accomplish our sanctification in the battle against Satan. The prophets and patriarchs of old were instruments of God's will and purpose, mediators between the Trinity and mankind, but none of these human instruments reached the heights of perfect transmission of God's will and intention which Mary reached.
Eph 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you...
Paul was a self-proclaimed steward of God's grace. A steward guards and distributes his master's belongings with equity and justice to the members of the master's household. Here, Paul claimed to be designated by God to distribute grace to everyone for God by the fact that he preached the Gospel. If Paul can claim to be a steward of God's grace through preaching the Word, then consider Mary, who preached the Word more completely, more effectively, than any Apostle or disciple who ever lived. She preached His Word in complete silence, in a stable. Through the stewardship given to her by the Holy Spirit, the grace of God came into the world for the salvation of men; wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger.
1 Cor 9:22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1 Tim 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching: hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
If Paul could claim to be a saviour, and could instruct Timothy in how to be a saviour, then Mary has a claim at least as strong as either to the same title and honor. Paul and Timothy can only claim to have preached the Word while Mary's submission to God's will actually allows us to meet Him in the flesh.
Lk 1:15,41-45 for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. ...And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
In this remarkable story, Elizabeth receives an outpouring of inspiration through the Holy Spirit, and John the Baptist is sanctified in the womb just as the angel prophesied, due simply to Mary's presence and greeting. Mary was the instrument which brought about Elizabeth's inspired recognition and John's sanctification.
Jn 2:1-5 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. 3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4 And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
John 2:2 may imply that Jesus was invited to the wedding only because Mary was. His first public miracle was made at His mother's request. It was made because she was interceeding for someone in need. He performed this first miracle even though His "hour has not yet come," simply because she asked. Finally, the last words Scripture records from her mouth are also found here. They sum up her mission - she commands us always and constantly to "Do whatever He tells you." She leads us to Her Son better than anyone, for she loves Her Son better than any of us. She loves Him as only a mother can.
Is 53:3,11 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.... he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.
The same prophet who foretold the virginal birth foretells the Suffering Servant. The mother of such a servant would suffer for and with her son.
Lk 2:34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign that is spoken against 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
Jn 19:25-27 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Mary's suffering at seeing her innocent and perfect Son cruelly tortured to death was immense, but she offered Him to the Father. She alone could look on the cross and say "There is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone." Remember this. She alone, of all the people on earth, bore an echo of Christ's face in her own. Half of His DNA was hers. When you look upon Christ, you see the echo of Mary's face. When you look upon Mary, you see the echo of Christ. His face, twisted in an agony of pain on the Cross, was mirrored in her face, twisted in an agony of sorrow at His feet. He gave her to His beloved disciple, that is, to each of us, and each of us are to take her into our home. This is not an invitation. It is a command.
Rev 12:1-2 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.
While giving birth to Christ was a joy without pain, giving birth to the Church was the searing pain of the Cross, a pain she shared spiritually with her Son as no one else could.
Acts 1:14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Mary prayed for the coming of her spouse, the Holy Spirit, so that the Body of Christ, the Church, might be formed on earth in the same way the Body of Christ was formed in her womb thirty-three years before. The formation of the Church required immense sacrifice from Mary, not in the sense that God required her sacrifice in order to redeem men - only Christ's sacrifice was required for our redemption - but in the sense that the pain brought to her mother's heart was prophesied to be part of what would reveal the thoughts of many. God permitted her to share in the sacrificial redemptive act of His Son.
Mal 3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple...
Where God dwells is His Temple. He dwelt in the womb of Mary. She is the throne of grace in which He sat.
Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Mary stands at our side as we approach Christ, encouraging us towards Him, guiding us as a mother guides her smallest child. She comforts us as Christ the Healer administers the medicine needed to bring us to health. She helps us open our hearts in trust to Him who is our Saviour and hers.
2 Kings 2:11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Mt 27:52-53 the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Jude 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."
Enoch and Elijah were both taken into heaven, Matthew reports a resurrection before the end of the world, and Jude reminds us that all Israel believed Moses' body had been assumed into heaven.
Psalm 132:8 Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might.
Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. But David was not the only one to see the vision. Mary's position in heaven was recorded by John, the beloved disciple who cared for Mary in their old age.
Rev 12:1-17 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. 3 And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; 5 she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole worldhe was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!"
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
Jn 12:26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.
Who served Christ more faithfully than the woman who assented to be His Mother?
Faith and the docile acceptance of the Word of God, her generous obedience, her worship of God manifested in alacrity in the fulfillment of religious duties:
Lk 1:26-38 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" 35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible." 38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Lk 1:45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
Lk 11:27-28 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!" 28 But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Jn 2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
her solicitous charity and genuine humility, her gratitude for gifts received:
Lk 1:39-56 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." 46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, 52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever." 56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
profound wisdom (cf. Lk. 1:29,34 above):
Lk 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
in her offering in the Temple:
Lk 2:22-24 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
and in her prayer in the midst of the apostolic community:
Acts 1:12-14 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away; 13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
her fortitude in exile:
Mt 2:13-20 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more." 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead."
and in suffering (cf. Lk. 2:34-35, 49):
Jn 19:25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
her poverty reflecting dignity and trust in God (cf. Lk. 1:48, 2:24);
her attentive care for her Son, from His humble birth to the ignominy of the cross (cf. Lk. 2:1-7; Jn. 19:25-27);
her delicate forethought:
Jn 2:1-5ff On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. 3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4 And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
her virginal purity (cf. Lk. 1:26-38):
Mt 1:20-25 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.
and her strong and chaste married love. These virtues of the Mother will also adorn her children who steadfastly study her example in order to reflect it in their own lives. And this progress in virtue will appear as the consequence and the already mature fruit of that pastoral zeal which springs from devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
"Christ...was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mother bore no more children besides Him...'brothers' really means 'cousins' here , and Holy Writ and the Jews have always called cousins brothers" (Sermons on John, Chap. 1-4)
"God says...Mary's Son is My only Son.' Thus Mary is the Mother of God."
"The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart." (Sermon; Sept. 1, 1522)
"The infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin...From the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin." - Martin Luther, Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God." Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception right up until his death.
"We can never honor her enough. Still, honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures." (Sermon: Christimas, 1531) And Catholics do honor her but not in a way injurious to Christ nor the Scriptures.
"Whoever possesses a good faith says the Hail Mary without danger." (Sermon: March 11, 1523).