Catholic Catechism (Sunday Rice and Stew)
On today’s edition of our Catholic Catechism (Sunday Rice and Stew), we shall be looking at the church teaching on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary the mother of Jesus and our Mother (the New Eve).
The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as “Aeiparthenos,” the “Evervirgin”
The Gospel account of Mary’s Virginity
The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility:(Mt 1 18-25; Lk 1:26-38.)
“That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancée (Mt 1:20). The Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” Mt 1:23.
In the four gospels, it was never stated clearly that Mary had other children after Jesus or to disprove the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Many usually become confused when they read Mathew 13:55; 28:1; and Mt 27:56.
The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”. They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
When St. Matthew in his gospel says that Joseph “had no relations with [Mary] until she bore a son” (1:25), he does not necessarily imply that such relations followed afterward. In the same way, when Jesus says at the end of this same gospel, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (28:20), he by no means implies thereby that after the end of the age, he will no longer be with us. Similar uses of the word “until” appear throughout Scripture.
The Church teaching on Mary’s virginal motherhood in God’s plan
Indeed, only with an eye of faith can one really understand why God made the Mother of Jesus to be a Virgin forever. The teaching on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary is something that takes only the Holy Spirit to teach correctly. And indeed the church has been guided by the Holy Spiritual in all Marian Dogmas.
The Catholic Church has testified from the beginning to the historical reality that Mary, Jesus’ mother, remained a virgin all her life. Even the Protestant reformers Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli all taught that Mary was “ever-virgin.
Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. “He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.”
Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will.
It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.
At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.
The Perpetual Virginity of Mary has been in God’s divine Plan from before her birth. God has already made her to be pure and Chaste for the Co-redemptive work of Salvation with Christ Jesus.
The Virgin Mary “co-operated through free faith and obedience in human salvation”. She uttered her yes “in the name of all human nature” (St. Thomas Aquinas). By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.
Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Sermon) with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).
May God bless his words in our heart and grant us a fruitful week. Happy Sunday.
My ever virgin Mary I honor and respect you.