What Everyone Should Know about Mary
She was a humble girl from an ordinary Jewish family. Yet Mary came to be exalted as the daughter of Zion, the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. All because the simple girl said a simple word: Yes.
Mary, Mother of God
"Holy Mary, Mother of God, you have given the world in its true light, Jesus, your son — the Son of God. You abandoned yourself completely to God's call and thus became a wellspring of the goodness which flows forth from him. Show us, Jesus. Lead us to Him. Teach Us to Know and love Him so that we too can become capable of true love and the fountains of living water in the midst of a thirsting world."
Mary appears in the following incidents in the Gospels:
The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
The Visitation with Elizabeth (Luke 1:39)
The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7)
The Presentation at the Temple (Luke 2:22-38)
The flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:12-15)
Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-50)
The marriage at Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-12)
The attempt to see Jesus while he was teaching (Mark 3:31-35)
The station at the Cross (John 19:26-27)
Titles of Mary - Biblical & Dogmatic
Mother of Jesus Christ
Catholics honor Mary because God has honored her by choosing her to be the Mother of Jesus Christ. This Role of Mary was prefigured and foretold in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, even though Mary is not spoken of at length, she is mentioned at many of the central points in the life of Jesus Christ. The infancy narratives, especially in the Gospel of Luke, focus on God's call to Mary to accept the Role as the "Mother of Jesus Christ." Mary's response to God is seen fully in her great prayer of praise, the "Magnificat." The Magnificat is an acknowledgment of the great blessing given by God to Mary as the Mother of Jesus Christ.
Mother of The Church
This is the title proclaimed by Pope Paul VI in 1964 at the close of the third session of the Second Vatican Council. The pontiff declared Mary as "Mother of the Church," meaning Mother of the whole people of God. Later, Pope John Paul II inserted this title in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This title is used in reference to Mary's Role as a Mediator. Because Mary is our Mother, she is committed to praying and interceding for her children and the Church. Catholic tradition has described several titles to Mary to describe her Role of intercession – Advocate, Helper, Mediatrix, and others. Mary is a Mediatrix between Jesus Christ and humankind. However, it is understood that Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God, The Father, and humanity.
Mary, Mother of God
All doctrines concerning Mary are related to and emerge from our understanding of her son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was truly God as well as man, and Mary was his mother. Therefore, speaking of Mary as the Mother of God is perfectly fitting. The Bible also confirms that Mary is the Mother of God. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of Luke and greeted Mary as "The Mother of My Lord."
"Theotokos" (Bearer of God) is Mary's principal title in the Church, and the Church has used it for more than a century. The Second Vatican Council stated: "From the earliest times, the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of "Mother of God."
Catholic Marian Doctrines
Mary's graces are from God, not from her. She merely received them with humility.
Mary is a created human being, but she had special graces that God gave her.
Mary is not God, and thus she is not worshipped as God. However, she is greatly honored.
By God's grace, Mary was sinless from her conception. This grace was from God to prepare Mary as a suitable vessel to give birth to Jesus. She was given the dignity and holiness required to become the "Mother of Jesus."
The Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception states "that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege from Almighty God and because of the merits of Jesus Christ, was kept free of every stain of original sin."
Adam and Eve were sinless by a special grace from God until they were tempted by Satan and sinned. By God's grace, Mary was sinless. Satan did not tempt Mary as Adam and Eve were.
That Mary never had sexual relations during her lifetime. This doctrine also maintains that Jesus Christ was Mary's only child, and her "brothers and sisters" are close relations.
Mother of God
Jesus is God, and Mary is the Mother of God. Mother of God in Greek is "Theotokos" or "Birth-giver of God." This is more than a biological fact but is a mystical reality. Mary's divine motherhood was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
Assumption of Mary
She was assumed body and soul into heaven at her death. Since she was sinless, there was no need for her to be judged with death, which is the penalty for sin. A distinction needs to be made between Ascension and Assumption. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Risen Lord ascended into heaven, a sign of divine power. Mary, on the contrary, was elevated or assumed into heaven by the power and grace of God.
Apparitions of Mary
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Juan Diego experienced his first vision of the Virgin Mary on December 9, 1531. While on his way to mass, he was visited by Mary, who was surrounded by heavenly light, on Tepeyac Hill on the outskirts of Mexico City. On December 12, while searching for a priest to administer the last rites to his uncle, Juan Diego was visited by Mary a second time. Mary informed Juan Diego that his uncle would recover from his illness. Later, Saint Juan Diego found many roses on a hill in the winter. When he opened his cloak while appearing before the bishop, dozens of roses fell out, and an image of Mary was imprinted on the inside of his cloak. The bishop ordered that a church be built on Tepeyac Hill in honor of the Virgin Mary. Juan Diego returned home and found his uncle’s health restored.
Our Lady of Lourdes
At the Grotto of Lourdes, between February 11, 1858, and July 16, Saint Bernadette had a series of visions of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary revealed her identity with the words “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Saint Bernadette steadfastly defended the genuineness of these visions despite strong opposition. Saint Bernadette prevailed, and Lourdes became a privileged sanctuary where Mary dispenses many favors, and many obtain a cure of their illnesses, both spiritual and corporal. Pope Pius XI canonized Saint Bernadette.
Our Lady of Fátima
Fátima is without question the greatest 20th-century apparition. On May 13, 1917, and in each subsequent month until October, three young peasant children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, saw a woman who identified herself as the Lady of the Rosary. On October 13, Our Lady of the Rosary appeared to the children, and afterward, a crowd at Fátima witnessed a miraculous solar phenomenon. On October 13, 1930, the Bishop of Leiria accepted the children’s visions as the appearance of the Virgin Mary. Devotion to the Our Lady of the Rosary includes frequent recitation of the rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Since 1981, in a small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina named Medjugorje, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing and giving messages to the world. She tells us that God has sent Her to our world, and these years are a time of Grace granted by God. She tells us, "I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God". Our Lady's mission is to convert and recenter our lives back to God. Her role is one of guiding people to Her Son, Jesus.