Virgin Mary can only be understood from the perspective of Jesus Christ. To begin with, it is appropriate to remember the life of Jesus to see the life of the Virgin Mary as a mirror image.
Virgin Mary is the Mother of Jesus the Christ. Since Jesus is God, the Virgin Mary is also called the Mother of God. Catholic and Orthodox Christians pray to her confidently because she knows God better than anyone else, and though she is only human, like us, she knows the paths that lead us to Him.
Luke, however, introduces Mary as “related” to Elizabeth (Luke 1:36). In the place where it is placed, the information seems unnecessary. Her presence can only be explained if the author intends to inform the reader about Mary’s family. Now, Elizabeth is also “descended from Aaron” (Luke 1:5). She belongs to the tribe of Levi and its faction, where priests are recruited, the priestly lines being perpetuated from father to son.
Every 21 November, the Church celebrates the Presentation of Mary to the Temple. This event is not found in the Gospels but refers to an apocryphal Gospel of James the Less.
The Catholic religion recognizes Mary of Nazareth as the Blessed Mary, the daughter of Anna and Joachim, the wife of Joseph, the chosen of God, and the mother of Jesus Christ. However, her biography is not easy to establish, as the authenticity of some of the historical accounts has yet to be verified.
Eight days after the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we celebrate His Mother, the one who gave her human being, body and soul, through the Holy Spirit who came upon her placing her in the orbit of divine paternity. This is why the Council of Ephesus in 431 proclaimed her Theotokos, the Mother of God because her Son is God, which does not affect the difference between Mary, a human creature, and Jesus, the eternal Son of God.
Read also: Who Are The Saints In The Catholic Church?
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary, the mother of Christ, and therefore the Mother of God, is a secondary character in the Gospel accounts: the texts that speak of her represent a small percentage of the writings of the New Testament. However, all the texts that refer to her are essential to the mission of Christ and very significant.
The Virgin Mary’s nativity is not recorded in the biblical writings, but we know that she was born 14 years before the birth of Jesus Christ… Some apocryphal writings, long after the revelation of the Bible, have tried to trace, in a legendary way, even though there may be some historical traces, some features of Mary’s childhood.
Mary represents the perfect disciple who listens to God’s Word and follows Christ. She also means the Church is giving her ideal response of love to Christ. So, it would be worth taking a closer look.
Annunciation of Mary
The virgin Mary was probably 14 or 15 years old when Jesus was born. This suggests that she was born around 20 BC since, most likely due to a miscalculation in the calendar, Christ was conducted between 4 and 6 BC.
The Annunciation of Mary is the feast in remembrance of the day when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin that she would give birth to the Son of God. The Annunciation is the first documented confirmed feast among the feasts of the Virgin Mary. The dates of the feasts have varied. Thus, some celebrated it on the eve of Epiphany (January 5), and in some Western Churches, such as those of Spain, Gaul, and Milan, the Annunciation was celebrated on December 18.
Two traditions locate the end of Mary’s earthly life different Ephesus, where she followed the disciple St John the Evangelist, angels, to whom Jesus entrusted her on the cross. Mary’s house is now a place of pilgrimage to the shrine of Myriamanaarea, another site in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, where the beautiful Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary stands today. We do not know where the Virgin Mary was born. Likely, she was initially from Galilee, as St Luke describes her as living in the small village of Nazareth. This is why she is called Mary of Nazareth.
Were Mary and Joseph married?
Joseph is Jesus’ adoptive father. Sometimes in the literature, we find “ado.”ive father.” Mary does not hesitate to call him Jesus’ father, as in Luke 2: “Your father and I have sought you. Joseph is the true father of Jesus, just as an adoptive father is the true father of his child. But Jesus is first and foremost the true Son of God, the eternal Father, the second person of the Trinity, the Word of God, and the Son of God made man.
According to historical evidence, Mary and Joseph were married. Because Mary committed a commitment to Joseph by being engaged with him (Jewish betrothal at that time already meant a definitive commitment). So Joseph had to accept God’s exceptional plan for the couple he and Mary had formed.
As his Gospel tells us, St Matthew tells us this was not without difficulties. Joseph was tempted to deny Mary, but thanks to the angel’s message, he understood God’s plan was beyond him and humbly accepted to follow it.
Read also: Was Joseph married before Mary?
Mary holding Jesus
“The Virgin Mary appeared on earth as a miracle of miracles and passed through the radiance of the heavenly lights and minds” (St. Gregory Palamas). Whenever you see the icon of the Mother of God with the Child. And you are in a state of prayer; you feel the thrill of mystery, the light of understanding, and the joy of trust in your soul. The icon of Our Lady has become a universal symbol. Both in its meanings of unparalleled beauty and the feelings it conveys to a gaze still greeted by the light of grace.
Mary holding Jesus in her arms represents man’s millennial expectation to embrace Jesus, and God’s expectation to embrace man has been fulfilled; now, the two expectations are rest and happy fulfillment; man assumes God, and God warms and rests in man’s heart.
The Mother of God is the flower that has sprung from all man’s age-long striving to meet God. She is the highest pistil of humanity because “she carries within her the supernatural and unspoken sparks of purity” (St. Gregory Palamas).
Read also: Was Saint Anne the mother of Mary?
St Mary’s Church
In the middle of the cathedral are numerous candles donated by churches from all over the world. In the center of the eastern arm of the church is the Tomb of the Mother of God. It is in a small room with a block cut into the rock in the center, which resembles the tomb of Jesus.
Saint Mary’s Church is found in Jerusalem and is one of the most beloved places in the Holy Land after the Holy Sepulchre. The church is located in the valley of the Kidron stream at the foot of the Mount of Olives. And was built on the site of the Tomb of the Mother of God. Since 1757, the church has been taken over by the Orthodox Church.
The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is practically underground as the ground level has risen over time. A staircase with stone steps leads down from the road into the inner courtyard. At the end of this is a beautiful portal built in the 12th century, through which you enter the church. To reach the church, you must climb down 48 steps, lit on either side by candles and candlelight.
Read also: Mount Athos🏴| Where is Mount Athos?
Tomb of The Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary accompanied the Church in formation with her prayers. She recounted to those close to her specific episodes in the life of Jesus. Such as his childhood, which we find in detail in the Gospel of Luke. The time had come for Mary to leave this earth to continue her mission of accompanying churches and Christians but from heaven.
The tomb of the Virgin Mary can be found in Jerusalem and is one of the most beloved places in the Holy Land. Many beautiful places, such as the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of the Birth of the Lord, the Church of the Multiplication of Sorrows and Fishes, and the Church of St. Archangel Gabriel, Christians also come with great joy to this place blessed by God to pray to the Mother of God. The church on the Mount of Olives is only in the care of the Orthodox, unlike many others, which are shared by many Christian branches.
We do not know the date or year of Mary’s death. It is thought that she lived between 10 and 15 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. We lack the evidence to affirm or deny this. The Orientals speak of the Dormition, the Catholics of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Read also: How to start a prayer | Prayer Journaling
Things that you might want to know…
Ecumenical prayers are among the oldest and most important prayers of the Church. They are among the common prayers of many services of Orthodox divine worship.
Litany means the complete prayer of petition uttered on behalf of the people—a synthesis of the Church’s pleas in the Orthodox Liturgy. (“Peace be upon us, O Lord…”, “Have mercy on us, O God… let us pray to Thee. Hear us and have mercy on us”); it formulates the spiritual and material wishes, needs, and requests of the whole assembly in dozens of formulas established by the Church.
Litany comes from the Greek word εκτενηςs, ες – tennis (stretched, prolonged, strained), and ευχη – of (prayer), meaning long, strenuous prayer or strenuous call to prayer.
Litany of The Rosary
1. Make the Sign of the Holy Cross
2. On the cross of the rosary, the Creed is said:
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who was born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, Begotten, and not created; one being with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, and became man.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried. He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven;
He is seated at the right hand of the Father and will again come in glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified and has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I confess a baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. “
3. On the next large bead (white in the picture), Our Father is said
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom comes; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but save us from evil.”
4. On each of the following three small grains (black in the picture), it says Rejoice, Mary
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
5. Glory be to the Father
Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, and is now, and ever shall be, and ever shall be. Amen.
6. Each day of the week corresponds to a group of mysterious prayers.
7. At this point, the fifth decade is over. It says Rejoice, Queen
Rejoice, Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, comfort, and hope. To thee, we cry, O children of Eve. To you, we sigh, groan, and weep in this valley of tears. Therefore, our intercessor, turn to us your merciful eyes and show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of your body after this supplication. O gracious, gentle, sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
8. Rejoice and pray the Laurentian Litany.
Litany of The Blessed Virgin Mary
“Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have an understanding of us,
Christ, hear us.
Father in heaven, God, have mercy on us,
Son, Redeemer of the world, God, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, God, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Unblemished Mother, pray for us.
Mother of the holiest, pray for us.
Wonderful mother, pray for us.
Mother of good counsel, pray for us
Mother of the Saviour, pray for us
Most wise virgin, pray for us
Virgin worthy of honor, pray for us
Virgin worthy of praise, pray for us
Merciful Virgin, pray for us
Faithful Virgin, pray for us
Mirror of justice, pray for us
Chair of wisdom, pray for us
The treasure of our joy, pray for us
Spiritual vessel, pray for us
A vessel worthy of honor, pray for us
Tower of David, pray for us
Ivory tower, pray for us
House of gold, pray for us
Ark of the law, pray for us
Heaven’s gate, pray for us
Morning star, pray for us
Healer of the sick, pray for us
Savior of sinners, pray for us
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us
They help Christians, pray for us
Queen of Angels, pray for us
Queen of Confessors, pray for us
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, forgive us, O Lord,
Give us, O Lord God, the grace that we,
Thy servants may enjoy unceasing health of mind and body
and, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
be saved from sorrow now and enjoy eternal happiness.”
Read also: Was Mary sinless?
- By a special gift of God, Mary was conceived without original sin. Again, this gift of God to Mary was directed to Christ: it had to be so for Mary to become the Mother of God in Jesus Christ.
- The Virgin Mary of Jerusalem icon is placed behind the tomb. But this is not the only miracle-working icon here. August 15 is the feast day of this holy church. The Orthodox also have a miracle-working icon of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Which they keep in the ‘Gethsemane Metocle’ near the Holy Sepulchre.
- Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary is in Heaven today. Body and soul, having been brought to the resurrection by Christ. Before the last day, when all the dead will rise.
The Litany unites us all in the service of God; it is a joint ministry of clergy and faithful. The priest calls the people to prayer from the beginning as one ordained for it, which is why he also stands before the people. But also as an empowered one. And intercessor of the faithful, so that “his prayers may have great power,” as the Holy Apostle James says.‘
During the Masses, there is an alternation of dialogues between the priest. And the faithful in which the priest represents Christ. And prayers in which the priest becomes the community’s spokesman before God. The faithful reinforce their requests with the answer, “Lord have mercy.” And expressing their total adherence to the word “Amen.”