Eternal Honor | Mary's intercession |
The opening lines of St. Luke gospel gives us a clear insight to the Catholic position on the blessed Virgin Mary. St. Luke state (Lk 1:26) that God send the angel Gabriel to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
Mary was greeted as being full of grace, this was even before she conceived of the Holy Ghost to give birth to Christ, this is because God had persevered her in Holiness in order to full fill his Holy Will.
Now, if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate Conception of all that is fine in life would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother, but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would, in virtue of all the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness, would have made her selfless, and you who hate ugliness, would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God who hates sin would have made His own mother sinless, and He who hates moral ugliness, would have made her immaculately beautiful?
Luke 1:39 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed"
For anyone to be obedient to the words of the Gospel Mary here makes it quite clear that henceforth all those who live in future time will proclaim her as blessed!
Now, to call Mary blessed is in itself implicitly a prayer Mary, since she is not on earth to receive that praise, but she now sees all things in God, who is omniscient and omnipotent.
As the obedient, infinitely Holy Son of God, the Lord Jesus was a very firm believer in the commandment to honor one's father and mother. Now, what most people don't know about that commandment is that in Hebrew it literally reads, "Glorify your father and mother." This means that, since Christ took God's commandments very seriously, he would glorify his mother Mary, And for us to talk about his mother in a, irreverent manner is to deny the glory which Christ himself has given her. As a result, if we were to talk about Mary in an impious manner then we would be offending not only Mary but also Christ by denying his mother the glory that he himself gave her. Thus if Christ Gave her this Honor should we not imitate Christ?
We should note that the Church distinguishes emphatically between cultus dulia, which translates as "the homage of veneration," and cultus latria, which signifies "the worship of adoration."
Veneration is paid to the Saints; a higher form of it, called hyperdulia , is given to the Mother of God; but adoration is given to no one but God. Any attempt to give it to a creature would certainly be false worship - but the Catholic Church has never given it. She adores God and God only.
Further let us keep in mind that we never think of Mary without Mary thinking of God for us. One never praise's or honor's Mary without Mary praising and honoring God with us. Mary is altogether relative to God; and indeed, I might well call her the relation to God. She only exists with reference to God. She is the echo of God that says nothing, repeats nothing, but God. If you say "Mary", She says "God." St. Elizabeth praised Mary, and called her blessed, because she had believed. Mary, the faithful echo of God, at once intoned: "My soul doth magnify the Lord." (Luke 1:46). That which Mary did then, she does daily now. When we praise her, love her, honor her or give anything to her, it is God who is praised, God who is Loved, God who is glorified, and it is to God that we give, through Mary and in Mary.
If Mary is the Mother of Christ, she also has become by that very fact the mother of all Christians. If she is the Mother of Our Head, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she is also our Mother since we are members of that same head. For this reason Our Lord could say to St. John the Evangelist while on the cross "behold thy Mother" (John 19:27). Now, we know that she was not his mother by birth, but she had become his mother by grace since if in the natural order no mother gives birth to her sons head without also giving birth to his other members, the same holds true in the order of Grace. Hence Mary is the Mother of all Christians in the order grace. For this reason all Christians have a duty to acknowledge that she is truly blessed.
Mary's intercession is most powerful before the Throne of GOD. Was it not through Mary's intercession that Jesus produced His first miracle. He was obedient to His Mother and acted according to Her wish, even though it was not yet His time to begin His public ministry.
JOHN 2:5 "His Mother saith to the waiters: 'Whatsoever He shall say to you do ye'."
This passage illustrates our Lady's powerful intercession with her son: at her word he performs a miracle when his ``hour had not yet come.'' Notice that the miracle fulfilled no more dire a need than saving a young couple from embarrassment on their wedding day. As a mother, Mary is attentive to these small details of our lives, and asks Jesus to help us. We also note the power of Mary's intercession as She ordered the waiters, knowing with full confidence that Her Son would obey, as Jesus was the perfect Son.
Would GOD Himself go against His own Commandments, "Honor thy Father and thy Mother," (Exodus 20:12)? If Jesus, Who is GOD (John 1:1, 14) disobeyed His Mother, would He not then have gone against His own Commandments? Jesus honors the intercession of His Mother.
“For this will be a glorious monument for thy name, when he (symbolic for the devil) shall fall by the hand of a woman.” - Judith 9:15
After the Blessed Trinity and Christ's human nature, Mary holds the highest degree of purity (sanctity). Mary was preserved from the stain of Original Sin.
LUKE 1:28 "And the Angel being come in, said unto Her: 'Hail, full of Grace the Lord is with Thee: BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN'."
As clearly stated, GOD had chosen Mary from among all women.
Can an ordinary woman be greeted with such a title? NO!, not an ordinary woman but a PURE WOMAN and Mary was. Notice how the Angel Gabriel singled out Mary from all other woman as Blessed. The Holy Bible tells us in John 1:14, that Jesus too was born 'FULL OF GRACE' without sin. The Webster's International Dictionary 2nd Edition, states the word 'GRACE' means: A STATE WITHOUT SIN.
MATT 1:21 "And She shall bring forth a Son: And thou shall save His people from their sin."
Can GOD who is ineffably Holy, allow Himself to be made of a sinner (Gal 4:4)? Can Jesus save His people from their sins being born of sin? GOD is pure sanctity. To say that Mary was born with Original Sin is to say that Jesus also was made of contaminated flesh, being Flesh from Her flesh.
It was Her uncontaminated blood which circulated in His Uncontaminated Body for nine months. Mary's Womb was a Living Tabernacle, a Temple prepared by GOD for His Son to come into this world to save us from sin. Mary was born IMMACULATE.
Many outside the Catholic Church criticize Mary being exempt from sin, conceived Immaculately and claim that She was in need of salvation, for they base their judgment on the words of Mary Herself in:
LUKE 1:47 "And My spirit hath rejoiced in GOD my Savior."
But little do they realize, to save men from their sins is a great Mercy of GOD - but to save Mary FROM EVER SINNING was a greater Mercy, for GOD designed Her Full of Grace.
Mary, being filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed that She is to be honored and venerated throughout all ages:
LUKE 1:48 "Because He hath regarded the humility of His Handmaid; for behold from henceforth ALL GENERATIONS SHALL CALL ME BLESSED."
It is a sad fact today that the only Church, the true Church, that honors and venerates the Blessed Virgin is the Catholic Church.
Mary was never subject to error or illusion. Since error is proper to judgment (as any honest philosophy will affirm or any body with common sense really). This is why all true philosophers affirm with St. Thomas that the sense are per se (of themselves) infallible since they don't judge but merely register what they receive, judgment comes from reflection. Mary Judgment was always enlightened and correct. If she did not understand a thing fully she suspended her judgment upon it, and thus avoided the precipitation, which might have been the cause of error. She is, "The Virgin Most Prudent" - Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thus she was fully exempt from error.
If we readily admit as all Christians do, namely that Christ who is our Head is without sin (by nature), now if Mary is the Mother of Our Head (Jesus Christ) how could she be conceived in Sin? How could our stainless Head (Christ) come from forth from that which is stained?
GOD Our Father, especially honored Mary by choosing Her to be the Mother of His Son, therefore we too should honor Mary in the special role to which She has been chosen for. Jesus existed before His Mother (John 1:1) and so He prepared Her. GOD chose the Woman (Mary) that would suit Him best, and so it was GOD's choice that Mary is best for Him:- "Blessed art thou among all women."
The Church Fathers have been the most illustrations defenders of the Immaculate Conception as they unhesitatingly declare with St. Augustine that nothing must be said to link our Lady's name with sin (De natura et Gratia, c. 36, n.42; P.L. 44,267); that entire and absolute purity which they ascribe to her proclaims the absence of actual sin no less than of original sin. Mary was greeted as being full of grace, this was even before she conceived of the Holy Ghost to give birth to Christ, and this is because God had persevered her in Holiness in order to full fill his Holy Will. Besides, Mary had a special affinity to Jesus, from whom he took flesh, but "what concord hath Christ with Belial? (II Cor. 6:15). Finally, the Son of God, who is Divine Wisdom incarnate, inhabited Mary in a very speacila manner, not in her soul only but in her womb also; and it is said that (Wisdom 1:4) "Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins. Hence it must be said without reservation that the Blessed Virgin Mary was concaved immaculate and without stain of Sin.
Some Comments from the Church Fathers :
St Hippolytus "He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption."— Orat. Inillud, Dominus pascit me (ante A.D. 235),
Origen (+253 A.D.): "She was neither deceived by the serpent, nor even tainted with his breath...the sinless mother worthy of the sinless Holy God."
St. Proclus says that she was "formed from stainless clay" - Orat. VI; P.G., LXV, 733;
Theodore of Ancyra says that "The Son of the Most High came forth from the Most high" - Hom. VI, in sanctam Mariam Dei genetricem, 11-12; P.G., LXXV, 1426
St. John Damascene writes that Mary is the holy daughter of Joachim and Anne "who has escaped the burning darts of the evil one" - Hom. I in Nat., 7; P. G., XCVI, 672
St. John Damascene
Mary is the new Paradise to which the serpent has no stealthy access - Hom. II in dormit., 2 Col. 725
"You Lord and Your Mother are the only two who are perfectly beautiful under every respect. In you there is no fault, and in your Mother there is no stain. All other children of God are far from such beauty" - G. Bickell, Carmina Nisibena, Leipzig, 1866, pp. 2829
St. Ephrem of Edessa (+ 373 A.D.), Precationes ad Deiparam: "Most holy Lady, Mother of God, alone most pure in soul and body, alone exceeding all perfection of purity...my Lady most holy, all-pure, all-immaculate, all-stainless, all-undefiled, all-incorrupt, all-inviolate."
St. Basil the Great (+379 A.D.): "The Virgin was not subject to the law of purification in Deuteronomy: since without human generation she became Emmanuel's Mother pure and holy and undefiled; and, having become Mother, remained still a Virgin."
St. Ambrose of Milan (+397 A.D.): "Receive me not from Sarah, but from Mary; that it may be an uncorrupted Virgin, a Virgin free by grace from every stain of sin."
St. Augustine of Hippo (+430 A.D.): "With the exception therefore of the Holy Virgin Mary, with regard to whom, when sin is in question, I cannot, out of respect of Our Lord, permit of any discussion."
St. Augustine of Hippo " The honor of the Lord does not permit that the question of sin be raised in connection with the Blessed Virgin Mary" - De Natura et gratia, XXXVI, 42; P.l., XLIV. 267.
St. Epiphanius (+440 A.D.), Orat. de Laud. Mar.: "God alone excepted, she was superior to all...to Cherubim and Seraphim, and the whole angelic host...Hail full of grace, who satisfiest the thirsty with the sweetness of the eternal fountain. Hail most holy Mother Immaculate, who didst bring forth Jesus."
Mary was a Virgin from the time She gave birth to Jesus, and remained a pure Virgin until She was assumed into Heaven (Rev 12:1). Those outside the Catholic Church misinterpret and in some cases manipulate the Bible to their own misunderstanding.
MARK 6:3 "Is not this carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph and Jude, and Simon? Are not also His sisters here with us?"
The above verse states that Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was the Mother of them. In the days of Jesus Christ, all relatives and cousins, even close friends were regarded as brothers and sisters. There was no specific word used describing cousins, nephews, uncles, auntie's, brother , etc, at that time. It fell basically under the title for example: the House of David, (all regarding themselves as brothers and sisters). In the Old Testament, Abraham referred to his nephew Lot as brother.
When Jesus was on the Cross, He gave Mary into the care of His disciple John to be his Mother, who from that moment took Her as his own. Now this would have been unnatural if Jesus did have other brothers and sisters, that were able to take care of Her.
The Holy Spirit shall reveal to us who those brethren were and end once and for all, the debate about Our Lady keeping Her Perpetual Virginity.
MATT 27:56 "Among whom was Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedees James the Greater and John."
James the Greater and John are the sons of Zebedee.
MARK 15:40-41 "And there were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph and Salome (Zebedee's wife)." Here we have Mary the mother of James the Less and Joseph. Nowhere does it imply they are the children of Mary: the Mother of Jesus.
LUKE 6:15 "...James the son of Alphaeus."
This person James, is not the apostle James, son of Zebedee and Salome, but James the son of Alphaeus and not the son of Mary.
JUDE 1:1 "Jude the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James."
Notice the Inspired Word of GOD states that Jude is the servant and not the brother of Jesus Christ as also with his brother James, who were mentioned (Mark 6:3) as the brothers of Jesus.
ACTS 1:13 "...James of Alphaeus and Simon Zelotes and Jude the brother of James."
Simon Zelotes was a follower of Jesus Christ and not the brother of Jesus as mentioned in Mark 6:3.
The above mentioned names (Mark 6:3) show clearly that they are not the blood brothers of Jesus, the children of Mary. The Tradition in the Catholic Church on Mary being 'Ever-Virgin' could hardly have arisen if She had children who occupied important positions in that Church. To base one's whole Doctrine on one verse (Mark 6:3) would not be logical, but unfortunately, all of today's religions and sects have done so.
Many religions and sects outside the Catholic Faith base their interpretation that 'Brethren' means immediate brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). Brethren in the Bible at that time was to describe a group of relatives, or the Apostles gathering together were regarded as brethrens, for we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
ACTS 1:15-16 "In those days Peter rising up in the midst of the BRETHREN said (Now the number of persons was about one hundred and twenty): 'Men, BRETHREN, the scriptures must needs be fulfilled...'."
We must keep in mind that the biblical term "brethren" is sometimes used when the people concerned are not bretheren in the way that we understand the word. This is made evident from some of the following texts:
[Gen 14:14] "And when Abram heard that his BROTHER was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan."
The "brother" in question here is Lot. Now, was Lot the brother of Abram? No. He was the son of Aran, Abram's deceased brother (Gen 11:26-28). This makes Lot Abram's NEPHEW.
[Gen 29:15] "And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my BROTHER , shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?"
In this case Laban was Jacob's uncle!
In biblical terms, "brother", "sister", and "brethren" can mean close
relatives, kinsmen, or even close friends such as:
[I Kings 9:13] "And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day."
[II Sam 1:26] "I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."
It can also refer to mean a mere ally as we read in:
[Amos 1:9] "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant"
Notice how the word brethren is used, not symbolizing immediate brothers and sisters. It is satanic to infuse error based on human interpretation of divine scripture, especially when this stems out of one's misled interpretation of Mark 6:3. The Catholic Church are the Apostolic successors of the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus Christ, maintaining the traditions of the early Church to this present day without the slightest deviation from the Truth, (1 Tim 3:15, Eph 3:10).
Long before the prophet Ezekial prophesied that Mary was to remain forever a virgin, for what the lord of the God of Israel has entered none other shall enter.
The Prophet speaks thus:He said to me: This gate is to remain closed; it is not to be opened for anyone to enter by it; since the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it, it shall remain closed. Only the prince may sit down in it to eat his meal in the presence of the LORD. He must enter by way of the Vestibule of the gate, and leave by the same way (Ezekial 44:2-3 ).
In Jewish law, any sanctified object (known as hekdesh in Hebrew)
may not be used for personal purposes; it may only be used for the purpose
for which it was sanctified.
Throughout the bible, there are a number of physical objects that would certainly
fall under this tradition. The
Ark of the Covenant is probably the most prominent example.
In fact, the solemnity of this tradition is witnessed to when
Uzzah accidentally touched the Ark of the Covenant.
He was struck dead by God.
"And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God." (2 Samuel 6:6-7)
If it is inconceivable to even suggest that the Ark would be used for something other than carrying God?s covenant, then why does not the same logic not also apply to Mary the Mother of the New Covenant? Why do Protestants reject such a clear biblical analogy as what would regard as more holy that which carried elements which God had sanctified or that which had carried God himself (the source of all holiness)?
If God required the Temple to be preserved from defilement and used only for His glory in the Old Testament, it is absurd to believe that Mary?s womb would gain any less reverence when God Himself inhabited her most holy womb in the New Testament.
Our Lord himself rebuke with great rigor those who made common use of those things which were holly, as for example when ?The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade.? (John 2:13-16)
However, Jesus was trying to show that the Temple, and by extension any holy place, are to be treated with the reverence and respect that they deserve. What seemed acceptable to the Sanhedrin was clearly not acceptable to the Lord. A Holy Place is not to be abused by using it for purely human pursuits when its purpose is to glorify God in a special and unique way. His objective was to keep the Temple for the supernatural, and not allow it to be relegated to some nominal commerce court. The implications of this fact become apparent when one considers the Holy Place in which He resided for nine months. If the Lord of the Universe abided in his mother?s womb for so long, then what is the probability that He would allow that sanctuary to be reduced to a mere natural usage.
Early Christian literature attests to the existence of Mary?s consecrated virginity (Protoevagelium of James, 120 A.D.) Living a celibate life within marriage was not unknown in Jewish tradition either. It was told that Moses, who was married, remained continent the rest of his life after the command to abstain from sexual intercourse (Ex 19:15) given in preparation the seventy elders abstained thereafter from their wives after their call, and so did Eldad and Medad when the spirit of prophecy came upon them; indeed it was said that the prophets became celibate after the Word of the Lord communicated with them (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 19; 46.3; Sifre to Numbers 99 sect. 11; Sifre Zutta 81-82, 203-204; Aboth Rabbi Nathan 9, 39; Tanchuman 111, 46; Tanchumah Zaw 13; 3 Petirot Moshe 72; Shabbath 87a; Pesachim 87b, Babylonian Talmud).
Mary's response to the Angel also affirms to us that she had always intended on remaining a virgin all her life as we read "?And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?? (Luke 1:34)
The angel?s statement is a statement concerning a FUTURE EVENT. There is no mention of a divine conception before Mary?s response. Mary?s response, however, is rather conspicuous. She says: ?How can this be since I know not man?. This is in the present tense. Under the Protestant understanding, Mary?s question would make no sense since she surely knew how to conceive a child. Since the angel had not yet indicated a divine conception, Mary would have assumed a natural birth so there would have been no point to her question. If you were Mary you would not say, ?I have not had sex yet? if the angel originally told you that you would conceive in the future. You would say ?Oh, I see, so I am going to conceive naturally with Joseph.? Once that happened the Angel would then inform you of the divine nature of the conception. But that is not what happened. Mary says: ?I know not man? or ?I am a virgin?; meaning, ?how can I naturally conceive a child if I am a virgin and will always remain one?? It is then, and only then, does the angel indicate the plan of divine conception. This text is simply too overwhelming and forceful.
"But St. Matthew 1, 25 says that Joseph 'had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.' This implies that Mary, therefore, had other children conceived by Joseph after giving birth to Jesus."
"St. Jerome shows, by divers examples, that this expression of the Evangelist was a manner of speaking usual among the Hebrews, to denote by the word until, only what is done, without any regard to the future. Thus it is said, Genesis 8, 6 and 7, that Noe sent forth a raven, which went forth, and did not return till the waters were dried up on the earth. That is, did not return anymore. Also Isaias 46, 4, God says: I am till you grow old. Who dare infer that God should then cease to be?...God saith to his divine Son: Sit on my right till I make thy enemies thy footstool. Shall he sit no longer after his enemies are subdued?"
He further explains that:
If I choose to say, "the apostle Paul before he went to Spain was put in fetters at Rome," or (as I certainly might) "Helvidius, before he repented, was cut off by death," must Paul on being released at once go to Spain, or must Helvidius repent after death, although the Scripture says, "In sheol who shall give thee thanks?" (Deuteronomy. 22:24-25). Must we not rather understand that the preposition before, although it frequently denotes order in time, yet sometimes refers only to order in thought? So that there is no necessity, if sufficient cause intervened to prevent it, for our thoughts to be realized. When, then, the Evangelist says before they came together, he indicates the time immediately preceding marriage, and shows that matters were so far advanced that she who had been betrothed was on the point of becoming a wife. As though he said, before they kissed and embraced, before the consummation of marriage, she was found to be with child. And she was found to be so by none other than Joseph, who watched the swelling womb of his betrothed with the anxious glances, and, at this time, almost the privilege, of a husband. Yet it does not follow, as the previous examples showed, that he had intercourse with Mary after her delivery, when his desires had been quenched by the fact that she had already conceived.? (St. Jerome, Against Helvidius, 4)
Further, according to the Jewish Law a child was designated as "first-born" irrespective of whether there were yet, or ever to be, subsequent children born to the same mother. This is gathered from Exod. 13, 2, which required that "every first-born that openeth the womb among the children of Israel" be consecrated to God forty days after their birth.
Most Protestants are unaware of all this, but the Protestant Reformers themselves -- Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli -- honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have more modern Protestants, such as the biblical and patristics scholar J. B. Lightfoot.
Some Comments from the Church Fathers
St. Irenaeus; "Against Heresies" 180-199 A. D.
"Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying: 'Behold, O Lord, your
handmaid; be it done to me according to your word'. Eve, however, was
disobedient; and when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was
still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband... having become disobedient,
was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so
also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient,
was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race...
Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary.
What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through
St. Ephrem of Edessa (+373 A.D.) : "...the rod of Aaron that budded, truly have you appeared as a stem whose flower is your true Son, our Christ, my God and my Maker; you did bear according to the flesh God and the Word, did preserve your virginity before His birth, did remain a virgin after His birth, and we have been reconciled to God by Christ your Son."
St. Gregory of Nazianz "Letter to Cledonius the Priest" 382 A D
"If anyone does not agree that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is at
odds with the Godhead. If anyone asserts that Christ passed through the Virgin
as thought a channel, and was not shaped in her both divinely and humanly,
divinely because without man and humanly because in accord with the law of
gestation, he is likewise godless."
St. Gregory of Nazianz "Letter to Cledonius the Priest" 382 A D
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386 A.D.) : "Of Him Who is God and Man are you the Mother, Virgin before (His) birth, Virgin in birth, and Virgin after birth."
St. Jerome (+420 A.D.), Contra Helvidius, i: "Suppose that the Brethren of the Lord were Joseph's sons by another wife. But we understand the Brethren of the Lord to be not the sons of Joseph, but cousins of the Savior, the sons of Mary, his mother's sister."
St. Jerome, Against Helvidius, "I must call upon the Holy Spirit to express His meaning by my mouth and defend the virginity of the Blessed Mary. I must call upon the Lord Jesus to guard the sacred lodging of the womb in which He abode for ten months from all suspicion of sexual intercourse. And I must also entreat God the Father to show that the mother of His Son, who was a mother before she was a bride, continued a Virgin after her son was born. We have no desire to career over the fields of eloquence, we do not resort to the snares of the logicians or the thickets of Aristotle. We shall adduce the actual words of Scripture. Let him be refuted by the same proofs which he employed against us, so that he may see that it was possible for him to read what is written, and yet to be unable to discern the established conclusion of a sound faith.?
St. Augustine of Hippo (+430 A.D.), De Annunt. Dom. iii: "It is written (Ezekiel 44, 2): 'This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it. Because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it...' What means this closed gate in the house of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that 'no man shall pass through it,' save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - 'The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it,' except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of Angels shall be born of her? And what means this - 'It shall be shut for evermore,' but that Mary is a Virgin before His birth, a Virgin in His birth, and a Virgin after His birth."
St. John Chrysostom (+407 A.D.), Opus Imperf. in Matt., Hom. 1 (?): "Joseph did not know her, until she gave birth, being unaware of her dignity: but after she had given birth, then did he know her (by way of acquaintance). Because by reason of her child she surpassed the whole world in beauty and dignity: Since she alone in the narrow abode of her womb received him whom the world cannot contain."
In understanding Mary's purity we will compare her with all of creation. Mary is told by St Gabriel the Angel that she is "full of Grace" and that she was "blessed amongst woman". The Holy prophet Daniel when the Angel Gabriel appeared to him, fainted away, and fell with his face flat on the ground (Daniel 8:16 - 18) . When this same angel appeared to Zachary the Father of John the Baptist, he to "Was troubled and fear fell upon him" (Luke 1: 12). Yet Mary was overcome indeed and troubled only in his words due to her virtue of humility, (as she was addressed "Hail full of Grace"). However she was able to bear the sight of him (the Holy Angel). From this we can see how holy Mary really is as this same angel Smote the Holy Prophet David when in His Presence, but Mary Conversed with the angle with prudence, and firmness of heart .