I will be spending Mother’s Day at my mother’s grave site.  I hope you all have a great Mother’s Day weekend.

Most of you who read my blog know the story of Mary, mother of Jesus, far better than I do.  I hope you will comment on anything I write that you think is inaccurate.

What is your favorite song, or Bible passages about Mary?

Luciano Pavarotti – Ava Marie

I must admit to being a tad confused as I try to navigate the disagreements between the different religious groups concerning Mary, so try not to take off too many points for my mistakes.  🙂

Mary, mother of Jesus, was a Jewish woman born on Nazareth, Galilee, in September 20 BC (?), died January 45 AD(?).  She has been know by many names – Mary, Queen of All Saints, the Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Madonna, Syeda Mariam (Lady Mary) by Muslims, and Theotokos (God-bearer) in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental and Eastern Catholic Churches.

To Jews and Muslims Mary is the virgin mother of the Prophet Jesus.  To Christians she is the Blessed Mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  I will focus on the Christian view.

The New Testament doesn’t seem to tell much about Mary’s early life.  Her parents are not named in the canonical text. In the apocryphal Gospel of James her father was St. Joachim and her mother St. Anne.

Mary lived in Nazareth with her parents and it was during her betrothal to Joseph, of the House of David, that the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah, by conceiving him through the Holy Spirit.

According to the Gospel of Luke the Roman emperor Augustus required that Joseph and his betrothed should go to Bethlehem for a census.  There was no place for them at an inn, so it was in a manger that Mary give birth to a son.  After eight days the boy was circumcised and named Jesus, in accordance with the instructions that Gabriel had given Joseph.

Joseph is told by the angel in another dream of Herod’s plan to kill Jesus so they flee to his mother’s home in Egypt. They eventually settle in Nazareth. 

Mary’s death is apparently not recorded in scripture.  According to tradition of the Catholic church  Mary died surrounded by the apostles.  When they opened her tomb it was found empty.  They concluded her body had been taken directly to Heaven.

The Catholic church has a traditional field of study of Mary called Mariology.  A link to the Pontfical Marian International Academy http://accademiamariana.org/index_file/Page355.htm

Catholics believe that Mary was filled with grace from the very moment of her conception and preserved from the stain of original sin.  Calvinist and Lutheran Protestants reject the idea that Mary was preserved from original sin at conception.

Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches “venerate” Mary.  This takes the form of prayer for intercession with her son Jesus Christ.  They make a clear distinction between this veneration and “adoration” which is due to God alone.

Protestants do not call the respect they have for Mary “veneration”.  Following the “Magnificat” in the Gospel of Luke, Protestants acknowledge that Mary is blessed among women, but do not agree that Mary is to be given “cultic” veneration. (Wikipedia entry on Magnificat – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificat )

Whatever the disagreements Catholic, Lutheran, and Protestant churches have the important thing to focus on is that Mary was chosen by God to bear his Son.  That is the highest standard any human has ever had to meet.