Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Question of the Day

I was walking between classes today with a Protestant friend when he turned to me and said "Can I ask you a Catholic question?" "Sure," I said, not quite knowing what he'd be asking. . . "So, do you Catholics really believe that Mary and Joseph never had sex?" "Yes. Yes we do."

Thanks be to God for opportunities such as this to explain the treasures of the Catholic Faith. I gave him a brief explanation emphasizing Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant as we walked and promised him I'd get him some more information (since we were both running off to class).

As I've been gathering information this evening to pass on to my friend, here are some quotes for all of us to ponder:

"Mary accepted her election as Mother of the Son of God, guided by spousal love, the love which totally 'consecrates' a human being to God. By virtue of this love, Mary wished to be always and in all things 'given to God' (Deo donata), living in virginity. The words 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord' express the fact that from the outset she accepted and understood her own motherhood as a total gift of self, a gift of her person to the service of the saving plans of the Most High. And to the very end she lived her entire maternal sharing in the life of Jesus Christ, her Son, in a way that matched her vocation to virginity."
- Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 39.

"From the moment of the Annunciation, Mary knew that she was to fulfil her virginal desire to give herself exclusively and fully to God precisely by becoming the Mother of God's Son. Becoming a Mother by the power of the Holy Spirit was the form taken by her gift of self: a form which God Himself expected of the Virgin Mary, who was 'betrothed' to Joseph."
- Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, 17.

Furthermore, there are some interesting quotes from Protestant Reformers (thanks to an article on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary from EWTN):

"Martin Luther (1483-1546), On the Divine Motherhood of Mary, wrote:

In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such great good things were given her that no one can grasp them. ... Not only was Mary the mother of him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God. (Weimer's The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 7, p. 572.)

Luther wrote on the Virginity of Mary:

It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. ... Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact. (Weimer's The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 11, pp. 319-320; v. 6. p. 510.)

The French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) also held that Mary was the Mother of God.

It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. ... Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary as at the same time the eternal God. (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, v. 45, p. 348, 35.)

Calvin also up held the perpetual virginity of Mary, as did the Swiss reformer, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), who wrote:

I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, p. 424.)"