Mary, Mother of Jesus Quotes

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Mary was a 1st-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament and the Quran describe Mary as a virgin; according to Christian theology, she conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit while still a virgin. The miraculous conception took place when she was already betrothed to Joseph. She accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

Who is Mary, Mother of Jesus?

Virgin Mary Queen Of Heaven Iconography Religion

Blessed Virgin Mary, Iconography

Virgin Mary in the Qur’an

The sūrah takes its name after Maryam (Mary), and consists of 98 verses. This sūrah was revealed just before the majority of the Muslims in Makkah emigrated to Abyssinia to escape the persecutions of the Makkan polytheists in the 5th  year of the Messenger’s mission. In that time, a monotheist king ruled Abyssinia. The Quraysh sent ‘Abdullāh ibn Rabī‘ah and ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ās to the king to attain the return of the refugees. The king questioned the Muslims about their faith and their view of Jesus, upon him be peace, and Mary. Ja‘far ibn Abī Tālib, the head of the Muslim refugees, answered him by reciting the initial 35 verses of this sūrah. It was as if this sūrah had been revealed to provide help for them.

The sūrah begins with the mention of John the Baptist, upon him be peace, and continues by relating facts about Mary and Jesus, upon him be peace. Then it mentions Abraham, upon him be peace, whose life was partly spent in emigrations, and hints that the way of God’s Last Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, would be no different from those of the previous Prophets. Then it strongly criticizes the harsh reactions of the Makkan polytheists, and ends by giving the glad tidings to the believers that God will put love for them in the hearts of people and that many people will welcome Islam.

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.

1. Kāf. Hā. Yā. ‘Ayn. Sād.

2. A mention of your Lord’s mercy to His servant Zachariah:

3. When he invoked his Lord with a call in secret,

4. Saying: “My Lord! My bones have grown feeble and my head glistens with gray hair from old age, and, my Lord, I have never been unblessed in my prayer to You.

5. “I have fears about (how) my kinsmen (will act in respect of continuing my mission, and safeguarding the future of Mary), and my wife is barren. So bestow upon me a successor out of Your grace,

6. “Who will be my heir (in my duty) and heir to (the straight way of) the House of Jacob; and make him, my Lord, one with whom You are well-pleased.”

7. (The angels called out to him on God’s behalf:) “O Zachariah! We give you the glad tidings of a son whose name will be Yahyā (John). We have not given this name to anyone before.”

8. He said: “My Lord! How shall I have a son when my wife is barren and I have already reached infirmity in old age?”

9. (The angel) answered (quoting God): “Just so. Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me – assuredly I did create you before, when you had been nothing.’ ”

10. (Zachariah) prayed: “My Lord, appoint a sign for me.” “Your sign,” He said, “is that you will not be able to speak to people for three nights.”

11. So he (Zachariah) came out to his people from the sanctuary (where he had been praying in the Temple), and signified to them: “Glorify your Lord at daybreak and in the afternoon.”

12. (John was born, and when he grew up, We commanded him:) “O John! Hold fast to the Book (the Torah), with (all your) strength!” And We granted him sound, wise judgment (and true understanding of God’s Law) while he was yet a little boy;

13. And (the gift of) compassion from Our Presence, and purity. He was very pious and righteous,

14. And dutiful towards his parents; and he was never unruly, rebellious.

15. So peace be upon him on the day he was born and the day of his death, and the day when he will be raised to life.

16. And make mention, in the Book, of Mary. She withdrew from her family to a chamber (in the Temple) facing east (to devote herself to worship and reflection).

17. Thus, she kept herself in seclusion from people. Then We sent to her Our spirit, and it appeared before her in the form of a perfect man.

18. She said: “I seek refuge in the All-Merciful from you, if you are a pious, God-conscious one.”

19. He replied: “I am only a messenger of your Lord to be a means (for God’s gift) to you of a pure son.”

20. She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing no mortal has ever touched me, and I have never been unchaste?”

21. He said: “Just so. Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me; and (it must be just so) so that We make him for humankind a sign (of Our Power on account of his birth) and a mercy from Us (on account of his being a Messenger). It is a matter already decreed.”

22. So she conceived him, and then she withdrew with him to a distant place.

23. And the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She said: “Would that I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, completely forgotten!”

24. (A voice) called out to her from beneath her: “Do not grieve! Your Lord has set a rivulet at your feet.

25. “And shake the trunk of the date-palm towards you: it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon you.”

26. “So eat and drink, and be comforted. If you should see some person, say (through gesture): “I have vowed a fast of silence to the All-Merciful, so I cannot speak to any human being today.”

27. She came to her people, carrying him. They exclaimed: “O Mary! You have come for sure with an unheard of, mighty thing!

28. “O sister of Aaron, your father was never a wicked man, nor was your mother unchaste.”

29. Mary pointed to him (the infant, signifying that they should ask him). They cried: “How can we talk to one in the cradle, an infant boy?”

30. (The infant) said: “Surely I am ‘abdulLāh (a servant of God). He (has already decreed that He) will give me the Book (the Gospel) and make me a Prophet.”

31. “He has made me blessed (and a means of His blessings for people) wherever I may be, and He has enjoined upon me the Prayer (the Salāh) and the Prescribed Purifying Alms (the Zakāh—and to enjoin the same upon others) for as long as I live.”

32. “And (He has made me) dutiful towards my mother, and He has not made me unruly, wicked.”

33. “So peace be upon me on the day I was born and the day of my death, and the day when I will be raised to life.”

34. Such was Jesus, the son of Mary, in the words of the truth about which they (the Jews and Christians) have been doubting (and disputing amongst themselves and with each other).

35. It is not for God to take to Himself a child. All-Glorified is He (in that He is absolutely above doing such things). When He decrees a thing, He does but say to it “Be!” and it is.

36. “Surely, God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path (to follow).”

37. And yet, the parties (the Jews and Christians) have differed among themselves (about him). Woe, then, to those who disbelieve, because of the meeting of an awesome Day.

38. How well they will hear and how well they will see on the Day when they come before Us (the truth that they hide or push away will be clear to them)! But today (it will be of no avail to) the wrongdoers, (and they) will be in obvious loss.

39. So warn people of the coming of the Day of anguish and regrets, when everything will have been decided, for (even now) they are in heedlessness, and they do not believe.

40. Surely, it is We alone Who will inherit the earth and all who live on it; and to Us all will be brought back.

41. And make mention of Abraham in the Book. He was surely a sincere man of truth, a Prophet.

42. When he said to his father: “O my father! Why do you worship that which neither hears nor sees, nor can in anything avail you?

43. “O my father! There has indeed come to me of knowledge (of truth) such as has never come to you, so follow me, and I will guide you to an even, straight path.

44. “O my father! Do not worship Satan (by obeying his whispering to you to worship idols)! Satan is ever rebellious against the All-Merciful.

45. “O my father! I am fearful lest a punishment from the All-Merciful should befall you, and then you will become a close friend of Satan (and an instrument in his hand).”

46. His father said: “Have you turned away from my deities, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will surely cause you to be stoned! Now get away from me for a long while!”

47. He said: “Peace be upon you! I will pray to my Lord to forgive you. Surely He has been ever gracious to me.

48. “And I will withdraw from you (my father and my people), and from whatever you deify and invoke other than God. I pray to my Lord alone; I hope that I will not be unblessed in my prayer to my Lord.”

49. After he had withdrawn from them and from all that they were worshipping other than God, We bestowed upon him Isaac (a son) and Jacob (a grandson); and each of them We made a Prophet.

50. We bestowed upon them (many other gifts) out of Our Mercy, and granted them a most true and lofty renown.

51. And mention Moses in the Book. He was one chosen, endowed with perfect sincerity in faith and practicing the Religion, and was a Messenger, a Prophet.

52. We called out to him from the right side of Mount Sinai, and drew him close for communication.

53. Out of Our Mercy, We granted him his brother, Aaron, to be a Prophet.

54. Also make mention of Ishmael in the Book. He was one always true to his promise, and was a Messenger, a Prophet.

55. He used to enjoin on his people the Prayer and the Prescribed Purifying Alms, and he was one favored and pleasing in his Lord’s sight.

56. And mention Idrīs in the Book. He was surely a sincere man of truth, a Prophet.

57. And We raised him to a high station.

58. Those are some of the Prophets – upon whom God bestowed His blessings (of Scripture, Prophethood, good judgment, and wisdom) – from among the descendants of Adam and of those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and from among the descendants of Abraham and Israel (Jacob), and those whom We guided and chose. When the All-Merciful’s Revelations were recited to them, they would fall down, prostrating and weeping.

59. Then, there succeeded them generations who neglected and wasted the Prayer and followed (their) lusts (abandoning the service of God’s cause). They will meet perdition (as their just deserts).

60. Except those who repent and come to belief and do good, righteous deeds. Such will enter Paradise and will not be wronged in anything:

61. Gardens of perpetual bliss which the All-Merciful has promised to His servants while unseen (beyond the perception and knowledge of the servants). His promise is ever sure of fulfillment.

62. They will hear therein no idle talk, but only peace (contentment and safety). And they will have their provision therein, morning and evening.

63. That is the Paradise which We will cause those of Our servants who are God-revering, pious to inherit (as theirs forever).

64. (In response to an interval in the coming of Revelation, Gabriel explained:) “We do not descend but by your Lord’s command only. To Him belongs whatever is before us, and whatever is behind us, and whatever is between (all time and space, and whatever we do at all times in all places). And your Lord is never forgetful (so do not fear that He might forget you).”

65. (He is) the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; so worship Him alone, and be constant and patient in His worship. Do you know of any whose name is worthy to be mentioned along with His (as Deity and Lord to worship)?

66. And (despite this, that disbelieving) human says: “What? Once I am dead, will I then be brought forth alive?”

67. Does (that) human not bear in mind that We created him before when he was nothing?

68. And so, by your Lord, We will most certainly raise to life and gather them all together, as well as the satans (of humankind and jinn whom they used to follow), before Us, and then We will most certainly heap them up on their knees in groups around Hell.

69. Then We will certainly pluck out from every group of the same belief the ones who were most obstinate in rebellion against the All-Merciful.

70. Indeed, We know best who deserves most (and before all others) to be thrown into Hell to roast therein.

71. There is no one among you (O humankind,) who will not come to it. This is a fixed decree which your Lord has bound Himself to fulfill.

72. Then, We will save those who keep from disobedience to Him in reverence for Him and piety, and We will leave in it the wrongdoers (who associate partners with God or deny Him), humbled on their knees.

73. When Our Revelations, clear as evidence and in meaning are recited (and conveyed) to them, those who persistently disbelieve say to those who believe: “Which of the two parties (– you or us –) is superior in status, with more impressive dwellings and more imposing as a company?”

74. And yet, how many a generation have We destroyed before them who were superior in respect of possessions and outward show!

75. Say: “Whoever is lost in error, no matter how much the All-Merciful adds (to their wealth, and how long He prolongs their life-span), when they face what they were promised – whether it be punishment (here in this world) or the Last Hour – they will come to know who is worse in position and weaker in forces.

76. God strengthens in guidance those who have sought and found guidance. The righteous, good deeds of lasting merit are best in your Lord’s sight for reward, and best for returns.

77. Have you considered the one who disbelieves in Our Revelations and says (in insolence): “(Whatever you say, I will continue just as I am, for) I will most certainly be given wealth and children”?

78. Has he gained knowledge of the Unseen, or has he made a (particular, private) covenant with the All-Merciful?

79. No indeed! But We will record what he says and saddle him (with its consequence) as an ever-increasing punishment.

80. And We will inherit of him what he says, and he will come to us quite alone (bereft of wealth and children).

81. They have taken deities apart from God so that they may be (a means of) might and glory for them.

82. No indeed! Those (whom they deified – beings such as angels, jinn, Prophets, saints, and heroes, etc.) will deny their worship of them and turn against them as adversaries (on Judgment Day).

83. Do you not see that We send the satans upon the unbelievers (because of their unbelief), and they impel them (towards sin and every kind of evil) with strong impulsion?

84. So be in no haste against them (so that their days and their persecutions of you might end sooner), for We but number for them a certain (fixed) number (of days, the time allotted for their respite).

85. A Day (will come) when We will gather the God-revering, pious ones as honored guests of the All-Merciful (in Paradise);

86. And drive the disbelieving criminals to Hell like thirsty cattle.

87. (Those who have taken deities so that they may intercede with God on their behalf should know that) none will have a right of intercession except such as have a covenant with the All-Merciful (by virtue of the quality of their faith and worship, and their nearness to Him).

88. As it is, some say: “The All-Merciful has taken to Himself a child.”

89. Assuredly you have (in such an assertion) brought forth something monstrous –

90. The heavens are all but almost rent, and the earth split asunder, and the mountains fall down in ruins –

91. That they ascribe to the All-Merciful a child!

92. It is not for the All-Merciful to take to Himself a child.

93. There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes to the All-Merciful as a servant.

94. Most certainly He knows and registers them, and has numbered them exactly (having appointed for every being a particular service or duty, and determined for each a life-span and provision);

95. And every one of them will appear before Him on the Day of Resurrection, quite alone (bereft of all worldly things, children and family, friends and helpers).

96. Assuredly, those who believe and do good, righteous deeds, the All-Merciful will assign for them love (in the hearts of the inhabitants of the heaven and many on the earth, so that they will receive welcome throughout creation, no matter if they are weak and small in number now).

97. We make it (this Qur’ān) in your tongue and easy (to recite and understand) so that you may thereby give glad tidings to the God-revering, pious ones, and warn, thereby, a people given to contention.

98. And how many a generation We have destroyed before them! Can you feel (the existence) of a single one of them, or hear any whisper of them?

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Mary, Mother of Jesus Quotes From Wikiquote

Quotes of Mary, mother of Jesus

  • Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.
    • Gospel of Luke, 1:38
  • My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
    my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
    For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
    The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
    His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
    He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
    He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
    The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
    He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
    according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
  • Magnificat, Gospel of Luke, 1:46-55
    • Variant translation: My soul magnifies Jehovah, and my spirit cannot keep from being overjoyed at God my Savior, because he has looked upon the low position of his slave girl. For look! from now on all generations will declare me happy, because the powerful One has done great deeds for me, and holy is his name, and for generation after generation his mercy is upon those who fear him. He has acted mightily with his arm; he has scattered those who are haughty in the intention of their hearts. He has brought down powerful men from thrones and has exalted lowly ones; he has fully satisfied hungry ones with good things and has sent away empty-handed those who had wealth. He has come to the aid of Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, just as he spoke to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his offspring, forever.
    • Luke 1:46-55, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
  • Do whatever he tells you.
    • Gospel of John, 2:5 : Mary asks to the servants to follow the instruction of Jesus

About Mary, mother of Jesus

  • Certainly, in the full and strict meaning of the term, only Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is King; but Mary, too, as Mother of the divine Christ, as His associate in the redemption, in his struggle with His enemies and His final victory over them, has a share, though in a limited and analogous way, in His royal dignity. For from her union with Christ she attains a radiant eminence transcending that of any other creature; from her union with Christ she receives the royal right to dispose of the treasures of the Divine Redeemer’s Kingdom; from her union with Christ finally is derived the inexhaustible efficacy of her maternal intercession before the Son and His Father.
    • Ad Caeli reginam 39
  • Today is the beginning of our salvation,
    And the revelation of the eternal mystery!

The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
“Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!”

    • St Athanasius troparion for the feast of the Annunciation, Speaking the Truth in Love: Theological and Spiritual Exhortations, by John Chryssavgis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomu 2010 ISBN 978-0-8232-3337-3 page 85
  • Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum: Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta Maria mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus nunc et in hora mortis. Amen.
    • 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 death. Amen.
      • Ave Maria (Hail Mary), also called The Angelic Salutation, traditional prayer (ca. 1050).
  • Faith both in the Immaculate Conception and in the bodily Assumption of the Virgin was already present in the People of God, while theology had not yet found the key to interpreting it in the totality of the doctrine of the faith. The People of God therefore precede theologians and this is all thanks to that supernatural sensus fidei, namely, that capacity infused by the Holy Spirit that qualifies us to embrace the reality of the faith with humility of heart and mind. In this sense, the People of God is the ‘teacher that goes first’ and must then be more deeply examined and intellectually accepted by theology.
    • Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience 7 July 2010 at the Vatican web site
  • I cannot think such language either right, or becoming, or suitable. … To call the Virgin Mary the mother of God can only serve to confirm the ignorant in their superstitions.
    • John Calvin, Epistle CCC to the French church in London, 27th September 1552; translated by Jules Bonnet, p.362
  • The Most Blessed Virgin Mary is inseparable from the Triune God, her glory is Theirs and Their glory is her, since the Divine Will places everything in common. She denied nothing to the Trinity, giving Them not only that which she was supposed to give Them directly, but also which other creatures denied to give Them. Operating in a universal way is the divine way, and the Blessed Mother was able to operate with the ways of her Creator because she possessed the Kingdom of His Will. The Divine Will contains everything and preserves of all of Its acts, thus it preserves all the acts of the Sovereign Queen as if they were all Its own, because she did everything in the Fiat. One who has done good to all, loved all, and has operated in a universal way for God and everyone, justly has rights over all and over everything. The Celestial Mother wants the return for the universal love she had for all generations. Who else can requite her if not one who loves in the same Kingdom of the Divine Will? The Queen of Heaven, to impetrate the Kingdom of Redemption, had a prayer, a sigh, an act for all, and for each one – she let no one escape Her; and by this, she gave to each one the right to be able to receive their Redeemer.
    • Marian Apparition Messages to the Italian mystic Luisa Piccarreta: V19 dated June 26, 1926; V34 dated April 21, 1936; and V24 dated September 29, 1928. Quotations given by the following book:
      • Rega (OFS), Frank M. (2017) (in en). What God is by Nature, Mary is by Grace. The Greateness of the Blessed Virgin as revealed to Luisa Piccareta (Second ed.). pp. 77-78. ISBN 978-1548251109.
  • We condemn those who affirm that a man once justified cannot sin. … As to the special privilege of the Virgin Mary, when they produce the celestial diploma we shall believe what they say.
    • John Calvin, Antidote to the Canons of the Council of Trent, Canon 23. (1547)
  • The belief that the body of the Virgin was not interred on earth, but was taken to heaven, has deprived them of all pretext for manufacturing any relics of her remains, which otherwise might have been sufficiently abundant to fill a whole churchyard; yet in order to have at least something belonging to her, they sought to indemnify themselves for the absence of other relics with the possession of her hair and her milk. The hair is shown in several churches in Rome, and at Salvatierra in Spain, at Macon, St Flour, Cluny, Nevers, and in many other towns. With regard to the milk, there is not perhaps a town, a convent, or nunnery, where it is now shown in large or small quantites. Indeed, had the Virgin been a wet-nurse her whole life, or a dairy, she could not have produced more than is shown as hers in various parts.
    • John Calvin, A Treatise on Relics, Johnstone and Hunter, (January 1, 1854) p. 248.
  • It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor.
    • John Calvin, Calvini Opera, Braunshweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, Volume 45, 348, (1877-78) A Treatise on Relics, Johnstone and Hunter, (January 1, 1854) p. 248.
  • And at this day, the blessedness brought to us by Christ cannot be the subject of our praise, without reminding us, at the same time, of the distinguished honor which God was pleased to bestow on Mary, in making her the mother of his Only Begotten Son.
    • John Calvin, Commentary on Luke 1:42.
  • “[Elizabeth] calls Mary the mother of her Lord. This denotes a unity of person in the two natures of Christ; as if she had said, that he who was begotten a mortal man in the womb of Mary is, at the same time, the eternal God…. This name Lord strictly belongs to the Son of God ‘manifested in the flesh,’ (1 Timothy 3:16,) who has received from the Father all power, and has been appointed the highest ruler of heaven and earth, that by his agency God may govern all things.
    • John Calvin. “Commentary on Luke 1:43”. Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  • Elisabeth, again, while she praises her, is so far from hiding the Divine glory, that she ascribes everything to God. And yet, though she acknowledges the superiority of Mary to herself and to others, she does not envy her the higher distinction, but modestly declares that she had obtained more than she deserved.
    • John Calvin, commentary on Luke 1:43.
  • If there had been any unbelief in Mary, that could not prevent God from accomplishing his work in any other way which he might choose. But she is called blessed, because she received by faith the blessing offered to her, and opened up the way to God for its accomplishment.
    • John Calvin, Commentary on Luke 1:45.
  • Helvidius has shown himself too ignorant, in saying that Mary had several sons, because mention is made in some passages of the brothers of Christ.
    • John Calvin as quoted by Bernard Leeming, “Protestants and Our Lady”, Marian Library Studies, January 1967, p.9.&rdot=1 A Treatise on Relics], Johnstone and Hunter, (January 1, 1854) p. 248.
  • Christ’s birth did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.
    • Catechism of the Catholic Church by the Vatican, 2002 ISBN 0-86012-324-3 page 112, Lumen gentium (item 57).
  • To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honour to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son.
    • New Testament Commentaries, John 1.32; as quoted in Thomas F. Torrance, “A Harmony of Matthew, Mark and Luke” (St. Andrew’s Press, Edinburgh, 1972), p.32. and “The Gospel of St. John: The Story of the Son of God”
  • Some think that He does not call her ‘mother’ but only ‘woman’ so as not to inflict a deeper wound of sorrow on her heart. I do not reject this; but another conjecture is no less probable, that Christ wanted to show that now that He has completed the course of human life, He puts off the condition in which He has lived and enters into the heavenly kingdom where He will rule over angels and men. For we know that Christ’s custom always was to recall believers from looking at the flesh. This was especially necessary at His death.
    • “Commentary on John 19:26.”, Calvin Translation Society, Jan 1, 1853
  • The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things.
    • “Catechism of the Catholic Church – Mary – Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church”., (item 966)
  • The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honoured as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer…. since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.
    • “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.” Catechism item 963 at the Vatican web site
  • Mary, Mother of God! no lady though:
    Common woman of common earth!
    Our lady ladies call thee now,
    But christ was never of gentle birth;
    A common man of the common earth.For God’s ways are not as our ways.
    the noblest lady in the land
    Would have given up half her days,
    Would have cut off her right hand
    To bear the Child that was God of the land…
    And still for men to come she sings,
    Nor shall her singing pass away.
    He hatch filled the hungry with good things’ –
    O listen, lords and ladies gay! –
    ‘And the rich He hatch sent empty away.’

    • Mary Coleridge, as quoted in ‘’The Gospel of St. John: The Story of the Son of God’’, p.64-65
  • The history of theology shows that an understanding of the mystery of the Virgin contributes to a more profound understanding of the mystery of Christ, of the Church and of the vocation of man.
    • Congregation for Catholic Education, The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, Congregation for Catholic Education Rome, March 25, 1988, item 18 Text at the University of Dayton
  • Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is her mother.
    • Ephrem, Hymni de B. Maria, ed. Th. J. Lamy, t. II, Mechliniae, 1886, hymn. XIX, p. 624.
  • On the scorching cloud of vivid flame,
    As a queen on a throne of glory,
    By a beaming sign of new victory,
    You reign, Mary over this city.

    • Traditional hymn to Forli’s Madonna of the Fire as quoted in Lisa Pon, “A Printed Icon in Early Modern Italy: Forlì’s Madonna of the Fire”, (March 6, 2015).
  • The Virgin Mary is reflected in Lilith.
    • Dion Fortune, Psychic Self-Defence (1930), pp. 126–128.
  • It seems to me impossible that we should obtain the reward of Heaven without the help of Mary. There is no sex or age, no rank or position, of anyone in the whole human race, which has no need to call for the help of the Holy Virgin.
    • Charles Herbermann, ed. (1913). “Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • But why do you not cease to call Mary the mother of God, if Isaiah nowhere says that he that is born of the virgin is the “only begotten Son of God” and “the firstborn of all creation”?
    • Julian (emperor) (c. 331 – 363), Against the Galileans (c. 361) as translated in [The Works of the Emperor Julian, edited by Wilmer Cave Wright (1865-1951), London, W. Heinemann; New York, The Macmillan co., (1913 – 1923), volume 3, p. 399,
  • From a woman, and therefore, you also learn the humble faith in relation to the extraordinary, the humble faith that does not incredulously, doubtingly ask, “Why? What for? How is this possible?” – but as Mary humbly believes and says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” She says this, but note that to say this is actually to be silent. From a woman you learn the proper hearing of the word, from Mary, who although she “did not understand the words that were spoken” yet “kept them in her heart.” Thus she did not first demand to understand, but silent she hid the Word in the right place, since it is, of course, the right place when the Word, the good seed, “is kept in a devout and beautiful heart.”
    • Soren Kierkegaard An Upbuilding Discourse Dec 20, 1850 (En opbyggelig Tale) The Woman Who Was a Sinner. Luke 7:37ff. From Without Authority p. 145-160 Hong translation p. 149
  • Catholic youths who are genuinely pious will always feel a sincere affection for the ideal of the Virgin Mary. It is not as if the veneration of the Virgin Mary would detract from a warm and strong devotion to Christ. On the contrary, a true veneration of the Virgin Mary must lead to Christ and a moral code of life. We do not want to dispense with the ideal of the Virgin Mary for the moral and religious education of our youth.
    Youth is the age of becoming, of external and internal struggle. Passions awaken; there is a fermenting and wrestling in man, a turbulent urging and awakening. To meet this distress, the youth must have an ideal, strong and powerful, an illuminating shining ideal, which will not be shaken by the urging and fermenting ideal must elevate the wavering mind and rouse the wavering heart. Its radiance will eclipse the ignoble and vile. Such an ideal is the Virgin Mary, for it is she who embodies an all-radiant purity and beauty. ‘It is said that there are women whose very presence educates us; whose very behaviour banishes sordid thoughts, prevents all questionable words from crossing our lips. The Virgin Mary is the epitome of such a woman. A young knight devoted to her service is incapable of vulgarity. But if- forgetting her presence – he should nonetheless slip, the remembrance of her will cause inconsolable anguish of soul and at the same time help the noble mind to regain its authority [P. Schilgen S. J.].’
    To the young man, the Virgin Mary stands out as unrivalled grace, loftiness and dignity, the like of whom is not to be found in nature, art and the world of man. Why have artists and painters devoted their skill and creativity to the Madonna again and again? It is because they perceive in her the most sublime beauty and dignity. It is a dignity and beauty which never disappoints. Here we have a mistress and queen, ‘to serve whom, for whom to exist, must be the highest honour for the young man. Here we have an exalted woman and bride of the spirit, to whom you can give yourself with the full power of the love which gushes from your youthful heart, without having to fear degradation and desecration.’
    The ideal of the Virgin Mary should inspire young men. Especially in an age which takes pleasure in darkening the radiant and dragging what is lofty into the mire, the ideal of the Virgin Mary should shine forth as a salvation and power. In this ideal the young man will perceive that there is indeed something great and elevated in beauty and chastity. Here he will find the strength to walk the steep path, even if all the others lose their best in the depths. The ideal of the Virgin Mary will fortify him who wavers, lift up and strengthen him who stumbles. Indeed, it will so overwhelm him who has fallen that he will be rehabilitated with new courage. The Virgin Mary is that radiant star which will illuminate the passion of the young individual in the dark night, that star which calls forth what is noble in him when everything appears to be shattered in him.

    • Veneration of the Virgin Mary and the Young Man, by Gerhard Kremer; as qtd by Wilhelm Reich in The Mass Psychology of Fascism, (1933), p. 164.
  • ‘In former days when knights were dubbed, the knight had to give his solemn promise to protect defenceless women. That was when cathedrals were built in honour of the queen of heaven [P. Gemmel S. J.].’ There is an intimate relation between courtship of the Virgin Mary and true chivalry towards the female sex. The man who is inspired by the ideal of the Virgin Mary must of necessity bear within himself that knightly dub which stems from reverent respect for female dignity and majesty. Therefore, the dubbing of the knight in the middle Ages bound the young man to holy Minnedienst, as well as to the protection of a woman’s honour. The symbols of this knighthood no longer exist: but what is worse is that, more and more, shy reverence for women is dying out among the male youth and is giving way to a frivolous and vile robber-knighthood. Just as the knights of old in armour and arms protect and shelter frail femininity and innocence, so should and must the true man of today feel himself to be in the debt of the honour and innocence of woman. True manliness and real nobility of heart willbecome known to the female sex most easily and most beautifully. Lucky the young man who has girded his passion with this armour I Lucky the girl who has found the love of such a young man! ‘Inflict no wrong on a girl and remember that your mother too was once a girl. ’
    The young man of today is the husband of tomorrow. How will the husband and man be able to protect womanhood and assure female respect, if the young man and fiance has desecrated love and engagement! Engagement is to be a time of undesecrated love. How many men’s fate would be happier, if the ideal of the Virgin Mary were more keenly alive in the world of youth. How much suffering and grief could be avoided, if young men would not play shameless games with the love of a girl’s soul. Hear me, O young people, let the radiant light of the ideal of the Virgin Mary illuminate your love, so that you don’t trip and fall.

    • Veneration of the Virgin Mary and the Young Man, by Gerhard Kremer; as qtd by Wilhelm Reich in The Mass Psychology of Fascism, (1933), p. 164.
  • In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
    Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
    “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
    The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
    “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

    • Luke 1:26–38:
  • And she [Elizabeth] spoke out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb. And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed [is] she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
    • Luke 1:42–45
  • It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a Virgin.
    • Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, English translation edited by J. Pelikan [Concordia: St. Louis], Volume 11, 319-320.
  • She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God … It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.
    • Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, volume 24, 107.
  • But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin.
    • Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, English translation edited by J. Pelikan [Concordia: St. Louis], Volume 4, 694.
  • There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know.
    • Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works (Translation by William J. Cole) Volume 10, p. 268.
  • The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.
    • Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works (Translation by William J. Cole) 10, III, p.313.
  • Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the holy Mother of God rather not to be honoured? This is the woman who crushed the Serpent’s head. Hear us. For your Son denies you nothing.
    • Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther’s Works, English translation edited by J. Pelikan [Concordia: St. Louis], Volume 51, 128-129.
  • The Virgin Mary remains in the middle between Christ and humankind. For in the very moment he was conceived and lived, he was full of grace. All other human beings are without grace, both in the first and second conception. But the Virgin Mary, though without grace in the first conception, was full of grace in the second … whereas other human beings are conceived in sin, in soul as well as in body, and Christ was conceived without sin in soul as well as in body, the Virgin Mary was conceived in body without grace but in soul full of grace.
    • Martin Luther, as quoted in Anderson, H. George; Stafford, J. Francis; Burgess, Joseph A., eds. (1992). The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary. Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue. VIII. Minneapolis: Augsburg. ISBN 0-8066-2579-1., p.236
  • [S]he became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child…. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God…. None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God.
    • Luther’s Works, 21:326, cf. 21:346.
  • Furthermore, how will you endure [the Romanists’] terrible idolatries? It was not enough that they venerated the saints and praised God in them, but they actually made them into gods. They put that noble child, the mother Mary, right into the place of Christ. They fashioned Christ into a judge and thus devised a tyrant for anguished consciences, so that all comfort and confidence was transferred from Christ to Mary, and then everyone turned from Christ to his particular saint. Can anyone deny this? Is it not true?
    • Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, 47:45; cf. also Anderson, Stafford & Burgess (1992), p. 29
  • On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed virgin, did not conceive a mere, ordinary human being, but a human being who is truly the Son of the most high God, as the angel testifies. He demonstrated his divine majesty even in his mother’s womb in that he was born of a virgin without violating her virginity. Therefore she is truly the mother of God and yet remained a virgin.
    • Martin Luther as quoted in Tappert, Theodore G. (1959). The Book of Concord: the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, p. 595
  • Mother Mary, like us, was born in sin of sinful parents, but the Holy Spirit covered her, sanctified and purified her so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood. The Holy Spirit permitted the Virgin Mary to remain a true, natural human being of flesh and blood, just as we. However, he warded off sin from her flesh and blood so that she became the mother of a pure child, not poisoned by sin as we are. For in that moment when she conceived, she was a holy mother filled with the Holy Spirit and her fruit is a holy pure fruit, at once God and truly man, in one person.
    • Luther, Martin (1996). John Nicholas Lenker, ed. Sermons of Martin Luther. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. Luther (1996), p. 291
  • God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins, for she has conceived and borne the Lord Jesus.
    • Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 61 vols., (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nochfolger, 1883-1983), 52:39 [hereinafter: WA] 1544
  • All seed except Mary was vitiated [by original sin].
    • Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 61 vols., (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nochfolger, 1883-1983), 52:39 [hereinafter: WA] 1544 39, II:107
  • New Spain puts less faith in its own efforts than in the power of God and the intercession of its Blessed Mother, who appeared within the precincts of Tepeyac as the miraculous image of Guadalupe that had come to comfort us, defend us, visibly be our protection.
    • José María Morelos as quoted by Krauze, Enrique. Mexico, Biography of Power. A History of Modern Mexico 1810–1996. HarperCollins: New York, 1997.
  • And it came to pass on the third day of their journey, while they were walking, that the blessed Mary was fatigued by the excessive heat of the sun in the desert; and seeing a palm tree, she said to Joseph: Let me rest a little under the shade of this tree. Joseph therefore made haste, and led her to the palm, and made her come down from her beast. And as the blessed Mary was sitting there, she looked up to the foliage of the palm, and saw it full of fruit, and said to Joseph: I wish it were possible to get some of the fruit of this palm. And Joseph said to her: I wonder that thou sayest this, when thou seest how high the palm tree is; and that thou thinkest of eating of its fruit. I am thinking more of the want of water, because the skins are now empty, and we have none wherewith to refresh ourselves and our cattle. Then the child Jesus, with a joyful countenance, reposing in the bosom of His mother, said to the palm: O tree, bend thy branches, and refresh my mother with thy fruit. And immediately at these words the palm bent its top down to the very feet of the blessed Mary; and they gathered from it fruit, with which they were all refreshed. And after they had gathered all its fruit, it remained bent down, waiting the order to rise from Him who bad commanded it to stoop. Then Jesus said to it: Raise thyself, O palm tree, and be strong, and be the companion of my trees, which are in the paradise of my Father; and open from thy roots a vein of water which has been hid in the earth, and let the waters flow, so that we may be satisfied from thee. And it rose up immediately, and at its root there began to come forth a spring of water exceedingly clear and cool and sparkling. And when they saw the spring of water, they rejoiced with great joy, and were satisfied, themselves and all their cattle and their beasts. Wherefore they gave thanks to God.
    • “The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew” Chapter 20, (8th-9th century CE)
  • Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
    Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
    But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
    She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
    All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
    “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
    When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,
    but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

    • Matthew 1:18-25
  • Most images of the Virgin stress her role as Christ’s Mother, showing her standing and holding her son. The manner in which the Virgin holds Christ is very particular. Certain poses developed into “types” that became names of sanctuaries or poetic epithets. Hence, an icon of the Virgin was meant to represent her image and, at the same time, the replica of a famous icon original.
    • Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. “The Cult of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2001)
  • Most Western types of the Virgin’s image, such as the twelfth-century “Throne of Wisdom” from central France, in which the Christ Child is presented frontally as the sum of divine wisdom, seem to have originated in Byzantium (16.32.194). Byzantine models became widely distributed in western Europe by the seventh century. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries saw an extraordinary growth of the cult of the Virgin in western Europe, in part inspired by the writings of theologians such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), who identified her as the bride of the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. The Virgin was worshipped as the Bride of Christ, Personification of the Church, Queen of Heaven, and Intercessor for the salvation of humankind. This movement found its grandest expression in the French cathedrals, which are often dedicated to “Our Lady,” and many cities, such as Siena, placed themselves under her protection.
    • Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. “The Cult of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2001)
  • Tender images of the Virgin Mary with her son are among the most beloved in Christian art. Even early images from about the 6th century AD depict her gently cradling or supporting a haloed child or infant on her lap. Devotion to Mary in her dual role as the human mother of Jesus and a divine entity reached a peak in the 14th to 16th centuries, creating great demand for depictions of the mother and child. The term Madonna is Italian for “my lady” and was conferred as a title of respect or high rank, but came to be synonymous with the mother of the holy child and also with the physical representation or manifestation of the two. Small works of art depicting this theme were generally objects of personal worship and prayer intended for intimate use in a private setting, usually a home or a small chapel. Larger and more expansive scenes were produced for altars in public churches, often commissioned by a family or guild as an expression of devotion and an outward display of wealth. Over the centuries different themes emerged, but always with the mother and child as central figures in the scene.
    • National Gallery of Art, “In Depth: Madonna and Child”
  • Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world.
    • St. Gregory Nazianzen, Poemata dogmatica, XVIII, v. 58; PG XXXVII, 485.
  • Mary is everywhere: Marigolds are named for her. Hail Mary passes save football games. The image in Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most reproduced female likenesses ever. Mary draws millions each year to shrines such as Fátima, in Portugal, and Knock, in Ireland, sustaining religious tourism estimated to be worth billions of dollars a year and providing thousands of jobs. She inspired the creation of many great works of art and architecture (Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” Notre Dame Cathedral), as well as poetry, liturgy, and music (Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin). And she is the spiritual confidante of billions of people, no matter how isolated or forgotten.
    Muslims as well as Christians consider her to be holy above all women, and her name “Maryam” appears more often in the Koran than “Mary” does in the Bible. In the New Testament Mary speaks only four times, beginning with the Annunciation, when, according to Luke’s Gospel, the angel Gabriel appears to her and says she will bear “the Son of the Most High.” Mary answers, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord.” Her only extended speech, also in Luke, is the lyrical Magnificat, uttered in early pregnancy: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”
    Indeed they have.

    • Maureen Orth, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman”, (12/2015)
  • Mary has many faces. In Haiti she’s Ezili Dantò—the Black Madonna. A fierce mother figure as well as a goddess, Ezili has been a revered Vodou spirit since the Haitian Revolution. Here dancers prepare for a midnight ceremony in her honor.
    Certain images and stories of the Virgin Mary are so powerful they help define a country. That’s the case with Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose image on the tilma, or cloak, of a poor Indian man gave rise, in 1531, to Mexican identity. Anyone witnessing the outpouring of love and devotion that pilgrims demonstrate for their beloved Madre on the days leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe—broadcast live throughout the country on December 12—can see that the Virgin Mary is deeply embedded in Mexican hearts and souls.
    Her image was what Mexicans carried into their war against Spain for independence in 1810 and their internal revolution in 1910. César Chávez marched with her banner in his fight to unionize farmworkers in California in the 1960s. Our Lady of Guadalupe conferred instant benediction on the once despised mestizo children of Spaniards and Indians. She is the symbol of la raza, the definition of what it means to be Mexican, and because of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexicans have always believed they’re special.

    • Maureen Orth, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman”, (12/2015)
  • Michael O’Neill, 39, a Stanford University graduate in mechanical engineering and product design, is the Virgin Mary’s big data numbers cruncher. On his website,, he has codified every known apparition of Mary back to A.D. 40. Systematic investigation and documentation of supernatural occurrences began with the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church’s ecumenical reaction to the Reformation, more than 450 years ago. Of the 2,000 apparitions reported since then, Miracle Hunter cites a mere 28 as approved by local bishops, who are the first to decide whether “seers” seem plausible. Sixteen of those have been recognized by the Vatican.
    • Maureen Orth, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman”, (12/2015)
  • The version that I follow is the one that is closest to the holy revelation of the Evangelist and approved by the Catholic Church on the authority of the sacred and holy interpreters… In this loveliest of mysteries Our Lady should be painted as a beautiful young girl, 12 or 13 years old, in the flower of her youth… And thus she is praised by the Husband: tota pulchra es amica mea, a text that is always written in this painting. She should be painted wearing a white tunic and a blue mantle… She is surrounded by the sun, an oval sun of white and ochre, which sweetly blends into the sky. Rays of light emanate from her head, around which is a ring of twelve stars. An imperial crown adorns her head, without, however, hiding the stars. Under her feet is the moon. Although it is a solid globe, I take the liberty of making it transparent so that the landscape shows through.
    • Francisco Pacheco, Arte de la Pintura, 1649; as quoted in Ésotérisme, gnoses & imaginaire symbolique: mélanges offerts à Antoine Faivre by Richard Caron, Antoine Faivre 2001 ISBN 90-429-0955-2 p. 676; and Divine Mirrors: The Virgin Mary in the Visual Arts by Melissa R. Katz and Robert A. Orsi 2001 ISBN 0-19-514557-7 p. 98
  • Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God.
    • Pope Paul VI, Lumen gentium, 21 November 1964
  • The Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.
    • John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, no. 47, citing Pope Paul VI, Solemn Profession of Faith (30 June 1968), 15: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 60 (1968) 438f.
  • Hence, it is the clear and unanimous opinion of the Fathers that the most glorious Virgin, for whom “he who is mighty has done great things,” was resplendent with such an abundance of heavenly gifts, with such a fullness of grace and with such innocence, that she is an unspeakable miracle of God—indeed, the crown of all miracles and truly the Mother of God; that she approaches as near to God himself as is possible for a created being; and that she is above all men and angels in glory. Hence, to demonstrate the original innocence and sanctity of the Mother of God, not only did they frequently compare her to Eve while yet a virgin, while yet innocence, while yet incorrupt, while not yet deceived by the deadly snares of the most treacherous serpent; but they have also exalted her above Even with a wonderful variety of expressions. Eve listened to the serpent with lamentable consequences; she fell from original innocence and became his slave. The most Blessed Virgin, on the contrary, ever increased her original gift, and not only never lent an ear to the serpent, but by divinely given power she utterly destroyed the force and dominion of the evil one.
    • Encyclical Ineffabilis Deus of Pope Pius IX
  • Accordingly, the Fathers have never ceased to call the Mother of God the lily among thorns, the land entirely intact, the Virgin undefiled, immaculate, ever blessed, and free from all contagion of sin, she from whom was formed the new Adam, the flawless, brightest, and most beautiful paradise of innocence, immortality and delights planted by God himself and protected against all the snares of the poisonous serpent, the incorruptible wood that the worm of sin had never corrupted, the fountain ever clear and sealed with the power of the Holy Spirit, the most holy temple, the treasure of immortality, the one and only daughter of life—not of death—the plant not of anger but of grace, through the singular providence of God growing ever green contrary to the common law, coming as it does from a corrupted and tainted root.
    • Encyclical Ineffabilis Deus of Pope Pius IX
  • We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.
    • Encyclical Ineffabilis Deus of Pope Pius IX
  • There is no more direct road than by Mary for uniting all mankind in Christ.
    • Pope Saint Pius X in Ad diem illum section 5, 1904
  • If the popular praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary be given the careful consideration they deserve, who will dare to doubt that she, who was purer than the angels and at all times pure, was at any moment, even for the briefest instant, not free from every stain of sin?
    • Pope Pius XII, encyclical Fulgens corona EncyclicalFulgens corona, item 10 at the Vatican web site
  • Within her virginal womb Christ our Lord already bore the exalted title of Head of the Church; in a marvelous birth she brought Him forth as the source of all supernatural life.
    • Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, Catechism of the Catholic Church – “Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary”.
  • The revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, as the noble associate of the divine Redeemer.
    • Pope Pius XII Munificentissimus Deus 40
  • “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his son, born of woman”. With these words of his Letter to the Galatians (4:4), the Apostle Paul links together the principal moments which essentially determine the fulfilment of the mystery “pre-determined in God” (cf. Eph 1:9). The Son, the Word one in substance with the Father, becomes man, born of a woman, at “the fullness of time”. This event leads to the turning point of man’s history on earth, understood as salvation history. It is significant that Saint Paul does not call the Mother of Christ by her own name “Mary”, but calls her “woman”: this coincides with the words of the Proto-evangelium in the Book of Genesis (cf. 3:15). She is that “woman” who is present in the central salvific event which marks the “fullness of time”: this event is realized in her and through her.
    • John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem n. 3, Rome (15 August 1988), for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, during the Marian year.
  • She has brought forth God as man, and even as Supreme King.
    • Prudentius, Dittochaeum, XXVII: PL LX, 102 A.
  • Then she conceived him; and withdrew with him to a remote place. ‏And the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten! ‏So a voice came to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely thy Lord has provided a stream beneath thee. ‏ And shake towards thee the trunk of the palm-tree, it will drop on thee fresh ripe dates. ‏So eat and drink and cool the eye. Then if thou seest any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent, so I will not speak to any man to-day.
    • Qur’an 19:22-26
  • The cult of the Virgin Mary is drawn upon very successfully as a means of inculcating chastity. Again we must inquire into the psychological mechanism that is capable of assuring the success of these intentions. It is a problem of the masses of young men and women who are subjected to this influence. It is chiefly a matter of overpowering genital drives. Just as the Jesus cult mobilizes passive homosexual forces against the genitals, the cult of the Virgin Mary also mobilizes sexual forces, this time from the heterosexual sphere itself. ‘Inflict no wrong on a girl and remember that your mother too was once a girl.’ Thus, in the emotional life of Christian youths, the Mother of God assumes the role of one’s own mother, and the Christian youth showers upon her all the love that he had for his own mother at one time, that very ardent love of his first genital desires. But the incest prohibition cleaves his genital desires into an intense longing for orgasm on the one hand and asexual tenderness on the other hand. The intense longing for orgasm has to be repressed, and its energy intensifies one’s tender strivings and moulds them into an almost indissoluble tie to the mystical experience. This intense longing offers violent resistance, not only to the incestuous desire, but to every natural genital relationship with a woman. The same vital energy and enormous love that a healthy young man puts forth in an orgastic experience with his loved one is used by the mystical man to support the mystical cult of the Virgin Mary, after genital sensuality has been suppressed. This is the source from which mysticism draws its forces. Being unsatisfied forces, they should not be underestimated. They make intelligible the age-old power of mysticism over man and the inhibitions that operate against the responsibility of the masses.
    In this regard it is not a matter of the veneration of the Virgin Mary or of any other idol. It is a matter of producing a mystical structure in the masses in every new generation.

    • Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, (1933), p. 167-168.
  • This is the blessed Mary, pre-elect
    God’s virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
    Dwelt young in Nazareth of Galilee.Unto God’s will she brought devout respect
    Profound simplicity of intellect.
    And supreme patience. From her mother’s knee
    Faithful and hopeful; wise in charity;
    Strong in grave peace; in pity circumspect.
    So held she through her girlhood; as it were
    An angel-watered lily, that near God
    Grows and is quiet. Till, one day at home
    She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
    At all – yet wept till sunshine, and felt awed:
    Because the fullness of the time was come.

    • Dante Gabriel Rossetti Mary’s Childhood as quoted in ‘’The Gospel of St. John: The Story of the Son of God’’, NA, p.65-66
  • To the common Protestant mind the dignities ascribed to the Madonna have been always a violent offence; they are one of the parts of the Catholic faith which are openest to reasonable dispute, and least comprehensible by the average realistic and materialist temper of the reformation.
    But after the most careful examination, neither as adversary nor as friend, of the influences of Catholicism for good and evil, I am persuaded that the worship of the Madonna has been one of its noblest and most viral graces, and has never been otherwise than productive of true holiness of life and purity of character. I do not enter into any question as to the truth or fallacy of the idea; I no more wish to defend the historical or theological position of the Madonna than that of St Michael or St Christopher; but I am certain that to the habit of reverent belief in, and contemplation of, the character ascribed to the heavenly hierarchies, we must ascribe the highest results yet achieved in human nature.

    • Ruskin, Fors Clavigera letter 41; cf. Stones of Venice, 2.3.39-40 as quoted in The Gospel of St. John: The Story of the Son of God, NA, p.66
  • This New World has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary … [who had] prepared, disposed, and contrived her exquisite likeness in this her Mexican land, which was conquered for such a glorious purpose, won that there should appear so Mexican an image.
    • Miguel Sanchez as quoted by D.A. Brading in Mexican Phoenix Our Lady of Guadalupe:Image and Tradition Across Five Centuries (2001) p 58
  • When a priest administers the Sacraments, he is only a mediator in the distribution of divine graces. Mary, however, […] acts on a much higher level than the priest. In virtue of her own natural vitality, but together with the Holy Spirit, she built up [in her womb] the body of the divine child. Mary and the Holy Spirit gave us this divine child.
    • Matthias Joseph Scheeben (1835–1888), The Holy Spirit, compiled by Friedrich Fuchs, SVD, translated by Leon Jungblut, SVD. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1974, p. 65.
  • Religious icons such as Mary in Christianity and Guanyin in Buddhism had deep roots in European and Chinese traditions. When the Jesuit missionaries came to China in the late 16th century, they represented Christianity as a different yet compatible religion to the native Chinese beliefs, first Buddhism and then Confucianism. Mary, the virgin mother of Christ and the principal saint of Christian Church, was one of the most appealing icons in Jesuits’ paintings and narratives. Though some Chinese expressed suspicion and even rejected Mary, many others tended to equate her with Guanyin, a popular Buddhist goddess in late Ming culture, largely because they two shared similar qualities such as compassion, purification, and child-giving power.
    • “Between Bodhisattva and Christian Deity: Guanyin and the Virgin Mary in Late Ming China”, The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia, Chapter: Six, Editors: Deepak Shimkhada and Phyllis K. Herman, (January 2008), pp 101-120.
  • Under thy protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
    • Sub tuum praesidium, (250 AD).
  • The Virgin Mary was one of the most powerful images of the Middle Ages, central to people’s experience of Christianity. During the Reformation, however, many images of the Virgin were destroyed, as Protestantism rejected the way the medieval Church over-valued and sexualized Mary. Although increasingly marginalized in Protestant thought and practice, her traces and surprising transformations continued to haunt early modern England.
    • Gary Waller, “The Virgin Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Literature and Popular Culture”, Purchase College, State University of New York, (September 2012).
  • Mother! Whose virgin bosom was uncrost
    With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
    Woman! Above all women glorified,
    Our tainted nature’s solitary boast…

    • William Wordsworth, The Virgin, (Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 2.25) as quoted in The Gospel of St. John: The Story of the Son of God, NA, p.64
  • It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.
    • Ulrich Zwingli, In Evang. Luc., Opera Completa [Zurich, 1828-42], Volume 6, I, 639
  • 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.
    • Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 424.
  • The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow.
    • Ulrich Zwingli, Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 427-428.
  • I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary.
  • Christ … was born of a most undefiled Virgin.
  • It was fitting that such a holy Son should have a holy Mother.
    • Ulrich Zwingli, as quoted in E. Stakemeier, De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, K. Balic, ed., (Rome, 1962), 456.

Gary Waller, “The Virgin Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Literature and Popular Culture”, Cambridge University Press, (Jan 20, 2011)

  • Here is confounded and overthrown the foolish opinion of the papists, which would have us to worship a creature before the Creator; Mary before her Son. These wise men do not so; they worship not Mary and wherefore? Because God only is to be worshipped: but Mary is not God.
    • p.1
  • Julia Kristeva calls the Virgin a “combination of power and sorrow, sovereignty and the unnnameable,” making up “one of the most powerful imaginary constructs known in the history of civilization” It is Kristeva’s “unnameable” by which I am primarily fascinated, both in relation to the Virgin herself (insofar as we can speak of “her” as dissociated from any construct of her), and in relation to the reactions of attraction and repulsion to the Virgin in early modern England. The force of that “unnameable” may at times be explicit, but more likely has to be inferred, forcing us to search for the non-saids and the unsayables as well as the saids, probing silences (what was not said_ and the absences (what was not able to be said) of recorded events, records, and literary and other “cultural” texts.
    • p.4-5
  • As Lyndal Roper states, the body of the Virgin was a “litmus test of the separation of the divine and the human” for Catholics and Protestants and what became their “radically differenyt theologies of the body.”
    All sides of the Reformation struggles agreed that deep and mysterious powers had been attributed to the Virgin and to relics and places especially associated with her. For Catholics such attributions were, with the exception of some marginal and pardonable exaggerations and a little corruption, truthful and reflected God’s purposes; for Protestants such claims were false and demonic, slippages into paganism and evidence of the irredeemable corruption of the Roman Church. Reformers generally acknowledged Mary as God’s chosen instrument, but rejected what Latimer saw as the: foolish opinion and the doctrine of the papists, which would have us to worship a creature before the Creator.” The continental reformer Melanchthon regretted that “in popular estimation the blessed virgin has completely replaced Christ”; Bishop John Jewel referred to the blasphemy of regarding Mary as :our lady and goddess”; William Perkins attacked the view of Mary as “a Ladie, a goddesse, a queene whom Christ her sonne obeyethin heaven, a mediatresse, our life, hope, the mediccine of the diseased”; it is, he thundeers, a blasphemy that “they pray unto her thus” The degree of hostility toward Mary varied greatly across Reformation Europe in both time and place, with Lutherans more amenable to modifying rather than radically reducing her rle, but a not uncommon note in Reformed polemic was that under papist superstition – in the words of Puritan polemicist William Crashaw, who, along with his son Richard, will be mentioned frequently in this book – “the paps of a woman” were blasphemously “equaled with the wounds of our Lord, and her milke with his blood,” even though “the holy scriptures speak no more of her, but as a creature,” and, in a significant slur, as merely “a woman.”

    • p.7
  • Even so “catholic” an intellectual as John Donne – who, it is surmised, kept a painting of the Virgin in his study – could preach in 1622 that by then, god had been “a hundred years” in his “repairing” of the Church, and had ordered “not a faint discontinuing of idolatry, but…utter destruction,: and not just mentally or spiritually but “the utter destruction of the very placce, not a seising of the riches of the place, but the place it self.”
    What lay behind the reformers’ uneasiness about the place of the Virgin was not an upsurge of entirely new views. As Beattie comments, they believed indignantly that “the ancient goddesses and their female devotees still whisper[ed] and beckon[ed] in the cult of Mary,” and saw their attacks as a return to the principles of the early Church.

    • p.8
  • In his biblical commentaries, Latimer attacks Mary for what he sees as pride, bad manners, arrogance, and – in an extraordinarily revealing remark given the history of Christianity and its emphasis on motherhood – for reprimanding Jesus “like a mother.” As MacCulloch comments,the very phrase forms “a clue to Latimer’s unconscious feelings,” especially his need to neutralize or destroy specifically female or motherly power.
    • p.18
  • Kristeva asserts that although the image and associated stories of Mary constructed by the Church may have been a primary means by which it has tried to keep potential power of the female under paternal control, and so helped to “infantalize half the human race by hampering their sexual and intellectual expression,” we should nevertheless consider that the stories embodying such religious beliefs are projections of fantasies which reveal the primal bedrock of our identities, and therefore should be listened to with care. Quoting Philippe Sollers, Kristeva puns that the hole” of the Virgin, both the genital gap and the “empty space left for Mary” around which “the members of the Christian Trinity revolve,” is the center of the most profound of human fantasies. That (w)hole represents where we come from and where we will return.
    • p.26
  • [W]hat are the stories which we have projected upon the elusive figure of the Virgin? And to what extent were there alternate stories that might have been more liberatory than repressive? One on which Kristeva focuses is the “censorship of Mary’s sexuality” which, she asserts, has been the most devastating erasure of human pleasure and fulfillment in our history. Another powerful story of which the Virgin has been the center and by which our history has been haunted, is the fantasy that we can overcome “the unthinkable of death by postulating maternal love in its place,” and so move beyond the rule of the father.
    • p.26
  • Richard Marks points to the “massive expansion” of representations of the Virgin in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century parish churches. But Madonnas, he points out, “not only multiplied,” they also “diversified.” Sir Thomas More pointed out to reformers such as Dyndale that the various ladies – such as those of Walingham, Ipswich, and, nearer to his home in Chelsea at Willesden, to which he made a pilgrimage just before he was imprisoned – were “but the images of our Lady herself.”
    • pp.32.
  • Why, asked Luther, was Mary venerated when her role was at best an example of obedience and essentially that of providing Jesus with a womb for nine months? Or, as it was put more disparagingly by Latimer and others, when she was but a pudding sack or a “bag of saffron…when the spice was out,” a slur that was sufficiently au courant in 1536 to be specifically named and banned as heretical.
    • pp.32-33
  • The reformers believed that medieval theology and devotion had sexualized the Virgin by excessive idolatrous attention to her body, and by venerating the material details, however trivial or aprocryphal, of events in Mariological history. As Donna Ellington puts it, “Marys bodily human nature was the cornerstone of the entire medieval edifice of the virgin’s cult.” At a further level of idolatry, the veneration of bodily and material objects associated with Mary’s body – a term that might appear as a modern anachronism but which was, in fact, already becoming current among Protestant polemists to deride what they saw as superstitious religious practices of pagans and catholics alike.
    • p.33
  • Quite apart from the question of the truth of the diverging traditions of Christianity, the Protestant view of Mary, argues Beattie, “easily lends itself to the denigration of the female body,” not only “its sexual and maternal functions,” but also as the basis for both individual and relational being. That dual claim that the reformers were, in effect, empirically correct about the medieval sexualization of Christianity but at some deeper level mistaken about human sexuality – will be a major suggestion of this study.
    • pp.33-34
  • In her discussion of the art of the High Middle Ages, Madeline Caviness comments on the hidden “gynecological power” underneath the “heavily draped idealized figure” of the Virgin. I use the similar term gynotheology to refer to a high degree of concern, sometimes seemeingly obsessive within medieval (and later) Mariology, with the gynecological, the female sexual and reproductive apparatus and functions. It is an emphasis shared, paradoxically, by both late medieval Mariology and its Reformation opponents.
    • p.34
  • As Frank Graziano comments, in the 1980s Steinberg’s views provoked much polemical scholarship concerning the relationship between theology and eroticism. Carolyn Walker Bynum argued indignantly that medieval viewers of Christ’s flesh did not understand the art as sexual: they did not see the representation of Christ’s penis in sexual terms, and they viewed the Virgin’s breasts “primarily” as food.
    • p.35
  • Boss echoes Steinberg’s observation that “the modern aversion from Mary’s physical motherhood” is accompanied by “a certain embaressment of such commentators in the face of descriptions of pregnancy and parturition.” In her reading of the Gospel of Matthew, Jane Scharberg comments on a reviewer’s indignation that she should discuss intimate details of Mary’s pregnancy as a topic inappropriate for “polite company.”
    • pp.35-36

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