Skip to comments.Apostles' Creed...WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY [Ecumenical]
Posted on 05/30/2008 8:08:51 PM PDT by Salvation
"When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Gal. 4, 4).
The Prophet Isaias had foretold the birth of Christ to King Achaz in the eighth century BC: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, His name shall be called Emmanuel (i.e., God with us)" (Is. 7, 14).
When the time decreed by God the Father for sending Christ into the world had arrived, the Archangel Gabriel was sent from heaven to obtain the consent of Mary. During their conversation the Archangel said: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God." Our Ladys response came without hesitation: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." Seeing that Our Lady had given Her full and total consent to being the Mother of God, the Archangel Gabriel then left Her (St. Luke 1, 35-38). At that instant, without any detriment to Her spotless virginity, Our Lady miraculously conceived within Her womb the Savior of the world.
Just as there was a co-operation between Adam and Eve in humanity's fall, likewise was there to be in God's plan a co-operation between the new Adam and Eve in humanity's redemption. For without Our Lady's free consent to be the mother of the Messiah the Word of God would not have received the necessary human nature to redeem Adam and all his posterity. Our Lady's obedience therefore became the cause of salvation for the whole of humanity, undoing the damage caused by Eves disobedience. Hence, does the Church appropriately bestow upon Her the titles of "New Eve" and "Co-Redemptrix." As the Fathers proclaim: "Death through Eve; Life through Mary."
At this time, Our Lady and St. Joseph were living in Nazareth, yet it had been foretold that Bethlehem was to be the Messiahs birthplace: "But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel" (Mich. 5, 2). By a special providence of God, a decree was issued by Augustus Caesar for a census of "the whole world." In obedience, Our Lady and St. Joseph, both being of the Royal House of David, traveled to Bethlehem, the City of David. Here, Our Lady gave birth to Jesus Christ, while a multitude of the heavenly host proclaimed: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" (St. Luke 2, 10-14).
The third Joyful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary invites us to meditate on the Nativity of Christ. The fruit of this Mystery is poverty of spirit. One can understand why this virtue was chosen when considering the circumstances of Christs birth. The Holy Family had to content themselves with no better than a poor stable occupied by an ox and an ass, exposed to the open air, with the Child Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger of straw. Poverty was to be the lot of Our Lord His entire life. He was born in a manger that belonged to another, and was to be buried in a tomb that belonged to another.
The Catholic Church dogmatically asserts that the Virgin Mary was a virgin before, during, and remained so perpetually after the birth of Christ (Ante partum, In partu, Post partum). As a consequence, the very act of giving birth to Christ was not detrimental to Our Ladys virginity. It is a pious belief that Christ proceeded from His Mothers womb in the same way He was later to proceed from the tomb, that is, by passing through the rock without rolling it away (St. Matt. 28, 2).
In giving birth to Christ, we may truly say that the Virgin Mary became the Mother of God. It was argued in the early fifth century by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, that as the Virgin Mary supplied only Christ's human and not divine nature, She could only be called Christotokos (Mother of Christ), not Theotokos (Mother of God). Nestorius' error had its foundation in a false Christology, which asserted that Christ was two separate persons, one human and one divine, rather than one divine person with two natures, human and divine, united hypostatically. When the Virgin Mary gave Her flesh to Christ She was clothing a divine person. In giving birth to Christ She was giving birth to a divine person. Christ is God, therefore the Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God. Sacred Scripture itself attests to this:
"...And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?..." (St. Luke 1, 43);
"On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there..." (St. John 2, 1);
"Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother..." ( St. John 19, 25).
And what of St. Joseph? He was chosen to be the protector of Our Ladys virginity, to defend Her from accusations after the birth of Her Son, to assist the Holy Family in their flight to Egypt, to be the guardian and foster-father of Christ, and to have the Son of God obedient to him. Sacred Scripture speaks precious little of St. Joseph except that he was a "just man" (St. Matt. 1, 19). The modern devotion to St. Joseph was strongly promoted by the great Spanish Mystic and reformer St. Teresa of Avila. "Knowing from experience," St. Teresa tells us, "the amazing influence that St. Joseph has with God, I would persuade everybody to honor him with special devotion. Every year on St. Josephs feast I ask for some special favor and I have had my desires fulfilled." St. Joseph has also been particularly honoured by the Church as the Patron Saint of a happy death, for he had the most happy death by having Our Lord and Our Lady at his side, as well as the Patron Saint of workers and the struggle against atheistic Communism. The Fathers St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians 18, 2 (C. 110 AD)
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians 18, 2 (C. 110 AD):
"For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with Gods plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit. He was born and baptized so that by His submission He might purify the water. The virginity of Mary, her giving birth, and also the death of the Lord, were hidden from the prince of this world: - three mysteries loudly proclaimed, but wrought in the silence of God." St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 (C. 155 AD)
St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 (C. 155 AD):
"He became Man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent, might be also the very course by which it would be put down. For Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent, and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied: Be it done unto me according to thy word." St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3, 22, 4 (C.180 AD)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3, 22, 4 (C.180 AD):
"(Eve) 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 Eves disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith." St. Ephrem of Edessa (+373 AD), Songs of Praise 1, 1; 1, 2
St. Ephrem of Edessa (+373 AD), Songs of Praise 1, 1; 1, 2:
"Awake, my harp, your songs Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
in praise of the Virgin Mary!
Lift up your voice and sing
The wonderful history
Of the Virgin, the daughter of David,
who gave birth to the Life of the World.
Who loves you is amazed
and who would understand is silent and confused,
Because he cannot probe the Mother
who gave birth in her virginity.
If it is too great to be clarified with words
the disputants ought not on that account cross swords with your Son."
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
As the body of Christ was formed of the pure blood of the immaculate Virgin without the aid of man, as we have already said, and by the sole operation of the Holy Ghost, so also, at the moment of His Conception, His soul was enriched with an overflowing fullness of the Spirit of God, and a superabundance of all graces. For God gave not to Him, as to others adorned with holiness and grace, His Spirit by measure, as St. John testifies, but poured into His soul the plenitude of all graces so abundantly that of his fullness we all have received. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 484: The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time," the time of the fulfillment of Gods promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily." The divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not man?" was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you."
No. 495: Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus," Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her Son, as "the mother of my Lord." In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Fathers eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).
No. 504: Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Marys womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven." From his conception, Christs humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without measure." From "his fullness" as the head of redeemed humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace."
The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Catechisms...WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY [Ecumenical]
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Here’s the best way to learn it:
We always said it with our children when we said the Rosary.
The Third Day song is a pale imitation, IMO.
awesome as always
“The Third Day song is a pale imitation, IMO.”
Respectfully but vehemently disagree.
I give Mullins tremendous credit for putting it to music. I loved it when he did it.
But Third Day’s cover, on Offerings II, I believe, really makes it come alive.
I memorized the Creed after realizing its significance in both substance and liturgy in my United Methodist Church. It follows the opening hymn and sends chills up and down my body as we recite our affirmation of faith.
“After the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her, and granting her power to receive the divinity of the Word, and likewise power to bring forth. And then was she overshadowed by the enhypostatic Wisdom and Power of the most high God, the Son of God Who is of like essence with the Father as of Divine seed, and from her holy and most pure blood He formed flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, the first-fruits of our compound nature: not by procreation but by creation through the Holy Spirit: not developing the fashion of the body by gradual additions but perfecting it at once, He Himself, the very Word of God, standing to the flesh in the relation of subsistence. For the divine Word was not made one with flesh that had an independent pre-existence, but taking up His abode in the womb of the holy Virgin, He unreservedly in His own subsistence took upon Himself through the pure blood of the eternal Virgin a body of flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, thus assuming to Himself the first-fruits of man’s compound nature, Himself, the Word, having become a subsistence in the flesh. So that He is at once flesh, and at the same time flesh of God the Word, and likewise flesh animated, possessing both reason and thought. Wherefore we speak not of man as having become God, but of God as having become Man. For being by nature perfect God, He naturally became likewise perfect Man: and did not change His nature nor make the dispensation an empty show, but became, without confusion or change or division, one in subsistence with the flesh, which was conceived of the holy Virgin, and animated with reason and thought, and had found existence in Him, while He did not change the nature of His divinity into the essence of flesh, nor the essence of flesh into the nature of His divinity, and did not make one compound nature out of His divine nature and the human nature He had assumed.” +John of Damascus
“Joseph was amazed as he saw what was supernatural. He understood, O Virgin, the rain upon the fleece In thy conception without seed. And he understood the bush that burned without fire and was unconsumed, And Aaron’s rod, which blossomed. Indeed, thy betrothed and guardian cried out to the priests: “A virgin gives birth, and after the birth remains a virgin.”” +Romanos the Melodist; Kontakion for the Annunciation
“Come, let us wonder at the virgin most pure, wondrous in herself, unique in creation, she gave birth, yet knew no man; her pure soul with wonder was filled, daily her mind gave praise in joy at the twofold wonder: her virginity preserved, her child most dear. Blessed is He who shone forth from her!” +Ephraim the Syrian
“Let us all run to the Panagia in every circumstance to ask her, to have her as our aid.” +Anthimos of Chios
Mary was the mother of the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus, God made man, the Word made flesh. You either believe that Jesus was God or you don’t. No twisting of who Jesus is or the meaning of mother. Mary did not create God, she was mother not creator.
Since this is an ecumenical thread, I can certainly say that Mary was a virgin until after the birth of our Lord.
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