Are these in the Bible? If they aren’t Biblical, then are they from sacred tradition?
Rev 12:1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
This woman in the opinion of many is Mary, crowned queen of heaven. Some however (with what authority???) argue that the woman is not Mary.
The two beliefs while implicit in scripture come from Sacred Tradtion, but so does the Bible.
The following links offer much scriptural support
The most immediate proof that this is a Catholic teaching and is a reference to the Glorious Virgin Mary, is that the Church proclaims Revelation 12 on all of the great Marian feasts and Holy Days at the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. Lex orandi, lex credendi.
Since the Theotokos did NOT suffer pangs of childbirth, the woman of Rev. 12 is not her.
However, the Assumption of the Thetokos is a tradition shared by all the pre-reformation Apostolic Churches, including those of the East, even non-Chalcedonian and Assyrian.
The Assumption of Mary is a teaching of the Church from the very earliest days. Don’t you think Chrstians would have organized continuous pilgrimages to her tomb if they believed she was dead?
However, it is not taught by Scripture. It is the non-scriptural word of God.
As for the Coronation of Mary in heaven, this is not a real event. It is what is sometimes called a Mystical Event, reflecting the teaching that Mary is the most honorable of God’s creatures and that she has played a major role in our salvation and the graces that follow therefrom.
Does this answer your question.
[quote=bpbasilphx]Since the Theotokos did NOT suffer pangs of childbirth, the woman of Rev. 12 is not her.
A miraculous child-birth would not necessarily preclude the pangs of childbirth, and nowhere in Scripture or in Sacred Tradition (to my knowledge) is there a consistent belief that the Virgin Mary did not suffer the pangs of childbirth.
Verse 5 is certainly referring to the Glorious Virgin Mary. And as I stated before, the Catholic Church in her Liturgy always reads Rev. 12 on all of the Marian feasts and High Holy Days. We have many statues and images of the Blessed Virgin Mary shown with a crown of 12 stars with the moon under her feet (as in the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.) So it would not be Catholic to say that the Theotokos is not the woman of Rev. 12, on some level. But it has ever been Catholic belief that the Virgin Mary is being referred to in Rev. 12. (notice I use Catholic with a capital C)
Some have argued that “And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered” relates to Simeon’s prophecy that a sword would pierce her.
What’s the official (or maybe unofficial) teaching about Mary having pains giving birth?
No and Yes.
The thing is, though, that Genesis 3:16 indicates that the pain of childbirth is a punishment of Eve’s sin. Since Mary is sinless, including freedom from the stain of sin that all of the rest of us inherited from our first parents, she should not be subject to that punishment – and thus, would not have suffered pain in childbirth.
Keep in mind Mary is mother not only of Jesus, but mother of the Church also. As mother of the Church, the “labor pains” (death of Jesus on the cross) were excruciating.
Revelation 12 in one interpretation is Mary, and it is true it is ancient tradition from the 1st century she gave birth without birth pains to Jesus. Here is one explanation
He says, And on her head, a crown of twelve stars. For the Virgin is crowned with the twelve apostles who proclaim the Christ while she is proclaimed together with him. He says, She was with child, and she cried out in her birth-pangs, in anguish for delivery. Yet Isaiah says about her, “before the woman in labor gives birth, and before the toil of labor begins, she fled and brought forth a male child” (Isa 66:7). Gregory [of Nyssa], also, in the thirteenth chapter of his Interpretation of the Song of Songs talks of the Lord “whose conception is without intercourse, and whose birth is undefiled.”** So the birth was free from pain. Therefore, if, according to such a great prophet and the teacher of the church, the Virgin has escaped the pain of childbirth, how does she here cry out in her birth-pangs, in anguish for delivery?** Does this not contradict what was said? Certainly not. For nothing could be contradictory in the mouth of the one and the same Spirit, who spoke through both. But in the present passage you should understand the crying out and being in anguish in this way: until the divine angel told Joseph about her, that the conception was from the Holy Spirit, the Virgin was naturally despondent, blushing before her betrothed, and thinking that he might somehow suspect that she was in labor from a furtive marriage. Her despondency and grief he called, according to the principles of metaphor, crying and anguish; and this is not surprising. For even when blessed Moses spiritually met God and was losing heart–for he saw Israel in the desert being encircled by the sea and by enemies–God said to him, “Why do you cry to me?” (Ex 14:15) So also now the vision calls the sorrowful disposition of the Virgin’s mind and heart “crying out.” But you, who took away the despondency of the undefiled handmaid and your human mother, my lady mistress, the holy Mother of God, by your ineffable birth, do away with my sins, too, for to you is due glory for ever. Amen."–Oecumenius, Commentary on the Apocalypse, trans. John H. Suggit [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2006] pp. 107-109. 6th Century AD.
Here are some example of obviously non literal labor pains:
"My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you!"--Galatians 4:19 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the** labor pains**.--Matthew 24:7-8 Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes from place to place and there will be famines. These are the beginnings of the l**abor pains**.--Mark 13:8 We know that all creation is groaning in** labor pains** even until now;--Romans 8:22 For it is written: "Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children; break forth and shout, you who were not in labor; for more numerous are the children of the deserted one than of her who has a husband."--Galatians 4:27 (this is Jerusalem)
Whether Mary experienced birth pains or not is not essential to the Catholic faith.
As to my knowledge all the church fathers on the matter say she gave birth to Jesus without birth pains, if this is true then yes it is necessary to be believed by all. I do not think it was formally defined
Regardless here is some of the evidence:
‘Some said: “The Virgin Mary hath borne a child, before she was married two months.” And many said: “She has not borne a child, nor has a midwife gone up (to her), nor have we heard the cries of (labour) pains.” And they were all blinded respecting Him and they all knew regarding Him, though they knew not whence He was.’–Ascension of Isaiah 11:13-14 (1st Century writing)
‘The womb of the Virgin took it, and she received conception and gave birth. So the Virgin became a mother with great mercies. And she labored and bore the Son but without pain, because it did not occur without purpose.And she did not require a midwife, because He caused her to give life.’–Odes of Solomon 19:6-8 (This was written sometimes in the first centuries of Christian, some say the first)
“Of Him then His mother’s burden was light, the birth immaculate, the delivery without pain, the nativity without defilement, neither beginning from wanton desire, nor brought to pass with sorrow. For as she who by her guilt engrafted death into our nature, was condemned to bring forth in trouble, it was meet that she who brought life into the world should accomplish her delivery with joy.”–St Gregory of Nyssa, Homily on the Nativity AD 388
“The gloomy descent to hell was not for her, but a joyous, easy, and sweet passage to heaven. If, as Christ, the Life and the Truth says: “Wherever I am, there is also my minister,” how much more shall not His mother be with Him? She brought Him forth without pain, and her death, also, was painless…It was fitting that she who saw her Son die on the cross, and received in her heart the sword of pain which she had not felt in childbirth, should gaze upon Him seated next to the Father.”–St. John Damascene, Second Homily on the Dormition of the Mother of God c.AD 740
“So far as He was born of woman, His birth was in accordance with the laws of parturition, while so far as He had no father, His birth was above the nature of generation: and in that it was at the usual time (for He was born on the completion of the ninth month when the tenth was just beginning), His birth was in accordance with the laws of parturition, while in that it was painless it was above the laws of generation. For, as pleasure did not precede it, pain did not follow it, according to the prophet who says, Before she travailed, she brought forth, and again, before her pain came she was delivered of a man-child [Isaiah 66:7]. The Son of God incarnate, therefore, was born of her, not a divinely-inspired man but God incarnate… But just as He who was conceived kept her who conceived still virgin, in like manner also He who was born preserved her virginity intact, only passing through her and keeping her closed [Ezekiel 44:2].”–St. John Damascene, On the Orthodox Faith, IV, 14
“For there are no pangs in the case of a virgin that man has not known: the name of virginity and the name of birth pangs cannot be true together; yet just as a Child is born to us without a father, thus also a Son is given tous without pangs ; and where there was no desire at the beginning, neither are there any pangs at the end. And just as the Virgin did not know how that holy body was formed within the womb, thus neither in His birth did she feel pains. And Prophecy bears witness about this, saying, “Before the pains of labour came, she was delivered, and brought forth a man child;” [Isaiah 66:7] and just as that woman, who was the mother of Sin, and of this dying world, brought forth in sorrows and pains, it was right that this [woman] also, who was the Mother of Life, and of the Virgin Son, who was Father of the future, that is, of a virgin world, should begin with joy in conception, and finish with joy in birth ; for there is nothing that pollutes, where God is.”–Isho’dad of Merv who uses St Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on the Diatessaron (the four fold gospel), (non Catholic) Nestorian of the Church of the East, (from Mosul, Afganistan) p.42 c.AD 850
The last reference is to show its not uniquely a Catholic position but even the Nestorians held to it.
GIving birth without birth pains is mentioned at the Catechism of Trent, and some popes. The common historical interpretation of Isaiah 66:7 is that it is a painless birth by Mary
Of course not, but “not essential” does not necessarily mean “unimportant”. Whether the Blessed Mother experienced birth pangs or not is of some importance to me, because I rever my Lord’s mother and want to know more about her. Those who do think she had birth pangs are not necessarily less reverent, but I don’t understand why someone, given a free choice, would want not want to believe this beautiful, pious and extremely believable tradition.
[quote=BerhaneSelassie]GIving birth without birth pains is mentioned at the Catechism of Trent, and some popes. The common historical interpretation of Isaiah 66:7 is that it is a painless birth by Mary
Thanks Berhane! I didn’t realize there WAS such a continuous tradition of the Glorious Virgin Mary not experiencing birth pangs. In my comment I was actually referring to the pangs that would have been a prelude to the actual birth, which the traditions may not be addressing. Be that as it may, my objection was to the poster that said this exception from birth pangs, would somehow prove that Revelation 12 is not about the Virgin Mary, when in fact it most certainly is, on one level.
But you have already provided some good quotes from (Eastern!) Church fathers resolving this difficulty.
Gen 3:16, pain will increase, not that it wasn’t going to be there.
The Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven make up two - the final two - of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. They have been a part of the Glorious Mysteries since the 1300s and 1400s. They were not new even then. For more on the Glorious Mysteries and the role of Mary’s Assumption and her Coronation see Kevin Johnson’s Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the Beads (Dallas, TX: Pangaeus Press, 1996).
So…I’m confused here, if someone wants to help me out. If Mary had no labor pains, yet the woman of Revelations did, how are they the same?
Some argue the pains in Revelation relate the the prophecy of Simeon in that a sword would pierce Mary.