Could The Blessed Virgin have lived a sinless life?


#1

I believe that the non-Catholic contention that Mary could not have lived without sinning is the result of a serious lack of faith, since all the scriptures point to God’s command to live a holy life and avoid sin.
Leviticus 11 :44 For I am the Lord your God: be holy because I am holy.
Leviticus 11 :46 You shall be holy, because I am holy.
1 Peter 1 :16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.
Leviticus 20 :26 You shall be holy unto me, because I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from other people, that you should be mine.
Leviticus 19 :2 Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I the Lord your God am holy.

It makes no sense whatever for God to command us to do the impossible when the Word of God clearly says that “with God all things are possible”. Our holy lives (or lack thereof) are the direct result of our cooperation with the superabundant grace that is the gift of God. If Our Lady was indeed “full of grace” then isn’t it unbelief to say that she did not lead a sinless life? (Luke1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.)

The New Testament nowhere gives us any example of Mary’s sin and calls Joseph and many others “righteous” because they obeyed God and cooperated with His grace in their lives. It is clearly not their own works that have merited their salvation, but their works are the result of their full cooperation with the God’s graces so that their salvation is a tremendous example of the overwhelming power of the grace that God gives us to do his will. (James 2 :18 But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.
James 2 :20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2 :22 Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect?
James 2 :26 For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.)

Is it not unbelief that causes us to fall? That unbelief is why we sin…we fail to believe that God’s grace is sufficient for us, then do not cooperate with that grace and as a result fall (flat on our spiritual faces).
Romans 3 :23 For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God.
Romans 5 :12 Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.

Also…there is no distinction made between Original sin and actual sin…newborns are without actual sin until the age of reason…Adam and Eve were sinless prior to the fall. Jesus…we know was also sinless.

St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is making a de facto statement about man’s nature and unbelief in general. I don’t think it is a literal statement. This is not salvation by works at all, but our cooperation with the free gift of grace from God.

Any light you can shed on this?
Pax vobiscum,


#2

She had to. The ark of God’s covenant by its very nature had to be pure.


#3

She had to be sinless not because of who she was but who Christ was. To not believe in the sinlessness of Mary is to detract from the perfection of Christ.

And of course ditto on all the Ark of the covenant stuff. I know I had accepted in my heart that her sinlessness was correct, but intellectually, all the OT Ark of the covenant prefigurement satisfied the intellect. God, I love the Catholic Church. Thank you for giving Her to us!

God Bless,
Maria


#4

She had to be pure because God would strike down anything approaching him that was impure (see theophany in Exodus)


#5

Beyond the fact that the Church teaches that she did, I have this take on it. Christ has a sinless Father, and the Father, out of love for His Son, gave Him a sinless mother as well. His divine nature was begotten without sin and from a sinless father, and His human nature was conceived without sin and from a sinless mother. They were both (God the Father, and Mary) the most perfect parents Christ could have; one divine perfection, one human perfection.

In addition, I believe Mary’s sinlessness is an important point of hope for us all. The human race, while it does need the grace of God, does not need to be God Incarnate to be perfect, without sin. Through Mary, we are shown what we were all meant to be, and what we can become in the next life, though not in this. Mary points to our perfected humanity, which she was given in this life, and we can be given in the next. She reminds us that God’s creation, His people are still “very good”, though damaged.


#6

[quote=VociMike]Beyond the fact that the Church teaches that she did, I have this take on it. Christ has a sinless Father, and the Father, out of love for His Son, gave Him a sinless mother as well. His divine nature was begotten without sin and from a sinless father, and His human nature was conceived without sin and from a sinless mother. They were both (God the Father, and Mary) the most perfect parents Christ could have; one divine perfection, one human perfection.

In addition, I believe Mary’s sinlessness is an important point of hope for us all. The human race, while it does need the grace of God, does not need to be God Incarnate to be perfect, without sin. Through Mary, we are shown what we were all meant to be, and what we can become in the next life, though not in this. Mary points to our perfected humanity, which she was given in this life, and we can be given in the next. She reminds us that God’s creation, His people are still “very good”, though damaged.
[/quote]

Thank you! This is very well put. :slight_smile:


#7

She had to be sinless. If Jesus’ birth is analogous to scooping a cup of water out of a bucket, we can’t expect the water in the cup to be any cleaner than the water in the bucket. Jesus was sinless, and he had to come from a sinless being. Thus, Mary was sinless (for the purpose of bearing Jesus)

Eamon


#8

I was the lone little voter that put “not sure, let’s talk about it.” but since I don’t know what to say I’ll have to watch you guys talk about it. :o


#9

****Mary is not sinless by necessity, for God can do all things and does not need any of us to accomplish His divine will. Rather, Mary is sinless because of her office, namely being the mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.


The Office of Readings (Matins) for the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin on Saturday has two passages from the Church fathers that address this point. St. John Chrysostom says Mary is sinless because Christ defeated the devil by using the same means:


Christ conquered the devil using the same means and the same weapons that the devil used to win… The symbols of our fall were a virgin, a tree and death. The Virgin was Eve (for she had not yet known man); then there was the tree; and death was Adam’s penalty… These three tokens of our destruction, the virgin, the tree and death, became the tokens of our victory. Instead of Eve there was Mary; instead of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the wood of the cross; instead of Adam’s death, the death of Christ.


God used these tokens to humble the devil, knowing the devil would think he outsmarted God and therefore is more wise and powerful. Which is a reason not only for Mary’s perpetual virginity, but also for her perpetual sinlessness, since Eve was also sinless and a virgin at the time of the fall.


Blessed Guerric of Igny says unlike Eve, Mary fulfilled her vocation:


The first Eve is not so much a mother as a stepmother, since she handed on to her children an inheritance of certain death rather than the beginning of light. She is indeed called the mother of all the living, but she is more truly the destroyer of the living or the mother of the dead, since the only fruit of ther child-bearing was death. And as Eve was incapable of fulfilling the vocation of her title, Mary consummated the mystery. She herself, like the Church of which she is the type, is a mother of all who are reborn to life. She is in fact the mother of the life by which everyone lives, and when she brought it forth from herself she in some way brought to rebirth all those who were to live by that life. (emphasis mine)


Mary lived a sinless life on earth because of her unique vocation, namely that being the mother of God.




#10

If the Church says so, i believe it.

Anyways, We have a fallen human nature caused by original sin. We can find sin more enticing when tempted because of this. Mother Mary being Full of Grace, would have it easier to fight off the attacks of temptation because she did not have a fallen nature as we do.


#11

Anyone, by the grace of God, can live a sinless life. God even told Cain that although sin was crouching at his door, he needed to master it. God doesn’t give us tasks we cannot do, given the help of His grace.

Mary was full of grace. She could have sinned, yet she didn’t. Jesus and His mother had enmity for Satan, placed there by God… “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15).


#12

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Anyone, by the grace of God, can live a sinless life. God even told Cain that although sin was crouching at his door, he needed to master it. God doesn’t give us tasks we cannot do, given the help of His grace.

**Mary was full of grace. She could have sinned, yet she didn’t. **Jesus and His mother had enmity for Satan, placed there by God… “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15).
[/quote]

Not quite so… Yes she was full of grace (past perfect participle meaning she was and would remain full of grace). Sin, however, is a consequence of original sin. Mary could only sin if she had a disposition to sin, which she did not. Even though she was still required to committ (her Fiat), she had the fullness of grace to do so. Even Adam and Eve were not labeled as full of grace.

her seed is a powerful statement insofar as women do not have seed… another verse pointing to her virginal birth of the Lord without the intervention of man.


#13

sure, why not?


#14

Mary herself said that she rejoiced in God her Savior. Also Mary went up to the temple for sacrifices. I believe Mary was human and not divine. For one to not sin, one must be divine. Even though Mary was declared full of Grace, does not mean she was sinless. When Jesus as a boy misbehaved, I’m sure she grew angry at him and punished him for his misbehavior as all Mothers do.

                                Also Paul the Apostle said in Romans chapter 3, that **all **have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Paul wasn't speaking of just a select group of men, but **all of mankind.                                      **

#15

posted by gladtobe

Mary herself said that she rejoiced in God her Savior. Also Mary went up to the temple for sacrifices. I believe Mary was human and not divine. For one to not sin, one must be divine. Even though Mary was declared full of Grace, does not mean she was sinless. When Jesus as a boy misbehaved, I’m sure she grew angry at him and punished him for his misbehavior as all Mothers do.

Also Paul the Apostle said in Romans chapter 3, that **all **have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Paul wasn’t speaking of just a select group of men, but **all of mankind. **

No Catholic here is saying that Jesus was not Mary’s Lord and Savior. No Catholic here is saying Mary is divine.

While Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human. That would make Jesus part of mankind. Did He sin? Did Jesus fall short?

To sin would you agree that one must have knowledge that what you do is sinful? Can infants sin? What about mentally deficit people? Adults who have the intellect of an infant, do they sin? Are they included in all have sinned?

God Bless,
Maria


#16

[quote=gladtobe]Mary herself said that she rejoiced in God her Savior. Also Mary went up to the temple for sacrifices. I believe Mary was human and not divine. For one to not sin, one must be divine. Even though Mary was declared full of Grace, does not mean she was sinless. When Jesus as a boy misbehaved, I’m sure she grew angry at him and punished him for his misbehavior as all Mothers do.

                                Also Paul the Apostle said in Romans chapter 3, that **all **have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Paul wasn't speaking of just a select group of men, but **all of mankind.                                      **

[/quote]

That won’t work GTB…
Think about it. If Jesus EVER misbehaved, then He would not have been God incarnate since he had to fulfill all the commandments perfectly, including the 4th which is “Honor thy Father and thy mother.” we know that He was tempted in every way even as we are, yet without sin… was Jesus misbehaving when He remained behind in Jerusalem? Think carefully before you jump to answer that one…

Please have a look at the examples that I used in my initial postings on this topic. I believe that we show our unbelief when we assume that that passage in Romans applies to the Blessed Virgin as well. If we cannot cooperate with God’s grace and so live a sinless life then God cannot judge us for our sins because He has asked something that a human being cannot do.Yet He commands that we be holy even as He is holy, so…to my mind anyway…it is the height of doubt and unbelief to think that none of us could live a sinless life by cooperating with God’s superabundant grace.

What else is grace for?

Now… don’t look at me and say:" then you say you are sinless…", that’s not my point at all and would be a crazy lie as well. What I am saying is that Mary was indeed unique in all of history. (Re: “hail FULL of grace”) and that her life and that of the holy family were atypical of what WE live. I.E she did indeed live a sinless life. Consider this: How would YOU try to live if you spent your whole life in the very presence of God in the flesh?

Now…How should WE live since we know that Christ lives in us and is our hope of Glory?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I can assure you that I personally am after every grace I can procure and intend to do my best to cooperate with all of it.

Is this then what the prayer means that says “Pray for us O holy mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”?
Pax vobiscum,


#17

I said yes, because with God’s grace the impossible will be possible.


#18

Well. first of all Jesus never sinned because his divinity resided within him. But Mary was a complete human being, flesh and blood, just as we are. If Mary was without sin, then she would have had no need to go up to the temple to make an offering for sins.Lu 1:21-23. As to the mentally impaired I do not know their state. But they are human and all humans do sin either in word, deed or thought. The mentally retarded are incapable of knowing they behaving badly, but they do sin sometimes.

                               I believe Jesus was like us in all ways and that includes being a little boy who gets into mischief. Many religious authors have written Jesus didn't really become aware of his divinity until he grew older and was led by the spirit. One gnostic writer said Jesus got angry at another boy and caused him to fall off a roof and the fall killed the boy. But Jesus brought him back to life. Those are just apocrypha stories though. But I believe Jesus went through all the experiences of being human as we do. But even though he was tempted by sin, he overcame the desire of sin.

#19

[quote=gladtobe]Well. first of all Jesus never sinned because his divinity resided within him. But Mary was a complete human being, flesh and blood, just as we are.

[/quote]

It doesn’t say “all except one who’s divinity resides within him”, it just says “all”. You can’t just wave your hand and say “all” means what you want it to mean, and that it can’t mean what Catholics say it means.

If Mary was without sin, then she would have had no need to go up to the temple to make an offering for sins.Lu 1:21-23.

Yes, I’ve heard this argument before. She acted according to the law, to fulfil all righteousness. Did Jesus need to be baptised? And yet he acted to fulfil all righteousness also.


#20

My point exactly VM!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.