Did Our Lady really knew the fate of Her Son at the Annunciation?


#1

It seems to be usually assumed that Our Lady knew at the moment of Annunciation about the sorrows Her Son was to endure. How do we know that? How could She know?

And note that the traditional Seven Sorrows of Mary do not include the Annunciation, but start with Simeon’s prophecy. :confused:

I heard the explanations that Our Lady was able to predict the Cross and Resurrection from the Scriptures. But do you really think She could remember the relevant fragments during the one-minute encounter with the angel?


#2

:hmmm:


#3

Yes. Mary had been dedicated to the temple where she was educated and served. I think all Jews knew about the prophecies of Isaiah. If I got this right, it was he who stated the Messiah would be born of a Virgin, that He would die on a cross and His legs would not be broken. I’m sure this was told many times to Jewish children. And I’m sure all wondered how He would be born of a Virgin.

Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was married to a rabbi. Elizabeth knew immediately that Mary was carrying the Messiah. I think she had to know what was going to happen because it wouldn’t have been right for God to let her say “yes” without knowing the sorrow to come. She gave consent knowing the pain to come. That is very heroic.


#4

No she didn’t. Simeon told her.


#5

My thoughts are that she was raised in the temple, her parents were devout, and extended family devout too so she must have know the Old Testament. If she studied, she would have known Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Micah 50, and Numbers 9:12.

I can picture myself hearing these prophecies and wondering how this could happen to the Messiah and why would it happen because all the Jews were waiting for Him to save them. You don’t want to think of this kind of suffering but gradually things start pointing to it. For example, Simeon validates that she too will suffer. You have the Magi giving oil used to anoint the dead. That’s rather ominous. Then you have the flight into Egypt fleeing the soldiers who are killing your neighbors’ young sons.


#6

I agree, I’m sure She knew more than we’ll ever know this side of Heaven. Another of God’s Great Mysteries. God Bless, Memaw


#7

I’d like to approach the question from a different angle.

Let’s talk about the disciples first. From the gospels (especially in John’s), it’s clear that the disciples did not at first completely realize the meaning or significance of what was happening before them. It was only after the resurrection of Jesus that they came to understand how the Scriptures pointed to Him.

See, one thing about Jesus and early Christianity is how unique and in a way, even unexpected, was their approach regarding Scripture.

Jews in the 1st century had extremely varying ideas as to what the messiah(s) would be like, if one were to come at all. But in no scenario was the messiah thought to die shamefully. Many messianic expectations did not go as far as to contemplate as to whether the messiah will even die in the first place. Some just skip the death part entirely and think that he will go up in glory to Heaven eventually. If he is to die (that is, if you’re thinking about a human figure instead of a cosmic, heavenly, angelic / semi-divine being, obviously one that cannot die), at best he will be killed valiantly in battle or die in peace after a long and prosperous reign - maybe even with the rest of humanity, thereby instigating the resurrection of the dead (in other words, everyone dies first :eek: so that God can renew the world from scratch).

In these scenarios, the messiah’s death almost a sort of afterthought: there’s no real, salvific importance attached to it. When he dies, he pretty much just dies because he is human and that’s what human beings do eventually. But nowhere is it apparently thought that he will die as a convicted criminal by the very same earthly powers that he is expected to subjugate.

1st century Jews did not read Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 and identified the suffering figure(s) there as the messiah. We don’t have any other source from the period that shows such an understanding of these scriptural passages. The Jews did have the idea of righteous people who suffer, and the death of the righteous being atoning and/or vicarious, but they didn’t apply those concepts to the messiah. People were more preoccupied with thinking about what the messiah will do (free and renew Israel, judge the nations, usher in a golden age, be a prophet like Moses - any one or more of those things) instead of how he will die. That’s why the disciples were shocked when Jesus started predicting His passion and why the Judaeans protested to Jesus that “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever” when Jesus said the same thing to them.

Essentially, the idea of a suffering and dying messiah - much less the idea of the messiah’s death having a theological significance - was foreign to Israel, until the early Christians came to realize after the resurrection that passages like Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22 and 69 were actually messianic prophecies all along.


#8

I’d like to approach the question from a different angle.

Let’s talk about the disciples first. From the gospels (especially in John’s), it’s clear that the disciples did not at first completely realize the meaning or significance of what was happening before them. It was only after the resurrection of Jesus that they came to understand how the Scriptures pointed to Him.

See, one thing about Jesus and early Christianity is how unique and in a way, even unexpected, was their approach regarding Scripture.

Jews in the 1st century had extremely varying ideas as to what the messiah(s) would be like, if one were to come at all. But in no scenario was the messiah thought to die shamefully. Many messianic expectations did not go as far as to contemplate as to whether the messiah will even die in the first place. (That is, if you’re thinking about a human messiah instead of a cosmic, heavenly, angelic / semi-divine being coming down from the clouds, obviously one that cannot die.) Some just skip the death part entirely. Others think that he won’t die at all but just go straight to his reward: a place in Heaven, maybe. If he is to die, at best he will be killed valiantly in battle or die in peace after a long and prosperous reign - maybe even with the rest of humanity, thereby triggering the resurrection of the dead (in other words, everyone dies first :eek: so that God can renew the world from scratch).

In these scenarios, the messiah’s death was almost a sort of afterthought: there’s no real importance attached to it. A kind of postscript to the climax, you might say. When he dies, he pretty much just dies because he is human and that’s what human beings do eventually. But nowhere is it apparently thought that he will be judged and condemned to death by the very same earthly powers that he is expected to judge over.

1st century Jews did not read Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 and identified the suffering figure(s) there as the messiah. We don’t have any other source from the period that shows such an understanding of these scriptural passages. The Jews did have the idea of righteous people who suffer, and the death of the righteous being atoning and/or vicarious, but they didn’t apply those concepts to the messiah. People were more preoccupied with thinking about what the messiah will do (free and renew Israel, judge the nations, usher in a golden age, be a prophet like Moses - any one or more of those things) instead of how he will die. That’s why the disciples were shocked when Jesus started predicting His passion and why the Judaeans protested to Jesus that “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever” when Jesus said the same thing to them.

Essentially, the idea of a suffering and dying messiah - much less the idea of the messiah’s death having a theological significance - was foreign to Israel, until the early Christians came to realize after the resurrection that passages like Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22 and 69 were actually messianic prophecies all along.

As for Mary, since we she is in a way, blessed among and above all other humans, I think personally (this is just my personal opinion, note) that maybe she already did know a bit more than Jesus’ disciples. That being said I don’t think that she already had a full picture of what will happen to Jesus. “Oh, this is gonna happen, I knew it completely all along.” I don’t think she had foreknowledge in the same degree as God the Father or even Jesus did. She would have already had hints (as mentioned, Simeon) that something along these lines might happen, but I just like to imagine that maybe, she didn’t connect all of the dots yet until during and after the fact. IMO she connected more dots than the others, what with being graced and being the mother and all, but maybe even she did not have the complete picture yet.

Well actually, Jesus didn’t have to be the messiah for Mary to have a feeling that something may happen to Him eventually. I mean, the way Jesus taught and acted was sure to earn Him some bitter enemies, especially from the powers that be.


#9

The only definitive response possible is, as a Church, we simply don’t know. Anything beyond that is mere theological speculation. That said, the German Dominican mystic and theologian, John Tauler (c. 1360) like no other before him, for the first time in Church history, tells us of Mary’s foreknowledge and co-suffering with Jesus: “He foretold to thee [Mary] all of thy passion whereby he would make thee a sharer of his merits and his afflictions, and thou would cooperate with him in the restoration of men to salvation . . .” *Sermo pro festo Purificat B. M. Virginis Oeuvers completes *.Vol. 5, p. 259 (1911).

Keep in mind that this is also merely a comment of a mystic, and therefore not part of the deposit of the faith.

I certainly think that pious speculation on this topic can be an efficacious method of entering into deeper Marian meditations.
.


#10

Notice that she was a human, with human expectations of who the Messiah was going to be. Even when Simeon told her, she was amazed. She also didn’t get it when Jesus said He had to be about His Father’s business. She had snippets but alas, they were only snippets.


#11

I wouldn’t call What Mary knew just “snippets.” When Jesus told her HE must be about HIS Father’s business, She must have thought it a little to soon, HE was just a child. I doubt very much that Jesus let her walk into his Passion “blindfolded” Even tho she may have had full knowledge of it, she still felt sorrow for what Her SON had to suffer. Jesus “cried” at Lazarus’s tomb. I’m sure we won’t understand all this on this side of Heaven but looking forward to learning more in Heaven, God Bless, Memaw


#12

I think Mary knew more

My thoughts are as I stated before, that she, a child of the temple, knew the Old Testament. I understand that Jews saw the Messiah as a general of some sort that would save them from the being under the heel of the Romans. So if they didn’t think their Messiah would have nothing less than a glorious life, what did they make of these prophecies which spoke of a man born of a Virgin, dying on a cross, and not having his legs broken? Whom did they think that would be? If not the Messiah, than who? And if not important, why where they included in the Old Testament?


#13

That’s just one scenario amongst many. There’s the messiah as a Davidic (either in a literal or a figurative sense) warrior-king, there’s the messiah as a prophet like unto Moses, there’s the messiah as a (high) priest, there’s the messiah as a cosmic, heavenly figure - maybe some angel or a semi-divine being. There’s no single ‘messianic expectation’. In fact, not everybody expected a literal person or persons to arrive; some just waited for some abstract miraculous sign from Heaven, if they waited for something at all.


#14

(Continued)

So if they didn’t think their Messiah would have nothing less than a glorious life, what did they make of these prophecies which spoke of a man born of a Virgin, dying on a cross, and not having his legs broken? Whom did they think that would be? If not the Messiah, than who? And if not important, why where they included in the Old Testament?

Just like what I said: these passages were not usually read with the messiah in mind. Isaiah 52-53, for example, was apparently seen in one case as referring to Isaiah himself, to the death he supposedly suffered in the hands of King Manasseh. When the passage was read with the messiah in mind (which wasn’t always the case), only the glorious bits are applied to him; the parts where suffering is described is usually applied to others; say, sinful Israel before the coming of the messiah or the messiah’s enemies who are judged by him.

For example, a Targum (Aramaic translation) of Isaiah 52-53 renders the passage as following. In fact, this Targum is pretty much our only source from the period besides early Christian sources that link the messiah with the passage. I’ll quote it in full:

Behold, my servant the Messiah shall prosper, He shall be exalted and extolled, and He shall be very strong.
As the house of Israel anxiously hoped for Him many days, (which was poor among the nations; their appearance and their brightness being worse than that of the sons of men: )
Thus shall He scatter many nations; before Him kings shall keep silence: they shall put their hands upon their mouths, for that which had not been told them shall they see: and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Who hath believed this our report? And to whom is now the power of the arm of the Lord revealed?
The righteous shall be great before Him, behold, like branches that bud; and like a tree which sends forth its roots by the streams of water, thus shall the generation of the just multiply in the land, which hath need of Him.
His visage shall not be the visage of a common person, neither His fear the fear of a plebeian; but a holy brightness shall be His brightness, that every one who seeth Him shall contemplate Him.
Although He shall be in contempt; yet He shall cut off the glory of all the wicked, they shall be weak and wretched.
Lo, we are in contempt and not esteemed, as a man of pain and appointed to sickness, and as if He had removed the face of His Shekinah from us.
Therefore He shall pray for our sins, and our and our iniquities for His sake shall be forgiven us; for we are considered crushed, smitten of the Lord, and afflicted.
He shall build the house of the sanctuary, which has been profaned on account of our sins; He was delivered over on account of our iniquities, and through His doctrine peace shall be multiplied upon us, and through the teaching of His words our sins shall be forgiven us.
All we like sheep have been scattered, every one of us has turned to his own way; it pleased the Lord to forgive the sins of all of us for His sake.
He shall pray and He shall be answered, yea, before He shall open His mouth, He shall be heard; He shall deliver over the mighty of the nations as a lamb to the slaughter, and like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, none shall in His presence open his mouth, or speak a word.
He shall gather our captives from affliction and pain, and who shall be able to narrate the wonderful works which shall be done for us in His days? He shall remove the rule of the nations from the land of Israel, the sins which my people have committed have come upon them.
And he shall deliver the wicked into hell, and the riches of treasures which they got by violence unto the death of Abaddon, thay they who commit sin shall not remain, and that they should not speak folly with their mouth.
And it was the pleasure of the Lord to refine and to purify the remnant of His people, in order to cleanse their souls for sin, that they might see the kingdom of their Messiah, that their sons and daughters might multiply, and prolong their days, and those that keep the law of the Lord shall prosper through His pleasure.

He shall deliver their souls from the servitude of the nations, they shall see the vengeance upon their enemies; they shall be satisfied with the spoil of their kings. By His wisdom He shall justify the righteous, in order to make many to keep the law, and He shall pray for their sins.
Therefore I will divide to Him the spoil of many people, and the treasures of strong fortifications; He shall divide the spoil; because He has delivered His life unto death, and He shall make the rebellious to keep the law; He shall pray for the sins of many, and as for the transgressors, each shall be pardoned for His sake.

You might notice in this (rather free) rendition that instead of the messiah suffering, it is “we” who suffer - the messiah in this rendering would intercede to the Lord for the people of Israel and God will have mercy on them via the messiah; he will be “in contempt,” but apparently, no suffering is in order for him. If anything, it is his enemies who will actually suffer and die.

In other words, nobody seems to have realized that these passages were supposed to hint to the messiah’s fate until Jesus showed the true meaning of the Scriptures, as we Christians would say. That’s why Jesus had to explain the Scriptures the two travelers to Emmaus, and why Philip had to help the Ethiopian eunuch for a proper understanding of Isaiah 53.

Jesus and the early Christians sort of ran against the grain when they considered these passages as messianic. Heck, they were probably even the first to do so. Interpreting them in a messianic context apparently just wasn’t heard of before, as far as we know it. If precedents do exist, they were apparently so rare and so in the minority that they didn’t leave any trace in the records.


#15

Patrick,

Thank you for taking the time. Very interesting. I had a Jewish friend who told me Isaiah was considered a minor prophet by Jews.

What are your thoughts about Mary having private revelations? I think she did and see nothing wrong with it. We don’t know about them because they were private.


#16

Your only guessing and that gets us nowhere really. God Bless, Memaw


#17

Luke says clearly that Jesus’ earthly parents were amazed and didn’t understand. Mary herself pondered about these things in her heart. Although she was blessed by God, she was still human, unlike her Son.


#18

At this point, all we can do is guess.


#19

That doesn’t mean she was “kept in the dark” ! She was conceived Immaculate, born without original sin, like Eve, and may have had infused knowledge we know nothing about. That doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been “amazed and pondered things” as well. She surly had emotions. God Bless, Memaw


#20

Why is my idea of Mary having had private revelations different from your infused knowledge? Aren’t you guessing too?


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