Mary, Did you know?

Maybe you’re right.

Probably not. No one will know until we behold the Beatific Vision. :wink:

My reasoning is that if Mary knew and understood all that would happen, how could she have Faith?

I don’t know. All that comes to mind is: Adam and Eve were sinless, they knew God, they even walked with God, yet they didn’t have enough Faith in God not to “eat of fruit of the Tree of Knowledge”.
They didn’t have the Faith to surrender completely to God.

And according to Tradition, God revealed His Divine Plan to Lucifer and all the angels, yet he didn’t have Faith; didn’t want to obey and took 1/3 of the angels with him.

So how did She have Faith? I don’t know but apparently She did.

She knew She was going to conceive; that the Holy Spirit would “overshadow” her, but how? If She knew Our Blessed Lord would rise from the dead, She didn’t know the “how” of it.
Many things are known only to God.

Maybe the “particulars” required Faith.

I don’t know. Like I said; it’s just something I take into consideration.

One can get an enormous headache trying to overanalyze and/or figure out the Mysteries of God. And I have the empty Aleve bottles to prove it. :wink:

God Bless, Dominic! :slight_smile:

But I believe her YES without knowing everything shows true faith and Trust in God. I don’t know how much she knew or how many details. BUT I know that she too needed a saviour. As our Priest said at Mass today she didn’t immaculately concieve herself.

I think the more accurate way of characterizing it is that the Catholic Church’s position is the logical one–for the professing Christian. That’s one of the things that caught my attention about the Church in the first place. You can follow any theological or doctrinal position of the Catholic Church and discern a complete and utter consistency between faith and reason. I like to call it a perfect dovetailing of faith and reason. Not to digress too much again… But take the Culture of Death, for example. Protestants understand a little piece of the picture, since they recognize the terrible sin of abortion. But few Evangelicals or Protestants in general (with the notable exception of those such as Dr. Amy Laura Hall) connect the dots and catch the moral similarity between abortion and the use of birth control.

The issue of Mary is really a lot similar. One can either say that this understanding of her is all Catholic in its origination–an intellectualy cowardly way of neutralizing opposing arguments, by the way–or you can follow the line of reasoning honestly yourself and see where you arrive. If you’re honest with yourself and you are willing to really to read the Bible (and everything else) with a voracious spiritual appetite, you might be surprised…

Hi marytk,

I agree with your priest 100%. Our Lady, too, needed a Saviour. She was immacuately conceived in virtue of Jesus’ Death on the Cross. (That’s what I was taught, anyway)

As far as the rest of my other posts on this thread; again, it’s just my opinion. It’s not something I teach or anything like that.
I don’t expect anyone to take it to heart or agree with me.
It’s simply my thoughts added to the others here. :slight_smile:

God Bless!

I don’t mean that Catholic interpretation of the bible is any less rational, or more so for that matter, than interpretation by Protestants. Any way that you look at it though, Catholic Marian theology is not explicitly biblical. You can connect the theological dots if you want–and you may even by right in your conclusions although I don’t think that you are–but the result is not explicitly biblical. Unfortunately, in other areas, you see Protestants doing much of the same thing now, connecting the dots and arriving at positions that are also not biblical, such as supporting abortion, ordaining active homosexuals, etc. The historical Protestant appproach of Sola Scriptura was designed to avoid these types of diversions, although many Protestants seem to have abandoned Sola Scriptura and the results are not pretty.

Luke 1:30-35:

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, "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 called holy, the Son of God.

Luke 2:25-35:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

I think you can safely conclude she knew.

Hi, thanks everyone for the wonderful comments/posts. They are all though provoking. I should be using this site more often.

Anyway, (my opinions of course….) it is highly significant that since Simeon was inspired by the Holy Spirit and/or the Holy Spirit was upon him, it is, or almost is, as if God is speaking to Mary/Joseph. When Simeon says “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed", then God has announced the Cross which is symbolized by the sword. Mary, (I’ll also include St. Joseph), will have to decide for or against God’s revelation in Jesus.

But do they realize that the sword is actually the death of Jesus at this point in time? I believe they didn’t know for sure. Whatever ***form ***that sword takes, God’s words are taken to heart; St. Joseph allows it happen, Mary accepts it. Now I don’t know/read Greek or Hebrew versions of the Bible, but if you read the scripture closely, you can also argue that the rise and fall of many will be through Mary as well. And this rising and falling of many in Mary is only possible if Mary always gets you to Jesus. As a mother, that is her purpose/mission, to make her “adopted” sons like Jesus, or Jesus-like. Mary is the great stepping-stone to the Lord. In support of our Protestant friends and even not to offend then, can you jump over Mary to Lord? Probably, but why do things the hard way.

But if we step back (40 days I think) from Simeon’s prophecy to Gabriel’s annunciation, does Mary fully know about the Cross (as in Luke 1:30-35)? Also, the Cross means nothing without the Resurrection. In other words, does Mary know about the Resurrection at the annunciation? Does she know she is our Mother at the annunciation? Does she know she will be assumed Body and Soul into Heaven at the annunciation.

You can argue that since Mary did not break the Old Testament law, and that since Jesus is prefigured in them, then she must know everything about the Messiah and the Cross.

I don’t have the answers, only what I believe at this point. Mary was a pilgrim like us; growing in her Faith. But, unlike us, she did God’s will at all times while on the journey to Heaven.

Sorry folks I was away for a week

As a good Jew and as a person free from the effects of Original Sin she would have known much. While she would not necessarily have known all the particular details she would have had a perfect insight into the prophesies. She would not have needed prophetic knowledge to get to this point due to her pre-lapsatian state. Once it was announced to her that she would be the virgin in whom the savior would be born she would have known the ramifications of this and would have been able to articulate it in a similar way that Christ demonstrated all that was foretold about him to the men on the road to Emaus. No amount of supernatural knowledge would have been needed by one who did not have a dulled intellect. Without that her fiat looses the completeness that was necessary to account for the non serviat of Eve.

Interesting opinion, but what kind of sources do you base this theory upon? Are you suggesting that Mary was not human and had something akin to omniscience and supernatural understanding of what was going to take place–a foreknowledge? If true, wouldn’t this detract from the nature of free will and actually lessen Mary’s selfless contribution?

I saw the “Nativity Story” this weekend with some Catholic friends, and I have to say that I think that movie’s portrayal got it right. Otherwise, you reducing Mary’s contribution, the meaning of her “yes”, to something much less profound and much less meaningful.

I believe that he was noting that Mary would not have been subject to the loss of the preternatural gifts of a clear intellect.

Mary was just as human as Adam and Eve prior to the Fall, with all the gifts that God bestowed upon them.

Mary would have been able to see the prophesies of the OT Testament exactly as God intented them to be read. This does not mean that she had any omniscience, only that she would have the clearest understanding of God’s Word as was humanly possible

I understand that, but I still suggest that this line of reasoning reduces the part played by Mary’s free will–in other words, there would then be no choice for her to make. Why would you lessen the incredible importance of Mary’s “yes”?

ITA. Thanks for describing exactly what I was thinking to say in response, myself.

I really love that tune. And the entire song. It’s guaranteed that I’ll start bawling at some point when I hear that song. Even if I’m driving… I’ve been known to pull over at the first safe opportunity to do so just so I can get really into meditating on the deep and extreme mystery of God-Made-Man because she chose to say “yes.”

In this song, the words speak to the yearning that I have to understand time & space as God, who created both (time and space, that is) and – as its creator – is beyond time and space.

The doctrine we Catholics choose to accept and believe is that Jesus did save Mary… but before she was born. He knew, being God, that she was going to choose to say “yes” – even though she couldn’t picture how it would come to be that she’d be His mother because she had not “known” man.

Therefore, God chose to create His own mother WITHOUT stain of Original Sin. She’s often called “the second Eve” because Eve … nor did Adam … have Original Sin until they, themselves, committed it. Everyone born since Adam and Eve committed that Original Sin are born with the stain of their sin.

Think of it this way – there’s a hole. Some people are saved from the hole by being pulled up from it. Jesus’ mother was saved by being prevented from falling into the hole in the first place.

God did that before he even created Mary. Again… God Himself is outside time and space.

It’s the “both / and” that we Catholics embrace. What you described is true Catholic doctrine… and just happens to me, as a Catholic, make perfect sense to me…

Hi All,

These are all great posts. I have given more thought to this issue and wish to comment (really questions in disguise).

Here is a quote from scripture, Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Why bother pondering if Mary knew everything there is to know in the Old Testament?

Pondering is a word that means to think, or to try and understand something. Perhaps God wanted to show us that Mary would never lose Faith, even if she doesn’t fully understand the significance of everything. If that is the case, then Mary is still growing in her Faith. I don’t think she knows everything. She know much (at the annunciation), that I do agree.

But by not losing Faith over time, (especially when you don’t know all of God’s plans), to me, that is a much more glorious Faith to have.

“Blessed are those who believe but cannot see”, at least that is what Jesus told the Apostle Thomas. (sorry know time to quote the Gospel verse.

In sharp contrast, the Sheppard’s do not ponder, they glorify and praise God. (see Luke 2:20) Not that Mary doesn’t glorify and praise God, but it appears she ponders first.

Ciao for now, gotta go. God Bless.

I am going to say that I don’t think Mary did understand everything pertaining to the prophesies and promises concerning Jesus.

I believe that given what knowledge she did have of Jewish history and prophesy that she probably had a better understanding and knowledge than anyone could have had with that same knowledge. But I also believe that God did not intend to reveal all knowledge ahead of time.

But I’ll admit that I am one of those strange types who believes that Jesus himself chose to limit some of his own knowledge of things to come.

How about this quote –

Blessed is she who believed that there could be
Fulfillment in the name of the Lord…

Right… If we look at the new Eve (Mary) as the new Adam (Christ), we see that Christ even acknowledges that the precise hour of the Second Coming is known to only God the Father. Likewise, I would suggest that, while Mary had profound understanding of the Scriptures, that she could not have known from day one that she was going to be selected to bear the Messiah. There was nothing in the Scriptures that so pinpointed her–over her neighbor, for instance–and, given her humility, I think we can rest assured that she greeted her holy selection with a degree of shock and surprise. (In fact, we know that she did, if we read Luke 1:29.) Why is this so important? I believe, if we make the theological error of conveying full knowledge upon Mary (a degree and specificity of knowledge completly beyond human reach), that we remove her free will and make her into an automaton, and her “yes” becomes meaningless.

By the way, your last point is discussed in the Catechism. In order to be fully man, Christ’s knowledge was limited in terms of day to day affairs–as opposed to eternal truths. There are some great examples given in the CCC. I believe one instance cited, for instance, was Christ asking who reached out to touch him out of the crowd, but there are better examples, as well. This aspect of Christ should really put all doubts aside as to the humanity of Mary–i.e. that she could not know all things before the divinely-appointed time God spoke through the angel to her.

That’s the belief I have but couldn’t really express as well as you have. It is hard to justify this using bits and pieces of scripture alone but not impossible. You may have to fill in the blanks using logic and reason.

I’ve been told that Mary could have been as young as 12 years old at the Annunciation. That’s pretty young. I like to think Mary was around 15-17 years old. But in those days, I do picture 12 year olds being VERY much more “adult-like” or much more “mature/independant” than the average 12 year old in our day and age. It was a different culture/environment back then. I think children were put to work at an early age to help survive as a family and education (based in the family) would have so much emphasis on religion(Jewish law); for Mary and for most kids in the holy lands. So Mary did know very much about Jewsh law/history. The magnifat (see Luke 1:46-55, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth) kind of proves that to me.

I regards to the concerns of the original poster, I find this answer to be very helpful.

I agree on both sides. If its your 1st time listening to this song and a catholic then its uncomfortable and sounds like its not being respectful to Mary however it depends on how you interpret the song. Interpretation plays a vital key here.

As a catholic singer, I can interpret the song in a different way. I can sing this song as a daughter who was genuinely curious about what Holy mother knew, asking her in reverence and admiration. It’s like being in dialogue with Mama Mary as a little girl and sincerely asking her what she knew at the time and what her thoughts were. Its similar to a situation when adults tell children stories from their own experience and when children are really into the stories and get excited, they ask all these bunch of questions.

A song’s meaning can change dramatically with how the singer interprets the song and how the audience understands the song. Its like speaking, you can say the same words but you can say it in different ways that would convey different meanings.

however, hands down, i think to be on the safe side, it’s better if the song is not sung in mass. It was probably not composed in order to be used liturgically so it won’t really suit the eucharist. its safer to keep it out of masses because it can be easily misunderstood and an appropriate interpretation of the song isn’t the most common interpretation. I don’t know if other singers approach the song like I do (as explained above).

If I sing it, my phrasing and syllable stresses would be different to how it’s normally sung probably.
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