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…
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.
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.
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 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.