Mary in Labor

Rev 12:1
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth."

Mary was immaculate, so how am I to handle this verse that says she was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth?

You mustn’t think that the pain of labor birth comes only from the stain of original sin. The sin of Adam and Eve is why labor is typically painful, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the clarity of one’s soul. There are people today who don’t have painful child birth and, oddly, find it very pleasurable. From this knowledge we know that them, who obviously wouldn’t be immaculate, have no pain not because of the state of their souls but because sometimes biology is crazy.

Could be she saw the suffering her SON would go thru for us, her spiritual children and how ungrateful we could be. God Bless, Memaw

This is exactly what I was going to say :smiley:

Hi TK421! (love the reference)

Mary is our mother, she became so when Jesus said “Behold your mother” while on the cross. The pain of seeing her suffering son was also her “childbirth” pain to becoming the mother of the Church!

I think it’s important to note that as Catholics we’re obligated to believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. As it applies here: Mary was a virgin before, during and after Christ’s birth. The exact definition of “virgin” is somewhat up to debate, however. It’s possible that Mary may have experienced childbirth pain without necessarily violating church teaching.

You may find the following article helpful:

Once, on a protestant forum, I had a non-Catholic elderly lady tell me that she was one of these women. She had no pain in giving birth to her children. That kind of blew me away.

In addition to what has been said, I would also add that St. Paul speaks of himself ( a male) as being in labor pain, so obviously, “labor pain” can be a spiritual, non-physical pain.

"You are my children, and you put me back in labor pains until Christ is formed in you" (Gal 4:19).

sincerely women’s brain have a very curious capacity of completely forgetting the pain of childbirth and because of this when I hear these kind of claims, I think is that they just have forgotten, especially if it is coming from an older woman (more time to forget). Given that the woman who told you this was elderly most likely she did feel pain but forgot about this. Now with regard to the Virgin Mary that is another story as she was the immaculate conception but with other women they may be forgetting or confusing a release feeling with pleasure.

Also remember that Revelation is full of imagery, and full of prophesies, some that have been fulfilled, and others that still will be fulfilled. Also, there can be several different things represented in one image. The woman in Revelation has been linked to at least 4 different understandings, with none of them representing every aspect of the vision. The most obvious one is Mary, but also there is the Catholic Church, Israel, and Eve.

I wouldn’t read too much into the labor pains as it relates to Mary’s IC.

I wouldn’t discount the story to quickly. My best friend just had a baby, and his wife had no painkillers, no issues, and no real pain at all. The total labor time was very quick and she had a very peaceful delivery. The nurses were amazed. There are 3 1/2 billion women on the planet. I’m certain there are unusual people who are the exception to the rule.

the case he mentioned is an elderly woman, most likely that falls into the realm.that she just forgot it about it. Of course there may be rare exceptions with less pain and given that your friend is recent then she does have a better memory but I am sure even her felt some.kind of.pain otherwise then how she knew she was in labor. If she knows she is in labor is because she is feeling the uterus contracting. It is possible in.some.rare cases to have lesser pain and a quick labor but there is no way she is not.feeling the contraction.

Is it dogma that she didn’t experience pain during childbirth? I have a hard time believing that. Always came off as a pious myth to me. Mary died which is also supposed to be caused by original sin.

Here’s an idea that I have that will likely get me blasted - I can take it, however.

At the fall, Adam and Eve were given consequences to their actions. It is spoken as if child birth could have been much less painful, but God is just making it painful as a punishment.

However, (at this moment), I think it is entirely possible that God’s initial design for Adam and Eve’s body had to be modified. The modification was necessary to protect the unborn from sinful people. Perhaps the previous design did not have the child in gestation for so long, or perhaps it was not so deeply internal to the woman - and immaculate people would have been able to care for a 12 week old newborn. But, us fallen people would not properly take care of a 12 week old child. Thus, the design was modified to deal with the broken/sinful people.

That’s just a thought. Mary, while sinless, is it possible that her body design was affected by changes made after the fall?

Now, I’ll take the arrows… :knight1:

I would often think of this verse (Jn 16:21) when I reflect on Rev 12:1.
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. (John 16:21)

Mary would not be spared of personal pain and suffering; in fact in contrary to that she would suffer ‘as if a double edge sword will pierce her heart’ on account of her son as prophesied by Simeon in Lk 2 . She would live to witness the rejection of her son, a sign that is being opposed and is responsible ‘for the falling and the rising of many in Israel’. It must be painful for her to see all this but yet her joy of having her son and for him to be the savior of the world.
Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Lk 2:34-35)

It is not a Dogma for either. The Church has NEVER officially stated that Mary had a painful Birth or that she died before her Assumption. God Bless, Memaw

Here is a compilation of quotes that I provided for the Aquinas Study Bible on this topic

12:2 cried travailing in birth: That is, at the moment of the Passion, she cried through sympathy. Travailing, that is, like being in the condition of a woman in labor when He was being martyred on the Cross, as Luke 2:35 says, ‘And your own soul a sword shall pierce.’ (St. Albert the Great) Gregory of Nyssa, who talks about the Lord in his Homily on Songs 13, says, ‘Jesus, whose conception is without intercourse, and whose birth is undefiled.’ Therefore the birth was free from pain. If such a great teacher of the Church says this, and the Virgin has escaped the pain of giving birth, how is it that she is travailing? Does this contradict what was said? Not at all… Until the divine angel told Joseph about her, that she conceived of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin was naturally disheartened, and embarrassed before her betrothed, and thinking that he might somehow suspect that she was in labor from a secret relationship. Therefore the text says, under the rule of metaphor, ‘cried travailing.’ (Oecumenius) And she cries out, with wonder, saying: ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not man?’ Travailing in birth, that is to say, when she obeyed, it was without prejudice and with all virginity. Travailing, that is, submitting anxiously, preserving her virginity. (Hugh of St. Cher)

**in pain: **That was her burning desire to have His pain end while He was suffering. *(St. Albert the Great) *Or she suffers because the “ancient serpent” wishes to devour “the child”. *(Pope John Paul II MULIERIS DIGNITATEM 30) *Or, that is, by fasting, by vigils and prayers, abstinence, continence, and anything else of this kind of chastity. *(Hugh of St. Cher) *

The Church–the Mystical Body of Christ.

**POPE PIUS X ** . . . who can contemplate the Immaculate Virgin without feeling moved to fulfill that precept which Christ called peculiarly His own, namely that of loving one another as He loved us? " . . . John therefore saw the Most Holy Mother of God already in eternal happiness, yet travailing in a mysterious childbirth. What birth was it? Surely it was the birth of us who, still in exile, are yet to be generated to the perfect charity of God, and to eternal happiness. And the birth pains show the love and desire with which the Virgin from heaven above watches over us, . . .


That passage has been interpreted as both the Church and Mary for a very long time, as we see both Popes have applied it to both. St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, and Hugh of St. Cher all gave wonderful mulitiple interpretations. While it is probably primarily applied to the Church, it has Mary written all over it as well.

Just for the record, the painless births made a big impact on the woman I was talking to at the time she was giving birth (as one might imagine) and it is something that she has reflected upon all those years. She certainly did not make it seem like she was just now thinking about it and forgot that it was painful. It impacted her, and she remembered, not suddenly, but throughout the rest of her life. I mean, who knows for sure, but I do believe her. I find it plausible that by “painless” she could have meant very little pain, as you mentioned above.

COPLAND 3. You stated,

While it is probably primarily applied to the Church, it has Mary written all over it as well.

Absolutely agreed. There are layers of both here (and more).

The Blessed Virgin Mary in addition to being who She is, is also a type (“typus”) of the Church (CCC 967). The Blessed Virgin Mary is also the “Mother of the Church” (CCC 963).

Thus there are multiple layers meaning (not even getting into Old Covenant prefigurements here).

You cannot conclude Mary had labor pains associated with Her delivering Christ from this “birthing” in Revelation 12:2 is my point. COPLAND 3, I am not saying YOU are asserting this. I am just saying others may draw that conclusion from Revelation 12:2 if these layered meanings are not expanded upon somewhat.

You CAN conclude Mary had “labor pains” associated with Her delivering the Mystical Body of Christ from this verse and authoritative interpretation (i.e. from Pope Pius X that we saw earlier).

Mary is Jesus’ mother (Theotokos).

Spiritually speaking, Mary is also our Mother.

COPLAND 3, I know almost certainly that you are aware of Mary being our Mother (spiritually) from the citations you allude to and other informed posts I’ve seen of yours.

But I’m going to post some references anyway, as some readers of this thread may not be aware of this. Or others may already know it, and want the quotes readily available here that they can easily use them for future reference (in Bible studies, debates, etc.). If they want these quotes, I’m happy to do the “elbow grease” for them.

CCC 501 Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.”

VATICAN II Lumen Gentium (VII LG)

**VII LG 53. **The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, **she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. **Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. **She is “the mother of the members of Christ **. . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.” . . .

VII LG 54. Wherefore this Holy Synod, in expounding the doctrine on the Church, in which the divine Redeemer works salvation, intends to describe with diligence **both **the role of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duties of redeemed mankind toward
the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ and mother of men, particularly of the faithful. . . .

VII LG 61. . . . the Blessed Virgin was in this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer . . . and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. . . . Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.

VII LG 62. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation (one layer) and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross (another layer), and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect (another layer–it is still going on). Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for **the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth **surrounded by dangers . . .

Parenthetical additions to V II LG 62 above mine.

**V II LG 63. *By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.(18) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar
both of virgin and mother

V II LG 69 . . . The entire body of the faithful pours forth instant supplications to **the Mother of God and Mother of men **that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints, until all families of people, . . . . . may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.
[INDENT] Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us
by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council
be promulgated for the glory of God.[/INDENT]

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