I had to laugh to myself when I told someone about Rev. 12:1 about that was Mary with the stars, etc. and they replied back that it wasn’t Mary, that it was:
“This verse is a description of Israel, and not Mary.The whole chapter of Revelation 12 describes how God will protect Israel in the last days. Israel was the nation that provided the Christ, and God protected Israel.”
Well, they are right and they are wrong. They are right in that the passage can be interpreted in more than one way, but they are wrong as to whom this passage refers. It refers to both Mary and to the Church, which she helped bring to birth through great pain. And, as the Mother of God her rightful place is as Queen of Heaven and Earth. The problem with much of Protestant interpretation is that they read into passages what is not there but ignore what is there. Fundamentalists especially seem to think that one interpretation negates another, but that is not how the Church interprets the Bible. A verse or passage can have more than one interpretation, but one of those interpretations will be a primary interpretation and the other will be considered a secondary interpretation.
There are four senses/means of interpretation within the Catholic Church:
…the continued development of the art and science of Biblical study led to the great Catholic tradition of the four senses of Scripture.
The first of the four senses is the literal sense, which, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is the sense upon which all of the senses rest. The literal sense is simply the literal and direct meaning of the words, although this could include metaphor (e.g., the Sons of Thunder would still be the literal sense even though it is metaphorical).
The other three senses, the allegorical, anagogical, and moral, together form the spiritual sense. The allegorical sense focuses on the symbolic meaning produced by the words. The many instances of foreshadowing in the Old Covenant of the New are examples of this sense. The anagogical focuses on how the words relate to what Catholics call the “four last things;” namely, death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Lastly, the moral sense teaches the effect of the words on how we live. The teaching of the four senses was summed up in a well-known medieval couplet:
Littera geta docet, quid credas allegoria,
moralis quid agas, quo tendas anagogica.
In essence, this can be loosely translated to say: “the letter teaches us what happened; what you are to believe is called allegory; what you are to do is called the moral sense; the anagogical sense has to do with the final end of your life.”