Woman in Rev 12 experiencing birth pangs?

I know many in the Church believe without a doubt that the most likely reference of the Woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary, but I do not understand how this conclusion is drawn when Rev 12:2 says “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered”.
The Immaculate Conception is born without the stains of original sins, and therefore will not be punished by its effects, such as experiencing pain in childbirth.

Each time I pray the glorious mysteris of the Rosary and get to the Coronation of the BVM, I get rather disturbed/confused…Any clue? Thanks :slight_smile:

The woman gives birth in pain because she gave birth to Jesus Who is the Church, and the mystical body of Christ that is the Church was born in the blood of the cross and grows through the blood of the martyrs. As Pope Benedict XVI has said in regards to this, " It is the process of the transformation of the world, which costs blood, costs the suffering of the witnesses to Christ." Jesus spoke of birth pangs, too, when speaking of these persecutions of the martyrs in Matthew 24 and elsewhere when He spoke of the end times. The transformation is the “birth” of this present world into the new heaven and new earth of Revelation, through the great persecution of martyrs.

The Pope’s full commentary on the Woman and the river of Rev 12 is here:


Elizabeth greeted Mary while filled with the Holy Spirit with the words, “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” The Holy Spirit inspired her to greet Blessed Mary this way.
“Mother of my Lord” basically is a Jewish idiom of the day that meant Queen, since the mother (not the wife) of a Davidic King became his queen, and Jesus is a king in the line of David, and Mary is His mother, so she is Queen, alongside her Son the King.

Hope this was of some help. God bless you.

I like your username :smiley:

Thanks for the helpful clarification!

This is a subject for which some diversity of opinion is permitted in the Catholic Church.

My own opinion, or my guess anyway, is that the woman of Revelation 12 is the Church, represented very aptly by the figure of Mary, the mother of Christ. The “birth pangs” would, primarily, be the sufferings endured by the Church for the sake of bringing Christ to the world.

While the argument that Mary would not in fact have suffered birth pangs in giving birth to Jesus does seem to have something to it, Mary certainly did suffer greatly in other ways, especially at the foot of the cross. This is how I would be inclined to interpret the Marian dimension of Revelation 12.

In “Mystical City of God” by Ven. Mary of Agreda, it splits that particular chapter up into multiple fragments and addresses each one.

And being with child

-The cool insight here goes along the lines of:
“…She was shown to the angels as being the resting place of the holy Trinity, represented in the divine personality of the Word incarnate. For on account of their inseparable union and co-existence, all the three Persons could not fail to be there, wherever any one of Them was present; although only the Person of the Word assumed human flesh and with Him alone was She pregnant.”

She cried travailing in birth

“…God [was] born humble, poor, and unknown: yet afterwards the news of that Birth was proclaimed so loudly, that its first echo excited King Herod and filled him with uneasiness. It drew the Magi from their palaces and kingdoms in order to find him. Some hearts were touched with fear, others moved to interior affection. The Fruit of this birth, growing until it was raised on the Cross, gave such loud voices that It was heard from the rising to the setting sun and from farthest north of farthest south. So far then was heard the voice of that Woman who gave birth to the Word of the eternal Father.”

And was in pain to be delivered."

“He does not say this because She was to give birth in bodily pain, for that is not possible in this divine Parturition. But because it was to be a great sorrow for that Mother to see that divine Infant come forth from the secrecy of her virginal womb in order to suffer and die as a victim for the satisfaction of the sins of the world. For this Queen could know and did know all this beforehand by her knowledge of the holy Scriptures… Thus the sorrows of this birth were not the effect of sin, as they are in the descendants of Eve, but they were the effect of the intense and perfect love of the most holy Mother for her divine Son.”

Hope that helps give some food for thought. :slight_smile:

There is certainly no contradiction in the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and the interpretation that the woman of Revelation 12 is Mary, if the birth pangs referred to are not physical birth pangs, but mental birth pangs, as St. Paul, in Galatians 4:19, described himself again experiencing birth pangs until Christ be formed in the Galatians, his spiritual children.

You might want to take a closer look at Genesis 3:16. “To the woman he said, ‘I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing.’” (NAB)

It is, therefore, the increase of pain that is a punishment for the Fall.

We’re also ignoring the elephant in the room: Christ never sinned, but He most certainly suffered and died. The fact that both were born immaculate does not negate the fact that they could both suffer pains and death.

Try this LINK for a good explination of chapter 12.

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