Mary

Nice article from LifeTeen:

About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, “Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it’s not even in the Bible?”

He said “you Catholics” because he went to a local Bible Church but had been coming to a Life Teen Summer Bible Study with some of his Catholic friends.

“Well, first . . . ” I replied, “Mary did not ascend into heaven; the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. Jesus ascended by His own power. Mary was taken up into heaven by God.” That little difference is a big difference, so I wanted to be sure he understood it.

Billy then replied, “Okay, fine . . . but it’s still not in the Bible. The Church made it up.”

This is where the conversation got really interesting.

DID MARY DIE?

Maybe Mary didn’t die. Maybe she’s living in Brazil . . . next door to Elvis. Some people point to the fact that only Elijah and Enoch are mentioned as being carried off to heaven in Scripture, and since Mary is not, then “it must not be true.”

Have you ever noticed that although the Acts of the Apostles is an incredibly detailed accurate account of Sts. Peter and Paul, we do not read of their deaths on the pages of Scripture? Everything we know of their deaths comes from early oral tradition. In fact, the Bible doesn’t say what happened to most of the disciples. The Bible is silent in this area. Many Evangelicals accept the witness of Church history that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome, that Paul was beheaded, etc. — even though Scripture does not record these events.

We know, from oral tradition, that Mary was taken into the care of St. John (the writer of the fourth gospel and the Book of Revelation) and went to live with him in Ephesus (where he was a Bishop). We know that she was sought out for her counsel and wisdom and that she was exalted and honored throughout the community. Early Church Tradition upholds these facts as true, as do historic and non-canonical writings.

What is different, though, is that we know where the bones of Sts. Peter and Paul and other disciples like Mary Magdalene are because the early Christians took care of them. There is no record of where the bones of Mary are. It seems a little odd that if there had been a body no one would have given her a proper burial or that her tomb would not have become a landmark, does it not?

HOW DO WE KNOW MARY IS IN HEAVEN?

Well, if the woman who God specifically chose to bring His Son into the world and raise Him is not in heaven . . . none of us have a shot.

Seriously, though, is there Scriptural backing for this teaching about the Assumption? Absolutely!

While it does not explicitly state, “Mary assumed into heaven” in the Bible, stop and take a look at the verses from Revelation, written by John, of visions that were seen:

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. 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. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod… Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed . . .” – Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10

This revelation is referring to Mary in heaven. Mary is often referred to as the new “Ark of the Covenant.”

Indiana Jones went searching for the Ark of the Old Covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Law), a pot of manna (heavenly bread) and the staff of Aaron (symbol of Priesthood). You can read about the Ark – but not Indiana Jones – in Hebrews 9:4. The Ark was kept free from all defect and corruption, made from the finest most pure materials to God’s exact specifications.

As the Ark of the New Covenant, Mary carried Christ who is the Law, the Bread of Life, and the Royal High Priest. Her Immaculate Conception and her state as ever-Virgin kept her free from defect and sin, preserving her throughout her life, until her death where she was immediately assumed to preserve her from any bodily corruption on earth. Notice, too, in this passage from Revelation that we see the Ark (which is missing on earth) in heaven immediately preceding our vision of this woman crowned in stars and holding a baby.

Don’t forget – to whom did God give this vision (Revelation)? He imparted it to St. John, the one who was entrusted with caring for Our Mother, Mary (John 19:25-27) for the remainder of her days on earth prior to her assumption.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the universal Church. The teaching was not new – only now formally clarified. He affirmed that at the end of her time on earth, Mary experienced immediately the resurrection of the body that is promised to all faithful followers of Jesus.

Basically, since Mary was preserved from original sin by the unique gift of Christ’s grace, she was able to experience the immediate perfect union with her Son in heaven, never knowing, tasting or suffering from bodily corruption or decay (due to death) in any way.

Remember, as Christians we believe in the Resurrection of the Body. As the Papal encyclical Lumen Gentium (68) asserts, Mary’s assumption and heavenly presence preceded and foreshadows our own future glory (1 Corinthians 15). You might want to check out how the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it, too (CCC 966).

One of the things that sets us apart as Catholics from other Christian denominations is that we have a rich understanding of Mary and a tradition of giving her the honor she deserves. She can teach us a lot through her example of virtue and her special role within the Church. Pray with Mary and she will lead you into a far deeper relationship with Her Son than you could ever achieve by your own direction.

I’m reminded of that conversation with the teen every year around this Feast Day, only I no longer call that teen, Billy, my friend . . . now I also call him, Father Bill. He went looking for Mary and found her . . . in the Catholic Church.

Hail Mary!

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Mary, Queen of Heaven

by Steve Ray on August 11, 2016

A while ago a man called in to say my argument for the Assumption of Mary including references from the Old Testament was wrong.

Bathsheba takes care of young King Solomon; she later became his queen

I had quoted 1 Kings 2:19 where Solomon had raised his mother up to a throne to be Queen of the Kingdom. He said that was the ONLY case of a mother being a queen in the Old Testament.

He prefaced his comment by saying that he knew the Old Testament well and it does not support what I had asserted.

Well, if he knew his Old Testament as well as he said, he would realize I was correct.

In the Old Testament, the kings of Judah had queens but the queens were not their wives — but their mothers — with one exception of the queen being a grandmother.

AncientIsrael.jpgSolomon had 1,000 wives and concubines — but he only had one mother. Click here to read the section on The Great Lady or Queen Mother in Roland de Vaux’s book Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institution.

The Queen Mothers of earthly kings of Judah were not always good examples or godly queens. Many of them were egregious sinners and would intercede for the people with improper requests to the king. But, this takes nothing away from the fact that the mother was the queen and intercessor. It only confirms that many of the Old Testament kings and queens were disobedient to God.

But there is a perfect King and a perfect Queen — Jesus and his mother Mary. They follow the pattern of protocol and the royal institution. It is the royal protocol and the historical precedent and the office that is important in the analogy. Kings of Israel DO what Kings of Israel do and always have done. Jesus is THE king of Israel and would follow the protocol.

Jesus is a king sitting on the throne of his fathers David and Solomon (Luke 1:30-33; Daniel 7:13-14; Rev 5:5; 19:16) and all the subsequent kings of Judah. Solomon was called the son of David because that’s what he was. But the phrase “Son of David” became a title of the Messiah. Jesus is referred to as THE Son of David (Matt 1:1; 21:9) and is therefore the ultimate and true king.

The kings of Judah all had queens but the queens were not their wives — they were their mothers. This is the royal protocol of the Old Testament and the kings of Judah. It is ultimately fulfilled in Christianity and the Kingdom of God which, obviously, is based on the Old Testament model. Jesus is our king and obviously his mother is the queen. It is proper and justly so.

Remember, the kings of Israel do what the kings of Israel do. Jesus is the ultimate King of Israel, so…

…let’s follow the logic:
GB_king_solomon1) Solomon and subsequent kings of Judah raised their mothers to Queenship which became established as an official office;
2)
the mothers were referred to as the Queen Mothers or the Great Lady;
3)
they sat on a throne near their sons (1 Ki 2:19);
4) The kings of Israel do what the kings of Israel do;
5) Jesus is the quintessential Jewish King with an eternal kingdom;
6)
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Israelite offices of Prophet, Priest & King;
7)
As the Davidic king, Jesus who obeyed the Law perfectly, would honor his mother more than earthy kings honored their mothers;
8) It is biblical, historical, and reasonable to expect the perfect Jewish king to follow the protocol of the kingdom and his fathers by assuming his mother to a throne at his right hand.
9)
It is proper and biblical to consider Mary in a position of intercessor as the Queen of Heaven.
10) Mary is seen as the Queen of Heaven in Revelation 12:1.

Queen of HeavenIs it impossible or unlikely that God would assume someone into heaven body and soul? All of us will be taken us some day (1 Cor 15:52). In the Bible there are at least two clear examples of humans taken up to heaven body and soul. Both Enoch (Gen 5:24; Heb 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-11) were taken up into heaven body and soul. Mary was not the first! There was already precedent set!

Queenship of Mary is a Marian feast day in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church,established by Pope Pius XII. On 11 October 1954, the Pontiff pronounced the new feast in his encyclical Ad caeli reginam. The feast was celebrated on May 31, the last day of the Marian month. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the feast day to August 22.

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One question was asked today about the Queen in Psalm 45. If the queen was the bride marrying the king, then how can we say the queen was always the mother and that it was a pattern by which we could see Jesus, like other Jewish kings, appointing his mother as his queen. I speculate a bit on the matter here.

For a response to the argument that Jeremiah condemns those who worship the Queen of Heaven, click here.

For more on Mary, get my documentary filmed on location. It is entitled Mary, Mother of God. You can learn more about it and order it here. My talk Mary: Real Girl & Woman of Mystery here.

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“How big was baby Jesus in Mary’s womb when Mary visited Elizabeth?” That is the question I asked myself while visiting the Church of the Visitation in Israel. What I learned was quite revolutionary and amazing. This is one of the best pro-life arguments from Scripture and one I’ve not heard discussed before.

It also says a lot about who Jesus was and the “stranger than fiction” event taking place in space and time in the womb of young girl about 15 years old.

Pictures sometimes show Mary very pregnant — better get to Bethlehem fast! But in reality that is not the case. In scientific terms Jesus was just a blastocyst, a few hundred miniature cells no bigger than a millimeter (0.039 inch).

At the Visitation, Jesus was a “blastcyst” like on the top right

How big was Jesus? Read this article I just wrote and step back in time to the first days of Jesus’ life taking on a human body even though you could have barely seen him with the human eye at the time.

Here is an excerpt from my new article “How Big Was Jesus at the Visitation?”

 “When Mary arrived for the Visitation, as we Catholics refer to the her visit, she was not “showing” yet. Isn’t if funny how we see pictures of a very pregnant Mary as though the baby was ready for Bethlehem. But in reality Jesus—100% God and 100% human — was so small he was practically invisible. 

 Though this blastocyst attached to Mary’s uterus had not seen the light of day He had created with his soon-to-develop eyes, nor breathed fresh air He had created with His still-to-develop lungs, yet He was very alive and very human. The cells were replicating at a rapid rate and they were already developing distinct bodily features. It contained the DNA—the genetic code of Mary.

 The microscopic cells were not just extraneous tissue in the mother’s body—something to be discarded, a disease or something. It was human life with a soul. From conception Every baby shares in the image of God and true humanity with inestimable value long before it takes it’s first breath—right from conception. 

 These replicating cells in Mary’s body were truly human life, God himself taking on human flesh. St. John tells us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt (literally, “pitched his tent” of flesh) among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” John 1:14).

 One thing many people do not think about—what was Jesus’ size and the stage of development in the womb when Mary arrived at the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth? And, how did Elizabeth and the unborn baby John the Baptist react upon pregnant Mary’s arrival?” …

 Continue reading the full article, click HERE.

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Meaning of Sacred and Immaculate Hearts – Feast Days are Upon Us!

June 2, 2016

A non-Christian friend found two paintings at an art show and asked me, “What in the world are these? They seem to have pagan elements. What do they have to do with Jesus and Mary?” Here is my explanation. If you readers have anything to add, please post it in the Comments below. Thanks. Thanks. […]

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Mary, Ark of the New Covenant & the Visitation to Elizabeth

May 31, 2016

Read my article about Mary, typology and reading the Bible with the Fathers of the Church and the Visitation. It was published in Catholic Answers Magazine. Click on the image or HERE for the whole article.

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Mary and the Other Body of Christ; How Many People were in the Upper Room and Why?

May 12, 2016

The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal. They were also anxious about the promise. […]

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Speaking Twice on Mary in Florida; Join us if you can…

May 4, 2016

Join us in Ave Maria Florida if you can. I will be giving two talks on Mary, one on Friday, May 20 and Part 2 on Saturday, May 21. We will go through her life from her birth in Jerusalem, her meeting with Gabriel in Nazareth, the Visitation (Ark of the New Covenant), Bethlehem and […]

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Interesting Pictures of Mary – Can You Figure them Out?

May 3, 2016

Question 1 Do you understand why this is a picture of Mary? (Hint: Catechism paragraph no. 724.) Question 2 Is Moses kneeling to worship the bush? Question 3 Why is the picture to the left a “statue of Mary” (Hint: Heb 9:4)? Question 4 What is in the womb of Mary? (Hint: Jn. 6:48-50; Jn. […]

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Jesus Said His Mother Had Other Sons! Really?

April 29, 2016

I was confronted with an interesting argument against Mary’s perpetual virginity. The man argued that the Bible itself proves that Mary had other children. He claimed that Jesus expressly states in no uncertain terms that his mother had other sons. He said it must have been overlooked by the Catholic Church. To read my whole response, […]

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Is the Catholic Faith Anti-Woman? Five Reasons the Catholic Church is the Most PRO-WOMAN Institution in History

April 1, 2016

COMMENTARY: One doesn’t have to look far to see that the term ‘war on women’ doesn’t apply. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! by ARINA O. GROSSU  Anyone who claims that the Catholic Church is anti-woman knows little about her rich history and Tradition in proclaiming the beauty and greatness of womanhood. There is no […]

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Is this the Oldest Image of the Virgin Mary?

March 28, 2016

New York Times By Michael Peppard JANUARY 30, 2016 THE Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the most revered woman in the Christian tradition. In the history of art, she appears almost as frequently as Jesus himself. But for the past 80 years, one of the oldest paintings of her may have been hiding […]

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Steve Ray on EWTN’s Journey Home this Week

February 2, 2016

              Join Steve Ray and Marcus Grodi this week as Steve returns for the 7th time to discuss his conversion to the Catholic Church. Video now on-line at http://www.ewtn.com/tv/live/journeyhome.asp 

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Alcohol, Mary, & Miracles — Hard Verses with Steve Ray, John 2:1-12

December 13, 2015

Last week Marcus Grodi invited me to Coming Home Network to record a new episode of EWTN’s “The Journey Home” which will be aired the 1st week of Febrary. We also recorded a segment of Deep in Scripture. We discussed John 2, Alcohol, Mary and Miracles (audio below). Check out the Coming Home Networks website […]

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Steve Ray on Guadalupe, Immaculate Conception and Nativity & Bethlehem

December 11, 2015
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Mary Saw Mercy… so real and visible and close it may have splashed on her face.

December 9, 2015

Mary knew mercy. Mary saw mercy. The mercy was so real and visible and close it may have splashed on her face. Sister Faustina’s Divine Mercy shows the blood and water springing from the side of Christ, the fountain of mercy. Mary stood at the foot of the Cross where the blood and water emerged […]

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Mary a Mediatrix? Isn’t there just One Mediator?

November 24, 2015

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet Catholics refer to Mary as a Mediatrix (feminine form of the word mediator). So, isn’t that prima facie evidence that Catholics make up doctrines, worship Mary and disregard the Bible? […]

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