The Blessed Virgin Mary

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 484-511, 963-75:

  • The Blessed Virgin Mary was specially chosen by God to be the mother of Christ; conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus took His human nature entirely from her.
  • To prepare Mary for her extraordinary role in salvation history, God filled her with extraordinary gifts and graces.
  • All of our teachings about Mary are intensely Christ-focused: everything we believe about the Blessed Mother flows from, and integrally connects with, what we believe about Christ.
  • Because Jesus is true God and true man in one Person, we honor Mary as the Mother of God – our Western rendering of the Greek Theotokos, or “God-bearer,” her title ratified by the Council of Ephesus in response to heresy in 431.
  • By a signal grace of God, Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin when she was conceived by her parents; for this reason, we hail her as the Immaculate Conception, who remained sinless for her entire life.
  • Yet Mary was still in fact redeemed by her Son; Christ’s grace was given to her in advance, unlike the rest of us, who receive redemption after we are stained by sin.
  • Because Mary was in a wholly unique way set apart for God, we hold the truth of her Perpetual Virginity; she fulfills the Old Testament imagery of the Ark of the Covenant, consecrated to God alone.
  • Being perfectly free from sin, Mary was able to give herself freely and unreservedly to accomplish God’s saving plan; even beyond consenting to become Jesus’ mother, she has continually devoted herself to His mission.
  • Because of her perfect union with Christ, Mary was taken up into heaven, body and soul, at the conclusion of her earthly life; we celebrate her Assumption as the prefiguration of our own resurrection at the end of time.
  • Mary is our mother too, as we all belong to the Body of Christ, and she actively intercedes for us before the throne of God.

Live Your Faith

Devotion to the Blessed Mother has an ancient pedigree in the Church.

The apostolic faith has never seen a rivalry between God and Mary, as if venerating her were somehow taking something away from God. It’s actually the opposite: we give greater glory to God by praising what He has accomplished in Mary.

Moreover, Jesus Himself gave us His mother from the Cross. Would it not grieve Him if we neglected her, and thereby failed to attain all of the graces He wants to give us through her?

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