Doctrine of Salvation from Divine Revelation
All the quotations of the Holy Scriptures in bold color are taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible, 1883.
The Divine Plan of Redemption would have failed totally without the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If She had "NO" to the God's Plan of Incarnation, there would have been no redemption for fallen mankind. Just as God absolutely respects our free will in deciding between Heaven and Hell, He respected Hers and let Her make Her own decision. But She chose God's will and said to the Angel, God's Ambassador: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word." And the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us. While we thank our heroes in our daily life all the time and bestow upon them all kinds of compliments, praises, and gratitude, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been decidedly ignored and put down by many of Christ's followers. Not even a word of thanks is given to Her who deserves it. In some quarters, She is even dishonored by slanders and calumnies in films, books, and speeches. Does this indicate that there involves something contrary to human nature? The hatred for the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has not done anything to deserve it, is totally alien to human nature.
Genesis 3: 15. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
(Note: She shall crush... Ipsa, the woman; so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latin: others read it ipsum, viz., the seed. The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent's head.)
Who else can crush the head of the serpent (Lucifer, Satan) except the Blessed Virgin Mary? Is there any other woman who is more excellent than She? The Angel saluted Her: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed are thou among women." A person who is full of grace receives all the grace from God to do the Will of God in all things perfectly. That means she had no sin, either original sin or personal sin. There is only one other person who is also full of grace: Our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1: 14). He was sinless as the Holy Scripture reveals. Moreover, through generation, if the original sin is in the mother, it must pass on to the son (Psalms 50: 7). But Jesus Christ the man was without original sin, therefore His Mother must be without original sin. That is why She was proclaimed "Immaculate" through centuries. But why did She say : "My spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Saviour" in the Magnificat? Angels as creatures by themselves cannot be united with God as one. The distance between God and created nature of the Angels is infinite. They cannot participate by nature in the unity of God without a saving Mediator. The divine nature of the Holy Trinity cannot be communicated outside the Trinity without the Second Person becoming man. The mediator of the nature of God is the God-man Jesus Christ. Thus even Angels need to be saved through Christ. The hypostatic union between the Divine Nature and the created human nature becomes the model of the union between all creature and God. That is why Jesus Christ is called "The first-born of every creature." (Colossians 1: 15). In the same manner, the Blessed Virgin Mary as a human being cannot be united by nature to God without Christ. Moreover, Christ is also Her redeemer preventively because the sin of Adam could have passed down to all except for the grace of her Immaculate Conception. By the same token, human nature of Jesus Christ the man with body and soul also needed to be "saved" by Jesus Christ, the God-man. This is indicated by Ephesians 5: 23 "He is the saviour of his body." Thus the human nature of both the Blessed Virgin and Her Son needed full of grace and was given full of grace.
But that is not all, She is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost as the conception of Jesus was effected by the Holy Ghost. Do you think that the Holy Ghost would allow His Spouse to be defiled with sins, including the original sin? In order to go to Heaven, we have to be without any sin at all, however small. Not only that, we have to atone for these sins either in this world or in Purgatory. All of our stain of sin have to be cleansed before we can be admitted to Heaven. And here the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, would unite with a Spouse who contracted sins? The answer yes to this question would be humanly illogical. But God is infinitely intelligent. He will not make such a silly mistake. If one believes that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not immaculate but has sins actually one insults God's intelligence, by implying that God is more dumb than a human being. But if that is the case, why should one believe in God because God cannot be less intelligent than His creature? So, either one insults God or one does not believe in God. But the fact is that many Christians who believe in God and in Jesus Christ do not believe that the Virgin Mary was immaculate. Perhaps they do not intend to insult God, only that they do not really believe in God and Jesus Christ, although they claim to be Christians.
If the Blessed Virgin Mary did not have the stain of original sin at conception, then she would not be subjected to death of the body for death is applied only to those who have original sin. When we die our soul is separated from our body. But Her soul could not be separated from Her body because that would mean death. And being without sin, She would go straight to Heaven when Her time on earth was up. Thus She would be carried to Heaven body and soul. If, in fact, she chose to suffer and die to imitate Her Son and fully particiapted in Her Son's Plan of Redemption, that is Her voluntary magnanimity, not Her necessity of subjection to the law of death. Visions God gave to the Blessed Mary Agreda show that the Blessed Virgin Mary suffered mystically all the pains of Her Son's Passion with the same degree of intensity. If the mystics of the present days suffer Christ's Passion through the stigmata (e.g. Padre Pio and Mirna of Damascus) why shouldn't the Blessed Virgin, the Queen of all Saints be allowed to do the same?
Many agree that the Blessed Virgin Mary was a virgin before the birth of Christ. But they do not think that She remained a virgin after the birth of Christ. That is because of Matthew 1: 25 "And he (Joseph) knew her not till she brought forth her first-born son, and he called his name Jesus." The difficulty is due to the misunderstanding of the words "till" and "first-born son" in the Holy Scripture.
"Till" and "until" in the Bible mean what is done without any regard to the future. For instance, after the flood Noe released a raven to see if the water had receded. Genesis 8: 7 "Which (the raven) went forth and did not return, till the waters were dried up upon the earth." In fact, the raven did not return at all. Deuteronomy 34: 6 "And he bury him (Moses) in the valley of the land of Moab, over-against Phogor: and no man hath known of his sepulcher until this present day." In fact, even now his burial place remains unknown. 1 Machabees 5: 54 "And they went up to mount Sion with joy and gladness, and offered holocausts, because not one of them was slain, till they had returned in peace." Were they slain after they had returned in peace? An "Yes" means the verse is self-contradictory. Again, Hebrews 1: 13 "Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool?" Should Christ sit no longer at the Father's right hand after His enemies are subdued?
The first-born in the Old Testament simply means the child that opened the womb. Compare the following verses: Exodus 34:19. "All of the male kind that openeth the womb, shall be mine." Numbers 8:16. "I have taken them instead of the firstborn that open every womb in Israel." Exodus 13: 2. "Sanctify unto me every firstborn that openeth the womb among the children of Israel, as well of men as of beasts: for they are all mine." "Sanctify unto me every firstborn"... Sanctification in this place means that the firstborn males of the Hebrews should be deputed to the ministry in the divine worship; and the firstborn of beasts to be given for a sacrifice. Exodus 13:12. "Thou shalt set apart all that openeth the womb for the Lord, and all that is first brought forth of thy cattle: whatsoever thou shalt have of the male sex, thou shalt consecrate to the Lord." Exodus 13:15. "For when Pharao was hardened, and would not let us go, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of beasts: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the womb of the male sex, and all the firstborn of my sons I redeem." The law of Moses required all Jewish males that opened the womb to be consecrated to the Lord for His service or they had to be redeemed at a price. According to the Law of Moses, the Blessed Virgin Mary was required to purify herself 40 days after the Birth of Her Son. She presented Her Son to the Temple and consecrated Her Son to God the Father on the same occasion. Luke 2: 22-23. "And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord." Would She wait for another child to be born before She consecrated Her Son to God? If She did She would have violated the Law of Moses. From these verses, it umistakebly clear that "firstborn" has the same meaning as "that openeth the womb." It does not necessarily mean the first in a series of offsprings.
There is another issue concerning Jesus's brethen. Matthew 12: 46 "As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him." Mark 6: 3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him."
Let us take a look at all the relevant verses of the Gospel.
Matthew 10: 2-4 And the names of the twelve Apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Luke 6: 14-16 Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.
From the above two verses, we know that James (the Less) and Jude (Thaddeus) were sons of Alpheus while James (the Greater) and John, the evangelist, were sons of Zebedee.
Matthew 27: 56 "Among whom was Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee."
From Matthew 27: 56, standing near the cross on which Jesus was crucified, were three women: Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James (the Less) and of Joseph, and the mother of James the Greater and of John.
Mark 15: 40 "And there were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph and Salome."
Compare Mark 15: 40 with Matthew 27: 56, Salome must be the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
John 19: 25 "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen."
From John 19: 25, Salome is not mentioned but the mother of Jesus and Mary of Cleophas, sister of Jesus's mother, are added. Salome is wife of Zebedee so cannot be Mary the mother of Jesus. So now we have apparently 5 women standing near the cross: (1) Mary, mother of Jesus, (2) Mary of Cleophas, her sister, (3) Mary Magdalen, (4) Salome (wife of Zebedee) mother of James the Greater and of John, and (5) Mary (wife of Alpheus) mother of James the Less, of Joseph, and of Jude. Now we know that James the Less, Jude and Joseph were not sons of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but sons of Mary of Alpheus. We know that from Tradition that Alpheus was Saint Joseph's brother. He had four sons, Simon, Joseph, James the Less, and Jude Thaddeus. So Mary mother of Jesus and Mary Alpheus were sister-in-law. Mary Alpheus's four sons were Jesus's cousins. Therefore, Mary of Cleophas and Mary Alpheus are the same person. Alpheus apparently took a Greek name Cleophas. Standing near the cross were 4 distinct women: Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, Mary Alpheus (or Cleophas), and Salome. Also from Tradition, Salome also had name Mary. Thus 4 different Mary's were standing near the cross of Christ.
Therefore, from the Scripture alone, we know that James, Jude, and Joseph were not sons of Mary, mother of Jesus. From Tradition, we know that Simon, Joseph, James, Jude were Jesus's cousins. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Mary of Alpheus (Cleophas) were sisters-in-law but they were called sisters in the Bible. The Hebrew and Aramaic languages did not have word for "cousin". The word "brethen" in the Bible was used to describe both cousins, sons of the same father, plus other relatives and even, nonrelatives. Examples: (1) Genesis 14: 12-14. "And Lot also, the son of Abram's brother, who dwelt in Sodom, and his substance... Which when Abram had heard, to wit, that his brother Lot was taken, he numbered of the servants born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, well appointed: and pursued them to Dan." Lot was Abram's nephew, yet the Bible called him Abram's brother. (2) 1 Paralipomenon 23: 21-22. "The sons of Merari: Moholi, and Musi. The sons of Moholi: Eleazar and Cis. And Eleazar died, and had no sons but daughters: and the sons of Cis their brethren took them." It is clear here cousins were called brethen. (3) 4 Kings 10:13. "He met with the brethren of Ochozias, king of Juda, and he said to them: Who are you? And they answered: We are the brethren of Ochozias, and are come down to salute the sons of the king, and the sons of the queen." These were near relations and not brothers as evidenced from the conversation. (4) 3 Kings 9: 11-13. "(Hiram, the king of Tyre, furnishing Solomon with cedar trees, and fir trees, and gold, according to all he had need of) then Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out of Tyre, to see the towns which Solomon had given him, and they pleased him not. And he said: Are these the cities which thou hast given me, brother? And he called them the land of Chabul (dirty), unto this day." Here, brother means just a friend.
From the above analysis, we can conclude that the Catholic Church is right in declaring the following dogmas concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary:
However, one must not believe that the Catholic Church relies only on human reasoning to proclaim what is divine. The above analysis is done to show that the supernatural truth not only does not contradict human reason, but actually makes perfect sense. In declaring these dogmas, the Catholic Church did not invent any dogma. She just made known the Traditions of Divine Revelation which have been passed on from the Apostles to the Church. The Church is simply the keeper or the recipient of the Deposit of Faith. She is not the inventor of Faith because Faith was revealed by God to the Apostles who handed down to the Church, not only through the written Scripture but also through the oral Traditions. When there is a debate about any article of faith, the Church, in her position as the infallible teacher of the truth granted by the Lord Himself, draws from both the Sacred Scripture and Sacred Traditions to define the dogma to clarify what should be believed.
Luke 1: 48. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.
Her prophecy about the honour which the Church in all ages would pay to the Blessed Virgin has become true. Not only that, as Our Lord said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away" (Luke 21: 33), the Blessed Virgin will surely crush the head of the serpent. In the end, she will be the conquerer of all heresies.
Created July 16, 1996. Sixth update January 2, 1997.