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Tha Madonna in Sorrow

The Madonna in Sorrow by Sassoferrato

Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, as selected by God. Her husband was Joseph of Nazareth. She is a major figure in the Catholic Church.

Life

Not much is known of Mary's history. In the Gospel of James, her parents are Joachim and Anne. In the Bible, she is described as 'living in her own house', so possibly with her parents. She was a cousin of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

Annunciation

Annunciation by Murillo

The Virgin Birth

Mary was selected by God to be the mother of the promised Messiah, with the angel Gabriel giving her the message. The soul of Jesus was put directly in Mary's womb, so he would not inherit the sin from Adam. At the time, she was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth, and once he heard that Mary was pregnant, he doesn't think they should get married. But God's angel told Joseph in a dream that it would be alright, so Joseph married Mary.

During the Census of Quirinius, Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem, the hometown of Joseph. As there was no room for them in any inn, they stayed in a stable where Jesus was born.[1]

After the birth of Jesus, it is most likely that Joseph and Mary had children of their own by normal conception, as recorded in Matthew 12:46, 13:55-56, Mark 3:31, Luke 8:19, John 7:1-10, Acts 1:14 and Galatians 1:19.

Names and Titles

Mary has been given various titles, particularly in the Catholic Church. Among them are:

  • The Virgin Mary
  • Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Saint Mary
  • Theotokos
  • Maryam

She is also called 'Mother of God' in the Catholic Church.

Views in the Abrahamic Faiths

In Judaism

In keeping with rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, Jewish people believe that the conception of Jesus was normal.

In Christianity

Mary is regarded by some as the first Christian, as she accepted God's request to give birth to Jesus, therefore being the first person to accept Him.

In Catholicism

Mary

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

In the Catholic Church, Mary is a very important figure, with many churches adorning her with statues. Catholics believe that she was perfect and guiltless, as Jesus was. She is even honoured with her own prayer, known as the 'Hail Mary'. A special day is also set aside for her on May 13 of every year, called 'Our Lady of Fatima Day'. The Immaculate Heart of Mary shows her compassion and sinlessness.[2]

In Anglicanism

The views of Mary differ within each Anglican church. Most forms of Protestantism reject speaking to Mary and the other Saints directly, Anglicanism allows them to be addressed, and also allows them to be respected as the mother of Christ, but usually does not allow her to be honoured as God or Jesus is honoured.

In Orthodoxy

The Orthodox belief is that both before after Christ's birth, she remained a virgin. She is 'superior to all created beings', but not divine.

In Methodism

Methodists hold no writings of Mary other than what is in Scripture or ecumenical Creeds. The church holds the same belief as other Christians, that Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit, and she still remained a virgin. Methodists believe that God is the only One who should get glory, but Mary and other Saints are allowed to be studied, because they are heroes and good examples of Christians.

In Protestantism

Protestants believe that while Mary was the mother of Christ, she was an ordinary woman who devoted her life to God, therefore, she shouldn't be given glory. But it is agreed she is blessed among women and outstanding example of a Christian.

In Lutheranism

Lutherans acknowledge Mary as a role model, and thank God for letting her be the 'Mother of God', but it is widely believed Catholics rob Christ of His glory by giving Mary too much glory.[3]

In Islam

Mary is a very respected figure in Islam. She appears more in the Qur'an than in all the New Testament. There is a chapter in the Qur'an titled 'Maryam', and is the only chapter to be named after a woman, and the only woman to be named in the Qur'an. Muslims believe that she was sinless and incapable of committing sin, as the Catholic doctrine teaches.

In Baha'i Faith

The Baha'i Faith view opposes the Catholic and Islamic view, as they believe that Mary was with sin and not guiltless.[4]

General Sources

Holy Bible

Bible Gateway

Mary (mother of Jesus, Wikipedia)

References

  1. My Book of Bible Stories, published in 1978 by the Jehovah's Witnesses
  2. http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=354503 (First reply)
  3. http://www.orlutheran.com/html/mary.html
  4. http://bahaiforums.com/interfaith/2719-virgin-mary-islam-bahai-faith.html (First post)