Mary the Blessed Virgin
The Mother, of God, Mother of Jesus, wife of
The principal events of her life are celebrated as liturgical feasts of the universal Church. Mary’s life and role in the history of salvation is prefigured in the Old Testament, while the events of her life are recorded in the New Testament.
Traditionally, she was declared the daughter of Sts. Joachim and Anne. Born in
Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the
Nothing is known of Mary’s life during the next years except for a visit to the
The first recorded miracle of Jesus was performed at a wedding in
No scriptural reference concerns Mary’s last years on earth. According to tradition, she went to
The belief that Mary’s body was assumed into heaven is one of the oldest traditions of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII declared this belief Catholic dogma in 1950. The feast of the Assumption is celebrated on Aug. 15.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception -- that Mary, as the Mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was free of original sin at the moment of her conception was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on Dec. 8.
The birthday of Mary is an old feast in the Church, celebrated on Sept. 8 since the seventh century. Other feasts that commemorate events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary are listed in the Appendices.
Pope Pius XII dedicated the entire human race to Mary in 1944. The Church has long taught that Mary is truly the Mother of God.
Pope Benedict XV wrote in 1918: “To such an extent did Mary suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation, and immolated him -- insofar as she could in order to appease the justice of God, that we might rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ.”
Mary is entitled to the title of Queen because, as Pope Pius XII expressed it in a 1946 radio speech, “Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through him, with him, and subordinate to him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular election.”
Mary possesses a unique relationship with all three Persons of the Trinity, thereby giving her a claim to the title of Queenship. She was chosen by God the Father to be the Mother of his Son; God the Holy Spirit chose her to be his virginal spouse for the Incarnation of the Son; and God the Son chose her to be his mother, the means of incarnating into the world for the purposes of the redemption of humanity.
This Queen is also our Mother. While she is not our Mother in the physical sense, she is called a spiritual mother, for she conceives, gives birth and nurtures the spiritual lives of grace for each person. As Mediatrix of All Graces, she is ever present at the side of each person, giving nourishment and hope, from the moment of spiritual birth at Baptism to the moment of death.
The confidence that each person should have in Mary was expressed by Pope Pius IX in the encyclical Ubipriinum: “The foundation of all our confidence. . . is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace and all salvation. For this is his will, that we obtain everything through Mary.”
Taken from Catholic Online