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MARY: Was Mary an eternal virgin?

Was Mary an eternal virgin?

According to the apocryphal book, The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, the blessed mother had made a vow of virginity at the Temple of Jerusalem while living there from the age of three. Hence, she asked Angel Gabriel how she, a lifelong virgin, could give birth to a child. This was also the fulfilment of another prophecy: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel” (Isa 7:14). Thus, the virgin birth became a prophetic sign of the Messiah’s arrival. The Catholic Church and some other Churches teach the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Mary wondered how she could give birth to a child. Though betrothed to Joseph, she had taken a vow of virginity, and its breaking was against God (Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine). Her concern was losing her virginity to become the mother of the Saviour. However, she is the virgin-mother of the Son of God. Her doubt made the angel reveal more about the mode of incarnation.

Like the first parents, Jesus originated not by sexual union, but from God. The conception happened through divine intervention, which was an exception to the natural law. All three persons of the Most Holy Trinity were involved in the Mystery of the Incarnation. The angel clarified that the second person of the Most Holy Trinity was now becoming incarnate. For this, the Holy Spirit would descend on Mary and the power of God the Father would overshadow her like the Shakina cloud overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant. In the New Testament, Mary became the new ark that carried the Word of God.

Mary was glad that she could be the mother of the Son of God without losing her virginity. God sought the consent of Mary like a father asking the consent of his daughter for her marriage. Marian scholars are of the opinion that Mary conceived at the very moment she gave her ‘fiat’ (yes / consent) to the angel.

The virginity is morally lost not by giving birth or by any other cause, but by sexual union. In Mary’s case, this did not happen. Mary, in her apparition in Mexico on 12 December 1531 to Juan Bernardino, said that the Church should title her as “The Ever Virgin, Holy Mary of Guadalupe.” Thus, she herself has revealed her virginity.

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