+J.M.J+

QUEEN OF HEAVEN?

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. (Jeremiah 7:18)
(see also Jeremiah 44:17-26)

Queen of heaven was a title of the goddess Ishtar; so some anti-Catholics believe that Catholics are really praying to Ishtar because they call Mary Queen of Heaven.

By this line of reasoning we could "prove" that Evangelicals pray to Satan when they call Jesus "the Morning Star", because "morning star" is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word usually translated "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12.  It should be obvious that identical titles do not indicate identity of persons; were this so, King Nebuchadnezzar would be Jesus, since both are called "king of kings" (Daniel 4:24; Apocalypse/Revelations 19:16).

Ishtar does not deserve the title Queen of heaven because she is not truly the queen of heaven; she doesn't even exist! But Mary is the queen-mother of Christ, the King of heaven, so she is the true Queen of heaven!

In the Davidic monarchy, the queen-mother, or gevirah ("lady"; feminine form of gevir, "lord") played a very important role. King Solomon instituted this position when he enthroned his mother, Bathsheba, at his right hand (I Kings 2:19), and all his successors followed his example with their own mothers. This was the kings' way of fulfilling the Commandment to honor their mothers (Exodus 20:12)

Each time the Bible records a king of Judah, it mentions his mother (see I Kings 14:21; II Kings 14:2; 21:19; 23:36; 2 Ch 22:2) because she was the gevirah, and so had a special place in his court. The prophet Jeremiah sends a warning to both the king and his mother (Jer 13:18), and the Babylonians took both King Jeconiah and his mother away into captivity (2 Kings 24:15; Jer 29:2).

Jesus is the final Son of David, the rightful heir to King David's throne. He has exalted the Davidic dynasty into heaven itself, thus making it a truly everlasting kingdom (Ps 89:35-37). And, like His earthly forefathers, He has enthroned His Mother, Mary, at His right hand as the Gevirah of the Kingdom of heaven.

For a thorough discussion of Mary's Queenship, see the Heavenly Queen article on this website.

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WHO IS MY MOTHER?

"While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Mt 12:46-50; see also Mark 3:31-35; Lk 8:19-21)
Here Jesus is simply teaching the crowds that ties of grace in the Body of Christ are greater than ties of blood in ones natural family. He showed no disrespect whatsoever toward Mary in this incident. Had He done so, He would be guilty of violating His own Commandment "Honor your father and mother" (Exodus 20:12). Christ is sinless (Hebrews 4:15), so He would never dishonor His Mother like that!

Some use this verse to argue that Mary is not Jesus' Mother, that He has no mother. But that view contradicts the Bible, which calls Mary "the Mother of Jesus" numerous times (Matthew. 1:18; 2:11, 13-14, 20-21; 12:46; Luke. 1:43, 2:33-34, 43, 48, 51; John 2:1, 3, 5; 19:25-26; Acts 1:14). God's Word clearly states that Jesus has a Mother! Does God lie or contradict Himself? No; so Jesus is not denying that Mary is His Mother.

Note that He says that whoever does the Father's will is His brother, sister and mother. Didn't Mary do the Father's will? "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). So she is truly His Mother, not just by giving birth to Him, but by her obedience to the will of God!

For a thorough discussion of Mary's divine Motherhood, see the Mother of God article on this website.

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MARY ISN'T EVER-VIRGIN?

Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us?" (Matthew 13:54-56)

Anti-Catholics claim that this verse proves Jesus had younger half-siblings who were children of Our Lady and St. Joseph. They thus hope to refute the Catholic dogma that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus' birth.

Yet the Bible never actually calls these "brothers and sisters" of Jesus the sons and daughters of the Virgin Mary, because they are not in fact her children! Mark 15:40 mentions a woman called "Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses". James and Joses are two of the "brethren" of Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13:55, so this "other Mary" (Mt 28:1) is clearly their mother - not the Virgin Mary! John 19:25 calls this other Mary "Mary the wife of Cleophas", and identifies her as the "sister" of Jesus' mother ("sister" here probably refers to a sister-in-law, since two siblings would not have the same name!).

So James and Joses are the sons of Cleophas and the other Mary, who are most likely Jesus' uncle and aunt. Since Simon and Jude are mentioned with James and Joses, they must also be Jesus' cousins. In fact, a second century Christian named Hegisippus wrote that "Simon son of Cleophas...one of the Lord's kindred" replaced James the Just as bishop of Jerusalem after the latter's martyrdom. He calls Simon the son of Jesus' uncle (Cleophas). This Christian historical document shows that Simon the "brother" of Jesus was really His first cousin and a son of Cleophas, not of Joseph and Mary.

So why does the Bible call them His "brothers"? In that culture, as in many Middle Eastern cultures today, the term "brother" was used for many relatives who were not full siblings, such as half or step-brothers, brothers-in-law, nephews, cousins of various degrees, etc. So Jesus' "brothers and sisters" were really His cousins; Scripture calls them "brothers and sisters" in accord with the custom of the time.

For a thorough discussion of Mary Ever-Virgin, see the Perpetual Virginity article on this website.

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MARY ISN'T SINLESS?

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior" (Luke 1:47)
Anti-Catholics think that the Virgin Mary herself contradicts the Catholic dogma of her Immaculate Conception here, because she says she needed a Savior.  What they don't realize is that Catholics do not believe that Mary had no need of a Savior!  We believe that Jesus, by the saving merits of Calvary, preserved her from ever contracting original sin in the first place.

As a daughter of Adam and Eve, Mary would have contracted original sin had God not saved her from that fate.  But God wanted her to be a holy dwelling, most fitting for the Holy One Whom she would one day bear in her womb.  This is why she was saved beforehand by Christ, at the first moment of her existence.

Though Mary was conceived before Jesus died on the Cross, God is not subject to the limits of time.  He inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15) and sees past, present and future all at once; nothing is impossible to Him.  So Jesus could apply the saving merits of His death to Mary a few decades before His Crucifixion as easily as He can apply them to us two thousand years afterward!  So God truly is Mary's Savior, as the Bible says.  Her Immaculate Conception does not contradict Luke 1:47.

For a thorough discussion of Mary's sinlessness, see the Immaculate Conception article on this website.

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MARY ISN'T BLESSED?

"A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.  But he said, Yea rather blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:27-28)
Did Jesus' mean to teach that Mary is not blessed?  That could not possibly be His meaning, or else He would be contradicting the Holy Spirit, Who inspired Elizabeth to tell Mary "Blessed art thou among women...and blessed is she that believed" (Luke 1:42, 45).  The Spirit then inspired Mary herself to say "from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (vs 48).  So the Virgin Mary is indeed blessed.

Jesus is simply saying that even the great honor of being the physical mother of the Messiah (Lk 1:29) is secondary to obedience to God's will. Yet the Bible says that Mary also obeyed God's will (Luke 1:38), so she is blessed for having believed God (vs. 45) even moreso than for having borne Him. Her faith is the very source of her Motherhood!  This, too, is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

See: Does Jesus dishonor Mary in his response to "Blessed are the breasts..."?

For a thorough discussion of Marian Devotion, see the "Mariolatry"??? article on this website.

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A.M.D.G.


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