Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ever Virgin Mary

I’m often asked by Protestants if the phrase “ever virgin Mary” means that the Church teaches that Mary the Theotokos never had sex. If I am tired or grumpy, I just answer “yes” and prepare myself to respond to the predictable objections with off-the-shelf answers. And in most cases, this is all the inquirer wants. However, sometimes, I answer by saying “no.” Then I say that it means the Mary’s heart and mind were always pure, that she was always full of the Light, Life and Grace of God. Oh yes, and by the way, that also had a biological component: she never had sexual intercourse, but that is not what “ever virgin” means.


Barbara said...

Dear Fr. Michael,

I appreciate this broader understanding of the term "ever virgin".

Would it make you grumpy if I asked you if there was a difference between "always pure" and "sinless"? I have a feeling it's a typical protestant or recently ex-protestant question :)

Fr. Michael said...

All words fall short when we talk about holiness. We want precision. We want words that have definitions that do not change, but since Babel, this is just not reality. Words point to realities, but except in very limited circumstances, they have very fuzzy edges. I can say about the Mother of God, that compared to me, she is always pure, always sinless and always in Christ.

Barbara said...

Dear Fr. Michael,

Thank you for an answers that satisfied so deeply even though it doesn't answer.


PS Please blog more!