Who is Mary?
Mary is the mother of Jesus.
What we know about Mary's life...
Our basic information about Mary's life comes from the New Testament. It is Mary's relationship to Jesus that is the focus of these writings. Mary is mentioned only as the Mother of Jesus and her birth and childhood are not part of those writings. We really know very little about the life of Mary.
We first meet Mary as a young woman who becomes engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. It is "The Annunciation" by the angel Gabriel when Mary is asked if she is willing to be the Mother of the Messiah; she is told she is the one favored by God. Mary agrees and she conceives through the power of the Holy Spirit. An angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream. He was told not be be afraid, to take Mary as his wife, and the child conceived by the Holy Spirit would be the Savior.
It is during "The Visitation" to Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist, that Mary is first addressed as the "Mother of [the] my Lord."
Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for the purpose of the Roman census. They could not find suitable lodgings so they took shelter in a stable and it is there that Jesus was born.
After Jesus' birth, an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him that King Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus as astrologers told him that Jesus would grow up to be a king. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus fled to Egypt. Herod's soldiers killed all infant boys in the area of Bethlehem but Jesus was spared. After Herod's death, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus returned to Nazareth, where Jesus was raised.
Because the New Testament writings are about Jesus, we know very little about Mary's life in Nazareth during Jesus' boyhood and adult life. Most likely her life was ordinary. She cleaned her house, went to the village well for water, prepared meals and made clothes for her family.
Jesus began his ministry when he was about thirty years old. Mary didn't always understand what Jesus was doing or why he was doing it. Like any mother, she worried about her son. She never lost faith in him. She obediently heard the Word of God and kept it.
The most difficult and devasting time for Mary was at the time of Jesus' Passion and the time spent beneath the cross of her Son. Before Jesus died he gave Mary into the care of his disciple, John.
Mary was present with the disciples in the upper room and received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is clear that Mary shared the faith of the early church and was, from the first, a member of the post -resurrection community.
Mary is honored...
The Church considers Mary as its mother, as a model of faith, as a sign of the Church's hope in the coming of the Kingdom, and as the Queen of Saints.
ICC Religious Education
Immaculate Conception Parish
75 Church Street
New Jersey, 07416