Mary

Nativity and Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

by Steve Ray on September 8, 2017

The birth and presentation of Mary is described in the early 2nd century document known and loved by the first Christians. It is the source for the names of Mary’s parents Joachim and Anna. It is entitled “The Protoevangelium of James.”  It is fascinating.

I have only provided the first 1/3 of the document. The second part is about Joseph and Mary’s betrothal. The third about the birth of Jesus.

The Protoevangelium of James 
The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God,
and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ

In Honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8.

IN THE RECORDS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL was Joachim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: There shall be of my superabundance to all the people, and there shall be the offering for my forgiveness to the Lord for a propitiation for me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Israel were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Rubim, saying: It is not meet for thee first to bring thine offerings, because thou hast not made seed in Israel. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying: I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Israel, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Israel. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel. And he called to mind the patriach Abraham, that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.

2. And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Judith her maid-servant said: How long dost thou humiliate thy soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for thee to mourn. But take this head-band, which the woman that made it gave to me; for it is not proper that I should wear it, because I am a maid-servant, and it has a royal appearance. And Anna said: Depart from me; for I have not done such things, and the Lord has brought me very low. I fear that some wicked person has given it to thee, and thou hast come to make me a sharer in thy sin. And Judith said: Why should I curse thee, seeing that the Lord hath shut thy womb, so as not to give thee fruit in Israel? And Anna was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth hour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as Thou didst bless the womb of Sarah, and didst give her a son Isaac.

3. And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow’s nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! who begot me? and what womb produced me? because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Israel, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord.

4. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shall bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran anti hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house.

images5. And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest’s forehead will make it manifest to me. And Joachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest’s plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Joachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? and she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.

Statue in the Church of St. Ann, Mary’s birthplace in Jerusalem

7. And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.

Ann-Joachim-Mary-233x3008. And her parents went down marveling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of the priests, saying: Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, test perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.

Click here for the rest of the document

 

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Mary, Queen of Heaven

by Steve Ray on August 22, 2017

A while ago a man called in to say my argument for the Assumption of Mary including references from the Old Testament was wrong.

Bathsheba takes care of young King Solomon; she later became his queen

I had quoted 1 Kings 2:19 where Solomon had raised his mother up to a throne on his right hand to reign as Queen of the Kingdom. The man arguing with me said, “That was the ONLY case of a mother being a queen in the Old Testament.”

He prefaced his comment by saying that he knew the Old Testament well and it does not support what I had asserted.

Well, if he DID know his Old Testament as well as he said, he would realize I was correct and he was very wrong.

In the Old Testament, the kings of Judah following Solomon had queens but the queens were not their wives — but their mothers — with one exception of the queen being a grandmother.

AncientIsrael.jpgSolomon had 1,000 wives and concubines — but he only had one mother. Click here to read the section on The Great Lady or Queen Mother in Roland de Vaux’s book Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institution.

The Queen Mothers of earthly kings of Judah were not always good examples or godly queens. Many of them were egregious sinners and would intercede for the people with improper requests to the king. But, this takes nothing away from the fact that the mother was the queen and intercessor. It only confirms that many of the Old Testament kings and queens were disobedient to God.

But there is a perfect King and a perfect Queen — Jesus and his mother Mary. They follow the pattern of protocol and the royal institution. It is the royal protocol and the historical precedent and the office that is important in the analogy. Kings of Israel DO what Kings of Israel do and always have done. Jesus is THE king of Israel and would follow the protocol.

Jesus is a king sitting on the throne of his fathers David and Solomon (Luke 1:30-33; Daniel 7:13-14; Rev 5:5; 19:16) and all the subsequent kings of Judah. Solomon was called the son of David because that’s what he was. But the phrase “Son of David” became a title of the Messiah. Jesus is referred to as THE Son of David (Matt 1:1; 21:9) and is therefore the ultimate and true king.

The kings of Judah all had queens but the queens were not their wives — they were their mothers. This is the royal protocol of the Old Testament and the kings of Judah. It is ultimately fulfilled in Christianity and the Kingdom of God which, obviously, is based on the Old Testament model. Jesus is our king and obviously his mother is the queen. It is proper and justly so.

Remember, the kings of Israel do what the kings of Israel do. Jesus is the ultimate King of Israel, so…

…let’s follow the logic:
GB_king_solomon1) Solomon and subsequent kings of Judah raised their mothers to Queenship which became established as an official office;
2)
the mothers were referred to as the Queen Mothers or the Great Lady;
3)
they sat on a throne near their sons (1 Ki 2:19);
4) The kings of Israel do what the kings of Israel do;
5) Jesus is the quintessential Jewish King with an eternal kingdom;
6)
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Israelite offices of Prophet, Priest & King;
7)
As the Davidic king, Jesus who obeyed the Law perfectly, would honor his mother more than earthy kings honored their mothers;
8) It is biblical, historical, and reasonable to expect the perfect Jewish king to follow the protocol of the kingdom and his fathers by assuming his mother to a throne at his right hand.
9)
It is proper and biblical to consider Mary in a position of intercessor as the Queen of Heaven.
10) Mary is seen as the Queen of Heaven in Revelation 12:1.

Queen of HeavenIs it impossible or unlikely that God would assume someone into heaven body and soul? All of us will be taken us some day (1 Cor 15:52). In the Bible there are at least two clear examples of humans taken up to heaven body and soul. Both Enoch (Gen 5:24; Heb 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-11) were taken up into heaven body and soul. Mary was not the first! There was already precedent set!

Queenship of Mary is a Marian feast day in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church,established by Pope Pius XII. On 11 October 1954, the Pontiff pronounced the new feast in his encyclical Ad caeli reginam. The feast was celebrated on May 31, the last day of the Marian month. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the feast day to August 22.

***********************************

One question was asked today about the Queen in Psalm 45. If the queen was the bride marrying the king, then how can we say the queen was always the mother and that it was a pattern by which we could see Jesus, like other Jewish kings, appointing his mother as his queen. I speculate a bit on the matter here.

For a response to the argument that Jeremiah condemns those who worship the Queen of Heaven, click here.

For more on Mary, get my documentary filmed on location. It is entitled Mary, Mother of God. You can learn more about it and order it here. My talk Mary: Real Girl & Woman of Mystery here.

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Reposting a blog on Assumption I wrote ten years ago. Link to my long defense is here.

The Assumption of Mary always ruffles the feathers of anti-Catholics. I understand why. I used to be in their camp — I joined them in lockstep chanting the same slogans and mantras against “Catholic Tradition” and “man-made dogmas.”

WomanSun.jpgBut now I turn my guns on my old impoverished theology and anti-Catholicism and its lame attack on the Assumption and Queenship of Mary. I just learned too much to stay a member of the Fundamentalist camp with their Fundamentalist tradition. Click here to read my response.

(Picture:”The Woman Clothed with the Sun” – one of my favorites. I took this picture of the mural in the Church of the Visitation in Ein Kerem in Israel)

On August 15th I posted a blog offering some biblical precedent for the Assumption and Queenship of Our Blessed Mother. I was not trying to prove the dogma, only to offer biblical precedent for it. There was some red-faced huffing and puffing and a few websites made hay with it. Naysayers immediately jumped to attention and posted a flurry of opposition with the same old, same old. They demanded I answer them RIGHT NOW!

What I said was not only rational and biblical, it was also easily defensible. My article is somewhat lengthy, though I did cut it back from what it was. I wanted to be somewhat thorough. I was criticized for not answering their flurry of charges and questions last week; now I’ll probably be criticized for writing too much :-)  Oh well!

I’ve never been one to be bullied or pushed into anything, and I certainly feel no obligation to tussle with them every time they step unto the playground with their taunts and jeers. But this topic interested me immensely and I thought I would enjoy delving deeper. I also thought it would be edifying and enjoyable for Catholics to read — to make them proud of their Catholic faith.

So, I had a few days of relative calm (unusual) without deadlines and such. So I wrote a response. You can read it here in PDF format. Enjoy, and if you are a Catholic — rejoice in Our Lord Jesus and in His Catholic Church, and honor His Mother. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Sacred Scripture, Mary said “All generations will call me blessed!” Be glad to be in the Church that still does that very thing!

Grandpa.jpgBy the way, a quick glance at White’s website seems to indicate he is obsessed with me lately. I must be famous or something! Is this my 15 minutes of fame promised by Andy Warhol? Wow, am I really that dangerous or interesting?

Geez, I’m really just a old bald-headed grandpa, for heaven’s sake! This picture was taken ten years ago. You should see these teenagers now! What was five been thing is now 15 grandkids!!

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Alcohol, Mary, & Miracles — Hard Verses with Steve Ray, John 2:1-12

June 24, 2017

Last week Marcus Grodi invited me to Coming Home Network to record a new episode of EWTN’s “The Journey Home” which will be aired the 1st week of Febrary. We also recorded a segment of Deep in Scripture. We discussed John 2, Alcohol, Mary and Miracles (audio below). Check out the Coming Home Networks website […]

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Do Catholics Worship Mary?

June 20, 2017

In response to the show I did with Drew Mariani on Relevant Radio: I thought it would be a good time to respond to an e-mail I received a while ago. It was a questions from a friend wrote to ask me for my take on Mary. He was corresponding with someone that said Catholics […]

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Assumption of Mary? A Friend Answers a Protestant’s Objections

May 20, 2017

The question should not be, why do Catholics honor Mary so much? The question should be why do some Protestants honor Mary so little when in fact, the Bible honors Mary so much. Here is another question. Why do some Protestants honor Mary so little when the early Protestants (especially Martin Luther) honored Mary so […]

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Consecration to Mary on 100th Anniversary of Fatima – Bishop James Conley

May 2, 2017

May 13, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children. We will be going to Fatima twice this year with pilgrimage groups and will arrive a few days after May 13th (due to crowds we avoided the actual day). Bishop James Conley shares his experience […]

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Power of the Olive Wood, Holy Land Rosaries

March 3, 2017

On each of our trips we offer olive wood Rosaries to our groups. These are made by Sisters in Bethlehem. We touch them to all the holy sites, especially all the Rosary sites. They are all blessed in Jerusalem before the pilgrims head back home. A Mother Superior wrote to me about her experience in […]

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Mary’s Early & Later Life — The Real Mary on Catholic Answers Live

January 31, 2017

Questions I answered about Mary’s real life on Catholic Answers Live — it was a FUN show! To listen on-line, for podcasts and other listening options, click here.  (Photos: Top photo painted by James Tissot; bottom two pictures are actual photos of girls at the well in Nazareth over 100 years ago.) 1. Did Mary […]

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Steve’s Interview on Guadalupe and Conversion of Human Sacrificing Aztecs

December 14, 2016
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A Baptist Friend Asks: The Bible Says “All have sinned” so how can Mary be Immaculate?

December 8, 2016

A Southern Baptist writes: I am a Southern  Baptist who has a lot of respect for the Catholic faith. The Immaculate Conception is a hard concept for me. Does it also include the belief that Mary never sinned? How does that pass muster with Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the […]

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Joachim & Anna: The Birth and Presentation of Our Lady, from a 2nd Century Document

November 21, 2016

Join us next year on our pilgrimage for the 100th Anniversary of Fatima as we travel through Portugal, Santiago and Loyola in Spain and Lourdes in France. Also to study the Reformation in Germany,  Visit http://www.FootprintsOfGod.com ************************* “The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (as it is known in the West), or The Entry of the […]

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Pictures from Nazareth over 100 Years Ago (see the Virgin Mary :-)

October 7, 2016

Today we are in Nazareth looking for Mary! We are visiting her home cave where the Angel Gabriel brought the announcement from heaven. We will also visit her cave where she lived 30 years with Joseph and Jesus. These pictures are over a hundred years old from Nazareth. Not much changed between then and the […]

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Steve discussing Assumption-Queenship of Mary, St. Bartholomew and Recent trip to Poland

August 25, 2016

Steve on Relevant Radio discussing St. Bartholomew with John Harper

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“Why do you Catholics believe Mary ascended into heaven?”

August 14, 2016

Nice article from LifeTeen: About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, “Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it’s not even in the Bible?” He said “you Catholics” because he went to a local Bible Church but had been coming to a Life Teen Summer Bible […]

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How Big Was Jesus in Mary’s Womb at the Visitation – and what could he do?

July 19, 2016

“How big was baby Jesus in Mary’s womb when Mary visited Elizabeth?” That is the question I asked myself while visiting the Church of the Visitation in Israel. What I learned was quite revolutionary and amazing. This is one of the best pro-life arguments from Scripture and one I’ve not heard discussed before. It also […]

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