The childhood, Life and Miracles of the Virgin Mary in her own words revealed to St. Bridget

The Life of the Virgin Mary

From the early times of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of Her great virtues, Her help to the needy, and Her preeminent role in God's plan for the salvation of mankind, held a distinct position of admiration and love among Christians. The honoring of the Holy Virgin began from the time when the Archangel Gabriel greeted Her with the words: "Rejoice, O Blessed One, the Lord is with Thee! Blessed art Thou among women!" announcing to Her the mystery of the conception of the Son of God. A few days later with the words "Blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb," the righteous Elizabeth saluted the pure Virgin. St. Luke explains in his Gospel that the Holy Spirit revealed to Elizabeth that Mary had become the Mother of the Lord, the promised Savior of mankind (Luke 1:28-42).

The Childhood, Life and Miracles of the Virgin Mary in her own words revealed to St. Bridget

“I am the Queen of Heaven. Love my Son, for he is most worthy; when you have him, you have all that is worthwhile. He is also most desirable; when you have him, you have all that is desirable. Love him, too, for he is most virtuous; when you have him, you have every virtue. I want to tell you how wonderful his love for my body and soul was and how much he honored my name. My Son loved me before I loved him, since he is my Creator.

He united my father and mother in a marriage so chaste that there could not be found a more chaste marriage at that time. They never wanted to come together except in accordance with the Law, and only then with the intention to bring forth offspring.

When an angel revealed to them that they would give birth to the Virgin from whom the salvation of the world would come, they would rather have died than to come together in carnal love; lust was dead in them. I assure you that when they did come together, it was because of divine love and because of the angel’s message, not out of carnal desire, but against their will and out of a holy love for God. In this way, my flesh was put together by their seed and through divine love. Then, when my body had been made and formed, God infused the created soul into it from his divinity, and the soul was immediately sanctified along with the body, and the angels guarded and served it day and night. When my soul was sanctified and joined to its body, my mother felt such great joy that it would have been impossible to describe it!

Afterwards, when my lifetime had been accomplished, my Son first raised up my soul - for it was the mistress of the body - to a more excellent place than others in heaven, right next to his Divinity. Later, he also raised up my body in such a manner that no other creature’s body is so close to God as mine. See how much my Son loved my soul and body! Yet, there are some people with a malevolent spirit who deny that I was assumed into Heaven, body and soul, and also others who simply do not know any better. But this is a most certain truth: I, with body and soul, was assumed to the Divinity!

Hear now how much my Son honored my name! My name is Mary, as it is said in the Gospel. When the angels hear this name, they rejoice in their mind and thank God for the great mercy that he worked through me and with me and because they see my Son’s Humanity glorified in his Divinity. Those within the fire of purgatory rejoice exceedingly, just like a sick and bedridden man does if he receives a word of comfort that pleases his soul: he is suddenly overjoyed! When the good angels hear my name, they immediately move closer to the righteous for whom they are guardians, and rejoice over their progress in good deeds and virtues.

All humans have been given both good angels for their protection, and bad angels to test them. The good angels are not separated from God; they serve the soul without leaving God. They are constantly in his sight. Yet they work to inflame and incite the soul to do good. All the demons, however, shudder with fear at the name of Mary! When they hear the name, “Mary”, they immediately release a soul out of the claws with which they had held her. Just as a bird or hawk, with its claws and beak embedded into its prey, releases it immediately if it hears a sound, but soon returns when it sees that no action follows, so do the demons - frightened when they hear my name – release the soul. But they return and fly back as fast as an arrow if no improvement follows.

No one is so cold in his love of God (unless he is damned) that he will not experience the devil releasing him from his habitual sins if only he invokes my name with the true intention of never returning to his evil deeds. The devil will never return to him unless he resumes the will to commit mortal sins. Sometimes, though, the devil is allowed to trouble him for the sake of his greater reward. However, the devil shall never own him.



The words of Virgin Mary to her daughter, presenting a useful lesson about how she should live, and describing many wonderful things about the suffering of Christ.

Chapter 10

“I am the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God. I told you to wear a brooch on your chest. I will now show you more fully how, from the beginning, when I first heard and understood that God existed, I always, and with fear, was concerned about my salvation and my observance of his commandments. But when I learned more about God - that he was my Creator and the judge of all my actions - I loved him more dearly, and I was constantly fearful and watchful so as to not offend him by word or deed.

Later, when I heard that he had given the Law and the commandments to the people and worked such great miracles through them, I made a firm decision in my soul to never love anything but him, and all worldly things became most bitter to me. When still later I heard that God himself would redeem the world and be born of a Virgin, I was seized by such great love for him that I thought of nothing but God and desired nothing but him. I withdrew myself, as much as I was able, from the conversation and presence of parents and friends, and I gave away all my possessions to the poor, and kept nothing for myself but meager food and clothing.

Nothing was pleasing to me but God! I always wished in my heart to live until the time of his birth, and perhaps, deserve to become the unworthy handmaid of the Mother of God. I also promised in my heart to keep my virginity, if this was acceptable to him, and to have no possessions in the world. However, if God wanted otherwise, my will was that his will, not mine, be done; for I believed that he could do all things and wanted nothing but what was beneficial and best for me. Therefore, I entrusted all my will to him.

When the time approached for the virgins to be presented in the temple of the Lord, I was also among them due to the devout compliance of my parents to the Law. I thought to myself that nothing was impossible for God, and since he knew that I wanted and desired nothing but him, I knew that he could protect my virginity, if it pleased him. However, if not, I wanted his will to be done. After I had heard all the commandments in the temple, I returned home, burning even more now than ever before with the love of God, being inflamed daily with new fires and desires of love.

For this reason, I withdrew myself even more from everyone, and was alone day and night, fearing greatly, and most of all, that my mouth should say anything, or my ears hear anything against the will of my God, or that my eyes see anything alluring or harmful. I was also afraid in the silence, and very worried that I might be silent about things of which I should, instead, have spoken.

While I was worried in my heart like this, alone by myself and placing all my hope in God, an inspiration about God’s great power came over me, and I recalled how the angels and everything created serve him, and how his glory is indescribable and unlimited. While I was thus fascinated by this thought, I saw three wonderful things: I saw a star, but not the kind that shines in the sky; I saw a light, but not the kind that shines in this world; I smelled a fragrance, but not of herbs or anything else of this world. It was most delightful and truly indescribable, and it filled me up so completely that I jubilated with joy!

After this, I immediately heard a voice - but not from a human mouth - and when I heard it, I shuddered with the great fear that it might be an illusion, or a mockery by an evil spirit. But shortly after this, an angel of God appeared before me; he was like the most handsome of men, but not in the flesh as is the body of a created man, and he said to me: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!’ When I heard this, I wondered what he meant and why he had come to me with such a greeting, for I knew and believed that I was unworthy of any such thing - or any good thing! However, I also knew that nothing is impossible for God, if he desires it.

Then the angel spoke again: ‘The child to be born in you is holy and will be called the Son of God. May his will be done as it pleases him.’ But, not even then did I consider myself worthy, and I did not ask the angel why, or when, this would happen. Instead I asked him how it could be that I, an unworthy maiden, who did not know any man, should become the Mother of God. The angel answered me (as I have just said): ‘Nothing is impossible for God, for whatever he wants to do will be done.’

When I had heard these words of the angel, I felt the most fervent desire to become the Mother of God, and my soul spoke out of love and desire, saying: ‘See, here I am; your will be done in me!’ With these words, my Son was conceived in my womb to the indescribable joy of my soul and my every limb! While I had him in my womb, I bore him without any pain, without any heaviness or discomfort. I humbled myself in all things, knowing that he whom I bore was the Almighty!

When I gave birth to him, it was also without any pain or sin, just as I had conceived him, but with such exaltation and joy of soul and body that my feet did not feel the ground where they had been standing because of this indescribable joy! Just as he had entered my limbs to the joy of all my soul, he left my body, leaving my virginity intact, and my soul and whole body in a state of indescribable joy and jubilation.

When I gazed upon and contemplated his beauty, joy seeped through my soul like dewdrops and I knew myself to be unworthy of such a son. But when I considered the places where (as I had learned from the predictions of the prophets) nails would be pierced through his hands and feet at the crucifixion, my eyes filled with tears and my heart was almost torn apart by sorrow.

When my Son saw my weeping eyes, he became almost deathly saddened. However, when I considered his divine power, I was consoled again in knowing that this was what he wanted and that it should happen in this way, and I joined all my will to his. So my joy was always mixed with sorrow.

When the time of my Son’s suffering arrived, his enemies seized him and struck him on the cheek and neck, spat at him and ridiculed him. Then he was led to the pillar of torture where he voluntarily removed his clothes and placed his hands around the pillar, and his enemies then mercilessly bound them. When he stood bound at the pillar, he had no covering at all, but stood naked as he had been born, suffering the shame of his nakedness.

Then all my Son’s friends fled from him, and his enemies came together from all directions and stood there, scourging his body, which was pure from every stain and sin. I was standing nearby, and at the very first lashing, I fell down as if I were dead. When I regained consciousness, I saw his body whipped and scourged so badly that the ribs were visible! What was even more terrible – when the whip was pulled out, his flesh was furrowed and torn by it, just as the earth is by a plough! As my Son was standing there, all bloody and wounded, so that no place could be found on him that was still intact and no sound spot could be scourged, then someone present there, aroused in spirit, asked: ‘Are you going to kill him before he is even judged?’ And he cut off his bonds immediately.

Then my Son put his clothes back on, and I saw that the place where he had been standing was filled with blood! By observing my Son’s footprints, I could see where he had walked because the ground was bloody there as well. They did not even wait for him to get dressed, but pushed and dragged him to make him hurry up. While my Son was being led away like a robber, he wiped the blood from his eyes. When he had been sentenced to death, they placed the cross on him so that he could carry it to the place of suffering. When he had carried it for a while, a man came along and took the cross to carry it for him. As my Son was going to the place of suffering, some people hit him on the neck, while others hit him in the face. He was so brutally and forcefully beaten that, although I did not see who hit him, I heard the sound of the blow clearly. When I reached the place of suffering with him, I saw all the instruments of his death lying there ready. When my Son got there, he took off his clothes by himself.

The executioners and the crucifiers said to each other: ‘These are our clothes! He will not get them back because he is condemned to death!’ As my Son was standing there, naked as he had been born, a man came running up and handed him a cloth with which he joyfully covered his private parts. Then the cruel executioners seized him and stretched him out on the cross. First, they fastened his right hand to the wooden beam (which was fashioned with holes for the nails), piercing the hand at the place where the bone was most solid and firm. Then they pulled out his other hand with a rope and fastened it, in a similar way, to the beam. Next they crucified the right foot - with the left foot on top of it - with two nails, so that all his sinews and veins were stretched so much that they burst. After they had done this, they put the crown of thorns[1] on his head. It cut into my Son’s venerable head so deeply that his eyes were filled with blood as it flowed down, his ears were blocked by it, and his beard was totally soaked with it. As he stood there, so bloody and pierced, he felt sorry for me, for I was standing nearby and crying. Looking with his blood-filled eyes upon my nephew, John, he commended me to his care. At that moment I heard some people saying that my Son was a robber! Others said that he was a liar, and others that no one deserved to die more than did my Son!

My sorrow was renewed from hearing all this. And, as I said before, when the first nail was driven into him, I became overwhelmed by the sound of the first strike and fell down as if dead with darkened eyes, trembling hands, and faltering legs. In my bitter pain and great sorrow, I was not able to look up again until he had been completely nailed to the cross. But when I got up, I saw my Son hanging pitifully, and I, his most sorrowful Mother, was so grieved and heartbroken that I could barely stand up because of my great and bitter sorrow. When my Son saw me and his friends in inconsolable tears, he called out with a loud and sorrowful voice to his Father, saying: ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ It was as if he wanted to say: ‘There is no one who pities me but you, Father.’

By this time, his eyes seemed half-dead. His cheeks were sunken, his face was sorrowful, his mouth open, and his tongue was bloody. His stomach was pressed in towards his back because of all the liquid that had been lost. It was as if he had no intestines. All of his body was pale and languid because of the loss of blood. His hands and feet were very rigidly outstretched, for they had been extended and made to conform to the shape of the cross. His beard and hair were completely soaked with blood. When my Son stood there so bruised and pale blue, only his heart was still vigorous, for it was of the best and strongest nature. He had taken from my flesh the most pure and well-wrought body. His skin was so thin and tender that blood flowed out of it instantly if he was scourged even slightly. His blood was so fresh that it could be seen inside the pure skin. And because he had the very best constitution, life contended with death in his pierced body. Sometimes the pain from his pierced limbs and sinews rose up to his heart, which was still completely vigorous and unhurt and tormented it with the most unendurable pain and suffering. Sometimes the pain descended from his heart into his wounded limbs and, in so doing, prolonged his bitter death.

Surrounded by these pains, my Son beheld his weeping friends who, with his help, would rather have suffered his pain themselves or have burned in hell for all time than to see him tortured in this way. His sorrow over his friends’ sorrow exceeded all the bitterness and grief which he had endured in body and heart, for he loved them so tenderly. Then, out of the exceedingly great suffering and anguish of his body, he cried out on account of his Manhood to the Father: ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ When I, his most sorrowful Mother heard his voice, my whole body trembled in the bitter pain of my heart. As often as I later thought on this cry, it was as if still present and fresh in my ears.

When his death drew near, his heart burst because of the violence of the pain. His whole body convulsed, and his head raised itself a little, and then dropped down again. His mouth was open and his tongue was completely bloody. His hands retracted a little from the place of the nail holes, and his feet were made to bear more of the weight of his body. His fingers and arms were stretched out somewhat, and his back was tightly pressed against the cross.

Then some people said to me: ‘Your Son is dead, Mary!’ But others said: ‘He is dead, but he will rise again.’ When everyone was going away, a man came and thrust his spear into his side so forcefully that it almost went out the other side! When the spear was pulled out, its point appeared to be red with blood. It seemed to me then, when I saw my beloved Son’s heart pierced, that my own heart had been pierced as well!

Then he was taken down from the cross and I received his body onto my lap. He looked like a leper, and was completely covered with bruises and blood. His eyes were lifeless and filled with blood, his mouth as cold as ice, his beard like string, his face paralyzed, and his hands were so stiffened that they could not be bent over his chest, but only over his stomach, near the navel. I had him on my knee just as he had been on the cross: stiffened in all his limbs.

After this, they laid him in a clean linen cloth and I dried his limbs with my own linen cloth and closed his eyes and mouth, which he had opened when he died. Then they laid him in the grave. I would willingly have been placed alive in the grave with my Son if it had been his will! When these things were done, good John came and brought me home. Behold, my daughter, what my Son has endured for you, and love him with all your heart!

[1] Explanation from Book 7 - Chapter 15: "Then the crown of thorns, which they had removed from his head when he was being crucified, they now put back, fitting it onto his most holy head. It pricked his awesome head with such force that then and there his eyes were filled with flowing blood and his ears were obstructed."

(Excerpts from the Revelations of St. Bridget)

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Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary


From the early times of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of Her great virtues, Her help to the needy, and Her preeminent role in God's plan for the salvation of mankind, held a distinct position of admiration and love among Christians.

The honoring of the Holy Virgin began from the time when the Archangel Gabriel greeted Her with the words: "Rejoice, O Blessed One, the Lord is with Thee! Blessed art Thou among women!" announcing to Her the mystery of the conception of the Son of God. A few days later with the words "Blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb," the righteous Elizabeth saluted the pure Virgin. St. Luke explains in his Gospel that the Holy Spirit revealed to Elizabeth that Mary had become the Mother of the Lord, the promised Savior of mankind (Luke 1:28-42).

The Church expresses reverence toward the Blessed Virgin by the many feast days commemorating the various events in Her life. In prayers the Virgin Mary is called Theotokos, which in Greek means the Mother of God, since the One Who was born from Her was at the time of conception and always will be the true God.

Many Christian preachers and poets composed prayers, songs of praise and inspirational sermons in honor of the Virgin Mary. With all this reverence for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady, it is consoling and enlightening to learn how she lived, how she prepared herself, and how she blossomed to such a spiritual height as to become the receptacle for the incarnate Word of God.
Our Lady with her family
Our Lady with her family

Several prophecies of the Old Testament foretold of the incarnation of the Son of God and of the blessed Woman who would become a tool for the salvation of mankind. The very first promise concerning the Redeemer, heard by our fallen ancestors Adam and Eve, contained a prophecy about a special Woman. God said to the devil: "I shall put enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy seed and Her Seed" (Genesis 3:15). It should be noted that during the time of the Old Testament the progeny were always called the seed or descendent of a male parent. Only here is the Redeemer-to-Come referred to as the Seed of the Woman, and this was the first indication that He would have no human father. Many centuries afterward the prophet Isaiah added important details to this first prophecy of Genesis. He said that the Woman, Who will give birth to the Messiah-Emmanuel, will be a virgin. "God Himself shall give you a sign," explained the prophet Isaiah to the disbelieving descendants of king David, — "the Virgin shall accept into her womb and bear a Son, and shall name Him Emmanuel, which means: God is with us" (Isaiah 7:14). Even though the word "Virgin" did not seem right to the ancient Hebrews, since a birth without fail conjectured conjugal cohabitation, they did not dare to substitute another more "appropriate" word, for example, "woman." Another important message in the prophecy of Isaiah about the coming Messiah is that He will be God Himself. Hence the title Theotokos — "birth-giver of God" — given to the Virgin Mary by the ancient Church.


The Life of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady


As we know from early Christian writings, the Apostle Luke the Evangelist personally knew the Virgin Mary and based several chapters of His Gospel on Her recollections. He even quoted Her exact words several times. He was a physician and an artist, and because of his affection for Her, he painted Her portrait, from which later icon painters made copies.

The Birth of the Most Holy Virgin Mary
Our Lady with her mother
Our Lady with her mother
As time drew near for the Redeemer of the world to be born, there lived in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee, a man by the name of Joachim with his wife Anna. Joachim was a direct descendant of King David but lived a very modest and simple life. Both he and his wife were God-fearing people and were known for their humility and compassion. They never had children and, being very aged, had little chance at having any. However, not willing to despair, they continued to ask God to send them a child. They even made a vow that if they had an infant, they would dedicate that child to the service of God. At that time, to be childless meant to be punished by God for sins. Childlessness was especially difficult for Joachim since, according to prophecy, the Messiah-Christ was to be born into his family line. Owing to their patience and faith, the Lord finally sent them a great joy: Anna had a daughter. The newborn child was given the name of Mary, which means in Hebrew "Mistress-Hope."

Presentation to the Temple
When the Virgin Mary became three years old, Her God-fearing parents prepared themselves to carry out their vow: they took Her to the temple in Jerusalem in order to consecrate Her to God. Mary was left to stay at the temple, in a special school for girls. There She, with the other maidens, was taught the Law of God as well as handiwork. She prayed and read the Scriptures. The Blessed Virgin lived at the temple for approximately eleven years and grew up to be deeply pious and obedient to Him, as well as very modest and industrious. Willing only to serve God, She gave a vow to never marry and to remain forever a virgin.

The Holy Virgin Mary at Joseph's
Since Joachim and Anna were in advanced old age, they did not live for long after Her presentation to the temple, and the Virgin Mary was left an orphan. When She reached Her fourteenth birthday, according to the law, She could no longer stay at the temple and had to wed. The High Priest, being aware of Her vow but reluctant to violate the law of marriage, formally betrothed Her to a distant relative of Hers, the widowed octogenarian Joseph, who promised to care for her and protect her virginity. Joseph lived in the town of Nazareth and also came from the lineage of King David. He was not a wealthy man and worked as a carpenter. The Virgin Mary led as modest and solitary a life in the home of Joseph as She did in the temple.

The Annunciation
The Annunciation
The Annunciation
During Her first year in the house of Joseph, about six months after the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Zacharias (see Luke 1:8-25), as the birth of the prophet John the Baptist was approaching, the forenamed Angel was sent by God into the town of Nazareth to the Holy Virgin with the joyous news that the Lord had chosen Her to become the Mother of the Savior of the world. The Angel, having appeared, told Her, "Rejoice, O Blessed One! (literally, "filled with grace") The Lord is with Thee! Blessed art Thou amongst women." Mary was puzzled by the words of the Angel and unsure what this greeting was supposed to mean. The Angel continued by saying to Her: "Fear not, Mary, for Thou hast found favor with God. And therefore, Thou wilt bear a Son and shalt name Him Jesus. He shall be great and shall be known as the Son of the Most-high, and to His Kingdom there shall be no end." Still puzzled, Mary asked the Angel: "How can that be, since I know not a man?" The Angel replied that this would be accomplished by the power of the omnipotent God: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon Thee, and the power of the Most-high shall overshadow Thee; therefore, accordingly, that Holy One which shall be born of Thee shall be called the Son of God. Your relative, Elizabeth, not having had any offspring till her very old age, shall soon give birth to a son; for with God nothing shall be impossible." Then Mary humbly answered, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:26-38). After this reply the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary, and She conceived the Word of God. Thus, in the most modest circumstances happened the greatest miracle in the life of mankind! Here the Infinite joined the finite; the Light, unapproachable to Angels, descended into Our Lady, the Virgin's womb!

In discussing this Angelic appearance, the Fathers of the Church underline the wisdom of the young Mary. She was careful not to accept Gabriel's message in haste, remembering what happened to Eve when she believed the serpent. Although God decided to make the Virgin Mary the Mother of the Savior, He wanted Her voluntary consent because He never overpowers or disregards the gift of free will that He gave us.

Visiting the righteous Elizabeth
Visitation
Visitation
Having heard that her relative Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zacharias, would soon bear a son, Mary hastened to visit her. On entering the house, She saluted Elizabeth. Upon hearing Mary's voice, Elizabeth, being filled with the Holy Spirit, recognized Mary to be worthy to become the Mother of the Lord. She cried out aloud and said: "Blessed art Thou among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb! And from whence is such happiness for me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?"
The Virgin Mary, in answer to Elizabeth's greeting, glorified God with the following words: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and Holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation to them that fear him" (Luke 1:46-50). Mary, Our Lady, stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned to Nazareth.

The subsequent Evangelical narratives
They mention the Virgin Mary in conjunction with the events in the life of Her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, they speak of Her in connection with the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, then His circumcision, the worship of the Magi, the offering brought to the temple on the 40th day, the flight into Egypt, settling in Nazareth, traveling to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover when He reached His twelfth birthday, and so forth. We will not dwell on those events here. It should be noted that though the Evangelical references to the Virgin Mary are concise, they give the reader a clear comprehension of Her great moral eminence: Her humility, great faith, patience, courage, obedience to God, love and dedication to Him, and devotion to Her Divine Son. From these incidental but characteristic references we see why, in the words of the Angel, She became worthy "to attain favor from God."

The first miracle performed by Jesus Christ
At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, gives us an insight into the great kindness of His Mother and into Her influence on Her Son. These qualities made Her a powerful intercessor for all Christians, especially for those who suffer or are oppressed. Having noticed a shortage of wine at the wedding feast, the Blessed Virgin drew the attention of Her Son to that fact, and though the Lord answered Her cryptically "What is it to Me and You Woman? My hour has not yet come," She was sure that Her Son would not ignore Her plea, so the Virgin Mother told the servants: "Whatever He tells you, do this." As can be seen from this forewarning to the servants, this undertaking would come to a favorable end.

Indeed, Her intercession drew divine intervention to an event in the life of a poor, little-known family. Thus happened the first miracle of Jesus by the intercession of Our Lady, after which "His disciples believed in Him" (John 2:11).

The Gospels depict the Mother of God as having constant concern for Her Son, following Him in His journeys, always ready to help Him at any time, caring for His well-being and tranquility at home, which He always refused to take advantage of. Finally, we see Her standing in indescribable grief by the Cross of Her Crucified Son, hearing His final words and commandments, entrusting Her care to His beloved pupil. Not a word of reproach or despair left Her lips. She conceded all to the will of God. This was the time of Her supreme greatness.

Again, briefly, there is mention of the Virgin Mary in the Acts of the Holy Apostles when, upon Her as well as the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of fiery tongues. After that, according to tradition, She lived some 10 to 20 years. Fulfilling the Lord's will, the Apostle John the Theologian, author of the fourth Gospel, took Her into his home, and with great love, as if being Her own son, he cared for Her till Her very end. When the Christian faith spread to other countries, many Christians came from far off countries to see and hear Her. From that time, Our Lady, the Most Holy Virgin Mary became a mother to all of Christ's pupils and a high example of virtue.

The Assumption
Once, as the Holy Virgin prayed on the Mount of Olives (near Jerusalem), the Angel Gabriel appeared to Her, as he had the first time in Nazareth, holding in his hand a branch with a white flower from Paradise, and announced to Her that in three days Her earthly life would come to an end and that the Lord would take Her to Him. The Lord arranged it so that toward that time the Apostles congregated in Jerusalem from the many parts of the world where they were preaching. At the hour of Her end, a bright light illuminated the room in which the Virgin Mary was lying. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, surrounded by Angels, appeared and received Her most pure soul. The Apostles buried Her holy body, according to Her wish, at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the cave where reposed the bodies of her parents and of the righteous Joseph. During the burial, many miracles came to pass. By touching the bier of the Mother of God, the blind regained their sight, demons were exorcised, and many diseases were cured.
Assumption of Our Lady
Assumption of Our Lady

Three days after the burial of Our Lady, there arrived belatedly the Apostle Thomas, who had missed the burial. He was very distraught at not having paid his last respects to the Mother of Jesus and wished to see Her body for the last time. When the cave in which the Virgin Mary was buried was opened, Her body was not found, but only Her burial clothes. The Apostles returned to their home in amazement. In the evening during their prayers, they heard Angels singing. Glancing upward, the Apostles saw the Most Holy Virgin surrounded by Angels, in radiant heavenly glory. She said to the Apostles: "Rejoice! I am with you for all the days and nights."

She has been fulfilling this promise to help and defend Christians to the present day, having become our heavenly Mother. For Her great love and all-powerful help, Christians always have honored Her and turned to Her for help, appealing to Her as the "Fervent intercessor for the Christian race, the Joy of all those who grieve, Who did not abandon us after Her Dormition." From these earliest times, following the example of the prophet Isaiah and the righteous Elizabeth, all Christians began to address Her as the Mother of God or Theotokos, and this title was confirmed during the Third Ecumenical Council (431 AD) in Ephesus.


Conclusion


The Most Holy Virgin Mary serves as great example to all those who are striving for perfection. She was the first who decided to dedicate Her whole life to God and who showed that voluntary virginity is higher than wedded life. From the first centuries, in emulating Her and Her Son and other prophets and apostles, many Christians began to pass their life in virginity, prayer, fasting, meditation and contemplation. Thus, the monastic life arose, and there appeared many monasteries which became sources of inspiration for a pious life and spiritual wisdom. Unfortunately, the present ungodly world does not appreciate and even sometimes ridicules the advancement of virginity, disregarding the words of the Lord: "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs (virgins) for the kingdom of heaven's sake." To this the Lord added this very unambiguous directive: "He who is able to accept it, let him accept it" (Matthew 19:12).

In reviewing the earthly life of the Virgin Mother, it is essential to emphasize that, just as at the moment of Her greatest glory, when She was chosen to become the Mother of the Savior, as well as at the hour of Her greatest grief, by the prophecy of the righteous Simon, as She stood at the foot of the Cross when "a weapon pierced Her soul," She displayed complete self-control and faith in God. In all events, big or small, She invariably manifested the strength and beauty of Her virtues: humility, perseverance, patience, courage, hope in the Lord and unbounded love for Him! That is why we Christians hold Her in such high esteem and want to emulate Her.
Our Lady
Our Lady


Prayer to Our Lady


Virgin Mary, our most gracious Queen and our hope; shelter of orphans, and protector of travelers, joy of the grieving, interceder for the abused! See our distress; see our affliction. Assist us, for we are helpless; direct us, for we are strangers. You know our offense, — ease it as You will. For we have no other help but Yours; no other intercessor, nor gracious consoler but You. O Virgin Mary. Protect us and shelter us for all time. Amen.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe

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