PERPETUAL VIRGINITY OF MARY – MAY 21, 1950
It is related in the life of St. Igantius of Loyola that one day shortly after his conversion he was riding along a dusty road in his native Spain. A Moor rode up on his steed and seeing that Ignatius was a Christian from his type of dress, he made a very insulting remark about Our Lady and galloped on. The more Ignatius thought about the insult, the angrier he became and he determined to overtake the Moor in order to kill him and avenge the insult to the Mother of God. Hastening his horse he began to overtake the Moor, but as the distance lessened, he decided to leave the decision to God. They were coming to a fork in the road. If the Moor took the road to the right, Ignatius would let him go; if the Moor took the road to the left, he would overtake him and kill him. The Moor took the road to the right and thus escaped the vengeance of Ignatius.
We should have some of the spirit of Ignatius in defending the honor of Our Blessed Lady. While she is the most loved Lady in creation, she is also the most maligned. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should speak her praises.
At Christmas time I received a gift, a book called "Mary" by a Jewish author Sholem Asch. It is the life of the Blessed Mother. The book started off very interestingly, but a few chapters later, he began to tell about other children born to the Blessed Virgin. That was the end of my reading. My first impulse was to throw the book into the waste basket, but on second thought, I decided to keep it as an example of one of the greatest lies in my library. I was suspicious of the book when I received it because five years previously I had lost all respect for Sholem Asch as an author when he came out with a book on Judaism and Christianity – a comparison of the two. An example of the wild statements in that book, he wrote a sentence to the effect that practically all of the woes of the Jewish people through the centuries should be laid at the doors of the Jesuits. Well, in the name of all that is truthful, when did the Society of Jesus begin? It is a simple fact of history, a fact to be found even in the dictionary, that St. Ignatius of Loyola started the company in the year 1534, less than four centuries ago, whereas the history of the Jewish people goes back well over 3,000 years. Such ignorance is inexcusable in an author supposed to be great. Further, I learned in reading on the subject, that St. Ignatius had a universal charity. There wasn’t a drop of anti-semitism in his blood. He even made statements on several occasions to the effect that he wished and longed that he had been born of Jewish parents so that he could feel closer to the sacred Humanity of Christ. Don’t ever throw your money away buying Sholem Asch’s books.
Now, it is the solemn teaching of the infallible Church of Christ that the Blessed Virgin was a Virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ. This truth of the Virgin birth was defined as an article of faith by the Fifth General Council held at Constantinople under Pope Vivilius in 533. Again, by the Lateran Council held by Pope Martin I at Rome in the year 640. This Council stated: "If anyone shall confess the Mother of Christ was not a virgin, before, during and after the birth of Christ, let him be accursed." It is a dogma held unanimously by the Fathers of the Church from the very beginning. For example, you may read this belief in the writing of St. Justin Martyr who died in 169, and the truth is taught explicitly in both the Old Testament and the New.
The prophet Isias foretold the birth of Jesus Christ from a Virgin Mother. He says: "Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel." Isias uses the Hebrew word "almah" which means "virgin", and the Greeks use the word "parthenos", the Greek equivalent for an inviolate virgin.
The New Testament teaches the Virgin Birth in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." "The angel was sent from God to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph."
The Fathers of the first four centuries all teach the Virgin Birth. Although a few of the Fathers held that "the brethren of the Lord," mentioned in the Gospels were children of St. Joseph by a former marriage, the vast majority held with St. Jerome that they were cousins of Jesus. The Fathers gave four reasons why they were not Mary’s children. (1). They argue that her virginity was implied by her answer to the angel: "How shall this be done, because I know not man". (2). If Mary had other children, why is Jesus so emphatically called "the Son of Mary?" Also, why is Mary never called the Mother of the brethren of the Lord? (3). The Gospel texts all imply that the brethren were older than Jesus. They were jealous of His Popularity; they criticized Him and gave Him advice, they endeavored to lay hold on Him on the supposition that He was mad. (4). If Mary had other children, why should Jesus, dying on the Cross, entrust His Mother to the care of St. John who was a son of Zebedee?
We will never know to a certainty the exact relationship of the four brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Jude. Probably they were cousins of Our Lord. The word "brother" in itself proves nothing for the Hebrew and Aramaic languages had no word for cousin. Any blood relative was called "brother". For example, Abraham calls Lot his brother, whereas the Bible makes it plain that Lot was his nephew. It is absolutely certain that if Jesus had cousins, they would have had to been called "brothers".
O MAKE US WORTHY TO PRAISE THEE, O HOLY VIRGIN: AND GIVE US STRENGTH AGAINST THY ENEMIES!!!