Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Advent Wreath and the Birth of the Savior

Tell us if you are he who is to reign over the people of Israel?
--from The Roman Breviary, Matins responsory, First Sunday of Advent

Here is a link from Fish Eaters about making an Advent wreath, with accompanying meditations.

I read that in the new film about the Nativity of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother is shown having labor pains, in contradiction to the writings of many of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, who maintain that Mary gave birth without pain and without loss to her perpetual virginity. The preceding link gives the theological reasoning for this de fide teaching, as well as the quotations below:

"Who loves you is amazed and who would understand is silent and confused, because he cannot probe the Mother who gave birth in her virginity. If it is too great to be clarified with words the disputants ought not on that account cross swords with your Son (St Ephraim, Songs of Praise, 1, 2; )

"Believe in the Son of God, the Word before all the ages, who these last days, for your sake, made son of Man, born of the Virgin Mary in an indescribable and stainless way, -for there is no stain where God is and whence salvation comes...." (St. Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:45; 381 AD)

"According to the condition of the body (Jesus) was in the womb, He nursed at His mother's breast, He lay in the manger, but superior to that condition, the Virgin conceived and the Virgin bore, so that you might believe that He was God who restored nature, though He was man who, in accord with nature, was born of a human being." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Mystery of the Lord's Incarnation, 6:54; 382 AD)

"Who is this gate (Ezekiel 44:1-4), if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when He was brought forth in the virginal birth and the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity." (St. Ambrose of Milan, The Consecration of a Virgin and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, 8:52; c. 391 AD) Share


Anonymous said...

Thank you for mentioning that Mary gave birth without pain of labor and keeping her virginity in tact!

This is of course an official teaching of the Church (from my humble understanding). Yet many people, even devout Catholics, resist it, which I cannot understand. If we believe in the the great miracle of God becoming an infant, why is it so hard to believe that He would have preserved Mary, the New Eve, free from labor pain? It just goes so hand in hand with the doctrine of her being conceived without the stain of Original Sin.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Georgette, and it ties in with the doctrine of her perpetual virginity, which is a dogma and a matter of faith. I am surprised to see so many Catholics questioning this on the internet. Doctors of the Church such as Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Alphonsus Liguori teach that Mary was a virgin before, during and after childbirth.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a magisterial teaching that Mary was a virgin before, during and after childbirth...