There has never been a greater gift to Humanity than the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and while Jesus is the greatest guiding influence the human race can ever know, there is no doubting that the greatest woman that has ever lived is the Holy Virgin Mary. She was selected by our Holy Father to give birth to the earthly incarnation His Only Son. As mother to the Savior of Humanity and as the first person in history to take Jesus Christ as her Savior, she is our model of reverence, purity and holiness.
A Brief Summary
Mary’s ancestry is given in the Gospel of Luke, which shows her to be a descendant of David and from the tribe of Judah. Prior to her marriage, she was a resident of Nazareth living with her parents Joachim and Anne (Later to become Saint Joachim and Saint Anne). While still in the care of her parents, Mary received a visitation from the Angel Gabriel, who proclaimed that she was to become the Mother of the prophesied Messiah.
After this visitation, Mary traveled to Juttah to see her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zachariah. Upon Mary’s arrival she was immediately saluted by Elizabeth as the future mother of the Lord and greeted with a thanksgiving hymn. Sometime during Mary’s three month stay with her cousin, Joseph, her future husband, was also made aware of her divine conception and upon Mary’s return, she and Joseph were married.
A decree issued by Caesar Augustus (who was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor) required that a census be taken for the purposes of taxation. As a result Joseph and Mary had to undertake an 85 mile journey to Bethlehem to comply with this decree. As might be expected, Bethlehem was very busy and overcrowded, and as a result they where forced to seek shelter in a stable. It was here, on this night, that Mary brought forth her son and the Savior of humanity.
Our Beloved Mary, as recorded by Saint Epiphanius and subsequently quoted by Saint Nicephorus, was of a height taller than average, with an exquisite oval shaped face. Her skin was slightly bronzed by the rich sun of her country, while her hair was lightly coloured. Her olive eyes where lively and alert and crowned by perfectly shaped dark eyebrows. Her nose is recorded as being aquiline and her lips rosy red. With her long fingers and delicate hands, she was graceful and feminine and a woman of resplendent beauty. This image, the Iveron Icon, is one of three icons that is believed by the Church, to be painted by Saint Luke.
But Mary’s external physical beauty was only a small facet of her overall beauty. It was her true purity of spirit within, that brought Mary to unsurpassed levels of human perfection. Mary’s Divine qualities were also mirrored in her actions, with records indicating her righteous and compassionate character. She was attentive, courteous and was always ready to aid and console the afflicted. She was gentle and talked little, but her few words were always purposeful, gracious and soothing to distraught souls. Her lips knew no lies and she never offended, or was seen to anger. Her manner of dress was simple, with no thought to accentuate her beauty. Her altruistic presence seemed to exalt those around her as they sensed her Divine benevolence of spirit, a spirit revealing her truly worthy of the title ‘Mother of God’.
This beautiful passage from the Venerable ‘Mary of Agreda’ summarises The Virgin Mary perfectly.
“The beauty, grace, elegance and courteousness of our Queen were incomparable; for all the natural graces and gifts, which were hers in a most perfect degree, were re-enforced by the splendor of supernatural or divine grace, and effected a marvelous union of grace and beauty in all her being and activity, enthralling all in love and admiration of Her.
Divine Providence moderated the outward demonstrations of this affection, which those who conversed with Her, would have shown, if they had been left to the natural force of their spontaneous love of the Queen. In eating and in sleep, as in all other virtues, She was most perfect: She observed the measure dictated by temperance; never did She exceed, nor could she, rather she deducted from the necessary.”