Tag: Virgin Mary

How old was Mary when she gave birth to baby Jesus?

How old was Mary when she gave birth to baby Jesus?


Luke 1 : 26-35 

…..the  angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and  the virgin’s name was Mary. 
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favoured one! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 
Then  the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found  favour with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,  and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of  the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his  father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his  kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How  can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said  to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of  the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will  be called holy, the Son of God….

Mt.1,18 “Now this is how  the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed  to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child  through the holy Spirit.”


Her age:

It is very clear  that Mary was betrothed to Joseph and marriage was imminent.  The usual  age for marriage under Jewish law is 13 for boys, 12 for girls.   Considering the circumstances described in the Gospel and giving enough  weight to Jewish practices 2000 years back Mary was 13 when angel  Gabriel appeared before her.  Please also note that Mary was not  subjected to a physical relation with God.  According to our best knowledge she was 14 at the time of giving birth to Jesus.

According to Jewish tradition in those days, consummation of marriage usually happened as soon as the girl entered puberty and started menstruating. Even though Mary conceived Jesus miraculously, I’m sure God stuck to the normal timeline for these things. So Mary could have been anywhere between 10 to 14 years old when she conceived and then gave birth nine months later. Personally, I think she was probably around 12 or 13.


The great Jesuit, Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), who is considered the father of systematic Mariology, provides a survey of the Church Fathers and theologians on this issue in his 1592 treatise, “On the Mysteries of the Life of Christ.” Suárez reports the consensus to be that Mary was around 14 when she conceived Jesus.

What is the Purpose of the Rosary

What is the Purpose of the Rosary


The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus – his birth, life, death and resurrection. The ‘Our Fathers’ remind us that Jesus’ Father is the initiator of salvation. The ‘Hail Marys’ remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The ‘Glory’s’ remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.

How it Started

Pope St Pius V established the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Muslim Turks at Lepanto – a victory attributed to praying the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.
The development of the rosary has a long history.

First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary’s giving the rosary to St Dominic is sometimes regarded as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as “the apostle of the rosary”.

He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form – with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the Mysteries of Light to this devotion.

The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.


Blessed Virgin Mary In The Quran

Blessed Virgin Mary In The Quran

Many of us engage in evangelization with Muslims and we are not shy in pointing to Islam’s reverence for Mary as a possible bridge between our religions. But what exactly do Muslims believe about our Blessed Mother? Let us look at what the Quran has to say in the two main sections where it mentions Mary, and examine areas of commonality with Catholic teaching. We will do well to also point out some areas where we can ask questions to lead to interesting discussions.

Mary is a big deal in Islam. Only one surah (chapter) in the entire Quran is named after a woman—Surah 19—and it is named after Mary. In fact, Mary is the only woman who is named at all in the Quran! This has impressed some Islamic authorities (though admittedly a small minority) to consider Mary a “nabiyya” or prophetess. The majority of Muslims consider her to be exceptionally pious and of the highest spiritual rank among women. This was an assertion attributed to Muhammad.

Quran 3:42 says, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.” One Hadith (the Book of Virtuous Qualities 5837) records that neither Jesus nor Mary was “pricked by Satan” at birth— something that happens to everyone else. Needless to say, in Muslim eyes she is exceptional.


Narrowing our discussion to the Quran, we begin in Surah 3. The treatment begins in verses 33-49 with an explanation that the line from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Imran (the Quranic name for Mary’s father) was chosen by God in a special way. Imran is said to have died before Mary’s birth, and her mother, Hannah (Anna) dedicated her to service in the temple, where Zechariah takes care of her.

A number of angels appear to Zechariah and announce the coming of John, and then, in a scene like the Annunciation, they turn to Mary and tell her that God has chosen her above all women and purified her. The angels then speak of Jesus, describing him as, “A Word from [God],” named the Messiah. The segment wraps up with Mary wondering how this could happen and a statement that God can do whatever he wills whenever he wills.

The Quran exalts Mary because God chose her and because of her purity. She was chosen to serve in the temple, a job seen as more suitable for men. Moreover, her purity is a purity of intention and service, but also a preservation from defilement by others. There is a lot with which we Catholic can agree here.

Furthermore, it seems likely that some of the traditions recorded in the (apocryphal) Protoevangelium of James have made it into this segment.The parallel between Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, and Hannah, the mother of Mary, is intriguing.There are a number of times in the Quran where names and relations are not accurate—the most obvious in this case is Imran, which is closer to Amram (the father of Miriam, Aaron, and Abraham) than Joachim. Although this can be explained to a degree by typology, it can also be simply confusing two people of the same name. So it bears asking: if the Quran is the perfect word of God, why would there be a number of errors with regard to names and relations? Shouldn’t it be accurate and clear? What does it mean for Jesus to be called a Messiah in the Quran?

Surah 19: MARYAM

Surah Maryam 19:16-36 overlaps slightly with Surah Al Imran, jumping in at the Annunciation. Here, Mary has withdrawn from her family when the angel Gabriel comes upon her in the form of a perfect man and announces that God will bestow a perfect boy unto her. She conceives a son and retreats to a palm tree when it is time to give birth. While giving birth, she cries out, “Would that I had died before this and were a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten!” From below her, either Jesus or the angel (it’s unclear) explains that God has given her water and food from the palm tree and a rivulet from the base of the tree. Then she swears a vow of silence and returns to her family.

When her family sees her and Jesus, they question why she has a baby without a husband. Mary points to the infant Jesus, who is able to respond,

“Truly I am a servant of God. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed where so ever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live, and [has made me] dutiful toward my mother. And he has not made me domineering, wretched. Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised alive!”

Purity again comes up as an important theme in this segment. Mary not only comes from the pure Davidic line, but she is also preserved in purity by God as a result of her mother’s prayerful petitions. Mary retreats for solitude so she can worship, emphasizing the necessity of extracting oneself from the world and worldly things in order to spend time in solitude to encounter God.

In the birth scene, God miraculously provides food and water to Mary and she expresses a desire for her own death. Christians agree that God is the author of miracles and that he provides for his people. Moreover, some Muslim commentators use Mary as an example of how we should die to ourselves. This sense of “death to self” is very important within Catholic spirituality as well.

In this chapter is much that is questionable. For Muslims, despite the Virgin Birth, there is no sense of divine paternity. On the contrary, Surah 3:59 says, “In God’s eyes Jesus is just like Adam: He created him from dust, said to him, ‘Be’, and he was.” We should object to this expression of God’s power at the expense of reason. How can it be that Jesus was created from dust if he was born of a woman? If by God’s direct miraculous action a child was conceived without a father, wouldn’t he in some sense be the Father?

Concerning the birth scene, you might ask, what happened to Bethlehem, the shepherds and the Magi? Why are there segments in the Quran that are confusing and deviate so drastically from commonly accepted and established historical facts? The scene where Mary takes a vow of silence and the infant Jesus speaks from the cradle parallels a similar segment in the (apocryphal) Syriac Infancy Gospel, where Jesus likewise speaks about his mission from the cradle in the presence of Mary. If the Quran is God’s unadulterated word, why does it contain information from apocryphal Christian texts like the Syriac Infancy Gospel and the Protoevangelium of James?

Containing much that is false and/or of questionable origin, the Quran’s teachings about Mary are far from a perfect “bridge” between Islam and Christianity. Nonetheless, they give us a broad platform of agreement from which we can attempt to build commonality—and ask probing questions that may point Muslims to the truth of the gospel.



10 Things Virgin Mary Wants Every Catholic To Say No To

10 Things Virgin Mary Wants Every Catholic To Say No To

We can better appreciate her “yes” to God if we consider when she said “no”

“Sunny days wouldn’t be so beautiful if we didn’t have cloudy ones,” my mom used to say. And it’s true. When we have to grit our teeth to get through a cold front, we appreciate a warm day all the more.

Something similar can happen in our relationship with Mary. In order to value more deeply her “yes,” it helps to consider her “no.”

Let’s look at 10 of them:

1. She said no to every excuse or condition that she might have placed before God’s will. In realizing that she was the one chosen to be the Mother of God, she didn’t demand anything or make any excuses. She simply accepted.

2. She said no to vanity. The young women of her time could have dreamed of being the mother of the Messiah. When she was chosen, Mary didn’t lose her bearings or believe herself somehow above everyone else. She recognized herself as the simple servant of the Lord.

3. She said no to gossip. She didn’t dash off to tell the world about her mission and her baby. In fact she didn’t even tell Joseph … not even to protect herself.

4. She said no to self-centeredness. As Gabriel left, she didn’t settle down to spoil herself and have some rest. On the contrary, when the angel told her about Elizabeth, she got straight to work, thinking about others even in her own state.

5. She said no to special privileges. When she heard about the census, she could have asked God for some angelic assistance. And asked him again when they had to flee to Egypt. And again when Jesus was lost in the Temple. But she never expected God to send angels or extraordinary graces to help her.

6. She said no to dwelling on the “what ifs.” When she had to give birth in a situation very different than what she and Joseph would have wanted, she didn’t spend her time thinking about what could have been. She adapted to what God permitted and made the best of it.

7. She said no to living in a bubble. She could have shut herself off in a little world with Joseph and her divine Son, to relish the delights of living with such company. Instead, from the beginning, she gave her Child to others — to the shepherds, to the Magi, and later on, to the world entire.

8. She said no to the temptation to resist God’s plans. Mary revealed to St. Teresa that when Simon told her of the sword that would pierce her heart, she had a vision of the Passion. She saw the cross awaiting Jesus. She could have begun already then to beg God for a change of plans, but instead, she accepted. She accepted God’s plan to such a degree that at Cana, she was the catalyst for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

9. She said no to the rejection she must have felt when presented with us as her children. From the cross, her Son entrusted her to the beloved disciple, and in doing so, He entrusted her to all of us. How difficult it must have been to accept this maternity — to be the mother of all of us whose sins caused the death of her Beloved. But again, she said yes, and not with hesitation or mere resignation. She told Juan Diego that it was an honor to be his mother. What love!

10. She said — and says — no to any lapse in loving us and praying for us. Mary didn’t nurse resentment at the disciples who abandoned Jesus on the cross. After the Ascension, she dedicated herself to prayer with and for them. We can imagine how joyfully she must have witnessed them full of the Holy Spirit, going out to preach as her Son had commanded. When she was assumed into heaven, she continued her role as our mother.

She is concerned for our needs and our difficulties and spends her eternity praying for us. She lives in the heavenly kingdom, attentive to the earthly one, still and forever the best of mothers.

Let us ask Our Lady to help us to imitate her in these times she said “no” and let us add three “nevers”: Let us resolve never to forget her, never to stop loving her, and never to fail to turn to her in our needs.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided …