The Meaning of the Virgin Birth of Our Lordeditor
As we approach Christmas, there will be a treat (NOT) in store for too many Catholics, when they hear fundamental errors preached in homilies by their priests. One is the false belief that Our Lady suffered the physical pains of childbirth like any other woman, when giving birth to her Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Pain in childbirth, however, was a result of Original Sin: “To Eve it was said: ‘In pain you shall bring forth children’ (Gen. 3:16). Having just celebrated the beautiful Feast of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, marking the truth that she was conceived free from Original Sin, it should be clear to any thinking Catholic that she would be free, also, of the penalty for that sin – pain in childbirth.
Yet, all too often this truth is either contradicted or obscured by priests anxious to make Our Lady seem no different from any other woman. Other clergy may not go that far, but will speak of her giving birth in a physical way, as well as in a spiritual manner, without explaining the doctrine clearly, announcing that this birth was, as the Fathers of the Church believe, shrouded in mystery so that Mary could remain a virgin before, during and after bringing Christ into the world.
Some years ago, I was locked in written battle with a religious Sister in the letters page of the Scottish Catholic Observer on this topic, because I challenged Sister’s article portraying Our Lady in the “she gave birth just like any other woman, blood everywhere…” category. Nope. Wrong. In the end, we became friendly enough to meet for lunch occasionally, but I was never sure if those choking noises were due to the local cuisine or my “outdated” theology.
Read the brief extract from the Catechism of the Council of Trent below, and share your thoughts.
CATECHISM OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT…
“But as the Conception itself transcends the order of nature, so also the birth of our Lord presents to our contemplation nothing but what is divine.
“Besides, what is admirable beyond the power of thoughts or words to express, He is born of His Mother without any diminution of her maternal virginity, just as He afterwards went forth from the sepulchre while it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which His disciples were assembled, the doors being shut; or, not to depart from every-day examples, just as the rays of the sun penetrate without breaking or injuring in the least the solid substance of glass, so after a like but more exalted manner did Jesus Christ come forth from His mother’s womb without injury to her maternal virginity.
“To Eve it was said: ‘In pain you shall bring forth children’ (Gen. 3:16). Mary was exempt from this law, for preserving her virginal integrity inviolate, she brought forth Jesus the Son of God, without experiencing, as we have already said, any sense of pain.” (“The Creed” Article III) Source And check out the Catholic Encyclopaedia Online on the topic.
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