Wednesday 21st March 2018

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Our Savior And Redeemer… The Virgin Queen Of The New Kingdom

May 14, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Part 7

The Hebrews had a special title for the King’s Mother in the Davidic Kingdom: She was the “Gabirah,” meaning “The Great Lady,” or “The Queen Mother,” as in the British monarchy to this day. We read in the Third Book of Kings (2:19) that the first act of Solomon was to erect a throne to his mother, who sat at his right hand. This was a prefigure of the throne of our Lady, next to her divine Son.
Non-Catholic Christians profess the dogma of the Virgin birth, or at least most of them do. What many do not profess, to their undoing, is the perpetual virginity of our Lady, in spite of the teachings of Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition.
Accordingly, the Catholic Church professes Jesus Christ is her Firstborn and only Child, just as He is the Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) and the Only-Begotten of the Father (John 1:18).
It is interesting to note that even the original founders of Protestantism, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, affirmed our Lady’s perpetual virginity. It was only in the last couple of hundred years that the anti-Catholic bigotry of certain fundamentalists denied it — mainly because the Catholic Church affirms it. If the Church held that our Lady had more than one child, then those fundamentalists would probably defend her perpetual virginity. To be anti-Roman is the name of the game, nothing else.
The Church also affirms the reality of the Assumption of our Lady to Heaven. At the end of her earthly life, she was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven. Of course, most non-Catholic Christians flatly deny it as something unheard-of in the Bible.
They ignore the fact that the Assumption of Mary was not the first time that God decided to assume someone out of the earth, body and soul. The patriarch Enoch, in the Old Testament, was the first to make the journey, as far as we know (Gen. 5:21-24). It happened even before the Flood, and the Book of Genesis simply says that he walked with God and was seen no more because God took him. As simple as that, and we do not know if anyone witnessed the flight.
In the New Testament, there is also a mention of Enoch in the Epistle to the Hebrews, when St. Paul says that “by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb. 11:5).
If Enoch’s life was so pleasing to God that He took the man up, why not the Virgin Mother of Jesus, with whom the Lord was pleased, who was blessed among women, and whom all generations would call blessed?
The great Prophet Elias was the second to make a similar trip, also body and soul, carried by God into Heaven in style — in a chariot of fire! (It must have been a very beautiful spectacle to contemplate!). But if we do not know of anyone who witnessed Enoch’s flight, we have at least one witness of Elias’ trip in the fiery chariot: the Prophet Eliseus saw the great event, as he was with Elias all the time.
So, already in the Old Testament, God our Lord had already started a practice of taking certain chosen people to Heaven body and soul, although we do not know the exact criteria for His choices. But since He is God and He is in charge, if He wants to take people up in body and soul, it’s is fine with us, of course, and who are we to object.
Eliseus witnessed Elias being taken into Heaven by the chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11), as he accompanied Elias in his journey. But did anyone witness the Assumption of the Virgin Mary? Possibly St. John, because she lived in his house, following Jesus’ command to both of them from the cross, when He said, “Behold thy Mother” and “Behold thy son” (John 19:27).
But for us to know a biblical reality, it is not necessary for it to be explicitly mentioned in the Bible, as there are other ways to know it for certain.
We have seen in previous articles that Our Blessed Mother is the Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark of the Old Covenant carried within itself the Word of God in stone, while our Lady carried within herself the Word of God made flesh.
The first Ark was a symbol, a prefigure, of the second. The first Ark was kept in the hill country of Judea for three months, in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (Samuel 6:11) and our Lady spent three months in the hill country of Judea till the birth of John the Baptist (remember that the Angel Gabriel told her that Elizabeth was already in the sixth month of her pregnancy, and she went to serve Elizabeth till her delivery). The Ark of the Old Covenant brought blessings to the house of Obed-Edom and our Lady brought the Holy Spirit to the house of Zacharias, filling Elizabeth and her preborn baby with His power.
St. John the Evangelist saw the first Ark in Heaven: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the Ark of his testament was seen in His temple” (Apoc. 11:19), and immediately thereafter he saw the second Ark also in Heaven, pregnant with God Incarnate: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Apoc. 12:1).
Since St. John saw both Arks appear in Heaven, the Church fathers saw in that vision the truth of the Assumption of Mary: both the prefigure and the reality, each one carrying within itself the Word of God in its own way. St. John Damascene was the theologian who elaborated the most about the Assumption, one thousand years ago.
The first Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25-27), in which God dwelt in a special way, mysteriously disappeared. There is no trace of it, apart from the mention in the Second Book of Maccabees (1:1-7). They placed it in a cave in Mount Nebo but later on they tried to mark the place for the future, looked for it all over, but could not find it. Likewise, nobody has ever claimed to know the place where Mary was buried, let alone her mortal remains.
While the Early Church jealously guarded and venerated the relics of the martyrs and other saints, there is no tradition of relics of the Mother of God.
Next article: More on the Gabirah, the Great Lady, Queen Mother.

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(Raymond de Souza KM is available to speak at Catholic events anywhere in the free world in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Please email or visit or phone 507-450-4196 in the United States.)

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