DID YOU KNOW THAT:
1. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist was called the cousin of Mary the Mother of Jesus by angel Gabriel (Luke 1:35) because Emerentia, the Mother of Elizabeth and Ismeria, the Mother of Anne (who was Virgin Mary’s Mother) were consanguineous sisters; (daughters of Stolanus and his wife Emorun).
2. St. Anne, the mother of Virgin Mary, had an elder sister called Sobe who married and gave birth to Mary Salome. Mary Salome married Zebedee and gave birth to James and John. So, James and John can be conveniently called the brothers of Jesus; because the grandmother of Jesus (Anne) and the grandmother of these two apostles (Sobe), were sisters: (daughters of Eliud and his wife Ismeria).
3. There are four other apostles of Jesus who were even more closely related to him than James and John mentioned above. These are: Mathew (the tax Collector), Jude Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), and James (the less) who resembled our Lord Jesus Christ so much that some thought that he was another Son of Virgin Mary, and he was often referred to as the
‘brother of the Lord.’ St. Paul called James the Lord’s brother in Galatians 1:19.
The relationship is as follows:
The mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anne,
gave birth to a daughter called Mary (probably through an earlier marriage to a man who later died) before she married St. Joachim. She became barren for nineteen years before she gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary after much praying for a second child.
This Mary grew up and married a man called Cleophas and give birth to a daughter whom they also named Mary (The Jews like to repeat names in the family LUKE 1:61). This is why the Bible refers to Mary the wife of Clophas as the sister of Mary in the following words: “Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clophas, and Mary Magdalene”-John 19:25. Seeing the only Son of her sibling the Virgin Mary in such a terrible situation, Mary Clophas had to stay close to her, consoling her all through that journey to Calvary.
This younger Mary Cleophas was the wife of a man
called Alpheus with whom she gave birth to St. Jude Thaddeus, Joseph, St. Simon (zealot) and St. James the less. Alphaeus married Mary Cleophas after the death of his first wife through whom St. Mathew was born. So Mathew was a stepbrother to these three apostles who with Jesus had the same woman (St. Anne) as their grandmother. It is common with the Jews as it is with the Ibos of Nigeria to refer to all these people as
‘brothers’ of Jesus, as if Mary had other children (Mark 6:3).
For the benefit of those who conclude that because the Bible calls James, Joseph, Simon and Judas “the brothers of Jesus” Mary must be the mother of these men, let them note the following:- throughout the whole scriptures, there are only three men with the name JAMES.
One James is said to be the Son of Zebedee whose brother is John, (Mathew 10:2). The other James is said to be the son of Alphaeus (Matt.10:3). Zebedee’s wife is Mary Salome, and the wife of Alphaeus is Mary Cleophas. And everyone knows that Virgin Mary married St. Joseph and not Zebedee or Alphaeus. So how could she then be the mother of any of the two James, since the Bible has clearly told us who the parents of these two are. The third James is said to be the father of Jude Thaddeus (Luke 6:16) ; or is there a fourth James anywhere in the Bible?
Furthermore, the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is the gate through which Jesus our God passed to enter this world was specially prepared and made holy for the use of the Holy of Holies Himself when He created her ‘Full of Grace’ (Luke 1:28), and so freed her from every sin, including the Original Sin of Adam and Eve (Immaculate Conception)
It is therefore unthinkable that God, who says He
tolerates no rivals (Deuts. 5:9) did elevate and allow any human being to share this holy womb with Him. And He revealed and authenticated this fact in Ezekiel
44:2 where the Bible states: “This gate will stay closed and will never be opened. No human being is allowed to use it, because I, the Lord God of Israel, have entered through it. It is to remain closed”. And so, that gate (the womb of Mary) remained closed and never gave birth to any other human being after Jesus the Lord God of Israel had entered through it to arrive into the World to redeem us.
In fact, to think or believe that any person shared the same womb with God and sucked the same breast with Him is like believing that someone can walk up to God’s throne in heaven and sit on it for a while, thus sharing the same throne with God, for Mary’s womb is the new “Ark of Covenant”, as she is rightly called by the Church in the ‘Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ prayer. Even here on earth, can anyone (no matter how close to him) ever go to sit on the official chair of the president of your country, even for one second? How then can anyone ever think or imagine that any created person can be elevated to the level of sharing this holy womb with our God, the Lord Jesus Christ.?
4. The scriptures contain very little about Mary and mentioned her Name only where the Holy Spirit considered necessary. This was in order to ensure that she remained hidden and was treated as someone of no importance and not worthy to be given any attention or recognition. All this was in answer to Mary’s Prayers even before she became the mother of Jesus. St. Louis Marie de Montfort, among other saints of the Church, states that in her profound humility, Mary fervently prayed to God while she was living and serving in the temple with other Virgins (she had been there from the age of three) begging to be hidden from the world and to be unknown to anyone except God alone: and to be treated “as the dust of the earth, poor and of no account. God answered her Prayers and took pleasure in hiding her from all human creatures, in her Immaculate Conception, in her birth, in her life, in her mysteries and her Assumption into heaven. Even her parents did not know her. In answer to this prayer, Jesus calls her, ‘woman’ as if she were a stranger, even though he loved her above all angels and all men”. He did so at Cana and at Calvary.
5. If the Holy Spirit had permitted the Church to say much about Mary in the scriptures, the world at that time would have started worshipping her as was common with the people of those days. They easily worshipped anything that fascinated them. Perhaps our Lord Jesus Christ would not have been known and accepted fast enough if Mary was also given prominence. The confession of St. Denis the Areopagite lends credence to this. St. Denis stated that when he saw our Blessed Lady, he would have “taken her for a divinity, because of her secret Charms and incomparable beauty,” had not the faith in which he was well established taught him the contrary. St. Louis Maria de Montfort explains that in these last days, as the second coming of Jesus approaches, Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Ghost, in order that through her Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served.” This is because “the reasons which moved the Holy Ghost to hide his spouse during her life, and to reveal her but very little since the preaching of the Gospel subsists no longer” (St. Louis de Monfort wrote in the 16th Century). Today, the world is witnessing what the Saint was saying: with the Church declaring a whole year (1987) as Marian year.
6. No woman can be the mother of the head alone without being the mother of the body or parts of the body of the same person. If therefore Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ who is the head (Ephesians 4:15) she is ipso facto the mother of the mystical body of the same Christ. All of us who belong to the church of Jesus Christ form the members or parts of his body (Ephesians 5: 23-30). He who does not have the Blessed Virgin Mary as his M other (is therefore not a part of Christ or a member of Christ’s body. How then can a person who is not a part of Christ’s body expect to be with him in his kingdom? Jesus does not have two or more bodies, but only one that has been given birth to by Mary, who is his mother and the mother of all predestinate children of God. No wonder, one of the fathers of the church, St. John Damascene says: “To be devout to you, O Holy Virgin is an arm of salvation, which God gives to those whom he wishes to save”. And St. Bonaventure says: “whoever neglected our Lady would perish in his sins and would be damned.”
7. The Church states that “in Ecclesiasticus (Sirach)24:8 God told Mary to “Dwell in Jacob which is to say ‘make your dwelling and residence in my predestined children, prefigured by Jacob, and not in the reprobate children of the devil, prefigured by Esau.” This is why St. Louis Marie de Monfort states that the most obvious and indubitable sign to tell a reprobate who is heading for hell and who does not have God as father is that such a person does not usually have much love and respect for Mary. He even takes pleasure in making her appear common and unimportant and gets annoyed when someone says anything good about her. He will not pray the rosary and hates those who pray it or who honour her in any way. He quarrels with the idea of even keeping her statue or Photographs in our homes
or churches. He forgets that God looks at the heart and judges the heart, and knows those (if any) who in their hearts really worship Mary instead of honouring her “I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and your offspring will always be enemies” (Genesis 3:15). Thus God has divided all mankind into two camps: Mary’s children led by Jesus, and Satan’s children. There is no neutrality and no third camp.
8. There are many Jesus Christs today. As we go deeper into the last days, more and more false Christs will continue to emerge. (Matt.24:5). However, not all of us who claim to have Jesus Christ in us or who “call Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of God” (Matt.7:21). The Bible states that those of us being here referred to will try to remind the Lord on the last day that we worked many miracles in his name and cast out devils in his name, and Jesus will condemn us with the words “Get away from me you wicked people” (Matt. 7:23). It is then that it will dawn on us that no one can truly claim to love and honour Jesus who does not also love and honour his beloved mother and any other thing Jesus holds very dear. It will then become clear to us that it is really share wickedness on our part to be disrespectful enough to have the boldness to say unkind and derogatory things about Mary which are bound to make her sad. One wonders whether it is likely that Jesus will be happy with, and admit into his kingdom anyone of us who makes his mother feel insulted. It is safer not to say anything at all about Mary (whether in praise or defamation) than to pass uncomplimentary remarks about her. In a revelation to privileged souls to whom he appeared, our Lord spoke as follows: “Yes Mary, pure jewel of my Heaven Mediatrix between myself and men; Canal by which my graces flow to the children of the earth… Do not disregard her power, for it is immense. It is through her that the spirit of evil will be vanquished. Judge therefore of the importance of prayer to Mary. She is the canal of my gifts. Through her, I will receive their prayers and answer them. I forgive many faults, but those who outrage My Holy Mother are already condemned”.