Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Lady's Perpetual Virginity as a Prophetic Sign

The witness of the Prophets and the Fathers of the Church. To quote:
Given the witness of Mary, Joseph, the evangelists, and Jesus Himself, we saw last week it's not surprising to find the early Church Fathers firmly embracing the belief that Mary was ever-virgin. They, too, recognized the connection between Mary and the ark, and saw in Mary's perpetual virginity something that attends everything else about Jesus' life -- the fulfillment of prophecy. So, for instance, in the Fathers, we see Mary, just like Jesus, repeatedly linked to sundry Old Testament types. In Gideon's fleece, wet with dew while all the ground beside had remained dry (Jgs 6:37-38), Ambrose sees a type of Mary receiving in her womb the Word Incarnate yet remaining a virgin. Likewise, the Fathers derive images and titles of Mary from the Old Testament, such as:
  • the "Temple of God" -- she is the Holy of Holies in which God dwelt (Ephraim the Syrian, Jerome, Ambrose)
  • the "Rod of Jesse" from whom blossomed Christ (Ambrose, Tertullian, Jerome)
  • the "Ark of the Covenant" (Athanasius, Gregory the Wonder-Worker)
  • the "Staff of Aaron" (Ephraim the Syrian)
  • the "Burning Bush that is Not Consumed" (Gregory of Nyssa)

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