When I read the Bible I don’t see much sense in the breakup of the verses. Some come at the end of sentences and paragraphs, some don’t. Why was the Bible written that way?
The bible originally was not written with chapters and verses.The use of verse numbering was something introduced much later, shortly after the invention of printing. The early, handwritten copies of the Bible were written in Greek on papyrus scrolls without the use of punctuation or spacing. In time, the codex formed with pages as we know it today, was developed and printed by Guttenberg on the very first printing press with moveable type around the year 1455.
As printers worked on producing editions of the bible they found it convenient to locate and mark sections of text by putting numbers beside the sections of type. This proved to be not only an enormous convenience for the printers but also for others who read the Bible. The numbering was not placed with anything other in mind than to help locate sections of text. You might say that it was like having latitude and longitude lines on a map. History tells us that Stephen Langton, a cardinal and archbishop of Canterbury, constructed the division of the books of the Bible into chapters in the year 1226.
Why do Catholics call Mary “the Mother of God?” That’s blasphemy, not to mention logical suicide! If Mary were really God’s mother then her mother would be the “Grandmother of God.”
We call Mary the “Mother of God” because that’s exactly what she is. To understand why this is true we must consider who and what her son, Jesus Christ, is. Since his Incarnation, Jesus has had two natures, divine and human. These natures are completely united, meaning his is completely God and completely human. The technical word for this is hypostatic union. Although Jesus has two natures, he is only one Person-God, the Second Person of the Trinity. For this reason Jesus is properly called the “God-Man”. By the term “nature” we mean what Jesus is; by the term “Person” we mean who he is.
Since the Son born to Mary is a single Person (and that Person is God) with two natures, Mary can rightly be called the Mother of God. The Person she’s the mother of is 100% God and 100% human-he’s not, strictly and philosophically speaking, just a human person, as we are.
This doesn’t mean that Mary existed before God (which is an impossibility). She is a human person with a human nature. She existed before Jesus’ human nature was created. Here’s another way to look at it. A woman can’t be the mother merely of a nature. She can only be the mother of a person who possesses a nature. When a child is conceived he is a person, not just a nature. The same is true of Jesus, or else he would be two persons in addition to having two natures. Since Mary is the mother not of Jesus’ human nature but of Jesus the God-Man, a divine Person, she is rightly called the Mother of God.
Twelve days after Christmas the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany. What is the Epiphany blessing all about?
The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany also called “The Adoration of the Magi.” Celebrated this year on January 8th, it is known as the day of the three kings, wise men or magi whose names were Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. According to Matthew 2:1-12, these three kings saw a bright star on the night Jesus was born, followed it to Bethlehem and found there the Christ child and presented the newborn Savior with gold, frankincense and myrrh. On the evening before Epiphany, traditionally there were prayers, blessed dried herbs would be burnt and their aromatic smell would fill the house. Doorways would be sprinkled with holy water and the master of the house would write with chalk “C+M+B” and the year above the house and barn door and say, “Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, protect us again this year from the dangers of sin and death.” C+M+B has traditionally been translated with Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, however, according to the Church it stands also for “Christus Mansionem Benedictat” (Christ bless this home). It is customary today for Catholic families to gather together and bless their homes using this short prayer “May Christ bless all who enter and live in this home in the new year of 2017” and write the New Year blessing 20+C+M+B+17 above the door of their home.
How do I explain why it was necessary for Mary to be conceived without original sin (Immaculate Conception) but that it does not naturally follow that her parents, Anne and Joachim, would have also had to be immaculate?
Original sin is the deprivation of sanctifying grace (God’s very life within us). In the present condition of the human race, we cannot function properly if we have been conceived with original sin. Being conceived in this way damages the person such that they are born with a fallen nature. This damage is known as the stain of original sin. To cause Mary to be born without original sin and its stain, god infused sanctifying race into her soul at the moment of her conception. Mary was given the special privilege of being conceived without original sin (with sanctifying grace) and without the damage or stain such a conception causes. This was done to equip her with the graces needed to make her a fit Mother for the Redeemer and for the Church.
Mary’s preservation from original sin was accomplished in anticipation of her Son’s redemptive work. Therefore, Jesus is also Mary’s Savior. Because of what he would do on the cross, this grace was given to her early. The gracious character of this blessing is also the reason that Anne and Joachim did not need to have it: It was a grace god could give to anyone at any time. He chose to give it to Mary to make her a fitting mother for his Son. This grace was not given to Anne and Joachim because it was not fitting for them to have the same precise graces as Christ’s own mother, who bore him in her womb. No doubt they were very blessed in many ways, but not as blessed as their daughter.
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