Mary's Other Children
By Father C.F. Devine C.SS.R.
In a dozen or so places in the New Testament certain individuals are referred to as the "brothers of Jesus," "His Brethren," His Sisters"..
St. Matthew 12:46 "His mother and His brethren...."
St. Matthew 13:55 "His brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Jude. And His sisters..."
St. Mark 6:3 "Is not this... the brother of James and Joseph and Jude and Simon? Are not also his sisters here with us?"
Galatians 1:19 "James the brother of the Lord."
By the time of the Protestant "Reformation," the problem of the "brethren" "sisters" of the Lord,... had been fully discussed and settled centuries before. As early as the fourth century
The early Church was not given to sentiment, neither was it hesitant or doubtful but sang openly and with full voice the praises of Mary ever Virgin (aeiparthenos). Still, for many non-Catholics the belief of the early centuries is as nothing, for it must dash itself to pieces against the obstacle of the "brethren" of the Lord. This expression in the New Testament, they say, is decisive: Is it? Let us see....
A protestant preacher often says "My dear brethren..." And no one in the audience thinks that he is talking only to his blood brothers. Members of religious orders or social brotherhoods (Freemasons, Elks, etc., all call each other "brother".)
This reasoning becomes clearer when we consult Old Testament Hebrew usage. In the book of Genesis we read "Let there be no quarrel, I beseech thee, between me and thee, and between by herdsmen and thy herdsmen: for we are brothers." (Genesis 13:8) And yet Abraham who is here speaking to Lot was not
Again, in Genesis 29:15, Laban says to Jacob, "Because thou art my brother, shalt thou serve me without wages?" In the context, it is clear that Laban was the uncle of Jacob, the son of Rebecca. A similar usage is noted in the book of Leviticus, Chapter 10; while in par. (1 Cron. 23:21) where we read that Eleazar died leaving no sons, "but only daughters, and the sons of sis their brothers took them,"(to wife). The "brothers" who married them were really (from the context) their cousins. We know that neither the Hebrew nor the Aramaic language possessed a word for "cousins". Rather than use an awkward circumlocution such as "the son of one’s uncle," they simply said "brother". People in the same community or general locality would easily understand what actual relationship was meant by the term "brother," for among the Hebrews especially, family lines and ties were carefully noted. In a Semitic environment (and the Scriptures were written in that environment) the expression "brethren," "brothers" o the Lord, could designate other relatives than strict blood brothers of Jesus.
"And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son." St. Matt. 1:25.
St. Matthew is stressing the fact of the virgin birth of Jesus... this holy birth was through the Holy Ghost, by His Power.
The expression "did not know her till she brought forth her first-born son," proves nothing. (It is another "manner" of speaking.) We could say of a certain wicked man, that he repented not till his death, and yet we would not mean that he repented after his death. In II Kings (II Samuel 6:23) we read: "Therefore Michol the daughter of Saul had no child till the day of her death." Surely no one would conclude that she had childrenafter her death.
As for the term "firstborn," an only son could be called "firstborn" son, and was so called in Hebrew law since the term "firstborn" had a technical or legal signification. We still say quite correctly of a mother "that she died giving birth to her firstborn son." (In Hebrews 1:6 we have: "And again when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him." (This shows conclusively that the word "firstborn" means "onlyborn" here. Who is there that will say that God the Father has more than one Divine Son, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity? And who will maintain in the light of this proof that Mary’s "firstborn" son was not her "onlyborn" son? The only begotten of the Father is the only begotten of the Mother.)
Acts 2:29 "Men and ‘brethren’ let me freely speak unto you..."
Romans 7:4 "Wherefore my brethren ye also are become dead to the law....."
Romans 10:1 "Brethren, my hearts desire and pray to God for
1 Corinthians 15:1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel...."
Philipians 4:1 "Therefore my brethren dearly beloved and longed for..."
Philipians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true..."
1 Thess. 2:1 "For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you..."
1 Thess. 2:9 "For ye remember, brethren, our labor..."
Philemon 1:1 "Paul a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother..."
Hebrews 3:1 "Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling..."
Galatians 3:15 "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men..."
Galatians 4:12 "Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am..."
Galatians 5:11 "And I, brethren, if I yet preach..."
Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault..."
In the course of the history of
The virgin Mary’s first words to her divine Son were: "O welcome, my Lord and my Child." (Isaias 7:14 also)
It might be asked, whether at the destruction of the first-born of
In the book of Josue, Machir, the son of Manasses, is called the "firstborn," though he is also the only born. Josue 17:1.
The word "firstborn" is not precisely numerical, it denotes a religion of duty to God, to which the only-born Son of Mary submitted himself. St. Luke 2:22.
"And she brought forth her first-born son and (she) wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and (She) laid him in a manger." St. Luke 2:7.
The phrase "before they came together" should be interpreted in the light of marriage customs of that day, this would refer to the time of the espousals during which the bride remained with her own people and at the end of which she was led to her husband’s house. Therefore, "before they came together," Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost. St. Matt. 1:18.
The "seed" of the woman (Gen. 3:15) refers to the Woman’s "children". These are the spiritual children of Our Mother, the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, her firstborn, was "Spirit" conceived in her womb. The "enmity" between these spiritual children of Our Lady and the spiritual children of Lucifer/the Devil will be a warfare between Truth and Error, Humility and Pride, Obedience and Disobedience, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, for the souls of men. Those who "explain" and defend "Our Lady," honor her Son/God, Who chose her for His Mother and ours. See
At Baptism we become "children of God the Father" and "children of Our Lady," which is why we call "Mary, ‘Our Mother". Any child - (seed) who attempts to dishonor his own Mother in any way is doing the "works" of the Devil, Satan, who hates Our Lady, for she crushed his head at her own Immaculate Conception, and the Incarnation of Our Lord. It is a continuous ongoing crushing of lies, hatred and heresy, i.e., the Serpents head by Our Lady and her "seed", the faithful Catholic Children who love her.
By the Right Reverend Dr. Aloys Shaefer