Around this time last year, I posted a blog regarding Mary’s perpetual virginity, which you can read here.
In that previous piece, I mentioned that in being Holy, Mary was set apart by God from the beginning for a specific purpose. In revisiting Mary’s perpetual virginity, I’d like to focus more on the idea of God’s purpose, and how considering that, we can better see why the Virgin who bore Jesus would have remained a virgin for her entire life.
Throughout the scriptures, both Old and New Testament, we are we are privy to multiple miracles from God or, by extension, a human. And to better understand Mary’s perpetual virginity, we have to understand a little more about God and miracles.
A while back, Pope Francis commented that God was “not a magician.” And while he was speaking, more or less, about God’s relation to our lives, we can take a little something deeper from that.
A magician performs magic for the sake of showmanship. He does it for the awe and wonder. God, on the other hand, is much more deliberate and purposeful in his miracles. While God’s miracles are often a great display of his eternal might, they are never strictly for show. In every situation where God revealed himself through the miraculous, there was a very specific reason. These miracles were always a part of a much larger, much more significant plan. They were never the plan itself.
We have to consider this when we contemplate Mary. The virgin birth was miraculous, but it wasn’t the whole picture. It wasn’t a magic show. It wasn’t a miracle for the sake of a miracle. It was an event with a very distinct purpose.
Throughout the Bible it is made very clear that nothing unclean can come before God, or exist with God, or exist in God. That’s why there were so many cleaning rituals in the Old Testament. That’s why there were so many odd laws. Because when the Priest went into the Temple, he went to be with God and he could not be tainted in any way.
The same idea applies to the birth of Christ. In order for Jesus (God) to come into this world , the woman who bore him would have to be perfect, pure, and untainted. She would have to have been made holy and set apart for that particular purpose. Mary’s virginity wasn’t a just a supernatural aspect. It was a crucial, necessary aspect. Christ HAD to be born of a sinless virgin. Nothing else would have been worthy enough.
And since she was chosen and made holy for this very particular purpose, it makes sense that Mary would have remained a virgin forever. Because if she had eschewed her virginity after birthing Christ, she would have also eschewed her holiness. And when something is made Holy, it remains Holy forever.
The temple did not cease to be holy once God had left it. A priest’s hands do not cease to be holy once the Mass has ended. This would negate their purpose. If Mary had negated her purpose, the birth of Christ would have been miracle for the sake of a miracle. And, as I pointed out, God has shown us time and time again that he doesn’t work that way.
I think the main reason so many struggle with Mary’s perpetual virginity is because she was married. And as Christians, we believe that sex within marriage is not only good, but often necessary to the well-being of the relationship. But we have to remember is whatever is good on this earth, God is better, still. And God’s will for Mary to remain a perfect, holy virgin vastly superseded her (entirely good and justified) marital rights.
In the end, God deserves more credit than the vast majority of Christians are willing to give him these days. God is truly an awesome God, but his bigness and awesomeness and mightiness are not all that he is. God is reasonable, rational, deliberate, and purposeful. And when we recognize this, we can grow closer to Him.