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Ginny Kubitz Moyer :
166 article(s)

Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
March 7th, 2011

We don’t have much background about Joseph, and he never speaks in the Gospels. That said, the things we do know point to a man who had integrity and compassion. Matthew ‘s gospel describes him as a “righteous” (1:19) man who was deeply concerned when he learned Mary was pregnant, which indicates that he cared about following the Mosaic law; at the same time, Matthew explains that Joseph was “unwilling to expose her to shame,” and chose to divorce Mary quietly rather than expose her to a possible death by stoning. This reaction indicates that Joseph was not a vindictive man, but one who could have deep compassion even for someone whom he assumed had wronged him. Later, Joseph’s actions in taking Mary…

February 28th, 2011

In Luke 1:42, when the pregnant Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth greets her by saying, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” This verse, of course, later became part of the “Hail Mary” prayer.
Incidentally, the expression “fruit of thy womb” is also found elsewhere in the Bible, not just in reference to Jesus — in Deuteronomy 7:13 we read:
He will love and bless and multiply you; he will bless the fruit of your womb… and the produce of your soil, your grain and wine and oil, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks, in the land which he swore to your fathers he would give you.
When I consider this image, I like to think of Mary as being the tree/branch,

February 21st, 2011

When Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the temple, Simeon tells Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many may be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” (Luke 2:34-35) These words warn Mary that she will suffer along with her son as he fulfills God’s work. Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical letter Redemptoris Mater, explains it this way: “While this announcement on the one hand confirms [Mary’s] faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the…

February 14th, 2011

Think of it this way: if you needed help with something, you’d probably ask for the support of someone who has had personal experience with the issue in question. This is the idea behind patron saints – why John the Evangelist is a patron saint of writers, say, or why Joan of Arc is one of the patron saints of soldiers.
When it comes to sexual purity (I’m assuming that’s the type of purity you’re referencing here), Mary is a logical intercessor. Church teaching states that she was a virgin not just at the time of Christ’s conception, but that she remained a virgin her whole life. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their pastoral letter Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith, put it this way:
“God…

February 7th, 2011

Actually, we owe the first half of it to the angel Gabriel and to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” are the words of the angel when he greets Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28). During the visitation, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth welcomes her with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42). The joining of the two salutations in prayer appears to have become a widespread practice in the mid-eleventh century, though there is evidence of it showing up in eastern rites as far back as the sixth century.
The second part of the “Hail Mary” is where we ask for Mary’s intercession: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,…

January 31st, 2011

Many depictions of Mary show her wearing a long veil that covers her head and stretches to the ground. This is also referred to as a mantle. Many Catholics find comfort in the image of Mary holding open her mantle and wrapping it around us, protecting us as a mother would protect her children. (This symbolism is found in Eastern Orthodox Christianity as well; the protection of Mary’s veil even has its own feast day in the Orthodox liturgical calendar).
I am guessing that your friend’s comment comes from a wish for you to feel the warmth and safety of Mary’s love. It’s kind of the same thing as saying that she wants Mary to wrap her arms around you, and for you to feel the comfort that can come from a close relationship…

January 24th, 2011
On loving books in a digital age

In the last week, two different people have asked me if I have any interest in owning a Kindle. My answer both times was a slightly softer version of “when hell freezes over.”
It’s not that I’m morally opposed to e‑readers. I don’t see them as the spawn of Satan, or anything like that. It’s a style thing; if you like to read that way, more power to you. I just happen to be pretty nuts about yesterday’s style: old-fashioned, paper-and-cloth books that you can pick up and hold in your hand.
Why? For one thing, reading is an imaginative and mental experience, but it’s also a sensual one. Think of people who love the smell of new cars and you know how I feel about books.…

January 3rd, 2011

Your question goes right to the heart of a crucial point about Mary: she was human, not divine. Being human, she did not have knowledge of the future in the way that God does. The message given by the angel during the Annunciation lets Mary know that her child will be the Son of God, so she knew that much, certainly. But there’s no evidence that she knew the details of how her life and her son’s life would unfold. She went on faith – a pretty astonishing faith, actually.
In his encyclical letter Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II commented on the level of Mary’s faith and the extent to which she embraced the unknown:
“To believe means ‘to abandon oneself’ to the truth of the word of the living God, knowing and…

January 2nd, 2011

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a liturgical celebration observed on January 1st.  It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics, meaning that Mass attendance is required (though the Mass obligation is sometimes waived by the bishop for various reasons; when in doubt, check with your parish.)
The use of the word “Solemnity” here is not a statement about Mary’s personality.  It is a designation used for certain days within the liturgical (church-based) calendar of the Church.  Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials.   By celebrating a solemnity dedicated to Mary’s motherhood, the Church highlights the significance of…

December 31st, 2010
(1919-2010)

Holden Caulfield’s Moments of Grace
The spiritual wisdom of Salinger’s famous teen
Midway through J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye…, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, notices a child walking along the streets of New York City. Even though Holden is in a bad way — he’s flunked out of school; he feels isolated from nearly everyone he knows — the child lifts his spirits.
“He was making out like he was walking a very straight line, the way kids do, and the whole time he kept singing and humming. I got up closer so I could hear what he was singing. He was singing that song, ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye.’ He had a pretty little voice, too.

December 27th, 2010

“The Joy of All Who Sorrow” is an Orthodox icon which depicts Mary standing below Jesus, who is in heaven. Mary is shown in the center of the icon, holding out her arms to the many suffering people around her, who are asking for her intercession. There are different variations of the icon, but all feature the same general subject and depict Mary’s loving prayers. Various miracles have been attributed to the icon, including one in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1888, when the chapel holding the icon was struck by lightning. Though everything else was burned, the icon remained unsinged.…

December 20th, 2010

Some of Mary’s apparitions have involved messages or visions that have a prophetic character. In 1982, the visionaries of Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda saw a frightening image of rivers of blood and massacred bodies. This is commonly interpreted to be a prophecy of the Rwandan genocide (many people were massacred in Kibeho in the 1990s). In La Salette, France in 1846, Mary warned the two visionaries of the impending failure of several crops, and of crushing famine; within a few years’ time, Europe suffered significant crop failure and many went hungry. Another example is found in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Among other warnings, Mary indicated that there would be the outbreak of a new war during the pontificate…

December 19th, 2010

The lyrics of “Mary, Did You Know?”, a popular Christmas carol, were written by Protestant songwriter Mark Lowry. It’s a beautiful song that wonders whether Mary knew in advance about the way that her son’s life would unfold. The only part that could possibly be construed as “un-Catholic” is the verse that asks Mary:
“Did you know that your baby boy/Has come to make you new?/The Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”
Catholics, of course, believe in the Immaculate Conception – that Mary was conceived without sin and remained sinless her entire life. In light of that, some might look at the above verse and think that it goes against Catholic teaching. After all, if Mary is sinless, she…

December 13th, 2010

In 1981, at a high school in Kibeho, Rwanda, a teenager named Alphonsine Mumureke had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Mary identified herself to Alphonsine as “the Mother of the Word.” When Alphonsine’s story was mocked by other students, she asked Mary to appear to others, so that they might believe. In January of 1982, Mary appeared to a girl named Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and, two months later, to Marie-Claire Mukangango, who had previously been one of Alphonsine’s strongest detractors. The three women continued to receive public apparitions, many of which took place before large crowds. Mary’s messages often exhorted people to prayer and conversion. In 1982, the visionaries saw terrifying visions…

December 8th, 2010

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the state known as original sin began with Adam and Eve, and has defined human nature ever since. “By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.” (CCC 416) The Church isn’t saying that original sin is genetic, rather that it’s an inevitable part of being human.
Jesus, of course, was an exception, and the Catholic Church teaches that Mary was as well. Knowing that she would consent to be the mother of Christ, God gave her the honor of being exempt from original sin. “The Most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and…

November 29th, 2010

To recap the story from Matthew’s Gospel:
When Mary and Joseph were betrothed, but had not yet lived together as man and wife, Joseph learned that she was with child. (At this time, according to the Jewish marriage customs, a couple was betrothed for several months before moving in together and having marital relations.) Naturally, he assumed that she had been unfaithful to him with some other man. The evangelist Matthew describes what happened next: “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to…

November 22nd, 2010

Quick answer: no.
Backstory:… in 1988, a young woman at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale, Arizona, reported having received prophetic visions of and messages from the Virgin Mary. She also told her parish priest that she had had a vision of nine other young-adult parishioners who would become a circle of visionaries and locutionists (locution is when a person receives ideas or words directly from an outside spiritual source). The nine parishioners did in fact report mystical experiences of various degrees to their parish priest, and he in turn started receiving what he described as ongoing locutions from Jesus and Mary. Prayer groups at the church became extremely popular, with hundreds showing up to

November 15th, 2010

Reported Marian apparitions do sometimes make the news, but I don’t know of any actual apparitions caught on camera. There are no “recorded” images of Mary captured on live TV or film.
That said, there are several videos showing the visionaries of Medjugorje allegedly experiencing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. You don’t see Mary herself in them, but you do see the visionaries smiling, praying, and reacting (you can see these on YouTube). As regards the authenticity of these apparitions, the Church has not made a definitive statement on Medjugorje, and will not do so until the apparitions stop. More information on Medjugorje can be found here.…

November 1st, 2010

It depends on whether you are talking about the linguistics of the title or the theology of the title. “Theotokos,” an early Greek name for Mary, is often translated to “Mother of God.” According to scholars, a more accurate translation would be “the one who gave birth to the one who is God.” So in that sense, “birthgiver” is probably a more linguistically accurate title, at least if you look at the original Greek.
On a theological level, though, “Mother of God” is perfectly correct. If Jesus was both fully God and fully human, and Mary was his mother, then yes, it is accurate to call Mary the Mother of God. This does not mean that she existed before God; rather, it means that she was the mother of Jesus…

October 25th, 2010

On a rainy August evening in 1879, in the town of Knock in County Mayo, Ireland, several witnesses saw three figures standing outside the parish church. They described the three figures as Mary, standing in the center; St. Joseph, on her right; and St. John the Evangelist, standing on Mary’s left. Behind the three was an altar upon which rested a lamb. The scene lasted for nearly two hours, and none of the three figures spoke or moved. In all, fifteen witnesses reported seeing the apparition.
Traditionally, the apparitions at Knock have attracted even more skepticism than usually greets Marian apparitions because they are so “outside of the mold” of most visions: Mary appeared not singly, but with others,…

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