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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.
April 5th, 2010

If you’re looking for a general overview, I recommend The Catholic Companion to Mary, by Mary Kathleen Glavich.  This highly readable book covers key events of Mary’s life and explains Catholic teachings/beliefs about Mary.  It also has all kinds of Marian trivia (everything from her influence on female names to the definition of a “Hail Mary” pass in football).
It’s out of print, but the book  Mary in the Church: A Selection of Teaching Documents can be purchased used on Amazon.  It contains four recent Church documents on Mary, including the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 1973 letter Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith, which is one of my all-time favorite resources about…

March 29th, 2010

When Jesus was on the cross, he entrusted the care of his mother to the beloved apostle (commonly believed to be John). “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27) It’s probably a safe assumption that John followed Jesus’ directions and looked after Mary with reverence and filial love. We also know that Mary was present at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles (this is Mary’s last appearance in the Bible).
How involved was Mary in the ministry of the early Church? It’s hard to say…

March 22nd, 2010

In the Bible, Mary speaks on four separate occasions. During the Annunciation, she asks the angel how she, a virgin, could be the mother of God (Luke 1:34); later, she responds, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Directly after the Annunciation, Mary travels to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, and sings the beautiful psalm of praise called the Magnificat. (Luke 1:46-55)
When Jesus is lost in the Temple, Mary admonishes him, saying, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” (Luke 2:48)
Finally, at the Wedding at Cana, Mary points out the lack of wine to Jesus. (John 2:3) She later instructs…

March 1st, 2010

Mary, Seat of Wisdom (also known as Our Lady of the Chair or the Latin name Sedes Sapientiae…), is a very old title for Mary.  As with all of Mary’s titles, it highlights one specific aspect of her life and experience – specifically, her role as the one who gave birth to Christ.
Artistic representations of Mary, Seat of Wisdom often show her seated on a throne, holding the Christ child on her lap and offering him for adoration.  Many early Christians saw Christ as Wisdom incarnate; therefore, by holding him on her lap, Mary becomes the “seat” of wisdom.  On another, deeper level, the title also refers to the fact that Mary “held” wisdom inside her by carrying Christ in her womb.

February 15th, 2010

What we know about Mary’s parents comes mainly from apocryphal texts — texts that are written in the style of sacred scripture but are not considered to be divinely inspired.  The Protoevangelium of James, a text written around 150 AD, identifies Mary’s parents as Joachim and Anne.  They were apparently a wealthy couple who suffered infertility for many years.  According to the text, Joachim fasted for forty days and nights in hopes of having a child.  Their faith and perseverance was rewarded with the birth of Mary, whose coming was announced by an angel.  In gratitude, Joachim and Anne are said to have consecrated Mary to the Lord and, at the age of three, she was sent to live in the temple.

How much…

February 8th, 2010

The English major in me says that there are Marian themes in anything, if you look hard enough.  All joking aside, your question is a fascinating one. The first connection that came to my mind is the very name “Snow White,” with its connotations of innocence and purity. This has an obvious similarity to the Catholic beliefs that Mary was 1) conceived without sin and 2) a virgin her entire life.
I did some research and found a fascinating piece by Michael P. Duricy, called “Semiotics, Snow White, and Mary: A Mystical Rose By Any Other Name?” In it, he  addresses several simliarities between Mary and the Snow White of the Disney film (keep in mind that Disney based his story on the original nineteenth-century…

February 1st, 2010

Question:  How can Mary be the Mother of God, if God is eternal?  Wouldn’t that mean she existed before God?…
It’s a great question, and one that was addressed definitively at the Council of Ephesus in 431.  Before we go there, though, it’s good to clarify what Catholics (and in fact most Christians) believe about God and the Trinity.
Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity, meaning that we have one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  “The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire.” (CCC 253)   God the Son, otherwise known as Jesus Christ, is the person of the Trinity who was born to Mary and

January 25th, 2010

For many of us, the traditional blue-and-white statues of Mary can make it hard to believe that she was a real woman with a real personality.  However, the Gospels reveal that Mary was courageous, nurturing and resilient.
First of all, take the fact that she agreed to become the Mother of God.  At the time of the Annunciation, she was betrothed to Joseph but had not lived with him as his wife.  In accepting God’s plan, she was agreeing to become pregnant out of wedlock, making her vulnerable to charges of adultery and even to stoning under the Mosaic law.  Given the possible consequences, she showed stunning courage and faith in saying “yes.”
Throughout the Gospels, Mary notices and responds to…

January 18th, 2010

This is definitely a lesser-known name for Mary, perhaps because, as you’ve indicated, it’s one that is very specific to Alaska. The title does not refer to an apparition (unlike the well-known titles Our Lady of Lourdes or of Fatima, say), but it does reflect the fact that Mary has been honored in the Aleutian Islands for quite some time.
Though the Catholic presence in the Aleutian Islands is relatively recent (missionaries first came there in the first half of the twentieth century), the Russian Orthodox Church brought Christianity there in the late 1700s. Early Russian monks apparently had a strong devotion to Mary, which was no doubt encouraged by the Catholic missionaries when they arrived. In fact,…

January 11th, 2010

“Madonna” is an Italian term meaning “my lady.”   It has been used for Mary since late medieval times, and helps to emphasize the relationship between Mary and those who honor her (its French equivalent is “Notre Dame,” or “Our Lady.”)
The term is very familiar to art historians.  Traditionally, the name “Madonna” is used for images of Mary holding the infant Jesus (do a quick Google search to see hundreds of examples of “Madonna and Child.”)  More rarely, it’s used for images that depict Mary without Jesus.   Though it was initially used only for Italian art, it has since become an accepted term for Marian art from all cultures.…

December 28th, 2009

Mary, Help of Christians is one of the numerous names by which Catholics have come to know and love Mary.  It refers specifically to the aid that Mary gives as intercessor, meaning one who prays with and for us to God.
The title of “Helper” has been applied to Mary at least as far back as the fourth century. Because of her closeness to Christ and her unique role in bringing about God’s plan, Catholics have traditionally viewed her as a particularly effective intercessor.  The title as we know it now came into being in 1571, when the Ottoman Empire prepared to invade Europe.  In the face of this threat, Pope Pius V called on Catholics to pray for Mary’s intercession.  The Turks were defeated at the…

December 14th, 2009

The answer to this lies in the Jewish marriage customs of the time.  During this period, there were two distinct parts to the marriage process.  The first was betrothal, which was a binding exchange of consent made in the presence of witnesses.  Betrothal could only be ended by death or by divorce.
Following the betrothal, the bride remained with her family for a period of several months before moving into her husband’s home, where they lived together as man and wife.
At the time of the Annunciation, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but they had not yet lived together (and, obviously, had not had sexual relations).  The news of her pregnancy, as you can imagine, would have been quite an unpleasant shock…

December 8th, 2009

Did Mary Have Labor Pains?

There’s lots of debate around this one.   After the Fall, in Genesis 3:16, God tells Eve, “I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children.”    The Genesis author thus portrays labor pains as the consequence of original sin.
Catholics, however, believe that Mary was conceived without original sin: “[Mary] was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.” (CCC 411).  Given that, many conclude that she would not have suffered labor pains.  This view was held by many early Church Fathers, and was mentioned in the Catechism of the Council of Trent.


December 7th, 2009

Question:  Why does Mary visit her cousin Elizabeth?  It doesn’t make sense to me for a pregnant woman to take such a long journey.…

Any woman who has traveled while pregnant can tell you that it isn’t fun.  For Mary, the trip would have been  especially grueling: she traveled to a town eighty miles away, likely on a donkey, without the comfort of paved roads, air conditioning, or shock absorbers.
Why does she do it?  Well, think about what has just happened: she’s been told that she is pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.  She’s also learned that her cousin Elizabeth, believed to be too old to conceive, is expecting as well.  Mary must have been bursting to talk to a woman who could personally

December 7th, 2009

Over the centuries, there have been thousands of reported Marian apparitions.  Very few have been officially approved by the Church.  Even those that are approved (including Guadalupe and Lourdes) are considered “private revelation.”  In other words, they aren’t a necessary component of a Catholic faith.
That said, Marian apparitions have reenergized the faith of many Catholics.  Apparitions have led to   renewed prayer and repentance (Fatima), to the building of a church (Guadalupe), and to physical healing (Lourdes).   Typically, Mary appears to children, the poor, or the marginalized.  In doing so, she reaffirms the dignity of the powerless.
In 1996, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger –…

November 30th, 2009

As a mom myself, I’d love to know the answer to this one.  To me, it seems logical that the woman who gave birth to him should be the first one to see him after the Resurrection.    That said, God’s ways are not our ways; there was clearly some reason why other people got to see him first.  Short of asking Jesus himself, we can only speculate …perhaps he chose his first witnesses based on who would be most critical in continuing his mission, say.

The fact that Mary didn’t get the first visit, though, doesn’t diminish the unique role that she played in Christ’s ministry.  From the moment that Christ was conceived (remember that Mary was the first to experience the Incarnation!) through to the early days…

November 23rd, 2009

Quesion:  How did Mary know that Jesus was God and could perform a miracle at Cana?

During the Annunciation, the angel tells Mary that her son will be the “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32).   From the beginning, then, Mary knew that her son was destined for greatness.  At the wedding at Cana, she brings a problem to him and is confident that he’ll be able to resolve it (John 2: 1-12).
As a mom, I can relate.  Being a mom means having faith that your children will be able to do things they’ve never done before, whether it’s walk, read, or ride a bike.  You’ve never seen them do these things, but you know that they will when the time is right.  Often, too, a mom’s encouragement is key to their success.

November 16th, 2009

In June of 1981, six children and teenagers in the town of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) reported having visions of the Virgin Mary.   Over the years, they have allegedly received thousands of messages  from Mary; some of the original visionaries still report daily apparitions.  Medjugorje has grown into a large center of pilgrimage, attracting some 30 million visitors.
Church authorities have, for the most part, been cautious in their response to Medjugorje.   In 1991, the Bishops’ Conference of the former Yugoslavia declared, “On the basis of the investigations so far it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.”  In June…

November 13th, 2009
The Sound of Music at 50

For Christmas one year, when I was in high school, my grandpa gave me the video of The Sound of Music. I was thrilled: my favorite movie, the one I’d loved since childhood, was mine to watch at will.
My cousin Mark, in his early twenties at the time, regarded my new tape with good-natured disdain. “That’s such a corny movie,” he said.
I froze in horror. “It is not… corny!” I answered vehemently. Not my finest comeback, but outrage was making me inarticulate. We went a few rounds. Neither of us conceded any turf, so we left it at that. It was Christmas, after all.
But here’s the thing: in some deep secret part of myself, I knew that Mark was right. And now, twenty years later, I will

November 9th, 2009

Why did Jesus disobey his mother and leave her only to be found in the temple?  I thought Jesus didn’t sin and disobedience to one’s parents seems sinful to me!

When discussing Bible stories, it’s always good to carefully re-read the text in question.  Fact is, the story doesn’t say for sure that Jesus was… being disobedient.  Luke 2: 43-45 says that “the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.  Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey.  Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.”  It’s very likely that the entire situation was a misunderstanding

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