Mary occupies a unique and honored position as the mother of Jesus.
She is the “Mother of God”, because Jesus Christ is the “Son of God
made man, who is God himself” (Catechism 509).
From the moment of her conception, Mary was kept free from original
sin in what is known as the Immaculate Conception. She remained free
from personal sin throughout her mortal life—earning her the right
to be referred to as “Full of Grace.”
When the angel Gabriel told her of her mission, Mary through her
faith and obedience fully cooperated, becoming the new Eve—mother of
Saint Augustine wrote that Mary "remained a virgin in conceiving her
Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a
virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (St.
Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999). Mary is referred to and
honored as “ever-virgin” and the "Seat of Wisdom."
Upon her death Mary was taken up into heaven (referred to as the
Assumption), where she shares the glory of Christ’s Resurrection,
while awaiting the Resurrection of all mankind in Christ and
advocating for them in her maternal role.
The modern Catholic Church is passionately devoted to Mary and shows
her great veneration, understanding that veneration is different
from adoration and worship which are reserved only for God. A common
misconception is that the Catholics pray to Mary. This is not true
from a doctrinal perspective, but can easily be misconstrued from
the passion many Catholics have for Mary: “Because of Mary's
singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church
loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her
the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust
supplications and praises to her” (Catechism 2682).
The Catholic Church honors and recognizes Mary in a variety of ways
throughout the year, showing regular devotion to her through
liturgical feasts, the saying of the rosary, and the “Marian”
See Catechism 508 to 511, 721, 971 to 975, 2162, 2682, and glossary.
The earliest scriptural reference to Mary can be found in Genesis,
where the Lord speaks to the serpent in the Garden of Eden: “And I
will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and
her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”
The woman referred in this scripture is Mary, her seed being Jesus
Christ who would come to bruise the head of the serpent. Many
hundreds of years later, 700 years before the birth of Christ,
Isaiah made reference to Mary saying: “Behold, a virgin shall
conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa.
Little is known about Mary’s life before she spoke to the Angel
Gabriel about the coming forth of Christ through her. The scriptures
teach us that Mary was faithful in obeying the word of God, grateful
for the blessings of the Lord, and wise in receiving counsel from
God’s chosen servants. Mary being mortal, conceived Jesus Christ as
a virgin, with the angel telling her beforehand, “The Holy Ghost
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow
thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee
shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Through this act God
became the literal father of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only
individual on earth to be born of a mortal Mother and an immortal
Father, making him “the only begotten son of God.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts that Mary
gave birth to Jesus Christ as a virgin. However, the Church does not
accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, nor is it believed
that Mary was “ever-virgin” or taken up into heaven to share in the
glory of Christ’s Resurrection.
See chapter 12 in Catholic Roots, Mormon
Harvest for a more comprehensive explanation and commentary on Mary.