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Mary's Place in the Catholic Church

             The Blessed Mother Mary has had a place in the Catholic Church since its beginning nearly 2000 years ago. Mary is a communal symbol that has been shaped over the centuries. The veneration of the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God, has been a central characteristic of Catholic tradition, and has always been an important part of Catholic devotion. Her praise has been sung in every age of the Church. The devotion and honor paid to the Virgin Mother is the highest that the Catholic Church recognizes possible for a creature of God. .
             Mary, the mother of Jesus, is probably the most influential woman in the history of the world. The image of Mary, as mother, holding her infant child on her lap is probably the most evident expression of Christian theology's insistence on God's incarnation in our world. The catacombs of the Christian martyrs show images of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus on her lap. These images date back as far as the second and third centuries. Discovery of papyrus from the third century shows that the Sub Tuum Praesidium prayer - "We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin" - is at least that old.(Varghese, 2000) The image of Mary holding the infant Jesus also serves as a compact symbol description of humanity itself.
             The story of the Immaculate Conception by Mary is one of the most beautiful stories in the scriptures. The angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary, a young Jewish girl who was married to the carpenter, Joseph of Nazareth. With Mary's consent, she conceived a child through the power of the Holy Spirit, and gave birth to the promised Messiah. At the moment of her acceptance, Mary became the Mother of Jesus (christokos) and the Mother of God (theotokos). She became the Mother of the Redeemer and the temple of the Holy Spirit.

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