Ruzbeh N. Bharucha

77 THEOTOKOS The God Bearer, The Mother of God


The Old Testament Scripture eons before had prophesized that Jesus The Christ would come from the blood line of David. Mother Mary (in Hebrew Her name is Miriam), was a descendant of David through his son Solomon and down such exalted kings like Judah and Josiah. Mother Mary was the child of St. Joachim and St. Anne and legends says that even Her parents were told by the Angels that they were to have a child who would be known and worshipped through the ages.

September 8th is considered the day She was born. The date of Her birth too has been divined by a Sage or a blessed man. It seems that around two hundred and fifty years after Mother Mary left Her physical body, there was this pious man who would travel through the length and breadth of all places where Jesus lived and was associated with.

This pious pilgrim would go about, divinely guided and wherever he felt the divine energy strong, he would halt, pray and meditate, sometimes for a while and sometimes for days. He would go on this pilgrimage every year and then he realized that on September 7th and the next day, there was something bordering on euphoria in all of nature, something sacred and he could hear the song of the Angels. As years passed and this phenomenon kept occurring, he began to pray and meditate, as to the source and reason behind this virtually celestial occurrence, it was revealed to him that this was the night Mother Mary was born. Legend says that this sage got the vision in meditation while on his way to Mount Sinai.

Also he was told that there existed a chapel in the honour of Mother Mary in a cave habituated by Prophet Elias.

(Remember Prophet Elias was born and lived during the Kingship of the sixth King of Israel, Ahab 854-873 B.C or 9th century B.C. That is hundreds of years before the birth of Christ and as Mother Mary was not more than sixteen years old when she conceived and gave birth to Lord Jesus, there was a Chapel consecrated in her honour centuries before Her or Lord Jesus’s birth.)

The sage was instructed to recount this vision to the holy men who lived on Mount Sinai.

The holy men along with the pious pilgrim reached the mountain which housed the cave of Prophet Elias in search of the Chapel which if found, would be conclusive proof that Mother Mary was born on the night of 7th or early 8th September. But there were innumerable caves on the mountain which were used by those who wanted to be in seclusion to commune with the Lord. The pious pilgrim following his vision, instructed the holy men that they should send a Jew to go to each cave and the one where he would be denied access would be the cave where the Chapel in honour of Mother Mary stood.

So a Jew was sent and eventually our man found a cave with a very narrow opening and he tried to go through and virtually was thrown out and keeping with the vision, they had located the cave and when the holy men and the pious pilgrim managed to enter that cave they found there was another cave which was bolted by stonework. When they managed to get past the masonry they found a Chapel where Prophet Elias had prayed and honoured Mother Mary, the future Mother of the Son of God. They also found holy vestiges apart from what seemed and later confirmed to be bones of the Prophet Elias and other holy men.

So one thing is clear, Prophet Elias, knew then, centuries before about Mother Mary and Lord Jesus, and mainly he recognized the divinity in Mother Mary even then.

Thus September 8th, was celebrated in 250 A.D. as the day Mother of the Son of God was born.

There is not much known about Mother Mary’s childhood. Yes, She came from a sacred blood line. Yes, She was well versed with the Scriptures. What comes through all Her life is Her simplicity and Her humility and Her courage. I will elaborate on that later.

Not much is know about the childhood of Mother Mary. But in The “Protoevangelium of James,” which came about in the written form in the early second century, Mary’s father Joachim was a wealthy member of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Joachim and his wife Anne, did not have a child and the story of Abraham captured their hearts, “that in the last day God gave him (Abraham) a son Isaac.”  Keeping this in mind both Joachim and Anne both began to pray with complete devotion. One night an Angel appeared to Anne and conveyed to her, “The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.”

After Mother Mary’s birth, according to the Protoevangelium of James, Anne “made a sanctuary” in the infant girl’s room, and “allowed nothing common or unclean” to come close to her child as she believed that her child was destined for supreme divinity.

There is a passage in The Gospel of James, 150 A.D. which dwells on an incident when Mother Mary was still a child not more than three years old. The passage goes like this:

When Mary was one year old, Joachim (Mother Mary’s father) made a great feast and invited the priests and scribes, and the whole people of Israel assembled.

And Joachim brought the child to the priests, and they blessed her saying, ‘O God of our fathers, bless this child and give her a name renowned for ever among all generations.’

 And all the people said: ‘So be it, so be it. Amen.’

And the child became three years old, and Joachim said: ‘Call the virgin daughters of the Hebrews and let them accompany the child to the temple of the Lord with lamps burning in their hands.’

And they went up to the temple of the Lord.

And the priests received her and kissed her and blessed her, saying: ‘The Lord has magnified your name among all generations; in you the Lord will show redemption to the children of Israel.

And he sat her on the third step of the altar. And the Lord gave her grace and she danced with her feet and all the house of the Lord loved her.

And her parents returned home marveling and praising the Lord because their child did not turn back.

And Mary was in the temple of the Lord to be nurtured like a dove; and she received food from the hand of an angel.”

So two things are clear; first Mother Mary was blessed and divinity was Her inherent nature and that in those days, 150 A.D. all sentences began with the word ‘And’.

 And let us continue.

When Mother Mary was around fourteen years  of age (different folks give different years, some say twelve while some fourteen while a few even sixteen, but those days it was understood that a girl at the age of fourteen was ready for marriage and motherhood) it was decided to get Her married.

So at a very early age, it was decided to get Mother Mary married to Joseph of Nazareth. He was a carpenter and some books claim He was much elder to Mother Mary. Anyway the engagement took place and it was decided that a year later They would be married.

It was a sometime later that Arch Angel Gabriel graced Mother Mary with His presence.

‘Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.’

“She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her,

‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor.

Mother Mary was humility personified and She must have understood that for Arch Angel Gabriel to grace Her and to say She had won God’s favour it could only mean She was to be entrusted with something really sacred and important. When Arch Angel Gabriel told Mother Mary that She was going to be impregnated by God Himself (Luke 1:35) and would bear a child who was the Son of God, naturally a child of twelve or fourteen, would wonder how could that be possible without physical union with another man.

“‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ the angel answered, ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.’

“‘I am the slave-maid of the Lord,’ said Mary. ‘Let what you have said be done to me.’

“Behold!, the slave-maid of the Lord, may it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38b REV).

 “And the angel left her.” (Luke 1:26-38)

Another version is:

“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.’

“She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her,

‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a Son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob forever and his reign will have no end.’

“Mary said to the angel,

‘How can this come about, since I am a virgin?’

“‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ the angel answered, ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’

“‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary. ‘Let what you have said be done to me.’

“And the angel left her.” (Luke 1:26-38)

One can only imagine what Mother Mary a girl Herself, must have gone through knowing that first of all She was going to be impregnated through immaculate conception and the sacred work of bearing God’s child and also what would her parents, Joseph, and the world at large think of Her and Her character. Immense joy filled Her when She conceived the Son of God but I am sure She must have realized that not many would believe Her experience and still Her humility and Her faith, must have come forth.

So Mother Mary left Nazareth and travelled to a hill country of Judea to the house of a relative named Elizabeth. I am certain too Mother Mary must have wondered how She was going to explain to Elizabeth that the miracle of immaculate conception had taken place but the moment Elizabeth saw Mother Mary this is what transpired:

Luke 1:42b-45
(42b) …“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
(43) But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
(44) As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
(45) Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Now a bit on Elizabeth, who herself far advanced in years, had become pregnant with a child, which itself was a miracle and the handiwork of the Lord. How Elizabeth was aware that Mother Mary carried the Son of God in Her womb nobody really knows. Strange are the ways of God and His merry band of Light Workers and Arch Angels.

After three months Mother Mary returned to Her family. One can only imagine the anguish and fear, in Mother Mary, who still was in reality but just a child, to have to disclose to Her family that She was pregnant and that it was an Immaculate Conception.

Jews and Indian families are similar in their histrionics and melodrama, so it is not hard to imagine what must have transpired. Then Joseph was told the news. He was inherently a good and noble soul, but He could not accept His to be wife to be pregnant and that too by God’s child. But being a kind hearted man he refused to make any public announcement and insisted that the news be kept in the family. Fortunately that very night in His dream, He was told by an Angel that His to be wife, was speaking the truth and the very next day, He made amends and soon married Mother Mary and then took Her away from the familiar surroundings and gossip mongers to Bethlehem. There Lord Jesus was born.

When Jesus was a year or so old, an Angel came to Joseph and asked Him to take “mother and child away to Egypt and to keep them there till told otherwise”.

When Jesus was twelve the family returned to Nazareth after making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where for the first time Jesus began to realize His Godhood, though in parts, and it was here that He told Mother Mary, that He was just doing His Father’s work.

The years that follow in Nazareth are called the hidden years as it was here that Joseph and Mother Mary became instrumental in teaching Jesus all about life, trade, humanity, simplicity and humility. They lived a humble life and They taught all to Their Son, who eventually used what He learnt in parables. Jesus was close to the land, the sheep, the seasons, the laws of nature and also learnt His trade of carpentry alongside His father and spent time with Mother Mary.

We know of Jesus the carpenter who became Jesus The Christ so am not going to get into that part of the flow. The fact is on earth, Joseph and Mother Mary were the only teachers of Lord Jesus. All that He spoke off in parables was from all that He had learnt from these two noble, pure, God like souls, Mother Mary and Lord Jesus.

Once Joseph left His physical body, Mother and Son bonded more. But when Jesus reached the age of thirty, His time had come and the Spirit of the Lord began to take greater hold over Him and a time came when he no longer was the son of the carpenter and Mary but began to be known as Jesus The Christ.

Of course initially people thought Jesus to have lost His mental equilibrium. Not just outsiders but even family members began to worry about this transition from carpenter to Christ. People would speak aloud that what would the son of a carpenter and Mary know about God and His workings. This hurt Mother Mary deeply and They left Nazareth, never to return. Before leaving Jesus is believed to have spoken, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own relations and in his own house.”

As His fame grew, He spent less time at home and once again Mother Mary realized that the Heavens had taken things into Their own hands. From being His mother, She had to reconcile to being His disciple. To the extent that Jesus would address Her as “woman”. In English this might sound rude but I guess those days and in the used language of their time this was common.

As Jesus began to be filled more with God energy He began to identify all of mankind as His own and as one family. I can wonder what must have gone through Mother Mary when one day She and some relatives went to meet Jesus who was addressing a gathering. It is believed that when the Lord saw His flesh and blood He is supposed to have said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” He inquired, “here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mk 3:33-35)

So Mother Mary gracefully from Mother became a disciple of Her own Son, knowing that this was how it was meant to be and realizing the true responsibility of bearing the Son of God in Her womb.

It is believed that Mother Mary had no important or prominent place as a disciple and barely got time to spend with Jesus. She was rarely with him. But it was She who brought about Jesus’ first miracle, (John’s Gospel) at a wedding in Cana when Lord Jesus turned water into wine.

It was She who stood by Lord Jesus, when all His disciples fled, during that dark hour in the history of mankind when the Lord was mercilessly crucified.  “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary, wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” (Jn 19:25)  It was She who held Her Son, in Her arms, battered and bruised, when He was brought down from the Crucifix. And She was one of those few who witnessed His resurrection, coming back from the dead.

 Not much is known about Mother Mary’s life after that day. Some claim that She breathed Her last in Jerusalem while some claim in the city of Ephesus, as it seems she is said to have lived after Her Son, was taken away from Her.

There are stories about Mother Mary’s later life, her leaving Her body and assumption into heaven – but these are not reported by the four Gospels. The story describes Lord Jesus appearing before His Mother in Jerusalem before She is to leave Her body and all the apostles gather near her.

“Stretching out his hands, the Lord received her holy soul. And when her soul departed, the place was filled with a sweet smell and bright light.

“And a voice from heaven proclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women.’

“Peter and John, Paul and Thomas, ran to embrace her feet and receive her holiness; and the twelve apostles laid her holy body on a bier and bore it forth. (Ps. John: The Dormition of Mary, 4th century)

“Instructed by Jesus, Peter and the other apostles took her body to be buried in a new tomb near Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley, where miracles of healing accompanied her burial.

“Three days later, angels took her body to heaven.”

Mother Mary lived like a normal human being though she was the One who was chosen to bring forth the Son of God to all of creation. Her humility, silence, calmness, strength, and most important, experiencing the angst and heart break a human being goes through day after day, has made a large part of the human race realize that when She prays for you and intercedes on your behalf, the very heavens can’t refuse. The Arch Angels and Angels stand by Her side, Her wish Their command. Believe in this.

She is the Goddess of Compassion, the Mother of all the abandoned, the hope of the damned.

Be blessed.


Ruzbeh N. Bharucha​​​

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