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The Profession of Faith

125

As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause

of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”

141

Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert . . . : “The

knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied byMary’s obedience:

what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary

loosened by her faith.”

142

Comparing her with Eve, they call

Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim:

“Death through Eve, life through Mary.”

143

Mary’s divine motherhood

495

Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus,” Mary is ac-

claimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before

the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord.”

144

In fact, the One

whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became

her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s

eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the

Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (

Theo­

tokos

).

145

Mary’s virginity

496

From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has

confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy

Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal

aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit

without human seed.”

146

The Fathers see in the virginal conception

the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity

like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the

second century says:

You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the

race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according

to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin, . . . he

was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius

Pilate . . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.

147

141 St. Irenaeus,

Adv. haeres.

3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.

142 St. Irenaeus,

Adv. haeres.

3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.

143

LG

56; Epiphanius,

Haer.

78, 18: PG 42, 728CD-729AB; St. Jerome,

Ep.

22, 21:

PL 22, 408.

144

Lk

1:43;

Jn

2:1; 19:25; cf.

Mt

13:55;

et al.

145 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.

146 Council of the Lateran (649): DS 503; cf. DS 10-64.

147 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Smyrn.

1-2: Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B. Lightfoot

(London: Macmillan, 1889) II/2, 289-293; SCh 10, 154-156; cf.

Rom

1:3;

Jn

1:13.

726

466, 2677