Extra descriptions about St Mary you should add to your bible
Yesterday (August 7th) the Coptic Church marks the beginning of the 2 week fast of St Mary. This fast is famous for the deep love the Coptics have for it. Although not intended to be a strict fact, some Copts fast this fast to the same degree as the Lent, even stricter such as not eating at all till sunset.
Some even begin fasting earlier than August 7. I was very inspired to learn of two elderly ladies from my church who do that that. The fast ends on August 21st with the commemoration of the assumption of her body. Today I just wanted to share some really interesting descriptions about St Mary that you probably did not know and is not mentioned in the bible.
The Proto-Evangelium of St James, a very early Christian writing states…
And when the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated by the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord.
And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.
We glean more of St Mary through the writings of St Ambrose of Milan. He writes…
“She was a Virgin not only in body, but also in soul, humble of heart, circumspect in word, wise in mind, not overly given to speaking, a lover of reading and of work, and prudent in speech. Her rule of life was to offend no one, to intend good for everyone, to respect the aged, not envy others, avoid bragging, be healthy of mind, and to love virtue.”
All Her days She was concerned with fasting: She slept only when necessary, and even then, when Her body was at rest, She was still alert in spirit, repeating in Her dreams what She had read, or the implementation of proposed intentions, or those planned yet anew. She was out of Her house only for church, and then only in the company of relatives.
Otherwise, She seldom appeared outside Her house in the company of others, and She was Her own best overseer. Others could protect Her only in body, but She Herself guarded Her character.”
More interesting descriptions about her can be found in this article, the source of the last 2 accounts. This has heaps of interesting things about her, even a very detailed account of her appearance. There is also this short description by St Athanasius.
What did you enjoy learning about the most of St Mary from these passages?