The gulf is increasing, but thankfully, God still is leaving the drawbridge down in order to allow seekers of the Truth to cross and enter the ancient, apostolic teachings on the Virgin Mary. Make no mistake, God will order the drawbridge to rise and shut the door, and it will be too late.
Arriving to this conclusion took a lot of pondering, internal wrestling, and reading writing of the Ante-Nicene Fathers provide a great deal of understanding on the placement of the Virgin Mary in theology.
When God gave the oracle to the serpent that He will place an enmity between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed (Genesis 3:15), God was signalling that there would be a continual rivalry between the testimony of the woman's seed and the hatred of the serpent's seed. It is no wonder today those who claim to be Christians accuses the apostolic Christians to be worshiping Mary or to accuse the Church of elevating Mary to a position of divinity.
The result is a continual confirmation of God's prophecy. Perhaps a story from a book in the Old Testament would provide light on the rivalry between those who honor Mary and those who scorn that honors Mary.
In the Book of Esther, the story revolves around several characters that showed the division between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed. In a greater sense, the eventual queen of Persia, Esther, is a type of Mary to come, because through her intercession, humility, and courage, she was instrumental in saving her people from annihilation through the wily scheme of her rival, Haman.
Esther was an orphan who was taken in by her uncle and was raised as if she was his daughter. When the king of Persia was angry with his former queen and at an advice, he ordered for a beauty contest to be held, and the one who captured the heart of the king would become his queen.
Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maid-servants were provided for her from the king's palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of women. Esther 2:9
When the decree was given for a beauty contest to be held, Esther was placed into the care of Hegai, and through her virtue, she earned the favor of Hegai. Eventually, Esther won the heart of the king, and what is surprising in the passage of the 2nd chapter of Esther is how often it was said she obtained favor and grace:
The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Esther 2:17Furthermore, when Esther learned of Haman's plot to have all the Jews destroyed, she ordered her uncle to gather the elders of the Jews, to fast for three days and nights, and she would go in the presence of the king without being summoned. Under the law of the king, anybody who entered his presence without being summoned was put to death at an instant, yet Esther, having obtained favor, did so. With great grace and humility, she invited the king and Haman to a feast prepared by her. When she finally revealed the plot Haman had devised, the king, in his wrath, had Haman executed and his house given to Esther's stead. Moreover, through Esther's intercession, the Jews were permitted to be armed and ready to defend themselves from the destruction from the enemies of the Jews within the land of Persia.
The Gospels showed how Mary was full of grace for the angel greeted her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" (Luke 1:28).
Just as Esther obtained grace and favor, Mary, likewise, was greeted by the angel as being favored one. The discovery of The Protoevangelium of James gave background, supporting evidence of the Gospels and demonstrated the deeper, theological understanding of Mary being full of grace.
According to the book, Mary was born of her parents in their old age, instantly recalling the miraculous conception and birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, or of Samuel to Hannah. In the story, Mary's parents were grieving that as they were aging, they were childless, and both parents lamentation the loss of not having a child. Mary's father sought solace in the mountains to pray while her mother waited and lamented. However, the angel of God came to Mary's mother and told her the glad tiding that God heard her and her husband's petition to have a child. Mary's mother made a vow to dedicate the child to the Lord and have the child serve the Lord all the day of her child.
Indeed, the story bolster the argument that Mary's virginity was maintained, even when she gave birth to Christ, having her virginity miraculous kept intact.
In Romans, the apostle, St. Paul, argued that God prepares vessel for honor and vessel for dishonor:
What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory...Romans 9:22, 23
Did God not say of Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth?" (Romans 9:17). If God created Pharaoh, a vessel of wrath appointed for destruction, in order to bring about His redemption to deliver the Jews from out of the house of bondage and into a land flowing with milk and honey, why do then Christians reject the notion that God created a vessel of honor, for praise and glorification of God's redemption work, of Mary?
Vain do they argue that the apostolic Christians elevated Mary to a position of honor, saying that she is the evil queen of the Apocalypse 18, not realizing they condemn themselves. How could Mary be the evil queen?
To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in heart, 'I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.' Revelation 18:7.
This evil, diabolical queen was seen as drunk, drinking from the cup of the blood of saints, and they argue this is the Catholic Church for promoting Mary as the queen of heaven.
Let's see if the Gospels would agree:
My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done a mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever. Luke 1:46-56In Mary's song of the Lord, she exalted God! In the Apocalypse, the evil queen exalted herself, and to add to her wickedness, she sought to have Christians destroyed, and drunk of their blood. The foolishness of those who reject the teaching of the Church only leads them closer to embrace the Antichrist.
In an increasingly bigoted world, it is becoming seen as unthinkable that God would use a woman to bring forth salvation to the world, the God-Man, the Word became Flesh, the God-with-us who freely gave His life at Calvary in order to purchase redemption and to glorify God.
God has used queen Esther to save the Jews from annihilation, and God used the Virgin Mary to bring Christ into the world to save us from His wrath - the everlasting hellfire.
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.