Mary, the Mother of Jesus

We have very few facts describing the life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, although there are many stories and traditions associated with her.

We know that she was old enough to be married, and that she had been
promised to Joseph in marriage, but the marriage had not yet taken place before the angel Gabriel told her that Jesus would be her son.

We know that her extended family was scholarly and followed Jewish religious practices. Before Jesus was born, Mary went to stay with her cousin Elizabeth, who was married to Zechariah, a priest. Under Jewish law, only members of certain families could be priests, and they could marry only into certain select families that were known for their piety and careful religious observance. Mary was welcome in their home, which meant that her presence would not keep Zechariah from his priestly responsibilities.

After carefully observing the purification laws after Jesus birth, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to be dedicated to God in the Temple in Jerusalem. The sacrifice they offered was the sacrifice of everyday people, not of the wealthy, but most families would not have been able to afford the journey at all.

When Jesus was a boy, the extended family went to Jerusalem every year to observe the Passover in the Temple. Again, only certain families would be allowed and encouraged to do that.

Mary was a part of Jesus' adult life, attending the marriage at Cana with him. This wedding may have been of one of their family members, for Mary seemed to expect Jesus to take charge when things went wrong and they ran out of wine.

She may have accompanied Jesus on some of his preaching journeys, and she was present at his crucifixion, where he spoke directly to her from the cross.

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