For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
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Augustine of Hippo
What else does he here teach us, than to prefer to kinship “after the flesh” our descent “after the Spirit.” He teaches that persons are united by nearness of spirit to those who are just and holy, and that by obeying and following they cleave to their teaching and conduct. Therefore Mary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ than in conceiving the flesh of Christ. For to the one who said, “Blessed is the womb, which bore you!” he himself answered: “Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it.” Concerning his own brothers, his own relatives after the flesh, who at first did not believe in him, he found dubious advantage in being their kin. As for Mary, her nearness as a mother would have been little help for her salvation if she had not borne Christ in her heart in a more blessed manner than in the flesh.
She did the Father’s will. It was this in her that the Lord magnified, not merely that her flesh gave birth to flesh…. When he said, “Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it,” he was in effect saying: “My mother whom you have called blessed is blessed for the reason that she keeps the Word of God, not that the Word was made flesh in her and dwelt among us, but that she keeps the very Word of God through which she was made and which was made flesh in her.” .
Neither however are those, who donot believe the Holy Spirit to be God, guilty of an unpardonable blasphemy, because they were persuaded to do this by human ignorance, not by devilishmalice.But he subjoins, “Because they said, Hehath an unclean spirit,” that he might show that His reason for saying it, was their declaring that He cast out a devil by Beelzebub, not because there is ablasphemy, which cannot be remitted, since even this might be remitted througha right repentance; but the cause why this sentence was put forth by the Lord, after mentioning the unclean spirit, (who as our Lord shows was divided against himself,) was, that the Holy Spirit even makes those whom He brings together undivided, by His remitting those sins, which divided them from Himself, which gift of remission is resisted by no one, but him who has the hardness of an impenitent heart. For in another place, the Jews said of the Lord, that He had a devil .
The brother of the Lord must not bethought to be the sons...
But let us be assured that we are His brethren and His sisters, if we do the will of the Father; that we may be joint-heirs with Him, for He discerns us not by sex but by our deeds. Wherefore it goes on: “Whosoever shall dothe will of God”
From this it is manifest that His brethren and His mother were not always with Him; but because He was beloved by them, they come from reverence and affection, waiting without. Wherefore it goes on, “And the multitude sat about Him”.
Vict. Ant.e Cat. in Marc.: But another Evangelist says, that His brethren did not believe on Him. With which this agrees, which says, that they sought Him, waiting without, and with this meaning the Lord does not mention them asrelations.Wherefore it follows, “And He answered them, saying, Who is My mother or My brethren? "But He does not here mention His mother and His brethren altogether with reproof, but to show that a man must honour his own soul above all earthly kindred; wherefore this is fitly said to those who called Him to speak with His mother and relations, as if it were a more useful task than the teaching of salvation.
Because the relations of the Lord had come to seize upon Him, as if beside Himself, His mother, urged by the sympathy of her love, came to Him. Wherefore it is said, “And there came unto Him His mother, and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him.”.
He does not therefore say this, as denying His mother, but as shewing that He is worthy of honour, not only because she bore Christ, but on account of her possessing every other virtue.