It has been said that the Canonical gospels tell us nothing concerning Mary's family, while the Apocrypha tells too much. However that may be, many of the early Saints searched diligently the traditions and writings of early Christianity to determine the events of the life of her who was to become the second Eve, the Mother of the True Life, dear to all who hold the Messiah to be the second Adam, the Restorer and Savior of our race. What they found is faithfully recorded herewith.
The Master Jesus and the Blessed Mary were the purest and most advanced egos ever to come into incarnation. They are the perfect type pattern of the perfected man and woman.
This was why both were immaculately conceived. For according to Jewish tradition, it was affirmed long before that the stain of Adam's sin was not to touch the Messiah or His Mother.
Preparation for the advent of a great Avatar or Savior begins generations before the time appointed for his appearance. Thus in the case of Jesus, it is recorded, "the great-grandparents of Mary were noble members of the Levitical Priesthood."
Mary's father was descended in a direct line from King David. Some think the genealogy listed in the Gospel of St. Luke refers to her lineage rather than that of Joseph.
Her father's name was Joachim, but certain Jewish writers also called him Heli, while Arabic commentators on the Koran called him Imram or Amram. His wife's name was Anna, or Hanna, of the tribe of Levi. Thus in Mary were united the royal and the priestly class.
The name Anna, or Hanna, means in the Chaldean "virgin of the light," but in Hebrew, "grace" or "gracious." Great souls can be born upon the earth only through purified and holy parents.
This applies to many highly illumined souls who have come to give their lives in service for the benefit of humanity; such as illustrated in the life of John the Baptist, and also that of Abraham and Samuel, who stand out as notable examples among the teachers of the Old Dispensation.
The Old Testament period was largely concerned with the replenishment of the earth after the flood, man concentrating on material endeavors. The free expression of the personal nature bound him more closely to the material world. Polygamy flourished among the masses. The primary consideration was the rapid re-admission through rebirth of the largest possible number of egos upon the earth plane, and the immediate evolutionary purpose was the number rather than quality.
The New Testament portrays a much higher attainment. With preparation for the coming of the Christ to the earth, a new ideal was given. To the most advanced of that Age it had been taught that the act of generation might be performed without passion, as a holy sacrifice.
Only by parents whose souls are wedded in a high and holy love is the act of generation consistent with that ideal, and blessed by the Attending Angels.
Every ego thus born is immaculately conceived. All parents who thus prepare themselves for this sacrament, through prayer and holy living, will know, whether consciously or not, such an angelic intercession. And only in this way can the new race of supermen be born on earth.
Both of Mary's parents, Hanna (Anna) and Joachim, were thought to be Initiates of high degree in the Essene School of the Mysteries, fully understanding their parts in the preparation for the human incarnation of an Illumined One.
This has been the inner teaching of Christianity during the Piscean Age, as revealed under its opposite sign, Virgo, which is the sign of the Immaculate Conception, and of service through chastity.
The virgin Mary has since revealed herself to a Catholic Mystic, speaking these words, "It is a truth that I was conceived without original sin in the golden hour of my conception. My Son joined my father and mother in a marriage of such chastity that a purer union has never been seen. Sensuality was extinguished in them. Thus was my flesh formed through divine love."
They had lived together twenty years in a childless state in the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Here their forebears had settled long ago. This fact that the descendants of so glorious a house as David should be in a little village far from Jerusalem, or their ancestral home of Bethlehem, is understandable. For the descendants of David had for centuries been living in obscurity apart from the stream of public events, though not forgetting the link of family and home.
The couple lived in a very plain and upright manner, devoted to the service of the Lord, and it is said that they even went so far as to divide all of their material goods into three parts, one part of which was devoted to the temple and the officers of the temple, one third distributed among strangers and charity, and only the final third was reserved for themselves and the uses of their own family.
They lived chastely, in the favor of God and the esteem of man. However, as time went on they began to feel a certain reproach of man and God for not having any children, since it was expected that every married couple would bring heirs into the world, and preferably sons.
Joachim began to feel embarrassed even when taking his offerings to the temple in Jerusalem, traveling along with others of his neighbors -- all of whom had children and wondered why he had none. On one particular occasion, the High Priest of that time berated Joachim asking why one with no children would have the presumption to come bearing gifts to God among others more worthy.
His wife Anna was also distressed for the same reason, and on this particular occasion after Joachim had gone to Jerusalem and had been reprimanded by the High Priest he did not return immediately home, but joined some shepherds in the hills, dreading the comments of his neighbors who had been present and had heard the public reproach.
Anna was praying in her garden during the afternoon when under a laurel tree, as she sat, an angel of the Lord appeared to her. He told her that he was the angel which had been offering up her prayers and alms before God and that he now had consent from God to inform her that a daughter would be born to her, sent from God, who should be called Mary, who would be blessed above all women and spoken of in all the world.
The angel then commanded her to go to Jerusalem and stand in the Golden Gate where she would meet her husband, who had caused her such concern because of his long absence.
Then one day when Joachim was alone in the pasture, an angel appeared to him also and told him not to be afraid, because he had come as an angel of the Lord to inform Joachim that his prayers had been heard. The angel said that his wife would soon conceive and bring forth a wonderful child, and as a sign he asked Joachim to go to Jerusalem and stand in the Golden Gate and there he would meet his wife Anna, who would greatly rejoice to see him.
Joachim straightway went down with the shepherds to Jerusalem, and Anna, standing by the gate, saw him coming and she ran and embraced him, saying, "Now I know that the Lord has greatly blessed me, for behold, I who was a widow am no longer a widow. And I who was barren shall conceive."
Rejoicing at each other's vision and fully satisfied in the promise of a child, they offered thanks to the Lord who exalts the humble, and returned home to live in cheerful and happy expectation of the promise of God.
In due time the child was born, and according to the angel's command the parents called her name "Mary." They had promised each other before her birth that their child would be dedicated to the service of the Lord in the temple, and that the child should spend its whole life, whether male or female, ministering to the Lord in holy things.
The child was filled with grace from the time of her birth. When she was only nine months old her mother put Mary on the ground to see if she could stand alone, and the child walked nine steps, returning again to her mother's lap. Anna caught her up then and said that the child would not walk upon the earth until she was brought into the temple of the Lord. So from that day on Mary's chamber was made into a holy place and nothing common or unclean was allowed to come near her; only certain chaste maidens were invited to play with her.
When Mary was one year old her father made a great feast, inviting the Priests and all the people around. He made an offering of the girl to the Chief Priests who then blessed her, and after the feast the child was returned to the room which had been consecrated to her use.
When she was two years old Joachim said to Anna, "Let us lead her to the Temple of the Lord, that we may perform our vow which we have vowed unto the Lord God."
But Anna replied, "Let us wait until the third year, lest she should be at a loss to know her father." And Joachim agreed, "Let us then wait." This was according to the angel's prediction before her birth that she should continue three years in her father's house and afterwards be devoted to the service of the Lord, not departing from the temple thereafter until she had arrived at the years of discretion. The angel had said that in the temple she should serve the Lord night and day in fasting and prayer, abstaining from every unclean thing.
When the child was three years old, Joachim said, "Let us invite certain maidens, each carrying a lamp which is lighted, that the child may not turn back again or set her mind against the temple of the Lord."
And it was thus that they ascended unto the temple of the Lord, where the High Priest received her and blessed her. He put her upon the third step of the altar, of which there were fifteen steps, according to the Psalm, of the degrees, which represented fifteen stairs to ascend into the sanctuary.
The child surprised them by quickly running up all fifteen of the steps to the place where priests offered the burnt offerings. The temple was built in a mountain so that it could not be reached except by the stairs.
Her parents offered up their sacrifice according to the custom of the Law and perfected their vow, then left the Virgin Mary in the apartments of the Temple, with the other virgins who were to be brought up there.
Her parents returned home, filled with wonder, and praising God because the girl did not attempt to return back with them.
Mary continued in the Temple, pure and gentle as a dove. She was educated there and some said that she even received her food from the hands of angels and that she often conversed with them.
These angels also preserved her from all sorts of evil and caused her to abound with all good things so that as she advanced in years she also increased in perfection. This fulfilled the saying of the Psalmist who had prophesied that her father and mother forsook her, but the Lord took care of her.
In another published revelation, Mary has stated:
"From infancy the Holy Spirit was perfectly with me. And as I grew, It filled me as completely as to leave no room for any sin to enter.
"Upon attaining an age to know something of my Creator, I turned to Him with unspeakable love and desired Him with my whole heart.
"I vowed in my heart to observe virginity if it was pleasing to Him, and to possess nothing in the world, but if God willed otherwise, that His will, not mine be done. I committed my will absolutely to Him.
"I loved God intensely and every hour I feared and pondered lest I should offend Him in word or deed. I loved Him for the Law He had given His people, and the many wonders He had wrought.
"I withdrew as much as possible from the conversation and presence of others for worldly things had become bitter to me. Nothing pleased me but God."