We cannot read Isaiah’s mind, but we can read his context. The passage opens with the challenge: “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven” (Isaiah 7:11). He seems to be talking about a momentous sign, something indisputably miraculous. A virgin bearing a son would indeed be such a singular event. A “young woman” bearing a son would be unremarkable and underwhelming, as signs go. Thus we can probably trust the authority of the Septuagint—which enjoyed a semi-official status in the Jewish diaspora and was uninfluenced by later Christian-Jewish disputes. Mary’s virginal motherhood is a sign. It is not, however, a statement against the goodness of sex, as some heretics later claimed it was. It is rather a guarantee of God’s fatherhood—God is the only possible father of Jesus—and at the same time it is recognition of Mary’s special status as the mother of the Messiah. She was, as such, a vessel of the divine. Her body was, in a sense, like the golden vessels dedicated for Temple service. It was forbidden to use such chalices and plates at even the most dignified royal banquet. Likewise, her womb, having borne the Savior, could not return to ordinary activity, no matter how good, no matter how blessed. Her perpetual virginity was fitting and proper to her unique role in the history of salvation. It is interesting to note that for the early Christians she was “the Virgin”—as if she had a special claim on the noun and required the definite article. It is the same grammatical construction found in the earliest Hebrew manuscripts of Isaiah 7:14. (p. 56-7)
No one, I'm afraid, will ever write even a single paragraph about me with the title "Scott the Silent."
Joseph’s vocation is to be an earthly image of Jesus’s heavenly Father. God is more Father than any man on earth, though he fathers without gender, without body, without sexual organs or a sexual act, and without a spouse. God’s fatherhood is not primarily physical, but rather spiritual. The fatherhood of Joseph is spiritual and real, though virginal, just as the fatherhood of God is spiritual and nonphysical.Saint Joseph then serves, then, as an icon of God the Father, and even Jesus would have thought of him in that way… (p. 69-70)
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