Why does the Course never mention Jesus' mother?

Question: Why does the Course never mention Jesus' mother?

Answer: The Course does not go into much detail about Jesus' life. Where the Course refers to the gospels, directly or indirectly, it is mainly concerned with what Jesus taught. There are hundreds of allusions to gospel teachings in the Course. The Course does talk at length about the crucifixion and refers many times to the resurrection, but even these it frames as teaching demonstrations. In the Course's view, the significance of those pivotal events was that they were designed to teach us key truths about the way back.

Within this framework, it is understandable that the Course does not talk about Mother Mary. Traditionally, Mary is more associated with theological concerns than with Jesus' teaching.

However, in Helen's shorthand notebooks, there is a reference to Mary, one that did not even make it into the Urtext (Bill's typescript of the Course). It is recorded in Ken Wapnick's Absence from Felicity:

Jesus: Blessed are you with Mary as the mother of the children.

After a brief paragraph which follows, in which Helen asked forgiveness for throwing away money, Ken says, "What followed next is unclear from Helen's notes, but there appeared to have been some experience of Jesus as an infant, which led to Helen's stating:"

Helen: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to Thy Will.

Jesus: Egocentric is right! I do not need another physical mother, and she [Mary] was the only one that conceived without any lack of love…. (Absence from Felicity, p. 233)

So first Jesus likens Helen to Mary, saying that she is blessed along with Mary, for like Mary she is "the mother of the children." This presumably refers to her filling a motherly role in relation to the children of God, providing them with the care and guidance they need in order to "grow up" and return to God.

Then Helen takes it too far. After apparently having an experience of Jesus as an infant, she applies to herself the line that Luke's gospel reports Mary saying when the angel told her that she would conceive the savior: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38).

Helen applying this line to herself seems to have implied that she was somehow Mary's equal, that she would be Jesus' mother in some comparable (maybe even physical) way. Even though Jesus had just paralleled the two, this was going too far. His reply says it all: "Egocentric is right!"

Then Jesus makes a very interesting statement about Mary: "She was the only one that conceived without any lack of love." What does this mean? Is it a reference to the virgin birth? It is difficult to say. However, this brief exchange is found in the middle of a series of discussions of sex, in which Jesus relates his views on this important subject. These discussions are not directly adjacent, but they are not far away, either.

These discussions say two things that are relevant here. One is that "sex is often associated with lack of love." The lack of love here is viewing the other person as an object. "Both people are perceived essentially as 'objects' fulfilling their own pleasure drives." Rather than producing something as private and fleeting as physical pleasure, sex is actually meant to produce something much more tangible and enduring: "The only valid use of sex is procreation." Sex is meant to produce children, in order "to enable Souls to embark on new chapters in their experience, and thus improve their record."

Such a view raises all sorts of questions. However, let's set those aside for now and turn to the issue at hand: Mary. Jesus says that "she was the only one that conceived without any lack of love." In the context of the surrounding discussions of sex, this comment suddenly does not sound like a reference to the virgin birth at all. It suddenly sounds like a reference to sex as Jesus is teaching it: using sex not to selfishly gratify one's own pleasure drives, but to lovingly allow a soul to come into the world in order to improve its record, to make progress on its long journey home.

The implication, then, seems to be that there was no virgin birth. The implication is that Mary, like the rest of us, conceived her son through sexual intercourse, but that, unlike the rest of us, she managed to engage in it "without any lack of love." What an interesting and new way to see Mary—seeing her as perfectly chaste not because she abstained from sex, but because in the midst of sex, she remained absolutely egoless, because she made sex into a selfless extension of love to her future son, and to the world he would so profoundly bless.

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