By Pat Miron
MARY and our Catholic Beliefs
It’s NOT that Catholics think too highly of Mary because she is the Mother of our God. NO; it is because so many do not, and many cannot get past the fact that Mary is “simply mortal.” Mortal yes BUT the most perfect[ed] human being in the history of humanity. There seems to be a powerful reluctance to give “Credit where Credit is Clearly DUE.”
Mary: We can choose any response EXCEPT NO RESPONSE
The parable Jesus uses to teach a multitude of lessons from Matthews chapter 13: 2- 17, on the planting of seeds has been told many times and many fine lessons have been shared, and God Willing; learned from this rich text.
But have you ever heard of it applied to Catholic belief in Mary?
Matt.13: 2 – 17 “And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: `You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it”
Wow, this sounds like a very prejudiced God; a God of “rash-judgments”? Why would God give more to someone who seemingly does not need it and at the same time take from folks “in need?”
The answer lies in Divine Justice. Those “who have”….Have “it” because they sought “it.” [or because someone else sought “it” on there behalf.] While those in need actually suffer from “WANT.” It’s a self fulfilled malnutrition of SPIRIT; of GRACE refused, rejected or incorrectly applied.
They heard, BUT did not listen. They listened but did not understand AND THEN left it at that point of willingly not knowing, not really caring enough to bother seeking the truth. Choosing instead the easier way; the slippery down hill slope to self-gratification; Pride, Lust, Greed, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, and Laziness. So we ought not feel that God in anyway is unloving, unjust, or unfair. We freely choose the path we’ll take. God will offer guidance, even nudge us in the right direction; BUT the eye works just like the ears. One can see without “seeing” by freely choosing to do so. …. And GOD PERMITS US TO DO IT!
Some to be fair, at least make the attempt; but their effort takes the form of “want without a great deal of logic”, relying on “the SELF” rather then seeking Gods plan for them where it actually can be found. [One does not look for blueberries at Lowes, just because there LOGO is partly BLUE.] The Bible clearly warns about this possibility. And the “needy” are many, and there are many who don’t think Christ speaks directly To them when He SAYS: Matt.7: 21, 24, 26 “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand” There is a “natural”; if without Grace tendency, to think that Jesus isn’t speaking about me. Being blunt: if your not in or investigating the Catholic Church; YOU are precisely to whom Christ is speaking in this passage.
John 5: 37 “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life [Speaking of accepting the entire WORD of GOD as well as CORRECT Understanding of it]. I do not receive glory from men. [Meaning disobedience is rampant!] But I know that you have not the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me” [Obey Me!]
Eph.3: 9 to 12 “And to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church [SINGULAR: meaning THE CATHOLIC Church] the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him. “
2Pet.2: 1 -3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.
Helping us to “hear,” and to “see” is Mary’s task. It is Mary’s task 1. Because no one has ever done it better. [She is the MOST fertile seed that found the MOST fertile ground] 2. No one has ever desired to share from her wealth of experience, with “her children, ”as Mary desires to lead ALL of us to her Son Jesus. And make no mistake: that is indeed what we are “Her Children” if we allow it. [John 19:26-27]. 3. It is the task assigned to Her by Christ.
The Sower is of course Jesus Christ. …. We; ALL of us, Mary included are the “soil” and the “seeds” is the very WORD OF GOD. It seems at first glance that the seeds are indiscriminately scattered. NO, not so. Just as “the sun shines at the same time on a candle and on clay; melting one and Hardening the other; the sun representing opportunity, is fairly distributed. It is “what we are” that determines the effect of the “sun” and the effect of God’s WORD upon each of us.
By choosing our “own” path, we effectively choose the type of ground “we become.” I have known each of the types over the years. The first is one who falls “on the pathway of social life” ”[worldly influence], and is soon focused on anything but God. Many are the “rocky ground” where they at first are ON FIRE; a bonfire for a short time; and then quickly burn out, not having achieved or accomplished what THEY thought ought to be accomplished, forgetting God’s proper role in one’s Spiritual-growth. Others Fall among the thorns and were chocked and were suffocated by partial truths and lack of right understanding. These are folks who are either uninformed, or more commonly misinformed. They have purchased the “faith of mortal men“, rather than the faith and teaching of God. Then there is the smallest group. Saint Augustine if memory serves estimates it at about 25%. These few are the good seed. What makes them “good seed” is NOT ONLY “where they fall” BUT actually being fertile seed in Fertile Ground. The common characteristic is a HUGE DOSE of humility. A willingness to be “sown” where and how God choices them to be sown. In all of human HISTORY no one was more fertile seed, on more fertile ground, No one ever was more humble than Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother too, if we permit it?
In a summarized form this same lesson is repeated in the parable of the “Narrow Gate.” “Many seeds are sown” but few find fertile ground. “many are called but few seem willing to pay the price of admission. Matt.22: 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it”
This parable is at one and the same time a history lesson, a prophesy and a mandate. It acknowledges that all have had the opportunity to be taught , [offered grace] but not everyone has had the opportunity to be taught either by Christ in PERSON, or taught everything Christ mandates, commands and guides His Church to teach. Not everyone has been 1. Taught Directly by Christ 2. Have heard “the WORD” correctly, completely and truthfully proclaimed 3. Have even, in the present times by not going to “the singular source” for Faith Beliefs and Moral absolutes; set up by Christ for this precise reason, Christ One Church, with only One Set of Beliefs, and of course Only One God: Triune, ONLY found in His Church: The Catholic Church. [Eph.4: 1-7 and Eph. 2: 18-22].
Mary in order to become the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus Christ, had to be [in an absolute sense] perfected. God simply could not be born of a women with any stain of sin. But what did this “perfection” entail. What was the price that Mary PAID in FULL, for this singular honor? Salvation always comes at a price.
Let’s do a quick recap of Mary’s life.
Mary was one of the Bibles “miracle babies”. She was born of very religious parents, who even in OLD AGE never despaired, never gave up hope for a child. The traditional Jewish beliefs at the time was that no children was a DIRECT Punishment from God for having in some way failed him; so there was a stigma attached to being barren. When Anna became pregnant she and her husband [whose name is not specified in the bible] knew that it was truly a GIFT from God. This was a people accustomed to sacrifice and giving thanks to God for Gods beatitude of love for them.
Sacred Tradition holds [this in an optional belief, not mandated] that in thanksgiving Mary’s parents took Mary at an early age [2 to 3 years old] and presented her to the Temple Highpriest to become a “TEMPLE VIRGIN.” This was neither common nor rare. These virgin girls were raised officially by the Highpriest; but actually by select women who were trained to do this. They were instructed in the Torah, the Commandments [now over 600 strong], and the history and Traditions of the Jewish nation. QUITE UNUSUAL for women at the time. She would have stayed likely until early puberty., when often they were given in marriage as young teenage girls. Mary at an early age had “dedicated herself to God” as a virgin. Again not uncommon but not absolutely required either.
So as the time of her Temple departure grew near Mary felt great stress on how she would be able to keep her Chastity Vow. She found herself “given” to Joseph as his wife. [Women were seen as property not really people]. She was virgin but not stupid. She certainly would know that sex and children would be expected from her.
So up to this point Mary has suffered being raised without parents [an Orphan] and no family life. Then she faced the uncertainty of keeping her promise to God. This MUST have been very difficult. Vows, then as now were seen as a PERSONAL COVENANT with God. Not something taken lightly.
Mary a teenage girl, and a avowed virgin, is given in marriage. Out of “the blue” [pun intended], an ANGEL of God appears to her and announces that she; from all women for all of time, has been chosen by God to become the Mother of Gods Son.
Keep in mind, Mary was well aware that “they” were waiting for the Messiah. She likely was taught that this physical person would be a kind-of New King David. A military leader to lead the nation once again in freeing them from oppression; now to the Romans, and to freedom and an new independent Jewish Nation. Her response is TRULY Astounding. Mary does not ask the obvious question of: “WHY ME?” Rather she ask the pragmatic question: HOW?…. How is this possible?
I am a virgin? Without hesitation putting aside her Vow of virginity because YAHWEH -God asked her too., she grants her Lord what he ask. This kind of Faith., mirrors that of Abraham who asked for “signs“ not asked for by Mary. This kind of complete trust in God is unparalled in humanities history. And from a young teenage girl, not even imaginable. There is no need to ask “who is charge of Mary’s Life?” Mary or God! Clearly God is. [And that my friends is one of the most important KEYS to understanding why we Catholics hold Mary is such high esteem].
Mary’s reply is a reflection of Mary’s Faith, Mary’s Hope, and Mary’s Love.:
Luke 1:26-28 “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, FULL OF GRACE,” the Lord is with you!” …. Mary’s response: 34 -35 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God….. Even when told this INCREDIBLE manner this is to take place, one sees ONLY Faith, Only Hope and Truly Love. Mary’s response is: [Luke 1:38] And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” What we might have done? That friends is the Second KEY on why Mary is so highly esteemed.
Behind the scenes is yet anther factor that Mary knew and still said yes to God. Her very life was put at risk. Women who got pregnant before marriage were commonly stoned to death. And Mary HAD TO have known this. Once again we see the F. H. L. of Marian perfection in action.
Without asking for a sign; she nevertheless is given one. The Angel informs her that [yet another miracle baby] will be born to her cousin in her advanced age. [John the Baptizer]. Putting aside her concerns for herself, Mary rushes to the aid of her aged cousin. [No easy task, that!] When Mary greets Elizabeth the baby in her womb “LEAPS FOR JOY.” Both mother and child are granted “Infused knowledge” and KNOW that they are in the presence of holiness: Elizabeth shouts with JOY! BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF YOUR WOMB! … “Who am I that the mother of the Messiah should come to visit me?” Friends this response is “GOD INSPIRED” and it is the very response that God desires you and I have for His Mother too. Joseph and Elizabeth are quick to recognize the uniqueness and holiness of Mary. And today both of them are SAINTS. That friends is another- KEY that God desires we grab a hold of. Mary is Gods GIFT to humanity to LEAD us and DIRECT us to our Lord. No one else has the access to God that Mary has. THINK ABOUT THIS REALITY! And think of the possible benefits this can be to your Growth in holiness.
Divine Providence is ever-present. God accomplishes what God desires in the time and manner He desires. Most often there is a message; a lesson hidden in the events.
We are now at the point were Joseph too has been spoken to from an Angel sent by God; and like Mary, he too displays complete Faith, Hope and Love, and accepts the mysterious will of God, simply because THAT is what it is.
They are required to make the long trip to Bethlehem which Providently means “HOUSE OF BREAD“ [and is the “city of king David.“] Because Joseph is “of the Line of king David”, this is where they MUST register for the Roman census. Mary is near TERM, and the trip had to be extremely uncomfortable and difficult for both of them. They arrive around dusk and can “find no room at the Inn.” This could have been because the INN was fully Booked; but more likely because of the mandate from ROME the INN Keeper was gouging his kin and Joseph simply lacked the funds to pay for a room. Divine Providence strikes once again. They find a cave in the hills that Shepherds used in foul weather. It was furnished and smelled like the barn it was. And it is here, that the LORD of LORDS, our God in born. And laid in a manger: a place for feeding the stock. [“house of Bread, a manger and Christ = the foretelling of the Most Holy Eucharist]. … God IS in charge! Can you imagine the difficulties? The filth, the stench, no water source and only the meager supplies they had with them. The message here had to be confusing even to MARY who knew that this son; was the long awaited Messiah. Yet God assures them that he is With Them. Luke 2:8-14 “And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” Luke tells us “Mary pondered all of these things in her heart.” Obviously God had yet to make known to them, the details of His plan. So Mary gave birth to Christ in a Stable, a cave for sheep. Christ by these circumstances was making it known [later -The Good Shepherd“] that he has come for ALL. Especially the poor, ill and lame. For sinners not for His Glory. …. That would come later.
By Pat Miron
MARY and our Catholic Beliefs
PART TWO OF 2 Mary and our Salvation
Luke 2:21-35 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” [indicating extreme poverty] Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
Once again the mysterious way’s of God are made known. This final verse was making Mary and Joseph aware that SHE TOO WOULD HAVE TO SUFFER. I wonder if Mary had any second thoughts? The answer is NO! Mary always and every time said “YES” to God. TRUST like Mary had can only come from the ultimate living of the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. She modeled what we ought to deem to emulate. “I believe in God” AMEN!
Soon the first sword would make itself known. Matt.2:13, 19 “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,
Lets pause a minute to consider what this meant to them. 1. They had to abandon home, family, friends, and most of there meager positions [Divine Providence though had provided the “Gold, Incense and Mirth” given to them from the “THREE WISE-MEN.”] 2. They were told not only to :move” but to move back to Egypt: Highly significant as it indicates “back into captivity…[the exodus reversed]. And this was PAGAN land and They would be ill-treated for memories were long and it was the JEWS who cost them Pharaoh and all of His troops and the plagues ect. They were unlikely to make many friends or find much sympathy in Egypt. 3. With no hesitation and no complaints they did as God desired.
Then there were the quiet years. Have any of you parents ever “lost a kid” in a mega-store. Karen and I did when our first child was about 3 years old. We met someone we knew and were talking to them and Kelly just got bored and walked away unnoticed. I can tell you from experience your heart stops, and the beating you give yourself is far worse than anything someone else could do to you. I cannot imagine the PAIN, the guilt, the complete sense of being helpless. Mary and Joseph experienced this when Jesus was 12 years old. They had to trek to Jerusalem for a holy-FEAST. When the Feast was completed and there Moral obligation had been fulfilled, they left with family and friends to return home. It was not until the next day that Mary became very concerned. Jesus had not returned for supper, and had not said anything about being with other friends or family. [Men traveled with men and women with women; so each thought Jesus was with the other. In the morning having anxiously searched for Jesus among the travelers; none of whom had even “seen Jesus.” The frantic parents returned to Jerusalem and searched for THREE DAYS. [Again we see the hand of Divine providence] before finding Jesus “in the TEMPLE” discussing and EXPLAINING PROFOUND teachings to the Priest. When confronted and asked why he did this Jesus replied: “Do YOU not know that I MUST be about My Fathers Business.” Jesus was reminding them both not to get too comfortable in there family life. That he came with a MISSION. … To have to endure for THREE days a missing child is incomprehensible to me. TALK about suffering! Yet in the background is Divine providence again. The “three days” was a prelude for Mary of the three days that Jesus would remain buried; dead, in the tomb after His Passion.
The Next scene is the Wedding Feast of Cana. Joseph has died, so as not to interfere in any way with the Ministry of Christ. It is HIGHLY NOTABLE that Mary is still present. Mary approaches her son and his “friends” who too where invited to the wedding Feast that often lasted a week or more. … John.2: 1-11 “ On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, [RAN OUT] the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Of considerable note is the fact that it is MARY who Initiates the action; the first Miracle and what it foretells. Mary approaches Jesus seeming to KNOW things that we don’t! 1. She expects Jesus do perform a miracle, even though Jesus has yet to do so. Jesus even tell her “it’s not MY TIME YET.” Still Mary persist: ’Do whatever he tells you.” 2. The hidden dialog here between mother and son is that BOTH KNOW that in revealing his Divinity she if launching Jesus on His Ministry. 3 NOTICE how Jesus address her. As “WOMEN,“ not as MOTHER, MARY is in effect being told IF I Do this you are sending me to an early death [“MY TIME HAS NOT YET ARRIVED“] AND Mary is being told that she too will be made to suffer. 4. Look at what the next verse; verse 12 reveals: John 2:12 “After this he went down to Caper’na-um, with his mother and his brothers [Apostles] and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days.” Mary to be a part of her sons ministry; she is nearly always in the background. And what MOTHER would not be attuned and aware of the soon to build hatred, and what pain and internal suffering was added to Mary’s daily cross knowing that she could only endure; she could only combine her suffering with that of her son.?
John 19: 25-27 “So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved [John] standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home
No doubt about it; the PASSION of Christ is about the Passion of Christ. Yet that is not our theme for today. The Bible indicates that Mary was present at the foot of the Cross,. Sacred Tradition affirms that Mary was there for the entire ordeal. So logic tells us that Mary would have been present to hear the crowds chant for Christ crucifixion, the crowing of thorns and the scourging at the pillar. These events are prayed in The Stations of the Cross. Simeon’s prophesy about a “sword piercing Mary’s heart” is fulfilled to the letter. Words fail in trying to capture the pain of a Mother watching her son; HER INNOCENT SON, suffer the scourging, the crowing with thorns, crowds calling for Christ Crucifixion and the trek to the place of the “the SKULL” carrying the heavy Cross; then being there to see your son NAILED hands and feet to the Cross, not just crucified. This nailing was intended to highlight the CRIMES of the prisoner; to increase the pain, and to increase the humiliation. Yet Christ is the “Innocent Lamb of God.” … Key here is understanding that AFTER ALL OF THIS pain and suffering is when Jesus asked MARY to be “our Mother too,” while HANGING FROM THE CROSS, a CROSS THAT WE; You and ME, placed Him on, and again without hesitation, Mary accepts this role for Her Sons sake and for ALL of us. She agrees to take AN ACTIVE ROLE in humanities salvation. NOT a primary role; but nevertheless, an ACTIVE ROLE. Mary not ONLY forgives us [she being the ONLY human- being not accountable for these barbaric acts inflicted on her Son]; but actually desires [because Her Son so desires] that we be forgiven, that we be given grace, and that we be permitted to freely choose to; or NOT TO; participate in the PROCESS of Human salvation as taught by Christ and passed on by Christ Church.
Mary has the title of QUEEN of Heaven and of Earth because just as the Eucharist is the “Sacrament par albescence” so Mary is placed above every angel, every Saint and all mankind. When the Church proclaims someone “Blessed” or a “Saint” the FIRST PROCLAMATION is not as many of us suppose; is NOT an affirmation, a declaration, that this Person definitely is in Heaven, rather the FIRST assurance is that this person by careful and extensive investigation has lived while on earth a exemplary, and “extraordinary” holy life. Having done this and having passed the investigation and the test of Miracles, they are proclaimed a Saint; one who definitely is in Heaven. Even the Angels and saints honor Mary who She is and what She has done. We too will benefit from this practice.
Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
by Father William G. Most
Closely related to the Catholic teaching on Mary’s cooperation in the redemption is the teaching that, with through and under her Son, she is Mediatrix of all graces. What exactly does this mean?
The term Mediatrix in itself could refer to either the objective redemption (the once-for-all earning a title to grace for all men), to the subjective redemption (the distribution of this grace to individual men), or to both. It is most usual to use it to refer only to subjective redemption, i.e. , the process of giving out the fruits of the objective redemption, throughout all centuries. We must consider whether or not the term Mediatrix applies to all graces or only to some. We will ask also about the nature of the mediation: is it only by way of intercession, that is, does Mary simply pray to her Son that he may give us grace, or does God also use her as an instrument in distributing grace. To begin, we can say without doubt that the title “Mediatrix” is justified, and applies to all graces for certain, by her cooperation in acquiring all graces on Calvary.
The Second Vatican Council (Lumen gentium ## 61-62), said:
… in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace.
This motherhood of Mary in the economy of grace lasts without interruption, from the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation, and which she unhesitatingly bore with under the cross, even to the perpetual consummation of all the elect. For after being assumed into heaven, she has not put aside this saving function, but by her manifold intercession, she continues to win the gifts of eternal salvation for us. By her motherly love, she takes care of the brothers of her Son who are still in pilgrimage and in dangers and difficulties, until they be led through to the happy fatherland. For this reason, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adiutrix, and Mediatrix. This however it to be so understood that it takes nothing away, or adds nothing to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator. For no creature can ever be put on the same level with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer….”
We notice that Vatican II did not add the words “of all graces.” However, as many papal texts point out, Mary’s role in dispensation flows logically from her role in acquiring all graces. Further, the Council itself added a note on the above passage, in which it refers us to the texts of Leo XIII, Adiutricem populi, St. Pius X, Ad diem illum, Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, and Pius XII, Radiomessage to Fatima.
Leo XIII, in the text referred to, spoke of her, as we saw above, as having “practically limitless power.” St. Pius X said she was the “dispensatrix of all the gifts, and is the “neck” connecting the Head of the Mystical Body to the Members. But all power flows through the neck. Pius XII said “Her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.” These and many other texts speak in varied ways of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces, so often that the teaching has become infallible.
Protestants object to this , saying that there is only one mediator: 1 Tim 2:5. We agree that there are many ways in which Christ is the only mediator between God and man. 1) There is only one mediator who is such by very nature, being both true God and true man. 2) There is only one mediator whose whose work is necessary, without whom, in God’s plan, there could be no salvation. 3) There is only one mediator who depends on no one else for power.
Mary differs on all three counts. 1) Mary only a creature, but it was appropriate that God be freely choose her as Mediatrix because he had made her Mother of the God-man, the Redeemer–it was she who on behalf of the whole human race consented to God’s plan of salvation by proclaiming herself the handmaid of the Lord. 2) Her role was not necessary, since Christ was and is the perfect Redeemer and the perfect Mediator. Rather, Mary was associated with her Son by the free decision of the Father, a decision which we cannot ignore. 3) Her whole ability to do anything comes entirely from her Son, and hence we are not contradicting Lumen gentium # 62 which says no creature can be ever counted together with Him.
Really, the Father did not need her at all, except that if He decreed the incarnation, He necessarily decreed a Mother: she was and is that Mother. But everything else in which He has employed her is not needed.
Yet, if we recall the economy of redemption, it is clear that the Father wants everything to be as rich as possible, so that He will not stop with something lesser if there is more than can be done. Really, the incarnation in a palace, without death, would have been infinite in merit and satisfaction, as we have seen in the section on her cooperation in the redemption.
Further, the principle of St. Thomas helps here. In Summa Theologiae I. 19. 5. c., Thomas says that it pleases God to have one thing in place to serve as a title or reason for granting something further, even though that title does not move Him. It is His love of all goodness and good order that leads Him to act this way. Hence too, even though Calvary earned infinite forgiveness and graces, the Father wills to provide titles for giving out these, in the Mass. Even though He did not need even our Lady, yet He willed to employ her. Even though there is no need of any other saints, in objective or subjective redemption, yet He wills to add them–all to make everything, every title, as rich as possible.
Lumen gentium [Vatican II Document] speaks of her as taking care of all her children. We are extremely numerous, but yet not infinite in number. Therefore, we are not too numerous for her to see and care for. For her capacity for that infinite vision of God is in proportion to her love on earth, so great that Pius IX, as we saw, said it was so great that “none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it.”
Is her mediation merely by intercession, prayer for us to her Son and to God the Father? Or does she also play a role in the distribution of graces from the Father through her Son to us? Many today, influenced by Protestant theology, tend to speak of grace merely as favor, and so say grace is not a thing given. But that would imply Pelagianism, the heresy that says that we can be saved by our own power. For if God merely sits there and smiles at me, and gives me nothing, that would mean that I had to do it by my own power.
So we answer, since Mary was associated with her Son in acquiring grace for us, she will also share with him in distributing that grace to us. This fits well with the words of the Popes, who call her the administra of grace, meaning that she administers or dispenses it. So Pope Leo XIII, Iucunda semper, said:
“… when He [the Father] has been invoked with excellent prayers, our humble voice turns to Mary; in accordance with no other law than that law of conciliation and petition which was expressed as follows by St. Bernardine of Siena : ‘Every grace that is communicated to this world has a threefold course. For by excellent order, it is dispensed from God to Christ, from Christ to the Virgin, from the Virgin to us.'”
Mary is so honored NOT for WHO she is: RATHER for What SHE IS, and WHAT She suffered in unity with Her Son Jesus, and especially what She modeled PERFECTLY for us to emulate., … Mary is THEE most fertile seed, in THEE most fertile ground. Mary’s ROLE in addition to being the dispenser of grace [not the creator of grace; not even the one who determines who is to be offered grace], BUT the dispenser of grace. Is to aid, direct and assist us in doing God’s WILL …. Matt. 5:48 “you “therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mary, better and more effectively than any other human Saint, is located closer to the THRONE of God; and has better access to Him than anyone else. The Role of Mary as OUR Mother/ Intercessor is to ADD Her prayers to OUR prayers making them far more likely to be answered quickly and always in the manner that is BEST for our Spiritual well-being. AMEN!
Without a VERY ACTIVE prayer life, one cannot know; cannot truly be in an in-depth personal relation with our God; with Jesus. If one is not is such a relationship with Jesus it will be impossible to understand the “KEY” Role God has shared with His Mother, and the ESTEEM that Jesus has for His Mother, and desires us to partake in.
What we Catholics hold as the truth about Mary is that 1. She is “Ever-Virgin,” 2. That She was assumed Body and soul into heaven. The key word here being “assumed,” God’s doing, not Mary’s. These are Graces; Gifts from a Loving and GRATEFUL God. There can be no doubt that Mary choose “to pay the price of admission to heaven.” Multiple Miracles have proven this fact… Further we believe that God choose to permit Mary to cooperate continually in humanities salvation by being HIS dispenser of ALL Graces. These special graces; this merited reward stems from the FACT that once God decided on our salvation through the Incarnation, that the “Mother” of the Messiah, had to be, in an absolute sense, “Perfected” in order to permit God; both God and now man; to be Perfect. It’s really as simple as that.
For the benefit of those who might wish to see what we actually teach: Here are some selected teachings of the CC on Mary.
148 The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that “with God nothing will be impossible” and so giving her assent: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” Elizabeth greeted her: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.
490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.
506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will. It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”
510 Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin”
963 Since the Virgin Mary’s role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.”
964 Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. “This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death”; it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:
Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold your son.”
970 “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it.” “No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.”
974 The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.
2618 The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith. At Cana, the mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast; this is the sign of another feast – that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride. It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross, that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true “Mother of all the living.”
500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”. They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
From the Book: “ The Deceiver” by Father Livio Fanzaga
“We should keep very much in mind an essential and irremovable aspect of the work of redemption completed by Christ, that it is realized with the intimate, constant, and fundamental collaboration of the Virgin Mary. Divine Wisdom has decided the women, [Mary] the new Eve, should be placed side by side with the new Adam [Christ] in the struggle against Satan for the liberation of humanity. As Christ is the Redeemer so Mary is the “co-redeemer” [through the merits of Jesus]. From the moment of the Incarnation until Christ’s death on the Cross, the Mother is beside the Son and shares each moment of the deadly conflict. … it is affirmed and it is true: It will NOT be the women who crushes the head of the serpent, BUT He SEED [JESUS].”
Mysterium Fidei! __ Blessed Pope John Paul II …. Ecclesia de Eucharistic ; #54-55
“If the Eucharist is the Mystery of [our Catholic] faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like MARY to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition… At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of His Body and Blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentaly in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s Body and Blood. As a result, there is a profound analogy between the FIAT which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the AMEN which every believer says when receiving the Body of our Lord…. In continuity with the Virgin’s faith, in the Eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the same Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, becomes present in His FULL humanity and Divinity under the signs of bread and wine.” END Quote.
And may Mary; our Mother; the Mother of our God lead us into His Divine Presence.
God Bless you; Mary PRAY for us Now and at the hour of Death; AMEN!