Skip to comments.ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII: ON PROCLAIMING THE QUEENSHIP OF MARY [AD CAELI REGINAM]
Posted on 08/22/2005 8:30:29 AM PDT by Salvation
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON PROCLAIMING THE QUEENSHIP OF MARY
TO THE VENERABLE BRETHREN, THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHIOPS, AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE HOLY SEE
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Blessing.
From the earliest ages of the catholic church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.
2. Following upon the frightful calamities which before Our very eyes have reduced flourishing cities, towns, and villages to ruins, We see to Our sorrow that many great moral evils are being spread abroad in what may be described as a violent flood. Occasionally We behold justice giving way; and, on the one hand and the other, the victory of the powers of corruption. The threat of this fearful crisis fills Us with a great anguish, and so with confidence We have recourse to Mary Our Queen, making known to her those sentiments of filial reverence which are not Ours alone, but which belong to all those who glory in the name of Christian.
3. It is gratifying to recall that We ourselves, on the first day of November of the Holy Year 1950, before a huge multitude of Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and of the faithful who had assembled from every part of the world, defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven where she is present in soul and body reigning, together with her only[1a] Son, amid the heavenly choirs of angels and Saints. Moreover, since almost a century has passed since Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, proclaimed and defined the dogma that the great Mother of God had been conceived without any stain of original sin, We instituted the current Marian Year And now it is a great consolation to Us to see great multitudes here in Rome - and especially in the Liberian Basilica - giving testimony in a striking way to their faith and ardent love for their heavenly Mother. In all parts of the world We learn that devotion to the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing more and more, and that the principal shrines of Mary have been visited and are still being visited by many throngs of Catholic pilgrims gathered in prayer.
4. It is well known that we have taken advantage of every opportunity -- through personal audiences and radio broadcasts -- to exhort Our children in Christ to a strong and tender love, as becomes children, for Our most gracious and exalted Mother. On this point it is particularly fitting to call to mind the radio message which We addressed to the people of Portugal, when the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary which is venerated at Fatima was being crowned with a golden diadem. We Ourselves called this the heralding of the "sovereignty" of Mary.
5. And now, that We may bring the Year of Mary to a happy and beneficial conclusion, and in response to petitions which have come to Us from all over the world, We have decided to institute the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen. This will afford a climax, as it were, to the manifold demonstrations of Our devotion to Mary, which the Christian people have supported with such enthusiasm.
6. In this matter We do not wish to propose a new truth to be believed by Christians, since the title and the arguments on which Mary's queenly dignity is based have already been clearly set forth, and are to be found in ancient documents of the Church and in the books of the sacred liturgy.
7. It is Our pleasure to recall these things in the present encyclical letter, that We may renew the praises of Our heavenly Mother, and enkindle a more fervent devotion towards her, to the spiritual benefit of all mankind.
8. From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He "will reign in the house of Jacob forever," "the Prince of Peace," the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.
9. Hence it is not surprising that the early writers of the Church called Mary "the Mother of the King" and "the Mother of the Lord," basing their stand on the words of St. Gabriel the archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever, and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her "the Mother of my Lord." Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son.
10. So it is that St. Ephrem, burning with poetic inspiration, represents her as speaking in this way: "Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is her mother." And in another place he thus prays to her: ". . . Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me."
11. St. Gregory Nazianzen calls Mary "the Mother of the King of the universe," and the "Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the whole world," while Prudentius asserts that the Mother marvels "that she has brought forth God as man, and even as Supreme King."
12. And this royal dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is quite clearly indicated through direct assertion by those who call her "Lady," "Ruler" and "Queen."
13. In one of the homilies attributed to Origen, Elizabeth calls Mary "the Mother of my Lord." and even addresses her as "Thou, my Lady."
14. The same thing is found in the writings of St. Jerome where he makes the following statement amidst various interpretations of Mary's name: "We should realize that Mary means Lady in the Syrian Language." After him St. Chrysologus says the same thing more explicitly in these words: "The Hebrew word 'Mary' means 'Domina.' The Angel therefore addresses her as 'Lady' to preclude all servile fear in the Lord's Mother, who was born and was called 'Lady' by the authority and command of her own Son."
15. Moreover Epiphanius, the bishop of Constantinople, writing to the Sovereign Pontiff Hormisdas, says that we should pray that the unity of the Church may be preserved "by the grace of the holy and consubstantial Trinity and by the prayers of Mary, Our Lady, the holy and glorious Virgin and Mother of God."
16. The Blessed Virgin, sitting at the right hand of God to pray for us is hailed by another writer of that same era in these words, "the Queen[17a] of mortal man, the most holy Mother of God."
17. St. Andrew of Crete frequently attributes the dignity of a Queen to the Virgin Mary. For example, he writes, "Today He transports from her earthly dwelling, as Queen of the human race, His ever-Virgin Mother, from whose womb He, the living God, took on human form."
18. And in another place he speaks of "the Queen of the entire human race faithful to the exact meaning of her name, who is exalted above all things save only God himself."
19. Likewise St. Germanus speaks to the humble Virgin in these words: "Be enthroned, Lady, for it is fitting that you should sit in an exalted place since you are a Queen and glorious above all kings." He likewise calls her the "Queen of all of those who dwell on earth."
20. She is called by St. John Damascene "Queen, ruler, and lady," and also "the Queen of every creature." Another ancient writer of the Eastern Church calls her "favored Queen," "the perpetual Queen beside the King, her son," whose "snow-white brow is crowned with a golden diadem."
21. And finally St. Ildephonsus of Toledo gathers together almost all of her titles of honor in this salutation: "O my Lady, my Sovereign, You who rule over me, Mother of my Lord . . . Lady among handmaids, Queen among sisters."
22. The theologians of the Church, deriving their teaching from these and almost innumerable other testimonies handed down long ago, have called the most Blessed Virgin the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all.
23. The Supreme Shepherds of the Church have considered it their duty to promote by eulogy and exhortation the devotion of the Christian people to the heavenly Mother and Queen. Simply passing over the documents of more recent Pontiffs, it is helpful to recall that as early as the seventh century Our predecessor St. Martin I called Mary "our glorious Lady, ever Virgin." St. Agatho, in the synodal letter sent to the fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council called her "Our Lady, truly and in a proper sense the Mother of God." And in the eighth century Gregory II in the letter sent to St. Germanus, the patriarch, and read in the Seventh Ecumenical Council with all the Fathers concurring, called the Mother of God: "The Queen of all, the true Mother of God," and also "the Queen of all Christians."
24. We wish also to recall that Our predecessor of immortal memory, Sixtus IV, touched favorably upon the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, beginning the Apostolic Letter Cum praeexcelsa with words in which Mary is called "Queen," "Who is always vigilant to intercede with the king whom she bore." Benedict XIV declared the same thing in his Apostolic Letter Gloriosae Dominae, in which Mary is called "Queen of heaven and earth," and it is stated that the sovereign King has in some way communicated to her his ruling power.
25. For all these reasons St. Alphonsus Ligouri, in collecting the testimony of past ages, writes these words with evident devotion: "Because the virgin Mary was raised to such a lofty dignity as to be the mother of the King of kings, it is deservedly and by every right that the Church has honored her with the title of 'Queen'."
26. Furthermore, the sacred liturgy, which acts as a faithful reflection of traditional doctrine believed by the Christian people through the course of all the ages both in the East and in the West, has sung the praises of the heavenly Queen and continues to sing them.
27. Ardent voices from the East sing out: "O Mother of God, today thou art carried into heaven on the chariots of the cherubim, the seraphim wait upon thee and the ranks of the heavenly army bow before thee."
28. Further: "O just, O most blessed (Joseph), since thou art sprung from a royal line, thou hast been chosen from among all mankind to be spouse of the pure Queen who, in a way which defies description, will give birth to Jesus the king." In addition: "I shall sing a hymn to the mother, the Queen, whom I joyously approach in praise, gladly celebrating her wonders in song. . . Our tongue cannot worthily praise thee, O Lady; for thou who hast borne Christ the king art exalted above the seraphim. . . Hail, O Queen of the world; hail, O Mary, Queen of us all."
29. We read, moreover, in the Ethiopic Missal: "O Mary, center of the whole world, . . . thou art greater than the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim . . . Heaven and earth are filled with the sanctity of thy glory."
30. Furthermore, the Latin Church sings that sweet and ancient prayer called the "Hail, Holy Queen" and the lovely antiphons "Hail, Queen of the Heavens," "O Queen of Heaven, Rejoice," and those others which we are accustomed to recite on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "The Queen stood at Thy right hand in golden vesture surrounded with beauty"; "Heaven and earth praise thee as a powerful Queen"; "Today the Virgin Mary ascends into heaven: rejoice because she reigns with Christ forever."
31. To these and others should be added the Litany of Loreto which daily invites Christian folk to call upon Mary as Queen. Likewise, for many centuries past Christians have been accustomed to meditate upon the ruling power of Mary which embraces heaven and earth, when they consider the fifth glorious mystery of the rosary which can be called the mystical crown of the heavenly Queen.
32. Finally, art which is based upon Christian principles and is animated by their spirit as something faithfully interpreting the sincere and freely expressed devotion of the faithful, has since the Council of Ephesus portrayed Mary as Queen and Empress seated upon a royal throne adorned with royal insignia, crowned with the royal diadem and surrounded by the host of angels and saints in heaven, and ruling not only over nature and its powers but also over the machinations of Satan. Iconography, in representing the royal dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has ever been enriched with works of highest artistic value and greatest beauty; it has even taken the form of representing colorfully the divine Redeemer crowning His mother with a resplendent diadem.
33. The Roman Pontiffs, favoring such types of popular devotion, have often crowned, either in their own persons, or through representatives, images of the Virgin Mother of God which were already outstanding by reason of public veneration.
34. As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood. In Holy Writ, concerning the Son whom Mary will conceive, We read this sentence: "He shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end," and in addition Mary is called "Mother of the Lord"; from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature." Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary's royal office.
35. But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation. "What more joyful, what sweeter thought can we have" -- as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI wrote -- "than that Christ is our King not only by natural right, but also by an acquired right: that which He won by the redemption? Would that all men, now forgetful of how much we cost Our Savior, might recall to mind the words, 'You were redeemed, not with gold or silver which perishes, . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb spotless and undefiled. We belong not to ourselves now, since Christ has bought us 'at a great price'.", 
36. Now, in the accomplishing of this work of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was most closely associated with Christ; and so it is fitting to sing in the sacred liturgy: "Near the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ there stood, sorrowful, the Blessed Mary, Queen of Heaven and Queen of the World." Hence, as the devout disciple of St. Anselm (Eadmer, ed.) wrote in the Middle Ages: "just as . . . God, by making all through His power, is Father and Lord of all, so the blessed Mary, by repairing all through her merits, is Mother and Queen of all; for God is the Lord of all things, because by His command He establishes each of them in its own nature, and Mary is the Queen of all things, because she restores each to its original dignity through the grace which she merited.
37. For "just as Christ, because He redeemed us, is our Lord and king by a special title, so the Blessed Virgin also (is our queen), on account of the unique manner in which she assisted in our redemption, by giving of her own substance, by freely offering Him for us, by her singular desire and petition for, and active interest in, our salvation."
38. From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God's design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of "recapitulation," in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ "in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race"; and if, in truth, "it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall," then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.
39. Certainly, in the full and strict meaning of the term, only Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is King; but Mary, too, as Mother of the divine Christ, as His associate in the redemption, in his struggle with His enemies and His final victory over them, has a share, though in a limited and analogous way, in His royal dignity. For from her union with Christ she attains a radiant eminence transcending that of any other creature; from her union with Christ she receives the royal right to dispose of the treasures of the Divine Redeemer's Kingdom; from her union with Christ finally is derived the inexhaustible efficacy of her maternal intercession before the Son and His Father.
40. Hence it cannot be doubted that Mary most Holy is far above all other creatures in dignity, and after her Son possesses primacy over all. "You have surpassed every creature," sings St. Sophronius. "What can be more sublime than your joy, O Virgin Mother? What more noble than this grace, which you alone have received from God"? To this St. Germanus adds: "Your honor and dignity surpass the whole of creation; your greatness places you above the angels." And St. John Damascene goes so far as to say: "Limitless is the difference between God's servants and His Mother."
41. In order to understand better this sublime dignity of the Mother of God over all creatures let us recall that the holy Mother of God was, at the very moment of her Immaculate Conception, so filled with grace as to surpass the grace of all the Saints. Wherefore, as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius IX wrote, God "showered her with heavenly gifts and graces from the treasury of His divinity so far beyond what He gave to all the angels and saints that she was ever free from the least stain of sin; she is so beautiful and perfect, and possesses such fullness of innocence and holiness, that under God a greater could not be dreamed, and only God can comprehend the marvel."
42. Besides, the Blessed Virgin possessed, after Christ, not only the highest degree of excellence and perfection, but also a share in that influence by which He, her Son and our Redeemer, is rightly said to reign over the minds and wills of men. For if through His Humanity the divine Word performs miracles and gives graces, if He uses His Sacraments and Saints as instruments for the salvation of men, why should He not make use of the role and work of His most holy Mother in imparting to us the fruits of redemption? "With a heart that is truly a mother's," to quote again Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, "does she approach the problem of our salvation, and is solicitous for the whole human race; made Queen of heaven and earth by the Lord, exalted above all choirs of angels and saints, and standing at the right hand of her only [55a] Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she intercedes powerfully for us with a mother's prayers, obtains what she seeks, and cannot be refused." On this point another of Our Predecessors of happy memory, Leo XIII, has said that an "almost immeasurable" power has been given Mary in the distribution of graces; St. Pius X adds that she fills this office "as by the right of a mother."
43. Let all Christians, therefore, glory in being subjects of the Virgin Mother of God, who, while wielding royal power, is on fire with a mother's love.
44. Theologians and preachers, however, when treating these and like questions concerning the Blessed Virgin, must avoid straying from the correct course, with a twofold error to guard against: that is to say, they must beware of unfounded opinions and exaggerated expressions which go beyond the truth, on the other hand, they must watch out for excessive narrowness of mind in weighing that exceptional, sublime, indeed all but divine dignity of the Mother of God, which the Angelic Doctor teaches must be attributed to her "because of the infinite goodness that is God."
45. For the rest, in this as in other points of Christian doctrine, "the proximate and universal norm of truth" is for all the living Magisterium of the Church, which Christ established "also to illustrate and explain those matters which are contained only in an obscure way, and implicitly in the deposit of faith."
46. From the ancient Christian documents, from prayers of the liturgy, from the innate piety of the Christian people, from works of art, from every side We have gathered witnesses to the regal dignity of the Virgin Mother of God; We have likewise shown that the arguments deduced by Sacred Theology from the treasure store of the faith fully confirm this truth. Such a wealth of witnesses makes up a resounding chorus which changes the sublimity of the royal dignity of the Mother of God and of men, to whom every creature is subject, who is "exalted to the heavenly throne, above the choirs of angels."
47. Since we are convinced, after long and serious reflection, that great good will accrue to the Church if this solidly established truth shines forth more clearly to all, like a luminous lamp raised aloft, by Our Apostolic authority We decree and establish the feast of Mary's Queenship, which is to be celebrated every year in the whole world on the 31st of May. We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion.
48. Let all, therefore, try to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother. Let her churches be thronged by the faithful, her feast-days honored; may the beads of the Rosary be in the hands of all; may Christians gather, in small numbers and large, to sing her praises in churches, in homes, in hospitals, in prisons. May Mary's name be held in highest reverence, a name sweeter than honey and more precious than jewels; may none utter blasphemous words, the sign of a defiled soul, against that name graced with such dignity and revered for its motherly goodness; let no one be so bold as to speak a syllable which lacks the respect due to her name.
49. All, according to their state, should strive to bring alive the wondrous virtues of our heavenly Queen and most loving Mother through constant effort of mind and manner. Thus will it come about that all Christians, in honoring and imitating their sublime Queen and Mother, will realize they are truly brothers, and with all envy and avarice thrust aside, will promote love among classes, respect the rights of the weak, cherish peace. No one should think himself a son of Mary, worthy of being received under her powerful protection, unless, like her, he is just, gentle and pure, and shows a sincere desire for true brotherhood, not harming or injuring but rather helping and comforting others.
50. In some countries of the world there are people who are unjustly persecuted for professing their Christian faith and who are deprived of their divine and human rights to freedom; up till now reasonable demands and repeated protests have availed nothing to remove these evils. May the powerful Queen of creation, whose radiant glance banishes storms and tempests and brings back cloudless skies, look upon these her innocent and tormented children with eyes of mercy; may the Virgin, who is able to subdue violence beneath her foot, grant to them that they may soon enjoy the rightful freedom to practice their religion openly, so that, while serving the cause of the Gospel, they may also contribute to the strength and progress of nations by their harmonious cooperation, by the practice of extraordinary virtues which are a glowing example in the midst of bitter trials.
51. By this Encyclical Letter We are instituting a feast so that all may recognize more clearly and venerate more devoutly the merciful and maternal sway of the Mother of God. We are convinced that this feast will help to preserve, strengthen and prolong that peace among nations which daily is almost destroyed by recurring crises. Is she not a rainbow in the clouds reaching towards God, the pledge of a covenant of peace? "Look upon the rainbow, and bless Him that made it; surely it is beautiful in its brightness. It encompasses the heaven about with the circle of its glory, the hands of the Most High have displayed it." Whoever, therefore, reverences the Queen of heaven and earth - and let no one consider himself exempt from this tribute of a grateful and loving soul - let him invoke the most effective of Queens, the Mediatrix of peace; let him respect and preserve peace, which is not wickedness unpunished nor freedom without restraint, but a well-ordered harmony under the rule of the will of God; to its safeguarding and growth the gentle urgings and commands of the Virgin Mary impel us.
52. Earnestly desiring that the Queen and Mother of Christendom may hear these Our prayers, and by her peace make happy a world shaken by hate, and may, after this exile show unto us all Jesus, Who will be our eternal peace and joy, to you, Venerable Brothers, and to your flocks, as a promise of God's divine help and a pledge of Our love, from Our heart We impart the Apostolic Benediction.
Given at Rome, from St. Peter's, on the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eleventh day of October, 1954, in the sixteenth year of our Pontificate.
1. Cf. constitutio apostolica Munificentissirnus Deus: AAS XXXXII 1950, p. 753 sq.
1a. The Latin word is Unigena. - Ed.
2. Cf. litt. enc. Fulgens corona: AAS XXXXV, 1953, p. 577 sq.
3. Cf. AAS XXXVIII, 1946, p. 264 sq.
4. Cf. L'Osservatore Romano, d. 19 Maii, a. 1946.
5. Luc. I, 32.
6. Isai. IX, 6.
7. Apoc. XIX, 16.
8. Cf. Luc. I, 32, 33.
9. Luc. I, 43.
10. S. Ephraem, Hymni de B. Maria, ed. Th. J. Lamy, t. II, Mechliniae, 1886, hymn. XIX, p. 624.
11. Idem, Oratio ad Ssmam Dei Matrem; Opera omnia, Ed. Assemani, t. III (graece), Romae, 1747, pag. 546.
12. S. Gregorius Naz., Poemata dogmatica, XVIII, v. 58; PG XXXVII, 485.
13. Prudentius, Dittochaeum, XXVII: PL LX, 102 A.
14. Hom. in S. Lucam, hom. VII; ed. Rauer, Origenes' Werke, T. IX, p. 48 (ex catena Marcarii Chrysocephali). Cf. PG XIII, 1902 D.
15. S. Hieronymus, Liber de nominibus hebraeis: PL XXIII, 886.
16. S. Petrus Chrysologus, Sermo 142, De Annuntiatione B.M.V.: PL LII, 579 C; cf. etiam 582 B; 584 A: "Regina totius exstitit castitatis."
17. Relatio Epiphanii Ep. Constantin.: PL LXII, 498 D.
17a. Generally throughout the encyclical the Latin word Regina is used to describe Mary. In this case and a few others the word is Domina. "Queen" seems to be the best English equivalent. "Ruler", when it occurs, is a rendition of Dominatrix. - Ed.
18. Encomium in Dormitionem Ssmae Deiparae (inter opera S. Modesti): PG LXXXVI, 3306 B.
19. S. Andreas Cretensis, Homilia II in Dormitionem Ssmae Deiparae: PG XCVII, 1079 B.
20. Id., Homilia III in Dormitionem Ssmae Deiparae: PG XCVII, 1099 A.
21. S. Germanus, In Praesentationem Ssmae Deiparae, I: PG XCVIII, 303 A.
22. Id., In Praesentationem Ssmae Deiparae, n PG XCVIII, 315 C.
23. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Homilia I in Dormitionem B.M.V.: P.G. XCVI, 719 A.
24. Id., De fide orthodoxa, I, IV, c. 14: PG XLIV, 1158 B.
25. De laudibus Mariae (inter opera Venantii Fortunati): PL LXXXVIII, 282 B et 283 A.
26. Ildefonsus Toletanus, De virginitate perpetua B.M.V.: PL XCVI, 58 A D.
27. S. Martinus I, Epist. XIV: PL LXXXVII, 199-200 A.
28. S. Agatho: PL LXXXVII, 1221 A.
29. Hardouin, Acta Conciliorum, IV, 234; 238: PL LXXXIX, 508 B.
30. Xystus IV, bulla Cum praeexcelsa. d. d. 28 Febr. a. 1476.
31. Benedictus XIV, bulla Gloriosae Dominae, d. d. 27 Sept. a. 1748.
32. S. Alfonso, Le glone de Maria, p. I, c. I, §1.
33. Ex liturgia Armenorum: in festo Assumptionis, hymnus ad Matutinum.
34. Ex Menaeo (byzantino): Dominica post Natalem, in Canone, ad Matutinum.
35. Officium hymni Axathistos (in ritu byzantino).
36. Missale Aethiopicum, Anaphora Dominae nostrae Mariae, Matris Dei.
37. Brev. Rom., Versiculus sexti Respons.
38. Festum Assumptionis; hymnus Laudum.
39. Ibidem, ad Magnificat II Vesp.
40. Luc. I, 32, 33.
41. Ibid. I, 43.
42. S. Ioannes Damascenus, De fide orthodoxa, 1. IV, c. 14; PL XCIV, 1158 s. B.
43. I Petr. I, 18, 19.
44. I Cor. VI, 20.
45. Pius XI, litt. enc. Quas primas: AAS XVII, 1925, p. 599.
46. Festum septem dolorum B. Mariae Virg., Tractus.
47. Eadmerus, De excellentia Virginis Mariae, c. 11: PL CLIX, 508 A B.
48. F. Suárez, De mysteriis vitae Christi, disp. XXII, sect. II (ed Vivès, XIX, 327).
49. S. Irenaeus, Adv. haer., V, 19, 1: PG VII, 1175 B.
50. Pius XI, epist. Auspicatus profecto: AAS XXV, 1933, p. 80.
51. Pius XII, litt. enc. Mystici Corporis: AAS XXXV, 1943, p. 247.
52. S. Sophronius, In annuntianone Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG LXXXVII, 3238 D; 3242 A.
53. S. Germanus, Hom. II in dormitione Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVIII, 354 B.
54. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Hom. I in Dormitionem Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVI, 715 A.
55. Pius IX, bulla Ineffabilis Deus: Acta Pii IX, I, p. 597-598.
55a.Unigena. - Ed.
56. Ibid. p. 618.
57. Leo XIII, litt. enc. Adiumcem populi: ASS, XXVIII, 1895-1896, p.130.
58. Pius X, litt enc. Ad diem illum: ASS XXXVI, 1903-1904, p.455.
59. S. Thomas, Summa Theol., I, q. 25, a. 6, ad 4.
60. Pius XII, litt. enc. Humani generis: AAS XLII, 1950, p. 569.
61. Ex Brev. Rom.: Festum Assumptionis Beatae Mariae Virginis.
62. Cf. Gen. IX, 13.
63. Eccl. XLIII, 12-13.
The Queenship of the Blessed Vrigin Mary
Coronation of the Virgin
Tempera on panel, 89 x 58 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Saint of the Day Ping List.
Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
|KINGSHIP OF CHRIST, QUEENSHIP OF MARY IN SCRIPTURE|
|Rev. William Most
To see the Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on Mary's Queenship
|Far back in the dim mists of ancient times, so far back, that we are not even certain of the century, in the strange land of Egypt, which thought gods had human bodies but animal heads, there lay dying the last of the great three Patriarchs, Jacob. His son, sold into slavery by his brothers for 20 pieces of silver, had by divine inspiration risen to be Vizier, second in power in all the land. The great Pharaoh - whose name we know not - had invited him to bring his father and his kinsmen to Egypt, and that he did. But now Jacob was dying.
God made use of the state of a soul now close to departing this world: Jacob was enabled to make a great prophecy (Genesis 49:10) "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and his shall be the obedience of the peoples." Many modern Catholic scholars, beset by an inexplicable blindness, profess to be unable to see the meaning of this text clearly, although one of the greatest Jewish scholars of our time, Jacob Neusner wrote ("Messiah in Context," "It is difficult to imagine how Gen 49.10 could have been read as other than a messianic prediction." Neusner is obviously right. His view is the same as that of the ancient Jewish Targums, Aramaic versions of the Old Testament which are mostly free, and have fill-ins showing how the Jews understood these words centuries ago. The Targums probably go back before the time of Christ. Thus the Targum Neofiti, discovered in our own times in the Vatican Library, said: "Kings shall not be lacking from the house of Judah, until the time at which King Messiah will come." Even Targum Onkelos, otherwise rather sparing in seeing messianic implications, agrees. Another prominent Jewish scholar, Samson Levey (in: "The Messiah: An Aramaic interpretation," p. 8) wrote: "Other rabbinic sources, both Midrashic and Talmudic, also take this passage as Messianic."
These Jews turned out to be absolutely right. There was always some sort of ruler from the tribe of Judah until the Romans imposed on the Jews the half Arab, half Idumean Herod first as Tetrarch in 41 B. C. , then as King in 37 B.C. So Jacob had spoken truly. Had the Jews not been so unfaithful to God so many times, they might have had a glorious line of Davidic kings up to that point. But at least they did have some sort of ruler from Judah, albeit under foreign overlordship, all along. As a matter of fact, there was intense messianic expectation at the time of Christ, in which this prophecy no doubt played a large part.
Centuries more passed - again, we know not how many. A new Pharaoh had come to the throne of the Two Lands "who knew not Joseph" and all he had done for the land of Egypt. This king oppressed the Israelites, until finally by many dramatic miracles, God rescued them in the Exodus, whose date is still in the mists, perhaps in the 13th or the 15th century before Christ.
After many years of infidelity in the desert, the Israelites were close to the point of entering the Promised Land. They had defeated the Amorites by God's power. So Balak, king of Moab, in fear of them, sent messengers to a seer named Balaam, asking him to come and curse the Israelites. God however spoke to Balaam, and told him to bless them instead. Balak sent messengers the second time, and God permitted Balaam to go with them, but not to curse them. Balaam went, but God put an angel in his path. Balaam did not see the angel, but his ass did. Balaam then beat the ass three times, and God caused the ass to speak, and afterwards let Balaam see the angel. After more exchanges between the Lord and Balaam, Balaam blessed the Israelites, and in doing so said (Numbers 24:7) that their king would be higher than Agag, and his kingdom would be exalted. And Balaam added in vv. 15-17: "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nearby. A star shall come out from Jacob, and a scepter will come up out of Israel. It will crush the forehead of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth." Even the Targum Onkelos, which as we said is quite sparing in seeing Messianic implications in the OT prophecies, saw that this meant the Messiah: "A king shall come from Jacob, and will be anointed the Messiah of Israel."
Still more centuries passed, until the time of the great prophet Isaiah, who spoke in the last part of the 8th century before Christ. In 9:5-6 he speaks clearly of the coming King: "A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and the government will be on his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty-God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace". The Targum identifies this child as the Messiah. He is clearly king, with the government on His shoulder, and still more, since he is called Mighty-God. The New American Bible version of God-Hero is completely indefensible. Even modern Jewish translations do not do that (They, as we would expect, have other expedients to avoid calling the Messiah God). The Hebrew phrase, "el gibbor," occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament, and it always everywhere means only Mighty-God, never God-Hero. The Jews, as we might expect, would have immense difficulty in thinking the Messiah God. Modern Jews change the order of words so as to make it read, in the Targum: "His name has been called Messiah. . . by the Mighty God." However, Our Lady knew this prophecy, and instead of being stiff- necked, was full of grace, and so would readily see divinity in this passage.
Help in seeing divinity would come from several other Old Testament passages, such as Psalm 45:7-8: "Your throne, O God, is ever and ever. . . .God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of rejoicing." Even though some think the occasion for this Psalm was a royal marriage, the Targum calls it messianic. Samson Levey, whom we mentioned before, remarks that the Hebrew word for king, "melech," in verses 2, 6, 12, 15 and 16 is understood as God.
In Jeremiah 23:3 God Himself says : "I myself shall gather the remnant of my sheep from all the lands to which I have driven them." But soon in verse 5: "I will raise up for David a righteous branch. "Branch" is often taken by the Targums to indicate the Messiah. So the Targum here says "Righteous Messiah" instead of "branch". It could be taken to mean the Messiah will be God. Cf. also Jeremiah 30:11 where God says: For I am with you. . . to save you." The Targum calls this messianic, and Levey notes this and comments that "in v. 11 the apparent anthropomorphism of God being with Israel in the physical sense is softened by the use of the word Memra". But that word is of puzzling sense; at times it seems to mean God Himself. We compare also Ezekiel 34:11: "For thus says the Lord God: "Behold I, I will search out my sheep and seek them out." The Targum does not call this line messianic, but v. 23 has "I will set one shepherd over them, my servant David."
So from Isaiah 9:5-6, and the addition of the verses just cited, we gather the divinity of the King Messiah.
Isaiah 7:14 is most remarkable. In the version given by St. Matthew, under inspiration, it speaks of the virgin birth of Jesus. But there is a great puzzle. All scholars today admit that the child in 7:14 is the same as the King Messiah child of 9:5-6. Yet the Targum admits that 9;5-6 is messianic, but does not say that about 7:14. To compound the problem, Hillel, one of the greatest teachers of the time of Christ, did think 7: 14 messianic as we learn from the Talmud (cited by Neusner, "Messiah in Context," p. 173). Yet the Targum itself does not mark the line as messianic. Neusner, with admirable honesty, admits (p. 190) that later Jews, seeing Christians using the text, pulled back, and no longer wanted to say the line was messianic. To complicate matters further, Vatican II, in LG paragraph 56, indicates that we are not certain if the human authors of Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14 saw in those verses what the Church, with the fuller light of the Holy Spirit, sees today.
We could put it all together this way: Isaiah himself probably did not see 7:14 as predicting a virgin birth. (A sign over 700 years in the future would not be much of a sign to Achaz to who Isaiah spoke; yet the image of the child in 9:5-6 is much too grandiose to describe Hezekiah, son of Achaz. Hence Isaiah used Hebrew "almah," a young woman of marriageable age, who should be a virgin, instead of the more definite "betulah." However, the chief Author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, did intend more than Isaiah saw, and brought that out in the version by Isaiah, and in the words of LG paragraph 56. Sow e have a case of the multiple fulfillment of a prophecy, intended by the Holy Spirit.
"A king will come from the sons of Jesse, and the Messiah will be anointed from his children's children." Thus the Targum foretells the King Messiah, in commenting on Isaiah 11:1-3, which foretells a shoot coming from the stump of Jesse. . . . The spirit of the Lord was to rest on him, a spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and might, and of knowledge and the fear of the Lord."
There are two very remarkable things about this prophecy. First, a shoot is to come not from the tree, but from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. But Isaiah said that the line of Davidic kings was to be cut down. It did lose power from 586 BC until the time of Christ. That of course was not in sight in the day of Isaiah, who said that only a stump would be left, but from it would come the King Messiah. Not a few scholars today try to avoid the word stump, for it would mean too much supernatural vision for them. The Targum speaks of sons instead of a stump. The Hebrew word involved was "geza," a rare word. Yet the Targum sees the prophecy as referring to the Messiah.
Secondly , the Messiah is to have the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Granted, Isaiah may not of known there was a Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Yet we know and see the full meaning of this prophecy, for the Holy Spirit can have more in mind than the human authors see, as Vatican II indicates in LG paragraph 56, which saw earlier.
Two of the temptations to error seen in the Patristic age were the "logos sarx" and the logos anthropos" views. The latter spoke of the Divine Logos taking on a human person - a tendency which resulted in Nestorianism . The "logos sarx" school tended to say that the Logos did all the work that a human soul could have done so that in Christ there were just two elements, the Logos and Flesh. But the Church, guided by the same Holy Spirit, saw that Christ did indeed have a human soul, even a soul capable of suffering. The principle behind all this was well expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas (I. 19. 5. c) when he said that God, in His love of good order, likes to have one thing in place to serve as a reason for giving the second thing, even though the first thing does not, of course, move Him. So He wanted the humanity of Jesus to have not only a human soul, but fullest human complement. So it did have the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Gospel (Mt. 4:1) reports that the Spirit led Him into the desert, and that He (Lk 10:21) "rejoiced in the Holy Spirit." In Lk 4:18 He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me."
Centuries before Isaiah wrote, the Jews had serious problems with some prophecies. This came especially from the fact that Psalm 72, which the Targums and the Rabbis readily accepted as speaking of the Messiah, implied that the Messiah would reign forever. Of course then he would not suffer and die. Yet Isaiah in chapter 53, did predict terrible suffering and death. The Jews knew that chapter 53 was messianic, and the Targum so identified it. Hence a great difficulty. The result was that the Targum as we now have it strangely and completely distorts Isaiah 53. Instead of a meek lamb led to the slaughter, the Messiah is an arrogant conqueror. It is quite possible that this distortion came from the time of the second Jewish revolt against Rome, 132-35, when many of them thought Bar Kokhba was the Messiah and would defeat the Romans. Incidentally, the name Bar Kokhba means "son of the Star" an allusion to the prophecy of Numbers 24, and was given to him since many thought he was the one foretold in Numbers.
Although the Targums do not mark them as messianic, some other Old Testament passages refer to the sufferings of the Messiah. Psalm 22 is most dramatic, and we know it refers to Jesus since He Himself on the cross recited part of it. It also said (as the versions have it - the Hebrew is garbled), "They have pierced my hands and my feet, " and "upon my garments they cast lots." Jesus also identified Zechariah 13: 7 as referring to Himself when He quoted "strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed." Shortly before that in chapter 12: 10 God Himself was speaking: "I will pour out a spirit of compassion and prayer on the house of David. . . so that when they look on me whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child." These words are most remarkable. We underlined me and him. God is surely the speaker in me, while him refers to the suffering Messiah. So the Messiah is God --most versions fear to translate these pronouns as they are in the original. But it is important to do so. We are certain this passage is messianic from the fact that Revelation 1:7 quotes it as referring to the one whom they have pierced, who is coming on the clouds, " as He predicted just before His death (Mt. 26:64). The words about coming on the clouds also come from Daniel 7:13, and identify Him as the Son of Man. Yet another passage of Zechariah, 9:9, on His Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem, is quoted by the Gospel (Mt 21:5) as messianic. Mk 11:2 and Lk 19:30 that no one had ridden on the colt before. Numbers 19:2 and Dt. 21.3 specify that the red heifer for sacrifice should never have been under the yoke.
The Jews, as we said, had trouble with Isaiah 53 speaking of the death of the Messiah. They seem not to have been sharp enough to pickup the implication of his resurrection and eternal reign in Isaiah 53:10: "When you make his life a sin offering, he will see his descendants, and will prolong his days."
There is something very remarkable about the prophecy of Micah 5:1: "You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are little to be among the clans of Judah; from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from the days of eternity." Similarly the Targum says "Whose name was spoken from days of old, from the days of eternity." While it is not entirely clear, yet both of these could imply the eternal pre-existence of the King Messiah.
Finally, were turn back to Psalm 72, which as we said, was acknowledged to be about the King Messiah. It prays that the Messiah "may live as long as the sun lasts, as long as the moon. . . . Righteousness will flourish in his days. . . May he have rule from sea to sea." Isaiah 53:10, as we just saw, would agree.
If now we look back on the texts we have seen we can see something very special. Even earlier than these texts there is Genesis 3:15 which God addressed to the serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, you will strike at his heel." Three out of four Targums see this line as Messianic. They take it as speaking of the enmity between the offspring of the woman and that of the serpent. When the sons of the woman observe the Torah, they will aim to strike the enemies on the head, but will begin to suffer defeat if they forsake them. The Targum Neofiti makes it singular, speaking of a son, instead of sons. For that son "there will be a remedy, but for you, serpent, there will be no remedy. They will make peace in the future in the days of King Messiah."
The allegory injected clouds the picture somewhat. Yet we can see that this text does speak of a destiny for those who observe the Torah - the sons of Israel, and of a victory, even though the same Hebrew verb, "shuf" is use for both parties. When we recall that history was moving in a straight line for a goal, in Hebrew thought, in contrast to the cyclic picture among so many pagans, then we see that this prophecy is really messianic, Further, Vatican II said that the Church now sees more: "These primeval documents [ Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14] as they are read in the Church, and understood in the light of later and full revelation, gradually bring before us the figure of the woman the Mother of the Redeemer." In other words, even though we cannot be sure the human writer of Genesis saw as much as the Church now sees, yet the Church does see what the Chief Author, the Holy Spirit, intended here.
This destiny would be made stronger and clearer with the promise to King David of an eternal posterity which we find in Psalm 72 and 2 Sam 7:8-17. Further precisions would come from Isaiah and Micah and from other Old Testament texts.
When the last kings of Judah and Israel turned out to be so bad, and further, when the line of David failed in 586, and was not restored to the throne it would be natural for the people to look to the future for an ideal king, who would inherit the things promised to David, but not yet fulfilled. And so it was not strange that shortly before the birth of the King Messiah, there was intense messianic expectation in Israel, made all the keener by seeing a ruler fail from the line of Judah for the first time since the death of ancient Jacob, when Herod became Tetrarch in 41 BC and King in 37 BC.
The announcement by Heaven of the arrival of the King Messiah came when the Archangel told Our Lady that her son would reign over the house of Jacob forever. Not just one who was full of grace, but even an ordinary Jew could not help but grasp that this meant the long awaited king. For only the Messiah was to reign forever, to b e the one in whom the prophecy to David of an eternal dynasty would come true.
A soon as she heard thee words, all the ancient prophecies abut the King Messiah would begin to flood into her mind, so that if not at that very hour, at least in pondering in her heart she would understand the truth about her coming Son. The prophecy of Isaiah 7: 14 about the virgin birth was perhaps not fully clear to Isaiah himself, as we saw. But when she found it being fulfilled within her, there was no possible doubt, no obscurity at all.
But this was not a joyful mystery without alloy: there was also the terrible prophecy of Isaiah 53, supplemented by that of Zechariah 12:10 and of Psalm 22.
There was also a tremendous strain on her faith. For it had been hammered into the Jews relentlessly that "our God is one". Yet she must have seen at last somewhat that He was to be God Himself, from Isaiah 9:5-6 which spoke of Him as God the mighty, supplemented by Psalm 45 and Jeremiah 23: 5 and 38:11. We today are so used to the formula that speaks of Three Persons, One God that even though we still do not really understand, yet it causes no stress within us. But to her this thought, must b beginning to burst upon her and the world, must have had a tremendous impact: Her Son was God, yet there is only one God! She could only accept in faith, in a faith that would hold on in the dark to what was beyond even the comprehension of one full of grace.
So to say her fiat, be it done to me according to your word, as freighted with a staggering content. She knew what she was agreeing to accept, to be the mother of the Man of Sorrows, who incredibly was yet divine. Yet in a bold courage sustained by her fullness of grace, she did accept, while only beginning to fathom how much it was to cost her. It was the same Holy Spirit who was to overshadow her -- using the word for the Divine Presence filling the ancient tabernacle - in the desert who made her full of grace, capable of both understanding and enduring, the Spirit who would come upon her Son as Isaiah 11 had foretold.
A such a juncture an ordinary soul would have reasoned thus: My people now for centuries have been waiting eagerly for the coming of the King. He is now here, even within me. Should I not share this joy with them, and especially should I not tell the authorities in Jerusalem, and most certainly Joseph my husband, who will not be able to do other than have the darkest suspicions about me very soon. But the Gospels show she did none of these things. Even Joseph - The Father had to send a special angel to let him in on the mystery which his spouse in her lowliness would not reveal even to him to avoid being thought a great sinner!
What was it to be to be for nine months a living throne, a tabernacle! If many Saints have been given the grace to perceive His presence in the golden tabernacles of the world, would one full of grace not be able to perceive all the more? Even Elizabeth, with a lesser grace, would hail her as the Mother of my Lord.
Some months after His birth, the Magi, probably of royal character, came to offer Him the gifts suited for a king: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Yet after that the King would, like his Mother, be silent about His nature, and his kingship. Rather, He chose to use a very gradual revelation of who He was. Had He said on the first day of His public life: "I and the Father are One", or, "Before Abraham came to be, I AM", they would have stoned him on the spot. So He chose a gradual revelation.
One fascinating feature of this gradual revelation was His use of the title, "Son of Man." The question is asked whether or not this expression, "bar (e) nasha" in Aramaic might mean merely "I, or "someone like me" . But this is quite uncertain. Be that as it may, there was something else. In chapter 7 of Daniel the prophet, we see one like a son of man coming on the clouds of the sky. He is presented to the Ancient One, and receives an everlasting dominion and kingship." Commentators today debate about what this passage meant. So no wonder the original hearers might have difficulty. One prominent theory says that the whole people was to receive everlasting dominion. But this is not possible - first, Jewish thought never pictured a headless kingdom; second, the Jewish people never did and never will have an everlasting dominion. But the King Messiah - yes. He was to reign over the house of Jacob forever, as the angel said.
When He first began to teach the crowds, if we follow the time sequence of St. Mark, He seems to have taught rather clearly. But then the scribes charged He was casting out the devil by the devil. After that, He turned to parables. The three Synoptics, in somewhat varied forms, cited Isaiah here saying that He did that so that "seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand". Now of course He did not mean to blind them. Otherwise why would He have wept over Jerusalem which refused to accept the day of its visitation?
No this teaching in parables was a remarkable divine device. If we think of someone who is sinful, and become more so -- his ability to see gets less and less. This is both justice, for his sinfulness deserves to lose the light, and mercy, for the more clearly one understands at the time of sinning, the greater is his responsibility. So this one action exercises both mercy and justice - which within God are identified - and, as we could begin to see here, are identified in the providential treatment of those who sin more and more. There is as it were a spiral that feeds on itself, getting greater as it goes out. But there is also a spiral in the good direction, in which a soul that lives strenuously according to the divine truths, gains more and more light. This is in a way justice, for it is a reward. Yet, more basically, it is mercy, for no soul by its own power can generate a claim on God. So again, in one and the same action, we see both mercy and justice.
His gradual self - revelation was much like that. Some would come to understand more and more, while others would become more and more hardened.
As a result of His self - effacement before His public life, His own townspeople were scandalized at His miracles and His wisdom: "Where did He get all this?" They were on the unfortunate spiral.
Therefore, on some occasions, when a crowd was enthusiastic about a miracle, "Jesus, knowing that they would seize Him and make Him king, fled to the mountain, Himself alone (John 6:14)." This verse comes right after the multiplication of the loaves. Really, the same thing substantially, even if not always in similar wording, happened many times. For He often, after working a great miracle told the people not to tell anyone. The reason is that so many held a false notion of what the King Messiah was to be; they expected a great temporal conqueror. But He did not come to exercise earthly power. And hence to avoid them, He fled to the mountain alone.
It was not only that, as St. Paul says (Phil 2:7) that He had emptied Himself, i.e., had been obeying the policy of the Father that He should not use His power for Himself, but only for others. No, He did not want to be a temporal ruler, even though, as God, He had every right to rule over all. This emptying was to come to an end with His resurrection. But even though in Mt 28:18 He said to His Apostles "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth yet He still did not intend to exercise temporal rule. He wanted a spiritual reign, to rule over hearts. And so His vicar, the much maligned Pope Boniface VIII who declared in "Unam sanctam" that, "to be subject to the Roman pontiff is altogether necessary for salvation", still explained carefully in a Consistory of June 24, 1302 (Cf. introduction to DS 807) that he had no thought of taking over the temporal power of the king. For, he said, "there are two powers ordained by God, " the temporal power and the spiritual power. So he was simply reaffirming that there is no salvation that doesn't come from the Church of Christ.
Jesus Himself, who in His divinity was and is the Creator of all, has the most absolute power over all, in every sphere, both temporal and spiritual. Yet it is His will and the will of the Father that He not take over earthly rule. This He Himself affirmed to the question of Pilate who asked if He was a king.
Yet we must note that Boniface VIII did assert that for salvation, all must be subject to the Pope. This, we said, is in the spiritual realm, not the temporal. But it does include this spiritual fact, that the Church has been given by Him who has all power in heaven and on earth, the right and the duty to proclaim what is the will of God in moral matters. so a state that by civil power promotes immorality is grossly failing, and the so-called Catholic politicians who vote such a way are turning inside out the words of the Apostles who in response to the order of the Jewish court not to preach Jesus said: "We must obey God rather than men." But many politicians say: I must obey men rather than God!. And, tragically, so many Catholics vote for them, in the hope of an economic advantage, caring nothing at all for most basic morality, again reversing St. Paul who told the Romans (12:2) "Be not conformed to this world."
On another wing, sadly, there are high churchmen today who insist Christ's Church has erred in marking out carefully the extent of the power and obligations of the state. They say that the promises of Christ could so far fail that a General Council, could contradict the truth. They plead that Vatican II was not speaking infallibly on religious liberty - but no matter, for a General Council, on any level at all of teaching, to contradict infallible teaching would mean there is nothing left to the promises of Christ. We spoke of contradicting infallible teachings, for if something is taught repeatedly on the nondefined level, it is to be considered as infallible. Such is the teaching of Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and Leo XII which the schismatics say the Council contradicted.
Pius IX had said that the state should suppress some things whose suppression is not mandated by mere public order. Vatican II, in spite of blind schismatics who refuse to believe the promises of Christ, taught the same, even going so far as to say (DH paragraph 7) that the state must, in addition to protecting the public order, must also exercise, "due custody for public morality". And the state must also take care lest other churches indulge in "improper persuasion aimed at the less intelligent or the poor (DH paragraph 4)".
In condemning the doctrine of Leonard Feeney, the Holy Office pointed out that just as we should avoid private interpretation of Scripture, similarly we should avoid private interpretation of the documents of the Church (DS 3866).
It is tragic to behold these people who think themselves more Catholic than the Church, who think only they, a small remnant, have kept the faith, while Christ's Church no longer knows it. The Cure of Ars, when his Bishop offered him a large parish, but one in which there were many hardened Jansenists, asked to be excused, saying that it is easier to convert pagans than Jansenists. The Cure was right, very right. Sadly, today it is harder to convert those who no longer believe the Church, while claiming to be the only real Catholics, than it would be to convert pagans. They insist the Mass is invalid, or even a great sacrilege, that God damns millions upon millions without ever giving them a chance - which makes Him not a God but a monster, and that Vatican II has taught false doctrine.
The great Pius XII in his "Ci riesce" remarked: "Can it be that in definite circumstances, He [God] does not give to any man the mandate, does not impose the obligation, does not, finally, give any right to impede or to repress that which is erroneous or false? A look at reality give an affirmative answer." The Pope went on to appeal to the parable of the wheat and the cockle. In it the servants wanted to pull up the weeds at once. The master told them to wait for the harvest, lest in pulling up the weeds, they might pull up the good crop too.
Pius XI, in his great Encyclical on the Kingship of Christ, told us: "When He was on earth, He completely abstained from exercising this power, and, just as He once disdained the possession and management of human affairs, so both then and today He leaves these to those who hold it [the power]. Hence there is that fine saying, 'He does not take away mortal rules, who gives heavenly rules.' (DS 3679)"
His true power, as we said, is exercised by His love, of which Pius XII wrote so splendidly in His Encyclical on the Sacred Heart. For Christ has, as the Pope explained, a triple love - that love which He has as a Divine Person - and also the love for us found in the attitude of His human will which wills good to us - and even in the love of feeling which He had and has in His humanity.
When we turn to the Queenship of Our Lady, the teaching of the Church is very clear, especially in the "Bendito seia," of Pius XII, Radiomessage to Fátima, May 13, 1946, AAS 38. 266: "Jesus is king of the Eternal Ages by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular choice [of the Father]."
Can we find the same teaching in Scripture? Definitely yes. We begin by noting that out of the four titles for Queenship given by Pius XII, two are the most essential, namely, divine relationship, and by right of conquest.
The first is obvious: she is Queen because she is the Mother of the Creator, for her Son, as divine, is the Creator. So that is divine relationship.
The second title is, "by right of conquest." This means cooperation in the redemption and, further, since the Pope gave a triple expression to her subordination to and dependence on Him, we should not expect that any other limitation is left understood. So it means that, under Him, she shared in redeeming us.
Already Genesis 3:15, as we saw, was messianic, and so she was contained in it as the Mother of the Messiah - who was thought of as King. But that text of Genesis in the light of the Targums, also speaks of a victory over the serpent. This really implied cooperation in the redemption. Since the Church understands that she was contained in the text, and since Pius XII in "Fulgens corona," of Sept. 8, 1953 explicitly says that this text is the foundation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception - if the Church can see this, she, full of grace, saw it too, and hence since the Church sees Immaculate Conception in it, she must have seen it too. So she must have known that she was the woman who would share in the victory.
We could examine other messianic prophecies, and see her at least implied in many, but we wish to go ahead to clarify her cooperation in the redemption, even on Calvary.
Now Jeremiah 31.31 ff foretold a New Covenant. In the old covenant, there were two features: it brought into being a people of God, and they were to get favor on condition of obedience. Probably Jeremiah did not fully see the implication, but now with hindsight we can see: the obedience was to be that of Christ, the King-Messiah, in the New Covenant.
Further, Vatican II in LG paragraph 61 told us that her cooperation in the redemption, and hence in the New Covenant, was found essentially in her obedience: "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." So obedience was the essential feature of her cooperation. Vatican II expressed that fact twice earlier in LG paragraph 56, where we read that, "by being obedient, she became a cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race, " and right after that, in the context of the words of St. Irenaeus comparing all sin to a complex knot, LG paragraph 56 added, "thus then, the knot of the disobedience of Eve was untied through the obedience of Mary." In LG paragraph 3 we learn that, "by His obedience, He brought about redemption."
The reason for these words is clear: if we look on the redemption as the making of a new covenant, the covenant condition was obedience, first of all, His obedience, but also hers in dependence on Him, but joined to Him. If we look on the redemption as a sacrifice, which it surely was, the thing that gave His death its value was obedience to the Father. Had His death been done without obedience, it would have been just a tragedy, not a redemption.
But the Council said three times, she cooperated by obedience.
These words of the Council rest on Scripture. He, on entering into the world said, as Hebrews 10:5-7 said: "On entering into the world, He said: Behold, I come to do your will O God." He, still in her womb, spoke thus at the first instant of the Incarnation - He could do this since as the Church teaches, His human soul from the first instant saw the vision of God, in which He knew in horrid detail all He was to suffer. Hence He also said later: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me (Jn 4:34)." But at the same time as He pledged His obedience, she said the same too: "Be it done to me according to your word. That fiat of hers was never retracted. Rather, it continued all through His and her lives, and reached its culmination on Calvary. LG paragraph 58 speaks of her as consenting to His immolation." This was merely the further outworking of her "fiat." That "fiat" was given in view of her clear knowledge that He was the King-Messiah. For as soon as Gabriel said He would rule over the house of David forever, not just one full of grace, but even the most ordinary Jew would understand the King-messiah was meant. She did it further in the knowledge, gained at least in pondering in her heart, of His suffering, from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.
To put it another way: in any soul, all spiritual perfection consists in the alignment of its will with the will of the Father. And, when one knows what the Father positively wills, it is not enough to merely remain passive, to say as it were: Let it go. No, it calls for positively willing what the Father wills. Now of course, she knew all too well - He had announced His coming death many times, and she had heard it foretold, as we said, in Isaiah 53, supplemented by Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:10 that He had to suffer, according to the will of the Father. Therefore, to be in accord with the will of the Father at that point, she was required to positively will that He die, die then, die so horribly. And that union of will, that obedience was precisely her cooperation in the redemption, or the covenant condition, as LG paragraph 56 and 61 tell us. So by this pondering in our hearts, we see that Scripture does indeed tell us of her cooperation on Calvary by her obedience.
At what a cost! She not only had to positively will His painful death, but had to do this in spite of her love for Him, which, without any rhetoric, we must say was beyond our comprehension. For Pius IX in "Ineffabilis Deus," said that even at the start of her life, her holiness -- which amounts to her love of God -- was so great that, "None greater under God can be thought of, and only God can comprehend it." A fabulous thought! Not even the highest Cherubim and Seraphim, with their magnificent intellects, can understand her love. Only God Himself can comprehend it. Of course, He could have made a creature capable of that, but as Pius IX tells us, as a matter of fact He had not done that. So her love was then, strictly beyond our comprehension - and yet her obedient willing of His death was directly counter to it! Then the cost of her cooperation on Calvary was, strictly, beyond human comprehension.
So Scripture, with the help of a bit of reflection, does teach us that she has the title of Queen not only as Mother of the Creator, but also by right of conquest.
To return then to the teaching of Pius XII. She is Queen on chiefly two principal titles: divine relationship. Yes, she is the Mother of the Creator, inasmuch as her son, as God, is the Creator. She is Queen by right of conquest. We saw her association with Him also from Scripture. And just as He is to King for all eternity, since "all power in heaven and on earth" was given to Him, so her royal power, in union with Him, is to last forever. Her union with her King is unending, eternal. So we conclude: Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, our hope!
Awaiting the arrival of the Jack Chick followers to tell us about Mary.
[Saint Louis de Montfort gave his communities a beautiful morning prayer, called the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He encourages everyone to pray it every day. This is a later revision of the prayer. Perhaps you'll like it. Does everyone agree with Saint Louis de Montfort's statement that on Christmas night, "The Eternal is one day old"? I used that expression in class today and all the students found it incredible, wrong, a contradiction. --Fr. Pat Gaffney]
Here's the Little Crown:
The Little Crown Of The Blessed Virgin Mary of Saint Louis de Montfort
Saint John was privileged to behold a marvelous sign in the heavens: "A Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Rev 12:1). In this mysterious vision, the Church sees the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and the model of the Church. The twelve stars typify not only the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles but also Our Lady's virtues and privileges. This gave rise to the prayer, The Triple Crown of Twelve Stars composed, as Saint Louis de Montfort says, "of three Our Fathers and twelve Hail Marys in honor of the twelve glorious privileges of Mary!" Many saints promoted this prayer, including St. Joseph Calasanctius, Saint Andrew Avellino, Saint John Berchmans.
Louis de Montfort, like some other saints, embellished the Little Crown by adding to the Hail Marys traditional invocations in praise of Our Lady's excellence, her power and her goodness, ending each invocation with the joyful strain, Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! Rejoice forever and ever! The final prayer is very likely a beautiful ancient praise of Mary which Saint Louis de Montfort edited and adapted in his own fashion.
"If it is not too inconvenient," writes Saint Louis, "they [i.e., those who have made the consecration] should recite every day of their lives the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin." The saint esteemed the Little Crown so highly that he gave it as a morning prayer for both the religious communities he founded, the Daughters of Wisdom and the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (Montfort Missionaries). The following version has been arranged for both private and community prayer.
Leader: Virgin most holy, accept our praise
All: Give us strength to serve your son.
[I. Crown of Excellence]
Our Father Hail Mary
L: You are indeed blessed, Virgin Mary, for you carried in your womb the creator of the universe. A. You gave birth to the one who made you, while ever remaining a virgin.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Virgin holy and immaculate, no tongue can praise you worthily, A: For you bore within you the God whom the very heavens cannot enclose.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: You are all beautiful, O Mary, A: And free from every stain of sin.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: The gifts bestowed on you, Virgin Mary, A: Outnumber the stars of heaven.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
Glory to the Father
[II: Crown of Power]
Our Father Hail Mary
L: Queen of the whole world, we praise you. A: Lead us to the joys of heaven.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Treasury of all God's graces, we praise you. A: Grant us a share in your heavenly gifts.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Intercessor between God and humankind, we praise you. A: Through your prayer may the Almighty be favorable to us.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Victor over heresies and all that is evil, we praise you. A: Guide us lovingly in the ways of truth.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
Glory to the Father
[III. Crown of Goodness]
Our Father Hail Mary
L: Refuge of sinners, we praise you. A: Reconcile us with Almighty God.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Mother of orphans, we praise you. A: Make us beloved children of our Father.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Joy of those who serve the Lord, we praise you. A: Lead us with you to the happiness of heaven.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
L: Advocate ever near us in life and in death, we praise you. A: Lead us with you to the kingdom of God.
L: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! A: Rejoice a thousand times!
Glory to the Father
ALL: Hail Mary, Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Temple of the Blessed Trinity.
Hail Mary, our wealth, our joy, Queen of our hearts, our Mother and our life, our consolation, our dearest hope, our very heart and soul.
We entrust ourselves entirely to you, all that we possess is yours, Virgin blessed above all.
May your soul be in us to glorify God; may your spirit be in us to rejoice in God.
Virgin most faithful, set your seal upon our hearts, so that in you and through you we may be found faithful to God.
Grant, gracious Mother, that we may be numbered among those whom you love and instruct, whom you guide, cherish and protect as your children.
O Queen of heaven, we renounce from this moment anything in us that does not belong to you.
O daughter of the King of kings, whose principal glory is within, do not allow us to be distracted by things that are visible and transitory; grant rather that through God's abundant grace, we may always be intent on the Life within us, where we may find in GOD ALONE our delight, our wealth, our honor, our glory, our rest.
Thus, through your loving care, the Holy Spirit, your faithful Spouse, will perfectly form in our hearts your beloved Son, Jesus the Christ, for the greater glory of God our Father, forever and ever! Amen.
by Catherine Fournier
Mary was assumed into Heaven by Jesus and the angels. That means she was carried. Jesus ascended into Heaven, which is a different word, He went up to Heaven by His own power. Mary doesn't have that kind of power, so Jesus carried her.
After she was assumed into Heaven, Jesus took His Mother to a throne next to His own. Since he is King and Lord of all, then as His Mother, she was to become Queen. Jesus, God our Father and the Holy Spirit placed a beautiful crown of twelve stars on her head. All the angels and saints sang wonderful songs praising her as their Queen.
Mary bowed to the Most Holy trinity, and again sang her prayer of praise, the Magnificat.
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the might from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."
The Blessed Virgin Mary now shares in the glory of her resurrected Son, because she had a part in His work of saving souls. She was His Mother, she carried Him in her womb, gave Him birth, raised Him through childhood and into adulthood and stayed with Him when He was on the Cross. She is Queen to all of us.
She obtains all graces for us through her prayers. As our mother and as Jesus's Mother, she will always interceed for us to her Son, and lead us closer to Him. So we should pray to her in all our needs, and everyday.
The coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven fulfilled more than her own prophecy that "all generations will call me blessed." As mother to Jesus, Our Savior and Redeemer, she crushed the power of sin, death and lies.
Her ancestor Judith's actions anticipated hers, so the words spoken to Judith were also a prophecy of what Mary would do; "Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow to the head of the chief of our enemies. Your deed of hope will never be forgotten by those who tell of the might of God. May God make this for your everlasting honour, rewarding you with blessings, because you risked your life when your people were being oppressed, and you averted disaster, walking uprightly before our God."
On another level, it prophecises yet another triumph of Mary's yet to come. At the end of the world, in the final battle, Mary, crowned with twelve stars, will crush the head of the serpeant beneath her feet. She will defeat the Enemy with humility, love and Truth, by the power of God, against which nothing can stand.
Four years after he declared the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Pope Pius Xii, in an encyclical letter Ad Caeli Reginam, decreed and instituted the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be celebrated. He formalized the Church's tradition from the earliest centuries of Mary's Queenship in Heaven. This belief rested on both Holy Scripture and tradition.
How can this be? If Jesus is our Lord and King, then surely His mother is our Queen. Mary is Queen of all "since she brought forth a Son, Who at the very moment that He was conceived, was, by reason of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, even as man, King and Lord of all things." In addition, "as Christ is our Lord and King by a special title because He redeemed us, so the Blessed Virgin is our Lady and Queen because of the unique way in which she has cooperated toward our redemption by giving of her own substance, by offering Him willingly for us, and by desiring, praying for, and bringing about our salvation in a singular manner."
By first carrying her to Heaven, then crowning her in the sight of all the angels and saints, God richly rewarded his most faithful of servants. Her own prophecy is fulfilled. "Truly All people shall call me blessed, for The Lord has done great things for me."
God, You have given us the Mother of Your Son to be our Mother and Queen. Through her intercession, grant that we may attain the glory destined for Your adopted sons in Your Heavenly kingdom. Amen.
by Fr. William G. Most
The beginning of the concept that Mary is a Queen is found in the annunciation narrative. For the angel tells her that her Son will be King over the house of Jacob forever. So she, His Mother, would be a Queen.
The Fathers of the Church soon picked up these implications. A text probably coming from Origen (died c. 254: cf. Marian Studies 4, 1953, 87) gives her the title domina, the feminine form of Latin dominus, Lord. That same title also appears in many other early writers, e.g. , St. Ephrem, St. Jerome, St. Peter Chrysologus (cf. Marian Studies 4. 87-91). The word "Queen" appears abut the sixth century, and is common thereafter (Marian Studies, 4, 91-94).
The titles "king" and "queen" are often used loosely, for those beings that excel in some way. Thus we call the lion the king of beasts, the rose the queen of flowers. Surely Our Lady deserves the title richly for such reasons. But there is much more.
Some inadequate reasons have been suggested: She is the daughter of David. But not every child of a king becomes a king or queen. Others have pointed out that she was free from original sin. Then, since Adam and Eve had a dominion over all things (Genesis 1. 26) she should have similar dominion. But the problem is that the royalty of Adam and Eve was largely metaphorical.
The solidly theological reasons for her title of Queen are expressed splendidly by Pius XII, in his Radiomessage to Fatima, Bendito seja (AAS 38. 266): "He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the unspeakable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion."
We notice that there are two titles for the kingship of Christ: divine nature, and "right of conquest", i.e., the Redemption. She is Queen "through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him." The qualifications are obvious, and need no explanation. Her Queenship is basically a sharing in the royalty of her Son. We do not think of two powers, one infinite, the other finite. No, she and her Son are inseparable, and operate as a unit.
Of the four titles Pius XII gave for her Queenship, we notice that two are closely parallel to those of Jesus:
(1) He is king by nature, as God; she is Queen by "divine relationship" that is, by being the Mother of God. In fact her relation to her Son is greater than that of ordinary Mothers of Kings. For she is the Mother of Him who is King by very nature, from all eternity, and the relationship is exclusive, for He had no human father. Still further, the ordinary queen-mother gives birth to a child who later will become king. The son of Mary is, as we said, eternally king, by His very nature. (2) He is king by right of conquest. She too is Queen by right of conquest. We already saw that this title for Him means that He redeemed us from the captivity of satan. She shared in the struggle and victory. Since the Pope expressed her dependence on Him in a threefold way--something we would have known anyway--then it is clear that he did not have in mind any other restriction which he did not express. So, maintaining this subordination, "by right of conquest" means the same for her as it does for Him.
The other two titles: (3) She is Queen by grace. She is full of grace, the highest in the category of grace besides her Son. (4) She is Queen by singular choice of the Father. A mere human can become King or Queen by choice of the people. How much greater a title is the choice of the Father Himself!
Pius XII added that "nothing is excluded from her dominion." As Mediatrix of all graces, who shared in earning all graces, she is, as Benedict XV said, "Suppliant omnipotence": she, united with her Son, can obtain by her intercession anything that the all-powerful God can do by His own inherent power.
In the Old Testament, under some Davidic kings, the gebirah, the "Great Lady", usually the Mother of the King, held great power as advocate with the king. Cf. 1 Kings 2:20, where Solomon said to his Mother Bathsheba, seated on a throne at his right: "Make your request, Mother, for I will not refuse you." Here is a sort of type of Our Lady.
Excerpted and adapted from Theology 523: Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion, by Father William G. Most.
Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1996. All rights reserved
MOTHER OF GOD
The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 declared Mary the Mother of God (Greek, Theotokos) in order to safeguard the divinity of Christ, which was being attacked by the Nestorians, a heretical group which had recently arisen. Since Christ was God in the flesh (Col 2:9, Jn 1:1,14), Mary is the Mother of God the Son. Both Luther and Calvin (along with all the major Protestant Founders) agreed. But she is a creature, like us, and is not worshiped in Catholicism as a sort of goddess. She is venerated due to the unfathomable honor of having been chosen to bear and raise the incarnate God.
MARY'S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Catholics believe that God saved Mary in a special way, preventing her from sin, because of her extraordinary role and proximity to God the Son and Holy Spirit (Lk 1:35). An angel called Mary highly favored or full of grace in Lk 1:28. The Greek word, kecharitomene, means "completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace." On this and other grounds, Catholics hold that she was free of sin from conception and throughout her life. Even Luther agreed! The medieval theologians constructed an interesting word-picture to illustrate how Mary was just as saved as we are (Lk 1:47), yet in a different sense. Imagine a pit in a forest path, representing the quagmire of sin. All of us are in that pit, wallowing in the mud. But God will pull us out of it and redeem us, provided we are willing. With Mary, God did something different. He never allowed her (unlike us) to fall into this pit. But in both cases, whether through prevention or rescue, it is equally true that it is God alone who saves. Mary is everything she is due to the unmerited, free grace of God, not because of some intrinsic superiority, regarded as originating separately from God.
ARK, TEMPLE, TABERNACLE, AND MARY
The closer one is to God, the holier one must be (e.g., Ex 3:5, Deut 23:14). God's presence imparts holiness (1 Cor 3:13-17, 1 Jn 3:3-9). The Jewish high priest entered the "Holy of holies" in the Tabernacle or Temple only once a year, under pain of death (Lev 16:2-4,13). The Ark of the Covenant was so holy only a few could touch it (Num 4:15, 2 Sam 6:2-7). Scripture compares Mary to the Ark (Lk 1:35 & Ex 40:34-8 / Lk 1:44 & 2 Sam 6:14-16 / Lk 1:43 & 2 Sam 6:9). If mere inanimate objects can be so "holy" due to proximity with God, how much more so Mary, who bore God? Protestants often have difficulty with this conception because of their faulty view of mere external, "legal" justification, which doesn't necessarily lead to actual, objective holiness.
The Assumption is not an arbitrary presumption. It follows from Mary's sinlessness. Since bodily decay results from sin (Ps 16:10, Gen 3:19), the absence of sin allows for instant bodily resurrection at death (i.e., the Assumption). Mary shared (in a secondary, derivative fashion) in her Son's victory over sin, death, and the devil (Heb 2:14-15), as foretold in Gen 3:15. She was the "firstfruits" of Christ's work on our behalf, which will eventually put an end to death and result in all saints having glorious, incorruptible bodies. It was proper and appropriate for Mary - since she was the mother of God the Son - to "prefigure" the redeemed world to come by means of both her Immaculate Conception and Assumption. Scripture speaks of occurrences similar to the Assumption: Enoch (Gen 5:24; cf. Heb 11:5), Elijah (2 Ki 2:11), St. Paul (2 Cor 12:2,4), the so-called "Rapture" (1 Thess 4:15-17), risen saints after Jesus' Crucifixion (Mt 27:52-3). It is illogical and unacceptably dogmatic to assert that an event couldn't have happened because it was not recounted in Scripture. This would be as foolish as saying that Jesus couldn't have done any miracles other than those we find in the Bible (see Jn 20:30, 21:25). If the Assumption is not that radically different from many other occurrences in Scripture, flows from the interrelated theological notions explicitly found there, and is supported by the testimony of early Christian Tradition, it is neither "idolatrous" nor "unbiblical" to believe in it.
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
All the Protestant Founders (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc.) firmly believed in Mary's Perpetual Virginity, but some Protestants since have claimed that Jesus had siblings. The Greek word for "brother," adelphos, can and does mean many things in Scripture: nationality (Acts 3:17,22), neighbor (Mt 7:3, 23:8), even all mankind (Mt 25:40). Several other biblical arguments exist also. No one sought to deny this Tradition until the late 4th century, when one Helvidius unsuccessfully tangled with St. Jerome.
MARY OUR SPIRITUAL MOTHER AND INTERCESSOR
The idea of Mary as the Mother of believers is derived most directly from Jn 19:26-7, where Jesus tells St. John from the cross to "behold thy mother." Mary is also Mother and symbol of the Church in Rev 12:1,5,17. Catholics believe that they greatly benefit from Mary's intercession because of her sinlessness (Jas 5:16). Since Mary is incomparably more alive and holy than we are, to ask for her prayers (Rev 5:8, 6:9-10) is good biblically-based "spiritual sense."
You and me too! How many posts before they arrive?
Blessed Virgin Mary
Born: unknown; celebrated September 8
Died: assumed; celebrated August 15
Canonized: the day she was assumed
Feast Day: July 16
Also known as: Adam's Deliverance; Advocate of Eve; Advocate of Sinners; All Chaste; All Fair and Immaculate; All Good; Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin; Aqueduct of Grace; Archetype fo Purity and Innocence; Ark Gilded by the Holy Spirit; Ark of the Covenant Assumption of the Blessed Virgin; Basillica of Saint Mary Major; Blessed Among Women; Blessed Virgin Mary; Bridal Chamber of the Lord; Bride of Christ; Bride of Heaven; Bride of the Canticle; Bride of the Father; Bride Unbrided; Cause of Our Joy; Chosen Before the Ages; Comfort of Christians; Comforter of the Afflicted; Conceived Without Original Sin; Consoler of the Afflicated; Co-Redemptrix; Court of the Eternal King; Created Temple of the Creator; Crown of Virginity; Daughter of Men; David's Daughter; Deliverer From All Wrath; Deliverer of Christian Nations; Destroyer of Heresies; Dispenser of Grace; Dwelling Place for God; Dwelling Place Meet for God; Dwelling Place of the Illimitable; Dwelling Place of the Spirit; Earth Unsown; Earth Untouched and Virginal; Eastern Gate; Ever Green and Fruitful; Ever Virgin; Eve's Tears Redeeming; Exalted Above the Angels; Feast of the Immaculate Conception; Fleece of Heavenly Rain; Flower of Jesse's Root; Formed Without Sin; Forthbringer of God; Forthbringer of the Ancient of Days; Forthbringer of the Tree of Life; Fountain of Living Water; Fountain Sealed; Free From Every Stain; Full of Grace; Garden Enclosed; Gate of Heaven; God's Eden; God's Olive Tree; God's Vessel; Handmaid of the Lord; Healing Balm of Integrity; Health of the Sick; Helper of All in Danger; Holy in Soul and Body; Holy Mountain of Our Lady; Hope of Christians; House Built by Wisdom; House of Gold; Immaculate; Immaculate Conception; Immaculate Heart; Immaculate Heart of Mary; Immaculate Mary; Immaculate Mother; Immaculate Virgin; Incorruptible Wood of the Ark; Inventrix of Grace; Inviolate; Joseph's Spouse; Kingly Throne; King's Mother; Lady Most Chaste; Lady Most Venerable; Lady of Good Help; Lady of Grace; Lady of Mercy; Lady of Peace; Lady of Perpetual Help; Lady of the Rosary; Lady of Sorrows; Lady of Victory; Lamp Unquenchable; Life-Giver to Posterity; Light Cloud of Heavenly Rain; Lily Among Thorns; Living Temple of the Diety; Loom of the Incarnation; Madonna; Madonna of Saint Luke; Marketplace for Salutary Exchange; Mary of the Hurons; Mary the Blessed Virgin; Mary; Blessed Virgin; Mary; Help of Christians; Mary; Mother of God; Mary; Queen of Africa; Mary; Queen of Angels; Mary; Queen of Peace; Mary; Star of the Sea; Mediatrix; Mediatrix and Conciliatrix; Mediatrix of All Graces; Mediatrix of Salvation; Mediatrix of the Mediator; Minister of Life; Mirror of Justice; More Beautiful Than Beauty; More Glorious Than Paradise More Gracious Than Grace; More Holy Than the Cherubim, the Seraphim and the Entire Angelic Hosts; Morning Star; Most Venerable; Mother and Virgin; Mother Most Admirable; Mother Most Amiable; Mother Most Chaste; Mother Most Pure; Mother Inviolate; Mother of Christians; Mother of Christ's Members; Mother of Divine Grace; Mother of God; Mother of Good Counsel; Mother of Jesus Christ; Mother of Men; Mother of Our Creator; Mother of Our Head; Mother of Our Savior; Mother of the Church; Mother of the Mystical Body; Mother of Wisdom; Mother Undefiled; My Body's Healing; My Soul's Saving; Mystical Rose; Nativity of the Blessed Virgin; Nature's Re-Creation; Nature's Restoration; Neck of the Mystical Body; Never Fading Wood; New Eve; Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris; Notre Dame of Chartres; Notre Dame of Easton; Nourisher of God and Man; Olive Tree of the Father's Compassion; Only Bridge of God to Men; Our Immaculate Queen; Our Lady; Gate of Heaven; Our Lady; Help of Christians; Our Lady; Mother of the Church; Our Lady; Queen of All Saints; Our Lady; Queen of the Apostles; Our Lady in America; Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace; Our Lady of Africa; Our Lady of Altotting; Our Lady of Bandel; Our Lady of Bandra; Our Lady of Banneux; Our Lady of Baeuraing; Our Lady of Calvary; Our Lady of Charity; Our Lady of Consolation; Our Lady of Copacabana; Our Lady of Czestochowa; Our Lady of Europe; Our Lady of Fatima; Our Lady of Good Council; Our Lady of Good Help; Our Lady of Good Remedy; Our Lady of Grace; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Our Lady of Guadalupe of Estramadura; Our Lady of High Grace; Our Lady of Hungary; Our Lady of Japan; Our Lady of Kevelaer; Our Lady of Knock; Our Lady of La Leche; Our Lady of La Vang; Our Lady of Las Vegas; Our Lady of LaSallette; Our Lady of Limerick; Our Lady of Loreto; Our Lady of Lourdes; Our Lady of Lujan; Our Lady of Madhu; Our Lady of Mariazell; Our Lady of Medjugore; Our Lady of Mercy; Our Lady of Montserrat; Our Lady of Mount Carmel; Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Aylesford; Our Lady of Nazareth; Our Lady of Peace; Our Lady of Perpetual Help; Our Lady of Pompeii Our Lady of Pontmain; Our Lady of Prompt Succor; Our Lady of Providence; Our Lady of Ransom; Our Lady of Safe Travel; Our Lady of Salambao; Our Lady of Shongweni; Our Lady of Sorrows; Our Lady of Tears; Our Lady of Victory; Our Lady of Walsingham; Our Lady of the Americas; Our Lady of the Assumption; Our Lady of the Cape; Our Lady of the Gulf; Our Lady of the Hermits; Our Lady of the Highways; Our Lady of the Holy Rosary; Our Lady of the Holy Souls; Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception; Our Lady of the Incarnation; Our Lady of the Kodiak and the Islands; Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery; Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal; Our Lady of the Pillar of Saragossa; Our Lady of the Pines; Our Lady of the Prairie; Our Lady of the Presentation; Our Lady of the Rosary; Our Lady of the Scapular; Our Lady of the Snows; Our Lady of the Turumba; Our Lady of the Valley; Our Lady of the Wayside; Our Lady of the Woods; Our Lady Who Appeared; Our Own Sweet Mother; Paradise Fenced Against the Serpent; Paradise of Innocence and Immortality; Paradise of the Second Adam; Paradise Planted by God; Patroness and Protectoress; Perfume of Faith; Preserved From All Sin; Protectress From All Hurt; Queen of All Saints; Queen of Angels; Queen of Creation; Queen of Heaven; Queen of Heaven and Earth; Queen of Martyrs; Queen of Peace; Queen Unconquered; Refuge in Time of Danger; Refuge of Sinners; Reparatrix; Reparatrix of Her Parents; Reparatrix of the Lord World; Rich in Mercy Rose Ever Blooming; Sacred Heart of Mary; Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit; Scepter of Orthodoxy; Seat of Wisdom; Second Eve; Singular Vessel of Devotion; Sister and Mother; Source of Virginity; Spiritual Vessel; Spotless Dove of Beauty; Star of the Sea; Star That Bore the Sea; Suppliant for Sinners; Surpassing Eden's Gardens; Surpassing the Heavens; Surpassing the Seraphim; Sweet Flowering and Gracious Mercy; Tabernacle of God; Tabernacle of the Word; Temple Divine; Temple Indestructible; Temple of the Lord's Body; Theotokos; Throne of the King; Tower of David; Tower of Ivory; Tower Unassailable; Treasure House of Life Treasure of Immortality; Treasure of the World Undefiled; Undefiled Treasure of Virginity; Undug Well of Remission's Waters; Unlearned in the Ways of Eve; Unplowed Field of Heaven's Bread; Unwatered Vineyard of Immortality's Wine; Vessel of Honor; Victor Over the Serpent; Virgin Inviolate; Virgin Most Faithful; Virgin Most Merciful; Virgin Most Powerful; Virgin Most Prudent; Virgin Most Pure; Virgin Mother; Virgin of Charity; Virgin of Copacabana; Virgin of Virgins; Wedded to God; Woman Clothed With the Sun; and Workshop of the Incarnation.
I'm suprised they haven't wonked themelves over here yet :^)
If the "usual suspects" are online it will be momentarily. I got caught up in one of these debates a couple weeks ago and a huge one back in May. I just don't know if I have it in me to do another one this soon!
Maybe it's too long! LOL!
When Mary was destined to be the Mother of God, she was also destined to become the mediatress between God and sinners. Hence the angelic St. Thomas says that Mary received sufficient grace to save all men, and therefore St. Bernard calls her a full aqueduct, that of her plentitude we all may partake.
Let us rejoice with Mary at the glory with which God has enriched her. Let us also rejoice for ourselves; for at the same time that Mary was made queen of the world, she was also made our advocate. She is so compassionate an advocate, that she accepts the causes of all sinners who recommend themselves to her; and she also has so great power with our judge, that she gains all causes which she defends.
Our Queen and advocate, our salvation is in thy hands if thou prayest for us, we shall be saved. Only tell thy Son that thou willest that we should be with thee I Paradise. He refuses thee nothing that thou askest. O Mary, our life, our sweetness, and our hope, pray to Jesus for us. St. Alphonsus Ligiouri
Mary, Queen of Heaven
See you all later.
I think Monday morning is probably when they have to deal with their "brethren" who weren't spiritual enough when they were "taking up" the rattlesnakes on Sunday.
Thanks very much for the posting and for your other postings in the comments! What a wonderful hope we have, to remember Our Mother's coronation, to see the Lord bless her for her great humility, obedience, and faithfulness - all gifts of grace from the Holy Spirit to her! She is an example to keep in sight of how the Lord will bless us in Heaven as we show the virtues of humility, obedience, and faithfulness by the gifts of grace we receive from the Holy Spirit!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.