“Mondays with Mary” – The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Old Testament

It is in the Sacred Scriptures that we see the Blessed Virgin Mary come alive for us in salvation history. It is through the Old Testament writings that we see the birth of Mary into the world. The Blessed Virgin Mary, although a creature like the rest of us, finds her origins in the Heavens (her Immaculate Conception), as did the Incarnation of the Word, for as the Old Testament scriptures speak of her, they also reveal to us the universal Savior and Redeemer. This is so because God willed it to be so.

When we read the Old Testament scriptures, as they were by the Early Church Fathers through a “biblical-theological exegesis” scope, in light of Jesus Christ and the Church, we find in the roots of these scriptures, a very strong sense of the Blessed Virgin Mary, theologically speaking, we find Mariology.

The document, The Jewish People and its Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, produced by the Pontifical Biblical Commission firmly and distinctly says that the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary is found –

“…in the texts of the Old Testament explicitly and clearly. The genuine content of every revealed datum ‘finds is realization in Jesus’ (21, 6)…It has indeed been remarked that in the final analysis ‘we Christians, to understand fully the Scripture, not grasping merely the necessarily reductive meaning understood by the Hebrews, but their entire historical-theological content, must always read them not as if still Hebrews under the Old Covenant, blind in relation to the New, but as ‘Christians’ enlightened by Christ. This is to say, we must read them ‘in the light of Christ and of the Church’ so as to grasp the entire content, ‘hidden,’ but historic and real, of Divine Revelation contained in them and made manifest to us.”

Mary as New Ark of the Covenant - Icon

Examining the Old Testament scriptures as a whole in light of the Mariological biblical texts, we unearth many prophecies, Old Testament figures, as well as symbols, that all correspond to the Blessed Virgin Mary as “types” that are then fulfilled, or brought to completion, by her in the New Testament. We see the same “types” as well, even more so with Jesus Christ. Her presence in the Old Testament scriptures illuminates them in a way for us as Christians that that Hebrews failed to see.

These writings have been nurtured by the Early Church Fathers, through Sacred Tradition, by the Magisterium (teaching office of the Church) through the liturgy and through sacred art, from the earliest centuries to our present day.

To conclude today’s post, below are the “Mondays with Mary” where I written about these Old Testament scriptures in light of the Mariological revelations. Simply, it is where we begin to see the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Old Testament Scriptures –

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the Old Testament , Part 1

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the Old Testament, Part 2

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the Old Testament, Part 3

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant

“Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mother of Fairest Love’

“Mondays with Mary” – The Esheth Yahil (Woman of Valor)

“Mondays with Mary” – Symbols of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As I was writing today’s blog post, I realized there are some Marian prophecies, symbols and liturgical Old Testament Marian Symbols that I have failed to write on so far. In the upcoming weeks, I will focus on some of these for you.

Source:

Burke, Raymond L., Stefano M. Manelli, Luigi Gambero, Manfred Hauke, Peter M. Fehlner, Arthur Burton. Calkins, Paul Haffner, Alessandro M. Apollonio, Edward P. Sri, Charles M. Mangan, Enrique Llamas Martínez, Neil J. Roy, Etienne Richer, Vladimir Zelinskiĩ, and Mark I. Miravalle. Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons. Goleta, CA: Queenship Pub, 2008. Print.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes by Pope St. John Paul II

Since this Saturday was the optional memorial for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I thought I would share with you briefly the prayer of Pope St. John Paul II to the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title. This prayer was originally published on August 15, 2004.

Pope St. John Paul in Lourdes, 2004

Pope St. John Paul in Lourdes, 2004

Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord’s mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.

Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!
Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to his manifestations in the events of history.

Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!
Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.
Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.

Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!
Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father’s love.
Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.

Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.

Amen.

For more catechesis on this important Marian feast, I would suggest reading the following blog posts I have written in the past – Our Lady of Lourdes“Mondays with Mary” – Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes and “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us 

Saint Bernadette…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Rose

Today, we celebrate one of the feasts, which is not listed in the official calendar and feast days of the Church, but is still attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s title is – Our Lady of the Rose, in Lucca, Italy. On January 30, in the arms of the statue of the Blessed Mother, three roses were found. From this point, this day has been celebrated as the Madonna of the Rose or Our Lady of the Rose.

Madonna of the Rose

Madonna of the Rose

So why is the Rose flower so important when it comes to the Blessed Virgin Mary?

If you think about it – in so many of the Marian apparitions, she is either carrying flowers, particularly the rose, or the rose has played a major part in revealing her message to the world.

When she came to us as Our Lady of La Salette, she was wearing a garland of roses as well as had tiny roses on her slippers. In the apparitions of Pontmain, Bannenexu, and most notably, Lourdes, and others, she brought beautiful roses with her.

The clearest time we see the rose flower is in Mexico on Tepeyac Hill when she appears to as Our Lady of Guadalupe. She tells St. Juan Diego to go to the hill and to collect the roses, placing them in his tilma. He was then was told to bring them to the Archbishop. When he arrived at the Archbishop’s residence to show him the roses, not only were the roses a sign, but also was the beautiful tilma St. Juan Diego was wearing. It was through the power of God and the roses that the world received the tilma. To learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would suggest reading – Why Nine Million People Suddenly Turned Catholic: Astounding Physical Evidence.

Blessed Cardinal John Newman said the following about Mary,

“Mary is the most beautiful flower ever seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God’s grace that from this barren and desolate earth there ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory; and Mary is the Queen of them all. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore, is called the Rose, for the rose is called of all flowers the most beautiful. But, moreover, she is the Mystical or Hidden Rose, for mystical means hidden.”

The rose is very beautiful, however, there is also suffering found in the thorns of the rose. For the Blessed Virgin Mary, the rose thorns are the reminder that like Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns, she too would also suffer along with her son. As the Mother of Jesus, she witnessed the terrible suffering and death first hand as she walked with him, stood with him, and watched him die on the Cross.

To learn more about Rose and the other Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would encourage you to read my blog post by clicking on the link above.

Our Lady of the Rose…Pray for Us. 

Source:

“Madonna of the Rose.” Roman Catholic Saints. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Madonna of the Rose Garden

Madonna of the Rose Garden

“Mondays with Mary” – The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph

Although today’s feast day is no longer in the liturgical calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, for many years, first beginning on October 22, 1517 and approved by Pope Leo X, the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph was celebrated by many as the day that Our Lady and Saint Joseph were espoused together as a couple.

According to some of the light research I conducted last night, the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary began when she was a young woman at the time prepared for her marriage. As tradition tells us, a few men came and to seek her hand in marriage, but all were rejected. She would be arranged to a simple and humble craftsman (worked with wood and stone) – we know this man today as Saint Joseph. He was known to be a just man of God, however, it seems he lacked the fortitude to ask for Mary’s hand. In the end, God’s Divine Providence and timing placed them together.

Mary was very happy to receive St. Joseph as her spouse. As we all know, she contained an incredible and blessed secret that was deep in her heart. As tradition also teaches us, as do the Early Church Fathers such as St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Gregory of Nyssa, Mary as a young girl made a vow of virginity in the temple (see my book, Understanding Catholic Teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary, pages 42-45). We also believe that Mary prayed for a holy man who would respect her vow and protect her virginity.

The Catholic Church believes and teaches that the marriage of Mary and St. Joseph was real. Each of them accepted the other as spouse, which included all of the mutual rights. I say in my aforementioned book, “The essence of marriage is the lifetime vow of fidelity to Christ. According to canon law, consent (the vows) is what makes it a marriage. The gift of body is the expression of the vow. Mary and Joseph are truly married because they give themselves as total gift to one another, but not bodily” (page 48).

Marriage of the Virgin - Raphael

Marriage of the Virgin – Raphael

The marriage of Mary and St. Joseph has served as a model for Christian marriages since their own marriage endured trials. We read in the Sacred Scriptures about the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-31) and the worries that St. Joseph analyzes on how to send her away quietly (Mt 1:18-19). However, as we know, God intervened by sending an angel to St. Joseph in a dream to reassure him that Mary’s virginity was intact and that the child she was carrying was of heavenly origin (Mt. 1:20-21).

Being the just, noble, and obedient man that he was, St. Joseph witnessed for himself the plan of God in his life and in the life of his spouse. He realized how faithful Mary truly was to not only God, but to him as well.

To learn more about the history of the feast, I would encourage you to read the Catholic Encyclopedia page on New Advent. For those who are even more daring, you can read St. Thomas Aquinas’ questioning from the Summa Theologica.

As we remember this day…

Let us pray for the many holy and faithful Catholic marriages that are producing great fruit in the Church.

Let us pray for those who may be struggling in their marriages – may Our Lady and St. Joseph intercede on behalf of their trials.

Let us pray for those Catholics that are not married in the Church – those who are unaware that their marriages are not valid – pray that they, through the intercession of Mary and St. Joseph will come to be in full communion again and Convalidate their secular marriage.

Let us pray for those couples preparing to enter the Sacrament of Matrimony in the days and month ahead.

O Mary, Perpetual Virgin…Pray for Us

Saint Joseph…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – The Top 5 Most Popular “Mondays with Mary” of 2016

Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I wanted to share with you the Top 5 Most Popular “Mondays with Mary” of 2016. Many of you may have read these already, but I know there are new followers to my blog who may not have read these blog posts when they were first published. I do this from time-to-time as a way to share what readers found to be interesting in this series. They are numbered 1 to 5, 1 being the most views.

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of La Salette 

2. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of America, Part I 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Bishop Fulton Sheen and ‘The Assumption and the Modern World’ 

4. “Mondays with Mary” – 10 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Presentation of the Lord 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Walsingham 

Please continue to pray for the success of this weekly series on the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am approaching the 5th Anniversary of “Mondays with Mary” this upcoming May. I have also turned some of these into a book and waiting to hear back from some Catholic publishers. Pray that they will publish my manuscript so that others, who may not know about this series or my blog, may come to grow in their relationship with Jesus through Our Lady.

Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Fatima…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of America…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Absam

As much as I think I know about the teachings of the Catholic Church in regards to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the primary approved apparitions, there is still so much I don’t know and so many apparitions of the Blessed Mother I have never heard of before – today’s feast day in Austria is no different.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is truly our Mother and never leaves us for she seems to have appeared, and continues to appear, in nearly in every country across the globe. I realize that many of us know about Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, Amsterdam, and La Salette, but how many of you are aware of Our Lady of Absam in Austria?

In 1797, a young 18-year-old female by the name of Rosina Buecher was sewing by her window. At the same time, our father was working in the salt mines. Out of nowhere, she felt a terrible feeling that something was wrong with her father, maybe he had an accident in the mines. As she stared out her window wondering about her father, she saw an image of a beautiful woman on the window. After calling her mother into her room, who also saw the image, they both believed that they were looking at the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not sure if they were correct or not, they called their neighbors and their parish priest to confirm their belief.

The parish priest had the windowpane removed so it could be scientifically tested. During the testing of the window, it came to be that when the window was submerged under water – the image would disappear, but when the window was a dried off, the image would then reappear. The scientists who examined the window were not able to conclude how the image was created on the glass.

our-lady-of-absam-image

Realizing that it was more than likely a miracle and not explainable through the scientific process, the priest returned the image to the Buecher family. As word spread, the miraculous image of what would become known as Our Lady of Absam grew in popularity and many people came to venerate the holy image.

The family decided to donate the image to the parish church so people could come and view it. Quickly word spread of Our Lady’s face on the pane glass window. Many people from all over Austria descended upon the small town six miles outside of Innsbruck, and just as quickly miraculous healings began.

Today the image can be seen in the parish of St. Michael the Archangel, which has been raised to a Minor Basilica. The holy image of Our of Absam is enshrined on a side altar. It measures 5”x7”.

The parents and grandparents of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI were married in Absam. According to Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict says in his book, My Brother the Pope, that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a special devotion to Our Lady of Absam.

Our Lady of Absam…Pray for Us.

Source:

Guide, The Catholic Travel. “Innsbruck, Austria: Our Lady of Absam Shrine.”Our Lady of Absam Austria Miraculous Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2017.

“Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God by Pope St. John Paul II

Yesterday, we celebrated one of great Marian Solemnities in the Catholic Church – Mary, Mother of God. As another year comes upon us, we begin our year focusing on Our Lord’s Mother, particularly in her role as Theotokos or God-Bearer.

As some of you know, this happens to be my favorite title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. I like this title for Mary so much that my home Wi-Fi is named Theotokos and my fantasy football team, which by the way won the league championship, is titled – The Theotokos Tide.

In the past, I have written on this title for Mary many times, if you are interested in reading some of those posts, I would encourage you to check those out here.

As many of you also know, Pope St. John Paul II is a major influence in my writing and work, not only here, but also at the parish. Next week and week after, I will be teaching on his life to the parents of our family formation program. So for today’s, “Mondays with Mary”, I am going to provide you 5 quotes from homilies written by Pope St. John Paul II that focus on Our Lady in this Solemnity – Mary, the Mother of God. Feel free to share these on your social media sites or with family and friends.

1. “Today’s liturgy celebrates the solemnity of the Mother of God. Mary is the one who was chosen to be Mother of the Redeemer, sharing intimately in his mission. In the light of Christmas, the mystery of her divine motherhood is illumined. Mary, Mother of Jesus who was born in the Bethlehem cave, is also the Mother of every man and woman who comes into the world. How is it possible not to commend to her the year that is beginning, to implore a time of serenity and peace for all humanity? On the day when this new year begins under the blessed gaze of the Mother of God, let us invoke the gift of peace for each one and all.” – 1997

Orans - Theotokos

2. “‘When the time had fully come’ (Gal 4:4). These words of the Letter of St Paul to the Galatians correspond very well to the character of today’s celebration. We are at the beginning of the New Year. According to the civil calendar, today is the first day of 1998; according to that of the liturgy, we are celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God…The Virgin most holy, whom we address on this first day of the year by the title ‘Mother of God’, turns her loving gaze to the whole world. Through her motherly intercession, the people of all the continents can feel more like brothers and prepare their hearts to welcome her Son, Jesus. Christ is the genuine peace that reconciles man with man and all humanity with God.” – 1998

3. In a certain sense, the whole liturgical year follows in the footsteps of this motherhood, beginning with the feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, exactly nine months before Christmas. On the day of the Annunciation, Mary heard the Angel’s words: ‘Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus…. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God’ (Lk 1: 31-33, 35). And she answered:  ‘Let it be to me according to your word’ (ibid., 1: 38). – 2000

4. “Today the Church is celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. After presenting her as the One who offers the Child to the shepherds who sought him anxiously, Luke the Evangelist gives us an image of Mary, at the same time simple and majestic. Mary is the woman of faith, who made room for God in her heart, in her plans, in her body, in her experience as a wife and mother. She is the believer who is capable of understanding the unusual event of the Son as the coming of that ‘fullness of time’ (Gal 4: 4), in which God, choosing the simple ways of human life, decided to involve himself personally in the work of salvation.” – 2001

5. “Today, the liturgy of the Octave of Christmas presents to us the icon of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. The Apostle Paul points her out as the “woman” through whom the Son of God entered the world. Mary of Nazareth is the Theotokos, the One who “gave birth to the King of Heaven and earth for ever” (Entrance Antiphon; cf. Sedulius). At the beginning of this new year, let us place ourselves with docility at the school of Mary. We want to learn from her, the Holy Mother, how to accept in faith and prayer the salvation that God never ceases to offer to all who trust in his merciful love.” – 2004

As we begin this new year of 2017, let us ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Mother of God, to intercede always for us by leading us closer to her Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us also pray that the Pope St. John Paul II will continue to watch over and pray for the Catholic Church from his place in Heaven. Amen.