“Mondays with Mary” – The Blessed Virgin Mary in Lumen Gentium, Part III

Today we pick up right we where left off in Part II and finish our discussion on the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chapter 8 of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. For the final post on this short series, we will focus our attention on paragraphs 65-69.

# 65: Although Mary, the perfect creature in God’s creation is free of all sin, the faithful of the Church are not and must strive to reach holiness by overcoming the sin that entrap them. As the faithful seek to rid themselves of sin and strive for personal holiness, they should do so by living the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, which are rooted in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As the perfect example of all virtues, the faithful should desire to be like Mary in their daily lives. Mary, in her love for Jesus Christ, looks to bring the faithful in relationship with Him by being the everlasting Mother of all humanity – “The Virgin in our own lived an example of that maternal love, by which it behooves that all should be animated who cooperate in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of men.”

#66 and #67: Paragraph #66 says, “…Hence after the Synod of Ephesus the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: ‘All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me.’ This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially fro the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well as to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable of it.”

The cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church that the Council Fathers profess is a theological term, which means devotion. The devotion we show to the Blessed Virgin is not the same we show to God. As Catholics, we don’t worship or adore Mary since worship and adoration are meant for God alone (latria), however, being that she is the great Mother of God, we give her honor and veneration in a higher degree (hyperdulia) than the saints who we give recognition and reverence (dulia).

To avoid against excess and defect, as the faithful we must refrain from false exaggeration towards the Blessed Virgin. By following the Magisterium, who has the final word on all matters of faith and morals, we will come to know authentic doctrine in regards to the many teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary given to us throughout the centuries. The knowledge of authentic knowledge protects us from the extremes when it comes to the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “…True devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God…” (#67).

Theotokos - Orthodox

# 68: To provide hope for the faithful of the Church, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus, the great Blessed and Immaculate Virgin is assumed into Heaven and Crowned the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Mary is “a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.” She shines as a beacon of hope until the Lord returns someday.

#69: To conclude Lumen Gentium and this chapter on Our Lady, the Council Fathers make an appeal for unity to the Eastern Orthodox (“separated brethren”), since they are our brothers and sisters in the same faith, and who give honor to the great Mother of God. Just as Mary aided in the early church with her prayers, we now pray that Mary, as the Mother of Unity, will unite us once again. In the end, mothers unite children far better than children unite children.

Knowing full well the impact that this document would make on the Church and the impact of Mary, Mother of the Church, Blessed Pope Paul VI solemnly declared on the closing day of the third session in Saint Mary Major,

“For the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our own consolation, we declare most Holy Mary Mother of the Church, that is of the whole Christian people, both faithful and pastors, who call her a most loving Mother; and we decree that henceforth the whole Christian people should, by this most sweet name, give still greater honor to the Mother of God and address prayers to her.”

It’s been my hope that this series focusing on Our Lady from the Second Vatican Council’s document, Lumen Gentium, has taught you some things you did not know before. Please feel free to pass this part as well Parts I and II on to your family and friends.

“Mondays with Mary” – Blessed Pope Paul VI on the Blessed Virgin Mary

It’s either God’s Providence or just the natural course of writing extensively on the Blessed Virgin Mary for nearly 2 ½ years, but today’s “Mondays with Mary”, the 125th blog post in this series, corresponds with the Beatification of Pope Paul VI. It was his document, Mense Maio, which inspired me to begin writing these weekly posts on the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 6, 2012. To learn about the story of how “Mondays with Mary” began, I encourage you to read the very first blog post in this series.

As I reflect back on the 2 ½ years and the 124 blog posts focusing on the great Theotokos, I am somewhat shocked that I have written so much on Mary, but also realize there is so much I have yet to write. There are some important Marian apparitions and titles that have yet to be written as well as not getting to the final chapter in the Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium. It’s my hope in the month of November (the 50th Anniversary of the document) to write on this chapter, which focuses on Mary’s role as Maternal Mediator and Advocate. It’s also my hope that I will write more on what the Doctors of the Church have said about the Blessed Virgin.

I’ve said in my posts before that it’s an exciting time to be a Catholic. Yesterday’s beatification of Pope Paul VI is yet another indication of this time. We now have three popes that served nearly one after the other in the 20th century as saints of the Catholic Church. Although Paul VI has not been officially canonized, we know that he is there in Heaven with his predecessor, Pope St. John XXIII and his successor, Pope St. John Paul II.

Pope Paul VI

In honor of our newest beatification, I now give you some of the words on the Blessed Virgin Mary from Blessed Pope Paul VI –

1. “This pious practice, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored and the Christian people enriched with spiritual gifts, gladdens and consoles us. Mary remains ever the path that leads to Christ. Every encounter with her can only result in an encounter with Christ himself” – Mense Maio #2

2. “The general norm ‘Through Mary to Jesus’ is therefore valid also for the imitation of Christ. Nevertheless, let our faith not be perturbed, as if the intervention of a creature in every way similar to us, except as regards sin, offended our personal dignity and prevented the intimacy and immediacy of our relationships of adoration and friendship with the Son of God.” – Signum Magnum, Part 2, Section 2.

3. “Mary is not only an example for the whole Church in the exercise of divine worship but is also, clearly, a teacher of the spiritual life for individual Christians. The faithful at a very early date began to look to Mary and to imitate her in making their lives an act of worship of God, and making their worship a commitment of their lives.” ­– Marialis Cultus, #21

4. “Whenever we say the rosary, the joyful mysteries thus place us once more before the inexpressible event [Annunciation] which is the center and summit of history: the coming on earth of Emmanuel, God with us.” – Gaudete in Domino, Section III.

5. “…the Church has always prayed from her earliest days, and in a special way calling on the intercession and protection of the Virgin Mary, who is the Queen of Peace” – Mense Maio #9

6.With Christ, she sums up in herself all joys; she lives the perfect joy promised to the Church: Mater plena sanctae laetitiae. And it is with good reason that her children on earth, turning to her, who is the mother of hope and of grace, invoke her as the cause of their joy: Causa nostrae laetitiae.” – Gaudete in Domino, Section IV.

7. “…the last description of Mary’s life presents her as praying. The apostles ‘joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers’ (Acts 1:4). We have here the prayerful presence of Mary in the early Church in the Church throughout all ages, for, having been assumed into heaven, she has not abandoned her mission of intercession and salvation.” – Marialis Cultus, #19

8. [St. Augustine] said, “’…Maternal consanguinity would not have benefited Mary if she had not felt more fortunate in having Christ in her heart than in her womb.’” And it is still in her that Christians can admire the example of how to fulfill, with humility and at the same time with magnanimity, the mission which God entrusts to each one in this world, in relation to his own salvation and that of his fellow beings.” – Signum Magnum, Part 2, Section 3.

9. “Nothing seems more appropriate and valuable to Us than to have the prayers of the whole Christian family rise to the Mother of God, who is invoked as the Queen of Peace, begging her to pour forth abundant gifts of her maternal goodness in midst of so many great trials and hardships.” – Christi Matri, #8

10. “On the morning of Pentecost she watched over with her prayer the beginning of evangelization prompted by the Holy Spirit: may she be the Star of the evangelization ever renewed which the Church, docile to her Lord’s command, must promote and accomplish, especially in these times which are difficult but full of hope!” – Evangelii Nuntiandi, #82

Mother of Jesus Christ

So as we celebrate the beatification of Pope Paul VI, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to always show us the way to Jesus Christ and to continuously lead us to closer and close to Him each day of our lives. Blessed Pope Paul VI…Pray for Us.

As always, please feel free to share this post or copy and paste the quotes to your social media sites in order for your family and friends to experience the beauty of the Catholic Church and her Saints.