“Mondays with Mary” – Was the Blessed Virgin Mary the first to see the Resurrected Lord?

In a recent homily at our monthly Latin Mass, my boss and Pastor, made reference to something he once heard – the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection instead of St. Mary Magdalene, as the Gospels proclaim. It was a footnote in his homily more than anything else. As he said it, I thought to myself that I had never heard of such an idea. I just know what the Gospels tell us.

After Mass, Father said he was looking towards me when he said it thinking that I would have heard of it somewhere in my studies and in my writings on Mary via this blog. I told him I had never heard of it and asked him where he read it, but he said he didn’t read it. He heard it somewhere, however, he couldn’t remember where it was specifically.

Not thinking about researching that idea that night, I just came home and wrote on something else. As I was trying to figure out what to write for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I was doing some online searches since I hoped to incorporate Mary with Easter. Not thinking I was going to find anything specific, I came upon an older Catholic website asking that same question I am asking today – Was the Blessed Virgin Mary the first to see the Resurrected Lord?

The website lead me to the Papal Audience of none other than – Pope St. John Paul II!!

Christ Appearing to His Mother – Rogier van der Weyden; Flemish, ca. 1445

Before you read this, I would say – go into it with an open heart. This is not definitive Church doctrine, but something we could reflect and contemplate in our hearts during this Easter Octave. Again, I don’t believe the Catholic Church doctrinally teaches on this point anywhere specifically, I would be interested to know the Orthodox view; but John Paul II gives us the opportunity here to use both our reason and our hearts to discover something about the relationship between Jesus and His Mother we may have never thought happened.

Instead of providing you with the entire text, here is the link to the Vatican website – General Audience – May 21, 1997 – Mary was witness to whole paschal mystery.

Pray about it this week and if questions come up – feel free to write me one in the comment section. I may or may not be able to answer them completely. If you are a Scripture buff, just keep in mind that the Gospels themselves do say that many other things happened which is not recorded in these writings. Could this interaction between Jesus and Mary be one of them? Remember also that the Gospels talk about Jesus appearing after his Resurrection to more than 500 individuals – if such a big event – why wasn’t it recorded either? Something for us to think about then.

Post Script: Just as I was about to publish this post, I found this article from May 2011 on The New Theological Movement.

I hope that you all had a blessed and joyful Easter Sunday and that your Easter Octave is as equally blessed.

“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” – Mary and the Saints

Since tomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints, I thought I would focus today’s “Mondays with Mary” on just that – Mary and the Saints. Realizing that I have written quite a bit on what the Saints have said about Mary, I thought I would gather those blog posts together in one blog post for you to read. However, before I get to those posts, let’s take a look at what Hans Urs Von Balthasar has to say about Mary’s relation to the communion of saints.

In the book, Mary – The Church at the Source, a book he co-authored with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Von Balthasar writes the following on why Mary stands out in the Communion of Saints

…”Mary can never be isolated from the communion of saints. She can be called ‘Mother of the Church’ because she is the Mother of Christ and thus all of his mystical members; in spite of that, she remains our sister and is glad to be so…Mary, as the purest of all creatures, irradiates what is her own least of all. Everyone within the communion of saints has something Marian about him…perhaps it is precisely our time that especially needs to see Mary. To see her as she shows herself, not as we would like to imagine her…she shows herself and defines herself as the archetypal Church, whose form we have to take as our pattern.”

Mary, Baby jesus, and all the saints

Two points here to mention quickly, I completely agree with Von Balthasar when he says that Mary can never be isolated from the communion of saints. She is the glue that holds the communion of saints together since she is our mother. Our mother, because she is given to us by Jesus on the Cross through St. John, and yet even still, our sister in Christ too.

And second, there is no doubt in my mind that Mary is needed in all times of history, Lepanto in 1571 and Vienna in 16883, however, our time needs her more than ever. To bring us back to Jesus, we will need his Mother to lead us back to him. We see this concretely in her apparitions from the nineteenth century on, which all have similar themes to them – St. Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette at Lourdes, Melanie at La Salette, to the children at Fatima.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, let us pray for the intercession of all saints, those canonized by the Church, and those family members of ours that have gone on before us. Let us ask the apex of the Communion of Saints to always lead us closer to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Below are the blog posts I mentioned above:

“Mondays with Mary – The Love the Saints Have for Mary

“Mondays with Mary” – The Saints and Popes on the Holy Rosary

“Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from the Saints on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Queen of All Saints 

Queen of All Saints…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Mary as the Virgin of Virgins

In my book, Understanding Catholic Teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary (Emmaus Road Publishing), I open the chapter on the dogma of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity with this,

“The second dogma of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was defined by the Catholic Church is the dogma of Her Perpetual Virginity. Many of the Early Church Fathers, which we will see shortly, without question, understand and taught this dogma to be truth since the early days of the Church. It was also affirmed by papal and council documents.

The Perpetual Virgin dogma of the Blessed Virgin Mary professes that she was a virgin before the birth of Christ (ante partum), during the birth of Christ (in partu), and after the birth of Christ (post partum). This dogma was declared at the Lateran Synod in 649 A.D. by Pope Saint Martin I. As an article of the faith, the Holy Father professed, ‘The blessed ever-virginal and immaculate Mary conceived, without seed, by the Holy Spirit, and without the loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate.'”

Sassoferrato - Virgin Mother

Sassoferrato – Virgin Mother

Since Wednesday, April 13, is the optional memorial for Pope St. Martin I, I thought I would focus on Mary as the Virgin of All Virgins, since it was he who took the doctrine of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity and solidified it as a dogma of the Church.

In order to see Mary’s importance as the Virgin of Virgins, we are going to draw from another Saint Pope – John Paul II. His love for Christ, Our Lady, and the Catholic Church was magnificent to witness. Here are five quotes from the 20th century Polish Pope and Saint –

1. “She [Mary] it was whom Paul VI presented as the Virgin who listens, the Virgin who prays, the Virgin who begets Christ and offers him for the salvation of the world. May she be your guide along the sometimes difficult but always exhilarating path toward the ideal of complete union with Christ.”

2. “St. Ambrose draws for us the portrait of our Lady, with extraordinary and realistic delicacy, as follows: ‘She was a virgin not only in body, but also in soul; completely lacking in any deceitfulness that stains the sincerity of the spirit; humble in heart; serious in speech; prudent in thought; sparing in words…She put her hope, not in the uncertainty of riches, but in the poor man’s prayer. She was always hard-working, reserved in talk, accustomed to seek God…as judge of her conscience. She did not offend anyone, she loved everyone…she shunned ostentation, followed reason, loved virtue…This is the image of virginity. So perfect was Mary, that her life alone is a rule for everyone.’ (De Virginibus II, 2, 6-7: PL 16, pp. 208-210).”

3. “It is the Virgin Mary who invites us to consider history as an adventure of love in which God keeps his promises and triumphs with his fidelity. A history is which God asks us, as he asked the Virgin, to be his associates, his collaborators, in order to carry out his plan of salvation from generation to generation. This requires that we respond to God, like Mary, with a total and irrevocable ‘fiat.’”

4. “Mary knew that she was to fulfill her virginal desire to give herself exclusively and fully to God precisely by becoming the Mother of God’s Son. Become a Mother by the power of the Holy Spirit was the form taken by her gift of self: a form which God himself expected of the Virgin Mary, who was ‘betrothed’ to Joseph was part of the very plan of God.”

5. “For the kingdom, it is worth living this precious value of Christianity, priestly celibacy, the centuries old-heritage of the Church: it is worth living it in a responsible way, although it calls for a good many sacrifices. Cultivate devotion to Mary, the Virgin Mother of the Son of God, so that she may help you and urge you to carry it out fully.”

Our Lady, Virgin of all Virgins…Pray For Us.