The Queenship of Mary: 7 Blog Posts on the Marian Feast

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the many Marian feasts of the Catholic Church, and a topic, just like the Assumption, I have written about quite often on here. Below you will find links to the 7 blog posts on the Queenship of Mary, some that come from my weekly series – “Mondays with Mary.” 

Queen of Heaven – Diego Velázquez

I hope you enjoy them, learn from them, and share them with others. They are listed from the most recent to the first one I wrote in August 2012.

1.“Mondays with Mary – 7 Quotes on the Queenship of Mary by Blessed Pope Pius XII

2. “Mondays with Mary” – The Queen of Mercy

3.  Blessed John Paul II (now Pope St. JP 2) on the Queenship of Mary

4. The Queenship of Mary: Advocate, Co-Redemptrix, and Mediatrix

5. “Mondays with Mary” – If Jesus Christ is the King; then is Mary the Queen?

6. “Mondays with Mary” – The Queenship of Mary

7. “Mondays with Mary”: John the Apostle, Mother I Beseech You

O Theotokos and Advocating Queen Mother…Pray for All Christians and All of Humanity.

“Mondays with Mary” – The 12 Marvelous Privileges of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Since we are in the month of December, the month we joyfully celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, and since I have not touched upon the Immaculate Conception so far this year in this series, I thought today was a good day to again explain the 12 Marvelous Privileges of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These twelve privileges come from the writings of St. John Eudes in his book titled, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God.

Because the Immaculate Conception was such an amazing favor bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin by God, there followed a plethora of magnificent privileges, here St. John Eudes focuses on twelve specifically –

1. The Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived in a miraculous way through the virtue of a supernatural force. Many of the Doctors of the Church were of the same opinion. For the twenty years before the Immaculate Conception, St. Ann, who was married to St. Joachim, was believed to be barren.

2. Just as the ‘Adorable Body of Jesus’ was formed and organized perfectly with his soul, so too was the body of the Virgin formed and organized perfectly with her soul. Her soul, on the day she was immaculately conceived in the womb of St. Ann, was infused and sanctified by divine grace, which in turn animated her most holy body.

3. Not only was the Blessed Virgin conceived without sin, but she was also adorned with original justice and confirmed with divine grace from the very first moment of her life, in her mother’s womb, so in order to conceive and bear the Messiah. Such a privilege was never given before to any other creature – angelic or human.

4. According to St. Bernardine of Siena and Doctors of the Catholic Church, Mary was given the ability to reason from the moment of her conception. If St. John the Baptist was given reason when he leapt at the sound of Mary’s voice in St. Elizabeth’s womb (thoughts of St. Ambrose), it would also make sense that Mary received this same privilege. Her senses and bodily organs were fortified with this reason.

5. Not only was she gifted with natural reason, but she also was given the light of faith and an illumination to know the supernatural. She was united with the Creator perfectly as well as His creatures. She knew the good which should be done and the evil which should be avoided. The holy doctors believe that the illumination she possessed was the light of the Beatific Vision.

6. The Beatific Vision was given to her at the moment of her Immaculate Conception. Since it is the opinion of the holy doctors that Moses and St. Paul both received this illumination, it makes sense that Mary, in her Immaculate Conception, would also receive it. Furthermore, since Mary was full of grace, her love and holiness was deeper than Moses and St. Paul. It is the opinion of great theologians that God favored Mary more at her Conception than these men were favored at the last point of their lives.

Immaculate Conception - MWM Page

7. Knowing that Mary would be the Mother of the Savior from this moment of her Immaculate Conception, God the Father flooded her soul with a spring of graces that was equal to her infinite dignity. Divine grace like this was never given to the highest angel or saint.

8. In the heart of Mary is found every human virtue, the theological virtues of God, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the eight beatitudes of the Gospel. Her heart completely encompassed these, which worked together with the Divine grace she received at her conception.

9. By giving of herself completely to God, through consecration, she was infused with His light and grace. Her mind, heart, will, and powers of the soul acted in one accord with another.

10. From the very moment of her miraculous conception, Mary adored, praised, glorified, and loved God with every fiber in her soul and body, through the grace bestowed upon her. She did all of this more perfectly than any other angel or saint for she was full of grace. Mary is loved by God and has been given favors no other creature had been nor ever will receive.

11. Because she was given incomparable favors no saint or angel had ever received, through the love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the grace that Mary’s soul and body was infused never swayed nor showed sovereignty to anyone but God himself.

12. The final privilege is expressed through the words of Mary herself given to St. Bridget – “Well may it be said that the hour of my Conception is the hour golden and precious because it is the commencement of the world’s salvation.” These words could be not be more truer, for it is Mary that gives us Jesus, for it is Mary that desires to bring us closer to Jesus and closer to our salvation. St. Bernard of Clairvaux says that Mary is “the storehouse of grace, the mediator of salvation, and the restorer of the ages.”

As we begin this week, let us give praise and thanksgiving to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for these magnificent favors bestowed on the most perfect creature of God – Our Most Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is by her Immaculate Conception that we receive Jesus. May all the Angels, Saints, and Church on Earth give praise to God eternal for giving us the Virgin of Virgins – Mary, Most Holy!

Source:

St. John Eudes. The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, Chapter 9. Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. 2000.

 

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

Today we pick up right we where left off in Part I and continue to discuss the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chapter 8 of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. For today’s post, we will focus our attention on paragraphs 58-64.

#58: Although the term, Co-Redemptrix or Co-Redemption are not used in this document, it does mean that the Council Fathers do not teach it – they do. However, because of the ecumenical nature of the Council, the Council Fathers chose not to use the term, but when you read this paragraph carefully, you clearly see Mary’s role as Co-Redemptrix is here.

Within this paragraph, we see three elements of Calvary. First, the Council Father’s say that Mary endured with her only begotten son the intensity of his suffering. She endured the pain of the crucifixion. Second, Mary associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart – one sacrifice from two hearts. Finally, lovingly she consented of the annulation, destruction of the victim being offered, of this victim born of her. She not only tolerated the crucifixion, but also consented to it – “enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her.”

It was this paragraph that became the foundation for Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical on Mary in the life of the Pilgrim Church, Redemptoris Mater. John Paul II says that Mary’s consent to this sacrifice is not only a “spiritual crucifixion” for her, but it’s also her second “fiat” – the second sorrowful fiat of Mary. As she consented at the Annunciation to the Mother of the Redeemer, so too here she consents during his ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

#59: Drawing from Pope Pius IX’s Papal Bull, Ineffabilis, and Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissiumus Deus, and his Encyclical, Ad coeli Reginam, the Council Father’s state,

“Finally the Immaculate Virgin preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords, (cf. Apoc 19:16) and conquer of sin and death.”

Queen Mother

This paragraph speaks of how the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a clear sign that she was Immaculately Conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. In the Kingdom of God, Mary’s role would then be the Queen Mother. She is Queen over all things – here on Earth and in Heaven.

#60: Drawing from St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, the Council Father’s explain a point that is often brought up against Mary as being a mediator – “for there is but one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all (2:5-6).

So how does Mary’s mediation work in relation to St. Paul’s words? First, Mary’s mediation does not compete or obscure the mediation of Jesus Christ. Second, our Lady’s mediation is not an inner necessity. God does not have to use a woman, but He does since it is His will (Gen 3:15). Third, the mediation of Mary is dependent on the one mediation of Christ and fosters union with Christ and the faithful.

#61: Here we see the combination of Our Lady as Co-Redemption, which in turn leads to Mediation. This role is a supernatural role. She is a mother to us in the order of grace – she is Co-Redemptrix and then Mediatrix. It does not make any sense that she would distribute grace, unless she herself first acquired it. In her Immaculate Conception, she receives grace. In her role as Mediator, the term that is often used, and it’s the most ancient title for Mary is Advocate. St. Irenaeus of Lyons was the first to use this term.

#62: This paragraph continues to focus on the role of mediator. Mary’s saving office on earth is always subordinate to that of Christ. This saving office in Heaven, where she intercedes for the gifts of eternal life, is still given to her. Through her intercession, we receive protection and sanctification. Although some disagree that these titles should have been added to this paragraph, we see the titles of: Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. In the original schema (the working document), the only term was Mediatrix of all Grace. Some at the Council objected to this term, however, the Council Fathers insisted that this term was included.

#63 & 64: These paragraphs are transitional paragraphs where we see the Blessed Virgin and Mother as the “type” of the Church. It was St. Ambrose of Milan who first defined Mary as a “type” of the Church. Everything that is true of Mary will apply to the Church in its own degree. The terms, virgin and mother, are two examples of the Church. As a mother, The Church gives birth to the sacraments. As a virgin, the Church is entirety and pure – she is pledged to her spouse, Jesus Christ. The Church is both Mother and Bride – “The Church indeed contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother” (#64).

Next week, we will conclude with Part III and examine paragraphs 65-69.

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

I have been waiting 2 ½ years to write these next three blog posts featured in the “Mondays with Mary” series. Why have I been waiting three years? Well it’s because the next three “Mondays with Mary” will focus on Chapter VIII of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, which will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary on November 21.

Chapter 8 is composed of five sections – a. Introduction (#52-54); b. The Function of the Blessed Virgin in the Plan of Salvation (#55-59); c. The Blessed Virgin and the Church (#60-65); d. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church (#66-67); e. Mary, Sign of True Hope and Comfort for the Pilgrim People of God (#68-69). For Part I, we will examine paragraphs 52-57.

#52: Drawing upon the richness found in St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (4:4), this paragraph first focuses on how God sent his Son to adopt sons under the law. As the subordinate, the Blessed Virgin serves the adopted in this central role of salvation. It is in Galatians 4:4-6 that we see the summary of salvation. Second, the Father sends the Son, however it’s the Father who is the initiator of human redemption. Next, the Son is the Redeemer. The keystone and recapitulation of salvation lies with Him. Fourth, God send his son born of a woman. Mary is identified as the secondary mediator. As Mediatrix, she mediates the Mediator to the world. Fifth, the fruit of this mission are adopted sons, the entire human race. Lastly, the indication that we are adopted sons, in the presence of the Spirit, He calls us the to call out to Him – Abba, Father!

Furthermore, central to the Son’s mission is the woman, the “glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” This first paragraph is defending the highest conceivable devotion of any creature.

#53: “Redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son and united to him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of the Mother of the Son of God…” In this paragraph the Council Fathers make reference to Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, celebrated by the universal Church on December 8. The Immaculate Conception is the highest form of redemption. Through the words of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, we know that Mary was conceived in an immaculate way. It is here she becomes the Mother of God and soon the Mother of All Humanity.

#54: “It does not, however, intend to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified.” Overall, it seems that this statement (paragraph 54 in its entirety) drew battle lines among the Council Fathers. At the time of the Council, the primary discussions focused on the roles and titles of Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces. Some argued that the term, mediatrix, was not clear enough. Although these terms never appear in the document, the Council Fathers understand Mary to fulfill these roles. It was thought an ecumenical disaster would appear if Mediatrix of All Graces was contained in the documents since there were Protestant observers present.

Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Graces

#55: Focusing on the references of Mary as a type in the Old Testament, the Council Fathers concentrate on three primary statements: first, that the woman in Genesis 3:15 (the Protoevangelium – first Gospel) is Mary. Second, the Virgin Birth of Emmanuel in Isaiah 7:14 also points to Mary. Finally, the woman in travail who gives birth and brings forth the child in Bethlehem in Micah 5:2-3 is again Mary. In all three references, there is no mention of a husband. They are virgin women.

The Council Fathers discuss the image of “Daughter Zion” in regards to Mary. This daughter is a faithful servant of Israel and faithful to the covenant even onto to death. “The exalted Daughter of Sion and the new plan of salvation is established, when the Son of God has taken human nature from her, that he might in the mysteries of his flesh free man from sin.” This quote also points to the understanding that Jesus’ DNA comes from Mary.

#56: As the previous paragraph focuses on the Old Testament, here we see the Council focusing on Mary in the New Testament. Drawing from the primary scripture verse, Luke 1:28, where the Angel Gabriel says, “And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace’, the Lord is with you!” the Council Fathers declare that it states Mary’s role in Salvation History. This event points to the past in her Immaculate Conception and points to the future where she will dispense graces as Mediatrix.

The Council Fathers draw upon Patristic Commentary and turn to St. Irenaeus and St. Jerome. This is the antithetical parallelism – “Death through Eve, life through Mary” (St. Jerome). Mary is the cause of salvation “for herself and the whole human race.” (St. Irenaeus). The whole mystery of the Immaculate Conception is the cause herself. Mary’s fiat, her “yes” allows for Jesus’ death, her first fruit is done in the Immaculate Conception, outside of time, and then the New Adam and New Eve work together to save humanity. She is the first to receive salvation.

#57: An important paragraph since it focuses on the bonding nature between Jesus and Mary. Here we see that the Son and Mother are united for the goal of Redemption. Referencing the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, this paragraph also points to the traditions in the Church such as the Stations of the Cross. Because of her Immaculate Conception, Mary has infused knowledge that is supernatural, but still has tests of faith (three days Jesus is lost).

For Part II, next week’s blog post, we will examine paragraphs 58-64.

The Queenship of Mary: 6 Blog Posts on the Marian Feast

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the many Marian feasts of the Catholic Church, and a topic, just like the Assumption, I have written about quite often on here. Below you will find links to the 6 blog posts on the Queenship of Mary, some that come from my weekly series – “Mondays with Mary.”

I hope you enjoy them, learn from them, and share them with others. They are listed from the most recent to the first one I wrote in August 2012.

1. “Mondays with Mary” – The Queen of Mercy

2. Blessed John Paul II (now Pope St. JP 2) on the Queenship of Mary

3.  The Queenship of Mary: Advocate, Co-Redemptrix, and Mediatrix  

4. “Mondays with Mary” – If Jesus Christ is the King; then is Mary the Queen?

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Queenship of Mary

6.  “Mondays with Mary”: John the Apostle, Mother I Beseech You

O Theotokos and Advocating Queen Mother…Pray for All Christians and All of Humanity.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Queen of Mercy

With the memorial of the Queenship of Mary being celebrated by the Latin lung of the Catholic Church this Friday, I found it fitting to provide a blog post on Mary’s role as Queen Mother. Like the Assumption of Mary, Her role as Queen Mother, Advocate, and Mediatrix are themes I have written about before on this blog in the weekly series, “Mondays with Mary” over the past two and a half years.

This except on the Mary as the Queen of Mercy comes from the text, The Glories of Mary, written by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. This is the third week in a row I have drawn from this fantastic text written by the Doctor of the Church. As we prepare to celebrate the Queenship of Mary on Friday, I hope that you will enjoy this post and to use as part of your prayer this week –

“The Church honors the Virgin Mary with the glorious title of Queen because she has been elevated to the dignity of Mother of the King of kings. If the Son is King, says Saint Athanasius, His Mother must necessarily be considered Queen. From the moment that Mary consented to become the Mother of the Eternal Word, she merited the title of Queen of the World and of all creatures. If the flesh of Mary, says Saint Arnold, was the flesh of Jesus, how can the Mother be separated from the Son in His Kingdom? It thus follows that the Regal Glory must not only be considered as common to the Mother and the Son, but must even be the same.

Mary, then, is Queen, but let all learn for their consolation that she is a mild and merciful Queen, desiring the good of all sinners. Therefore, the Church salutes her in prayer and names her the Queen of Mercy. The very name of Queen signifies, as Albert the Great remarks, compassion and provision for the poor; differing in this from the title of empress, which signifies severity and rigor. The greatness of kings and queens consists in comforting the wretched so that, whereas tyrants have only their own advantage in view, kings should be concerned with the good of their subjects. Therefore, at the consecration of kings, their heads are anointed with oil, which is the symbol of mercy, to denote that in ruling they should always show kindness and good-will toward their subjects.

This is image is 'Our Lady of Ostra Brama' (Our Lady of Mercy). She is the patroness of the Marian Province in the United States.

This is image is ‘Our Lady of Ostra Brama’ (Our Lady of Mercy). She is the patroness of the Marian Province in the United States.

Kings, then, should principally occupy themselves with works of mercy, but they should not neglect the exercise of justice toward the guilty when it is required. But Mary is not a queen of justice, intent on the punishment of the guilty, but rather a Queen of Mercy, intent only on compassion and pardon for sinners. Accordingly, the Church calls her Queen of Mercy. “These two things which I heard: that power belongs to God, and yours, O Lord, is kindness” (Psalm 62:12-13). The Lord has divided the kingdom of God into two parts, Justice and Mercy. He has reserved the kingdom of justice for Himself, and He has granted the kingdom of mercy to Mary. Saint Thomas confirms this when he says that the holy Virgin, when she consented to be the Mother of the Redeemer, obtained half (1⁄2) of the kingdom of God by becoming Queen of Mercy, while Jesus remained King of Justice…

…Is there anyone who does not know the power of Mary’s prayers with God? Every prayer of hers is like a law that mercy shall be given to those for whom she intercedes. Saint Bernard asks why the Church names Mary, Queen of Mercy. It is because we believe that she obtains the mercy of God for all who seek it, so that not even the greatest sinner is lost if Mary protects him.

But some might think that Mary hesitates in pleading on behalf of some sinners, because she finds them so sinful. Should the majesty and sanctity of this great Queen alarm us? No, says Saint Gregory, in proportion to her greatness and holiness are her clemency and mercy toward sinners who wish to repent, and have recourse to her. Kings and queens inspire terror by the display of their majesty, and their subjects are afraid to go before them. But what fear, says Saint Bernard, can sinners have of going to this Queen of Mercy, since she never shows herself austere to those who seek her, but is always gentle and kind.”

Let us pray: O Mary, Queen of Mercy and our Advocating Mother, be our intercessor and lead us to your Son and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. As Mediatrix of All Graces, we ask you to shed upon the great and infinite mercy that Jesus gave to us on the cross perpetually. Mary, Queen of Mercy…Pray for us.

 

“Mondays with Mary” – “Mary is ‘Our Life’”

Every time I read something written by one of the great Doctors of the Church, it’s as if my heart is pierced with the sword of truth, knowledge, and love. There is a reason why the Doctors of the Church have been given this distinguished title. The great saints can say things in one paragraph it takes many of us to say in ten paragraphs. That’s the beauty of the saints – they are so united with Jesus Christ and His Church that they see, even in their human frailty, the mind of God clearly with precision and depth.

As I have done in the past, with other saints and Doctors of the Church, today’s blog post focuses on the writings of St. Alphonsus Ligouri. The Latin Church just celebrated his feast day this past Friday, August 1. He is known as the Patron of Theologians and wrote extensively on prayer, Jesus and the Blessed Sacrament, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s excerpt comes from his document, The Glories of Mary, and focuses on Mary as “Our Life.”

Drawing upon the theological prowess of St. Bonaventure and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, fellow Doctors of the Church, St. Alphonsus Ligouri with eloquence, beauty, and love for Jesus Christ and His Mother explains to us the importance of Grace and Mary’s important role as the dispenser of that Grace. For Mary, as Queen Mother and Advocate, her role is to only bring our petitions to the King, but to assist in the dispensation of the Grace Jesus Christ pours down upon us.

Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Graces

The Patron of Theologians writes…

“In order to understand correctly the reason why the Church calls Mary “our life”, we must consider that as the soul gives life to the body, so divine grace gives life to the soul. For a soul without grace, although nominally alive, in truth is dead. As Mary, by her intercession, obtains for sinners the gift of grace, she restores them to life.

Grant mercy to your people, my Son

The Church applies to her the following words of Proverbs: “Those who seek Me find Me” (8:17). They find Me, or, according to the Septuagint, “They find grace.” Thus, to have recourse to Mary is to find the grace of God; for, “He who finds Me finds life, and wins favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:35). Listen, as Saint Bonaventure comments on these words; listen, all you who desire the kingdom of God. Honor the Virgin Mary, and you shall have life and eternal salvation.

Saint Bernard exhorts us, if we have been so unfortunate as to lose divine grace, to strive to recover it, but to strive through Mary; for if we have lost it, she has found it. She is, therefore, called by this saint “the finder of grace.” This is what Gabriel meant when he said: “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God.” But if Mary had never been without grace, how could the angel say to her that she had found it? A thing is said to be found when it has been lost. The Virgin was always with God and with grace. She was even full of grace, as the Archangel himself announced when he greeted her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you.” If, then, Mary did not find grace for herself, for whom did she find it? She found it for sinners who had lost it. Let sinners, then, who have lost grace flee to Mary. With her they will certainly find it. And let them say: “O Lady, what is lost must be restored to him who has lost it. This grace which you have found is not yours; you have never lost it. It is ours, for we have lost it, and to us you should restore it.” If we desire to find the grace of God, let us go to Mary who has found it. She always has been and always will be dear to God; if we have recourse to her, we shall certainly find it. God has placed her in the world to be our defense, and therefore she is ordained to be the Mediatrix of Peace between the sinner and God.

Saint Bernard gives encouragement to the sinner and says: “Go to this Mother of mercy, and show her the wounds which your sins have inflicted on your soul. Then she will surely beg her Son to pardon you, and the Son Who loves her so much will certainly hear her.” So, too, the Church teaches us to pray to the Lord to grant us Mary’s powerful intercession so that we may rise from our sins: “Grant us, merciful God, strength against all our weakness, that we who celebrate the memory of the holy Mother of God may, by the help of her intercession, arise again from our iniquities.””

This week let us ponder the heart piercing words of St. Alphonsus Ligouri and to remember the words of St. Therese of Lisieux, “Grace is Everything.” Through his holy and immaculate Mother, our Lord Jesus Christ dispenses these graces to us when we are open to receiving them and allowing them to work in our lives. Let us always be mindful of the gratuitous gift of grace and that we can never earn it, only receive it.