Mariology

Mary: Hinge of Salvation

“Let it be to me according to your word.” Lk 1:38

On these simple words, swing the entirety of Creation’s destiny. By Mary’s Yes, God entered and recreated the whole world. By Mary’s humble Fiat, we receive our Salvation, the God-Man Jesus Christ.

But why would God do this? Why would He make His plans so dependent on a creature? Why would He allow anyone else to assist in His plans, let alone be fundamental to them?

Because that’s God. God is humble, and has shared even His greatest work, the salvation and recreation of the universe, with His own creatures. God’s salvation is not just effective, but also intimate, acting not just upon us, but within us (if you don’t believe me, look at Mary when she was pregnant!). And so, God decided to save us from within Mary’s own freedom, so that God’s saving act would be hers too, and so she would be perfectly united to her Saviour.

God’s glory is not diminished a bit, but magnified, by Mary’s crucial cooperation, and the cooperation of all in accomplishing our salvation. By working through His lowly creatures, God makes Himself manifest in them as well as to them.

And the Virgin Mother, is the lowliest of all. That is why she accepts this life, this Son of God, from the lowly God, and why she has glorified God above all the angels in heaven.

If Jesus is the door through which we get to the Father, Mary is the hinge on which this door swings.

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God bless you

 

‘Who are you then, O Immaculate Conception’ by St. Maximilian Kolbe

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION. These words fell from the lips of the Immaculata herself. Hence, they must tell us in the most precise and essential manner who she really is.

Since human words are incapable of expressing divine realities, it follows that these words: “Immaculate,” and “Conception” must be understood in a much more profound, much more beautiful and sublime meaning than usual: a meaning beyond that which human reason at its most penetrating, commonly gives to them.

St. Paul wrote, quoting the Prophet Isaiah: “Things that the eye has not seen, that the ear has not heard, that the heart of man has not imagined” (Is. 64,4), such are the good things that God has prepared for those who love him (I Cor. 2,9). Here, these words apply fully.

However, we can and should reverently inquire into the mystery of the Immaculata and try to express it with words provided by our intelligence using its own proper powers.

Who then are you, O Immaculate conception?

Not God, of course, because he has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2,7). Not Eve, molded from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2,21). Not the Incarnate Word, who exists before all ages, and of whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception”. Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conceptions.” But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by original sin; whereas you are the unique, Immaculate Conception.

Everything which exists, outside of God himself, since it is from God and depends on him in every way, bears within itself some semblance to its Creator; there is nothing in any creature which does not betray this resemblance, because every created thing is an effect of the Primal cause.

It is true that the words we use to speak of created realities express the divine perfections only in a halting, limited and analogical manner. They are only a more or less distant echo- as are the created realities that they signify- of the properties of God himself.

Would not “conception” be an exception to this rule? No; there is never any such exception.

The Father begets the Son; the Spirit proceeds from Father and Son. These few words sum up the mystery of life of the Most Blessed Trinity and of all the perfections in creatures which are nothing else but echoes, a hymn of praise, a many-hued tableau, of this primary and most wondrous of all mysteries.

We must perforce use our customary vocabulary, since it is all we have; but we must never forget that our vocabulary is very inadequate.

Who is the Father? What is his personal life like? It consists in begetting, eternally; because he begets his Son from the beginning, and forever.

Who is the son? He is the Begotten-One because from the beginning and for all eternity he is begotten by the Father.

And who is the Holy Spirit? The flowering of the love of the Father and the Son. If the fruit of created love is a created conception, then the fruit of divine Love, that prototype of all created love, is necessarily a divine “conception.” The Holy Spirit is, therefore, the “uncreated, eternal conception,” the prototype of all the conceptions that multiply life throughout the whole universe.

The Father begets; the Son is begotten; the Spirit is the “conception” that springs from their love; there we have the intimate life of the three Persons by which they can be distinguished one from another. But they are united in the oneness of their Nature, of their divine existence.

The spirit is, then this thrice holy “conception,” this infinitely holy, Immaculate Conception.

Everywhere in this world we notice action, and the reaction which is equal but contrary to it; departure and return; going away and coming back; separation and reunion. The separation always looks foreword to union, which is creative. All this is simply an image of the Blessed Trinity in the activity of creatures. Union means love, creative love. Divine activity, outside the Trinity itself, follows the same pattern. First, God creates the universe; that is something like a separation. Creatures, by following the natural law implanted in them by God, reach their perfection, become like him, and go back to him. Intelligent creatures love him in the conscious manner; through this love they unite themselves more and more closely with him, and so find their way back to him. The creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God himself, was the Immaculata, who never contracted the slightest stain of sin, who never departed in the least from God’s will. United to the Holy Spirit as his spouse, she is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature.

What sort of union is this? It is above all an interior union, a union of her essence with the “essence” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her. This was true from the first instant of her existence. It was always true; it will always be true.

In what does this life of the Sprit in Mary consist? He himself is uncreated Love in her; the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves himself, the very love of the Most Holy Trinity. He is a fruitful Love, a “Conception.” Among creatures made in God’s image the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all (cf. Mt. 19,6). In a much more precise, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very bring. He makes her fruitful, from the very first instant of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity.

This eternal “Immaculate Conception” (which is the Holy Spirit) produces in an immaculate manner divine life itself in the womb (or depths) of Mary’s soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of Mary’s body is kept sacred for him; there he conceives in time- because everything that is material occurs in time- the human life of the man-God.

And so the return to God (which is love), that is to say the equal and contrary reaction, follows a different path from that found in creation. The path of creation goes from the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit; this return trail goes from the Spirit through the Son back to the Father; in other words, by the Spirit the Son becomes incarnate in the Womb of the Immaculata; and through this Son love returns to the Father.

And she (the Immaculata), grafted into the Love of the Blessed Trinity, becomes from the first moment of her existence and forever thereafter the “complement of the Blessed Trinity”.

In the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings; in one there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity; in the other, all of creation’s love. So it is that in this union heaven and earth are joined; all of heaven with all the earth, the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love. It is truly the summit of love.

At Lourdes, the Immaculata did not say of herself that she had been conceived immaculately, but, as St. Bernadette repeated, “Que soy era immaculada councepciou”: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

If among human beings the wife takes the name of her husband because she belongs to him, is one with him, becomes equal to him and is, with him, the source of new life, with how much greater reason should the name of the Holy Spirit, who is the divine Immaculate Conception, be used as the name of her in whom he lives as uncreated Love, the principle of life in the whole supernatural order of grace?

by St. Maximilian Kolbe

Yesterday/today (14th August) was the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a great saint, and martyr of charity. He wrote the above (which I found here) just a few hours before his second and final arrest by the Nazis. Also brilliant is his, ‘Why Mary Is Our Mediatrix‘.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us

God bless you

I love the Blessed Virgin Mary!

I’ve been wanting to publish another post on Mary for a long while now (probably since straight after the last), but found it too tough to write one. But just now, during (maybe after) praying the holy rosary (joyful mysteries), I realised I could just write out of love, rather than knowledge of some area of Mariology.

I love her! When I think of Mary, my heart leaps within me, like the foetal Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb in response to the Mother of God’s greeting. Mary is full of grace, and the Lord is with her, and she is united to Christ, and so wherever she goes, she brings God. As she put it herself,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.”
(Lk 1:46-47)

Whenever Mary is present in a gospel scene, and even when she isn’t, you will love Jesus more perfectly if you unite your love with the love of his mother. This is the beauty of the holy rosary.

In pictures of the coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven, I had noticed that the crown is being placed on her head by an army of angels, which is wonderful, but I recently realised, that it was(is?) surely placed by Jesus himself, who delights to give us his own glory (Jn17:22). Happily, there are plenty of images where Jesus lays the crown (which is surely his own) upon her head. But certainly, a great crowd of angels and saints watch with glee.

If anyone finds the idea of a created Queen of heaven strange or shocking, imagine if I said that we (hopefully) who conquer, are to sit with Jesus upon his own throne (Rev 3:21).

Mary wonderfully presents to us the people of God, of old and new covenants, as she faithfully awaits her coming Messiah, and receives him with love into her life and follows him when he is born. Who can contemplate the Virgin Mother, holding the Divine Child, gazing upon him with love, and fail to love them also? The light of Christ reflects off of her face. At this moment it is clear, she is closest to Jesus, and if you wish to be closer to him also, you must draw near her. If you wish to hold him in your arms, you must receive him from hers. If you approach to bathe your face in his light, you can’t escape the same light reflecting off of her own face.

There is much more I wish to praise of the Holy Theotokos, but it is perhaps too much for me.

‘You must know that when you “hail” Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!’
-St. Bernardine of Siena

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

God bless you!

P.S. If you want some extra wonderful learning about Mary, I recommend O Immaculate Conception, by Saint Maximilian Kolbe. It’s wonderful.

Mary, Jesus’ mummy

I’m certain that, at one time, Jesus called Mary, Mummy (or some Aramaic equivalent). I think that’s awesome. When Jesus was small, she was always there for him, always with him. She was the one who looked after him, fed him when he was hungry, gave him drink when he was thirsty, clothed him when he was naked, and looked after him when he was sick.

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It shows the way that God absolutely embraced humanity, that His Son would be given a human mother, to bear him in her womb, and to love and look after throughout his life. He became absolutely dependent upon Mary, one of us, who even truly participated in giving him life as a man. I think when we talk about the incarnation, the place that comes to mind is a manger in Bethlehem, but the place where it really occurred, was inside the young virgin’s womb.

Humanity as a whole, and Mary in particular, were made part of the mystery of God’s incarnation as a man. Jesus of Nazareth was and is fully God and fully man, and Mary is truly the Mother of God. Mary gave birth to him in whom was life, and the life was the light of men (Jn 1:4). The Virgin Mary gave birth to her own creator, the Lord Jesus.

All of the history of salvation, surely pivoted on the Virgin of Nazareth, the mother of our Redeemer. Where would we be without her? Without her, we could not have her son. For years, her life was his life, she was his security, and where she went he went too. In her, lived the saviour and hope of all humanity.

God desired to share His life with us so fully, that He not only took on flesh and became one of us, but He let us weak humans share in His life, and even in His work of salvation. This is the fundamental fact of Mary, the Mother of God, and the Church, the spouse and body of Christ, who both live to bring Jesus to the world for its salvation, and to draw the world to him.

God bless you!