Skip to comments.Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"
Posted on 12/05/2005 4:56:34 PM PST by Rosary
click here to read article
And we're off!!!!
For Mary, Mother of our Lord,
God's holy Name be praised,
Who first the Son of God adored
As on her Child she gazed.
Brave, holy virgin, she believed,
Though hard the task assigned,
And by the Holy Ghost conceived
The Savior of mankind.
She gave her body as God's shrine
Her heart to piercing pain;
She knew the cost of love divine When Jesus Christ was slain.
Dear Mary, from your lowliness
And home in Galilee
There comes a joy and holiness
To every family.
Hail, Mary; you are full of grace,
Above all women blest;
And blest your Son,
Whom your embrace
In birth and death confessed.
MARY HAS UNIVERSAL SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD
Our Lady is mother of all humanity because she co-operated with faith, hope and charity Christ's work of restoring supernatural live to souls
Pope John Paul II
The Blessed Virgin, "having entered the Father's eternal kingdom, closer to her divine Son and thus closer to us all, can more effectively exercise in the Spirit the role of maternal intercession entrusted to her by divine Providence", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of Wednesday, 24 September, as he discussed Mary's motherhood in the order of grace. He went on to explain the meaning of the Marian titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix. Here is a translation of the Pope's catechesis, which was the 64th in the series on the Blessed Virgin and was given in Italian.
1. Mary is mother of humanity in the order of grace. The Second Vatican Council highlights this role of Mary, linking it to her co-operation in Christ's Redemption.
"In the designs of divine Providence, she was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord" (Lumen gentium, n. 61).
With these statements, the Constitution Lumen gentium wishes to give proper emphasis to the fact that the Blessed Virgin was intimately associated with Christ's redemptive work, becoming the Saviour's "generous associate", "in a singular way".
With the actions of any mother, from the most ordinary to the most demanding, Mary freely co-operated in the work of humanity's salvation in profound and constant harmony with her divine Son.
Our Lady's motherhood has universal scope
2. The Council also points out that Mary's co-operation was inspired by the Gospel virtues of obedience, faith, hope and charity, and was accomplished under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It also recalls that the gift of her universal spiritual motherhood stems precisely from this co-operation: associated with Christ in the work of Redemption, which includes the spiritual regeneration of humanity, she becomes mother of those reborn to new life.
In saying that Mary is "a mother to us in the order of grace" (cf. ibid.), the Council stresses that her spiritual motherhood is not limited to the disciples alone, as though the words spoken by Jesus on Calvary: "Woman, behold your son" (Jn 19:26), required a restrictive interpretation. Indeed, with these words the Crucified One established an intimate relationship between Mary and his beloved disciple, a typological figure of universal scope, intending to offer his Mother as Mother to all mankind.
On the other hand, the universal efficacy of the redeeming sacrifice and Mary's conscious co-operation with Christ's sacrificial offering does not allow any limitation of her motherly love.
Mary's universal mission is exercised in the context of her unique relationship with the Church. With her concern for every Christian, and indeed for every human creature, she guides the faith of the Church towards an ever deeper acceptance of God's Word, sustains her hope, enlivens her charity and fraternal communion and encourages her apostolic dynamism.
3. During her earthly life, Mary showed her spiritual motherhood to the Church for a very short time. Nonetheless, the full value of her role appeared after the Assumption and is destined to extend down the centuries to the end of the world. The Council expressly states: "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the Cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect" (Lumen gentium, n. 62).
Having entered the Father's eternal kingdom, closer to her divine Son and thus closer to us all, she can more effectively exercise in the Spirit the role of maternal intercession entrusted to her by divine Providence.
4. The heavenly Father wanted to place Mary close to Christ and in communion with him who can "save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb 7:25): he wanted to unite to the Redeemer's intercession as a priest that of the Blessed Virgin as a mother. It is a role she carries out for the sake of those who are in danger and who need temporal favours and, especially, eternal salvation: "By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix" (Lumen gentium, n. 62).
These titles, suggested by the faith of the Christian people, help us better to understand the nature of the Mother of the Lord's intervention in the life of the Church and of the individual believer.
5. The title "Advocate" goes back to St Irenaeus. With regard to Eve's disobedience and Mary's obedience, he says that at the moment of the Annunciation "the Virgin Mary became the Advocate" of Eve (Haer. 5, 19, 1; PG 7, 1175-1176). In fact, with her "yes" she defended our first mother and freed her from the consequences of her disobedience, becoming the cause of salvation for her and the whole human race.
Mary exercises her role as "Advocate by co-operating both with the Spirit the Paraclete and with the One who interceded on the Cross for his persecutors (cf. Lk 23:34), whom John calls our "advocate with the Father" (1 Jn 2: 1). As a mother, she defends her children and protects them from the harm caused by their own sins.
Mary is close to those suffering or in danger
Christians call upon Mary as "Helper", recognizing her motherly love which sees her children's needs and is ready to come to their aid, especially when their eternal salvation is at stake.
The conviction that Mary is close to those who are suffering or in situations of serious danger has prompted the faithful to invoke her as "Benefactress". The same trusting certainty is expressed in the most ancient Marian prayer with the words: "We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin" (from the Roman Breviary).
As maternal Mediatrix, Mary presents our desires and petitions to Christ, and transmits the divine gifts to us, interceding continually on our behalf.
To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:
I greet the new students of the Venerable English College and pray that the Lord will bless them abundantly as they begin their studies.
I extend a cordial welcome to the various ecumenical groups present, especially to the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council. Thankful to God for the progress made so far in our official dialogue, I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the Joint Commission in its current work. I send a special greeting to the General Secretary Dr Hale, who could not be here due to his wife's recent accident, and I pray for her prompt recovery.
I am so pleased to welcome the Delegation of the Disciples of Christ on the 20th anniversary of the dialogue between us. May the International Commission's continuing work on the theme of the Church's mission lead us steadily along the path towards ever greater unity.
I warmly greet the representatives of the Center of Christian-Jewish Understanding. I hope that your visit will further strengthen our mutual understanding and co-operation in the face of so many shared concerns.
Upon all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims, especially those from England, Wales, Ireland, Nigeria, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and the United States, I invoke an abundance of divine grace and peace.
Weekly Edition in English
1 October 1997, page 11
So they're not all hurling insults at us.
So you're saying that we are not allowed to pray in any other way than the Our Father? That's kinda sad. I'm sure there are lots of prayers that could help others.
As always, Mary, the Blessed mother of Jesus, points us to her Son, Jesus. The Wedding Feast of Cana that teaches us that. But where is it said in the Bible that Mary didn't trust herself? That she did or did not? She did trust Jesus, "Do as he tells you".
MARY IS THE VIRGIN MOTHER OF GOD
Pope John Paul II
General Audience 13 September 1995
From the very beginning, the Church has recognized the virginal motherhood of Mary, who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. In the Constitution Lumen gentium, the Council states that "joined to Christ the head and in communion with all his saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ" (n. 52). The conciliar Constitution uses these terms from the Roman Canon of the Mass, thereby stressing how faith in the divine motherhood of Mary has been present in Christian thought since the first centuries.
In the newborn Church Mary is remembered with the title "Mother of Jesus". It is Luke himself who gives her this title in the Acts of the Apostles, a title that corresponds moreover to what is said in the Gospels: "Is this not ... the son of Mary?", the residents of Nazareth wonder according to the Evangelist Mark's account (6:3); "Isn't Mary known to be his mother?", is the question recorded by Matthew (13:55).
2. In the disciples' eyes, as they gathered after the Ascension, the title "Mother of Jesus" acquires its full meaning. For them, Mary is a person unique in her kind: she received the singular grace of giving birth to the Savior of humanity; she lived for a long while at his side; and on Calvary she was called by the Crucified One to exercise a "new motherhood" in relation to the beloved disciple and, through him, to the whole Church.
For those who believe in Jesus and follow him, "Mother of Jesus" is a title of honor and veneration, and will forever remain such in the faith and life of the Church. In a particular way, by this title Christians mean to say that one cannot refer to Jesus' origins without acknowledging the role of the woman who gave him birth in the Spirit according to his human nature. Her maternal role also involves the birth and growth of the Church. In recalling the place of Mary in Jesus' life, the faithful discover each day her efficacious presence in their own spiritual journey.
3. From the beginning, the Church has acknowledged the virginal motherhood of Mary. As the infancy Gospels enable us to grasp, the first Christian communities themselves gathered together Mary's recollections about the mysterious circumstances of the Savior's conception and birth. In particular, the Annunciation account responds to the disciples' desire to have the deepest knowledge of the events connected with the beginnings of the risen Christ's earthly life. In the last analysis, Mary is at the origin of the revelation about the mystery of the virginal conception by the work of the Holy Spirit.
This truth, showing Jesus' divine origin, was immediately grasped by the first Christians for its important significance and included among the key affirmations of their faith. Son of Joseph according to the law, Jesus in fact, by an extraordinary intervention of the Holy Spirit, was in his humanity only the son of Mary, since he was born without the intervention of man.
Mary's virginity thus acquires a unique value and casts new light on the birth of Jesus and on the mystery of his sonship, since the virginal generation is the sign that Jesus has God himself as his Father.
Acknowledged and proclaimed by the faith of the Fathers, the virginal motherhood can never be separated from the identity of Jesus, true God and true man, as "born of the Virgin Mary" as we profess in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Mary is the only Virgin who is also a Mother. The extraordinary co-presence of these two gifts in the person of the maiden of Nazareth has led Christians to call Mary simply "the Virgin", even when they celebrate her motherhood.
The virginity of Mary thus initiates in the Christian community the spread of the virginal life, embraced by all who are called to it by the Lord. This special vocation, which reaches its apex in Christ's example, represents immeasurable spiritual wealth for the Church in every age, which finds in Mary her inspiration and model.
4. The assertion: "Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary" already implies in this event a transcendent mystery, which can find its most complete expression only in the truth of Jesus' divine sonship. The truth of Mary's divine motherhood is closely tied to this central statement of the Christian faith: she is indeed the Mother of the Incarnate Word, in whom is "God from God ... true God from true God".
The title "Mother of God", already attested by Matthew in the equivalent expression "Mother of Emmanuel", God-with-us (cf. Mt 1:23), was explicitly attributed to Mary only after a reflection that embraced about two centuries. It is third-century Christians in Egypt who begin to invoke Mary as "Theotokos", Mother of God.
With this title, which is broadly echoed in the devotion of the Christian people, Mary is seen in the rue dimension of her motherhood: she is the Mother of God's Son, whom she virginally begot according to his human nature and raised him with her motherly love, thus contributing to the human growth of the divine person who came to transform the destiny of mankind.
5. In a highly significant way, the most ancient prayer to Mary ("Sub tuum praesidium...", "We fly to thy patronage...") contains the invocation: "Theotokos, Mother of God". This title did not originally come from the reflection of theologians, but from an intuition of faith of the Christian people. Those who acknowledge Jesus as God address Mary as the Mother of God and hope to obtain her powerful aid in the trials of life.
The Council of Ephesus in 431 defined the dogma of the divine motherhood, officially attributing to Mary the title "Theotokos" in reference to the one person of Christ, true God and true man.
The three expressions which the Church has used down the centuries to describe her faith in the motherhood of Mary: "Mother of Jesus", "Virgin Mother" and "Mother of God", thus show that Mary's motherhood is intimately linked with the mystery of the Incarnation. They are affirmations of doctrine, connected as well with popular piety, which help define the very identity of Christ.
Weekly Edition in English
13 September 1995, p. 7.
MARY IS THE MOTHER WHO INTERCEDES FOR EVERYONE
Pope John Paul II
Angelus Message in Como, Italy 5 May 1996
The people of the world are wondering where this noise is coming from. I have to say it is coming from Como!
1. Dear young people present in this stadium, and dear brothers and sisters who are listening on radio or television I am pleased today to recite the Marian prayer of Regina Caeli in the land of Como. This ancient Church, whose territory extends between hills and plains lakes and mountains, is strongly marked by Mary's presence.
There are many shrines in the region some of which stand almost like sentinels over the whole breadth of the Alpine chain. From these sacred places, the Blessed Virgin watches over the towns and villages of the Diocese and gives her maternal protection to all who entrust themselves to her.
2. Here I would like to mention some of these churches, starting with the cathedral of Como itself, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption; the sixth anniversary of the beginning of its construction occurs precisely this year. Then going west as far as the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, we find among others the shrines of Ardena and Drezzo, the smallest of all, both dedicated to Mary's Assumption. The Shrine of Our Lady of Succour in Isola Ossuccio, on the western shores of the lake, is particularly a place of prayer for vocations of special consecration. The shrine of Gallivaggio protects the Valchiavenna as far as the Spluga Pass, the ancient way to Rome and Italy. Our Lady of Sassella watches over the city and territory of Sondrio. The Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto in Tresivio, a monument of art and sincere faith, and that of the Blessed Virgin of Graces in Grosotto are places of devout pilgrimage which rekindle the devotion of the faithful. The diocesan shrine par excellence is located in Tirano. Tradition has it that in this spot the Blessed Virgin appeared to Omodei, asking that a church be built there to honour and invoke her. Believers, encouraged and led by ecclesiastical authority, come here from all parts to request cures and conversions and to express their filial gratitude to Jesus and Mary.
3. I am pleased to recall with you these sacred places which spiritually adorn your Diocese. They witness to a strong tradition of Marian devotion which has survived the centuries.
Sometimes it is objected that devotion to Our Lady, especially popular devotion, risks detracting attention from the centre of the faith, which is Jesus, who died and is risen. But this is not so. Through Mary, we come to her Son more easily. Mary is held up as a model for the believer and for the whole Church called to respond to the Lord with her own "yes". She is the Mother who intercedes for all: for souls thirsting for God and for those who are groping in the darkness of doubt and disbelief for those who are suffering in body or tried in spirit, for those who yield to the attraction of sin and for those who are struggling to escape its clutches. Her motherly concern overlooks no one.
The month of May, traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, has just begun. From her, let us learn the Gospel simplicity of children who entrust themselves to their Mother. May Mary lead us to Christ in joy and in suffering, "now, and at the hour of our death". Amen!
Weekly Edition in English
8 May 1996.
TO HONOR MARY IS TO GO TO JESUS
Pope John Paul II
General Audience 15 November 1995
1.After following in our previous catecheses how the Christian community's reflection on the figure and role of the Blessed Virgin in salvation history took shape from the earliest times, let us pause today to meditate on the Marian experience of the Church.
The development of Mariological thought and devotion to the Blessed Virgin down the centuries has contributed to revealing ever better the Church's Marian aspect. Of course, the Blessed Virgin is totally related to Christ, the foundation of faith and ecclesial experience, and she leads to him. That is why, in obedience to Jesus, who reserved a very special role for his Mother in the economy of salvation, Christians have venerated, loved and prayed to Mary in a most particular and fervent way. They have attributed to her an important place in faith and piety, recognizing her as the privileged way to Christ, the supreme Mediator.
The Church's Marian dimension is thus an undeniable element in the experience of the Christian people. It is expressed in many ways in the life of believers, testifying to the place Mary holds in their hearts. It is not a superficial sentiment but a deep and conscious emotional bond, rooted in the faith which spurs Christians of the past and present to turn habitually to Mary, to enter into a more intimate communion with Christ.
2.After the most ancient prayer, formulated in Egypt by the Christian communities of the third century, to implore "the Mother of God" for protection in danger, numerous invocations were addressed to her, whom the baptized consider most powerful in her intercession with the Lord.
Christian People Have Expressed Deep Devotion to Mary
Today, the most common prayer is the Hail Mary, whose first part consists of words from the Gospel (cf. Lk 1:28, 42). Christians learn to recite it at home from their earliest years and receive it as a precious gift to be preserved throughout life. This same prayer, repeated tens of times in the Rosary, helps many of the faithful to enter into prayerful contemplation of the Gospel mysteries and sometimes to remain for long intervals in intimate contact with the Mother of Jesus. Since the Middle Ages, the Hail Mary has been the most common prayer of all believers who ask the Holy Mother of the Lord to guide and protect them on their daily journey through life (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, nn. 42-55).
Christian people have also expressed their love for Mary by multiplying expressions of their devotion: hymns, prayers and poetic compositions, simple or sometimes of great quality, imbued with that same love for her who was given to men as Mother by the Crucified One. Some of these, such as the "Akathist Hymn" and the "Salve Regina", have deeply marked the faith life of believers. The counterpart of Marian piety is the immensely rich artistic production in the East and West, which has enabled entire generations to appreciate Mary's spiritual beauty. Painters, sculptors, musicians and poets have left us masterpieces which, in shedding light on the various aspects of the Blessed Virgin's greatness, help to give us a better understanding of the meaning and value of her lofty contribution to the work of Redemption.
In Mary, Christian art recognizes the fulfilment of a new humanity which corresponds to God's plan and is therefore a sublime sign of hope for the whole human race.
3.This message could not fail to be grasped by Christians called to a vocation of special consecration. In fact, Mary is particularly venerated in religious orders and congregations, in institutes or associations of consecrated life. Many institutes, primarily but not only female, include Mary's name in their title. Nevertheless, over and above its external expressions, the spirituality of religious families, as well as of many ecclesial movements, some of which are specifically Marian, highlight their special bond with Mary as the guarantee of a charism fully and authentically lived.
This Marian reference in the lives of people particularly favored by the Holy Spirit has also developed the mystical dimension, which shows how the Christian can experience Mary's intervention in the innermost depths of his being.
This reference to Mary binds not only committed Christians but also simple believers and even the "distant", for whom it is frequently their only link with the life of the Church. Pilgrimages to Marian shrines, which attract large crowds of the faithful throughout the year, are a sign of the Christian people's common sentiment for the Mother of the Lord. Some of these bulwarks of Marian piety are famous, such as Lourdes, Fatima, Loreto, Pompeii, Guadalupe and Czestochowa! Others are known only at the national or local level. In all of them, the memory of events associated with recourse to Mary conveys the message of her motherly tenderness, opening our hearts to God's grace.
These places of Marian prayer are a wonderful testimony to God's mercy, which reaches man through Mary's intercession. The miracles of physical healing, spiritual redemption and conversion are the obvious sign that, with Christ and in the Spirit, Mary is continuing her work as helper and mother.
Marian Dimension Pervades Church's Whole Life
4.Marian shrines often become centers of evangelization. Indeed, even in the Church today, as in the community awaiting Pentecost, prayer with Mary spurs many Christians to the apostolate and to the service of their brothers and sisters. Here I would especially like to recall the great influence of Marian piety on the practice of charity and the works of mercy. Encouraged by Mary's presence, believers have often felt the need to dedicate themselves to the poor, the unfortunate and the sick, in order to be for the lowliest of the earth a sign of the motherly protection of the Blessed Virgin, the living icon of the Father's mercy.
It can be clearly seen from all this how the Marian dimension pervades the Church's whole life. The proclamation of the Word, the liturgy, the various charitable and cultural expressions find in Mary an occasion for enrichment and renewal.
The People of God, under the guidance of their Pastors, are called to discern in this fact the action of the Holy Spirit who has spurred the Christian faith onward in its discovery of Mary's face. It is he who works marvels in the centers of Marian piety. It is he who, by encouraging knowledge of and love for Mary, leads the faithful to learn from the Virgin of the Magnificat how to read the signs of God in history and to acquire a wisdom that makes every man and every woman the architects of a new humanity.
Weekly Edition in English
22 November 1995, p. 11.
MARY OFFERS SUBLIME MODEL OF SERVICE
Pope John Paul II
General Audience, 4 September 1996
1. Mary's words at the Annunciation "I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38), indicate an attitude characteristic of Jewish piety. At the beginning of the Old Covenant, Moses, in response to the Lord's call, proclaims himself his servant (cf. Ex 4:10; 14:31). With the coming of the New Covenant, Mary also responds to God with an act of free submission and conscious abandonment to his will, showing her complete availability to be the "handmaid of the Lord".
In the Old Testament, the qualification "servant" of God links all those who are called to exercise a mission for the sake of the Chosen People: Abraham (Gn 26:24), Isaac (Gn 24:14) Jacob (Ex 32:13; Ez 37:25), Joshua (Jos 24:29), David (2 Sam 7, 8, etc.). Prophets and priests, who have been entrusted with the task of forming the people in the faithful service of the Lord, are also servants. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah exalts, in the docility of the "suffering Servant", a model of fidelity to God in the hope of redemption for the sins of the many (cf. Is 42:53). Some women also offer examples of fidelity, such as Queen Esther who, before interceding for the salvation of the Jews, addresses a prayer to God, calling herself many times "your servant" (Est 4:17).
Mary's 'fiat' expresses total obedience
2. Mary, "full of grace", by proclaiming herself "handmaid of the Lord" intends to commit herself to fulfil personally and in a perfect manner the service God expects of all his people. The words: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord", foretel1 the One who will say of himself: "The Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:45: cf. Mt 20:28). Thus the Holy Spirit brings about a harmony of intimate dispositions between the Mother and the Son which will allow Mary to assume fully her maternal role to Jesus, as she accompanies him in his mission as Servant. In Jesus' life the will to serve is constant and surprising: as Son of God, he could rightly have demanded to be served. Attributing to himself the title "Son of Man", whom, according to the Book of Daniel, "all peoples, nations, and languages should serve" (Dn 7:14), he could have claimed mastery over others. Instead, combating the mentality of the time which was expressed in the disciples' ambition for the first places (cf. Mk 9:34) and in Peter's protest during the washing of the feet (cf. Jn 13:6), Jesus does not want to be served, but desires to serve to the point of totally giving his life in the work of redemption.
3. Furthermore, Mary, although aware of the lofty dignity conferred upon her at the angel's announcement spontaneously declares herself "the handmaid of the Lord". In this commitment of service she also includes the intention to serve her neighbour, as the link between the episodes of the Annunciation and the Visitation show: informed by the angel of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Mary sets out "with haste" (Lk 1:39) for Judah, with total availability to help her relative prepare for the birth. She thus offers Christians of all times a sublime model of service.
The words: "Let it be to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38), show in her who declared herself handmaid of the Lord, a total obedience to God's will. The optative genoito, "let it be done", used by Luke, expresses not only acceptance but staunch assumption of the divine plan, making it her own with the involvement of all her personal resources.
By conforming to God's will, Mary anticipates attitude of Christ
4. By conforming to the divine will, Mary anticipates and makes her own the attitude of Christ who, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, coming into the world, says: "Sacrifice and offerings you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me ... Then I said ... 'Behold I come to do your will, O God'" (Heb 10:5-7; Ps 40 : 7-9).
Mary's docility likewise announces and prefigures that expressed by Jesus in the course of his public life until Calvary. Christ would say: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work" (Jn 4:34). On these same lines, Mary makes the Father's will the inspiring principle of her whole life, seeking in it the necessary strength to fulfil the mission entrusted to her.
If at the moment of the Annunciation, Mary does not yet know of the sacrifice which will mark Christ's mission, Simeon's prophecy will enable her to glimpse her Son's tragic destiny (cf. Lk 3:34-35). The Virgin will be associated with him in intimate sharing. With her total obedience to God's will, Mary is ready to live all that divine love may plan for her life, even to the "sword" that will pierce her soul.
Weekly Edition in English
11 September 1996
JESUS WORKS MIRACLE AT MARY'S REQUEST
Pope John Paul II
Mary's great faith, the power of her prayer and her co-operation in her Son's saving mission invite Christians of every age to trust the Lord fully
"Mary's request: 'Do whatever he tells you', keeps its ever timely value for Christians of every age.... It is an exhortation to trust without hesitation, especially when one does not understand the meaning or benefit of what Christ asks", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of Wednesday, 26 February 1997, as he spoke of Mary's role at the wedding in Cana. Here is a translation of his catechesis, which was the 44th in the series on the Blessed Virgin and was given in Italian.
1. In the episode of the wedding at Cana, St John presents Mary's first intervention in the public life of Jesus and highlights her co-operation in her Son's mission.
At the beginning of the account the Evangelist tells us that "the Mother of Jesus was there" (Jn 2:1), and, as if to suggest that her presence was the reason for the couple's invitation to Jesus and his disciples (cf. Redemptoris Mater, n. 21), he adds "Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples" (Jn 2:2). With these remarks, John seems to indicate that at Cana, as in the fundamental event of the Incarnation, it is Mary who introduces the Saviour.
The meaning and role of the Blessed Virgin's presence become evident when the wine runs out. As a skilled and wise housewife, she immediately notices and intervenes so that no one's joy is marred and, above all, to help the newly married couple in difficulty.
Turning to Jesus with the words: "they have no wine" (Jn 2:3), Mary expresses her concern to him about this "situation, expecting him to solve it. More precisely, according to some exegetes, his Mother is expecting an extraordinary sign, since Jesus had no wine at his disposal.
Mary strengthened the disciples' faith by obtaining the miracle
2. The choice made by Mary, who could perhaps have obtained the necessary wine elsewhere, shows the courage of her faith, since until that moment Jesus had worked no miracles, either in Nazareth or in his public life.
At Cana, the Blessed Virgin once again showed her total availability to God. At the Annunciation she had contributed to the miracle of the virginal conception by believing in Jesus before seeing him; here, her trust in Jesus' as yet unrevealed power causes him to perform his "first sign", the miraculous transformation of water into wine.
In that way she precedes in faith the disciples who, as John says, would believe after the miracle: Jesus "manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him" (Jn 2:11). Thus, Mary strengthened their faith by obtaining this miraculous sign.
3. Jesus' answer to Mary's words, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come" (Jn 2:4), appears to express a refusal, as if putting his Mother's faith to the test.
According to one interpretation, from the moment his mission begins Jesus seems to call into question the natural relationship of son to which his mother refers. The sentence, in the local parlance, is meant to stress a distance between the persons, by excluding a communion of life. This distance does not preclude respect and esteem, the term "woman" by which he addresses his Mother is used with a nuance that will recur in the conversations with the Canaanite woman (cf. Mt 15:28), the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:21), the adulteress (cf. Jn 8:10) and Mary Magdalene (cf. Jn 20:13), in contexts that show Jesus' positive relationship with his female interlocutors.
With the expression: "O woman, what have you to do with me?", Jesus intends to put Mary's co-operation on the level of salvation which, by involving her faith and hope, requires her to go beyond her natural role of mother.
4. Of much greater import is the reason Jesus gives: "My hour has not yet come (Jn 2:4).
Some scholars who have studied this sacred text, following St Augustine's interpretation, identify this "hour" with the Passion event. For others, instead, it refers to the first miracle in which the prophet of Nazareth's messianic power would be revealed. Yet others hold that the sentence is interrogative and an extension of the question that precedes it: "What have you to do with me? Has my hour not yet come?". Jesus gives Mary to understand that henceforth he no longer depends on her, but must take the initiative for doing his Father's work. Then Mary docilely refrains from insisting with him and instead turns to the servants, telling them to obey him.
Miracle shows the power of Mary's prayer
In any case her trust in her Son is rewarded. Jesus, whom she has left totally free to act, works the miracle, recognizing his Mother's courage and docility: "Jesus said to them, 'Fill the jars with water'. And they filled them up to the brim" (Jn 2:7). Thus their obedience also helps to procure wine in abundance.
Mary's request: "Do whatever he tells you", keeps its ever timely value for Christians of every age and is destined to renew its marvellous effect in everyone's life. It is an exhortation to trust without hesitation, especially when one does not understand the meaning or benefit of what Christ asks.
As in the account of the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:24-26), Jesus' apparent refusal exalts the woman's faith, so that her Son's words, "My hour has not yet come", together with the working of the first miracle, demonstrate the Mother's great faith and the power of her prayer.
The episode of the wedding at Cana urges us to be courageous in faith and to experience in our lives the truth of the Gospel words: "Ask, and it will be given you" (Mt 7:7; Lk 11:9).
To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:
I extend special greetings to the representatives of the BBC and to the viewers of the "Songs of Praise" telecast from the Basilica of St Mary Major: may God fill your hearts with sentiments of joy and gratitude towards our Creator. To all the English-speaking visitors, especially those from Great Britain, Thailand, Hong Kong and the United States, I cordially invoke the joy and peace of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Weekly Edition in English
26 February 1997
On hearing the Angels praising the incarnate presence of Christ, the shepherds hastened as to a Shepherd, and beholding Him as a spotless Lamb, pastured in Mary's womb, her they hymned, and said:
Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and Shepherd. Rejoice, Fold of the rational sheep.
Rejoice, O Defense against invisible foes. Rejoice, Opener of the gates of Paradise.
Rejoice, for the things of Heaven rejoice with the earth. Rejoice, the things of earth join chorus with the Heavens.
Rejoice, never-silent Voice of the Apostles. Rejoice, never-conquered Courage of the Martyrs.
Rejoice, firm Support of the Faith. Rejoice, shining Token of grace.
Rejoice, you through whom Hades was laid bare. Rejoice, you through whom we are clothed with glory.
Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.
Beholding the Godward-pointing Star, the Magi followed it radiance; and holding it as a lantern, they sought through it the mighty King. And having approached the Unreachable, they rejoiced and cried to Him:
The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who by His hand fashioned man; and sensing Him as Lord, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened with gifts to do homage, and they cried out to her who is blessed:
Rejoice, Mother of the never-setting Star. Rejoice, Dawn of the mystic Day.
Rejoice, you who has quenched the fiery furnace of error. Rejoice, you who enlightens the initiates of the Trinity.
Rejoice, you who has removed the inhuman tyrant from power. Rejoice, you who has shown Christ, the man-befriending Lord.
Rejoice, you who has redeemed us from the pagan religion. Rejoice, you who has rescued us from the works of mire.
Rejoice, you who ceased the worship of fire. Rejoice, you who saves us from the flames of passions.
Rejoice, Guide of the faithful to chastity. Rejoice, O Delight of all generations.
Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.
Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon. Fulfilling Your prophecy, and having preached You as the Christ to all, they left Herod as a trifler, who knew not how to chant:
Having shed the light of truth in Egypt, You expelled the darkness of falsehood; and unable to bear Your strength, O Saviour, her idols fell; and they that were set free from them cried to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, Uplifting of men. Rejoice, Downfall of demons.
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the delusion of error. Rejoice, you who censured the deceit of the idols.
Rejoice,Sea which drowned the symbolic Pharoah. Rejoice, Rock which refreshed those thirsting for life.
Rejoice, Pillar of fire, guiding those in darkness. Rejoice, Protection of the world, more spacious than a cloud.
Rejoice, Nourishment, successor to manna. Rejoice, Minister of holy joy.
Rejoice, Land of promise. Rejoice, you from whom flows milk and honey.
Rejoice, O Bride Ever-Virgin.
When Symeon was prepared to leave from this age of deception, You were presented to him as a newborn Babe, but he recognized You as perfect God. Wherefore, he marvelled at Your ineffable wisdom, chanting:
CANTICLE OF MARY:
My soul gives glory to the Lord,
In God my Savior I rejoice.
My lowliness he did regard,
Exalting me by his own choice.
From this day all shall call me blest,
For he has done great things for me,
Of all great name his is the best,
For it is holy; strong is he.
His mercy goes to all who fear,
From age to age and to all parts.
His arm of strength to all is near;
He scatters those who have proud hearts.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
And raises those of low degree;
He feeds the hungry as his own,
The rich depart in poverty.
He raised his servant Israel,
Rememb'ring his eternal grace,
As from of old he did foretell
To Abraham and all his race.
O Father, Son and Spirit bless,
In threefold Name are you adored,
To you be ev'ry prayer address,
From age to age the only Lord.
When Jesus on the cross entrusted his mother to the beloved Disciple He was entrusting her to the Church. "Behold, your mother" is his command not just to St. John but to the faithful of every age. Therefore, the Fourth Commandment surely applies to us to give proper honor and respect to the Theotokos.
From the same Lutheran who posted the hymn much earlier in this discussion.
I look forward to the 200+ postings you will post to honor Christ, our Lord and Savior when the Advent season comes to it's pinnacle...
The stars around Mary's head represent the crown of the Woman of the Apocalypse (Revelation 12:1): 'A great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.' The large star is the "Star of Bethlehem". The rose colored ball in the lower left corner symbolizes the earth in turmoil. The glow of Mary's heart is an evident sign of her tremendous love for all her children, especially the most helpless of all.
The incessant weeping over this horrendous evil has blackened her lovely eyes . The baby's Guardian Angel seems to be both saddened over the death of his charge and grateful for the Blessed Mother's care and concern.
The baby bears the five wounds of our Precious Saviour. Both baby and Angel are weeping and the baby's hands are clasped in prayer.
The reason the Blessed Mother's hand and fingernails are dirty is that she has to scoop and dig out these precious babies from trash bins, garbage dumps, and as in Wichita, Kansas, from a pile ready to be burned with dead animals at their dog pound.
MARY, MOTHER OF ALL THE LIVING, PRAY FOR US