. MARY - ESCHATOLOGICAL ICON OF THE CHURCH-CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


REASONS WHY CATHOLICS LOVE AND HONOR THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY THE MOTHER OF CHRIST..

C.C.C.# 972 After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own "pilgrimage of faith," and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, "in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," "in the communion of all the saints,"518 the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.

In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.519
IN BRIEF

973 By pronouncing her "fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body.

974 The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.

975 "We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ" (Paul VI, CPG § 15). C.C.C 

Paragraph 6. Mary - Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church

963 Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. "The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is 'clearly the mother of the members of Christ' . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head."502 "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."503

I. MARY'S MOTHERHOOD WITH REGARD TO THE CHURCH

Wholly united with her Son . . .

964 Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death";504 it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold your son."505
965 After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers."506 In her association with the apostles and several women, "we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation."507

. . . also in her Assumption

966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."508 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.509
. . . she is our Mother in the order of grace

967 By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to his Son's redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity. Thus she is a "preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church"; indeed, she is the "exemplary realization" (typus)510 of the Church.

968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace."511

969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."512

970 "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it."513 "No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source."514

* II. DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN

971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."515 The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration."516 The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.517 CCC

*REASONS WHY CATHOLICS LOVE AND HONOR THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY THE MOTHER OF CHRIST..

Before you accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary, I ask you to take a long hard look at these facts. They have a way of poking holes in the theory that we place too much emphasis on Mary. If you still want to accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary, then I suggest you ignore these facts!

1. God Sent The Savior Through Mary – I list this one first because it’s really tough to downplay Mary’s importance while acknowledging that the long awaiting Messiah came to earth by being born of a woman…and that woman was Mary. Out of all the ways that Jesus could have come to earth, why was Mary chosen? If Mary was important to God, shouldn’t she mean something to us?

2. Jesus Performed His First Miracle At Mary’s Request – This is another good one. Oh I know, Jesus didn’t need Mary to turn the water into wine at Cana. She just happened to be there. OK, why then did St. John list Mary FIRST in his list of wedding guests?

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage with His disciples. (John 2:1-2)

If Mary is not important in this saga, why is she listed BEFORE the apostles and BEFORE Jesus? St. John the Evangelist was not known for inserting extraneous details. Mary is listed first because John wants to call the readers’ attention to her presence at the wedding.

But what about “the rebuke”? You know, the argument that Jesus was telling Mary to “butt out” when He stated:

“O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

Jesus was a devout Jew and an obedient follower of the Ten Commandments. Why would He publicly dishonor His mother in violation of the Fourth Commandment? Secondly, if this was such a “put down” by Jesus, why did He go ahead and perform the miracle of changing water into wine? Wouldn’t that have been the end of the request. Of course it would, unless He wasn’t putting Mary down. When His mother interceded on behalf of the couple, Our Lord decided that His time had now come. Don’t you think Jesus is trying to tell us something? Isn’t is probable that Jesus waited until Mary’s request, in order to show us her intercessory power? Doesn’t that explain why St. John listed her first among the guests?

3. Jesus Gave Mary To John From The Cross – As He suffered and died on the Cross, Jesus made a very profound statement:

When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)

Why, while struggling to speak as He hung on the Cross, would Jesus have spoken these words if they didn’t mean anything? Could He have been making small talk? Obviously, there was a reason that Our Lord did what He did. The Church has always believed that John represented each member of the Church and that, from that moment on, Mary became our spiritual mother. Scripture tells us that, on that day John accepted Jesus’ gift and “took her to his own home” (John 19:27). Shouldn’t we do the same?

4. Jesus’ First Graces Were Given Through Mary – This is a fact that frequently gets overlooked by those who wish to downplay Mary’s importance…and it comes straight from the Bible! After accepting God’s offer to become the Mother of the Savior, Mary traveled “in haste” to visit her relative, Elizabeth.

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41)

According to this Bible passage, before Jesus was even born, Mary’s voice was used to deliver the graces to Elizabeth. Why? Because she’s not important? Isn’t there some other way, these graces could have been dispensed?

Not convinced? Listen to what Elizabeth had to say (also directly from the Bible)…

“For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1:44)

It’s pretty hard to deny the importance of Mary’s presence and voice in dispensing these graces to Elizabeth. Did the graces originate from Mary? No, they obviously came from Jesus. However, He chose to have Mary make the journey and use her voice to deliver them. Why? Because He wants us to realize that she is important!

5. Jesus Christ Is The Sole Mediator Between God And Man – Now, this doesn’t make sense. How does this help to support the Catholic position? This is why we Catholics “have it all wrong”, isn’t it? Sorry if I’m bursting anyone’s bubble, but Catholics absolutely believe that Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) clearly states this belief:

Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. (CCC 2634)

This Catholic teaching is supported by the following Bible passage:

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Although Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man, that doesn’t preclude others (including Mary) from being involved in a subordinate mediation, or intercession. Saint Paul, who made the above statement, is obviously aware of that fact since he several times urges his readers to pray for each other (Romans 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 1 Timothy 2:1). The Catechism refers to this type of intercession as being a “participation in the intercession of Christ” (CCC 2635) and is put into practice each time we pray for one another. Asking Mary to intercede for us in no way takes away from Jesus’ role as mediator between God and men.

While I’m not naive enough to think that listing these 5 facts will render me immune from further accusations of “Mary worship”, I do think that they will have an effect if looked at with an open mind. Sacred Scripture does not contain a lot of words about Mary, but what’s there is powerful. Theologians have spent 2,000 years studying her Biblical appearances and will continue to do so. We can learn much by studying Mary’s role as documented in the pages of the Bible. If anyone wants to accuse me of being a “Mary worshiper”, I ask you to first look at these 5 facts. If you still want to point a finger, you’ll need to ignore these factual statements…because accepting them will seriously undermine your credibility!

Editor’s note: By Gary Zimak..CATHOLIC EXHANGE.COM* This article originally appeared on CE on Jun 27, 2012

**Some Reasons to Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary 

There are countless reasons to honor the Mother of our Lord and our blessed Mother. For example:

The Archangel Gabriel honored Mary.

St. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, honored Mary.

Of all the people ever created, God choose Mary to bear His Son.

Thanks to Mary's fiat, the gates of Heaven were opened for us.

Jesus gave us Mary as our spiritual mother.

The fourth commandment requires that we honor our mother.

Mary loves Jesus perfectly and also loves each of us perfectly.

No Mary, no Jesus. (Although Jesus, as God, always existed) 

By honoring Mary, we are imitating Jesus - who will honor his mother for all eternity.

From Mary came the Eucharistic Body and Blood.

God chose Mary as His way to come to us.

Mary helps defeat Satan.

The early Church Fathers offered high praise for Mary.

Mary was a part of the most significant events in Jesus' life.

God entrusted His own Son to Mary.

God has honored Mary above all creatures.

Mary's consent was required to bring Jesus into the world - Her permission was essential to our redemption.

Mary worked and suffered for our salvation and it would therefore be ungrateful not to honor and reverence her.

Mary's consent made reparation to God for the disobedience of our first parents.

Mary is a perfect example of obedience.

Mary is sinless.

Mary is full of grace.

Mary is blessed among women.

Mary is the mother of our Lord.

Mary has found favor with God.

Mary said all would call her blessed.

Mary is the greatest of all saints.

Mary is the Queen of heaven.

Mary underwent intense sufferings on our behalf.

Mary is our Mother by the Will of Christ.

Mary is the greatest example of virtue in a creature.

Surely someone worthy of being the mother of the Jesus - that is, God! - is worthy of our honor. 

Jesus' humanity was drawn from Mary - without her, we could not be Jesus' brothers and sisters.

If the Ark in the Old Testament which held the written words of God was to be so revered, how much more should the Ark which contained the living Word be revered?

If one would "carefully handle a plant that brought forth the choicest of flowers", how much more ought one to show devotion to Mary, who brought forth Christ?

Mary is our best guide to Christ.

Without Mary there would be no: Christmas, Easter, Salvation, Eucharist, New Testament...

Without devotion to Mary, one loses out on knowing their Mother!

It's a privilege to have Mary pray for us, and those who honor her may ask for this privilege.

After healing the lepers, Scripture tells us that Christ inquired about the nine who had not returned to give thanks (see Lk. 17:17). Considering that it is due to Mary's fiat that we were able to be redeemed, should we follow the nine unfaithful lepers who did not return thanks or the one faithful leper who did return to give thanks? 

Would a wise person show great honor to an earthly king, yet snub his mother?

When one loves God, one should also love those whom God loves. "For it is the nature of love, to love when it feels itself loved, and to love all things loved of its beloved. So when the soul has by degrees known the love of its Creator toward it, it loves Him, and loving Him, loves all things whatsoever that God loves." (St. Catherine of Siena)

If someone you knew gave up their own child so that you and your loved ones could live, would you not honor that person? Wouldn't it show much ingratitude to not honor such a person? Well, Mary did give up her Son so that you and your loved ones might live!

If you want Mary to be there for you at your death, as she was for Jesus, you should be devoted to Mary during your life.

Jesus' body - without which we could not be redeemed - was taken from, nourished by, and cared for by Mary.

Jesus' plan for our redemption was totally dependent upon the Blessed Virgin's participation - Any chance we have of salvation was totally dependent upon the Blessed Virgin's participation.

Etc. 
And, since Scripture commands us to honor our mother and father, how could we fulfill this commandment if we don't honor Mary, our spiritual Mother? As Scripture says...

"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.... She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne... Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus." (Rv. 12:1-2,5,17, emphasis added)

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