Mary our Mother

Mary is Our Mother; the new Eve

TheotokosWe venerate Mary partly because she is also our mother; for Christ gave her to us when He said to St. John “Behold thy mother” (John xix. 27). John represented on Calvary all the followers of Christ. Mary is the second Eve, the Mother of all mankind; as the disobedience of Eve brought misery upon the human race, so the obedience of Mary restores it to the state of grace. Through Eve, death came into the world; through Mary; life. As our Mother; our salvation is more of a concern for her than for any other saint. St. Bernard declares that all the love of all the mothers in the world does not equal the love of Mary for each of her children. The reason she cares so much for us is by reason of her greater love of God; consequently her charity towards others extends so much more than that of the other saints. Mary knows all our circumstances. Perhaps because she was preserved from original sin herself; she all the more pities, loves and wishes to help us. It has been said that her love for us, her children, represents a boundless ocean of love.

God has exalted Mary above all men and angels. She was conceived without sin - Authentic Catholic Teaching GuaranteedINEFFABILIS DEUS Pope Pius IX – Apostolic Constitution issued on December 8, 1854More >
Mary was chosen by God to be the Mother of His Son, she was preserved from the stain of original sin for that reason, she was raised gloriously from the tomb and crowned Queen of Heaven by God.

No angel can say to God “Thou art my Son”. Mary is the Mother both of the creature and the Creator, she gave birth to God, the author of her being. What a mystery, she is the wonder of wonders; nothing in the universe, God Himself excepted is more glorious than her. Mary’s spotless purity, her sinlessness, was first proclaimed by God in the Garden of Paradise (Gen. iii. 15) and afterwards by the Archangel Gabriel (Luke i. 28). God said to the serpent “She shall crush thy head”. Had Mary been brought under the devils dominion by sin, she could not have been his conqueror. Gabriel saluted Mary as “full of grace”. The dignity of God demanded that His mother, from whom he would receive a human body, should be entirely free from sin. ‘Full of grace’ means no room for sin; otherwise she would not have been ‘full of grace’. The Fathers and the children of the church in all ages have given the title of immaculate birth to Mary and in 1854, the Holy Father declared her Immaculate Conception to be a dogma of the faith, which all Catholics are obliged to adhere to. The Council of Trent declared that Mary was free from original and actual sin (Council of Trent, 6, 23); she is compared to a lily among thorns (Cant. ii. 2) and a mirror without a flaw (Wisd. vii. 26). She advanced in perfection rapidly and continuously, like the vine (Ecclus. xxiv. 23) that grows higher and higher, till it attains the height of the tree to which it clings. She advanced all the more rapidly, because she was so near to the source of grace, and was the recipient of greater and more abundant graces than other men. Mary was the most holy and perfect of all creature; and her sanctity surpassed that of all other saints as much as the light of the moon exceeds in brilliance that of the planets. Even in the first moments of her existence, Mary’s sanctity was greater than that of the most eminent saints at the close of their life. On account of her exalted sanctity she is compared to the tower of David (Cant. iv. 4) which rose in majestic stateliness on the highest summit of the mountains about Jerusalem. She is also called the mirror of justice. Of all created beings none ever loved God so intensely as Mary did, or cared so little for the thing of earth. As the action of fire causes iron to glow with heat, so the Holy Ghost caused the heart of Mary to glow with charity. On account of her great love she is called the house of gold. Mary is adorned with every virtue. She is the mystical rose, for as the rose surpasses all other flowers in the beauty of its colouring and the fragrance

of its perfume, so Mary exceeds all the saints in the magnitude of her love for God, and the sweet odour of virtues.

The Virgin Birth Authentic Catholic Teaching GuaranteedThe virginity of our Blessed Lady was defined under anathema in the third canon of the Lateran Council held in the time of Pope Martin I, A.D. 649.More >

The Hebrew word ‘Mary’ means ‘lady’.

St. Elizabeth was the first to call Mary the Mother of God (Luke i. 43) and this was confirmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431, who conferred the title ‘Dei Genitrix’ and condemned the contrary doctrine of the heretic, Nestorius, who denied that Our Lady is the mother of God. Mary is called the Mother of God because of her, Christ, second person of the Blessed Trinity, was born. Many ages before the birth of Christ, Isaias the prophet has foretold that a virgin should conceive and bear a son (Is. vii. 14). When the angel Gabriel announced that “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb. And shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name, Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, And of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke i. 31-33); Mary offered the fact that she had dedicated herself to God as a virgin because she did not understand how what the angel had announced could come to pass. “And the angel answering said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” (Luke i. 35-38). In her conception, in her child bearing, during and after the birth of Jesus, Mary remained a virgin. As the bush burned with fire and was not consumed, so Mary’s virginity was not affected by the birth of Christ. As Our Lord appeared in the midst of the apostles although the doors of the upper room in which they were assembled were shut, so He came into her world and her virginity remained intact. So the sun shines through glass without in any way changing the glass. Mary is the window of Heaven, through which the true light came into the world.

Those who are spoken of in the Gospels as the brethren of Christ (Matt. xii. 55) are his blood relations as it was customary among the Jews to term near relatives ‘brethren’. Abraham called his nephew Lot by that name (Gen. xiii. 8). Christ was called the ‘first born’ because the first to be born of any parents was called by that name to reflect the fact that he was, according to Jewish law, sanctified to the Lord (Exod. xiii. 2). For someone to be called ‘first born’ didn’t mean that there were younger siblings necessarily! If there had been other siblings, Christ would not have commended His beloved disciple and His mother to each other from the cross. Mary was espoused to St. Joseph, though they were both virgins, because it was part of God’s plan for His coming into the world; that His mother would not be the indirect cause of scandal, would not be stoned after the birth of Christ and that she and the divine child might have a guardian.

The body of the Blessed Virgin was assumed gloriously into Heaven. It is said that St. Thomas, having arrived in Jerusalem too late to assist at her funeral and interment, was desirous to see her remains in the sepulchre; but when it was opened nothing was found there but the grave clothes in which her body had been wrapped. The feast of her Assumption is kept throughout the whole Church on the fifteenth of August. No one has ever claimed to possess a relic of her body. Mary shines in Heaven with unrivalled splendour. In her more than in any other creature, we gain a knowledge of the divine attributes. Most especially we see displayed in her glorious exaltation the infinite goodness of God, Who raises the poor man from the dunghill, that He may set him with princes and elevate him above the choirs of celestial spirits.

Mary’s power with God is more powerful than that of any other saint
Mary’s intercession has immense power with God. On earth, her petition was respected by her Son although it meant that He changed His plans to accede to her request (the marriage feast of Cana). And if Christ granted her request on earth, how much more will He do so in Heaven? St. Bernard declares that there is nothing that Mary cannot obtain for us. Hence the saints speak of her as the dispenser of graces for from her hands come all the favours we receive from Heaven. St. Peter Damian says that “God would not have become man until Mary had given her consent, in order that we might see that the salvation of mankind rested in her hands”. She stood beneath the cross that we might know that without her mediation no one could be made partaker of the merits of the blood of Christ. God the Father sanctions, Christ grants and Mary distributes the gifts of Heaven to mankind. Thus Mary is the mother of divine grace. St. Bernard asks “who can doubt that the Son will listen to His mother – such a Son to such a mother!” He declares in the ‘Memorare’ that it is unheard of that anyone imploring Mary’s help would implore in vain. She rewards the slightest prayer and intention with the richest graces. There is not a trace of sternness about her; she is all clemency, loving kindness and gentleness. He would be wrong indeed who was nervous or afraid to approach her.

From time immemorial, Christians have had recourse to Mary in times of affliction and distress

In the year 1683, when the Turks besieged Vienna, both in the beleagured city and throughout Christendom the Rosary was recited to implore the aid of the Mother of God, and a signal victory was the result. Individual Christians also appeal to Mary for aid when private troubles press upon them. She is called the ‘Help of Christians’, the ‘Comforter of the afflicted’, the ‘Health of the sick’. Christians call upon her in seasons of severe sickness. It is recorded that when St. John Damascene had his right hand struck off by the caliph who was enraged with him for having written in defence of the veneration of images; upon prostrating himself before a statue of Our Lady, he was miraculously cured. To this day, Our Blessed Mother has continued to visibly concern herself with the plight of her children through her various apparitions at Lourdes, Knock, La Salette, Fatima, Akita and elsewhere. (Be aware that apparitions not officially sanctioned are to be avoided; in some cases false apparitions such as that of Medjugorje have been denounced by the local bishop.) Cures almost countless have been worked through her intercession. To Mary too is due the conversion of many sinners who desire to amend their lives; for upon those who invoke her, the light of the Holy Ghost is shed. Mary is the morning star, as that planet (Venus) heralds the sunrise (the arrival of the sun represents the arrival of God), so devotion to Mary brings one closer to devotion to God. She is compared to the dawn (Cant. vi. 9) because as the shades of night vanish before the rising sun, so sin departs from the soul that is devoted to Mary. The month of May is dedicated to her because nature then awakens to a new life; and devotion to Mary brings fresh life to the soul dead in sin. Mary is ever desirous to effect our reconciliation with God, far more than any earthly mother to effect a reconciliation between two members of the family who have fallen out. Through her intercession, God’s anger is appeased. Alexander the Great once said that “A single tear from my mother will blot out many death warrants”; how much more so with God and His mother! She is the refuge of sinners; the Mother of mercy; from her as from an olive tree the softening oil of mercy flows. She is our Mediatrix. We fly to her for her help in victory against temptation just as the Jews carried the Ark of The Covenant to ensure victory in their wars against the Philistines. She is the star that guides us over the tempestuous seas of life to the celestial port. She is compared to a plane tree in the Holy Scripture (Eccles. xxiv. 19) because as that tree protects the wayfarer from sun and rain, Mary protects those who place themselves under her care from the assaults of the devil. To the enemy of mankind, she is as “terrible as an army set in array” (Cant. vi. 3). Devotion to Mary is an excellent means of attaining sanctity here below and eternal happiness hereafter.

Taking the saints for our guide; they all displayed marked filial devotion and affection to the Mother of God (and were well rewarded for it)! Among the most prominent of these was St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Alphonsus Ligouri (the author of ‘The Glories of Mary’). Mary is the ladder by which God descends to us from Heaven and by which we ascend up to God. St. Alphonsus actually declared that he believed that hell could not boast of having even one soul who had a true and heartfelt devotion to Mary. St. Bernard asserts that those who honour her will surely be saved. St. Francis Borgia always feared for the salvation of a soul which had little or no devotion to the Mother of God.

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