Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion
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OUR LADY IN DOCTRINE AND DEVOTION
Fr.William G. Most
 
 
 
Did Vatican II Downgrade Her? During the second session of Vatican II, in October, 1963, the media screamed that the Council had just voted to downgrade Mary. What really happened? There had been a very close vote that day on what seemed to be just a procedural question, of where to put the Council's Marian teaching, in the Constitution on the Church, or in a separate document? It was announced that whichever way a Bishop voted, it would not mean downgrading.

Yet there were signs of trouble even before this point. G. Tavard in Council Daybook , 2, p. 52, said that several speakers had charged several Popes with heresy for saying Mary is Mediatrix: "It would be inconsistent for the Council to approve... the use of a term which contradicts the New Testament. As several speakers have pointed out, the term Mediatrix as applied to Mary is incompatible with the teaching of St. Paul." The reference is of course to 1 Tim 2. 5: "There is one Mediator". This amounted to a charge of heresy against several Popes for they had indeed taught that she is Mediatrix. These Popes were: Leo XIII (8 times), St. Pius X (twice), Benedict XV (twice), Pius XI (4 times), Pius XII (twice), John XXIII. They did not always use the same words, but the idea was clearly there. We should observe in passing that if a doctrine is repeatedly taught on the Ordinary Magisterium level, it is to be considered infallible. On the other hand, floor speeches at a Council are not providentially protected. At the first General Council, Nicea, In 325 AD, several Bishops denied the divinity of Christ.

What really happened? Because of strong feelings, it was agreed that each side would pick just one speaker. First Cardinal Santos of the Philippines spoke for those who wanted a separate document. Among other things He said: "She stood, suffering with Him as He died for us, meriting Redemption with Him... . The saving function of Mary who, as a result of the grace of the Redeemer, was associated with Him in the objective redemption itself, is essentially different from the function of others members [of Christ]."

Before going ahead to see the reply from the other faction, we must explain the term objective redemption used by Cardinal Santos. Mariologists distinguish objective redemption, the work of once-for-all acquiring all graces and forgiveness, from the subjective redemption, the work of giving out the fruits of the objective redemption throughout all subsequent times.

We distinguish further immediate and remote cooperation in the objective redemption. Remote cooperation is found in the very fact that she as His Mother gave Him the humanity in which He could die. Immediate cooperation would mean some sort of role in the great sacrifice of Calvary itself.

We used the broad expression "some sort of role," to leave open the question of precisely how her cooperation operated, in what it consisted.

There seems to have been a consensus before Vatican II that she did have an immediate cooperation: it could not be denied, for so many Popes spoke of her as cooperating on Calvary. That would necessarily be immediate.

There were and are two chief positions on just how her cooperation on Calvary operated. Cardinal Santos, in saying that she merited there, was expressing one position. The other position would speak of her role as merely "active receptivity." The partisans of this position ask us to think of someone stretching out a hand. That would be active. But it would be mere receptivity if the hand contributed nothing at all to producing the value it would receive.

It was German Mariologists who held for active receptivity. For example, Otto Semmelroth, in Urbild der Kirche. Organischer Aufbau des Mariengeheimnisses, (Wurzburg, 1950, p. 54) wrote: "Finally, Mary since she is substantially type of the Church, could not do anything other than the Church herself." Of course, the Church was not at hand on Calvary. The Church merely receives what Jesus alone merited. On p. 56 Semmelroth wrote: "So that it [Christ's offering] might be the offering of mankind there was need of the subjective appropriation by this mankind." This surely reminds us of "taking Christ as one's personal Savior" as the Protestants claim, for they say humans contribute nothing at all to their own salvation, they merely receive or appropriate it, make it their own.

What Vatican II really taught on this point we will see in detail later. For now we merely note that the appropriation by mankind was fully provided by the fact that Jesus was the New Adam, the new head of our race. And also, Semmelroth offered no proof that Mary, with her singular role and graces, could not do anything other than what the Church did. There is indeed in just a few of the early Fathers the notion of her as type of the Church, but they do not draw the conclusion Semmelroth drew from it.

Now that we know the view of the German Mariologists, we cannot help wondering if they wanted to put the Marian teaching into the document on the Church in the hope of getting the Council to teach their theory. Most emphatically it did not do that.

So now when we come to the words of the second speaker, who represented those who wanted to put the Marian teaching into the document on the Church, we are a bit puzzled. Cardinal Koenig of Vienna who also on a different occasion got up and said Scripture contains many errors! spoke for that group. And even though Cardinal Santos had clearly expressed not only immediate cooperation in the objective redemption, but had said it was done by way of merit, yet Cardinal Koenig opened by saying: "I do not disagree with the things that are explained by the other eminent Father in this matter. I contradict neither as to the doctrine, nor as to the devotion that flows therefrom. In fact, I very gladly and with my heart agree with all these things." As to wanting Marian doctrine in the constitution on the Church he explained: "The Church... is the central theme of this session and this Council. Therefore it is fitting that the Blessed Virgin should not be absent from this central theme, showing the close bond that exists between the teaching on the Church and the teaching on her."

If anyone favored downgrading, Cardinal Koenig spoke for those who would have done so. Yet he said these things. We can see how accurate our media are, though they have a most keen nose for news when they want to.

But the media report, and the attitude of some at the Council had their effect: a great drop in Marian devotion. Yet, we shall see that Vatican II taught more advanced theological positions on her, and spoke more extensively on her than all previous Councils combined.


I. In the Eternal Plans:
 
a) The existence of the plan for Incarnation and Mary:
 
Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854: "The unspeakable God... since from all eternity He foresaw the most dolorous ruin of the whole human race that would come from the sin of Adam... decreed that by the Incarnation of the Word He would fulfill in a more mysterious way the original plan of His goodness... and so that what fell in the first Adam might be restored much more happily in the second, from the beginning and before the ages He chose and planned a Mother for His Only-begotten Son."

Vatican II, Lumen gentium 61: "The Blessed Virgin, planned for from eternity as the Mother of God along with the Incarnation of the divine Word, was the loving Mother of the Redeemer... His generous associate, more than others, and the humble servant of the Lord."

Comment: 1. All the decrees of God are eternal, since they are identified with His eternal Being. Hence the decree for the Incarnation is eternal. But that decree also needed to contain the choice of a Mother for the Incarnation. That was the Blessed Virgin. Hence her union with Him is eternal. Vatican II notes that she was His associate as well as His Mother. The Council develops this most fully and in detail, as we shall see.

2. The liturgy often has employed Proverbs 8. 22-31 to express this eternal union: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before his works from of old. I was set up from eternity and of old before the earth was made. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding in water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth. When as yet he had not made the earth... When he prepared the heavens I was there; when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he established the skies above; when he made firm the foundations of the earth; when he fixed a limit for the sea so that the waters should not pass his commandment. Then I was beside him as his craftsman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him... and my delights were the sons of men."

Is the use of this text for Mary merely a fanciful or poetic accommodation? Such things are possible. But a deeper look is called for. First of all, early on the Law was identified with wisdom, for it is wisdom to follow the law. Thus Sirach 24:22-25 says that whoever follows wisdom will not be ashamed, and Proverbs 1. 7 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

These ideas fit with the fact that in the nature of things there are automatic penalties. Augustine in Confessions 1. 12: "You have ordered it, and it is so, that every disordered soul is its own punishment." Similarly 1 Cor 6. 12 says: "All things are permitted but not all things are beneficial." Excessive drink brings a hangover; premarital sex is very apt to mean a loveless, failed marriage, for love is a desire for the well-being of another for the other's sake. But if two people use each other for sense pleasure, that is not being concerned with the happiness of the other it puts the other, and self too, into the state of mortal sin, which can bring hell if death intervenes. Yes, it may feel like love and tenderness chemistry can cause that feeling. The chemistry is identical with or without the real love.

The idea that the law is Wisdom appears strongly in the Palestinian Targum on Dt. 32:4: "God divides the day into four parts: three hours he toils and is busy with [the study of] the Torah." The Babylonian Talmud, Aboda Zara, 3. b has the same idea.

Further, wisdom comes to be personified, as in Wisdom 9. 9-18: "With you is wisdom, who knows your works, and was present when you made the world." We think of John 1. 3: "All things were made by Him [the Logos] and without Him was made nothing that was made." The same thought appears in Col. 1. 15-16: "in Him all things were created". And more explicitly in 1 Cor 1. 25 Christ is the Wisdom of the Father.

We do not assume, of course, that the human author of Proverbs saw Christ as meant at all. But the chief Author, the Holy Spirit, could have in mind more than the human author saw, and later lead the Church to see it.

Then, in view of the eternal inseparable union of the Virgin Mary with Her Son, there is at least some basis for using to refer to her a text which Christian thought came to see as standing for Him." (About the inseparable union, cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, 1950, AAS 42. 768: "Always sharing His lot." Vatican II developed the same thought in great detail, as we shall see.

b) Who was it who planned?
 
There are two poles (centers around which things are grouped) in our relationship to God: 1)Love, closeness, warmth: this pole cannot be exaggerated, since He is infinite in all respects. But it can be a sick response if the other pole is almost or entirely omitted: 2)Sense of majesty, greatness. There are especially two ways to help add this second pole:

a) The negative way: The Fathers of the Church help: Arnobius, Against the Nations 1. 31: "To understand you, we must be silent; and for fallible conjecture to trace you even vaguely, nothing must even be whispered."

Pseudo-Dionysius, Mystical Theology 1. 2: Said that God is best known by "unknowing".

St. Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses: "The true vision of the One we seek, the true seeing, consists in this: in not seeing. For the One Sought is beyond all knowledge."

St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, 1. 6. 6: "He must not even be called inexpressible, for when we say that word, we say something."

These statements all use the negative way, i. e, they tell us what God is not. If we make a statement about Him, we need to refine or correct it at almost every step. Thus if we say: "In the beginning, there was a good Father" we need many adjustments: "In the beginning" but there is no beginning for Him. "There was" the word "was" cannot be used, for He is not in time, all is present to Him. "Good" Our Lord once replied (Lk 18. 18-19) to a young man who had addressed Him as Good Teacher: "Why do you call me good? One is good: God." He did not deny He was good, but He meant to say that the word good as applied to God and as applied to any creature as something in common, but much more difference than similarity." Father" same sort of comment.

b) Help from astronomy: The heavens declare the glory of the Lord. so by meditation on astronomy we can gain help to realize partly His Majesty. Here are some data. With each we think: The God who made this by a mere act of will still loves me and wants me to call Him Father. So as in the verse before the Our Father: "Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say..."

Antares in Scorpio: 430 light years distant. Could not pass between earth and sun even if distance were tripled.

North Star: over 600 light years Andromeda Galaxy: 2.2 million light years Quasars: some estimates put farthest at 14 billion light years

c) Divine transcendence: This means He is above and beyond all our categories. (1)Knowledge in general: Humans know either passively, by taking on an impression information they had lacked, or actively, by causing something, e.g. , a blind man knows a chair is moving because he is pushing it. But God cannot lack anything, so the passive way will not do; nor can we make Him as limited as a blind man. So we conclude: neither category fits: He is above and beyond all.

(2)Knowledge of free futures: My decision to be made at 10 AM tomorrow will not come from some causes already lined up, to intersect at 10 AM: then it would not be free. On the other hand, it does not exist, has not yet been made. So it is unknowable as future. He knows these by way of eternity, in which all is present, even things that are future to us. We cannot understand how this can be. Further. even after eternity has made a future decision present, the question remains: How does He know same problems as above. So, transcendence.

3)Knowledge of futuribles, e.g., what I would do tomorrow if some conditions would be present. These things are not really future they are just would-be's. So not even eternity can make them present. Yet Scripture shows He knows these. And we all hold that if we should ask for something that would not be good for us, if it were granted, He would not grant it.

d) Motive of the Incarnation: St. Irenaeus (Against Heresies 4. 14. 1) wrote: "In the beginning, God formed Adam, not because He stood in need of man, but that He might have someone to receive His benefits."

Even though He could not receive or gain, He still wanted to create us for two reasons: (1) To have someone to receive His generosity. For it pleases Him to give. But then He gave commandments, for (a)  it would do no good to give if we were not open to receive: His commandments tell us how to be open; (b)  observing the commandments also steers us away from things built into nature that would harm us. For there are automatic penalties, e. g, a hangover after a drunk, or, very likely, a failed marriage after much premarital intercourse. (c) His Holiness loves everything that is right, and hence He wants us to obey, even though it profits Him nothing. For it is right that creatures should obey; and the things commanded are objectively good.

(2)This is His glory: to give benefits to creatures. Hence Vatican I defined that He created for His own glory, in the sense just given: DS 3025. For the interpretation, cf. W. Most, New Answers to Old Questions, pp. 50-61.

e) Would there have been an Incarnation if Adam and Eve had not sinned?: The Dominicans and the Franciscans have debated this for centuries. See especially Juniper B. Carol, O. F. M.

However, it is almost certain, considering human weakness even had there been no original sin, that some, perhaps all, would sin, and then would not be able to pass on the life of grace to their children. Hence, considering the immense love of God for the human race, and his love of the fulfillment of the objective moral order (more on this later) we must say that to make up for even one mortal sin by Adam and Eve or by later persons God would have wanted to repair it. And if He wanted full reparation a thing He did not have to do He would have needed an Incarnation.


II. The Plan in Prophecy:
 
We notice that all the following prophecies involve Mary inasmuch as she is the Mother of the Promised One, inseparably joined with Him even in the eternal decrees.

Genesis 3:15: The Protoevangelium: Revised Standard Version: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

Targum Onkelos: "And enmity I will put between you and the woman, and between your son and her son. He shall be recalling what you did to him in the beginning; and you shall be observing him in the end."

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: "And I will place enmity between you and the woman, and between the offspring of your sons and the offspring of her sons. And it will happen: when the sons of the woman will observe the precepts of the Torah, they will aim to strike you on the head; and when they will forsake the precepts of the Torah, you will aim to bite them in the heel. But for them there will be a remedy; whereas for you there will be no remedy. And they will be ready to make a crushing with the heel in the days of King Messiah."

Fragmentary Targum: "And it shall be: when the sons of the woman observe the Torah and fulfill the commandments, they will aim to strike you on the head and kill you; and when the sons of the woman will forsake the precepts of the Torah and will not keep the commandments, you will aim to bite them in their heel and harm them. However there will be a remedy for the sons of the woman, but for you, O serpent, there will be no remedy. Still, behold, they will appease one another in the final end of days, in the days of the King Messiah."

Targum Neofiti: "And I will put enmities between you and the woman, and between your sons and her sons. And it will happen: when her sons keep the Law and put into practice the commandments, they will aim at you and smite you on the head and kill you; but when they forsake the commandments of the Law, you will aim at and wound him on his heel and make him ill. For her son, however, there will be a remedy, but for you, serpent, there will be no remedy. They will make peace in the future in the day of King Messiah."

Pius IX: Ineffabilis Deus, 1854: "The Fathers and ecclesiastical writers... in commenting on the words, 'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed' have taught that by this utterance there was clearly and openly foretold [praemonstratum] the merciful Redeemer of the human race... and that His Most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was designated [designatam], and at the same time, that the enmity of both against the devil was remarkably expressed. Wherefore, just as Christ the Mediator of God and man, having assumed human nature, destroying the handwriting of the decree that was against us, in triumph affixed it to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, joined with him in a most close and indissoluble bond, together with Him and through Him exercising eternal enmity against the poisonous serpent, and most fully triumphing over him, crushed his head with her immaculate foot."

Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, 1950: "We must remember especially that since the 2nd century, the Virgin Mary has been presented by the holy Fathers as the New Eve, who, although subject to the New Adam, was most closely associated with Him in that struggle against the infernal enemy which, as foretold in the protoevangelium [Gen 3:15], was to result in that most complete victory over sin and death, which are always tied together in the writings of the Apostles of the Gentiles. Wherefore, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and final sign of this victory, so also that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her Son, had to be concluded with the glorification of her virginal body... ."

Pius XII, Fulgens corona, 1953: "... the foundation of this doctrine [Immaculate Conception ] is seen in the very Sacred Scripture in which God... after the wretched fall of Adam, addressed the... serpent in these words, which not a few of the Holy Fathers and Doctors and most approved interpreters refer to the Virgin Mother of God: 'I will put enmity... . ' But if at any time, the Blessed Virgin Mary, defiled in her conception with the hereditary stain of sin, had been devoid of divine grace, then at least, even though for a very brief moment of time, there would not have been that eternal enmity between her and the serpent of which early tradition makes mention up to the solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception but instead there would have been a certain subjection."

Vatican II, Lumen gentium 55: "These primeval documents, as they are read in the Church, and are understood in the light of later and full revelation, gradually bring more clearly to light the figure of the woman, the Mother of the Redeemer. She, in this light, is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise, given to our first parents who had fallen into sin, of victory over the serpent (cf. Gen 3, 15)...."

Vatican II, Dei Verbum 3: "After their fall, by promising redemption, he lifted them into hope of salvation (cf. Gen 3, 15)... ."

John Paul II, Mulieris dignitatem, Aug. 15, 1988: 3 "It is significant that St. Paul does not call the Mother of Christ by her own name Mary, but calls her woman: This coincides with the words of the Protoevangelium in the Book of Genesis (cf. 3:15). She is that 'woman' who is present in the central salvific event which marks the 'fullness of time'. Ibid. #11: "At the same time it [Genesis] contains the first foretelling of victory over evil, over sin. This is proved by the words which we read in Genesis 3:15, usually called the Protoevangelium... . It is significant that the foretelling of the Redeemer contained in these words refers to 'the woman'... . From this vantage point the two female figures Eve and Mary are joined under the name of woman... . 30: It is also to be noted how the same woman who attains the position of a biblical 'exemplar' also appears within the eschatological perspective of the world and of humanity given in the Book of Revelation. She is 'a woman clothed with the sun, ' ... . Is not the Bible trying to tell us that it is precisely in the 'woman' Eve Mary that history witnesses a dramatic struggle for every human being, the struggle for his or her fundamental yes or no to God and God's eternal plan for humanity." Cf. also John Paul II, Redemptoris mater 24: "It is significant that, as he speaks to his mother from the Cross, he calls her 'woman' and says to her: "Woman, behold your son! Moreover, he had addressed her by the same term at Cana too (cf. Jn 2:4)... . . she... remains in that mystery as 'the woman' spoken of by the Book of Genesis (3:15) at the beginning and by the Apocalypse (12:1) at the end of the history of salvation." Cf. ibid 47.

Comments: 1. Three out of four of the Targums (ancient Aramaic versions, plus interpretations, of the OT) show us that Genesis 3. 15 is in some way messianic, even though their interpretation is clouded by allegory. Yet they do speak of a victory, even though the same Hebrew verb schuf is used twice, for striking at head, and at heel. Some reject the evidence of Targums, saying we do not know the date of their composition. We reply (as to date of the messianic prophecy passages in the Targums): 1)These interpretations were written by ancient Jews without hindsight, i.e. , without seeing them fulfilled in Christ, for they hated Him. 2)Jacob Neusner, a great Jewish scholar of today, from University of South Florida, in Messiah in Context reviewed every Jewish document from after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian Talmud inclusive (completed 500 600 AD). Up to, but not including that Talmud, he found no interest in the Messiah. In the Talmud, interest returns, but the only major point they mention is that he was to be from the line of David. Now it is hardly conceivable that the Targum interpretations, so numerous, on so many points, could have been written in a period when there was no interest in the Messiah. (On the Targums, see also: Samson Levey, The Messiah. An Aramaic Interpretation. ) Some scholars, e. g, R. Le Deaut (in: The Message of the New Testament and the Aramaic Bible (Targum), Rome, Biblical Institute Press, 1982, pp. 4-5, put the beginning of the Targums in the occasion when Ezra read from the book, and translated, giving the sense: Nehemiah 8. 8.

2. Pius IX for the most part does not speak in his own name, he merely cites approved authors. But Pius XII in Munificentissimus Deus speaks without reservation about the struggle being foretold in the Protoevangelium, and he even uses the fact that this "struggle" was in "common" to Jesus and Mary as a part of the theological reasoning by which he finds the Assumption in the sources of revelation. Further, in Fulgens corona he says Genesis 3:15 is the foundation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception: therefore, it must be contained in that text in some way. Vatican II uses cf. before Gen. 3. 15, at the request of about a dozen Bishops. Cf. Charles M. Miller, "As it is Written". The use of Old Testament References in the Documents of Vatican Council II, (Marianist Center, St. Louis, 1973, pp. 49-60). But even so, that reserve seems to apply only to the understanding of the human author we do not know how much he foresaw. But it does say that the Church now, with the help of later and full revelation, does see the figure of the woman gradually coming to light. Here Vatican II seems to use the notion that the chief Author, the Holy Spirit, could intend more than the human author saw. It is really obvious that He could do so. (This is true even though in Dei Verbum 12 where the Council had an opening to say explicitly that there could be such a fuller sense, yet it did not say so. On this cf. H. Vorgrimler, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Herder & Herder, 1969, III, p. 220). Still further, John Paul II, without any reservation, speaks of the Protoevangelium many times as referring to Mary sample quotes given above. We note that in Mulieris dignitatem he speaks of the text as referring to both Eve and Mary. This is quite plausible, a case of multiple fulfillment of prophecy. On this latter pattern, cf. W. Most, Free From All Error, chapter 5.

The conclusion from all these sources is that it is quite clear that at least as understood in the light of later revelation, Gen 3. 15 is Marian/Messianic, probably in the typical sense, which is a true sense of Scripture: Eve is a type of Mary (for LG 55 uses the word "foreshadowed").

Isaiah 9. 6: RSV: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty-God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, "

Targum Jonathan: "A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and his name has been called from of old Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, Messiah in whose day peace shall increase for us."

Comment: 1. The sense of the Targum is disputed. We have rendered it substantially as does J. F. Stenning (The Targum of Isaiah, Oxford, 1949. ) However Samson Levey (The Messiah. An Aramaic Interpretation, (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, 1974) turns the sentence structure around so as to read: "his name has been called Messiah... . by the Mighty God." The difference hinges on the Aramaic words min qedem which can mean either "by" or "from of old". As to the words "Mighty God" which the New American Bible renders God-hero that version is not defensible, for the Hebrew El gibbor in the Old Testament always means only Mighty God, never God-hero. Levey makes a similar change in sentence structure for the Hebrew: "the Mighty God... has called his name 'Prince of Peace'." That translation raises the question of which terms belong to whom.

2. Naturally, the ancient Jews, with their emphasis on monotheism, would have difficulty calling the Messiah God. Yet there are some other OT passages that could indicate divinity of the Messiah.

Psalm 80. 15-18:  God is asked to visit this vine "and the stock which your right hand has planted... . Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, upon the son of man whom you have strengthened for yourself." Levey here

Comments: "It would appear that the Targum takes the Messiah to be the son of God, which is much too anthropomorphic and Christological to be acceptable in Jewish exegesis." He notes that neither the earlier nor the later rabbis took up this interpretation by the Targum. Rather, he says that some of the later rabbis "carefully steer clear of any messianic interpretation " by the Targum here. (In passing: we note that here the Messiah is called Son of Man!)

Psalm 45. 7-8: "Your throne, O God, is ever and ever... . God your God has anointed you with the oil of rejoicing." Even though some think the Psalm was occasioned by a royal marriage, the Targum saw it as messianic. Levey even remarks that the Hebrew word for King Melech in verses 2, 6, 12, 15, and 16 is understood as God.

Ezekiel 34. 11: God Himself said: "For thus says the Lord God: Behold I , I will search out my sheep and seek them out." We notice the repeated "I", which seems to stress the thought that God Himself would come. But in verse 23 of the same chapter: "I will set one shepherd over them, my servant David." The Targum Jonathan does treat the psalm as messianic. Of course this is far from clear, but there could be an implication that the Messiah, called here "my servant David" would be God Himself.

Jeremiah 23. 3:  God said: "and I myself shall gather the remnant of the my sheep from all the lands to which I have driven them." But in verse 5: "I will raise up for David a righteous branch." That word "branch" is often taken by the Targums to indicate the Messiah. Hence Targum Jonathan on verse 5 does use "a righteous Messiah" instead of "branch". Then, surprisingly, in verse 6: "And this is the name which He shall call him: the Lord is our righteousness." In the later Midrash, Lamentations Rabbah 1. 51 we read : "What is the name of the King Messiah? R. Abba b. Kahana said: "His name is 'the Lord'". In the Hebrew text of that passage, the word for Lord is Yahweh! It is astounding to find a later rabbi doing such a thing. (cf. Levey, op. cit, p. 70).

Jeremiah 30. 11:  "For I am with you oracle of Yahweh to save you." The Targum clearly calls this passage Messianic. Levey notices this, and comments: "in v. 11 the apparent anthropomorphism of God being with Israel, in the physical sense is softened by the use of the word Memra" a puzzling word in the Targums, which seems in general to refer to the complex interplay between God's constancy and the fickleness of His people but a times, it seems to mean God Himself. (On Memra cf. Bruce Chilton, The Isaiah Targum, Glazier, 1987, p. lvi). Isaiah 7. 14: "Behold, the young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

The Targum does not identify this passage as messianic. However, Jacob Neusner, (Messiah in Context p. 173) quotes the great Hillel, one of the chief teachers at the time of Christ, as saying that Hezekiah, son of Achaz (to whom Isaiah spoke) had been the Messiah. So he considered the text messianic. But then Neusner adds (p. 190): "Since Christian critics of Judaism claimed that the prophetic promises... had all been kept in the times of ancient Israel, so that Israel now awaited nothing at all, it was important to reject the claim that Hezekiah had been the Messiah)". Thus the Talmud, cited by Neusner, p. 173, quotes Rabbi Joseph as denying that Hezekiah had been the Messiah.

Further, both Is. 7. 14 and 9. 5-6 are part of the section on Immanuel, which runs from 6. 1 to 12. 6. Hence it is generally accepted that the child in 7. 14 is the same as the child in 9. 5-6. This means, of course, that since 9. 5-6 is marked by the Targum as messianic, so is 7. 14 implicitly messianic. It was only the the actions of the Jews against Christians that caused them to stop saying 7. 14 was Messianic.

Who, then, is the child of 7. 14? Some of the characteristics of 9. 5-6 are too grand for Hezekiah. Further the use of the definite article before almah in 7. 14 seems to point to someone special, not just to the wife of Achaz. On the other hand, a sign to come seven centuries later would hardly be a sign for Achaz. We conclude: this is a case of multiple fulfillment of prophecy: it refers to both Hezekiah and Christ.

Still further, the Septuagint uses parthenos to render Hebrew almah (which means a young woman, of the right age for marriage, who at least should be a virgin. Betulah is the more precise word for virgin). R. Laurentin (The Truth of Christmas Beyond the Myths, Petersham, 1986, p. 412), claims the Septuagint sometimes uses parthenos loosely. But this is not true. Actually, there are only two places in the OT where the Septuagint translates almah by parthenos. One is in Genesis 24. 43, where the context shows the girl is a virgin. The other is Is. 7. 14. There are several other places where almah is at least likely to be a virgin. But the Septuagint is so careful that it uses instead of parthenos, a more general word, neanis in those cases. Laurentin in the English version appeals also to Genesis 34. 3 (in the French he had appealed to 34. 4, which does not have the word parthenos at all). But the case is at least unclear, since 34. 3 is likely to be an instance of concentric ring narration, common in Hebrew. And as we have just said, in all clear instances the Septuagint is very precise in its use of parthenos, at times more precise than the Hebrew (as shown by the context).

Isaiah 52. 13-53. 12: The Hebrew OT here predicts a meek, suffering Servant. The Targum changes it to an arrogant conqueror. Here are some comparisons:

Hebrew v. 3: "He was despised and rejected by men." Targum: "Then the glory of all kingdoms will be despised and cease."

Hebrew v. 5:  "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities." Targum: "He will rebuild the sanctuary, polluted because of our sins, [and] handed over because of our iniquities."

Hebrew v. 7: He was "like a lamb being led to the slaughter". Targum: "He will hand over the mighty ones of the peoples, like a lamb to the slaughter."

Comment: Good Jewish scholars today admit that the Targum distorts the Hebrew. (Cf. H. J. Schoeps, Paul, Westminster, 1961, p. 129, and Jacob Neusner, Messiah in Context, p. 190, and Samson Levey, op. cit. p. 152, note 10) One reason was that a suffering and dying Messiah was unacceptable. The belief was widespread that the Messiah would live forever. Hence at times they even spoke of two Messiahs. In the Talmud, Sukkah 52a we read of a suffering and slain Messiah son of Joseph (in comment on Zechariah 12. 10). He was to be the precursor of Messiah son of David, the herald of the true Messianic Age. In addition, the Targum picture seems to reflect hopes for Bar Kokhba, leader of the final Jewish revolt against Rome, who was thought to be Messiah. (Cf. Levey, pp. 66-67.

Zechariah 12, 10: "They shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son."

Comment: Most commentators are so disturbed by the shift from "me" to "him" that they emend the text. Thus RSV changes "me" to "him" St. John's Gospel in 19. 37 explicitly takes it to refer to Jesus: "And another Scripture says: They will look on him whom their have pierced." Similarly, Apocalypse 1. 7 understands the line to refer to Christ: "Behold he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, everyone who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him." In Mt. 26. 31 Jesus quotes Zech. 12. 7 to refer to himself: "I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed." On the cross, Jesus quoted Psalm 22,"My God, why have you forsaken me" not to express a belief the Father had left him (though the Father did will His death), but to show that that Psalm spoke of Him. In verse 17: "They have pierced my hands and my feet".

The problem is that "me" seems to be spoken by God Himself", while the "him" seems another person. David Baron, The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah, Kriegel, Grand Rapids, 1971, pp. 438-48 contends that the "me" does express Christ, as divine while the "him" indicates the difference of persons within God.

So these added texts from Zechariah, Apocalypse, and Psalm 22 do help to clarify the prophecy of the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

Conclusion from the prophecies: Our Lady is foretold at times directly, at times inasmuch as she is always sharing the lot of Jesus. She would have understood these things readily, for when the Archangel told her that her Son would reign over the house of Jacob forever, that clearly meant the Messiah. For a very common belief at the time held that the Messiah would do that, and no one else. Seeing that He would be the Messiah would at once open up the prophecies to her. The Targums, composed without seeing them fulfilled in Christ, and written before the period when interest in the Messiah disappeared (the period from after the fall of Jerusalem, until the completion of the Babylonian Talmud: cf. Jacob Neusner's study Messiah in Context, and pp. 7-8 above for data on the Targums in general. Now if the Jews, whom the OT so often calls stiff-necked could understand this much, she who was full of grace must have all the more easily seen the truth, even if she never heard a Targum. But she must have heard them in the synagogues. It is likely that there was a period of oral transmission before they were written down, but in either way she would have heard them. As to the question of taking Hebrew almah to mean virgin, as the Septuagint did she would have no problem, for she was seeing it fulfilled in herself.


III. Sinai Covenant:

Since the redemption, in which she will share, was, under one aspect, in the form of a covenant, we need to go back to the great covenant of Sinai. There God spoke to the people through Moses (Ex. 19. 5): "If you really hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be my special possession, dearer to me than all other peoples."

We notice two major features here: 1) It brings into being a People of God, 2) they get favor on condition of obedience. The OT reports sadly how often they failed, going after idols. God warned them, and at last He would send in a foreign power to oppress them to bring them to their senses. When they would repent, He would rescue them. But finally came the great crash, when Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon came down in two waves, 597 and 587 (some prefer 596 and 586). He ruined the Temple and city, and took most of the people into captivity to break their national spirit. It worked, for when Cyrus of Persia, after conquering Babylonia, in 539 allowed the Jews to return, only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin did return. The rest were absorbed into Babylonia and never came back.

(Mormons claim the lost tribes came across the Bering Strait and became American Indians. But the Smithsonian Institution reported:

"The American Indians are physically Mongoloids, and thus must have originated in eastern Asia." Cf. J. B. Billard, editor, The World of the American Indian, Washington, National Geographic Society, 1974, 1979, esp. the chapter "Across an Arctic Bridge" by J. D. Jennings).

It was during this period that God spoke again through Jeremiah 31. 31ff: "I will make a new covenant. It will not be like the covenant I made with your fathers, for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master. But this is the covenant: I will write my law on their hearts; I will be their God and they will be my people."

We notice there will be a difference, for the old was broken, the new will not be broken. The old was on stone tablets; the new is written on hearts. But the two essentials we saw at Sinai are still there: a People of God, to get favor on condition of obedience. As we shall see later, the essential obedience would be that of Jesus (cf. Rom 5. 19 and LG 3). Did Jeremiah see that would be the case? We do not know. But the chief author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, can intend more than the human author sees. Still less likely is it that Jeremiah saw that the obedience of our Lady would play a role here: cf. LG 56 & 61.

Before moving ahead, we should notice that if we ask why God gave good things under the covenant, the reply would come on two levels: 1)On the most basic level, no creature could by its own power generate a claim on God. Hence His giving is pure unmerited, unmeritable generosity. 2)On the secondary level, i.e. , given that fact that He had freely entered into and bound Himself by covenant, we could speak of Him as repaying the people. In this sense St. Paul in Rom 2. 6 could say that God will repay each one according to his works in spite of his insistence that justification is gratuitous. This same distinction, as we shall see later, will apply in the new covenant.


IV. Immaculate Conception:
 
a) History of the Doctrine: In studying Scripture there are always two phases: first, we work by human means, normal exegetical methods; second, we see what help the Church gives. If we looked in Scripture by human means, we could at most, suspect there might be an Immaculate Conception, in Genesis 3. 15, reasoning that if the woman is Eve/Mary (cf. the text of John Paul II above) and there is to be complete enmity with the serpent, then she never should have been in any way subject to him even briefly.

We could also reason from the text of Lk 1:28 "full of grace". If we can validate the translation we can, and will do so, shortly then we could reason: the enmity would not be full, without the Immaculate Conception.

We turn to the early Fathers. Many, not all of them, make sweeping statements about her holiness. That could imply an Immaculate Conception. Secondly, very many of them speak of her as the New Eve. They could have reasoned: the first Eve had an immaculate start in life no sin was yet committed. So the New Eve, who was to share in undoing the harm of original sin, should have also an immaculate start. But not one of the Fathers ever reasoned that way. (Tragically, a few Fathers even tried to find sins she had committed. e.g. St. John Chrysostom said that at Cana in trying to help she wanted to make herself seem better than her Son! This was inexcusable rash judgment, no basis whatsoever: Homily on John 21. PG 59. 130ff).

So there was a way open for even denial of her immaculate conception.

We come to the 12th century, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, famed for his Marian devotion, explicitly denied the Immaculate Conception. There seem to have been two reason why Bernard opposed the Immaculate conception. First, he did not want to go beyond the data of Scripture and the Fathers. As we have seen, these were not yet clear. Secondly, he seems to have been affected by the unfortunate view of Augustine on original sin. Augustine seems to have thought that it was not merely a privation, the absence of grace that should be there, as we now know, and will explain below. He seems to have had a positive element in it, namely, concupiscence. In his Retractations 1. 15. 2 Augustine said: "... the guilt of this concupiscence is taken away in Baptism, but the weakness remains." We note he said there was guilt in having concupiscence before baptism. This fits with the tendency of Augustine to think souls of children derive from the souls of parents he tended to favor this view without being certain, however as seeming to be needed to explain how original sin is transmitted. This fits with the words of the same Augustine in his Enchiridion 78. 21. After quoting St. Paul, 1 Cor 7:5 which in the poor Latin version Augustine used spoke of venia, pardon for sex within marriage, Augustine added: "Who now would deny it is a sin, when he admits that a pardon (venia) is given to those who do it, by apostolic authority?" St. Jerome spoke similarly in Against Jovianian 1. 2: "'It is good, he [St. Paul] in 1 Cor 7:1 says, for a man not to touch a woman. ' If it is good not to touch a woman, therefore it is evil to touch one, for nothing is contrary to good except evil. If... it is evil, but is forgiven [cf. venia , pardon, again] it is granted so that worse may not happen... . . it was good not to touch... unless [the danger of] fornication would make the touch excusable."

Even St. Thomas Aquinas wrote (De malo 4. 3): "Carnal semen just as it is the instrumental cause of transmission of human nature into offspring, so it is the instrumental cause of the transmission of original sin." But a physical thing could be an instrumental cause of transmission of original sin only if original sin is thought of as not just a privation (the lack of grace that should be present in a new baby), but as having a positive element.

Not all the early Fathers made such mistakes. Tertullian, even though inclined to be a rigorist, had great praise for marriage, in his work To His Wife: "How, beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice... . Nothing divides them either in flesh or in spirit. They are, in very truth, two in one flesh, and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit. They pray together... . Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present, and where He is, there evil is not." Clement of Alexandria wrote in Paedagogus 2. 10. 94: "Marriage in itself merits esteem and the highest approval."

The views of Augustine and Jerome were a sad mistake. In contrast, Vatican II (Gaudium et spes 49) taught: "The Lord has seen fit by a special gift of grace and love to heal, to perfect, and to elevate this love [within marriage]... so the actions by which the spouses are intimately and chastely united are honorable and worthy, and, carried out in a truly human manner, signify mutual self-giving and promote it." Pope Paul VI (Address to the 13th National Congress of the Italian Feminine Center, Feb. 12, 1966) said, "Christian marriage and the Christian family demand a moral commitment. They are not an easy way of Christian life, even though the most common, the one which the majority of the children of God are called on to travel. Rather, it is a long path toward sanctification." The reason is that in marriage there are countless occasions that require self-sacrifice, because the mate has such a different psychology, and for the needs of children. Cf. Wm. Most, Our Father's Plan, pp. 144-49.

So Bernard wrote (Letter to the Canons of Lyons 7. PL 182. 335): "Could sanctity have been associated with conception in the embrace of marriage, so that she was conceived and sanctified at the same time? That is not reasonable. How could there have been sanctity without the sanctifying Spirit? How could the Holy Spirit be associated in any way with sin? How could sin not have been present where concupiscence was not absent?"

Most of the great theologians of the Middle Ages followed suit. Even St. Thomas wrote (Summa III. 27. 2. ad 2): "... if the soul of the Blessed Virgin had never been defiled with the contagion of original sin, this would take away from the dignity of Christ, according to which He is the universal Savior of all."

But then the tide began to turn, thanks especially to the work of the Franciscan, Venerable Duns Scotus. He showed that to preserve her from original sin was a greater redemption than to allow her to fall into it and then rescue her. Scotus wrote (cited from J. B. Carol, Mariology I, 368): "Either God was able to do this, and did not will to do it, or He willed to preserve her, and was unable to do so. If able to and yet unwilling to perform this for her, God was miserly towards her. And if He willed to do it but was unable to accomplish it, He was weak, for no one who is able to honor his mother would fail to do so."

Again, we note that behind most of the objections was the rather positive notion of original sin. Had they seen, what we now know (see below) that it consists solely in a lack (privation) of the grace that should be there, then there is no problem of God providing it in anticipation of the merits of Christ.

There were false arguments too drawn from etymology. One of these said that Latin redimere means to buy back. But the back implies someone was in a bad state. But no one should ever try to prove anything from the root meanings of any word. For only if the one who first coined the word did a good job, will the meaning even coincide with the meaning of the roots. And even if it does, then later on the only thing we can be sure of is that the meaning probably develops, and we cannot be sure in which direction it will develop. Still further, the Latin merely attempts to reproduce Hebrew gaal , the real source of the concept of redemption. But there is no prefix meaning back on the Hebrew word.

Then the Popes began to make statements of varying clarity. (On these cf. Marian Studies V, 1954, esp. pp. 73 145. ) Sixtus IV in 1477 (DS 1400) praised the liturgical celebration of the Immaculate Conception. The same Pope added further support in 1483 (DS 1425-26), condemning those who said it was sinful to preach and believe the Immaculate Conception. The Council of Trent explicitly declared in its decree on original sin (DS 1516): "... it is not its intention to include in this decree... the blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Rather, the Constitutions of Sixtus [IV] of happy memory are to be observed."

After Trent, the attacks on the Immaculate Conception were greatly moderated. One of the most zealous defenders of the doctrine during this period was the Dominican Ambrose Catarino. Then Pope St. Pius V, in 1567 (DS 1973) condemned the error of Baius who said Our Lady was subject to original sin. And in 1568 the same Pope put the feast of the Immaculate Conception on the calendar of the Roman breviary. Alexander VII in 1661 explained the doctrine much as Pius IX did later: DB 1100. Pope Clement XI in 1708 made Dec 8 a holyday of obligation. Further, the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in the U. S. in 1846 declared Mary Immaculate to be Patroness of the United States, and Pius IX on Feb. 7, 1847 confirmed this dedication.

The result was that about a century and a half before the definition of 1854, everyone believed the Immaculate Conception.

Finally, in Ineffabilis Deus, in 1854, Pius IX defined this doctrine and added that she was conceived immaculate by anticipation of the merits of Christ. This is not strange, for to the eye of God, all time is present. (Incidentally, this leads to the thought: Could we pray for the salvation of someone already dead, hoping God might have taken into account our prayers in advance? The view that we could is quite plausible, not certain).

Pius XII, in Fulgens corona, 1953 wrote: "... the foundation of this doctrine [Immaculate conception] is seen in the very Sacred Scripture in which God... after the wretched fall of Adam, addressed the... serpent in these words... 'I will put enmity... . ' But if at any time, the Blessed Virgin Mary, defiled in her conception with the hereditary stain of sin, had been devoid of divine grace, then at least, even though for a very brief moment of time, there would not have been that eternal enmity between her and the serpent... but instead there would have been a certain subjection."


b) Nature of original sin: Vatican II said, in Unitatis redintegratio 6: ". . if any things whether in morals or in ecclesiastical discipline or in the manner of expressing a doctrine to be carefully distinguished from the deposit of faith have been kept less accurately [than they might] at an opportune time they should be rightly and duly restored." Paul VI followed up with Mysterium fidei (Sept 3, 1965) said that if the older language may be less good, it is not wrong: "The rule of speaking which the Church in the course of long ages, not without the protection of the Holy Spirit, has introduced, and has strengthened by the authority of Councils... must be kept sacred, and no one at his own whim or under pretext or new knowledge may presume to change it."

Such is the case with the language used in speaking of original sin.

To see the matter clearly, we recall three levels of gifts God gave to our first parents:

1) basic humanity which would include a body and soul, each having many drives and needs, none of which is evil, but each of which operates blindly and as it were mechanically, without regard to the needs of the other drives or of the whole person. Hence if God had given nothing but this first level, there would have been need of mortification, to gradually tame these drives and keep them subject.

2) A coordinating gift, which made it easy to keep all these drives each in its own proper place and range. This gift is sometimes called the gift of integrity.

3) The life of sanctifying grace, which gave the soul the radical ability to see God face to face in the next life (cf. 1 Cor 13:12) making it a temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 3:16 and 6:19) and so sharing in divinity: (cf. 1 Pet 1:4). This is called original justice. It as not, as Luther thought, a part of human nature (hence he held for total corruption), or due to human nature. It was strictly supernatural, i. e, raising the soul entirely about the level of the merely human. The presence of the Holy Spirit (or all Three Persons) is not a spatial presence, for spirits do not use space. It means the producing of an effect, here, the giving of the radical ability to see God face to face.

By original sin, our first parents lost, or rather, cast away, all but level 1. Hence they did not have the higher gifts to pass on to their offspring. For a child to come into the world without these is not what God had planned, it is a privation, a lack of what should be there. That lack is original sin.

Often in the past original sin has been spoken of as if it were something positive. It is even likely that St. Augustine thought concupiscence was part of original sin, which would make it partly positive. In Retractations 1. 15. 2: "This sin, of which the Apostle spoke thus is called sin for the reason that it comes from sin, and is the penalty of sin, at times it is called concupiscence of the flesh, the guilt of this concupiscence is taken away in Baptism, but the weakness remains." He speaks of concupiscence before baptism as "guilt" [reatus]. So it seems there is guilt to it before Baptism takes the guilt away, leaving the weakness. This fits with his tendency to hold Traducianism [notion that souls of children are derived from souls of parents] since otherwise he would find it hard to explain how original sin is transmitted, if God would create each soul separately.

The Council of Trent taught (DS 1515): "This Holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never meant that this concupiscence, which at times the Apostle calls 'sin' [Rom 6. 12ss] is a sin in that it is truly and properly called a sin in those reborn but [it teaches that it is called sin] because it comes from sin and inclines to sin."

We can see then: she had not inherited sanctifying grace from Adam, and so would have begun life without it. But God supplied it in anticipation of the merits of Christ. The Fathers so often call her the New Eve. The first Eve started life without original sin it had not been invented then and so it is at least highly suitable that the New Eve, who, as we shall see, was to share in removing that damage, should have the same kind of start in life, i.e. , with grace.

We said that the older language on original sin was less suitable than it might be. Especially in sermons preachers spoke of the stain of sin but a spirit cannot have a stain. Even Trent (DS 1513) spoke of original sin as transmitted by heredity. Paul VI, in his Credo of the People of God (1968) spoke similarly: "We believe that <1>in Adam all have sinned, which means that the original offense... caused human nature, common to all, <2> to fall to a state in which it bears the consequences of that offense. This is no longer the state in which human nature was at the beginning in our first parents... . And so it is human nature, so fallen, deprived of the gift of grace with which it had first been adorned, <3>injured in its own natural powers... that is communicated to all men: it is in this sense that every man is born in sin. We therefore hold with the Council of Trent that original sin is transmitted with human nature, by propagation, not by imitation, and that it is in all men, proper to each."

Comment: We have added numbers for convenience in reference. At <1> we see the echo of the version of Romans 5:12 used by the Latin Fathers, "in quo omnes peccaverunt""in whom all have sinned". But the Greek Fathers understood it differently, "inasmuch as all have sinned." Now Trent in its teaching on original sin (DS 1514) taught that we must understand Romans 5:12 the way the whole Church, scattered throughout the world, has always understood it. Now the whole Church has understood that Romans 5:12 teaches original sin.But that last clause was not understood the same way by the whole Church, as we have just seen. Actually the Greek Fathers are right, and the Latin is a strangely distorted rendering, which led even some theologians to say God had miraculously enclosed all our wills in Adam so all could sin together! Oddly St. Thomas in De malo 4. 3 said: "Carnal semen, just as it is the instrumental cause of the transmission of human nature, so it is the instrumental cause of the transmission of original sin." The language is very unfortunate, probably influenced by the Latin in quo omnes peccaverunt. And sadly too the New Catechism in 404 says, "the whole human race is in Adam" and refers us to Thomas 4. 1, just before the 4. 3 text just cited.

In the item marked <2> Paul VI improves the language of <1> without making it as good as it might be, especially in view of his words in <3> about human nature injured in its powers just as it is often said that our mind is darkened and our will weakened.

But now John Paul II greatly improved the language in two general Audiences. On Oct 1, 1986 (emphasis added): "In context it is evident that original sin in Adam's descendants has not the character of personal guilt. It is the privation of sanctifying grace in a nature which, through the fall of the first parents, has been diverted from its supernatural end. It is a 'sin of nature' only analogically comparable to 'personal sin'". In other words: It is only the lack, or privation, of that which God wanted us to have, which we should have inherited from our first parents. It is a sin 'only analogically" he said, that is, in a sense partly same, partly different. If we compare an adult who has just committed a mortal sin, and the new baby, the state is the same in that both lack grace; it is different in that the adult has grave personal gift, the baby has none at all. Hence a baby dying without baptism deserves no suffering at all. St. Thomas, De malo 5. 3 ad 4: " the children are separated from God permanently in regard to the loss of glory, which they do not know of, not however as to sharing in natural goods, which they do know. That which they have through nature, they have without suffering." Tragically, St. Augustine said such babies all go to hell, in Enchiridion 93. Even he admitted in Epistle 166. 6. 16, "But when we come to the penalty of infants, believe me, I am put in a very tight spot, and do not know what to reply." Pius IX ruled out this sad error. In Quanto conficiamur moerore (DS 2866) he taught: "God... in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault."

John Paul II in Audience of Oct 8, 1986 said (emphasis added): "It is human nature, so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers... that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin... . However, according to the Church's teaching, it is a case of a relative and not an absolute deterioration, not intrinsic to human faculties.... not of a loss of their essential capacities even in relation to the knowledge and love of God." That is, original sin took us down to level one, but not lower. Mind is darkened and will weakened in a relative sense, relative to what it could and would have been. And it is transmitted by heredity in that grace is not transmitted by heredity.

We need here to reflect on a point of theological method. God has promised to protect the teaching of the Church; He also promised free will. At times these go in opposite directions. As a result we must read texts tightly. What is set down on paper is protected, not what we may suspect was in the mind of the drafters. Here, we fear the idea of Augustine and the poor Latin version in quo omnes peccaverunt may have been in the mind of those who wrote some texts. But only what they set down on paper is protected. So we invoke the principle of UR 6 saying that the old texts are not wrong, but may need improvement.


c) Preventive redemption: She needed redemption, not that she was ever in original sin. Nor did she have an "obligation" to contract it, as some have foolishly said: there can be no obligation to any sin. We can merely say she would have been in original sin in the sense just explained, i.e. , she would have been born without grace, were it not for the preventive redemption. The word "preventive" means anticipatory: the grace she received at her conception was given in anticipation (Latin praevenire) of the merits of Christ, which merits earned that grace.

"Debt" of contacting original sin: It is unfortunate that some theologians have discussed whether and in what way Our Lady had an obligation to contract original sin. They used the word debt, which masks the reality. Of course, no one whatsoever could have an obligation to contract sin. The very idea is nonsense . All we could and should say is that without the special grace of the Immaculate Conception, she would have been in original sin, but even then we must keep firmly in mind that original sin is just a privation, not a contagion or stain in the proper sense of the word.


d) The nature of her grace at the Immaculate Conception: In Lk 1:28 the archangel hails her as, "full of grace". Most versions today do not use that rendering, but greatly weaken it. Yet it is the correct translation as we can see from the Magisterium and from philology.

First, Pius XII, in Fulgens corona gloriae (Sept 8, 1953. AAS 45. 579) taught: "And furthermore, since this Most Holy Virgin is greeted as full of grace and blessed among women, from these words, as Catholic tradition has always understood them, it is clearly indicated by this singular and solemn salutation, never otherwise heard, that the Mother of God was the seat of all divine graces... ." Vatican II, in LG 56 uses that translation. Pope John Paul II has used it many times, and spoke at length on it in Redemptoris Mater 7-11.

If we turn to philology: the Greek word in the Gospel is kecharitomene. It is a perfect passive participle of the verb charitoo. A perfect passive participle is very strong. In addition, charitoo belongs to a group of verbs ending in omicron omega. They have in common that they mean to put a person or thing into the state indicated by the root. Thus leukos means white, so leukoo means to make white. Then charitoo should mean to put into charis. That word charis can mean either favor or grace. But if we translate by favor, we must keep firmly in mind that favor must not mean merely that God, as it were, sits there and smiles at someone, without giving anything. That would be Pelagian: salvation possible without grace. So for certain, God does give something, and that something is grace. So charitoo means to put into grace. But then too, kecharitomene is used in place of the name Mary. This is like our English usage in which we say, for example, someone is Mr. Tennis. That means he is the ultimate in tennis. so then kecharitomene should mean "Miss Grace", the ultimate in grace.Hence we could reason that fullness of grace implies an Immaculate Conception.

Overflowing grace:  Pius IX, in the document, Ineffabilis Deus, defining the Immaculate Conception in 1854 wrote: "He [God] attended her with such great love, more than all other creatures, that in her alone He took singular pleasure. Wherefore He so wonderfully filled her, more than all angelic spirits and all the Saints, with an abundance of all heavenly gifts taken from the treasury of the divinity, that she, always free from absolutely every stain of sin, and completely beautiful and perfect, presented such a fullness of innocence and holiness that none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it."

Pius XII, in Mystici Corporis (AAS 35. 247) has in a way gone even further. He said "her most holy soul was filled with the divine Spirit of Jesus Christ more than all other creatures of God taken together."

Paul VI, in Marialis cultus (AAS 66:135) says the Father "adorned her with gifts of the Spirit granted to no one else."

We need to explore further. Pius IX said she had a greater abundance of grace than all other creatures. Pius XII said an abundance greater than that of all other creatures taken together.

But there are two great categories of grace: sanctifying graces, and charismatic graces. Sanctifying graces are aimed at making the recipient holy; charismatic graces are not aimed at that, though incidentally they may help it. But they are aimed at some benefit for the community. Sanctifying graces include two kinds: habitual grace (also called sanctifying grace) and actual grace (given to me at this moment to lead me and enable me to do a particular good thing here and now). Sanctifying grace consists in the transformation of the soul so as to make it capable of the face to face vision of God in the next life. (t times we speak of created and uncreated grace. Uncreated grace is this presence of the Three Persons, but since that Presence is not spatial spirits do not take up space it consists in causing the transformation of the soul. Hence they come to the same thing).

In regard to sanctifying graces: God offers them abundantly, without any limit except that imposed by the receptivity of the recipient. For in the covenant He accepted an infinite price of redemption, and so had bound Himself to offer sanctifying graces without limit, as it were, infinitely. But charismatic graces are very different. There the principle is: The Holy Spirit gives what he wants, where He wants, without regard to the receptivity of the recipient. In fact, one may have a charismatic grace, even that of working miracles, and still not be in the state of sanctifying grace, as we learn from Mt 7:22-23: "Many will say to me on that day: Have we not prophesied in your name? have we not cast out demons by your power? Have we not done many miracles in your name? Then I will tell them: Depart from me, you evildoers. I never knew you."

Which kind of graces, sanctifying or charismatic, do Pius IX and Pius XII speak of as given to her more than to all others? Clearly their words apply primarily at least to sanctifying graces. For Pius IX said her holiness even at the time of the Immaculate Conception was so great that, "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it." This was given her in view of her role as Mother of God, of which Pius XI said (Lux veritatis AAS 23. 513, citing St. Thomas I. 25. 6. ad 4): "The Blessed Virgin from the fact that she is the Mother of God has a sort of infinite dignity from the infinite good that God is."

But we need to make a further distinction. In Lk 11:27-28 (cf. Mt. 12:46-50 and Mk 3:35) a woman in the crowd exclaimed: "Blessed is the womb that bore you..." He replied: "Rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it. "Vatican II explains in LG 58: " She received His words, in which her Son, extolling the Kingdom more than the bonds of flesh and blood, proclaimed blessed those who hear and keep the word of God, as she herself was faithfully doing." In other words, Jesus was teaching dramatically that if we compare two things, the dignity of being Mother of God, and the holiness of hearing and keeping the word of God the second is greater. She of course, was at the peak in both categories. She heard the word of God through the archangel, and kept it, and so conceived and kept the Word of God incarnate.

Therefore the dignity of being Mother of God is a quasi infinite dignity, as we just saw from the words of Pius XI. Yet the holiness coming from hearing the word of God and keeping it is something greater still. The dignity of the Mother of God is one of closeness of relation to the Infinite (the sense of Hebrew qadosh): those who come under the Covenant all have some degree of that closeness or relation to God. But that does not of itself make one capable of the face to face vision of God in the next life. That comes from hearing the word of God and keeping it. In other words, hearing the word and keeping it is the same as faith, as St. Paul uses the word faith. It includes three things: believing what God says, confidence in His word, and obeying His word, what St. Paul (Rom 1:5) calls "the obedience of faith", that is the obedience that faith is. She fulfilled that obedience first of all by saying: "Be it done to me according to your word." She continued and kept this obedience of faith even to the cross, where that obedience of faith was, as we shall bring out later, part of the covenant condition itself, and a sharing in that interior disposition which gave His death all its value (without it the plaint of Isaiah 29:13 would apply), and so a most intimate sharing in the work of redemption.

Really, this obedience of faith in any soul is the indispensable means of taking in sanctifying grace, which consists in transforming the soul so as to make it capable of the face to face vision of God in the next life.

Did she also have charismatic graces, such as the gift of working miracles, speaking in tongues etc? The texts of Pius IX and Pius XII really refer to sanctifying graces, not to charismatic graces. Therefore we cannot know with certainty if she had such graces. They do not of themselves sanctify a person. St Therese of Lisieux liked to think she did not have them. In a poem she wrote:

"I know that at Nazareth, Virgin full of graces. You lived in great poverty, not wishing anything more. No raptures, no miracles, no ecstasies embellished your life, O Queen of the Elect. The number of little ones is very great upon the earth. They can, without trembling, lift up their eyes to you. It pleases you to walk along the common way Incomparable Mother, to guide them to the heavens."

A similar comment is in order on the question of whether or not she ever had, even briefly, the beatific vision in this life. Such a thing is possible: Jesus had it constantly. St. Augustine (De videndo Deo, and in De Genesi ad litteram 12) and St. Thomas (I-II 175. 3. c. ) think Moses had it at times, and also St. Paul. But the reasons given are not solid. Moses in Ex 33:18-23 had asked to see God. But God showed only "His back", even though Ex 33:8-11 said Moses saw God face to face. Their opinion on St. Paul is based on 2 Cor 12:1-4 where Paul tells of being taken up to the third heaven, and hearing words no one may speak. But Thomas and Augustine do not raise the question of what kind of favor Paul had: a high instance of infused contemplation? a charismatic type of vision? or beatific vision?

So we cannot argue that if Moses and Paul had it, she would have had it. We simply do not know, and the thought of St. Therese of Lisieux is impressive indeed. And the conduct of Christ to her in the Gospels is usually not warm, it usually appears such as to cause her to hold on in the dark, in faith more on this later. We might add the comments of St. Teresa of Avila (Interior Castle 6. 9): "There are many saintly people who have never known what it is to have a favor of this kind [visions etc. ] and there are others who receive such things, even though they are not saintly. It is true that these favors can be a very great help towards reaching a high degree of perfection in the virtues, but anyone who has attained the virtues at the cost of his own work has earned much more merit.". We recall again Mt 7:22-23.

Even though she was full of grace at the start of her life, yet she could still grow, for, as it were, her capacity for grace could increase. In general, a soul will grow in proportion to these things: 1) The greater the dignity of the person, the greater the merit (We will explain merit presently). In her case, the dignity of Mother of God is the highest possible for a creature. (2) The greater the work, the greater the merit: her cooperation in the redemption, as we shall see, was at the peak. (3) The greater the love, the greater the merit. Love of God means the attachment of our will to His. Her will adhered supremely, with no obstacle at all, so that even ordinary household duties, which she saw as the will of the Father for her, were supremely valuable. Jesus Himself saw fit to spend about 30 out of 33 years in an ordinary household life. Further, when a soul must hold on in the dark, as it were, when it seems impossible, then the adherence of the will to that of God is very high. We think of the case of Abraham, ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac, even though he had to believe he would be the father of a great nation through Isaac. Our Lady often had to hold on in the dark: why flee to Egypt, when she knew what He was? When she had to handle Him and care for Him as an infant, her senses would report: nothing special here, but her faith continued to know and to hold. During the 30 years of hidden life, she might well wonder: Is He ever going to start His work? At Cana, He seemed to reject her, but she held on and told the waiters: Do whatever He tells you. (More instances of holding on in the dark in Wm. Most, Our Father's Plan, 129-31).

Her love then not only grew, but must have grown at a rate we might compare to geometrical increases such as 2 x 2 = 4; 4 x 4 = 16 etc.

St. Maximilian Kolbe raises the question: Why at Lourdes did she call herself the Immaculate Conception, instead of the Immaculate One etc. ? He explains well: the Holy Spirit is the Immaculate concept of the Father and the Son. She is His Spouse. A spouse takes the name of the other Spouse. So she took His name. (Cf. H. M. Manteau-Bonamy, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit (Prow Books, Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL 1977).

We have used the word merit: merit really means participation in the claim to grace that Jesus generated. We get this claim to the extent that we are 1)not only a member of His, 2)but like Him. She was His member, as the noblest merely human member of His Mystical Body. She was also His Mother. She was more like Him than any other creature. Physically, He must have been most like her in a physical way, having only the human genes inherited from her.

Did Our Lady know of her own Immaculate Conception? We saw earlier in our survey of the prophecies that most of the Targums saw the Mother of the Redeemer present at least in the typical sense in Gen 3:15. So what the ordinary Jews could see, she must have seen too. But then, the Church, Pius XII, as we saw above, in Fulgens corona in 1953, gave the reasoning that if she had ever been subject to Satan for even a brief moment, then the victory mentioned in Genesis 3:15 would not have been complete. Therefore, Pius XII said that that text is the foundation of the Immaculate Conception. Again, if the Church could see this, then she, full of grace, must have seen it, and so have seen she had been immaculately conceived.


V. The Eternal Plan begins to be realized:
 
a) The historicity of the Infancy Gospels (Mt 1-2 and Lk 1-2):
 
(1) Vatican II LG 57: "This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is evident from the time of the virginal conception of Christ even to His death. In the first place, it is evident when Mary, arising in haste to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her faith... . [it is evident] at His birth, when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son who did not diminish, but consecrated her virginal integrity to the shepherds and the Magi." A bit earlier, in 55, the same document had shown great meticulousness in inserting cf. before references to Gen 3. 15 and Is 7. 14, to avoid saying flatly that the human author of these verses had seen what the Church now sees in them. But no such reservations were made in the lines just cited from 57, even as to the shepherds and the Magi. We notice too that LG speaks of her "virginal integrity", which surely refers to physical virginity. So her virginity is not just something spiritual as some are claiming.

(2) Paul VI, Allocution of Dec 18, 1966 (Insegnamenti di Paolo VI). He complained that some "try to diminish the historical value of the Gospels themselves, especially those that refer to the birth of Jesus and His infancy. We mention this devaluation briefly so that you may know how to defend with study and faith the consoling certainty that these pages are not inventions of people's fancy, but that they speak the truth... . The authority of the Council has not pronounced differently on this: 'The Sacred Authors wrote... always in such a way that they reported on Jesus with sincerity and truth' (Constitution on Divine Revelation n. 19)."

(3) John Paul II, General Audience of January 28, 1988:  "To identify the source of the infancy narrative one must go back to St. Luke's remark: 'Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart'... Mary 'who kept these things in her heart'... could bear witness, after Christ's death and resurrection, in regard to what concerned herself and her role as Mother, precisely in the apostolic period when the New Testament texts were being written, and when the early Christian tradition had its origin."

(4) John L. McKenzie on charges by R. Brown's The Birth of the Messiah (Doubleday, 1977). Brown claimed St. Luke built up a few scant bits of information in parallel to OT incidents. John L. McKenzie, hardly a conservative, wrote a review of Brown's book in National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 2, 1977: "... one wonders how a Gentile convert (or a Gentile proselyte) could have acquired so quickly the mastery of the Greek Old Testament shown in the use of the Old Testament in Luke's infancy narratives. If Luke the physician had been able to study medicine with such success, he would have discovered a cure for cancer... . Luke must have had a source for his Old Testament texts and allusions; and it is hard to think of such a collection of texts without a narrative for them to illustrate, a pre-Lucan infancy narrative is suggested, I beg to submit."

(5) Journal for Study of the New Testament, vol. 15 (July 1982) pp. 30-41, article "Did St. Luke Imitate the Septuagint?" by Wm. G. Most. A study of Luke's use of apodotic kai shows Luke was meticulous in his translation of Hebrew documents at certain points. Luke had said in his opening lines that he used documents. This is a confirmation. Right after showing such care for precision, could we imagine Luke indulging in fancies?

(6) Answers to objections against the infancy Gospels:

a) In Matthew, Mary and Joseph live in a house; in Luke, they are in a stable.Reply: St. Joseph would find better lodgings as soon as possible. Matthew reports a later time, when the Magi came. The fact that Herod killed all babies up to 2 years of age shows there was quite a bit of time, even if we allow for the probability Herod played it safe.

b) A journey to Egypt will not fit with Luke's account of an orderly return to Nazareth.Reply: Luke merely gives a compendium of events. Since the Magi came some time after the birth of Jesus, there was time for the presentation in the temple, and for the Magi's visit after that, then the flight into Egypt. For Luke to omit events after the presentation can be an example of telescoping or compendious writing, a phenomenon whose possibility is admitted by all. For example, in Acts 15 we have the account of the Council of Jerusalem in 49 AD, which decided gentile converts did not need to keep the Mosaic law and be circumcised. But the council also added 4 requests, to appease the Jews. First, avoid loose sex but that is part of basic morality; second, avoid what is strangled; 3)avoid drinking blood; 4) avoid food sacrificed to idols. Yet Paul in 1 Cor 8 ff. said they could eat such food sacrificed to idols, provided only that there was no scandal. Hence many have said: Paul seems not to have known the decision of the Council of Jerusalem, and so probably there were two councils, and Paul knew only one. Hence telescoping is readily admitted. The solution is so easy without telescoping: the letter was addressed not to the whole church, but only to the gentiles of Syria and Cilicia. When Paul worked in that area he did preach all those things (cf. Acts 16:4). But in Corinth there was no need, the requests did not apply there.

c) There is no record of such a census, or of Quirinius being governor at the time.Reply: A recent study, E. L. Martin, The Star that Astonished the World (ASK Publications, Portland, Or. 25000, 1991) shows that Jesus was born in 3 B. C. . probably in the fall. The time hinges on one thing, the fact that Josephus puts the death of Herod just after a lunar eclipse. Martin shows we must pick the eclipse of Jan. 10, 1 B. C. because all the events that Josephus says took place between Herod's death and the next Passover would take about 12 weeks. The only other eclipse that gave enough time would be that of Sept 15, 5 BC. But since Herod then was very sick, and in Jericho at the time of the eclipse, he would not have stayed in Jericho extremely hot at that season, while Jerusalem would have been comfortable. But Jan 10 would be comfortable in Jericho. Further, there are secular sources that show there was an enrollment in 3 B. C. to take an oath of allegiance to Augustus (cf. Lewis & Reinhold, Roman Civilization, Source Books II, pp. 34-35 , since in 2 B. C. he was to receive the great title of Father of His Country.

The real governor of Palestine would have gone to Rome for the great celebration. He needed someone to take care of the country in his absence. Since Augustus got the honor on Feb. 5, 2 BC, the governor would have to leave before Nov 1 of 3 BC Mediterranean was dangerous for sailing after Nov 1. But Quirinius had just completed a successful war to the north, in Cilicia, against the Homonadenses. So he could be an ideal man to put in charge. Luke does not use the noun governor, but a verbal form, governing. Still further, there has been an obscure decade 6 B. C. to 4 A. D. whose events were hard to fit in if we took the birth of Christ to have been in the range 4 to 6 B. C. But with the new dating all these fall into place easily. E. g. Augustus in 1 AD received his 15th acclamation for a victory in 1 AD. If we picked 4 BC for birth of Christ, we cannot find such a victory, but if birth of Christ is 3 BC, then the war would b e running at about the right time and finished in 1 AD.

Martin's work has received fine reviews from astronomers (his work is based on astronomy, and over 600 planetariums have modified their Christmas star show to fit with his findings) and from Classicists, who were concerned about the obscure decade.

Objection: a) Josephus says Herod had a reign of 37 years after being proclaimed king by Romans, and had 34 yrs. after death of Antigonus, which came soon after Herod took Jerusalem. b) Further, his 3 successors, Archelaus, Antipas and Philip started to reign in 4 BC. So Herod died in 4 BC.

Reply: a) That calculation would make the death of Herod fall actually in 3 BC scholars have had to stretch the date, since there was no eclipse of moon in 3 BC. But, Herod took Jerusalem late in 36 BC (on Yom Kippur in a sabbatical year, so it was well remembered and Josephus says Pompey had taken Jerusalem in 63 which was 27 yrs. to the day of Herod's capture of Jerusalem). Using the common accession year dating, we see Herod started his 34 years on Nisan 1 in 35 BC, and those years would end on Nisan 1, 1 BC. So 34 years after 35 BC yields 1 BC for death of Herod after eclipse of Jan 10.b) As to the 3 successors, Herod lost favor of Augustus in 4 BC, on a false report, was no longer "Friend of Caesar", but "Subject". Antedating of reigns was common reason here was to make the three seem to connect with the two "royal" sons, of Hasmonean descent, Alexander and Aristobulus, whom Herod executed on false reports from Antipater (do not confuse with Antipas).


b) The Annunciation:
 
(1) Text of St. Luke: (Above, on p. 19, we explained the greeting,": Full of grace"): Lk 1. 32: The angel says her Son will be "son of the most High". This would not tell her much, for any devout Jew could be called a son of God. In Hosea 11. 1 "Out of Egypt I have called my son," the son is the whole people of Israel. But then in 1. 32: "The Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his reign will be without end." Most Jews at the time believed the Messiah, and no one else, would reign forever. So she would easily see that her Son was to be the Messiah. This then would open up for her all the Old Testament prophecies on the Messiah, with or without the help of the Targums we have already seen. She probably saw these things almost at once, or at least, when she pondered all these things in her heart. Luke 1. 35: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. And therefore also the Holy One to be born of you shall be called the Son of God." That word overshadow would be very telling. It was the term used for the Divine Presence filling the tabernacle in the desert (Exodus 40. 34-35 compare also the cloud filling the newly consecrated temple in Jerusalem in 1 Kings 8. 10). So, precisely because the Divine Presence would fill her, therefore, for that reason, He would be called Son of God. But that would be a unique reason. So it at least pointed to His divinity. Along with this would go all the messianic prophecy texts we have already seen pointing to the divinity of the Messiah.Pope St. Leo the Great, in the middle of the 5th century, in a homily on the nativity said: "The royal virgin of the line of David is chosen who, since she was to be made pregnant with the Sacred Offspring, first conceived the divine and human Child in her mind, before doing so in her body. And so that she would not be struck with unusual emotions, in ignorance of the heavenly plan, she learned what was to be done in her by the Holy Spirit from the conversation with the angel." Pope Leo XIII (Parta humano generi, Sept 8, 1901) wrote: "O how sweet, how pleasing did the greeting of the angel come to the Blessed Virgin, who then, when Gabriel greeted her, sensed that she had conceived the Word of God by the Holy Spirit." Pope Paul VI speaks of her on this occasion as "taken into dialogue with God" (Marialis cultus, AAS 66. 148).

(2) Vatican II, LG 56: "The Father of mercies willed that the acceptance by the planned-for Mother should come before the Incarnation, so that thus, just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life... . And so Mary, the daughter of Adam, by consenting to the divine word, became the Mother of Jesus, and embracing the salvific will of God with full heart, held back by no sin, totally dedicated herself as the handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, by the grace of Almighty God, serving the mystery of the Redemption with Him and under Him. Rightly then do the Holy Fathers judge that Mary was not merely passively employed by God, but was cooperating in free faith and obedience in human salvation. For she, as St. Irenaeus said, 'by obeying became a cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race. ' Hence not a few ancient Fathers gladly agree with him [S. Irenaeus] in their preaching: 'the knot of the disobedience of Eve was loosed by the obedience of Mary. '"

Comments: 1) We note the New Eve theme, especially in the quote from St. Irenaeus. Remarkably, the comparison of the knot objectively refers to Calvary, to cooperation there, for the knot was not untied until then. Yet St. Irenaeus, if we read his context, seems to have had in mind the day of the annunciation. However, he, a Father of the Church , was an instrument in the hands of Providence and so could write more than he himself understood we think of the comments of Vatican II on Gen 3. 15 and Is 7. 14, where although it is not certain that the original human writers saw all the import, yet the council said the Church later did see it. Similarly, Jeremiah in 31. 31 ff., the prophecy of the new covenant, as we remarked earlier, may not have seen the full import of his own words, that the essential obedience of the new covenant would be that of Christ.

2) We note the stress on obedience. Obedience was the covenant condition at Sinai, and it was to be the covenant condition in the new covenant as well. Cf. LG 3: "... by His obedience He brought about redemption." We recall and compare too Romans 5. 19. The Council will return to the theme of obedience in LG 61: "she cooperated in the work of the Savior ... by obedience... ." Further Calvary was a sacrifice. In a sacrifice we find exterior sign and interior dispositions. Without the interior the exterior would be worthless (cf. Isaiah 29:13). His interior disposition was one of obedience. She shared in that obedience too, willing then what the Father willed, at the cost of going greatly contrary to her immense love (more on this later).

3) Since she totally dedicated herself to the person and work of her Son, she could not have been ignorant of what was going on. We saw evidence of her knowledge earlier in connection with the Targums.

4)We see how unfortunate was the comment of R. Laurentin in Les Evangiles de l'Enfance du Christ, (Tournay, 1982, p. 34 that at the annunciation, she "opposed her human will to the divine will." (The same book several times calls Jesus disobedient, and denies that "full of grace" is the correct translation. )

5) LG 56 cited above said that the Father willed that her consent be given before the incarnation. Leo XIII, Fidentem piumque, Sept 20, 1896. ASS 29. 206: "To humans, who were rushing to eternal ruin, by her admirable consent 'in the name of the whole human race' she brought the Savior already when she received the message of the peace-bringing sacrament which was brought to earth by the angel." The internal quote is from St. Thomas, Summa III. 30. 1. Similarly, Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, AAS 35. 247, citing ST 3. 30. 1: "... and she consented 'in the name of the whole human race,' so that 'a sort of spiritual marriage exists between the Son of God and human nature.'"


VI. Perpetual virginity:
 
This means virginity before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. The oldest formula for that is aeiparthenos, ever virgin. The expression "brothers and sisters of Jesus" found even in the Gospels rests on the breadth of meaning of the Hebrew words for brother and sister. For that matter, our English words are often used very broadly in fraternities and sororities. Given the linguistic unclarity, we must depend on the Magisterium of the Church.

As to the first element, virginity in conceiving Jesus, even R. Brown, in The Virginal Conception & Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (Paulist, 1973) admits on p. 31. n. 37: "It is lucidly clear that Matthew believed in Mary's bodily virginity before the birth of Jesus (1:25). It is hard to prove the case for Luke; but 3:23 indicates that Luke did not think Joseph begot Jesus after the angel's annunciation to Mary." Now if something is lucidly clear in the Gospel, there should be no doubt if one accepts inspiration and therefore inerrancy. Yet Brown, inconsistently, concludes on p. 66: "My judgment, in conclusion, is that the totality of the scientifically controllable evidence leaves an unresolved problem." [italics his in both quotes]. Part of his problem would seem to be his absolute belief in ignorance in Jesus: (p. 46, italics his) "However, if Joseph and Mary knew that their son had no human father but was begotten of God's holy spirit, if it had been revealed to them from the start that the child was to be the Messiah, and if they had not kept this secret from Jesus, how can he not have affirmed that he was the Messiah or that he was the unique Son of God?"

a) Creed of St. Epiphanius (DS 44): "We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, that is, was born perfectly from holy Mary, the ever virgin [aeiparthenos]." Same wording is found in the Athanasian Creed: DS 46.

b) Ecumenical Council of Constantinople II. Canon 2: "If anyone does not confess that there were two nativities of the Word of God, one before the ages... the other in the last days... who came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the holy, glorious ever virgin Mother of God Mary, and was born of her, let him be anathema."

c) Lateran Council of 649 AD (DS 503): It as not ecumenical, but the Pope was present and approving, and the teaching was given under anathema, so it is equivalent to that of a general council. Vatican II in LG 57 referred to it in a note. Lateran Council said: "If anyone does not in accord with the Holy Fathers acknowledge the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary as really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Word Himself, who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned."

d) Vatican II. LG 57:  "... when the Mother of God showed her first born who did not diminish but consecrated her virginal integrity , to the shepherds and the Magi."

e) John Paul II, General Audience of Jan. 28, 1988: "Mary was therefore a virgin before the birth of Jesus and she remained a virgin in giving birth and after the birth. That is the truth presented by the New Testament texts and which was expressed both by the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553 [DS 422] which speaks of Mary as 'ever virgin' and by the Lateran Council in 649 [DS 503] which teaches that 'the Mother of God... Mary... conceived (her Son) through the power of the Holy Spirit without human intervention, and in giving birth to him her virginity remained incorrupted and even after the birth her virginity remained intact."

Comments: 1)There are many other magisterium texts, chiefly: DS 299, 368, 491, 547, 571, 619, 681, 801, 852, 1400, 1425, 1880.

2)There was some hesitation among the early Fathers on virginity in and after birth. This is not strange, given the gradual clarification of doctrine over the centuries. For an account , see Marian Studies, VII, 1956.

3) Some would wish to say her virginity is only a theologoumenon, that is, it was spiritual and symbolic but not physical. However, the magisterium excludes this. The Lateran Council, cited above, speaks of her conceiving without seed, and bringing Him forth without loss of integrity. Vatican II also speaks of integrity. Pope Leo the Great, in his Tome to Flavian (DS 291) said: "She brought Him forth without the loss of virginity even as she conceived Him without its loss." The General Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD (cited from Mansi, 7, 452) taught: "... as was fitting for God, He sealed her womb," Cf. also St. Ambrose, De institutione virginis 8. 52. (In PL 16. 320 and RJ or Jurgens 1327).

Brothers and Sisters of Jesus

Mt. 13. 55 and Mk 6. 3 name the following as brothers of Jesus: James, Joseph (Joses the manuscripts vary on the spelling), Simon and Judas.

But Mt 27. 56 says at the cross were Mary the mother of James and Joseph. Mark 15, 40 says Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses was there.

So, although the argument is by no means conclusive, it seems likely that the first two, James and Joseph (Joses) had a mother other than the Mother of Jesus.

Thus we have an indication that the term brother was used for those who were not sons of Mary the Mother of Jesus. So the same easily could be the case with the other two, Simon and Judas.

More important, if Mary had other natural sons and daughters too at the time of the cross, it would be strange for Jesus to ask John to take care of her. Especially, James the "brother of the Lord" was alive in 49 AD (Gal 1:19). He should have taken care of her.

Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham (cf. Gen 11. 27-31) is called his brother in Gen 13. 8 and 14. 14-16.

The Hebrew and Aramaic ah was used for various types of relations: Cf. Michael Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic (Bar Ilan University Press, Ramat-Gan, Israel, 1990, p. 45. Hebrew had no word for cousin. They could say ben-dod which means son of a paternal uncle, but for other kinds of cousins they would need a complex phrase, such as "the son of the brother of his mother" or, "the son of the sister of his mother". For complex Aramaic expressions see Sokoloff, p. 111. and 139.

Objection 1: We should not consider the Hebrew Greek did have a word for cousin and other kinds of relatives also, and the Gospels do not use the other specific words for the relatives of Jesus. They use only Greek adelphos, which means a real brother.

Reply 1: The Septuagint (the old Greek translation of the Hebrew OT abbreviated LXX) uses Greek adelphos, brother, for Lot who as mentioned above, was really a nephew.

Furthermore, the writers of the Gospels and Epistles often had Hebrew words in mind when they wrote Greek words. This is specially true with St. Paul. And, as we shall see presently, there is strong evidence that St. Luke at some points was translating Hebrew documents two kinds of Hebrew with meticulous care.

The LXX for Mal 1:2-3 has this: "I have loved Jacob and hated Esau." St. Paul in Rom 9:13 quotes it the same way in Greek. Yet the LXX translators knew both Hebrew and Greek and so did Paul, yet they used a very odd, even potentially misleading Hebrew expression. How did it happen? Hebrew and Aramaic lacked the degrees of comparison (such as: good, better, best; clear, clearer, clearest) and so they had to find other way to express such ideas. Where we would say: "I love one more, the other less", the Hebrew said "I love the one and hate the other." In Luke 14:26 Our Lord tells us that we must hate our parents." Again, it means to love them less than one loves Christ. Similarly, in 1 Cor 1:17 Paul says: "Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach" yet Paul had just said he did baptize some. He really means, in the Hebrew way of speaking: My more important mission was to preach, less important was to baptize.

St. Paul in 1 Thes 4:5 speaks of the gentiles "who do not know God". He uses "know" in the sense of Hebrew yada , a broader word, to know and to love. In fact quite a few times we must think of what Hebrew word was in Paul's mind to fully understand his Greek words.

All scholars admit that St. Luke's Gospel has more Semitisms than the books written by Semites (even though Luke was not a Semite himself, but a Greek Physician). Why? It had been thought that Luke did this to imitate the style of the LXX but a study I made (In my article, "Did St. Luke Imitate the Septuagint?" published in the international Journal for Study of the New Testament (July 1982, pp. 30-41 from the University of Sheffield, England) showed statistically that Luke did not try to imitate the Septuagint. I made a study of a very strange Semitism in Luke, the apodotic kai , which reflects Hebrew apodotic wau. Here is an example from Luke 5:1: "And it happened when the crowds pressed on Him to hear the word of God and He stood by the Lake. The underlined and would be in place in Hebrew but not in Greek, not even in Aramaic. By actual count, St. Luke uses it only about 20 to 25% of the times he would use it if he were imitating the Septuagint. Clearly that was not his reason for using it. So why did he do it at all? In his opening lines, St. Luke says he took great care, spoke to eye-witnesses, and read written accounts about Jesus. Now written accounts could have been in Greek (a few Jews grew up speaking Greek), Hebrew, or Aramaic. So it is possible that St. Luke had used written accounts in those languages. Greek on Greek would not show, of course , but if he used Hebrew documents part of the time, and if he translated them with meticulous care so extreme that he would bring a Hebrew structure into Greek, where it did not belong then we could explain what he did. The odd stricture was not normal in Aramaic either, so we gather that St. Luke seems to have used, at some points, not at all points, Hebrew documents, and that he translated them with extreme care. Luke knew how to write fine Greek yet he did this, Why? It was his extreme care to be faithful to the original texts he used. So again, we need to know the underlying Hebrew to understand (of course in this item, English translations just skip the and it appears only if we read St. Luke in Greek).

There is an important word in Romans 5:19 which speaks of the many as becoming sinful original sin. Of course, St. Paul really means all. Yet the Greek he uses is polloi. In normal Greek it always means just many, not all. But if we know the Hebrew in Paul's mind it clears up. There was a strange word rabbim which is first known in Isaiah 53, the prophecy of the passion. By context there we see it is clear that it means all, yet it also means many to be more exact, it means the all who are many. If I were in a room with 3 others, I could say all, but could not say many. Now if we use a Greek concordance to find every place in St. Paul where polloi is used as a noun, it always, without exception, means all, as we gather from context, such as that of Rom. 5:19. Hence we really need to go back to the Hebrew to understand Paul's Greek here.

Again, St. Paul often uses the Greek dikaiosyne not in the narrow usual Greek sense, but in the broad sense of Hebrew sedaqah.

There are many other times in the NT where we must consider the underlying Hebrew in order to get the right sense of the Greek. We have given only samples, but they should be enough to show how the NT writers worked, and the need to avoid stopping with the Greek and insisting that we should ignore the underlying Hebrew, as those do who point out that Greek had words for cousins and other relatives, even though Hebrew did not.

Objection 2: J. P. Meier, in A Marginal Jew (Doubleday, 1991, pp. 325-26) says that "The New Testament is not translation Greek", and says it would be a "wooden" translation to follow the Hebrew usage on brother.

Reply 2: Many scholars do think part or all of the Gospels were translation Greek. The evidence cited above in Journal for Study of the New Testament seems to show that.

Further we have just given extensive evidence to show that regardless of whether or not the writers were translating, they often used Greek words in such a way that to understand them we must look to the underlying Hebrew. This is specially true of Paul in spite of Meier's claim that Paul was not translating and that he knew "James the brother of the Lord" in person.

Meier also (326-27) asserts that Josephus, a Jew writing in Greek does at times use the special word for cousin, yet he does use brother for the "brothers of Jesus." We reply that we grant Josephus does this. But, did Josephus have direct information on the real nature of the "brothers' of Jesus. Not very likely. Meier does not even mention this point.

In Col 4:10 the Greek for cousin, anepsios, is used. But this is the only time in all the NT. Otherwise, we have the constant following of Hebrew patterns explained above. Further, Pauline authorship of Col is debated. The external witnesses in favor of his authorship easily outweigh the alleged internal evidence. However it is possible that Paul, like modern Popes, had someone else write the letter for him, then went over it and signed it. In that case, his secretary may be responsible for the anepsios. The usual Greek for brother adelphos, is used 5 times in Col, and not once in the sense of blood brother. It is always in the broad sense.

Objection 3: Meier argues, p. 323, that if we want to say ah could mean cousin, then we should read Mt 12:50 thus: "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my male cousin, my female cousin, and my mother." Similarly, on p. 357 he says that Mk 3:35 should read "not even his cousins believed in him."

Reply 3: Meier seems to be deliberately obtuse here. If ah had the broad meaning, we should keep it in translation, not narrowing it to cousin it would include cousin, but not be limited to it.

Objection 4, on Mt 1. 25: Protestants like to point to two words here, "until" and "firstborn".

Until: Most ancient words have a broad span of possible meanings. Sometimes the word for until leaves room for a change after the time point indicated. However not nearly always. In Dt. 34:6 Moses was buried, "and to this day no one knows where the grave is." That was true in the day of the writer of Dteit is still true even today. In Psalm 110:1, as interpreted by Jesus Himself (Mt. 22-42-46),"The Lord said to my [David's] Lord: 'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool. '" Of course, Jesus was not to stop being at the right hand of the Father at any point. So the word until here does not mean a change of status. Psalm 72:7, a messianic Psalm, says that in his days "peace will abound until the moon is no more." Again, the power of the Messiah is not to stop when the moon no longer gives its light (Mt. 24:29). In 2 Samuel 6:23 that David's wife Michal had no son "until the day of her death." Of course, she did not have one after that! In Mt. 11:23 Our Lord says that if the miracles done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, "it would have lasted until the present day." Had it lasted, Jesus did not intend to destroy it in His time. In Mt 28:20 Jesus promised to be with His Church, His followers until the end of the world nor would He desert them in eternity. In Romans 8:22 St. Paul says that all creation groans, waiting for there revelation of the sons of God until Paul's day. Nor did it stop then, that will continue until the restoration at the end. In 1 Timothy 4:13 the Apostle tells Timothy to devote himself to reading, exhortation and teaching "until I come." He did not mean Timothy should stop such things when Paul did come. and there are more, but these should be more than enough to show that not always does until in OT and NT, mean a change of things is to come at the point referred to.

Even J. P. Meier, who works so strenuously to try to show that most probably Jesus had real siblings, admits that the arguments from "until" proves nothing (In CBQ Jan. 1992, pp. 9-11).

Firstborn:  Jesus is called that in Luke 2:7 (and also in Mt 1:25 if we take the Vulgate addition to the Greek). This reflects Hebrew bekor which chiefly expressed the privileged position of the firstborn among other children. It need not imply there were actually others. We can see this from a Greek tomb inscription at Tel el Yaoudieh (cf. Biblica 11, 1930 369-90) for a mother who died in childbirth: "In the pain of delivering my firstborn child, destiny brought me to the end of life." For another epitaph of the same sort, from Leontopolis, see Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept/Oct, 1992, p. 56.

Objection 5: Some early Christian writers think the brothers were true siblings.

Reply: Meier, who so diligently collects all data against virginity after the birth of Jesus, mentions only four: (1)Hegesippus, in the second century. Yet Meier admits on p. 329: "... the testimony is not without its problems and possible self-contradictions"; (2)Tertullian yet Meier admits that it was his "fierce opposition to [the] docetic view of Christ's humanity' that caused him to say this. In fact, Tertullian even, in the same vein, argued that the body of Jesus was ugly (On the Flesh of Christ 9)! He was a real extremist, as shown by the fact that even the Montanists were not severe enough in morality he formed his own subsect; (3) Meier also suggests that two passages of St. Irenaeus might imply a denial of virginity in one Irenaeus works out in detail the parallel between Adam and Christ, for the sake of his favorite "recapitulation" theology; in the other, Irenaeus develops the New Eve theme. It is hard to see any hint of a denial of virginity in these passages. Even Meier admits the texts are not probative; (4) Helvidius in the 4th century. But these few texts are little compared to the extensive Patristic support of perpetual virginity. Cf. Marian Studies , VIII, 1956, pp. 47-93. In his summary of conclusions, pp. 331-32, Meier does not even mention these early writers.

Objection 6: Meier, p. 331, says we have the criterion of multiple attestation", namely, Paul, Mark, John, Josephus and perhaps Luke speak of the brothers of Jesus.

Reply 6: He is begging the question. He has not proved that any of them mean true sibling by brother. Meier adds that the natural sense of brother is sibling but we have shown in reply 2 above that it need not be so. He also says that there is no clear case in the NT where brother means anything but true brother or half-brother. Again he is begging the question: he has not shown that even one of the texts has to mean sibling.

Conclusion: Meier himself admits, on p. 331, that "all of these arguments even when taken together cannot produce absolute certitude." We add: In Mk 3:20-21 his relatives go out to get Him younger brothers would not have done it in that culture and He was the firstborn.And at age 12 in Temple, if there were younger brothers, they would have been along women did not have to go. So she would have stayed home with the younger ones.

So we can see that there are no solid evidences in Scripture that Our Lady had other children. We have just answered all claims. But the decisive reason is the teaching of the Church. The most ancient creeds all call her aei-parthenos = "Ever-virgin".

Meier seems to have an axe to grind. In his long CBQ article, 1992, pp. 1-28, he says on the last page that we must ask whether the hierarchy of truths should not let us accept Protestants into the Catholic Church without asking them to believe in Our Lady's perpetual virginity. There is a hierarchy of truths, in that some are more basic than others. But this does not at all mean we can countenance denial of even one doctrine taught repeatedly by the Ordinary Magisterium and the most ancient Creeds and therefore infallible. Really, if some Protestants seemed to enter the Church, but did not accept the teaching authority, they would not be really Catholics, even if they accepted all but one of our teachings. That authority if really accepted leads them to accept all, not all minus one.

Even Meier, so inclined to deny perpetual virginity, admits (pp. 340-41) that there is a strong rabbinic tradition that Moses, after his first contact with God, refrained from knowing his wife. This first appears in Philo, is taken up the by rabbis. Therefore, if Moses with only an external contact with God did that way, what of Our Lady who was filled with the divine presence at the conception of Jesus, and carried divinity itself within her for nine months?

Actually, Luther himself and Calvin, as Meier admits on p. 319 of his book, accepted Our Lady's perpetual virginity. Why then does Meier argue so strongly against it?

Really, Protestants should not, if they were logical, appeal to Scripture at all for anything for they have no means whatsoever of determining which books are inspired. Luther thought that if a book preached justification by faith strongly, it was inspired, otherwise not. But sadly, he never proved that was the standard he, or I could write such a book, and it would not be inspired. And many books of Scripture do not even mention justification by faith. Also sadly: Luther did not know what St. Paul meant by the word faith on that Cf. the standard Protestant reference work, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement, p. 333.


VII. Divine Motherhood:
 
1)History of the Title Theotokos:
 
The title Theotokos, Mother of God, is first known to have appeared in an Egyptian papyrus containing parts of the prayer Sub tuum praesidium, from the third century. It was found in 1938 in Alexandria, Egypt, by a Protestant named Roberts. The title also appears in the Greek text of a work by St. Hippolytus, (died 235) De Benedictionibus Jacob (cf. Marian Studies VI, p. 49). However, since it does not appear in the Georgian translation of the text, the authenticity of the occurrence of the word Theotokos is debated. The church historian Socrates reports that the title Theotokos was used by Origen (died c 235) in his commentary on Romans mostly now lost. The first incontrovertible use of Theotokos is in a letter of Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria ( RJ 680. died 328).

Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 381-451) rejected the title Theotokos, wanted to use instead Christotokos or Anthropotokos. He defended the sermons of Anastasius, one of his priests, who rejected the Theotokos. Nestorius asked for a council. He was deposed by the Council of Ephesus in 431 and his writings were burned by order of the Emperor Theodosius II. However, in 1895 a complete treatise of his was found in a Syriac version. It is called the Bazaar of Heraclides of Damascus a name Nestorius used to hide his identity. It attacks the decisions of the Council of Ephesus and of St. Cyril of Alexandria. Cyril drew up 12 Anathemas against Nestorius , which were approved by the Council. They are found in his Letter 17. (There are 12 counter anathemas supposedly by Nestorius, which are spurious). Some scholars today insist Nestorius was not a Nestorian, that he even condemned Nestorianism. But it is hard for us to say such a thing when we have so little of his work, whereas the Council and St. Cyril had his works, and could talk to Nestorius in person. However, we must admit that Cyril was a harsh person. Had he shown more tact a serious heresy might have been avoided.

To put two persons in Christ would make the redemption finite, and would leave opening for teaching ignorance in Jesus. The Agnoites, an offshoot of Nestorianism, did that. Their ideas were condemned by Pope Vigilius in 553 AD: DS 419. If there were two persons in Christ, Mary would be the Mother of only the human person, and hence could not be called Mother of God. But if there is only one person, a divine person, then she would be the Mother not of the divine nature, but of the person who is divine. This is in a way parallel to the normal human case in which Mrs. Jones is the mother of John Jones we do not say she is the mother only of the body of John Jones, but of the person John Jones.

St. Gregory of Nazianzus in his Epistle 101. 4-6 RJ 1017) made the title Theotokos the touchstone of orthodoxy. We could summarize, and clarify, his argument thus: If there were two persons in Christ, she would be the Mother of only the human person. If there were only one nature in Christ, and that human, she would not be the Mother of God. If there were only one nature in Christ, divine nature, she would not be the Mother of Christ. Hence the Theotokos implies one person, a divine person, and two natures, divine and human. Similarly, St. Cyril of Alexandria, in his Homily 15 on the Incarnation, also makes Theotokos the test of orthodoxy.

2)Dignity of Divine Motherhood:
 
Plato. in his Symposium 203 said: "No god associates with man." He did know of a great supreme God, with a concept much like ours, except his God was not the Creator. He also believed in secondary gods, which had a body finer than clouds, and a soul. Yet none of these would stoop to associate with us. In fact, to obtain favors from them we should employ the help of a class of beings Plato called daimones, who were also beings with body and soul with a body like ours, of very high quality. (He seems to have thought the Olympian gods, such as the adulterous Zeus, were of this type). Aristotle similarly in his Nichomachean Ethics 8. 7 said that for friendship, there should not be too great a gap between the friends. If it were very great, no friendship would be possible. So, no friendship of a god with a man would be possible. What would these philosophers think if they learned that the great, supreme, transcendent God actually became man. That He took on a human nature which would be joined to Him in one person, a divine Person.

We have grown up with these thoughts, and so they never did have the impact on us they had with the world of that time. And further, we have become so used to the formula: two natures, one Divine Person, that we do not really grasp the import. If we follow the philosophical framework of Aristotle, we would have to say that the sacred humanity received a relation to the second Person of the Holy Trinity, but that that Person took on no relation: would have been a change in Him! We sense there is something amiss here. Best we should simply say we have another example of transcendence.

What then of her in whose womb He took flesh, where He remained, physically developing for 9 months!. No wonder Pius XI following St. Thomas said, as we saw above, that the dignity of the Mother of God is a quasi-infinite dignity from the infinite good that God is. Philo, whose thought was taken up by the Rabbis as we saw above was very right in saying that Moses thought it unthinkable to have legitimate sex with his wife after just one brief encounter with God what of her who carried Him 9 months! To think that some people with little or no perception of divine matters could suppose she had four more sons and at least two daughters.

And what should we think of Wilfrid Harrington (commentary on Mark, Glazier, 1979, p. 47), and others like him who erred so outrageously in commenting on Mark 3:20-35 as to suggest that she in Mk 3:20 did not believe in Him, and went along with others to seize Him? And Harrington added, incredibly, that the passage "may be seen to distinguish those who stood outside the sphere of salvation and those who are within it." Which implies that Mary was outside the sphere of salvation! This also supposes that Mark clashes with Luke, for Luke pictures her as blessed because of her faith. And Vatican II said in LG 56 that at the annunciation Mary "embracing the salvific will of God with full heart... totally dedicated herself... to the person and work of her Son."

Harrington got into this mistake by a poor analysis of the passage of Mk 3:20-25. There are three segments in that passage: (1) Those about Him (in Greek it is hoi par' autou an ambiguous expression that could mean His relatives or friends or those about Him) see that He is so busy preaching to the crowds that He does not take time to eat. They say that He is beside Himself, and go out to get Him forcefully. (2)The scribes from Jerusalem say He casts out devils by Beelzebul. He told them that was the unforgivable sin. He did not mean God would simply refuse to forgive. He meant that their hardness was such that it was hardly likely they could ever repent. (3) His Mother and relatives come to the edge of the crowd, and He comments that those who hear and keep the word of God are His mother, brother, and sister.

Harrington is certain that the groups in segments 1 and 3 are the same. This is not at all certain, for Form Criticism shows us that many Gospel passages are pieced together out of units that once were separate. Here in particular, the interjection of the charge of the scribes could at least suggest that units 1 and 3 are not connected. But Harrington is certain: "For Mark [3. 31-35] is a continuation of vv. 20-21... his own did not receive him." And he adds, incredibly, that the passage "may be seen to distinguish those who stood outside the sphere of salvation and those who are within it." Which implies that Mary was outside the sphere of salvation!

Still further, even if we would think she was in the group in segment one of Mk 3:20-35, it would not follow that she too did not believe in Him. She may well have gone along to try to restrain those who did not believe. Even very ordinary Mothers are apt to believe in their sons even when the evidence is against them.

Vatican II warns us in Dei Verbum 12: "Since Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted with the same Spirit by whom it was written, to rightly get the sense of the sacred texts we must look not less diligently to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, taking into account the living Tradition of the Church, and the analogy of faith." So one Evangelist definitely cannot contradict another.


VIII. The Presentation in the Temple:
 
a) The Scene:
 
Commentators often worry about the plural "their" purification. Really, Luke is being general, for Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem with Jesus, and all took part in the event. Jerusalem was only 5 miles from Bethlehem. Leviticus 12. 2-8 prescribed that a mother was ritually unclean was not to touch anything sacred or enter the temple for 40 days after the birth of a son. After that she was to bring to a priest serving that week in the temple, a one year old lamb for a holocaust and a young pigeon or turtledove for expiation. If she could not afford the lamb, she would bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons. Of course, the birth of Jesus did not make His Mother unclean in any sense. But Mary was always obedient to the law, did not claim she was an exception, even though that would have been supremely true. We think of the words of Jesus to John the Baptist in Mt 3. 15 that He willed to fulfill everything that righteousness called for.

In Exodus 1. 1-2 God ordered: "Consecrate to me every firstborn... both human and animal." The firstborn human was to be redeemed by paying five shekels of the sanctuary to member of a priestly family, according to Numbers 18. 15-16.

b) The Significance:
 
Jesus was not really being bought back. He was formally turning Himself over. This was, as it were, the offertory of the Great Sacrifice. The Epistle to the Hebrews 10. 5 says: "When Christ came into the world, he said: 'Sacrifices and offerings you did not will, but you prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said, 'Behold, I come to do your will, O God'" The will of the Father was that He should go to the cross.

How could Jesus make such an act of will when He first was conceived? Pope Pius XII, in the encyclical Mystici Corporis , June 29, 1943, DS 3812 taught: "But the most loving knowledge of this kind, with which the divine Redeemer pursued us from the first moment of the Incarnation, surpasses the diligent grasp of any human mind; for by the blessed vision which He enjoyed when just received in the womb of the Mother of God, He has all the members of the Mystical Body continuously and perpetually present to Himself, and embraces them with salvific love... . In the manger, on the Cross, in the eternal glory of the Father, Christ has all the members of the Church before Him and joined to Him far more clearly and far more lovingly than a mother has a son on her lap, or than each one knows and loves himself." The Pope means that the human soul of Christ from the very first instant saw the beatific vision, in which all knowledge is contained. By means of it He could know each member of His mystical body, and could make the offering pictured in the Epistle to the Hebrews. This same teaching has been repeated many times, e. g, in Sempiternus Rex, Sept 8, 1951, DS 3905 and Haurietis aquas, May 15, 1956, DS 3924, For additional texts and data on Scriptural , Patristic, and speculative aspects of the matter, cf. Wm. G. Most, The Consciousness of Christ, Christendom, Front Royal, 1980.

Even without the help of the magisterium, it is easy to show theologically that Jesus human soul not only happened to have that vision, but had to. For any soul to have the beatific vision, two things are required: (1) elevation of its power to know by grace. Of course this was present in Jesus. (2) The divinity needs to join itself directly to the human mind without even an image in between (images are finite, God is infinite). Then the divinity does the work an image would have done. But in Jesus, not just His human mind, but His entire humanity was joined most directly to the divinity, in the hypostatic union, that is, union within the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. So the union of His mind with the divinity is inescapable, and is far closer than that of an ordinary soul that attains the vision.

It follows that He surely could and did make the offering at the first instant of which Hebrews speaks. The vision of all He had to endure was wearing, a constant stress, that increased from its very prolongation. Twice during His public life He allowed us to see within Himself, as it were. In Luke 12. 50 He said: "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished." That is, I must be plunged into the deep waters of suffering; I cannot be comfortable until it is over with. In John 12. 27 He allowed Himself to break into a discourse to a crowd not long before His death: "Now is my heart troubled. What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour." Then not long after, all the tension grew to such a point that the capillaries near the sweat glands burst, and poured out their red blood through His skin: the agony in the garden. Such a phenomenon is medically known as hematidrosis. In passing we note: If someone has a long running anxiety, which normal measures do not remove, that one can accept it as a means of greater likeness to Christ.

Someone will ask: How could He suffer when He had the beatific vision? We reply: Let us think of a mountain 25, 000 feet high. It can easily happen that on some days the peak will stick out through black clouds, and be in calm and sunshine. But all the lower slopes will be in darkness and storm. Similarly, a human has many levels of operation, both in body and in soul. There can be a peace on the fine point of the soul, as St. Francis de Sales calls it, while all the lower slopes are in great distress. Some mystics have had such an experience. On this cf. The Consciousness of Christ, pp. 150-153.

His Mother too knew, as we have seen, through her understanding of the Old Testament prophecies. If even the stiff-necked Jews could know so much as the Targums show, then she, full of grace would know all the more clearly. So she knew all too much for comfort even before the prophecy of the sword that Simeon gave. And as His public life advanced, it would be easy, and frightening, to see events moving to their climax.

At the presentation, He would renew in His heart the offering He made on entering into this world. In unison with His offering, she would renew her fiat. This was, then truly the offertory of the Great Sacrifice.


IX. The Loss of Jesus and Finding in the Temple:
 
a) Reasons for the conduct of Jesus:
 
Some, unfortunately, have called His action of staying behind disobedience, in obedience to the higher command of His Father. But this is very unsuitable. In Mat 3. 15 when John the Baptist was unwilling to baptize Him, Jesus said that it was right to fulfill everything that righteousness calls for. Strictly, there was no command of Mary or Joseph not to do as He did.

Why did He do so? There is a widespread pattern, revealed in Scripture, in which God wills to put people into situations in which they must, as it were, hold on to His will in the dark, i.e. , without being able to see why or how it is possible. For example, Abraham had been told he would be the father of a great nation through Isaac. But then, when Isaac was still a little boy, God told him to offer Isaac in sacrifice. This seemed to conflict. Abraham did not question: he just went ahead, in the dark. If we would hold the majority opinion that the Jews did not know of retribution in the next life until the 2nd century B. C. , we would say that they had to hold on in the dark: they knew God was just, but so often they saw that His justice did not work out even to the end of the life of an individual: the wicked would continue to prosper, the just to suffer. There are numerous other instances. The conduct of Jesus at age 12 is one, where Mary and Joseph had to hold on in the dark. At Cana it will be similar. And there are many other instances, cf. Wm. G. Most, Our Father's Plan, Trinity, 1988, chapter 14. The basic idea is this: The only thing free in a person is the free will. If one then aligns that will perfectly with the will of the Father, that is complete perfection. To align that will with the will of the Father in cases where it seems impossible that requires a most intense holding to the will of God. That gives room for greater spiritual growth. (Cf. also the factor of somatic resonance, Our Father's Plan, chapter 16). Now Our Lady was full of grace even at the start. But her capacity, as it were, could grow. To put her in situations where she had to hold on in the dark was a sign of great love.

b) The question of Mary's knowledge:
 
Luke 2. 30 reports " And they did not understand the word he spoke to them." This does not mean that she did not know who He was. We already saw in a study of the OT prophecies and Targums that she did. What she would not grasp was the strange change in the pattern of His conduct: previously, always thoughtful, now quite different.


X. Difficulties for Mary's faith:
 
One might be tempted to think she had no need for believing without seeing´┐Żshe had seen marvelous things. But yet there was for her a constant clash of what her senses reported, and what her faith said. Her senses would report: this seems like a very ordinary baby, with ordinary needs. Or she would be tempted to wonder at His staying home for 30 years when He was sent for so great a mission. Her faith would report: I must believe even so. One extraordinary Eucharistic minister once told me that ever since he was allowed to handle the Sacred Host, he found greater temptations against faith. That would be from the same sort of clash, except that for her it was much stronger and clearer.


XI. Start of His Public Life: Cana:
 
a) Seeming rejection: She knew in her faith that He was not rejecting her, in spite of His words, "What is it to me and to you", which, as we see from OT usages, commonly had a tone of rejection or something similar. For she told the waiters to do whatever He would tell them to do. Again, she was holding on in the dark.

b) The term "woman": Of course, that term was a respectful one. But it would seem very strange. The key to the problem is in the fact that the Evangelists did not always report the very words of Jesus, though they would keep the sense. So we are permitted to think it was the Evangelist who changed the word here. A very plausible reason would be to tie together four places in Scripture. John Paul II, following a view of many exegetes, said, as we saw above, in his Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, #24, "It is significant that, as he speaks to his mother from the Cross, he calls her 'woman' and says to her: "Woman, behold your son! Moreover, he had addressed her by the same term at Cana too (cf. Jn 2:4)... . . she... remains in that mystery as 'the woman' spoken of by the Book of Genesis (3:15) at the beginning and by the Apocalypse (12:1) at the end of the history of salvation."

c) Intercession: It is obvious that we may see in this episode an example of the power of her intercession. He worked His first miracle, and advanced His hour. There is no need to think that when He spoke of His hour, He always meant only the hour of His passion, though that was often true. It could also mean, as we see here, the hour to first manifest His power to inaugurate His public life.


XII: Cooperation in the Objective Redemption:
 
a) Terminology:  The objective redemption is the once-for-all acquisition by the sacrifice of Calvary of the claim to all grace and forgiveness. The subjective redemption is the giving out of that grace and forgiveness throughout all ages after Calvary.

Remote cooperation in the objective redemption is being the Mother of the Redeemer, in faith and obedience furnishing Him with the flesh and blood in which He could die. Immediate cooperation is some role in the sacrifice of Calvary. A further question: just how did that cooperation operate? What was the nature of that role?


b) How did the Redemption operate?: Of course, Jesus redeemed us by His death. But we must go deeper, and ask in what way His death accomplished that.

1)Scriptural data:
 
Mt 20. 28: "The Son of Man... came to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mt. 10. 45 is the same).

Gal. 3. 13: "Christ has bought us back from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us." (Cf. also Gal 4. 5).

1 Cor. 6. 20 (cf. 7. 23):"You were bought at a price."

Comment: The question had to arise: to whom was the price or ransom paid? It would seem at first sight that it was paid to the one who held our race in captivity, to Satan. St. Ambrose, in Epistle 72 went so far as to accept that. Most Fathers and later writers recoiled from that. Yet the idea that sin was a debt was very ancient. It is found for example in the Our Father: "Forgive us our debts"


2)Patristic texts:
 
St. Athanasius probably was not original in the matter, but he does tell us of four possible answers: (1) Substitution: "He takes to Himself a body capable of death that it, by partaking of the Lord who is above all, might be worthy to die instead of all... . All being considered to have died in Him. [Cf. 2 Cor 5. 14]." (On the Incarnation 9). (2) Blunting or absorbing the impact of a force. He died so that "the law involving the ruin of men might be undone, inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord's body." (On the Incarnation 8). (3)Physical-mystical solidarity: "Such a union was made so He might join what was by nature divine with what was by nature human, so (human) salvation and divinization might be secure." (Second Oration Against the Arians 70). The notion is that all humanity forms a unit, a solidarity. But the humanity of Christ is part of that solidarity. Further, in Him that nature is joined in one Person to the divinity. So a power spreads out from the divinity through His humanity to all humanity to heal it. (4) Payment of a debt: "The Word of God... by offering His own temple and corporeal instrument for the life of all, satisfied the debt by His death." (On the Incarnation 9).

St. Anselm (1033 1109) in Cur Deus homo? following up on the debt idea, said that man was created for obedience, service, devotion to God. By sin he evaded it. So God had to demand satisfaction in justice. Hence the Incarnation, the means of satisfying the debt.

Comment: Many have been displeased with the Anselmian theory. First, God does not have to do anything. Second, people could say: If someone offends me, I often just let it go. Why cannot God be so kind?


3) Further development on sin as a debt:
 
However, the notion of sin as a debt to be paid is found in the OT, in intertestamental literature (where Hebrew hobah is often used to mean sin, while its basic sense is debt. It is found in the NT. It is found widely in rabbinic literature. (cf. Appendix, Sedaqah to Wm. Most, St. Paul commentary)

Pope Paul VI, in Indulgentiarum doctrina, Jan 9, 1967. AAS 59. 7, wrote: "Every sin brings with it a disturbance of the universal order, which God arranged in His inexpressible wisdom and infinite love... So it is necessary for the full remission and reparation of sins... not only that friendship with God be restored by a sincere conversion of heart, and that the offense against His wisdom and goodness be expiated, but also that all the goods, both individual and social, and those that belong to the universal order, lessened or destroyed by sin, be fully reestablished, either through voluntary reparation... or through the suffering of penalties."

The same thought is brought out well in the image of a two-pan scales by Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar, in Tosefta, Kiddushin 1. 14. He wrote c 170 AD, and says he is quoting Rabbi Meir, a disciple of the great Rabbi Akiba: "Someone has carried out one commandment. Blessings [on him]. He has tipped the scales to the side of merit for himself and for the world. Someone has committed a transgression. Woe [to him]. He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world."

A sinner takes from one pan of the scale what he has no right to. The scale is out of balance. The holiness of God wants everything morally right, and so wants it rebalanced. If the sinner stole property, he begins to rebalance by giving it back. If he stole a pleasure, he begins to rebalance by giving up some other pleasure he could have lawfully had. But in either case, he only begins for the imbalance from even one mortal sin is infinite. Hence if the Father wanted full reparation he was not obliged the only way to accomplish it would be to send a Divine Person to become man.

So there is a price of redemption, not paid of course to Satan, nor to the Father (He was not the captor) but to the objective order, to rebalance it, as willed by the holiness of God. This price is the sacrificial death of Christ, done in obedience: cf. Romans 5. 19 and LG 3. Another aspect is that of covenant, as foretold by Jeremiah 31. 31ff. The obedient death of Christ was the covenant condition. Without obedience it would have been a tragedy, not a redemption. We note the threefold aspect: covenant, sacrifice, payment of debt or rebalance of objective order.

A sinner, as we said, takes from one pan what he has no right to take. Jesus in His painful death gave back more than all sinners have taken. And the infinity of His Person would have made even a slight thing from Him infinitely valuable. His Mother too, completely sinless, joined in that rebalance as we shall see. (The infinity of His offering does not dispense us, His members, from doing what we can. St. Paul makes clear that we are saved and made holy if and to the extent that we are not only members of Christ, but also like Him. That likeness of course must include this sharing in rebalancing. St. Paul says we are members of Christ: 1 Cor 12. 12-27. We must do all with Him: Rom 6. 3-8; 8. 18; Col 3. 1-4. We must be like Him: Rom 8. 9, 13 & 17. What we can call merit is really our getting on the claim generated by Christ, by being His members and being like Him. )


4) Patristic teaching on the New Eve:
 
The use of the New Eve theme begins with St. Justin the Martyr, around 150 AD. It is then taken up widely in the other Fathers. St. Paul had spoken of Christ as the New or Second Adam. The Fathers teach there was also a New or Second Eve. The thought is this: Just as the first Eve really contributed to bringing down the damage of original sin on our race, so the New Eve, Mary , really contributed to reversing that damage.

a) St. Justin Martyr, ( c. 100-165) Dialogue with Trypho 100: "... we have understood that He came forth from the Father before all things... and was made man of the Virgin, so that the disobedience brought on by the serpent might be canceled out in the same manner in which It had begun. For Eve, being untouched and a virgin, conceiving the word from the serpent, bought forth disobedience and death. But Mary the Virgin, having received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced to her that the spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, so that the Holy One born of her would be the Son of God, answered: 'Be it done to me according to your word.'"

b) St. Irenaeus (c. 120-202) Against Heresies III. 22. 4: "Just as Eve... being disobedient, because a cause of death for herself and the whole human race, so Mary... being obedient, became a cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race... . for in no other way can that which is tied be untied unless the very windings of the knot are gone through in reverse: so that the first joints are loosed through the second, and the second in turn free the first... . Thus, then, the knot of the disobedience of Eve was untied through the obedience of Mary." V, 19. 1: "Although the one had disobeyed God, the other was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve. And just as the human race was bound over to death through a virgin, so was it saved through a virgin; the scale was balanced a virgin's disobedience by a virgin's obedience."

Comment: We notice the words about balancing the scales of the objective order. We note too that Vatican II, LG 56 cited most of the first of the above texts, and put stress on obedience in 56 and 61. Also, the knot was not really untied until Calvary was completed so the words of St. Irenaeus objectively imply more than he is likely to have seen (he was speaking of the annunciation, it seems from context). As a Father of the Church, Divine Providence could so use him.

c) Tertullian (c 150-c 240). On the Flesh of Christ 17:  "Therefore, since we are told that the first Adam was from the earth, God fittingly also made the next, the new Adam, into a life-giving spirit out of the earth that is, of a flesh not yet used for generation. And yet, so I may not miss the opening provided by the name of Adam why did the Apostle call Him Adam if Christ as man was not of earthly origin? But here reason also helps to show that God, by a rival method, restored His image and likeness which had been captured by the devil. For into Eve when she was yet a virgin had crept the word that established death; likewise, into a virgin was to be brought the Word of God that produced life: so that what had gone to ruin by the one sex might be restored to salvation by the same sex. Eve had believed the serpent, Mary believed Gabriel. What wrong the one did by her unbelief, the other destroyed by her belief."

d) St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386) Catecheses 12. 15:  "Through the virgin Eve came death. It was necessary that life appear through a virgin, or rather, of a virgin, so that just as the serpent deceived the one, so Gabriel brought the good tidings to the other."

e) St. Jerome ( c. 347-419), Epistle 22. 21 [internal quote: Is 9. 6): "But after the Virgin conceived in her womb and brought forth for us a child for whom 'the government is upon his shoulder... God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, ' the curse was dissolved. Death through Eve; life through Mary".

f) St. Ambrose (c 333 -397) Epistle 63. 33): "Through a man and a woman flesh was cast out of paradise; through a virgin it was joined to God." On the Gospel of Luke 4. 7: "From the virgin earth [came] Adam, Christ [came] from a virgin; the former was made to the image of God, the latter [was] the image of God; the former was exalted above all irrational animals, the latter above all living things. Through a woman [came] folly, through a virgin [came] wisdom. Death [came] through the tree, life through the cross."

g) St. Augustine ( 354-430):Sermon on Psalm 149. 2: "For He received flesh from us and offered it. But whence did He receive it? From the womb of the Virgin Mary, so that He might offer clean flesh for the unclean." On the Christian Combat 22. 24: "Here also is a great mystery: since death had come upon us through a woman, life was born for us through a woman, so that the conquered devil was tormented by both sexes, that is, male and female, since he had rejoiced in the ruin of both. His punishment would have been too small if both had been freed and had not been freed through both." On Holy Virginity 6. 6: "... but certainly she is the Mother of His members, which we are; for she cooperated in love that the faithful might be born in the Church." Sermon 289. 2: "Since our original fall took place when a woman conceived in her heart the poison of the serpent, it is not surprising that our salvation came when a woman conceived in her womb the flesh of the Almighty. Both sexes had fallen; both had to be restored. Through a woman we were sent to ruin; through a woman salvation was restored to us."

Comment: A more extensive collection of Patristic New Eve texts in English is found in: T. Livius, The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Six Centuries (London, 1893). Other Fathers quoted in Livius are: St. Theophilus of Antioch, Origen, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Amphilocius, St. Ephrem, St. Epiphanius, St. Maximus, St. John Chrysostom, St. Peter Chrysologus, St. Proclus, St. Eleutherius Tornacensis, and the Epistle to Diognetus. Still more texts in Latin are to be found in Gabriel M. Roschini, Mariologia (2nd ed. Rome, 1947. II, 300-01, 304-09.


5) Ordinary Magisterium on Mary's Immediate Cooperation in the Objective Redemption
 
Preliminary Note: 1: We need to distinguish carefully between two things: (a)  The fact that she cooperated immediately on Calvary, (b) The manner in which that cooperation worked.

2: Any doctrine proposed repeatedly by the Ordinary Magisterium is rated as infallible. In fact, Pius XII added in (Humani generis, Dec. 28, 1950. DS 3885): "Nor should one think that the things proposed in Encyclical Letters do not of themselves call for assent on the plea that in them the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Magisterium. For these things are taught by the Ordinary Magisterium, to which this also applies: 'He who hears you hears me. '... But if the Popes in their acta deliberately pass judgment on a matter controverted up to then, it is clear to all that according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, the question can no longer be considered open to free discussion among theologians." But: If a doctrine comes under the promise of Christ "He who hears you hears me" that doctrine cannot be in error. The reason is that in the case described by Pius XII, the Pope who can speak for the whole Church, shows clearly the intention to make a teaching definitive: so it comes under the promise of Christ which cannot fail.

1. Leo XIII, Encyclical, Iucunda Semper, Sept 8, 1884. ASS 27. 178 "For when she presented herself to God as a handmaid for the role of Mother, or when she totally dedicated herself with her Son in the temple, from each of these facts she was already then a sharer in the laborious expiation for the human race. Hence we cannot doubt that she greatly grieved in soul in the most harsh anguishes and torments of her Son. Further, that divine sacrifice had to be completed with her present and looking on, for which she had generously nourished the victim from herself. Finally this is more tearfully observed in the same mysteries: There stood by the Cross of Jesus, Mary His Mother... of her own accord she offered her Son to the divine justice, dying with Him in her heart, transfixed with the sword of sorrow."

2. Leo XIII, Encyclical, Adiutricem populi, Sept. 5, 1895. ASS 28. 130-31:  "For thereafter, by the divine plan, she so began to watch over the Church, so to be present to us and to favor us as Mother, that she who had been the minister of accomplishing the mystery of human redemption, would be likewise the minister of the dispensation of that grace, practically limitless power being given to her."

3. St. Pius X, Encyclical, Ad diem illum, Feb. 2, 1904, ASS 36. 453-55: "Hence that never disassociated manner of life and labors of the Son and the Mother... . But when the final hour of her Son came, His Mother stood by the cross of Jesus, not just occupied in seeing the dread spectacle, but actually rejoicing that her Only-Begotten was being offered for the salvation of the human race... . from this common sharing of sufferings and will, she merited to become most worthily the reparatrix of the lost world, and so the dispensatrix of all the gifts which were gained for us by the death and blood of Jesus... . . She... since she was ahead of all in holiness and union with Christ, and was taken up by Christ into the work of human salvation, she merits congruously, as they say, what Christ merited condignly, and is the chief minister of the dispensation of graces."

4. Benedict XV, Epistle, Inter Sodalicia, May 22, 1918. AAS 10. 182 :  "With her suffering and dying Son she suffered and almost died, so did she surrender her mother's rights over her Son for the salvation of human beings, and to appease the justice of God, so far as pertained to her, she immolated her Son, so that it can be rightly said, that together with Christ she has redeemed the human race".

5. Pius XI, Apostolic Letter, Explorata res est. Feb. 2, 1923. AAS 15. 104:  "... the sorrowful Virgin shared in the work of redemption with Jesus Christ... . Comment: The word "sorrowful" shows this was a cooperation on Calvary, not just in the annunciation.

6. Pius XI, Encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928. AAS 20. 178: "May the kindly Virgin Mother of God be present and smile on these our prayers and undertakings, who, since she brought forth Jesus the Redeemer, fed Him, offered Him as a victim at the cross, by her hidden union with Christ, and an altogether singular grace from Him, was likewise the Reparatrix, and is devoutly called that."

7. Pius XI, Radio message to Lourdes, April 28, 1935. L'Osservatore Romano, April 29, 1935: "O Mother of piety and mercy, who as Coredemptrix stood by your most sweet Son suffering with Him when He consummated the redemption of the human race on the altar of the cross... preserve in us, we beg, day by day, the precious fruits of the Redemption and of your compassion."

8. Pius XII, Encyclical On the Mystical Body, June 29, 1943. AAS 35. 247: "She it was who, as the New Eve, free from every stain of original or personal sin, always most closely joined with her Son, offered Him to the Eternal Father on Golgotha together with the holocaust of her motherly rights and love for all the sons of Adam, defiled by his miserable fall."

9. Pius XII, Radio message to Fatima, May 13, 1946, AAS 38. 266:  "Jesus is King of the Eternal Ages by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]".

Comment: The same title "by right of conquest", is given for both Jesus and Mary. A triple subordination is carefully expressed even though it would be obvious in itself, therefore there should be no other reservation thought to be understood. Hence, with subordination, the title applies in the same way to each.

10. Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, Nov. 1, 1950. AAS 42. 768: " We must especially remember this, that starting in the second century, the Virgin Mary is presented by the holy Fathers as the New Eve, who, although subject to the New Adam, was most closely joined with Him in that struggle against the infernal enemy, which, as was foretold in the Protoevangelium [Gen 3:15], was to come to the most full victory over sin and death, which are always joined together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Hence, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin with her Son, had to be closed by the glorification of her virginal body."

Comment: In spite of the fears of some scholars, such as Altaner, that the Assumption was not in the sources of revelation, the Pope found the Assumption there in the New Eve theme, and more precisely, in her cooperation on Calvary, which was most close, to such an extent that the Pope even could speak of a struggle that was "common to the Blessed Virgin and her Son".

11. Pius XII, Encyclical, Fulgens corona, Sept. 8, 1953. AAS 45. 583:  "... she was joined with her Only-begotten Son in the struggle against the most wicked infernal serpent."

12. Pius XII, Encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam, Oct. 11, 1954. AAS 46. 634-35: "In accomplishing this work of the redemption, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was certainly closely joined with Christ... was associated with Jesus Christ, the very principle of salvation, by divine plan, and indeed in a way similar to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the principle of death, so that we can say that the work of our salvation was accomplished according to a certain recapitulation... and if she was joined with her Son, even on Golgotha, [and] she offered Him, together with the holocaust of her Mother's rights and love, like a New Eve, for all the sons of Adam, defiled by his wretched fall, as a result, beyond doubt, it is right to conclude that just as Christ, the New Adam should be called King not only because He is the Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so by a certain analogy, the most Blessed Virgin is Queen, not only because she is the Mother of God, but also because as the New Eve she was associated with the New Adam"

Comment: Mary acted in a way parallel to that of Eve, who did not receive a sin from Adam [as the German Mariology would imply] but in an effective and active way generated sin. Therefore Mary's work was not active receptivity, as the Germans assert, but an effective and active cooperation in generating the title for the Redemption.

13. John XXIII, Radio message to the Eucharistic Congress of Italy at Catana, Sept. 13, 1959. AAS 51. 714: "We trust that they will imitate in her the most perfect model of union with Jesus, our Head; we trust that they will join Mary in the offering of the divine Victim... ."

14. John XXIII, Homily for the Canonization of St. Peter Julian Eymard. Dec. 9, 1962. AAS 65. 10:  "Intimately associated in the Redemption in the eternal plans of the Most High, Our Lady, as Severianus of Gabala sung, is the mother of salvation, the fountain of light made visible".

15. Vatican II, Constitution on the Church, 58:  "So also the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully bore with her union with her Son even to the cross, where, in accord with the divine plan, she stood, vehemently grieved with her Only-Begotten, and joined herself to His Sacrifice with a motherly heart, lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim born of her."

61:  "In conceiving Christ, in giving birth to Him, in feeding Him, in presenting Him to the Father in the Temple, in suffering with her Son as He died on the cross she cooperated in the work of the Savior in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls."

Comment: Her cooperation was by way of obedience, which was the covenant condition, the very thing that gave the sacrifice its value, for without obedience, it would have been only a tragedy, not a redemption. Hence in 3 of the same constitution: "By His obedience, He brought about redemption. :" Cf. also Romans 5. 19. She cooperated officially "in accord with the divine plan" as the New Eve. She was made interiorly apt for this by the Immaculate Conception. Such a cooperation is clearly active, in generating the title for redemption.

16. John Paul II. Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, March 25, 1987. AAS 79. 382. 83. Vatican Press Translation. "How great, how heroic then is the obedience of faith shown by Mary in the face of God's 'unsearchable judgments'! How completely she 'abandons herself to God without reserve, ' offering the full assent of the intellect and the will' to Him whose 'ways are inscrutable... . Through this faith, Mary is perfectly united with Christ in his self-emptying... . At the foot of the Cross Mary shares through faith in the shocking mystery of this self-emptying. This is perhaps the deepest 'kenosis' of faith in human history. Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in His redeeming death... . as a sharing in the sacrifice of Christ the new Adam it becomes in a certain sense the counterpoise to the disobedience and disbelief embodied in the sin of our first parents. Thus teach the Fathers of the Church and especially St. Irenaeus, quoted by the Constitution Lumen gentium: 'The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed by her faith. '"

Comment: In his Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, the same Pope said that in Redemptoris Mater, he intended to deepen the teaching of Vatican II on Mary's faith. Now since faith involves total adherence of a person to God, requiring intellectual assent, confidence in promises, and the "obedience of faith" [Rom 1. 5], and since all spiritual perfection lies in the alignment of one's will with the will of God, it is clear that on Calvary her conformity to the will of the Father required that she positively will the terrible death of her Son. To do that was indeed the deepest kenosis of faith in all history, for she had to will His death in spite of her love, which was so great that Pius IX, in Ineffabilis Deus, in 1854, taught that at the very start of her life, her holiness (= love of God) was so great that "none greater under God can be thought of, and only God can comprehend it."The very value of His death depended on His obedience to the will of the Father (cfr. Lumen gentium 3 and Rom 5. 19) for that obedience was the condition of the New Covenant, the essential interior disposition of the great sacrifice. But then, her cooperation consisted in the obedience of faith, and so was a share in the covenant condition, in His obedience; hence her obedience became "the counterpoise to the disobedience and disbelief embodied in the sin of our first parents." -She did this as the one appointed by the Father to cooperate, as the New Eve, who was there, as Lumen gentium ## 58 &61 said, "by plan of divine Providence."

17. John Paul II, Allocution at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guayaquil, given on Jan 31, 1985, reported in L'Osservatore Romano Supplement of Feb. 2, 1985 and in English L'Osservatore Romano, March 11, 1985, p. 7: "Crucified spiritually with her crucified Son (cf. Gal 2:20), she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she 'lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth' (Lumen gentium #58)... as she was in a special way close to the Cross of her Son, she also had to have a privileged experience of his Resurrection. In fact, Mary's role as coredemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son."

Comment: Same sense as the previous text. We note the Pope even uses the word Coredemptrix.


6) Conclusions from Texts:
 
a) The Patristic texts do not go beyond remote cooperation, explicitly. But St. Irenaeus implies more in his knot comparison. A Father of the Church may be used by Providence to say more than he realizes, even as the writers of Scripture sometimes are. And we shall see that it is very likely that happened to Vatican II as well.

b) The Popes and Vatican II give us clearly the following data:

(1) She was appointed officially to cooperate , for her role was "in accordance with the divine plan." Further the position of the New Eve is official, with the New Adam.

(2) She was made intrinsically apt to cooperate by the Immaculate Conception.

(3)Her role was entirely singular, i. e, unlike that of St. John, who was present.

(4)Her cooperation was done by way of obedience, faith, hope and burning love.

(5)We notice specially that obedience was (a) the covenant condition, and (b) was that which gave the value to His sacrifice, which otherwise would have been only a tragedy. (c)  It also was a means of joining in payment of the debt, i.e. , of rebalancing the objective order.

(6) Her obedience consisted in precisely "the obedience of faith", in willing what the Father willed which is the essential of all and any sanctity. So the Popes and Council say she "consented" and "immolated Him". John Paul II says this is part of the deepest kenosis, self-emptying in all history. This was more than just agreeing to let it go: For she had to positively will this, going counter to her love for Him, which was so great, as we learn from Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it".

7. Theological reasoning on the data tells us this: Her Son generated a claim to all forgiveness and grace in three ways: First, by obeying and so fulfilling the covenant condition. She as the Council and Popes make clear shared in that covenant condition by her obedience, of which LG spoke three times. So she shared in the "price" of redemption (cf. 1 Cor 6. 20 and 7. 23). Second her obedience joined in His obedience, which was the interior disposition that gave all the value to His sacrifice. Third her obedient suffering, together with His, was the payment of the debt, the rebalancing of the objective order.

It was surely possible for the Father to accept her obedience as part of the covenant condition, and as the interior disposition of His sacrifice, and as suffering to pay the debt or rebalance the objective order: He called for it at immense cost to her, as we have seen. He made her intrinsically apt. He appointed her to cooperate. Could we then suppose He would not accept that which He Himself had arranged? Not at all. So, factually, He did accept her obedience in all three aspects, which generated a claim to all forgiveness and grace. This is far beyond what the German Mariologists supposed, with their theory of mere active receptivity, which sounds so much like the position of Luther saying our role is mere appropriation.

This does not mean she was on the same level as Jesus. Her very ability to do anything came from Him. Further, even His offering was on the secondary level of the covenant, in the sense explained in our study of Sinai. That is, the Father did not cease being angry because Jesus came and died: rather, it was because the Father always loved us that He came. On the most basic level no one can generate a claim to move the Father. He did not have to be moved. He cannot be moved, or changed. Yet, within the covenant framework, which He established, He does repay (cf. Romans 2. 6).

8. Answer to an objection: Vatican II, in LG 54 said it did not intend to settle debates among theologians, chiefly, between the German Mariologists and those who hold she actively contributed to generating a title to all forgiveness and grace. Yet, In LG 55 the Council made clear that even if the human writers of Gen 3. 15 and Is 7. 14 may not have seen the full import of their words, the Church now does see them, in the light of the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah the prophet in 31. 31 ff. wrote more than he probably knew. St. Irenaeus wrote more than he understood, with his knot comparison. Why could not the Council, an instrument of Divine Providence, also write more than it realized? We have seen, by careful analysis, that its words do objectively mean more than it realized.

Still further, Msgr. G. Philips of Louvain, one of the chief drafters of LG, shows in his commentary that he himself did not fully understand all that he wrote. In his commentary on 61 and 62 of LG (L'Eglise et son mystere aux Deuxieme concil du Vatican. Histoire, text et commentaire de la Constitution Lumen Gentium, Desclee, Paris, 1968, reprinted in Ephemerides Mariologicae XXIV, 1974, pp. 87-97. We cite from this reprint) he thinks that only (p. 92) "a mental distinction... between the acquisition and the distribution of grace is possible." That is, between objective and subjective redemption. But on p. 90 of his commentary, he says that her cooperation was "concretized in her unconditional obedience." While on p. 92 he said her present role (subjective redemption) is one of intercession. Intercession and obedience are not at all the same thing. In obedience, she does the will of the Father, in intercession she asks the Father to do her will, to grant graces to her children.

9. The alternatives of redemption: If we imagine the Father looking over the scene after the sin of our first parents, of course He willed to restore our race. But there were several alternatives open to Him: (1) He could forgive with no reparation at all. This would not satisfy His generosity to us, nor would it at all rebalance the objective order, as His Holiness wanted. (2) He could have appointed any mere human and ordered that one to perform any religious act. That would be of finite value, but He could have accepted, even could have bound Himself by promise to accept it as the whole of redemption. (3) He could have sent His Son to be born in a palace, fitted with every possible luxury. The Son would not need to die at all. The mere fact of becoming Incarnate was a come-down for a Divine Person, and so would be infinitely satisfactory and meritorious. He could have added a short prayer, perhaps, "Father, forgive them" and then could have ascended in a blaze of glory without ever dying. This would have been an infinite redemption [cf. the physical-mystical theory of the Easter Fathers described above]. (4)He went beyond the palace to the stable, beyond a deathless prayer to the Cross. Without any rhetoric we can say: this is beyond infinity. In the lowly terrain of mathematics, infinity plus a finite quantity does not increase. But this is the realm of divine generosity, which wills to make everything as rich as possible. (5) Further, recalling He could have used a mere human for the whole of redemption: why not use the Virgin Mary as the associate of the Divine Redeemer? Our magisterium texts and analysis have shown He did precisely that. We recall again St. Thomas I. 19. 5. c.

10. Parallel to the Mass: The Mass, says Vatican II (On Liturgy 10) is the renewal of the New Covenant. But in that renewal we, the members of Christ, are called on to join our obedience to His, to form the one great offering of the obedience of the whole Christ, Head and members. Therefore, if the renewal is faithful to the original, there must have been in the original a parallel, i. e, the infinite value of the obedience of Christ, to which was joined the obedience of His Mother.

11. She is also our spiritual Mother: For Vatican II, in LG 61, right after the portion already quoted, added: "As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace." An ordinary Mother must do two things: (1) Share in bringing a new life into being Our Spiritual Mother did share in that, in immense pain, by the Cross. (2) She must take care of that life so long as she is needed, willing, and able. In time children naturally outgrow the need of great help from their earthly mother. Not so Mary: we will need her help, since all graces come through her, until we finally reach the mansions of the Father. Ordinary mothers may be unwilling or unable to help. Not so Mary, who is never unwilling, always most able. (We shall see in a moment the magisterium texts on that point). Pope Benedict XV (Epistle Decessorem nostrum, of 19 April, 1915, called her "suppliant omnipotence." That is: all that God can do by His own inherent power, she can obtain by her intercession.

Pope Pius XII in a message to the Marian Congress of Ottawa, Canada, on July 19, 1947, said: "When the little maid of Nazareth uttered her fiat to the message of the angel... she became not only the Mother of God in the physical order of nature, but also in the supernatural order of grace she became the Mother of all, who... would be made one under the Headship her divine Son. The Mother of the Head would be the Mother of the members. The Mother of the Vine would be the Mother of the branches." (English text from AAS 39. 271. Cf. also Marian Studies III, 1952, pp. 14-217. )

12. Scriptural Basis for the teaching on Immediate Cooperation: The claim is often made that the Catholic doctrine on Our Lady is largely unscriptural. The culmination of this charge is of course the teaching on her immediate cooperation in the objective redemption.

Yet, it is easy to show that even this most advanced doctrine is Scriptural:

First, we want to notice that in the very earliest Fathers of the Church, such as St. Justin Martyr (c. 145-150), we find the New Eve doctrine, i.e. , that just as the first Eve really contributed to the damage of original sin, so Mary, the New Eve, really contributed to removing it. They had in mind her obedient acceptance, in faith, to be the Mother of the Messiah.

But today as we saw above, the Church has gone beyond that early teaching. Let us recall the Constitution on the Church of Vatican II, 61: "... in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls." Basically this same doctrine is found in every Pope from Leo XIII up to and including John Paul II. By the time of Vatican II, nearly all the die-hard Catholic theologians who disliked this teaching had admitted they had to concede.

So Vatican II was merely restating a repeated teaching. But the way it expressed it is very helpful. It said her role on Calvary was one of obedience. Earlier, in 56 it had pointed out that obedience twice, in citing St. Irenaeus: "By obeying, she became a cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race." Then, after recalling the comparison St. Irenaeus made of all sin to a complex knot, in which the Saint said that to untie a knot, one must take the end of the rope backwards through every turn taken in tying it. And it added, from St. Irenaeus again: "Thus then, the knot of the disobedience of Eve was untied through the obedience of Mary."

At first sight this teaching seems to have no basis in Scripture. But if we look more closely, we will see something quite obvious. First, at the Annunciation, she was asked to consent, in faith, to be the Mother of the Messiah. She knew this perfectly clearly, for as soon as the Archangel said, "He will reign over the house of Jacob forever," she knew that only the Messiah could reign forever. So she knew it was the Messiah. Then there would begin to crowd into her thoughts all the ancient prophecies of the Messiah, especially Isaiah 53, of His dreadful sufferings and death. She was asked to consent to be the Mother of such a Messiah.

She did consent, as St. Luke tells us, saying: "Be it done to me according to your word." She gave her fiat, her obedience to the will of God, as the angel told her of His will.

Did she later retract this acceptance of God's will? Of course not. Any soul either falls back or goes ahead in holiness. Holiness really consists in the alignment of our wills with the will of God for the free will is the only thing free we have.

So she faithfully stood by Him, keeping in the background when the crowds gave Him praise, but moving out into the dark blackness that hung over Calvary. There she stood.

What was her reaction? Of course, she grieved, as any Mother would, seeing her Son suffering so horribly. And she saw that suffering as our crucifixes do not generally let us see it they contain no trace at all of the horrid scourging, leaving Him bloody all over.

But now we can begin to realize something tremendous. As we said, spiritual perfection consists in the alignment of our will with the will of the Father. Further, when we know what He positively wills, it is not enough for us to say, as it were: "Let it go". No, we are called on to positively will what He wills.

But what did He will in that dread hour? She knew from Isaiah 53:10: "It was the will of the Lord to crush Him with pain." So the Father willed that His Son should die, die then, die so horribly. So did the Son will it. So she was then called upon to will what the Father willed, what her Son willed, in other words, she was called on to will positively that He die, die then, die horribly.

We must add: the redemption was, under one aspect, the making of the New Covenant, foretold by Jeremiah 31:31 ff.: "I will make a New covenant. It will not be like the covenant I made with your Fathers, for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master. But this is the Covenant. I will write my law on their heart. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

In the Covenant of Sinai, the essential condition had been the obedience of the people (Ex 19:5): "If you really hearken to my voice, and keep my covenant, you will be my special people." So the New Covenant would have again as its essential condition obedience, which Jeremiah expressed by speaking of a law written on hearts. Perhaps Jeremiah did not see it fully, but that obedience was to be the obedience of Christ.

What did that law of the Father, written on her heart call for? It called for what we have just said: That she positively will that her Son die, die then, die horribly. In that, she was joining in the fulfillment of the Covenant condition. He, in Gethsemani, had said: "If it be possible, let this chalice pass... but nonetheless, not what I will, but what you will." In other words, He obeyed. St. Paul stressed that too in Rom 5:19: "Just as by the disobedience of the one man [the first Adam] the many were made sinners [original sin] so by the obedience of the one man [the New Adam] the many will be constituted just."

In fact, had His death taken place without obedience, it would not have been a redemption, it would have been merely a tragedy. So it was obedience that was the covenant condition, it was that which gave the value to His death.

To look at the same reality from a different perspective, His death was a sacrifice. God had once complained through Isaiah 29:13: "This people honors me with their lips... their hearts are far from me." The ancient Jews were very adept at what is sometimes, simplistically, called "participation." They loved to make the responses, to sing, to join in processions. But it was all empty, for their hearts were far from Him: their hearts did not act in obedience.

But Jesus did offer His sacrifice in obedience. So just as obedience is the covenant condition, so too, it is that without which His sacrifice would be as worthless as those of which God complained through Isaiah.

But we return to Our Lady. At the annunciation, she obeyed, she said her fiat. She knew too much for comfort even then, of what that entailed, as we explained above. But now in the blackness of Calvary, she was called on to continue to obey the will of the Father. That she did. As we said, we know this since any soul is required to conform its will to that of the Father. But then, she knew that will of the Father, knew it all too well. It was that He should die then, die horribly.

So what she had to do, unless she would break with the Father, was to will what He willed, to will the terrible death of her Son.

All this is, of course, entirely Scriptural. It merely points out that at the start, she obeyed in saying her fiat, as St. Luke tells us. At the Cross, as any soul that loves the will of the Father must do, she had to continue her fiat, to continue to obey. Isaiah 53 had said that, "by His stripes we are healed", that, "it was the will of the Lord to crush Him in pain." Even the Targum knew Isaiah spoke of the Messiah, although in the stiff-necks of many, the message was even inverted. But she was not such, she understood, and yet she did not take back her fiat, she obeyed the will of the Lord. That obedience of hers was a joining in the essential condition of the New Covenant, it was a joining in the necessary interior of His sacrifice.

Her love of Him would multiply the difficulty. It was the love of the best of Mothers for the best of Sons, a Son whom she understood as no other person could. We cannot really calculate the terrible difficulty of her obedience, going counter to such love.

Would the Father accept her obedience as part of the covenant obedience? In the old covenant, He accepted the obedience of even very ordinary, sinful people how much more hers! Would He put her in such straits, call on her to obey when it was so incredibly hard, and then not accept her obedience as part of the covenant condition even as He had accepted the obedience of very ordinary, sinful people, as we said, in the old covenant.

He could have redeemed us with something immeasurably less painful the mere fact of the incarnation, even without so much as a short prayer added, would have been superabundant. Yet in His love of all goodness, in His love of us, He would not stop short when there was any way to make it all richer. It was in that attitude that He called for the death of His Son, that He called for her immeasurably difficult obedience.

So, Vatican II in its teaching, merely unfolded, by pondering in hearts, what the Scripture contains: "In suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior" in the essential requirement of the New Covenant, in the essential interior of the Great Sacrifice "by obedience, faith, hope and burning love."

12. Her Role in Each Mass:  Since Vatican II said (On Liturgy #10) that the Mass is the renewal of the new covenant, and since the Council of Trent (DS 1743) said the Mass is the same as Calvary ,"only the manner or offering being changed", therefore we would expect her to have a role in the Mass parallel to that which she had on Calvary.

Pope John XXIII in a radio message to the 16th Eucharistic Congress of Italy on Sept. 13, 1959, (AAS 51. 713) said he hoped all would grow in their fervor and veneration for the Blessed Virgin, "the Mother of the Mystical Body, of which the Eucharist is the symbol and vital center." And he added: "We trust that they will imitate in her the most perfect model of union with Jesus our Head; we trust that they will join Mary in the offering of the Divine Victim."

Pope John Paul II in an address in St. Peter's square (Sunday Feb. 12, 1984 (from English edition of La Osservatore Romano, Feb. 20, 1984, p. 10) said: "Today I wish to dwell with you on the Blessed Virgin's presence in the celebration of the Liturgy... . Every liturgical action... is an occasion of communion... and in a particular way with Mary... Because the Liturgy is the action of Christ and of the Church... she is inseparable from one and the other... . Mary is present in the memorial the liturgical action because she was present at the saving event... . She is at every altar where the memorial of the passion and Resurrection is celebrated, because she was present, faithful with her whole being to the Father's plan, at the historic salvific occasion of Christ's death."

A sacrifice consists of the external sign and the interior dispositions which the sign expresses. In the Cenacle the external sign was the seeming separation of His body and blood. On the Cross, it was the physical separation. But in both cases, and on our altars the interior is the disposition of His Heart, most basically, obedience to the Father (cf. Rom 5. 19 and LG 3). His disposition on our altars is not a repeat of that which He had on Calvary, it is the continuation, for death makes permanent the attitude of soul with which one leaves the body. She shares in the external sign of the Mass in that the flesh and blood are still those He received from her. She shares in the interior dispositions of His Heart, with which she is eternally united. Therefore the Mass is not the time to stop thinking of her. Rather, the more closely one is united with her, the more closely one is united with Her Son. Therefore, let no one say we should forget her at Mass. Rather, the more closely one is joined to her there, the more closely to Jesus and vice versa. (This is true objectively, even if one's diversity of grace does not lead him to realize it).


XIII: Mediatrix of All Graces:
 
The term Mediatrix in itself could refer to either objective or subjective redemption or both. It is most usual to use it to refer only to subjective redemption, i.e. , the process of giving out the fruits of the objective redemption, throughout all centuries.

We must consider whether or not the term applies to all graces or only to some. We will ask also about the nature of the mediation: is it only by way of intercession, or even by way of being a physical instrument of all graces. There is no doubt the title would be justified, and would apply to all graces for certain, by her cooperation in acquiring all graces on Calvary.

1) Leo XIII, Encyclical, Supremi Apostolatus officio. Sept 1, 1883. ASS 16, 1883. 1113: "We judge nothing more powerful and better for this purpose than by religion and devotion to deserve well of the great Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, who is the treasurer (sequestra) of our peace with God, and the mediatrix (administra) of graces... ."

2)Leo XIII, Encyclical, Superiore anno, August 30, 1884. ASS 17, 1884. 49: "... may He hear the prayers of those who beseech through her, whom He Himself willed to be the mediatrix (administram) of graces."

3) Leo XIII, Encyclical, Octobri mense adventante, Sept 22, 1891, ASS 24, 1891, 196: "... it is right to say, that nothing at all of that very great treasury of all grace which the Lord brought us for 'grace and truth came through Jesus Christ' [Jn 1. 17] nothing is imparted to us except through Mary, since God so wills, so that just as no one can come to the Father except through the Son, so in general, no one can come to Christ except through His Mother."

4) Leo XIII, Encyclical, Iucunda semper, Sept 8, 1984. ASS 27, 1894. 179: "... when He [the Father] has been invoked with excellent prayers, our humble voice turns to Mary; in accordance with no other law than that law of conciliation and petition which was expressed as follows by St. Bernardine of Siena : 'Every grace that is communicated to this world has a threefold course. For by excellent order, it is dispensed from God to Christ, from Christ to the Virgin, from the Virgin to us.'" (Internal quote from S. Bernardine, Sermon on Nativity of B. V. M. n. 6).

5) Leo XIII, Encyclical, Adiutricem populi, Sept 5, 1895, ASS 28, 1895, 130: "For thereupon, by divine plan, she so began to watch over the Church, so to be near and to favor us as a Mother, that she who had been the minister (administra) of the mystery of human redemption, was equally the minister (administra) of the grace to be given from it for all time, practically immeasurable power being given to her."

6) Leo XIII, Encyclical, Diuturni temporis spatium, Sept 5, 1898, ASS 31, 1898, 146: "For from her, as in a must abundant conduit, the drafts of heavenly graces are given: '... in her hands are the treasures of the mercies of the Lord; for God wills that she be the principle of all good things. '"(internal quotes are from St. John Damascene. Series I De Nativitate Virginis and St. Irenaeus, Against Valentinus III. 33).

7) Leo XIII, Encyclical, Diuturni temporis spatium, Sept 5, 1898, ASS 31, 1898, 147: "'God wills her to be the principle of all good things'" (citing St. John Damascene, Series I De nativitate Virginis. )

8) Leo XIII, Parta humano generi, Apostolic Letter, Sept 8, 1901, ASS 34, 1901, 195: "So may the most powerful Virgin Mother, who once 'cooperated in love that the faithful might be born in the Church', be even now the means and mediatrix of our salvation."(Citing St. Augustine, De sancta Virginitate 6).

9) St. Pius X, Encyclical, Ad diem illum, Feb. 2, 1904, AAS 36, 1904. 453-54: "Hence that never dissociated manner of life and labors of the Mother and the Son... . there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, not merely occupied in looking at the dreadful sight, but even rejoicing that 'her only Son was being offered for the salvation of the human race; and so did she suffer, with Him, that if it had been possible, she would have much more gladly suffered herself all the torments that her Son underwent' [St. Bonaventure I. Sent. d, 48, ad Litt. dub. 4. ]. Now from this common sharing of will and suffering between Christ and Mary, she 'merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world' [Eadmer, De Excellentia Virginis Mariae, 9] and therefore Dispensatrix of all the gifts which Jesus gained for us by His Death and by His Blood... . But Mary as St. Bernard fittingly remarks [De Aquaeductu 4. ] is the 'channel' or, even, the neck, through which the body is joined to the head, and likewise through which the head exerts its power and strength on the body. ' For she is the neck of our Head, by which all spiritual gifts are communicated to His Mystical Body"' [St. Bernardine of Siena, Quadrag. De Evangelio aeterno, Sermo X, a. 3. c. 3. ]

10) St. Pius X, Litterae Apostolicae, August 27, 1910, AAS 2, 1910, 901: "We, to whom nothing is dearer than that the devotion of the faithful towards the Virgin of Lourdes, the treasurer [sequestra] of all graces, be more and more increased, think we should gladly assent to these wishes."

11) Benedict XV, Litterae Apostolicae, Inter Sodalicia, March 22, 1918, AAS 10, 1918, 182: "... the fact that she was with Him crucified and dying, was in accord with the divine plan. For with her suffering and dying Son, Mary endured suffering and almost death. She gave up her Mother's rights over her Son to procure the salvation of mankind, and to appease the divine justice, she, as much as she could, immolated her Son, so that one can truly affirm that together with Christ she has redeemed the human race. But if for this reason, every kind of grace we receive from the treasury of the redemption is ministered as it were through the hands of the same Sorrowful Virgin, everyone can see that a holy death should be expected from her, since it is precisely by this gift that the work of the Redemption is effectively and permanently completed in each one... . further, there is a most constant belief among the faithful, proved by long experience, that as many as employ the same Virgin as Patron, will not at all perish forever."

12) Benedict XV, Encyclical, Fausto appetente die, June 29, 1921, AAS 13, 1921, 334: "For he [St. Dominic] knew well that Mary... has such influence with her divine Son, that He confers whatever of graces He confers on humans, does so always with her as minister and decision-maker [administra et arbitra]."

13) Pius XI, Apostolic Letter, Galliam, Ecclesiae filiam, March 2, 1922, AAS 14, 1922 186: "She, the Virgin Mother, [is] the treasurer [sequestra] of all graces with God."

14) Pius XI, Apostolic Letter, Exstat in civitate, Feb. 1, 1924, AAS 16 1924, 152: "It is clear that many Roman Pontiffs... have stirred up devotion among the nations to the most clement Mother, the Virgin Mary, the Consoler of the afflicted, and the treasurer [sequestra] of all graces with God."

15) Pius XI, Apostolic Letter, Cognitum sane, Jan 14, 1926, AAS 18, 1926, 213: "We, to whom nothing is dearer than that the devotion of the Christian people be aroused more and more towards the Virgin who is the treasurer [sequestra] of all graces with God, think we should grant these wishes."

16) Pius XI, Encyclical, Ingravescentibus malis, Sept 29, 1937, AAS 29, 1927, 380: "... we know also that all things are imparted to us from God the Greatest and Best, through the hands of the Mother of God."

17) Pius XII, Encyclical, Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943, AAS 35, 1943, 248: "May she, then, the most holy Mother of all the members of Christ, to whose Immaculate Heart we have confidently consecrated all people... ask earnestly that most abundant streams of graces from the lofty Head may flow down on all the members of the Mystical body without interruption."

18) Pius XII, Radio message to Fatima, Bendito seja, May 13, 1946, AAS 38, 19465, 266: "... having been associated, as Mother and Minister, with the King of martyrs in the ineffable work of human Redemption, she is always associated, with a practically measureless power, in the distribution of the graces that derive from the Redemption... . And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion."

19) John XXIII, Epistle to Cardinal Agaganian, Legate to Marian Congress in Saigon, Jan 31, 1959, AAS 51, 1959, 88: "For the faithful can do nothing more fruitful and salutary than to win for themselves the most powerful patronage of the Immaculate Virgin, so that by this most sweet Mother, there may be opened to them, all the treasures of the divine Redemption, and so they may have life, and have it more abundantly. Did not the Lord will that we have everything through Mary?" Discorsi II, 66: "From her hands hope for all graces."

20) Vatican II, Lumen gentium 61-62: "... in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace. This motherhood of Mary in the economy of grace lasts without interruption, from the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation, and which she unhesitatingly bore with under the cross, even to the perpetual consummation of all the elect. For after being assumed into heaven, she has not put aside this saving function, but by her manifold intercession, she continues to win the gifts of eternal salvation for us. By her motherly love, she takes care of the brothers of her Son who are still in pilgrimage and in dangers and difficulties, until they be led through to the happy fatherland. For this reason, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adiutrix, and Mediatrix. This however it to be so understood that it takes nothing away, or adds nothing to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator. For no creature can ever be put on the same level with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer... ."

Comments: 1. We notice Vatican II did not add the words "of all graces." First, they were not needed, since, as several of the papal texts point out, her role in dispensation flows logically from her role in acquiring all graces. Second, the real reason for not adding it, and for putting the title Mediatrix in a list of other titles was the influence of Protestant observers, who had said in advance that if the Church calls her Mediatrix, dialogue on the topic would be ended. Cf. C Balic, "El Capitulo VIII de la Constitucion 'Lumen gentium' comparado con el Primer Esquema de La B. Virgen Madre de la Iglesia: in Estudios Marianos 27, 1966, p. 174.

Further, the Council itself added a note on the above passage, in which it refers us to the texts of Leo XIII, Adiutricem populi, St. Pius X, Ad diem illum, Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, and Pius XII, Radio message to Fatima. Leo XIII in that text spoke of her, as we saw above, as having "practically limitless power." St. Pius X said she was the "dispensatrix of all the gifts, and is the "neck" connecting the Head of the Mystical Body to the Members. But all power flows through the neck. Pius XII said "Her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion." Still further, no Council has the right to cancel previous papal teaching, especially when that teaching, on the ordinary Magisterium level, is repeated. For such repeated teaching is infallible.


2. The following papal texts cited above speak in varied ways of her as Mediatrix of all graces:  Leo XIII, especially texts 3 and 4: "nothing at all of that great treasury of all grace... is imparted to us except through Mary... . . every grace has a threefold course... . St. Pius X: especially texts 9 and 10: "Dispensatrix of all the gifts." She is the "neck" of the Mystical Body. Benedict XV text 12: "Whatever of graces He confers... . always with her as minister and decision-maker" Pius XI, texts 13. 14. 15: "treasurer of all graces" Pius XII, text 18: "nothing is excluded from her dominion". John XXIII, text 19: "Did not the Lord will that we have everything through Mary?"

Again, since a doctrine repeatedly taught on the Ordinary Magisterium level is infallibly taught so many repetitions of this doctrine mark it as infallible.

3. Protestants object, saying that there is only mediator:  1 Tim 2:5. But they fail to make distinctions. There is only one 1)who is such by very nature, having both divine and human natures; 2) whose work is necessary; 3) who depends on no one else for power. She differs on all three counts. Her whole ability to do anything comes entirely from her Son, and hence we are not contradicting LG 62 which says no creature can be ever counted together with Him. "As we said, we reply that her whole ability comes from Him. Really, the Father did not need her at all, except that if He decreed the incarnation, He necessarily decreed a Mother: she was and is that Mother. But everything else in which He has employed her is not needed. Yet: 1)if we recall the alternatives of redemption, it is clear that the Father wants everything to be as rich as possible, so that He will not stop with something lesser if there is more than can be done. Really, the incarnation in a palace, without death, would have been infinite in merit and satisfaction, as we saw above. 2)Further the principle of St. Thomas helps here. In I. 19, 5. c. Thomas says that it pleases God to have one thing in place to serve as a title or reason for granting something further, even though that title does not move Him. It is His love of all goodness and good order that leads Him to act this way. Hence too, even though Calvary earned infinite forgiveness and graces, the Father wills to provide titles for giving out these, in the Mass. Even though He did not need even our Lady, yet He willed to employ her. Even though there is no need of any other saints, in objective or subjective redemption, yet He wills to add them nall to make everything, every title, as rich as possible.

4. LG speaks of her as taking care of all her children.  We are extremely numerous, but yet not infinite in number. Therefore, we are not too numerous for her to see and care for. For her capacity for that infinite vision of God is in proportion to her love on earth, so great that Pius IX, as we saw, said it was so great that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it."

5. What is the nature of her mediation? Surely, she works by way of intercession. But theologians have also asked: Is she also a physical instrument of grace? Many today, influenced by Protestantism, tend to speak of grace merely as favor, and so say grace is not a thing given. But that would imply Pelagianism, the heresy that says that we can be saved by our own power. For if God merely sits there and smiles at me, and gives me nothing, that would mean that I had to do it by my own power. So even if one uses the word favor, this must always be in mind. But St. Thomas Aquinas holds that the sacraments are physical instruments of grace (III. 62. 4). Then the priest giving absolution would be a physical instrument of grace. So all the more she would be such an instrument. If she is, then the course of grace is this: grace begins in the divine nature, passes through the Sacred Humanity of Christ (a physical instrument), then through Mary (also a physical instrument) and then, if a sacrament is being given, through it as a physical instrument also. This seems to be precisely the sense of the text of Leo XIII, Iucunda semper, cited above. It fits well with the words of St. Pius X in Ad diem illum and some other texts we have already cited.


XIV: At the First Pentecost:
 
Pius XII, Encyclical on Mystical Body, AAS 35, 248: "She it was who, by her most powerful prayers, obtained that the Spirit of the Divine Redeemer, already given on the Cross, should be given to the newborn Church on the day of Pentecost, along with abundant gifts."

John Paul II, General Audience of January 28, 1988: "Mary, who 'kept these things in her heart' (cf. Lk 2:19) could bear witness, after Christ's death and resurrection in regard to what concerned herself and her role as Mother, precisely in the apostolic period when the New Testament texts were being written and when the early Christian tradition had its origin."

Comment: Before the coming of the Holy Spirit, during the long nine days, it may well have been that the Apostles were inclined to lose heart they had shown their weaknesses before, and yet at this point, had not yet received the strength of the Holy Spirit. So it is likely enough that she had to reassure and encourage them to persevere doing that novena.

What Gifts were given at Pentecost? To the Apostles were given the gift of tongues, a charismatic grace. The Apostles also received Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the sanctifying category, which gave them courage and understanding they had previously not had.

The gift of tongues given to the Apostles seems different from that claimed by modern charismatics. For the moderns and also those of whom St. Paul speaks in 1 Cor 12-14 do not understand what they are saying, unless there is an added different gift of interpretation. But the Apostles clearly understood what they were saying on Pentecost. Even so, we must ask: Did the Spirit give the Apostles the power to speak various language themselves so that the Apostles understood their own words, or was there, as it were, translation in the air before their words reached the crowds? We do not know.

We inject a comment: modern charismatics are apt to claim that their special phenomena are simply actuations of the Gifts of the Spirit, which all Catholics have: therefore, all Catholics should be charismatics. But this is not true for two reasons: 1)The gift of tongues belongs to the charismatic type of graces Gifts of the Holy Spirit belong to the sanctifying category. Something from one category cannot actuate something from the other. 2)The claim neglects the diversity of spiritual attractions: The basic principles of the spiritual life are the same for all. But on a secondary level, the approach, there is room for great differences. We think for example of St. Francis de Sales, a refined gentlemen, in contrast to St. Benedict Joseph Labre, who lived like a tramp, probably had body lice. Or we think of St. Francis of Assisi who, according to one account was reluctant to let a brother have even one book in comparison to St. Thomas Aquinas who did nothing but soak in books. All four of these Saints followed the same basic rules but their approaches were different. It is spiritually harmful to ignore this principle and to try to force all into one mould. The Spirit does not do that.

Therefore we also ask: Did Our Lady receive the gift of tongues? There is no mention in Acts of the Apostles. It was not needed for her role on Pentecost or otherwise. We saw above in considering the graces given her at Immaculate Conception, that we have no evidence she received the charismatic type of graces, which do not sanctify. Further, 1 Cor 14:34 says strongly: "Women must be silent in the Church." Our Lord did not make her a priest, nor does it seem she ever addressed the assembly, though of course she did give information especially on the early life of Jesus privately to the Evangelists and others, as John Paul II said in a document cited above.

What are the sanctifying Gifts of the Holy Spirit? They are added faculties, added to the structure of infused virtues, which enable the soul to receive the inspiration sent in His own special way by the Holy Spirit. They can give infused contemplation as well as guidance. But for the present we consider their role in guidance.

An soul may follow any of three spiritual guides: 1) the whim of the moment. Aristotle in Ethics 1. 5 calls this a life fit for cattle, who also do just as they happen to feel like doing. 2) reason, which even if the recipient is not aware of it, is aided by actual graces which God gives generously. 3) The Holy Spirit through the Gifts.

When a soul operates on the second level, its work is often discursive, i.e., from one step to another in reasoning. For example if I decide I have sinned and should do penance, first I ask: How much have I sinned? How much is needed? what penance will fit with the duties of my state in life? with my health? And so after several steps the soul reaches a decision. But when guidance is receive via the Gifts, there is no such discursive process: as it were, the answer is dropped ready made into the mind. This of course leaves opening for much subjectivity and even deception. But there is help: 1)Well developed cases of such guidance do not appear until the soul is very far advanced in the spiritual life. 2)When they do appear they come in one of two forms: (a) if there is time to consult a superior or director, the guidance leaves one a bit uncertain, a signal the soul should consult. (b) in the less common case where a decision must be made on the spot, and there is no chance to consult, they may give certitude.

Why do souls not experience more of this guidance? It is because of their lack of receptivity, coming even from subconscious reluctances to do certain things. But our Lady was never held back by such things. She was always most perfectly faithful and responsive to the Spirit, who is therefore called her Spouse. St. John of the Cross writes well of souls on that high level (Ascent of Mt. Carmel 3. 2. 10 and Living Flame 1. 4): "... God alone moves the faculties of these souls do to the things that are right according to the will and arrangement of God, and they cannot be moved to do others... . Such were those of the most glorious Virgin, Our Lady , who, being raised to this high state from the start, never had the form of any creature imprinted in her soul, or was moved by such, but was always guided by the Holy Spirit."

Hence St. Louis de Montfort wrote (True Devotion 36): "When the Holy Spirit, her Spouse, has found Mary in a soul, He flies there, He enters there in His fullness, He communicates Himself to that soul abundantly, and to the full extent to which it makes room for His Spouse."

St. Maximilian Kolbe, a few hours before his final arrest on Feb. 17, 1941, wrote a splendid commentary: "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... is necessary a divine 'conception. ' The Holy Spirit is, therefore, the 'uncreated eternal conception'... . 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 [for thus she named herself at Lourdes]. If among human beings the wife takes the name of her husband because she belongs to him, is one with 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" (Cited from H. M. Manteau-Bonamy, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, Prow Books, Libertyville, 1977, pp. 3-5).   Go on to Part Two:

 

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