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Why Mary?
The Visitation
Mary's Visit to Elizabeth, Ark Imagery and the Fathers


Patristic sources often link Mary, the mother of Jesus, to ark of the covenant imagery. Where did this tradition originate? At first glance, it might be suspected that such language is merely the result of reckless allegorization. After all, the New Testament never links Mary with the ark . . . right?


Here I want to make the case that the imagery of Mary as ark can be found in Luke's Gospel. In particular, I want to look at a story relevant to the Christmas season: Luke's account of the Visitation, i.e., Mary's visit to Elizabeth. The story is rich in Old Testament echoes. As we shall see, it seems the fathers were much more careful readers of the New Testament than is often realized. This should raise a few eyebrows. Please let me know what you think in the com-box.


Mary as the Ark of the Covenant in Patristic Sources


First, let me establish the assertion I made above, namely, that patristic writers linked Mary with the ark. A few citations will do. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive survey.


Hippolytus (c. a.d. 170ac. a.d. 236):  At that time, the Savior coming from the Virgin, the Ark, brought forth His own body into the world from that Ark, which was gilded with pure gold within by the Word, and without by the Holy Ghost; so that the truth was shown forth, and the Ark was manifested....And the Savior came into the world bearing the incorruptible Ark, that is to say His own body [Dan .vi].


Athanasius of Alexandria (c. a.d. 296a c. a.d. 373): "O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O [Ark of the] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides" (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin).


Gregory the Wonder Worker (c. a.d. 213 c. a.d.  270): "Let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy sanctuary. For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary" (Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary).


John Damascene (c. a.d. 676c. a.d. 749): This day the Holy and Singular Virgin is presented in the sublime and heavenly Temple This day the sacred and living Ark of the Living God, who bore within her womb her own Creator, took up her rest within that temple of the Lord that was not made with hands And David her forefather, and her father in God, dances with joy [Oration on the Glorious Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God the Ever-Virgin Mary, 2].


Echoes of the Ark in Luke 1


In Luke 1 we read about Mary's journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. We read that Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country of Judah (1:39). When she arrives, Elizabeth exclaimed with a loud cry, Blessed are you among women (1:42).  Elizabeth asks, And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (1:43). She states, For behold when the voice of your greeting came to my ears the babe in my womb leaped for joy (1:44). After Mary responds with a long prayer praising God we read, And Mary remained with her about three months (1:56).


At first glance it seems that there are no clear Old Testament allusions in any of this after all, no specific passage is cited. However, a more careful look reveals numerous Old Testament allusions in the story. Among other things, the line Blessed are you among women (1:42) clearly evokes Deborah's prayer (cf. Jdg 5:24).  Likewise, scholars have detected numerous links between Mary's prayer in the story and Hannah's in 1 Samuel 2. Luke is clearly subtle in his use of the Old Testament; he does not need formula quotations.


Yet what I want to focus on here are the allusions to the story of the arks journey to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6. There we read about David's bringing the holy vessel into the newly conquered city of Jerusalem. In the beginning of the chapter we read about David's first attempt to lead the ark into Zion an attempt that is aborted after a man dies for touching the ark.


Indeed, the first attempt seemed doom to failure from the get-go: the ark was carried on a cart, rather than being properly carried on poles (2 Sam 6:3; cf. Exod 37:4). It is only after the cart tips over that Uzzah puts his hand to ark, presumably, as a last ditch effort to save the ark from hitting the ground, and dies (2 Sam 6:6-7). The ark remains at the house of one Obededom for a period of time before, after the man's house is blessed, David decides to bring the ark into Jerusalem properly (cf. 2 Sam 6:11-12). This time the ark is properly borne by the Levites (2 Sam 6:13) and David leads the ark in a glorious procession, which involves him offering sacrifice and blessing the people (cf. 2 Sam 6:16-19).


The parallels between the arks journey in 2 Samuel 6 and Mary's journey in Luke 1 are striking. Indeed, the language in Luke 1 mirrors that of the LXX.


Both arose in are linked with the region of Judah.
Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country of Judah (Luke 1:39).
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah (2 Sam 6:2).


In both stories a blessing is pronounced.
[Elizabeth] exclaimed with a loud cry, Blessed are you among women(Luke 1:42).
[David] blessed the people in the name of the Lord (2 Sam 6:18).


Both Elizabeth and David ask how they are worthy to be in the presence of the Ark/Mary.
And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me (Luke 1:43).
[David] said, How can the ark of the Lord come to me (2 Sam 6:9).


Leaping occurs in both stories.
For behold the babe in my womb leaped for joy (Luke 1:44).
Michal . . . looked out the window and saw David leaping [MT: pazaz] and dancing before the Lord (2 Sam 6:16).


Both Mary and the ark remain somewhere for three months.
And Mary remained with her about three months (Luke 1:56).
And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months  (2 Sam 6:11).


These parallels are, in my opinion, very difficult to dismiss as mere coincidence. In other words, it seems more likely that Luke is drawing on 2 Samuel 6 than that these similarities are present by chance.


The upshot of it all appears to be that Luke describes Mary's visit to Elizabeth in terms evocative of the arks journey to Jerusalem. In other words, Luke seems to describe Mary as the new ark of the covenant.


The Ark and the Woman in Revelation 12


Interestingly, both "ark of the covenant imagery" and that of "the mother of the Messiah" also appear to be linked in the same context in other place: the Apocalypse. In Revelation 12 we read about a woman who gives birth to a male child who rules the nations with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5). The language is clearly Davidic and is obviously drawn from Psalm 2. In sum, the child born is clearly the messiah. The woman is therefore whatever else she may bet he mother of the messiah.


Notably, the scene in Revelation 12 immediately follows a vision of the ark. The connection is obscured for contemporary readers a bit by the chapter and verse markers added later to the text, but a careful reading will note that the vision of the ark immediately precedes the imagery of the woman: Then Gods temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. Chapter 12 1 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun. . .


Incidentally, I might also note that many commentators see Isaiah 7:14 in the backdrop of Revelation 12, a passage also linked with Mary in the New Testament.


Conclusion


It would seem then that the patristic writers were not without precedent in linking Mary with the ark the New Testament contains at least two places where the connection is made.  Reckless allegorization or insightful contemplation? Clearly, the latter.


Of course, if the new covenant is superior to the old covenant, it would also seem that the ark of the new covenant would exceed in holiness that of the old. In light of this, the early churchs affirmation of Mary as panagia, i.e., all-holy, makes good sense.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

Genesis 3:15
God's Punishment of the Sin of Adam and the Promise of a Redeemer

Background:

When Adam sinned by deciding for himself what was good and what was evil [tasting the fruit of the forbidden tree], he first put the blame to Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent who had beguiled her with his false promises. In fact, all three were guilty and God past sentence on all of them: First, the serpent; the devil had been punished already by being hurled into Hell with the other rebel Angels and now God condemned him again and the serpent with him who is feared and hated by man because he crawls on his belly and is poisonous, signifying that the demons in Hell are the lowest of creatures, crawling in their sin. Eve was punished thus: she would bear her children in pain, and serve her husband; before the fall she was subject to him in the order of nature, but her subjectivity did not impose hardship. Now it would. Adam was punished by having to work for his sustenance through the sweat of his brow: thorns and thistles would hamper him in his work as would the ferocity of the climatic changes and storms; he also lost the friendship of the animals he had been given the power to name; where once the earth was a peaceful, abode, Adam and his descendants would have to subdue it. All of nature was now in disorder. The punishment of the first man and first woman applied to all their descendants who had lost Paradise as they had lost the immortality of the body. Now death was man's destiny, his body turning to dust, to mingle with the earth.

The sentence pronounced upon Satan included:

The New Eve: Verse 15

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shall lie in wait for her heel."

Satan had hoped to "befriend" man and thus enslave him by tricking him to reject God's rule and His friendship. Instead he is punished by having to wait for "the woman". The seed of the infernal one are those who are born in sin and give themselves over to sin. the seed of the woman is the Divine Savior, Who as Man, descended from her; thus she would trample over the devil who would lose his power over man because she had been given that power by God. he could resist her, but he could not injure her, and he had to endure the wait for her heel; meanwhile he would do as much damage as he could even if he could not overcome her power. And he cannot because it is Mary, "the woman", who has overcome Satan with her Son: she trampled over him not only by giving birth to the Divine Savior Who would redeem man, but an especial affront to the haughty devil, she would always be perfectly free from the stain of all sin, the Immaculate Conception, thus she was never under Satan's dominion, even a little, as she would have been if she had been conceived in Original Sin. Therefore, God, by a singular grace, in view of the merits of the Savior, preserved her from Original Sin.

While the devil is eternally cursed, Adam and Eve received pardon from God because they did believe in the coming Savior and lived a long life of expiation and were delivered by Our Lord from Limbo as Tradition teaches.


Because "All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed"
Luke 1: 44-55

The passage in St. Luke from verse 46 through 55 is called the Magnificat because in Latin it begins with that word; it is the canticle of praise that is always sung at Vespers. You will note how parts of it are reminiscent of some of the passages in the Old Testament Book, Judith, Chapter 13.

Background:

In the immediate passage before the Magnificat, Our Lady, having accepted the Will of God by consenting to be the Mother of God as announced by the Angel Gabriel, and now carrying the Son of God within her blessed womb has gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying the precursor of the Divine Child, St. John the Baptist, in her womb. As soon as Mary enters her house, Elizabeth is inspired by the Holy Ghost, and testifies to the Divinity of Jesus when she says: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy . . . [Lk. 1:41-44]

Thus, we know that Mary is the Mother of God because the Holy Ghost has called her so through St. Elizabeth. And from this we can logically and infallibly declare that Mary's dignity is very high indeed, for as the Mother of God, she must be nearer to the Blessed Trinity than any other creature, even the highest Angel. Mary, being just under the the Triune God Who is the source of all dignity and grace, holds the highest place amongst all creatures on the Kingdom of God, and is thus the Queen of Saints.

In the passage from Luke below, the Magnificat, Mary prophetically proclaims: "from henceforth all generations shall me blessed." And this prophecy is indeed fulfilled in the liturgy and in the prayers of the Catholic Church which honors Our Lady with feasts and shrines and special devotions. How can it be ever possible not to pay Our Lady such honor since she has been raised by God to such dignity and from the mouths of the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. St. Gabriel hails her as "full of grace", not "highly favored daughter" as some modern translations of the New Testament erroneously refer to her. Our veneration of Mary is well placed because it is accurately founded on Scripture, which is without error and on God-given reason.

Now, it is on account her Divine Son, Jesus Christ that we honor Mary, because when the Holy Ghost, through the words of St. Elizabeth says: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb "Jesus", He testifies to the close connection between the veneration of the Mother and the worship of the Son. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that she is so full of grace, and thus entitled to the love and veneration of all who love and worship Jesus Christ; all the honor which we render her, is rendered to her Divine Son, by very definition, and by ontological reality, that is, this is inherent in the operation of grace building on nature. Conversely, those who either despise or devalue Mary thereby do the same to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us use an analogy. If you love someone who is known to love his mother, would you even consider hurting him by demeaning her in any way? Of course not. You may not understand or appreciate her the way your friend does, you may even think the attention he pays to his mother is excessive, but you would never say anything derogatory about it or her. You might question your friend, but that is all you would do, politely, sincerely and respectfully, because you love your friend, period. This is just basic human nature and the way civilized people behave with those they are close to and love. With the help of grace we behave this way with those we are not so close to or may not like very much.

Well, if this is so with non-Saints, what must be our attitude before God and the greatest Saint in Heaven Who are Son and Mother?

The Church has added St. Elizabeth's proclamation, "blessed be the fruit . . ." to the Angelic Salutation at the Annunciation, to form part of the prayer, the Hail Mary, to prove that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the worship of Jesus Christ. Why did Mary set out so quickly to visit Elizabeth? Mary loved communion with God and solitude; she would not have done so without a very good reason, especially such a long journey. Mary knew that her cousin had been childless for many years and that this was a cause of grief to her. Now that she was with child [not just expecting a child, but actually with child, which is what a pregnancy really is] Elizabeth would be overcome with joy and Mary, who has empathy to perfection would want join Elizabeth in praising God's mercy upon her. He who truly loves his neighbor has a loving sympathy in both his joys and sorrows. And then, too, Mary, wanted to assist her cousin in her household affairs in preparation for the birth of St. John the Baptist.

The Magnificat: Luke 1: 44-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Savior.
Because He hath regarded the lowliness
of His Handmaid:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation
unto generations,
to them that fear Him.

He hath showed might with His arm:
He hath scattered the proud
in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath
sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant,
being mindful of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

The Blessed Virgin specified that the mercy of God is from generation unto generation to those who fear Him. No one is excluded from Divine mercy, but it does not produce the effects of salvation except in those who fear God. Not with a servile fear, the way an animal fears the whip that threatens it, although even that sort of fear is a good thing, since it makes us avoid many sins. Nevertheless, true fear of the Lord should be a filial fear united to love, a fear founded on charity and inclined to develop that love. What can those who close their heart to charity and are obstinate in their attachment to sin expect from the mercy of God and of Mary? 

    If we do not fear God, if we refuse to keep His Commandments, how will we be able to lift up our eyes to the Mother of mercy? What can Mary do for a soul in open revolt against Jesus Christ, Her Son and our Judge, a soul that refuses to bow beneath His authority and defies Him? She has forewarned us Herself that mercy is reserved for those who fear God. Do we think Mary will approve of our iniquities? She is very willing to implore our forgiveness and obtain our return to God's favor, but She will do so only if we manifest a sincere will to revert to the good, and regret having separated from God and having offended Him. Mary has an infinite horror for sin; She can help only pure souls draw near to Him, or those who implore Her help to become pure. Let us not approach Mary if we are burdened with sin, Her mortal enemy. Or if that enemy is wound around us like a deadly serpent, let us call Mary to our help, but let it be in order to be delivered from it. Then we will have a right to Her assistance; through Her we will obtain precious graces for this life and final perseverance in view of eternity.


Because "He Was Subject to Them [Her]" Luke 2:51

"And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart."

Just prior to this verse Our Lord answers Mary and Joseph's questioning where He had been as they had been searching for Him for three days, by telling them, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' These were the words Our Lady pondered and nourished in her heart.

Until He was thirty, Christ practiced complete obedience towards His Mother and foster-father, doing as they asked Him, in everything. He did this to atone for the sin of man and to set an example for us. Now, if the God-Man, without the predisposition to sin [concupiscence], was subject to Mary, ought not we, sinners all, willingly subject ourselves to her rule by devotion and imitation? Did not Christ, give her to us as our Mother, as she stood at the foot of the Cross? How could we for a moment not practice complete obedience to her, not only as the Mother of God, but as our Mother? To be docile to her exhortations, such as revealed at Fatima and from various approved revelations to the Saints, is simply to imitate Christ; for how could she ever tell us something that is not good for us, or worse yet, false? Impossible!

Obedience is our first duty, it is a necessary virtue, and if we do not heed the holy Mother of God, we are indeed a liar when we say we are Christians. To listen to the supplications of the Mother of Mercy, this age's most prominent and most important prophet sent by Jesus Himself, is to listen to Him Who sends her for our spiritual welfare.

"Because I love Thee, my Jesus, however imperfect, let me love Thy Mother, place my head upon her lap and take sustenance in every Hail Mary, said deliberately and with devotion. Let me harken to the sound of her sweet, holy name, for to but hear it pronounced is the sweetest of prayers."

Whenever we have a little difficulty perceiving her Son's will for us, or at least accepting it in the occasional moment of weakness, we have only to call out to her and she makes everything aright once more. This trust and confidence in her pleases her Son and is a source of grace itself for those times when our daily duty is a struggle.

To be the obedient slave of Mary is not to be enslaved, but to be set free, for she leads to salvation; a good mother always points out the right way to her children; this best of all Mothers cannot fail us if we place our trust in her and strive to amend our lives. The docile child of Mary is the most fortunate among the creatures here under the heavens. If the donkey that carried her and the Holy Child safely through the arduous flight into Egypt, having first done so from Nazareth to Bethlehem, could be so compliant at her behest -----for somehow he knew the august privilege given him-----cannot we, who are created above the beasts of the earth?

Oh yes, oh yes. When the way seems laborious, when afraid to follow the Son to the Cross, go to Mary, flee to your Mother, who never left the foot of the Cross. She waits for us there still, for that is what a mother does. To just wait there with her is to wait upon the will of God and to know contentment, both in sorrow and in joy.

The most obedient child always seems to be the happiest, does he not? While the willful, self-indulgent child is never satisfied, but goes from one whim to the other?

Let us all go down to Nazareth with the Holy Family and be subject to them, to Christ as our Savior-King, to Joseph as our father who is the patron of the Church, and to Our Lady, to whom both were freely, happily subject.


Judith, Chapter 13

Background:

Around the year 690, B.C., the people of Juda, after a brief period of repentance. had once again forsaken God, Who, in His anger, had sent them a terrible punishment, the Assyrian warrior-chief, Holofernes, a power enough to destroy the entire nation, but for the courage of a singular, holy woman, among them, Judith. Holofernes had captured all the cities and strongholds of the country with an unmatched savagery; and now he was on the verge of doing the same to Judith's fortress city, Bethulia.  Holofernes's army was some twenty times stronger than that of Bethulia's. But rather than attack directly he cut of the supply of water so that the inhabitants, dying of thirst, would surrender, which almost happened: the elders had decided to give up up their city within five days unless help arrived. For this they prayed fervently and practiced mortification. And this brings us to Judith, a widow who constantly practiced penance and prayed continually as was her habit of holiness. She was renowned for her great beauty and for her virtue and piety. Although her husband had left her great wealth and many servants and a large flock, she nevertheless lived simply and in retirement to spend her time with the things of God, seeking only His will. This made her strong and wise and courageous as only self-denial can. She was willing to go unarmed into the camp of the enemy, placing herself in imminent danger, to save her people from death. And although she possessed this exceptional beauty and rich holdings, she took pride in neither, but kept her eyes cast down in humility, one of the virtues she was known for. [The famous painting of her by Giorgione depicts her as a madonna with eyes cast down.] She was humble in every aspect, although she was praised by her people. Her name, means in Hebrew, praise.

Judith saved her people by cutting off the head of Holofernes, which seems gruesome to us, but recall that God permitted such deeds in some cases, because the Law of Love from Jesus Christ and the morality of Christendom had yet to be established. When Jesus came he told the people that he did not come to abolish the law but to strengthen it, perfect it. He told them this in reference to divorce, which God permitted up until then, in certain cases, "because you were hardened of heart." Once Christ came the Commandments became stricter, but the Sacraments were there at last to nourish the will of the individual soul. The more we are given by God, especially by way of grace, and knowledge, the more is expected of us.

The Protestant bible excludes the book of Judith, perhaps because of the compelling parallel between Judith's "magnificat" and that of Our Lady's. It is interesting that the Protestant rebels placed their trust in Holy Mother Church enough to accept most of the books of the canon, but chose to eliminate those few which are particularly troubling to their heretical theology and which could not be explained away if accepted as part of the canon. If the Church is not infallible in the selection of the canon of the Bible, how can they as individuals expect to be, as they are not the Apostles and the Pontiffs? Yet, they believe that they, the Protestants, cannot err in this matter, but the Church, founded by Christ, and not by them, can make a mistake in such a matter of infallible decree. At the heart of the matter is the fact they they disavow the Pope, while maintaining their own papacy as individuals. Yet it is Christ who gave the power of infallibility to His Church, and not to individuals outside her, and then only to the Pope and the Councils in a limited manner. Obviously Protestants have not thought it through or they would recognize the untenable position they claim for themselves.

The Church teaches us that Judith is an archetype of the Blessed Virgin. Many persons in the Old Testament prefigure those who appear in the New Testament and Judith is one of these. Even as the chaste Judith cut of the head of the tyrant, to free her people from slavery and captivity, so does the Immaculate Mother, through her Divine Son, trample on the head of the infernal tyrant, Satan, and free all mankind from his power. And you shall see below, when you read the passage in Judith that it mirrors the Magnificat passage in the Gospel of St. Luke:

Note: we left the capitalization as it is in the Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Judith 13:16-31

16 And lighting up lights they all gathered round about her: and she went up to a higher place, and commanded silence to be made. And when all had held their peace,
17 Judith said: Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in him.
18 And by me his handmaid he hath fulfilled his mercy, which he promised to the house of Israel: and he hath killed the enemy of his people by my hand this night.
 19 Then she brought forth the head of Holofernes out of the wallet, and shewed it them, saying: Behold the head of Holofernes the general of the army of the Assyrians, and behold his canopy, wherein he lay in his drunkenness, where the Lord our God slew him by the hand of a woman.
20 But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither: and the Lord hath not suffered me his handmaid to be defiled, but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for his victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.
21 "Give all of you glory to him" because he is good, because his mercy endureth for ever.
22 And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought.
 23 And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.
 24 Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies.
 25 Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
 26 And all the people said: So be it, so be it.
27 And Achior being called for came, and Judith said to him: The God of Israel, to whom thou gavest testimony, that he a revengeth himself of his enemies, he hath cut off the head of all the unbelievers this night by my hand.
28 And that thou mayst find that it is b so, behold the head of Holofernes, who in the contempt of his pride despised the God of Israel: and threatened thee with death, saying: When the people of Israel shall be taken, I will command thy sides to be pierced with a sword.
29 Then Achior seeing the head of Holofernes, being seized with a great fear he fell on his face upon the earth, and his soul swooned away.
30 But after he had recovered his spirits he fell down at her feet, and reverenced her, and said:
31 Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.

Christ's blood is the price of salvation, the very life of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is worth asking whether Christ's precious blood ever mixed with Mary's or coursed through her veins.

First, let's examine an unborn baby's circulatory system.In the way that God designed things, the blood of an unborn infant and that of the mother do not typically mix in utero. The baby's heart pushes his or her blood through his or her body, through the umbilical cord and to the placenta, but not beyond that. There is a membrane that separates the baby's blood from the mother's blood. Nutrients, oxygen, and waste are transferred through this membrane. All that being said, the baby's blood and mother's blood does typically mix during birth. Usually, it's the child blood that enters the mother's blood. This is why couples with RH incompatibility are at risk since a mother's body can learn to attack incompatible blood. So all that being said, it is almost certain that Christ's redemptive blood coursed through the veins of the Blessed Mother. Just in case you weren't 100% convinced of our Lady's prerogatives, here is one more subtle way in which Christ "honored his mother" in fulfillment of the Law.

Directors Comment:
This statement cannot be clinicly proven in each instance of birth but it is proven this does happen but no one can prove catagoricly that it does not
occur in every birth. Considering all other magnificent parts of Gods plan it would be safe to say this does happen and did happen at the virgin Birth.


Why Catholics Honor the
Blessed Virgin Mary
By Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dearly Beloved in Christ, Among the various characteristics which prove the Catholic Church to be the one, true Church of Christ (the fours marks of the Church one, holy, catholic, apostolic), there is also a particular characteristic which is manifestly based on Holy Scripture and which is unique to Catholicism the honor and devotion of the Catholic Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. There is not a single month in the year without several feasts in her honor. Consider the months of August and September, for example, in which there are seven feasts on the ecclesiastical calendar dedicated to her.

This honor and devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, is one of the many things rejected by Protestants. Protestants claim that the Catholic Church's devotion to Mary is not based on Sacred Scripture, that it is an offense to Christ, that no one should pray to Mary because there is only one Mediator with the Father, that Mary did not always remain a virgin, etc. How important it is for Catholics to know Sacred Scripture and to respond to these attacks on the Mother of Jesus Christ, especially in these times, when there has been such a surge of non-Catholic sects who zealously proselytize their heretical teachings.

Let us begin our defense of the Catholic Church and its devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the consideration of the similarities between the Fall of Man and the Redemption of Man.

In the Book of Genesis, we read how our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into original sin. Satan, in the form of a serpent, first tempted Eve. When Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, she then offered it to Adam, who also partook. Adam, as Head of the Human Race, brought about the Fall of Mankind; it was, however, through the cooperation of Eve.

When Adam and Eve had fallen, Almighty God not only punished them and their progeny for this original sin, but He also promised to send a Redeemer.

And the Lord God said to the serpent... I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel (Genesis 3:13-15).
Who is the woman in the text of Holy Scripture of whom Almighty God set enmities against Satan? Who is her seed? What is meant by the words and she shall crush thy head ?

In the Old Testament, Adam brought about the Fall of Mankind with the cooperation of Eve. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the God-Man, brought about our Redemption with the cooperation of the Virgin Mary. Eve, our first parent, was tempted by a fallen angel to disobey the command of God, and she subsequently led Adam into sin. In the New Testament, another angel, the Angel Gabriel, announced the will of God to the Virgin Mary and she, unlike Eve, humbly submitted.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, we read:

The Angel Gabriel was sent to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House of David; and the Virgin's name was Mary (Luke 1:27).
How did the Angel Gabriel then address her? The Gospel of St. Luke continues:

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women!

Fear not, Mary, for thou has found favor with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name, Jesus... The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Who can deny the dignity of the Virgin Mary chosen to be the Mother of Jesus Christ? The Angel Gabriel, who was sent by God Himself, honored and praised her.

Furthermore, when the Virgin Mary visited her cousin, St. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?
Once again, honor and praise is rendered to the Virgin Mary by St. Elizabeth, who was filled with the Holy Ghost

Then during this same visitation, the Virgin Mary responded to her cousin's praise of her by the prayer so full of humility and of praise to God:

My soul doth magnify the Lord... because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me.
As Catholics, members of the one, true Church of Christ, we honor the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. We call her the Mother of God, because she indeed is the Mother of the one Divine Person, Jesus Christ, Who has both the nature of God and the nature of Man. By this title of Mother of God, we simply refer to the Virgin Mary as St. Elizabeth did when filled with the Holy Ghost she cried out... Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?

Catholics do not, as Protestants falsely believe, worship the Blessed Virgin Mary. We honor her who was so intimately connected with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Yes, there is only one Mediator with the Father Jesus Christ. Only the God-Man Jesus Christ could have redeemed mankind. Nevertheless, we pray to Mary that she may intercede for us with her Divine Son. How often we request the assistance of prayers from our fellow men how much more powerful are the prayers and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary! In the Old Testament, we read how Moses prayed with arms outstretched and interceded with God to procure the victory of the Israelites over their enemies in a crucial battle. As long as he prayed, they were victorious. When he ceased his prayers, the Israelites began to lose. Because of this, it was necessary for two men to hold up Moses arms in prayer until the battle was won. Also, we read in the Old Testament how Josue prayed to God to have the day prolonged in order to win another crucial battle. If Moses and Josue could have such intercession before God, how much more powerful are the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

The Gospel of St. John relates two significant accounts which relate to Mary the wedding feast of Cana and the Crucifixion. Of the first account we read:

There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the Mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the Mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no wine. And Jesus said to her, Woman, what is it to Me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. His Mother said to the waiters, Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye (John 2:1-5).
Jesus Christ then proceeded to work His first public miracle at His Mother's request. Everything related in the Gospels is inspired by God, and there is a reason for it. Does not this narrative of the wedding feast manifest the intercessory power of Mary with Jesus Christ, her Divine Son?

In the second account, also take from the Gospel of St. John, we read:

There stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother... When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother: Woman, behold thy son... (John 19:25-27).
Just as Eve cooperated with Adam in the Fall of mankind, the Blessed Virgin Mary cooperated with Jesus Christ in our redemption. She stood by the Cross of Jesus. What anguish, what sorrow did the Mother of Jesus experience at the foot of the Cross as she witnessed the sufferings and death of her Divine Son!

In both accounts, Jesus addressed Mary by the term woman. In Hebrew the word used by Jesus was a term which would be addressed to a queen or a woman of high rank. It was a term of great respect.

But why did Jesus Christ address His Mother by the term woman at these two significant moments in His life at His first public miracle, and at His Crucifixion on the Cross?

Our Divine Lord wanted to clearly indicate that His Mother was the Woman spoken of in the Book of Genesis:

I will put enmities between thee (Satan) and the Woman, between thy seed and her seed, and she shall crush thy head.
Lastly, Catholics firmly believe that Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, was ever Virgin. That Mary was a virgin before and after the miraculous birth of Jesus can be demonstrated from the passage of the Prophet Isaias:

The Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.
Note well that the virgin is the subject of the verbs conceive and bear.

As for after the birth of Jesus, Protestants reject that Mary remained a virgin by their false interpretation of Holy Scripture. To summarize briefly their arguments, they claim that in the Gospel of St. Matthew, we read:

He (St. Joseph) knew her not till she brought forth her first-born son (Matthew 1:25).
It is falsely argued on two points knew her not till and her first-born. In Scriptural usage, until expresses what has occurred up to a certain point and leaves the future aside. Thus for example, God says in the book of Isaias, I am till you grow old (Is. 46:4). From this are we to infer that God would then cease to be? Of course not! Again in the Book of Psalms, God the Father said to His Divine Son: Sit Thou at My Right Hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool (Ps. 109). Will the Messias, once His enemies are subdued, relinquish His place of honor? Of course not! So when St. Matthew records, He knew her not till she brought forth her first-born Son, his principal aim was to tell his readers that Christ's birth was miraculous and that St. Joseph had not part in the conception of Mary's Child. As for the term, first-born, this was a legal term and did not imply that Mary had other children. The child is called first-born from the fact of its opening the womb and not to contra-distinguish it from subsequent issue.

Protestants also make reference to various passages in the Gospels which refer to the brethren of the Lord, and from this, they infer that Mary had other children. Once again they falsely interpret the Scriptures. The Hebrew words ahh, which is the word for the brethren, is applicable not only to a brother in the strictest sense, but also to a nephew (see Genesis 14:16); a cousin (see Numbers 16:10); a husband (see Canticles 4:9; Esther 16:12); members of the same race (see Numbers 20:14); an ally (see Amos 1:9); and a friend (see Job 6:15). There are no Scriptural references which refer to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as having other children. Why did Jesus, when dying on the Cross, give the care of His Mother to His Apostle St. John? This would not have been necessary if there were brothers in the strict sense.

The constant tradition of the Church of Christ from the earliest ages of Christianity has always upheld this prerogative of Mary. This is amply proven by the writings of the early Popes, early Councils of the Church, and early Fathers and Doctors of the Church. In conclusion, let us, as members of Christ's one, true Church, fulfill the prophecy made by the Blessed Virgin Mary during her visit to St. Elizabeth Behold henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

In Christo Jesu et Maria Immaculata,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Why Mary's Heart?       
Written by Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins
     

Shortly before the visit of Pope John Paul II to France in October of 1986 a very perceptive article by the distinguished Jesuit Sacred Heart scholar, douard Glotin, appeared in Nouvelle Revue Theologique, entitled "John Paul II at Paray-le-Monial or Why the 'Heart'?" (1) It is a provocative question which many of the faithful may rightly ask today with regard to devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Why Mary's Heart? Why should we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? What we will see in attempting even a brief response to this query is that we can never speak of the Heart of Mary without reference to the Heart of Jesus.

There are many legitimate ways of responding to the query "Why the Hearts of Jesus and Mary?". One could do so, for instance, from the viewpoint of the history of spirituality, the theology of the saints and of private revelations. I wish to do so from the perspective of the papal magisterium, and particularly from that of Pope John Paul II, who shows himself to be especially sensitive to the preoccupations and questions of our day and who has spoken more frequently of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary than all of his predecessors combined.

I. Heart of Jesus Symbol of His Divine-Human Love

On 5 October, 1986, John Paul II personally presented a letter to the Superior General of the Jesuits at Paray-le-Monial, site of the apparitions of the Lord to Saint Margaret Mary, encouraging the Jesuits to continue promoting this devotion whose "essential elements" he said:

belong in a permanent fashion to the spirituality of the Church throughout her history; for since the beginning, the Church has looked to the Heart of Christ pierced on the Cross, from which blood and water flowed forth as symbols of the sacraments that constitute the Church; and, in the Heart of the Incarnate Word, the Fathers of the Christian East and West saw the beginning of all the work of our salvation, fruit of the love of the divine Redeemer. This pierced Heart is a particularly expressive symbol of that love. (2)

In other words, even if the devotion to the Heart of Jesus only developed slowly in the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and emerged explicitly in the seventeenth century, its roots are in Scripture and Tradition and it belongs "in a permanent fashion to the spirituality of the Church throughout her history."

In what is perhaps the single most important passage in his monumental Sacred Heart encyclical Haurietis Aquas, the Servant of God Pope Pius XII taught authoritatively about the aptness of the Heart of Jesus as a symbol and the various levels of its symbolism:

The Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all mankind.

It is a symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit but which He, the Word made flesh, alone manifests through a weak and perishable body, since "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9).

It is, besides, the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused.

And finally and this in a more natural and direct way it is the symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human body. (3)

The Heart of Jesus, then, is "a particularly expressive symbol" of the divine-human love of the God-man.

Building on the teaching of his predecessor, in a remarkable homily given on 28 June, 1984, at the Gemelli Polyclinic (4) and Faculty of Medicine in Rome, John Paul II presented the Heart of Jesus in a way that is at once poetic, theological and very striking:

From our faith we know that at a determined time in history, "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (Jn. 1:14). From that moment God began to love with a human heart, a true heart capable of beating in an intense, tender and impassioned way. The Heart of Jesus has truly experienced feelings of joy before the splendor of nature, the candor of children, the glance of a pure young man; feelings of friendship toward the Apostles, Lazarus, the disciples; feelings of compassion for the sick, the poor, the many persons tried by struggle, by loneliness, by sin, feelings of anguish before the prospect of suffering and the mystery of death. There is no authentically human feeling that the Heart of Jesus did not experience...

Of the infinite power that is proper to God, the Heart of Christ kept only the defenseless power of the love that forgives. And in the radical loneliness of the Cross, he accepted being pierced by the centurion's lance so that from the open wound there might pour out upon the world's ugly deeds the inexhaustible torrent of a mercy that washes, purifies and renews.

In the Heart of Christ, therefore, there meet divine richness and human poverty, the power of grace and the frailty of nature, an appeal from God and a response from man. In the Heart of Christ the history of mankind has its definitive place of arrival, because "the Father has assigned all judgment to the Son" (Jn. 5:22). Therefore, willing or not, every human heart must refer to the Heart of Christ. (5)

II. Heart of Mary Symbol of Creaturely Love of God and Man

In his address to the participants in the International Theological Symposium on the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary on 22 September, 1986, Pope John Paul II offered some very important reflections on the Heart of Mary:

It is worthy of note that the Decree by which Pope Pius XII instituted for the universal Church the celebration in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary states: "With this devotion the Church renders the honor due to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, since under the symbol of this heart she venerates with reverence the eminent and singular holiness of the Mother of God and especially her most ardent love for God and Jesus her Son and moreover her maternal compassion for all those redeemed by the divine Blood." (6) Thus it can be said that our devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart expresses our reverence for her maternal compassion both for Jesus and for all of us her spiritual children, as she stood at the foot of the Cross.

I presented this same thought in my first Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, in which I pointed out that from the first moment of the Redemptive Incarnation, "under the special influence of the Holy Spirit, Mary's heart, the heart of both a virgin and a mother, has always followed the work of her Son and has gone out to all those whom Christ has embraced and continues to embrace with inexhaustible love" (No. 22).

We see symbolized in the heart of Mary her maternal love, her singular sanctity and her central role in the redemptive mission of her Son. It is with regard to her special role in her Son's mission that devotion to Mary's Heart has prime importance, for through love of her Son and of all of humanity she exercises a unique instrumentality in bringing us to him. (7)

The Heart of Mary, then, is the pre-eminent symbol of Mary's love for her Son and all of the children born from his redemptive death. Further, the Heart of Mary pierced by the sword (cf. Lk. 2:35) graphically calls to mind "her central role in the redemptive mission of her Son."

MARY AND THE REDEMPTION: BREAKING OPEN THE FULLNESS OF TIME
by Therese Catalano, Master of Divinity Student Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology


In the Advent-Christmas season, the person that stands out most after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is his mother, Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth. Beyond the heart-warming scenes of the Holy Family poised in the manger, do we really understand her unique role in our salvation? Comprehending this, we can have more insight and respond in greater measure to our own calling.
Let it be done to me according to your word.1 Mary's fiat her free consent required great faith, yet there is more to her yes than meets the eye. Her free acceptance to God's will broke open the fullness of time, the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations.2 It was in the fullness of time that God's redeeming love and Mary's longing for redemption embraced the longing of mankind, merging into one another.3 This brief reflection traces the impact of Mary's response to God's redemptive promises on his preparations for the coming of the Messiah, on her own personal redemption and ultimately on the redemption of humankind.

VITAL MOMENT OF GOD'S REDEEMING INTERVENTION: MARY'S CONCEPTION

To have a deeper understanding of the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary we must first go back to her conception her Immaculate Conception. Pope Pius IX proclaimed that Mary was from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.4 By this singular grace, Mary is freed from the sins of her ancestors and redeemed by being preserved from sin through the grace of Christ's redeeming activity. God's saving plan for humanity required a womb without sin for his Son to indwell. This was accomplished by Mary's own personal redemption through the grace Christ would bring.
Personal redemption is the making real in an individual Christ's universal saving grace in his or her life. There is the aspect that is a gift from the redeeming Christ to us and in us. Another aspect is the individual's personal response to the gift the engagement of freewill. When consent is given to Gods advances, it is consonant to the stage of our personal, moral, and spiritual development. Parents and godparents give consent when an infant is baptized, which flows over the formation of the child; later when the person grows, matures and internalizes the choice for God, the gift of baptism is appropriated personally. The gift of the unique justifying grace given to Mary at her conception was the application of Christ's universal redemption that was to come in time given to her personally. Like baptism at infancy, she had not given her consent yet (being still in the womb), thus lacking the personal appropriation of redemption.
This particular gift of grace is unique to the person of Mary because for believers, Christ's redemption occurred before their personal redemption. In Mary's case, it was applied to her having been foreseen. Christ's redeeming activity is what he did throughout his whole life in his humanity from his Incarnation to his Resurrection. But it is also who he is as our Redeemer that Christ has graced humanity, the representative of the whole fallen humanity.5 At Mary's conception, Christ's redemption had not yet chronologically occurred. But the Father, according to his providential plan "Before time began chose and prepared for His only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate, and from whom, in the fullness of time, He would be born into this world.6 The fullness of time would soon be at hand to prepare the womb of Mary for the indwelling of the Word Incarnate. As the Church expresses it in the Mass of the Immaculate Conception: Father, you prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy mother of your Son. You let her share beforehand in the salvation Christ would bring by his death, and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.7 The Father, foreseeing the infinite merits of Jesus Paschal Mystery, saved her from the poison of the sin that could have impeded her full consent.

THE FULLNESS OF TIME: MARY'S FIAT

About fifteen years after Marys Immaculate Conception, the messenger Gabriel brought to this Jewish girl the prophetic word that she would conceive a Son when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. It was by Mary being full of grace, a gift (Christ's future redemption) given at her conception that positioned Mary at that very moment to respond: Be it done to me according to your word.8 Mary's fiat was more than a yes, for a yes would imply this to be more the work of her humanity than the work of divine grace. This was the fullness of time for Mary to become the mother of the Messiah, and what hinged on such an event was her free consent to co-operate with this salvific plan. From the depths of her very being Mary responded in faith the fullness of faith breaking open the fullness of time. Mary, a redeemed human being at a full time in her life, freely consented to the incarnation and by doing so appropriated the redemptive gift given at her conception that Christ would bring. This set in motion a vital union with Christ who is the Redeemer.
Her fiat to the motherhood was both her own subjective redemption, but also made possible, in the concrete historical dispensation, the objective redemption. Her fiat is thus bound up in a unique way with the objective redemption. We only receive the gift of Christ's redemption through her concrete motherhood.9
Mary's fiat of 15 years later intersected with the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit as she conceived Jesus Yahweh-who -saves. This concrete motherhood is Jesus redeeming work already beginning at that precise moment in her womb, involving her in some active way in the mystery of redemption.10 Mary's free consent to participate in humankind's salvation unfolds a new dimension to Christ's salvific activity Mary as a co-redeemer.
Mary with her grace-filled personal freewill co-operates with her call to bring Christ into the world by being the recipient of grace. This free choice becomes not only her salvation but humanity's salvation as well because she mediates this grace to all humankind. This grace comes from the Source, and is perfectly received by Mary. She is not the source of this grace, only God directly gives grace, but she shares perfectly what has been given to her for the sake of all so that humankind may grow in grace. This is the perfect co-redeeming work of Mary. Mary's fiat is given prominence especially as her openness in faith to the redemption that her Son would work in her as well as in all humanity.11 It is with an individual's free consent, an individual's fiat that one becomes a conduit of grace as well.

GOD'S ETERNAL MOMENT: MARY AS A PROTOTYPE OF HUMANITY.

As Mary co-operates with her own redemption, she also co-operates (co-works) with humanitys salvation. Mary, as the prototype of perfect obedient faith, perfect recipient of grace, and perfect co-redeemer, provides humankind with a roadmap to salvation. At the moment of her Immaculate Conception she was the prototype of what humankind longs to be truly, wholly, and perfectly human. The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.12 She is without original sin, sin that had distorted the image of God and had broken God's likeness with Eve. The New Eve reveals God's image and likeness perfectly intact. The image and likeness fully illuminated in her humanity and made manifest in her selfless fiat provides us believers with what a fully redeemed human is a true disciple of Christ Jesus. Mary always points to this truth: Do whatever he tells you.13 She instructs us in discipleship by giving everything she receives from Christ to us so we may be like her, redeemed by Christ's grace, and more importantly, so we may be like Christ. The more one follows Jesus, the more one reflects him the more one is truly human.

DISCIPLESHIP AND MISSION

Mary's Motherhood is built upon her discipleship to be faithfully obedient to follow Christ no matter the cost. It is by her fiat, the offering of her very person, her identity as mother that she begins this process of self-emptying expressed in ordinary motherhood, in ordinary life, so that she could become in a concrete sense, an extraordinary mother of the Messiah and to all humankind. Mary is the universally receptive one, who allows the Redeemer to bestow himself upon her and upon the whole of mankind.14 Her fiat, Be it done to me according to your will, implied consent to enter into communion with Christ through the Holy Spirit not only at the incarnation but also to enter personally into his self-emptying and self-offering on the cross. It is at this point when she becomes the mother to all humankind. It is at this point that Jesus says to the beloved disciple John and to us who are also beloved disciples, Behold your mother.15 The grace-filled self-emptying (kenosis) of discipleship is the pre-condition for her universal mission of motherhood.
A human being is called to a kenosis emptying of the self of that which prevents him or her from being truly receptive to the outpouring of God's grace. It is the same grace Mary receives and allows to flow to all so that they may ultimately be full of grace. As St. Thomas Aquinas comments: What constitutes greatness in any saint is the extent to which the abundance of grace which he receives overflows for the salvation of many in the world.16 This response to grace in the life of an individual is not only purposed for his or her self but is also for the apostolic mission of the Church. Now, in our day, which is the Day of Pentecost, Mary, the most perfect saint, is at the heart of the Church (universally) interceding for all to receive the sanctifying Spirit, and entering into intercession with the faithful. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside the saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.17
Like Mary, we are called to be co-redeemers in Christ. We are to enter into communion with others through our free response to the gift of grace not only for our salvation but for the salvation of others. We do this by responding freely to the gift God gave us, Christ's Redemption. We do this by willingly surrendering in faith our very identity, our very self, so we can be disciples of Jesus and reflect his image our true selves. As St Paul says, I live no longer, but Christ lives in me I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me. (Gal 2:20). We enter into communion with Jesus, with Mary and all the saints in large part through our prayers of intercession. We look to Mary as a holy example of how to be more like Christ Jesus.
NOTES
1 Luke 1:37 2 Catechism of the Catholic Church, par.484 3 Schillebeeckx, Edward. Mary, Mother of the Redemption. p.70 (paraphrased) 4 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, Dec. 8, 1854 5 Schillebeeckx, Edward. Mary, Mother of the Redemption. p. 36 6 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, Dec. 8, 1854 7 Opening Prayer for the Immaculate Conception Mass from The Roman Missal 8 Luke 1:37 9 Handout on Redemption and Schillebeeckx (paraphrased) lines 30-32
10 Tambasco, Anthony J. What Are They Saying About Mary? p. 41(paraphrased)
11 Tambasco, Anthony J. What Are They Saying About Mary? p. 41 12 St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haeres. 3,22,4: PG 7/1, 959A 13 John 2:5 14 Schillebeeckx, Edward. Mary, Mother of the Redemption. p. 100 15 John 19:27 16 In Salutationem Angelican, Opusc. Theol. II, p. 240, no. 1118 in the Marietti edition. 17 Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 969

III. Union of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary on Golgotha

At the end of Haurietis Aquas Pius XII reveals something of the intimate union between the Hearts of Jesus and Mary united precisely for the sake of our salvation:

That graces for the Christian family and for the whole human race may flow more abundantly from devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let the faithful strive to join it closely with devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God. By the will of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably joined with Christ in accomplishing the work of man's redemption, so that our salvation flows from the love of Jesus Christ and His sufferings intimately united with the love and sorrows of His Mother. (8)

In a truly marvelous way John Paul II further draws out the implications of this profound union of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the remarkable homily which he gave in Fatima on 13 May, 1982:

On the cross Christ said: "Woman, behold your son!" With these words He opened in a new way His Mother's heart. A little later, the Roman soldier's spear pierced the side of the Crucified One. That pierced heart became a sign of the redemption achieved through the death of the Lamb of God.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary opened with the words "Woman, behold, your son!" is spiritually united with the heart of her Son opened by the soldier's spear. Mary's heart was opened by the same love for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world, offering Himself for them on the cross, until the soldier's spear struck that blow. (9)

IV. Consecration

Ultimately, in the company of great Marian saints like Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort and Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Pope John Paul II explains that the surest and most direct way to belong to Jesus and to identify with his sacrifice is to give oneself entirely to Mary and he does so precisely with reference to their Hearts. Here is how he continued that same homily in Fatima on 13 May, 1982:

Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother's intercession, to the very fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. This fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness.

Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath the cross of the Son. It means consecrating this world to the pierced Heart of the Savior, bringing it back to the very source of its redemption....

Consecrating ourselves to Mary means accepting her help to offer ourselves and the whole of mankind to Him who is holy, infinitely holy: it means accepting her help by having recourse to her motherly heart, which beneath the cross was opened to love for every human being, for the whole world in order to offer the world, the individual human being, mankind as a whole, and all the nations to Him who is infinitely holy....

The Mother of the Redeemer calls us, invites us, and helps us to join in this consecration, this act of confiding the world. By joining in it we shall be as close as possible to the Heart of Jesus pierced on the cross. (10)

Our act of consecration [to the Immaculate Heart of Mary] refers ultimately to the Heart of her Son, for as the Mother of Christ she is wholly united to his redemptive mission. As at the marriage feast of Cana, when she said "Do whatever he tells you," Mary directs all things to her Son, who answers our prayers and forgives our sins. Thus by dedicating ourselves to the Heart of Mary we discover a sure way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, symbol of the merciful love of our Savior. (11)

Each of the texts quoted above as well as their more ample context in the documents from which they come deserves to be contemplated at length. In that way we may come to appreciate ever more deeply why the Church celebrates the Feasts of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary on successive days and why, by a most happy circumstance, the Feast of Mary's Immaculate Heart is the last liturgical commemoration linked to the Easter cycle. In a sense all is summed up, reflected and poured out upon the Church through the Heart of the Mother. And our response is to give ourselves to her without reserve.
 
This is often forgotten by Catholics themselves, and therefore it is not surprising that those who are not Catholic often have a completely wrong conception of Catholic devotion to the Mother of God. They imagine, and sometimes we can understand their reasons for doing so, that Catholics treat the Blessed Virgin as an almost divine being in her own right, as if she had some glory, some power, some majesty of her own that placed her on a level with Christ Himself. They regard the Assumption of Mary into heaven as a kind of apotheosis placed in the Redemption would seem to be equal to that of her Son. But this is all completely contrary to the true mind of the Catholic Church. It forgets that Mary's chief glory is in her nothingness, in the fact of being the "Handmaid of the Lord," as one who in becoming the Mother of God acted simply in loving submission to His command, in the pure obedience of faith. She is blessed not because of some mythical pseudo-divine prerogative, but in all her human and womanly limitations as one who has believed. It is the faith and the fidelity of this humble handmaid, "full of grace" that enables her to be the perfect instrument of God, and nothing else but His instrument. The work that was done in her purely the work of God. "He that is mighty hath done great things in me." The glory of Mary is purely and simply the glory of God in her. and she, like anyone else, can say that she has nothing that she has not received from Him through Christ.

  As a matter of fact, this is precisely her greatest glory: that having nothing of her own, retaining nothing of a "self" that could glory in any- thing for her own sake, she placed no obstacle to the mercy of God and in no way resisted His love and His will. Hence she received more from Him than any other saint. he was able to accomplish His will perfectly in her, and His liberty was in no way hindered or turned from its purpose by the presence of an egotistical self in Mary. She was and is in the highest sense a person precisely because, being "immaculate," she was free from every taint of selfishness that might obscure God's light in her being. She was then a freedom that obeyed Him perfectly and in this obedience found the fulfill- ment of perfect love.
The genuine significance of Catholic devotion to Mary is to be seen in the light of the Incarnation itself. The Church cannot separate the Son and the Mother. Because the Church conceived of the Incarnation as God's descent into flesh and into time, and His great gift of Himself to His creatures, she also believes that the one who was closest to Him in this great mystery was the one who participated most perfectly in the gift. When a room is heated by an open flame, surely there is nothing strange in the fact that those who stand closest to the fireplace are the ones who are warmest. And when God comes into the world through the instrumentality of one of His servants, then there is nothing surprising about the fact that His chosen instrument should have the greatest and most intimate share in the divine gift.

 Mary, who was empty of all egotism, free from all sin, was as pure as the glass of a very clean window that has no other function than to admit the light of the sun (Son). If we rejoice in that light, we implicitly praise the cleanness of the window. And of course it might be argued that in such a case we might well forget the window altogether. This is true. And yet the Son of God, in emptying Himself of His majestic power, having become a child, abandoning Himself in complete dependence to the loving care of a human Mother, in a certain sense draws our attention once again to her. The Light has wished to remind us of the window, because He is grateful to her and because He has an infinitely tender love, it is certainly a great grace and a privilege, and one of the most important aspects of this privilege is that it enables us to some extent to appreciate the mystery of God's great love and respect for His creatures.

 That God should assume Mary into heaven is not just a glorification of a "Mother Goddess." Quite the contrary, it is the expression of the divine love for humanity, and a very special manifestation of God's respect for His creatures, His desire to do honor to the beings He has made in His own image, and most particularly His respect for the body which was destined to be the temple of His glory. If Mary is believed to be assumed into heaven, it is because we too are one day, by the grace of God, to dwell where she is. If human nature is glorified in her, it is because God desires it to be glorified in us too, and it is for this reason that His Son, taking flesh, came into the world.

In all the great mystery of Mary, then, one thing remains most clear: that of herself she is nothing, and that God has for our sakes delighted to manifest His glory and His love in her.It is because she is, of all the saints, the most perfectly poor and the most perfectly hidden, the one who has absolutely nothing whatever that she attempts to possess as her own, that she can most fully communicate to the rest of us the grace of the infinitely selfless God. And we will most truly possess Him when we have emptied ourselves and become poor and hidden as she is, resembling Him by resembling her. And all our sanctity depends on her maternal love. The ones she desires to share the joy of her own poverty and simplicity, the ones whom she wills to be hidden as she is hidden, are the ones who share her closeness to God.

I have an Evangelical friend who said "When I go to a doctor I don't want to talk to his mother."  That is an interesting analogy. However, this Evangelical talks regularly with his pastor and asks the pastor to pray for him. The pastor doesn't turn him away by saying, "Don't talk to me! Don't ask me to pray for you! Go straight to Jesus!" The pastor has compassion and "intercedes" (stands in the gap) for him. He prays for the congregation and for individuals. He has compassion and wants to assist people in their relationship with Christ. This in no way diminishes Jesus' role as the Lord and Saviour. Catholics ask Mary to pray to Jesus for us. She is interceding, kind of in the way a pastor might pray for you or me. In the Rosary we ask Mary to "Pray for us sinners."  And we think she s quite good at that. Mary is a "born again" Christian who received the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost and spoke in tongues 2000 years before Pentecostals got the gift.(Acts 1:14, 2:3) She knows how to pray - yes even in tongues!

In the movie "The Passion of the Christ," I was floored when I saw Mary at the foot of the Cross. I would like to have that woman pray for me. I ask her to do just that, pray for me. I also ask her to pray for you. I feel her prayers and I thank her for spending so much time praying for our world.Does hanging out with Mary defocus us from Jesus? I got an email that said: Why then would we want to take the focus off of Jesus and pray through Mary, or any one else for that matter? I also see a lot of the issues surrounding Mary as distractions. I appreciate concern that attention paid to Mary defocuses from Jesus. It is an interesting choice of words because Mary said the opposite about herself. In the Bible, Mary clearly spells out her role in eternity:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of his maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. (Lk 1:46-49)

The Bible says Jesus is magnified by Mary's soul. A soul is not limited by life on earth. Mary reinforces her eternal ministry by saying "all generations will call me blessed." If the Bible intended Mary's ministry to end with the birth of Jesus, or at Jesus' death, or even at Mary's death, I don't think it would use that language.

A magnifying glass increases the object it is focused on, so being in relation to Mary's eternal soul does not draw focus away from Jesus, it does the opposite. It magnifies him. This is the Bible's word to the people of God.

I've heard Evangelical Pastors do sermons on just about every passage of Scripture except this one. I invite you to try to remember a sermon on Luke 1:46-55. The movie "The Nativity" removed words from the Bible that referred to Mary when they flashed the passage on the screen during the final scene. I think it's crazy to remove words about Mary from the Bible to make some Christians feel more comfortable.

Catholics believe Mary's soul still "magnifies the Lord" for Christians of our generation who choose to relate to her. Currently, Catholics are pretty well the only ones upholding the biblical prophesy to call her blessed, which was intended for all generations, and for all Christians.

My experience with Mary has actually significantly improved my relationship with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus. I think time spent with Mary is no more defocusing than time spent with my other Church friends or with my pastor. To me the logical end to the "defocusing" theory is that I should never talk to or pray with any other Christians. It suggests I shouldn't go to prayer groups, or even read the Old Testament (because it predates Christ). It suggests I should only talk with Christ alone and never even talk to another human being. To me, that is a definition of a hermit and although it is a valuable calling, I don't think it is for me.

When I was a performer in the US National tour of "Cats" my mother did not want to jump on the stage and take my place in the spotlight (although that would have been pretty funny). She wanted everyone to know that her son was in "Cats." She wanted everyone to go see me. That was her role. Mary's role is not to jump on centre stage and take the place of Jesus. She just wants everyone to know about her Son Jesus and she will do anything to help that relationship.

I got an email that said:

... unlike Kings here on earth, God doesn't need a Queen. He has been, He is, and He always will be complete on His own.

Absolutely. God is complete. It is not out of Jesus' incompleteness that he has called angels and saints to join him in ministry. It is not because he is not strong enough and needs help. He could easily snap his fingers and the entire population of the world would suddenly see God and know He exists. He does not need Mary, angels, or saints. Nor does he need you or me.

It is out of his overabundance of Graces. It is his generosity, his desire to share his graces, his overflowing goodness, and his great Love for us. The Psalmist said "my cup overflows" (Ps 23). That is what God is. He is overflowing with graces that he shares with his mother and all his children. If he loves you and me so much as to invite us to join in his ministry, it is not hard to imagine that he would invite his mother to join in his ministry.

Lumen Gentium
I've snipped a few passages from the Lumen Gentium, an official document of the Church from Vatican II. It is often quoted by Evangelicals for its" Queen of Heaven" statement. I think the document accurately makes clear Jesus' authority over heaven and earth:

60. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, "for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all." (298) The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows his power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ. (298 1 Tim. 2, 5-6).

62. ...For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, ...The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary.

67. .. But it exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God.(23*) Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, ... rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. 
 

An invitation - Pray to Jesus about Mary
I hope I have not caused anxiety with this article. I wish only to help build a bridge between Catholics and Protestants. I don't believe that avoiding Mary will help build this bridge. I can't see this issue going away, at least in my own life and in the lives of the millions of Christians who are alive in the spirit of Christ and have been enriched by their relationship to Mary. Time spent with Mary does not take away from Jesus any more than time spent with other Christians.

I would like to conclude with an invitation. It may be very difficult and perhaps impossible for some. I would like to ask you to forget everything you have ever heard about Mary, everything that you have ever read about her, including what I have said here.

I would like to invite you to pray to Jesus. Most Christians would agree that it is completely safe to pray to Jesus about anything. I would like to invite you to pray to Jesus about Mary. Simply ask Jesus to show you the truth about his mother. Ask Him to direct your thinking about her. Ask Jesus if his mother is alive with Him. Ask Him if Mary is praying for us. Just pray to Jesus about her. Try this every night for six weeks. I am thoroughly convinced that He will bring you to the truth about his mother.

Martin Luther, Founder of the Reform, Speaks on Mary
In his sermon of August 15, 1522, the last time Martin Luther preached on the Feast of the Assumption, he stated:

There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith . . . It is enough to know that she lives in Christ.

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Luther gives the Blessed Virgin the exalted position of "Spiritual Mother" for Christians:

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother .. (Sermon, Christmas, 1522)

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

Martin Luther had the belief of Mary's Immaculate Conception, Luther's words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527).

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {"Little"} Prayer Book, 1522).

Martin Luther on Mary's Perpetual Virginity
Here are some of the founders of refom commenting on Mary:

Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.
{Luther's Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }
Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.
{Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . .
{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }
Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . .
When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:206,212-3 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }
Editor Jaroslav Pelikan (Lutheran) adds:

Luther . . . does not even consider the possibility that Mary might have had other children than Jesus. This is consistent with his lifelong acceptance of the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary.
{Pelikan, ibid.,v.22:214-5}
". . . she is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. . . . God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. . . . God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her."
Ref: Luther's Works, American edition, vol. 43, p. 40, ed. H. Lehmann, Fortress, 1968

". . . she is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God. . . . it is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God."
Ref: Sermon on John 14. 16: Luther's Works (St. Louis, ed. Jaroslav, Pelican, Concordia. vol. 24. p. 107)

"Christ our Savior was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb. . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that."
(REf: On the Gospel of St. John: Luther's Works, vol. 22. p. 23, ed. Jaroslav Pelican, Concordia, 1957)

"Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees." (From the Commentary on the Magnificat.)

Commentaries on Luther
". . . in the resolutions of the 95 theses Luther rejects every blasphemy against the Virgin, and thinks that one should ask for pardon for any evil said or thought against her." (Ref: Wm. J. Cole, "Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?" in Marian Studies 1970, p. 116:)

"In Luther's Explanation of the Magnificat in 1521, he begins and ends with an invocation to Mary, which Wright feels compelled to call 'surprising'".
(David F. Wright, Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspecive, London: Marshall Pickering, 1989, p. 178, Cited from Faith & Reason, Spring 1994, p. 6.)

Martin Luther defends the Eucharist
In 1529 Martin Luther engaged the question of transubstantiation in the famous conference at Marburg with Zwingli and other Swiss theologians; he maintained his view that Christ is present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Other Reformers on Mary's Perpetual Virginity
John Calvin
Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ's 'brothers' are sometimes mentioned.
{Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin's Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}
[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called 'first-born'; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 107}
Under the word 'brethren' the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 283 / Commentary on John, (7:3) }
Huldreich Zwingli
He turns, in September 1522, to a lyrical defense of the perpetual virginity of the mother of Christ . . . To deny that Mary remained 'inviolata' before, during and after the birth of her Son, was to doubt the omnipotence of God . . . and it was right and profitable to repeat the angelic greeting - not prayer - 'Hail Mary' . . . God esteemed Mary above all creatures, including the saints and angels - it was her purity, innocence and invincible faith that mankind must follow. Prayer, however, must be . . . to God alone . . .
'Fidei expositio,' the last pamphlet from his pen . . . There is a special insistence upon the perpetual virginity of Mary.

{G. R. Potter, Zwingli, London: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976, pp.88-9,395 / The Perpetual Virginity of Mary . . ., Sep. 17, 1522}
Zwingli had printed in 1524 a sermon on 'Mary, ever virgin, mother of God.'
{Thurian, ibid., p.76}
I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.
{Thurian, ibid., p.76 / same sermon}
Heinrich Bullinger
Bullinger (d. 1575) . . . defends Mary's perpetual virginity . . . and inveighs against the false Christians who defraud her of her rightful praise: 'In Mary everything is extraordinary and all the more glorious as it has sprung from pure faith and burning love of God.' She is 'the most unique and the noblest member' of the Christian community . . .
'The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.'

{In Hilda Graef, Mary: A history of Doctrine and Devotion, combined ed. of vols. 1 & 2, London: Sheed & Ward, 1965, vol.2, pp.14-5}
John Wesley (Founder of Methodism)
The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.
{"Letter to a Roman Catholic" / In This Rock, Nov. 1990, p.25}

By Thomas Merton


FROM THE DIRECTOR:

I have always been amazed that otherwise learned and spiritual people who should know better insist on telling God what to do or put him in a box
so they can justify a personal opinion. Yet in the recitation of the creed they will state they believe in the seen and unseen. They will admit that church history is full of extraordinary events and that the plan of salvation is alone, so majestic in scope it could only be authored by God.

No one it seems has any problem with Genesis, or the translation of Enoch, or Noah, Abraham and Sara, Joseph in Egypt, Jacob, Moses, King David, Jonah, or the rest of the figures so prominent in Salvation history. But when Mary's name is mentioned the controversy starts. Over the years I have heard statements made by otherwise intelligent people that run from the ridiculous to blasphemous. All of this done while supposedly preaching on the word of God.

Mary is who she is so get used to it people. I have always wondered how come in Church circles no one has made connection between the Book of Esther in scripture and the Blessed Virgin. Queen Esther was a type of what was to come. Mordecai appealed to Esther. Esther interceded before the King and it was granted and thus her people were saved. That is the reason for the Jewish festival of Purim.

There are few people in scripture who have been addressed by the emisary of God, Gabriel; as "man of esteem", Daniel of the book bearing his name and Mary who was hailed "Full of Grace" and having found "favor with God". Saint Joan of arc was referred to as "Daughter of God".
Being hailed as full of grace is no small thing. If God chooses to set someone apart from original sin that is his perogative, and so doing created a new ark of the covenant to come. Mary thus was a living temple housing the new covenant, the word of God made flesh. What was understood for centuries was finally made doctrine; the Immaculate Conception. Truly a joyfull mystery. The object is that the Angel Gabriel addressed Mary as
Full of Grace, not you will be, that implication means already full of Grace. Now comes the moment when the entire future of man, all the plan of
Salvation, and the new and everlasting covenant rested. A brief moment and then it came "YES"; be it done to me according to your word.

The next instance we want to consider is her commitment to be the Mother Of God. The holy spiriit filled her; scripture says 'overshadowed' now some will argue just the immaculate conception part but then I ask how can one carry the son of god in their womb and not be filled with the Holy Spirit? She had been held apart from original sin and full of grace and the culminating moment of revelation becoming the mother Of Christ. This was to be a dangerous time for her in that culture. Mary had just been betrothed to Joseph and in that culture considered married in all things except that which led to family. Gabriel was there to smooth the way. But the couple suffered much judgment.

In her agreeing to be the Mother of God she commited her virginity to him. Thus ever virgin and gradually took on her role as intercessor the fulfillment of what was shown in Esther. Coronated as the Queen; the Woman Israel. Mediatrix of Graces. In the words of a member. To be Christian and not have Mary is like being half orphaned. Catholics do not pray to Mary they ask for her intercession.

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