Mary, Queen of Poland

Published on September 12, 2009 by in Christian Culture

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The Christendom of Europe was at a precarious point in 1683. On September 11th of that year, the Polish king, Jan Sobieski III, bolstered in his courage by God’s Spirit, led a charge of 40,000 Poles, accompanied by a small troop of German and Austrian allies, to Vienna to end the Ottoman siege. The Turks had been in control of the city’s perimeter and were preparing to breach the wall surrounding it. The Muslim invaders had weakened the city’s defensive wall through a system of tunneling beneath it and setting off explosive charges. From the east, the determination of the Polish king to defend Christendom was made available just in time by a successful lobby from Pope Innocent II to the Polish democracy of nobles. Sobieski was given his marching orders and went forth with approval from the Polish government and the prayers and hopes of the Church in Rome. This Roman Catholic-Polish alliance had the effect of dispersing the attempted Muslim invasion of Europe before it could proceed through Austria and northward. This temporal victory  was also a spiritual victory, since it allowed Christianity to remain as Europe’s prevailing religion. 

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Not of man’s seed, conjoined to its own
Artificier, without the debt of death
These mandates of the Father through bright stars.
An angel carries down, that angel-fame
The tidings may accredit; telling how
A virgin’s debts a Virgin, flesh’s flesh
Should pay (1).

Carmen adversus Marcionem, 3rd century A.D.

The whole plan of salvation history is evident in the integrity of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. We can find benchmarks and points of progression in this plan beginning with the accounts of the “Word” or Logos initiating creation and then later the “Word” made flesh, the new Adam, re-creates or recapitulates fallen creation by the obedient offering of his natural life for the greater love of the Father. The first Adam and Eve failed to choose obedience over suffering and forfeited supernatural life. At the Annunciation Mary’s fiat, “Let it be done to me according to thy Word,” imitates Jesus’ impending suffering in obedience to his Father’s will. In doing so she becomes the first to co-operate in the operation of salvation but in a unique and objective way. She becomes the instrumental cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race. This active offering of herself begins her role as the Co-redemptrix. The fiat she gave is a lifetime yes that is confirmed by her cooperation and mystical suffering throughout her life as Mother of God, on through “the loving consent to the immolation” (2) in her offering of the Son during the Passion, and still today in her role as Mediatrix and Advocate (3). We should examine the theme of the Woman in her role as Co-redemptrix as it was providentially planned, and its commencement with the offering of her womb at the Annunciation, the womb that provided the flesh for the “Word” incarnate that brings about our redemption. […]

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This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect.

This, the first sentence of Lumen Gentium, Chapter VIII, article 62 is a statement from which we can extrapolate the progressive interrelation of the five Marian doctrines. We see that the Council is saying that her role as “Mother of God,” which began with her freely willed cooperation at the Annunciation, has led her to providentially and rightly be called the “mother in the order of grace,” or our “spiritual mother,” in the unceasing mediation of salvific grace for the people of God. Regardless of whether the position of this statement in the order and organization of the document  is viewed as positive or negative in its effect on clarity for the faithful and ecumenism with our separated brethren, it can be asserted that the efforts of the Council have opened up “new avenues of approach” in the continuing understanding of Mary’s role as Mediatrix. These are the thoughts of Pope Paul VI in a letter to the Fifth International Mariological Congress at Lisbon in August of 1967:

Although it refrained from establishing any new basis for Marian doctrine, the Council nevertheless made such excellent and clear statements concerning the most Blessed Virgin Mary that we can say that it has opened new avenues of approach both for a more profound theological study and for the promotion of a sounder and healthier Christian piety toward the Mother of God. (1) […]

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