0

Father Juniper Benjamin Carol, O.F.M., S.T.D, (1911-1990), the first President of the Mariological Society of America, was considered by many in his time to be “the most prominent Mariologist in the United States and ranks with the best in the world.” (1) His treatises were many and diverse. (2) Nearly twenty years after his death, Father Carol is respected as a learned theologian whose contribution to Mariology is inarguable. (3)

In this paper, I present the position of Father Carol concerning Mary’s Virginitas in partu. What did this scholar hold as to the existence of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s virginity during the Birth of her Divine Son?

Read more: Mary’s Virginity During the Birth of Jesus According to Fr. Juniper B. Carol

Continue Reading

0

The following article is from a chapter in the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. – Asst. Ed.

When pondering the Church’s teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary, one may be immediately inclined to think about her Divine Maternity, Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, and Assumption—and rightly so, given that these truths have been defined as dogmas of the Catholic faith. (1) Yet, there are other Church teachings concerning Our Lady that are also important because they, too, glorify God and assist in the salvation of souls. One such doctrine is the spiritual maternity (or spiritual motherhood) of Mary. (2)

The purpose of this article is to present this doctrine, which “is one of the most certain and most universally accepted doctrines of Mariology.” (3)

Definition

The spiritual maternity of Mary is “a particular and unique cooperation of Mary, as Mother of God the Savior, with the redemptive work of her Son, in restoring supernatural life to immortal souls.” (4) The spiritual motherhood of Mary means that the ever-Virgin is my Mother in the spiritual order, often called “the order of grace,” in a similar fashion to the way in which the woman who conceived and bore me is my Mother in the natural order or “the order of nature.”

The great Mariologist Fr. Emil Neubert (+1967), a religious of the Society of Mary (Marianists), in his Mary in Doctrine, writes: “Even the least instructed among Catholics know that Mary is their Mother. Before he has heard the words Immaculate Conception, virginity, Assumption, any child who can lisp a prayer knows that the Mother of Jesus is also his Mother.” (5) Eschewing as “incomplete” the ideas that the spiritual maternity is “metaphorical” and/or “adoptive,” (6) Fr. Neubert, seconding the previous remark, continues: “This spiritual maternity means that Mary has given us supernatural life just as truly as our mothers have given us natural life. What our mothers do for our natural life, Mary does in the supernatural order, nourishing, protecting, increasing, and developing our life so as to bring it to maturity.” (7) […]

Continue Reading

0

During Mass each Sunday, Holy Day of Obligation and Solemnity we recite the Nicene Creed, praying: “by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary.” Notice “born of the Virgin Mary” (which also exists in the Apostles’ Creed used when praying the Rosary). What we profess has great significance.

We confess: Mary remained a virgin, “born of the Virgin Mary,” even in the process of giving birth! […]

Continue Reading

0

Perhaps it stands to reason that since many persons today claim that Jesus Christ did not grasp who He was during most of His earthly sojourn that the corresponding view that His Blessed Mother Mary, too, was not privy to the knowledge of His Sacred Divinity has also been adopted in not a few quarters.

In his valuable Mary In Our Life, (1) the late Father William George Most, Ph.D., tackled this critical matter in Appendix II entitled “Mary’s Knowledge of the Divinity of Christ at the Time of the Annunciation.” (2) His reflections, still timely and helpful, are used in this article which, given the recently-ended Christmas Season, alters the question only slightly by considering Our Lady’s Knowledge of the Messiah’s Divinity immediately after His Birth in Bethlehem.

Father Most defended what he termed the “traditional view” that Our Blessed Mother did know from the moment of the Annunciation that her Son was God and employed two primary arguments on behalf of this thesis.

First, the Maiden of Nazareth was a faithful Jewess who was intimately familiar with the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. From the days of her tender youth as a girl in Jerusalem’s Temple, Our Blessed Lady was painstakingly educated in the cherished Jewish customs and beliefs. Therefore, she was quite aware of the various Scriptural references to the long-awaited Coming of the Messiah. The Hebrew words, with their shades of meaning, would have been understood by someone who spent so much time in prayer and meditation, not to mention by one who pined for the arrival of the One sent by the Lord. In considering the import of the divinely-inspired passages of Sacred Scripture that Mary was conscious of, Father Most averred: “Now if the Holy Spirit meant divinity by these words, then, although many Jews did not understand, surely Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, full of grace and the light of grace, would be unlikely to miss the meaning.”

Second, Mary heard a very significant message from the Archangel Gabriel. Hearing such phrases, as observed in Saint Luke’s account of the Annunciation (1:26-38), as “the Son of the Most High,” “He shall reign in the house of David forever” and “the Son of God,” Mary would have comprehended that her Son would be no ordinary boy but rather an outstanding Child Who would reign forever. Gabriel’s audacious language would not have been lost on Mary. And, Father Most continued, given that many Fathers of the Church were convinced that the adoration offered by the Magi was a “recognition” of the Sacred Divinity of Jesus, “how could we suppose that the Magi would know of the divinity of Christ so soon, if Mary herself could not recognize the clear indications in the Old Testament prophecies and in the words of Gabriel? The Magi had not had these advantages.”

Two arguments have often been raised against the belief that Mary knew her Son’s Divinity.

The first is that Mary did not understand the haunting explanation of His absence uttered by the twelve year-old Jesus when she and Joseph found Him in the Temple after three days. Yet, it is unnecessary to think that Our Lady would know every detail of God’s plan.

The second is that Mary would have had to grasp the meaning of the Most Blessed Trinity, a truth which was not explicitly revealed in the Old Testament, in order to come to a knowledge of the Sacred Divinity of her Divine Son. Father Most was quick to counter this assertion. “But the Three Persons are clearly mentioned in the words of the Archangel: Christ is said to be the ‘Son of the Most High’—an indication of the first two Persons. And He is to be conceived when ‘the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’—the Third Person.”

In summarizing his persuasive contention, Father Most concluded thus:

Finally, it would be surprising indeed if Mary did not know of her Son’s divinity at this time. She would have had to miss or misunderstand so many texts that are clear enough in themselves. After all, it does not seem that any very extraordinary grace would be needed to show her their clear meaning—and how could we suppose that such a grace would be withheld from her who was full of grace?

We add here, pertinent to this essay, this thought: Consider the span of nine months from the moment of the Annunciation until the Baby Jesus appeared at His miraculous Birth, in which Our Lady—by a singular privilege—retained her Virginity. Imagine how Mary, endowed with indescribable divine favor, must have grown in her appreciation and comprehension of that which God was doing. To hold that Mary—who spoke with the Archangel, conceived Jesus in her chaste womb, heard the stirring praise of God and accolades addressed to herself by Elizabeth and then brought Jesus from her body without relinquishing her Virginity—did not know her Son’s Sacred Divinity is more incredible than to posit that Mary, given the foregoing, really did know.

The first Christmas stands out for many reasons, one of which is the startling information known by a fully human person about her Baby resting in a rustic manger.

Msgr. Charles M. Mangan, is an official of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Endnotes

(1) P. J. Kenedy and Sons, New York, 1954.

(2) Ibid., pp. 257-258.

Continue Reading

0

The great Jesuit theologian Father John Anthony Hardon (1914-2000) related that one Christmas, at the moment of the consecration of the bread during Midnight Mass, the mystery of the Incarnation—Jesus taking flesh and living with us as one of us—struck him with special profundity when he thought to himself: “I am holding in my hands the same Jesus that Our Blessed Lady held in her pure hands in the stable of Bethlehem.”

Such a precious insight can only but help all of us to focus more intently on Mary’s undeniable and essential role in that incredible, unrepeatable action: the Logos (Word)—the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity—becoming flesh and pitching His tent among us. Mary accepted that Word…embraced that Word…loved that Word…and learned from that Word. And this Real Presence of Christ enjoyed by His sinless Mother and chaste foster-father Saint Joseph is effected and continued today—and will be until Jesus comes again—by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which would not exist without the Incarnation.

Without Mary there is no Christmas.

[…]

Continue Reading

0

The alluring story of the apparitions of Our Blessed Lady to Juan Diego in 1531 is increasingly better well known throughout the world. Seemingly more and more persons are coming to realize that even though these noteworthy appearances occurred in North America, their deep significance is universal.

The “Guadalupe event” was quite straightforward: the Ever-Virgin Mother of God showed herself to an unlettered peasant and directed him to approach the local Bishop. Although wary of such a spectacular claim on the part of Juan, the Bishop believed when he saw the delightful roses (in December!) and the image of Our Blessed Mother on Juan’s tilma.

What has always intrigued this writer about Mary’s appearances in Guadalupe is the long-term and profound effect that they had on the people nearby as well as on their behavior. In the ten years following the apparitions, an estimated nine million Aztec Indians were converted to the True Faith, and the abominable practice of child sacrifice to the pagan deity—which had been performed with horrifying regularity—abruptly ceased.
[…]

Continue Reading

0

This year’s one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception rightly inspires much reflection on the profound truth that the Maiden of Nazareth was preserved—thanks to the abundant grace of God in view of the merits won by the God-Man Jesus Christ on Calvary—from Original Sin in order to be a fitting mother for the King Who was to come. Would that this Sesquicentenary usher into our weary world a lasting period of new and deep adoration for the Messiah, intense reverence for His Ever-Virgin Mother and a more genuine commitment to fulfilling the Almighty’s wise plan for our lives, regardless of the sometimes seemingly high cost!

We also hope that this commemoration of the definition of 1854 may convince all peoples of good will that the magnificent and unrepeatable gift of human life is precious and deserves our every effort, no matter how heroic, to protect, cherish and promote it.

[…]

Continue Reading

Our Lady and Vatican II

Published on September 25, 2004 by in General Mariology

0

The presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-1965) has generated much interest. Scores of publications have provided analysis of the Marian references found in the conciliar texts.

Over forty years after the solemn opening of the Council on October 11, 1962, then the Feast of the Maternity of Mary, we consider the explicit mention of Our Lady in eleven of the sixteen official documents. […]

Continue Reading