Redemptoris Mater - - 42
42 Linking itself with Tradition, the Second Vatican Council brought new light to bear on the role of the Mother of Christ in the life of the Church. "Through the gift...of divine motherhood, Mary is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with his singular graces and offices. By these, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church: the Mother of God is a figure of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ."117 We have already noted how, from the beginning, Mary remains with the Apostles in expectation of Pentecost and how, as "the blessed one who believed," she is present in the midst of the pilgrim Church from generation to generation through faith and as the model of the hope which does not disappoint (cf. Rom. Rm 5,5).
Mary believed in the fulfillment of what had been said to her by the Lord. As Virgin, she believed that she would conceive and bear a son: the "Holy One," who bears the name of "Son of God," the name "Jesus" (= God who saves). As handmaid of the Lord, she remained in perfect fidelity to the person and mission of this Son. As Mother, "believing and obeying...she brought forth on earth the Father's Son. This she did, knowing not man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit."118
For these reasons Mary is honored in the Church "with special reverence. Indeed, from most ancient times the Blessed Virgin Mary has been venerated under the title of 'God-bearer.' In all perils and needs, the faithful have fled prayerfully to her protection."119 This cult is altogether special: it bears in itself and expresses the profound link which exists between the Mother of Christ and the Church.120 As Virgin and Mother, Mary remains for the Church a "permanent model." It can therefore be said that especially under this aspect, namely as a model, or rather as a "figure," Mary, present in the mystery of Christ, remains constantly present also in the mystery of the Church. For the Church too is "called mother and virgin," and these names have a profound biblical and theological justification.121
43 The Church "becomes herself a mother by accepting God's word with fidelity."122 Like Mary, who first believed by accepting the word of God revealed to her at the Annunciation and by remaining faithful to that word in all her trials even unto the Cross, so too the Church becomes a mother when, accepting with fidelity the word of God, "by her preaching and by baptism she brings forth to a new and immortal life children who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God."123 This "maternal" characteristic of the Church was expressed in a particularly vivid way by the Apostle to the Gentiles when he wrote: "My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!" (Ga 4,19) These words of Saint Paul contain an interesting sign of the early Church's awareness of her own motherhood, linked to her apostolic service to mankind. This awareness enabled and still enables the Church to see the mystery of her life and mission modelled upon the example of the Mother of the Son, who is "the first-born among many brethren" (Rm 8,29).
It can be said that from Mary the Church also learns her own motherhood: she recognizes the maternal dimension of her vocation, which is essentially bound to her sacramental nature, in "contemplating Mary's mysterious sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will."124 If the Church is the sign and instrument of intimate union with God, she is so by reason of her motherhood, because, receiving life from the Spirit, she "generates" sons and daughters of the human race to a new life in Christ. For, just as Mary is at the service of the mystery of the Incarnation, so the Church is always at the service of the mystery of adoption to sonship through grace.
Likewise, following the example of Mary, the Church remains the virgin faithful to her spouse: The Church herself is a virgin who keeps whole and pure the fidelity she has pledged to her Spouse."125 For the Church is the spouse of Christ, as is clear from the Pauline Letters (cf. Eph. Ep 5,21-33 2 Cor. 2Co 11,2), and from the title found in John: "bride of the Lamb" (Ap 21,9). If the Church as spouse "keeps the fidelity she has pledged to Christ," this fidelity, even though in the Apostle's teaching it has become an image of marriage (cf. Eph. Ep 5,23-33), also has value as a model of total self-giving to God in celibacy "for the kingdom of heaven," in virginity consecrated to God (cf. Mt. Mt 19,11-12 2 Cor. 2Co 11,2). Precisely such virginity, after the example of the Virgin of Nazareth, is the source of a special spiritual fruitfulness: it is the source of motherhood in the Holy Spirit.
But the Church also preserves the faith received from Christ. Following the example of Mary, who kept and pondered in her heart everything relating to her divine Son (cf. Lk. Lc 2,19), the Church is committed to preserving the word of God and investigating its riches with discernment and prudence, in order to bear faithful witness to it before all mankind in every age.126
44 Given Mary's relationship to the Church as an exemplar, the Church is close to her and seeks to become like her: "Imitating the Mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she preserves with virginal purity an integral faith, a firm hope, and a sincere charity."127 Mary is thus present in the mystery of the Church as a model. But the Church's mystery also consists in generating people to a new and immortal life: this is her motherhood in the Holy Spirit. And here Mary is not only the model and figure of the Church; she is much more. For, "with maternal love she cooperates in the birth and development" of the sons and daughters of Mother Church. The Church's motherhood is accomplished not only according to the model and figure of the Mother of God but also with her "cooperation." The Church draws abundantly from this cooperation, that is to say from the maternal mediation which is characteristic of Mary, insofar as already on earth she cooperated in the rebirth and development of the Church's sons and daughters, as the Mother of that Son whom the Father "placed as the first-born among many brethren."128
She cooperated, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, with a maternal love.129 Here we perceive the real value of the words spoken by Jesus to his Mother at the hour of the Cross: "Woman, behold your son" and to the disciple: "Behold your mother" (Jn 19,26-27). They are words which determine Mary's place in the life of Christ's disciples and they express-as I have already said-the new motherhood of the Mother of the Redeemer: a spiritual motherhood, born from the heart of the Paschal Mystery of the Redeemer of the world. It is a motherhood in the order of grace, for it implores the gift of the Spirit, who raises up the new children of God, redeems through the sacrifice of Christ that Spirit whom Mary too, together with the Church, received on the day of Pentecost.
Her motherhood is particularly noted and experienced by the Christian people at the Sacred Banquet-the liturgical celebration of the mystery of the Redemption-at which Christ, his true body born of the Virgin Mary, becomes present.
The piety of the Christian people has always very rightly sensed a profound link between devotion to the Blessed Virgin and worship of the Eucharist: this is a fact that can be seen in the liturgy of both the West and the East, in the traditions of the Religious Families, in the modern movements of spirituality, including those for youth, and in the pastoral practice of the Marian Shrines. Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist.
45 Of the essence of motherhood is the fact that it concerns the person. Motherhood always establishes a unique and unrepeatable relationship between two people: between mother and child and between child and mother. Even when the same woman is the mother of many children, her personal relationship with each one of them is of the very essence of motherhood. For each child is generated in a unique and unrepeatable way, and this is true both for the mother and for the child. Each child is surrounded in the same way by that maternal love on which are based the child's development and coming to maturity as a human being.
It can be said that motherhood "in the order of grace" preserves the analogy with what "in the order of nature" characterizes the union between mother and child. In the light of this fact it becomes easier to understand why in Christ's testament on Golgotha his Mother's new motherhood is expressed in the singular, in reference to one man: "Behold your son."
lt can also be said that these same words fully show the reason for the Marian dimension of the life of Christ's disciples. This is true not only of John, who at that hour stood at the foot of the Cross together with his Master's Mother, but it is also true of every disciple of Christ, of every Christian. The Redeemer entrusts his mother to the disciple, and at the same time he gives her to him as his mother. Mary's motherhood, which becomes man's inheritance, is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary. At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ, which in the history of the Church has been practiced and expressed in different ways. The same Apostle and Evangelist, after reporting the words addressed by Jesus on the Cross to his Mother and to himself, adds: "And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (Jn 19,27). This statement certainly means that the role of son was attributed to the disciple and that he assumed responsibility for the Mother of his beloved Master. And since Mary was given as a mother to him personally, the statement indicates, even though indirectly, everything expressed by the intimate relationship of a child with its mother. And all of this can be included in the word "entrusting." Such entrusting is the response to a person's love, and in particular to the love of a mother.
The Marian dimension of the life of a disciple of Christ is expressed in a special way precisely through this filial entrusting to the Mother of Christ, which began with the testament of the Redeemer on Golgotha. Entrusting himself to Mary in a filial manner, the Christian, like the Apostle John, "welcomes" the Mother of Christ "into his own home"130 and brings her into everything that makes up his inner life, that is to say into his human and Christian "I": he "took her to his own home." Thus the Christian seeks to be taken into that "maternal charity" with which the Redeemer's Mother "cares for the brethren of her Son,"131 "in whose birth and development she cooperates"132 in the measure of the gift proper to each one through the power of Christ's Spirit. Thus also is exercised that motherhood in the Spirit which became Mary's role at the foot of the Cross and in the Upper Room.
46 This filial relationship, this self-entrusting of a child to its mother, not only has its beginning in Christ but can also be said to be definitively directed towards him. Mary can be said to continue to say to each individual the words which she spoke at Cana in Galilee: "Do whatever he tells you." For he, Christ, is the one Mediator between God and mankind; he is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14,6); it is he whom the Father has given to the world, so that man "should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3,16). The Virgin of Nazareth became the first "witness" of this saving love of the Father, and she also wishes to remain its humble handmaid always and everywhere. For every Christian, for every human being, Mary is the one who first "believed," and precisely with her faith as Spouse and Mother she wishes to act upon all those who entrust themselves to her as her children. And it is well known that the more her children persevere and progress in this attitude, the nearer Mary leads them to the "unsearchable riches of Christ"(Ep 3,8). And to the same degree they recognize more and more clearly the dignity of man in all its fullness and the definitive meaning of his vocation, for "Christ...fully reveals man to man himself."133
This Marian dimension of Christian life takes on special importance in relation to women and their status. In fact, femininity has a unique relationship with the Mother of the Redeemer, a subject which can be studied in greater depth elsewhere. Here I simply wish to note that the figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God, in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman. It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.
47 At the Council Paul VI solemnly proclaimed that Mary is the Mother of the Church, "that is, Mother of the entire Christian people, both faithful and pastors."134 Later, in 1968, in the Profession of faith known as the "Credo of the People of God." he restated this truth in an even more forceful way in these words: "We believe that the Most Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, the Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed."135
The Council's teaching emphasized that the truth concerning the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ, is an effective aid in exploring more deeply the truth concerning the Church. When speaking of the Constitution Lumen Gentium, which had just been approved by the Council, Paul VI said: "Knowledge of the true Catholic doctrine regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary will always be a key to the exact understanding of the mystery of Christ and of the Church."136 Mary is present in the Church as the Mother of Christ, and at the same time as that Mother whom Christ, in the mystery of the Redemption, gave to humanity in the person of the Apostle John. Thus, in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church. In this sense Mary, Mother of the Church, is also the Church's model. Indeed, as Paul VI hopes and asks, the Church must draw "from the Virgin Mother of God the most authentic form of perfect imitation of Christ."137
Thanks to this special bond linking the Mother of Christ with the Church, there is further clarified the mystery of that "woman" who, from the first chapters of the Book of Genesis until the Book of Revelation, accompanies the revelation of God's salvific plan for humanity. For Mary, present in the Church as the Mother of the Redeemer, takes part, as a mother, in that monumental struggle; against the powers of darkness"138 which continues throughout human history. And by her ecclesial identification as the "woman clothed with the sun" (Ap 12,1),139 it can be said that "in the Most Holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle." Hence, as Christians raise their eyes with faith to Mary in the course of their earthly pilgrimage, they "strive to increase in holiness."140 Mary, the exalted Daughter of Sion, helps all her children, wherever they may be and whatever their condition, to find in Christ the path to the Father's house.
Thus, throughout her life, the Church maintains with the Mother of God a link which embraces, in the saving mystery, the past, the present and the future, and venerates her as the spiritual mother of humanity and the advocate of grace.
48 It is precisely the special bond between humanity and this Mother which has led me to proclaim a Marian Year in the Church, in this period before the end of the Second Millennium since Christ's birth, a similar initiative was taken in the past. when Pius XII proclaimed 1954 as a Marian Year, in order to highlight the exceptional holiness of the Mother of Christ as expressed in the mysteries of her Immaculate Conception (defined exactly a century before) and of her Assumption into heaven.141
Now, following the line of the Second Vatican Council, I wish to emphasize the special presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and his Church. For this is a fundamental dimension emerging from the Mariology of the Council, the end of which is now more than twenty years behind us. The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops held in 1985 exhorted everyone to follow faithfully the teaching and guidelines of the Council We can say that these two events-the Council and the synod-embody what the Holy Spirit himself wishes "to say to the Church" in the present phase of history.
In this context, the Marian Year is meant to promote a new and more careful reading of what the Council said about the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the mystery of Christ and of the Church, the topic to which the contents of this Encyclical are devoted. Here we speak not only of the doctrine of faith but also of the life of faith, and thus of authentic "Marian spirituality," seen in the light of Tradition, and especially the spirituality to which the Council exhorts us.142 Furthermore, Marian spirituality, like its corresponding devotion, finds a very rich source in the historical experience of individuals and of the various Christian communities present among the different peoples and nations of the world. In this regard, I would like to recall, among the many witnesses and teachers of this spirituality, the figure of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort,143 who proposes consecration to Christ through the hands of Mary, as an effective means for Christians to live faithfully their baptismal commitments. I am pleased to note that in our own time too new manifestations of this spirituality and devotion are not lacking.
There thus exist solid points of reference to look to and follow in the context of this Marian Year.
49 This Marian Year will begin on the Solemnity of Pentecost, on June 7 next. For it is a question not only of recalling that Mary "preceded" the entry of Christ the Lord into the history of the human family, but also of emphasizing, in the light of Mary, that from the moment when the mystery of the Incarnation was accomplished, human history entered "the fullness of time," and that the Church is the sign of this fullness. As the People of God, the Church makes her pilgrim way towards eternity through faith, in the midst of all the peoples and nations, beginning from the day of Pentecost. Christ's Mother-who was present at the beginning of "the time of the Church," when in expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit she devoted herself to prayer in the midst of the Apostles and her Son's disciples-constantly "precedes" the Church in her journey through human history. She is also the one who, precisely as the "handmaid of the Lord," cooperates unceasingly with the work of salvation accomplished by Christ, her Son.
Thus by means of this Marian Year the Church is called not only to remember everything in her past that testifies to the special maternal cooperation of the Mother of God in the work of salvation in Christ the lord, but also, on her own part, to prepare for the future the paths of this cooperation. For the end of the second Christian Millennium opens up as a new prospect.
50 As has already been mentioned, also among our divided brethren many honor and celebrate the Mother of the Lord, especially among the Orientals. It is a Marian light cast upon ecumenism. In particular, I wish to mention once more that during the Marian Year there will occur the Millennium of the Baptism of Saint Vladimir, Grand Duke of Kiev . This marked the beginning of Christianity in the territories of what was then called Rus', and subsequently in other territories of Eastern Europe. In this way, through the work of evangelization, Christianity spread beyond Europe, as far as the northern territories of the Asian continent. We would therefore like, especially during this Year, to join in prayer with all those who are celebrating the Millennium of this Baptism, both Orthodox and Catholics, repeating and confirming with the Council those sentiments of joy and comfort that "the Easterners...with ardent emotion and devout mind concur in reverencing the Mother of God, ever Virgin."144 Even though we are still experiencing the painful effects of the separation which took place some decades later , we can say that in the presence of the Mother of Christ we feel that we are true brothers and sisters within that messianic People, which is called to be the one family of God on earth. As I announced at the beginning of the New Year "We desire to reconfirm this universal inheritance of all the Sons and daughters of this earth."145
In announcing the Year of Mary, I also indicated that it will end next year on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven, in order to emphasize the "great sign in heaven" spoken of by the Apocalypse. In this way we also wish to respond to the exhortation of the Council, which looks to Mary as "a sign of sure hope and solace for the pilgrim People of God." And the Council expresses this exhortation in the following words: "Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of mankind. Let them implore that she who aided the beginning of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity."146
51 At the end of the daily Liturgy of the Hours, among the invocations addressed to Mary by the Church is the following:
"Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea,
assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator!"
"To the wonderment of nature"! These words of the antiphon express that wonderment of faith which accompanies the mystery of Mary's divine motherhood. In a sense, it does so in the heart of the whole of creation, and, directly, in the heart of the whole People of God, in the heart of the Church. How wonderfully far God has gone, the Creator and Lord of all things, in the "revelation of himself" to man!147 How clearly he has bridged all the spaces of that infinite "distance" which separates the Creator from the creature! If in himself he remains ineffable and unsearchable, still more ineffable and unsearchable is he in the reality of the Incarnation of the Word, who became man through the Virgin of Nazareth.
If he has eternally willed to call man to share in the divine nature (cf. 2 Pt. 2P 1,4), it can be said that he has matched the "divinization" of man to humanity's historical conditions, so that even after sin he is ready to restore at a great price the eternal plan of his love through the "humanization" of his Son, who is of the same being as himself. The whole of creation, and more directly man himself, cannot fail to be amazed at this gift in which he has become a sharer, in the Holy Spirit: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3,16).
At the center of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: "To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator"!
52 The words of this liturgical antiphon also express the truth of the "great transformation" which the mystery of the Incarnation establishes for man. It is a transformation which belongs to his entire history, from that beginning which is revealed to us in the first chapters of Genesis until the final end, in the perspective of the end of the world, of which Jesus has revealed to us "neither the day nor the hour" (Mt 25,13). It is an unending and continuous transformation between falling and rising again, between the man of sin and the man of grace and justice. The Advent liturgy in particular is at the very heart of this transformation and captures its unceasing "here and now" when it exclaims: "Assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again"!
These words apply to every individual, every community, to nations and peoples, and to the generations and epochs of human history, to our own epoch, to these years of the Millennium which is drawing to a close: "Assist, yes assist, your people who have fallen"!
This is the invocation addressed to Mary, the "loving Mother of the Redeemer," the invocation addressed to Christ, who through Mary entered human history. Year alter year the antiphon rises to Mary, evoking that moment which saw the accomplishment of this essential historical transformation, which irreversibly continues: the transformation from "falling" to "rising."
Mankind has made wonderful discoveries and achieved extraordinary results in the fields of science and technology. It has made great advances along the path of progress and civilization, and in recent times one could say that it has succeeded in speeding up the pace of history. But the fundamental transformation, the one which can be called "original," constantly accompanies man's journey, and through all the events of history accompanies each and every individual. It is the transformation from "falling" to "rising," from death to life. It is also a constant challenge to people's consciences, a challenge to man's whole historical awareness: the challenge to follow the path of "not falling" in ways that are ever old and ever new, and of "rising again" if a fall has occurred.
As she goes forward with the whole of humanity towards the frontier between the two Millennia, the Church, for her part, with the whole community of believers and in union with all men and women of good will, takes up the great challenge contained in these words of the Marian antiphon: "the people who have fallen yet strive to rise again," and she addresses both the Redeemer and his Mother with the plea: "Assist us." For, as this prayer attests, the Church sees the Blessed Mother of God in the saving mystery of Christ and in her own mystery. She sees Mary deeply rooted in humanity's history, in man's eternal vocation according to the providential plan which God has made for him from eternity She sees Mary maternally present and sharing in the many complicated problems which today beset the lives of individuals, families and nations; she sees her helping the Christian people in the constant struggle between good and evil, to ensure that it "does not fall," or, if it has fallen, that it "rises again."
I hope with all my heart that the reflections contained in the present Encyclical will also serve to renew this vision in the hearts of all believers.
As Bishop of Rome, I send to all those to whom these thoughts are addressed the kiss of peace, my greeting and my blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 1987, the ninth of my Pontificate.
JOHN PAUL II
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------1. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 52 and the whole of Chapter VIII, entitled "The Role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the Mystery of Christ and the Church."
2. The expression "fullness of time" (pleroma tou chronou) is parallel with similar expressions of Judaism, both Biblical (cf. Gen. 29:21; 1 Sam. 7:12; Tob. 14:5) and extra-Biblical, and especially of the New Testament (cf. Mk. 1:15; Lk. 21:24; Jn. 7:8; Eph. 1:10). From the point of view of form, it means not only the conclusion of a chronological process but also and especially the coming to maturity or completion of a particularly important period, one directed towards the fulfillment of an expectation, a coming to completion which thus takes on an eschatological dimension. According to Gal. 4:4 and its context, it is the coming of the Son of God that reveals that time has, so to speak, reached its limit. That is to say, the period marked by the promise made to Abraham and by the Law mediated by Moses has now reached its climax, in the sense that Christ fulfills the divine promise and supersedes the old law.
3. Cf. Roman Missal, Preface of 8 December, Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Saint Ambrose, De Institutione Virginis, XV, 93-94: PL 16, 342; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 68.
4. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 58.
5. Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Epistle Christi Matri (15 September 1966): AAS 58 (1966) 745-749, Apostolic Exhortation Signum Magnum (13 May 1967): AAS 59 (1967) 465:475; Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus (2 February 1974): AAS 66 (1974) 113-168.
6. The Old Testament foretold in many different ways the mystery of Mary: cf. Saint John Damascene, Hom. in Dormitionem 1, 8-9: S. Ch. 80, 103-107.
7. Cf. Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VI/2 (1983) 225f.; Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Ineffabilis Deus (8 December 1854): Pii IX P. M. Acta, pars I, 597-599.
8. Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.
9. Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, in Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, Bologna 1973, 41-44; 59-61: DS 250-264; cf. Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, o. c. 84-87: DS 300-303.
10. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.
11. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 52.
12. Cf. ibid., 58.
13. Ibid., 63, cf. Saint Ambrose, Expos. Evang. sec. Lucam, II, 7: CSEL 32/4, 45; De Institutione Virginis, XIV, 88-89: PL 16, 341.
14. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 64.
15. Ibid., 65.
16. "Take away this star of the sun which illuminates the world: where does the day go? Take away Mary, this star of the sea, of the great and boundless sea: what is left but a vast obscurity and the shadow of death and deepest darkness?": Saint Bernard, In Navitate B. Mariae Sermo-De aquaeductu, 6: S. Bernardi Opera, V, 1968, 279; cf. In laudibus Virginis Matris Homilia II, 17: ed. cit., IV, 1966, 34f.
17. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 63.
18. Ibid., 63.
19. Concerning the predestination of Mary, cf. Saint John Damascene, Hom. in Nativitatem, 7, 10: S. Ch. 80, 65; 73; Hom. in Dormitionem 1, 3: S. Ch. 80, 85: "For it is she, who, chosen from the ancient generations, by virtue of the predestination and benevolence of the God and Father who generated you (the Word of God) outside time without coming out of himself or suffering change, it is she who gave you birth, nourished of her flesh, in the last time...."
20. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 55.
21. In Patristic tradition there is a wide and varied interpretation of this expression: cf. Origen, In Lucam homiliae, VI, 7: S. Ch. 87, 148; Severianus of Gabala, In mundi creationem, Oratio VI, 10: PG 56, 497f.; Saint John Chrysostom (Pseudo), In Annunhationem Deiparae et contra Arium impium, PG 62, 765f.; Basil of Seleucia, Oratio 39, In Sanctissimae Deiparae Annuntiationem, 5: PG 85, 441-46; Antipater of Bosra, Hom. II, In Sanctissimae DeiparaeAnnuntiationem, 3-11: PG 85, 1777-1783; Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem, Oratio 11, In Sanctissimae Deiparae Annuntiationem, 17-19: PG 87/3, 3235-3240; Saint John Damascene Hom. in Dormitionem, 1, 70: S. Ch. 80, 96-101; Saint Jerome, Epistola 65, 9: PL 22, 628, Saint Ambrose, Expos. Evang. sec. Lucam, II, 9: CSEL 32/4, 45f.; Saint Augustine, Sermo 291, 4-6: PL 38, 131 8f.; Enchiridion, 36, 11: PL 40, 250; Saint Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 142: PL 52, 579f.; Sermo 143: PL 52, 583; Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, Epistola 17, VI 12: PL 65 458; Saint Bernard, In laudibus Virginis Matris, Homilia III, 2-3: S. Bernardi Opera, IV, 1966, 36-38.
22. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 55.
23. Ibid., 53.
24. Cf. Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Letter Ineffabilis Deus (8 December 1854): Pii IX P.M. Acta, pars I, 616; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 53.
25. Cf. Saint Germanus of Constantinople, In Annuntiationem SS. Deiparae Hom.: PG 98, 327f.; Saint Andrew of Crete, Canon in B. Mariae Natalem, 4. PG 97, 1321f., In Nativitatem B. Mariae, I: PG 97, 81 1f. Hom. in Dormitionem S. Mariae I: PG 97, 1067f.
26. Liturgy of the Hours of 15 August, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hymn at First and Second Vespers; Saint Peter Damian, Carmina et preces, XLVII: PL 145, 934.
27. Divina Commedia, Paradiso, XXXIII, 1; cf. Liturgy of the Hours, Memomial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, Hymn II in the Office of Readings.
28. Cf. Saint Augustine, De Sancta Virginitate, III, 3: PL 40, 398; Sermo 25, 7: PL 46,
29. Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 5
30. This is a classic theme, already expounded by Saint Irenaeus: "And, as by the action of the disobedient virgin, man was afflicted and, being cast down, died, so also by the action of the Virgin who obeyed the word of God, man being regenerated received, through life, life.... For it was meet and Just...that Eve should be "recapitulated" in Mary, so that the Virgin, becoming the advocate of the virgin, should dissolve and destroy the virginal disobedience by means of virginal obedience": Expositio doctrinae apostolicae, 33: S.Ch. 62, 83-86; cf. also Adversus Haereses, V, 19, 1: 5. Ch. 153, 248-250.
31. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 5.
32. Ibid., 5, cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 56.
33. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 56.
34. Ibid., 56.
35. Cf. ibid., 53; Saint Augustine, De Sancta Virginitate, III, 3: PL 40, 398; Sermo 215, 4; PL 38, 1074; Sermo 196, I: PL 38, 1019; De peccatorum meritis et remissione, I, 29, 57: PL 44, 142; Sermo 25, 7: PL 46, 937-938; Saint Leo the Great, Tractatus 21, de natale Domini, I: CCL 138, 86.
36. Ascent of Mount Carmel, 1. II, Ch. 3, 4-6.
37. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 58.
38. Ibid., 58.
39. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 5.
40. Concerning Mary's participation or "compassion" in the death of Christ, cf. Saint Bernard, In Dominica infra octavam Assumptionis Sermo, 14: S. Bernardi Opera, V, 1968, 273.
41. Saint Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III, 22, 4: S. Ch. 211, 438-444; cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 56, Note 6.
42. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 56, and the Fathers quoted there in Notes 8 and 9.
43. "Christ is truth, Christ is flesh: Christ truth in the mind of Mary, Christ flesh in the womb of Mary": Saint Augustine, Sermo 25 (Sermones inediti), 7: PL 46, 938.
44. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 60.
45. Ibid., 61.
46. Ibid., 62.
47. There is a well-known passage of Origen on the presence of Mary and John on Calvary: "The Gospels are the first fruits of all Scripture and the Gospel of John is the first of the Gospels: no one can grasp its meaning without having leaned his head on Jesus' breast and having received from Jesus Mary as Mother": Comm. in loan., I, 6: PG 14, 31; cf. Saint Ambrose, Expos. Evang. sec. Lucam, X, 129-131: CSEL 32/4, 504f.
48. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 54 and 53; the latter text quotes Saint Augustine, De Sancta Virginitate, VI, 6: PL 40, 399.
49. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 55.
50. Cf. Saint Leo the Great, Tractatus 26, de natale Domini, 2: CCL 138, 126.
51. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 59.
52. Saint Augustine, De civitate Dei, XVIII, 51: CCL 48, 650.
53. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 8.
54. Ibid., 9.
55. Ibid., 9.
56. Ibid., 8.
57. Ibid., 9.
58. Ibid., 65.
59. Ibid., 59.
60. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 5.
61. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 63.
62. Cf. ibid., 9.
63. Cf. ibid., 65.
64. Ibid., 65.
65. Ibid., 65.
66. Cf. ibid., 13.
67. Cf. ibid., 13.
68. Cf. ibid., 13.
69. Cf. Roman Missal, formula of the Consecration of the Chalice in the Eucharistic Prayers.
70. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1.
71. Ibid., 13.
72. Ibid., 15.
73. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 1.
74. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 68, 69. On Mary Most Holy, promoter of Christian unity, and on the cult of Mary in the East, cf. Leo XIII, Encyclical Epistle Adiutricem Populi (5 September 1985): Acta Leonis XV, 300-312.
75. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 20.
76. Cf. ibid., 19.
77. Ibid., 14.
78. Ibid., 15.
79. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 66.
80. Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, Definitio fidei: Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, Bologna 1973, 86 (DS 301).
81. Cf. the Weddase Maryam (Praises of Mary), which follows the Ethiopian Psalter and contains hymns and prayers to Mary for each day of the week. Cf. also the Matshafa Kidana Mehrat (Book of the Pact of Mercy); the importance given to Mary in the Ethiopian hymnology and liturgy deserves to be emphasized.
82. Cf. Saint Ephrem, Hymn. de Nativitate: Scriptores Syri, 82, CSCO, 186.
83. Cf. Saint Gregory of Narek, Le livre de prieres: S. Ch. 78, 160-163; 428-432.
84. Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea: Conciliorurn Oecumenicorum Decreta, Bologna 19733, 135-138 (DS 600-609).
85. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 59.
86. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 19.
87. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 8.
88. Ibid., 9.
89. As is well-known, the words of the Magnificat contain or echo numerous passages of the Old Testament.
90. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 2.
91. Cf. for example Saint Justin, Dialogus cum Tryphone ludaeo, 100: Otto II, 358; Saint Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses III, 22, 4: S. Ch. 211, 439-445; Tertullian, De carne Christi, 17, 4-6: CCL 2, 904f.
92. Cf. Saint Epiphanius, Panarion, III, 2; Haer. 78, 18: PG 42, 727-730.
93. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation (22 March 1986), 97.
94. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 60.
95. Ibid., 60.
96. Cf. the formula of mediatrix "ad Mediatorem" of Saint Bernard, In Dominica infra oct. Assumptionis Sermo, 2: S. Bernardi Opera, V, 1968, 263. Mary as a pure mirror sends back to her Son all the glory and honor which she receives: Id., In Nativitate B. Mariae Sermo-De Aquaeductu, 12: ed. cit., 283.
97. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 62.
98. Ibid., 62.
99. Ibid., 61.
100. Ibid., 62.
101. Ibid., 61.
102. Ibid., 61.
103. Ibid., 62.
104. Ibid., 62.
105. Ibid., 62; in her prayer too the Church recognizes and celebrates Mary's "maternal role": it is a role "of intercession and forgiveness, petition and grace, reconciliation and peace" (cf. Preface of the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace, in Collectio Missarum de Beata Maria Virgine, ed. typ. 1987, I, 120).
106. Ibid., 62.
107. Ibid., 62; cf. Saint John Damascene, Hom. in Dormitionem, I, 11; II, 2, 14; III, 2: S. Ch. 80, 111f.; 127-131; 157-161; 181-185; Saint Bernard, In Assumptione Beatae Mariae Sermo, 1-2: S. Bernardi Opera, V, 1968, 228-238.
108. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 59; cf. Pope Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus (1 November 1950): AAS 42 (1950) 769-771; Saint Bernard presents Mary immersed in the splendor of the Son's glory: In Dominica infra oct. Assumptionis Sermo, 3; S. Bernardi Opera, V, 1968, 263f.
109. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 53.
110. On this particular aspect of Mary's mediation as implorer of clemency from the "Son as Judge," cf. Saint Bernard, In Dominica infra oct. Assumptionis Sermo, 1-2: S. Bernardi Opera, V, 1968, 262f; Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Epistle Octobri Mense (22 September 1891): Acta Leonis, XI, 299-315.
111. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 55.
112. Ibid., 59.
113. Ibid., 36.
114. Ibid., 36.
115. With regard to Mary as Queen, cf. Saint John Damascene, Hom. in Nativitatem, 6; 12; Hom. in Dormitionem, 1, 2, 12, 14; II, 11;III, 4: S. Ch. 80, 59f.; 77f.; 83f.; 113f.; 117; 151f.; 189-193.
116. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 62.
117. Ibid., 63.
118. Ibid., 63.
119. Ibid., 66.
120. Cf. Saint Ambrose, De Institutione Virginis, XIV, 88-89: PL 16, 341, Saint Augustine, Sermo 215, 4: PL 38, 1074; De Sancta Virginitate, II, 2; V, 5; VI, 6: PL 40, 397-398f.; 399; Sermo 191, II, 3: PL 38, 1010f.
121. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Centium, 63.
122. Ibid., 64.
123. Ibid., 64.
124. Ibid., 64.
125. Ibid., 64.
126. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 8; Saint Bonaventure, Comment. in Evang. Lucae, Ad Claras Aquas, VII, 53, No. 40, 68, No. 109.
127. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 64.
128. Ibid., 63.
129. Cf. ibid., 63.
130. Clearly, in the Greek text the expression "eis ta idia" goes beyond the mere acceptance of Mary by the disciple in the sense of material lodging and hospitality in his house; it indicates rather a communion of life established between the two as a result of the words of the dying Christ: cf. Saint Augustine, In loan. Evang. tract. 119, 3: CCL 36, 659: "He took her to himself, not into his own property, for he possessed nothing of his own, but among his own duties, which he attended to with dedication."
131. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 62.
132. Ibid., 63.
133. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.
134. Cf. Pope Paul VI, Discourse of 21 November 1964: AAS 56 (1964) 1015.
135. Pope Paul VI, Solemn Profession of Faith (30 June 1968), 15: AAS 60 (1968) 438f.
136. Pope Paul VI, Discourse of 21 November 1964: AAS 56 (1964) 1015.
137. Ibid., 1016.
138. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 37.
139. Cf. Saint Bernard, In Dominica infra oct. Assumptionis Sermo: S. Bernardi Opera V, 1968, 262-274.
140. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 65.
141. Cf. Encyclical Letter Fulgens Corona (8 September 1953): AAS 45 (1953) 577-592. Pius X with his Encyclical Letter Ad Diem Illum (2 February 1904), on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, had proclaimed an Extraordinary jubilee of a few months; Pii X P. M. Acta, I, 147-166.
142. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 66-67.
143. Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Traite de la varie devotion a la sainte Vierge. This saint can rightly be linked with the figure of Saint Alfonso Maria de' Liguori, the second centenary of whose death occurs this year; cf. among his works Le glorie di Maria.
144. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 69.
145. Homily on 1 January 1987.
146. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 69.
147. Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 2: "Through this revelation...the invisible God...out of the abundance of his love speaks to men as friends...and lives among them..., so that he may invite and take them into fellowship with himself."
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