Sunday, May 23, 2010


“There is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. Thus it was at the beginning, in the Upper Room where the disciples “devoted themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and his brothers” -- as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles ( 1.14), and thus it always is, in every place and every time.” So said Benedict XVI in his reflection before reciting the Regina Caeli with pilgrims in St Peter’s Square.

After the Marian prayer, the pontiff also called on all Christians in China and the world to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which he established on May 24 with the Letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007.

“The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians -- tomorrow May 24th -- said the pope, offers us the chance to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. While the faithful in China are praying that the unity among themselves and with the universal Church will grow ever deeper, Catholics in the world -- especially those who are of Chinese origin -- will join them in prayer and charity, that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts, especially in today’s solemnity.”

Earlier, Benedict XVI stressed the link between Mary and the Holy Spirit and recalled his recent visit to Fatima, and celebrations with over half million people: “What was the experience of ... that immense multitude, in the esplanade of the Shrine where we were all of one heart and one soul, if not a new Pentecost? In our midst there was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This is the typical experience of the great Marian shrines -- Lourdes, Guadalupe, Pompeii, Loreto -- or even smaller ones: wherever Christians gather in prayer with Mary The Lord gives his Spirit.”
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Thursday, May 13, 2010


Reflections from Hans Urs Von Balthasar’s "Marie Première Église"

(From L'Osservatore Romano dated May 30, 2001)

The place of Mary in ecclesial doctrine and devotion in the last twenty years has been a source of tensions within the Church. On one hand, a group of devout persons promote the maxim, "there is never enough said of Mary", while on the other hand, those on the frontier of the Church sense dangers for converts and for ecumenical relations.

These have been emphasizing the hierarchy of truths centred on the Trinity and Christ, from whom comes all grace, while noting that Mary is a creature, even though she is the highest and the greatest, who has received the greatest grace possible. Ecumenists have to deal with groups in the communities born of the Reformation for whom Marian devotion seems to be a dangerous growth of something secondary. Many seeking full communion find that the last barrier to their becoming Catholics is Catholic Marian devotion. There may be a way of reconciling the two tendencies.

It is true that there is never enough said about Mary when one leaves aside a quantitative approach which seems to want more devotions, more apparitions, more dogmatic definitions and moves to a qualitative approach. The qualitative approach does mean that we seek a greater understanding of Mary's mission in God's plan of salvation and appreciate Mary's corresponding grace. Those who show some hesitation due to their reliance on the historical critical approach to the Gospels must consider that in Scripture no woman is spoken of in such detail and in so many places as Mary.

Wherever she appears in the Gospels the event or the word is in strict relation with the Incarnation of Christ, his infancy, his public activity, his passion, his continued life in the Church. Even though the occasions in which Mary appears are scattered throughout the Gospels, they form, when one thinks more deeply about them a set of relationships where the persons involved react with one another like Mother and Son, Mother, Servant of the Word and Word, in a history of salvation in which the persons enjoy eternal life and glory.

The richness of personal aspects may make it difficult to speak of Mary with restrictive definitions, that is why we use the Litany of Our Lady. There is a kind of parallel with her Son. No one title fully captures all the riches of his Person and of his work. In our wonder we can explore infinitely the love that led One of the Trinity to suffer for us.

Veneration of Mary glorifies God's gifts as Scripture suggests

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Saturday, May 8, 2010


Tomorrow, May 9, is Mother's Day, we celebrate the lives of our mothers, the role they played in shaping us. It is a day to show our devotion and love to the person who tendered and cared for us in her womb, after we are born, and throughout our lives as long as she lives. I celebrate and love my mother, too. But it is also a time to celebrate and love our heavenly Mother, the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary. In this, it is timely to recall  the catechesis of Pope John Paul II on April 23, 1997:

To the disciple he said, ‘Behold your Mother’

After recalling the presence of Mary and the other women at the Lord’s cross, St John relates: “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’. Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’” (Jn 19:26-27).

These particularly moving words are a “revelation scene”: they reveal the deep sentiments of the dying Christ and contain a great wealth of meaning for Christian faith and spirituality. At the end of his earthly life, as he addressed his Mother and the disciple he loved, the crucified Messiah establishes a new relationship of love between Mary and Christians.

Interpreted at times as no more than an expression of Jesus’ filial piety towards his Mother whom he entrusts for the future to his beloved disciple, these words go far beyond the contingent need to solve a family problem. In fact, attentive consideration of the text, confirmed by the interpretation of many Fathers and by common ecclesial opinion, presents us, in Jesus’ twofold entrustment, with one of the most important events for understanding the Virgin’s role in the economy of salvaion.

The words of the dying Jesus actually show that his first intention was not to entrust his Mother to John, but to entrust the disciple to Mary and to give her a new maternal role. Moreover, the epithet “woman”, also used by Jesus at the wedding in Cana to lead Mary to a new dimension of her existence as Mother, shows how the Saviour’s words are not the fruit of a simple sentiment of filial affection but are meant to be put at a higher level.
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Saturday, May 1, 2010


It is a curious fact that some seem to have a major problem with the Virgin Mary. It is a problem that goes far beyond theological reason and debate. In some quarters there seems to be a major antipathy, almost hatred, directed at one of the key figures in the story of redemption. In fact a few protestant apologists write of the Mother of the Redeemer almost as if she were the enemy of God. How can this unhealthy state of affairs have come about?

Perhaps it has something to do with the misogynistic tendencies that were evident in many of the Reformers, although most actually maintained Marian doctrines that would surprise their modern-day followers. There is also a great deal of ignorance among modern-day protestants as to the Scriptural and other ancient support for most of the Marian doctrines.

It is the fundamentalist move away from Mary that has been the recent aberration. Yet even many Protestant Christians who are not so extreme still believe that Catholic and Orthodox doctrines on the Virgin Mary are unscriptural and are inventions of the Medieval Church, being unknown to the early Christians.

How true is this?
To find out, we must examine the doctrines about the Virgin Mary which Evangelical Protestants claim to be unscriptural.
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