Blessed Virgin Mary ?Theotokos

By Marta Alves (c) 2010

 

In every Catholic country around the world, the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated and honored as the Mother of God (Theotokos).  The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France and in Fatima, Portugal are events that have transformed the faithful. The Blessed Virgin Mary is always guiding us to her son Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.

In the Gospel of Saint Luke, the Blessed Virgin Mary said a few words that have impacted humanity in the eyes of God forever, in response to the Angel Gabriel, she says humbly:

"I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk 1:38).

As John Paul II said October 6, 1979:

 “And with those words, she expresses what was the fundamental attitude of her life: her faith! Mary believed! She trusted in God's promises and was faithful to his will. When the angel Gabriel announced that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Most High, she gave her " Fiat" humbly and with full freedom: "Let it be done to me as you say".       Perhaps the best description of Mary and, at the same time the greatest tribute to her, was the greeting of her cousin Elizabeth: "Blessed is she who trusted that God's words to her would be fulfilled" (Lk 1:45). For it was that continual trust in the providence of God which most characterized her faith.

This woman of faith, Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God, has been given to us as a model in our pilgrimage of faith From Mary we learn to surrender to God's will in all things. From Mary, we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary, we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God. For Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is Mother of the Church as well. In every stage of the march through history, the Church has benefited from the prayer and protection of the Virgin Mary. Holy Scripture and the experience of the faithful see the Mother of God as the one who in a very special way is united with the Church at the most difficult moments in her history, when attacks on the Church become most threatening. Precisely in periods when Christ, and therefore his Church, provokes deliberated contradiction, Mary appears particularly close to the Church, because for her the Church is always her beloved Christ.

 The Blessed Virgin Mary is to be venerated. Worship is due only to her Son, Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.  We are to imitate  her faithfulness, as she expresses it in  “The Magnificat?/p>

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.  The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.   His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.  He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.  He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.  The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.  He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."  Luke 1:46-55

On December 8, 2010, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On December 12, 2010 is the Celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe. +

 

 

Extra Information ?End Notes

1.  From the Second Vatican Council - Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - LUMEN GENTIUM - Chapter VIII - The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church - IV. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church (#66-67)

66. Placed by the grace of God, as God's Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ and is justly honored by a special cult in the Church. Clearly from earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful took refuge in all their dangers and necessities.(21*) Hence after the Synod of Ephesus the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: "All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me".(301) This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. The various forms of piety toward the Mother of God, which the Church within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the conditions of time and place, and the nature and ingenuity of the faithful has approved, bring it about that while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being (302) and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell,(303) is rightly known, loved and glorified and that all His commands are observed.

 67. This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed.(22*) 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, and under the guidance of the Church's magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.

2. From Pope John Paul II ?Homily on October 6, 1979

            After a brief rest at the Reflecting Pool during which the Holy Father received the official welcome of the Mayor of Washington, Marion Barry, he went to St. Matthew's Cathedral where some 1,400 priests, deacons and lay members of the archdiocesan council awaited him. During the Eucharistic celebration the Pope delivered the following homily.

            Mary says to us today: "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk 1:38).

            And with those words, she expresses what was the fundamental attitude of her life: her faith! Mary believed! She trusted in God's promises and was faithful to his will. When the angel Gabriel announced that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Most High, she gave her " Fiat" humbly and with full freedom: "Let it be done to me as you say".

            Perhaps the best description of Mary and, at the same time the greatest tribute to her, was the greeting of her cousin Elizabeth: "Blessed is she who trusted that God's words to her would be fulfilled" (Lk 1:45). For it was that continual trust in the providence of God which most characterized her faith. 

            All her earthly life was a "pilgrimage of faith" (cf. Lumen Gentium, 58). For like us she walked in shadows and hoped for things unseen. She knew the contradictions of our earthly life. She was promised that her son would be given David's throne, but at his birth, there was no room even at the inn. Mary still believed. The angel said her child would be called the Son of God; but she would see him slandered, betrayed and condemned, and left to die as a thief on the cross. Even yet, Mary "trusted that God's words to her would be fulfilled" (Lk 1:45) and that "nothing was impossible with God" (Lk 1:37).

            This woman of faith, Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God, has been given to us as a model in our pilgrimage of faith From Mary we learn to surrender to God's will in all things. From Mary, we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary, we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God. For Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is Mother of the Church as well. In every stage of the march through history, the Church has benefited from the prayer and protection of the Virgin Mary. Holy Scripture and the experience of the faithful see the Mother of God as the one who in a very special way is united with the Church at the most difficult moments in her history, when attacks on the Church become most threatening. Precisely in periods when Christ, and therefore his Church, provokes deliberated contradiction, Mary appears particularly close to the Church, because for her the Church is always her beloved Christ.

            I therefore exhort you in Christ Jesus, to continue to look to Mary as the model of the Church as the best example of the discipleship of Christ. Learn from her to be always faithful, to trust that God's word to you will be fulfilled, and that nothing is impossible with God. Turn to Mary frequently in your prayer "for never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help or sought her intercession was left unaided".

            As a great sign that has appeared in the heavens, Mary guides and sustains us on our pilgrim way, urging us on to "the victory that overcomes the world, our faith" (1 Jn 5:5).

Copied from THE TEACHINGS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II ON CD-ROM, Harmony Media Inc.

3. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church #963-975.

 


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