Magisterial Documents: Marian Devotion

Below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the following themes. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research.

General
Liturgical Expressions

Various Forms of Marian Piety
Marian Apostolate


GENERAL

Lumen Gentium, 1964

This cult, as it has always existed in the Church, for all its uniqueness, differs essentially from the cult of adoration, which is offered equally to the Incarnate Word and to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. 66

She is rightly honored by a special cult in the Church. 66

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 recognize 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. 67

Signum Magnum, 1967

Mary as Theotokos [Ephesus 431] 2

first duty...must unite more closely with her in thanking God, who worked great things in her for the benefit of the whole human race 21

second...must venerate this most faithful handmaid of the Lord with prayers of praise, thanks and love 21

We must all imitate the example of goodness which our heavenly Mother bequeathed to us "...let the faithful remember that true devotion does not consist in sterile and superficial sentiment or in empty credulity; that, on the contrary, it proceeds from true faith which leads us to recognize the excellence of God's Mother and prompts us to show filial love for our Mother and to imitate her imitate her virtues." [LG 67] 22

[imitation of Mary] far from turning us away from the imitation of Christ, makes it easier and more pleasant 23

[venerate] Mary as the Mother of God's Son 35

Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

All must pray
Adults ... by knowing Mary they will the better know and love Jesus. Many of our ancestors in the faith have had this life-giving experience. 10

Consecrated souls, whose life, like Mary's, must always be closely bound to the life of Christ so as to irradiate His message of love and peace. 10

Bishops and their priestly assistants ... In the depths of their prayer, they will surely unite themselves with the supplication of Mary. 10

In this ardent desire for peace, which is the "fruit of the Spirit," (Gal 5:22) we shall all devote ourselves, like the Apostles in the upper room, "to prayer together with ... Mary the mother of Jesus." (Acts 1:14) 10

General Catechetical Directory, 1971

Therefore, the Church who honors the faithful and the saints who are already with the Lord and are interceding for us (LG, 49, 50), venerates in a most special way Christ's Mother, who is also her mother. 68

Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

Special veneration due her 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

"Devotion to the Virgin Mother of God does not stop with her, but has to be regarded as a help which of its very nature leads men to Christ." (Paul VI, Nov. 21, 64) 6

We acknowledge that devotion to Mary, the joyful duty of all of us, has a special function in exalting the dignity of woman and fostering respect for her person. 9

"Mary is not a bridge over the gap that separates us from a remote Christ. . . . Such an approach to Marian devotion and doctrine would minimize the deepest meaning of the Incarnation..." (Jelly) 67

Since early times, but especially after the Council of Ephesus, devotion to Mary in the Church has grown wondrously. (LG 66) 82

We are passing through a period marked by a lack of interest in the saints. Much more is involved here than devotion to the saints, even St. Mary. What is at stake is the reality of the humanity of the risen Jesus. There is danger of so spiritualizing the risen Christ that we diminish awareness of His humanity. 85

[On decline of Marian devotion: Rahner: temptation--'abstractions, and abstractions have no need of mothers' (Suenens at Zagreb, Aug 1971) ] 85

The founders and other holy members of religious congregations, past and present, have shown by example that true devotion to the Mother of Jesus is an indispensable element in maturing in the life of Christ. 128

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[For Paul VI, liturgical reform and Marian devotion go hand-in-hand.]

[Devotion to Mary must have these aspects:] Trinitarian, Christological, Ecclesial 24-25f.

This devotion forms a very noble part of the whole sphere of that sacred worship in which there intermingle the highest expressions of wisdom and of religion (Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones IV) and which is therefore the primary task of the People of God. (In)

The development, desired by us, of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an indication of the Church's genuine piety. (In)

And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God ... (In)

The veneration which the universal Church today accords to blessed Mary is a derivation from, and an extension and unceasing increase of, the devotion that the Church of every age has paid to her, with careful attention to truth and with an ever watchful nobility of expression. From perennial Tradition kept alive by reason of the uninterrupted presence of the Spirit and continual attention to the Word, the Church of our time draws motives, arguments and incentives for the veneration that she pays to the Blessed Virgin. And the liturgy, which receives approval and strength from the Magisterium, is a most lofty expression and an evident proof of this living Tradition. 15

note how the Church expresses in various effective attitudes of devotion the many relationships that bind her to Mary: in profound veneration ... [reflecting on: dignity of the Virgin responding to Holy Spirit, spiritual motherhood of Mary, humble handmaid as queen of mercy and mother of grace, holiness and virtues, faultless model, fulfillment on own future (Assumption)] 22

Expressions of devotion should reflect God's plan, which laid down "with one single decree the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of the divine Wisdom." (Ineffabilis Deus) This will ... contribute to making piety towards the Mother of Jesus more solid, and to making it an effective instrument for attaining to full "knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself." (Eph. 4:13) 25

Section Two: Four Guidelines for Devotion to the Blessed Virgin: Biblical, Liturgical, Ecumenical and Anthropological Articles 29-39

[Note: Though these four guidelines are essential, some of the material, especially the liturgical, will have already been graphed in detail. Therefore, the context will be indicated only by the initials, B=Biblical, L=Liturgical, E=Ecumenical, A=Anthropological, to indicate the framework of the teaching.]

These are to be borne in mind in any revision of exercises of piety or in the creation of new ones, in order to emphasize and accentuate the bond which unites us to her who is the Mother of Christ and our Mother in the communion of saints. 29

The ultimate purpose of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is to glorify God and to lead Christians to commit themselves to a life which is in absolute conformity with His will. When the children of the Church unite their voices with the voice of the unknown woman in the Gospel and glorify the Mother of Jesus by saying to Him: "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked," (Lk. 11:27) they will be led to ponder the Divine Master's serious reply: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Lk. 11:28) While it is true that this reply is in itself lively praise of Mary, as various Fathers of the Church interpreted it (107) and the Second Vatican Council has confirmed, (108) it is also an admonition to us to live our lives in accordance with God's commandments. 39

[conclusion elements] sum up and emphasize the theological value of devotion to the Blessed Virgin and to recall briefly its pastoral effectiveness for renewing the Christian way of life. 56

an intrinsic element of Christian worship

 a very strong witness to the Church's norm of prayer

an invitation to become more deeply conscious of her norm of faith
And the converse is likewise true. The Church's norm of faith requires that her norm of prayer should everywhere blossom forth with regard to the Mother of Christ. Such devotion ... 56

 is firmly rooted in the revealed word

 has solid dogmatic foundations

 is based on the singular dignity of Mary, "Mother of the Son of God, and therefore beloved daughter of the Father and Temple of the Holy Spirit - Mary, who, because of this extraordinary grace, is far greater than any other creature on earth or in heaven." (LG 53) 56

[in conclusion] we have dealt at length with an integral element of Christian worship: devotion to the Mother of the Lord. This has been called for by the nature of the subject, one which in these recent years has been the object of study and revision and at times the cause of some perplexity. 58

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

special love and veneration due her 106

Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

Faith in the Most Holy Trinity: Faith in the Father... Faith in Christ...Faith in the Holy Spirit. And, in this light, veneration of the Blessed Virgin, who "by thus consenting to the divine utterance..." became the Mother of Jesus 4

Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986

The Church perseveres in prayer with Mary. 66

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

Those who from generation to generation among the different peoples and nations of the earth accept with faith the mystery of Christ, the Incarnate Word and Redeemer of the world, not only turn with veneration to Mary and confidently have recourse to her as his Mother, but also seek in her faith support for their own. And it is precisely this lively sharing in Mary's faith that determines her special place in the Church's pilgrimage as the new People of God throughout the earth. 28

This cult is altogether special: it bears in itself and expresses the profound link which exists between the Mother of Christ and the Church. (Ambrose, etc) 42

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. 47

Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988

The Council's teaching demonstrates how much the whole Church has taken Mary into "the Church's own home," how profoundly the mystery of this Virgin Mother belongs to the mystery of the Church, to the Church's intimate reality. 3

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

Movements

[which] raised interest in the person of the Virgin and considerably influenced the composition of the Constitution Lumen Gentium: 4

the biblical movement, which underlined the primary importance of the Sacred Scriptures for a presentation of the role of the Mother of the Lord, truly consonant with the revealed Word

the patristic movement, which put Mariology in contact with the thought of the Fathers of the Church so that its roots in Tradition could be more deeply appreciated [See history of salvation 5]

the ecclesiological movement, which contributed abundantly to the reconsideration and deepening appreciation of the relationship between Mary and the Church

the missionary movement, which progressively discovered the value of Mary of Nazareth, the first to be evangelized (cf. LK 1:26-38) and the first evangelizer (cf. LK 1:39-45), fount of inspiration in her commitment to the spreading of the Good News

the liturgical movement, which initiated a rich and rigorous study of the various liturgies and was able to document the way the rites of the Church testified to a heartfelt veneration towards Mary, the "ever-Virgin, Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God" [Missale Romanum, Prex Eucharistica I,Communicantes.]

the ecumenical movement, which called for a more exact understanding of the person of the Virgin in the sources of Revelation, identifying more exactly the theological basis of Marian piety. 4

[post-conciliar] great interest in the problems connected with devotion to the Blessed Virgin. There has been research into the historical roots of the devotion, (Sixth International Marian Congresses, organized by the Pontificia Accademia Mariana Internazionale, held between 1967 and 1987, systematically studied manifestations of Marian piety from the first to the twentieth centuries), study of its doctrinal foundation, of its place in the "one Christian devotion," (Paul VI, Adh. Ap.Marialis Cultus, [February 2, 1974] Intr.: AAS 66 [1974],114) 13

The will of the Lord has been to assign a "Marian note" to the physiognomy of the Church, its pilgrimage, its pastoral activity; and in the spiritual life of each disciple, says the Holy Father; a "Marian dimension" is inherent. (cf. Redemptoris Mater, 45-46) 17

Veritatis Splendor, 1993

At the end of these considerations, let us entrust ourselves, the sufferings and the joys of our life, the moral life of believers and people of good will, and the research of moralists, to Mary, mother of God and mother of mercy. 118

Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

The Marian Year 1986-87 perhaps struck a more resounding chord; it was eagerly awaited and profoundly experienced in the individual local Churches, especially at the Marian Shrines around the world. 26

The Marian Year was as it were an anticipation of the Jubilee, and contained much of what will find fuller expression in the Year 2000. 26

In the wake of the Marian Year, we are now observing the Year of the Family, a celebration which is closely connected with the mystery of the Incarnation and with the very history of humanity. Thus there is good cause to hope that the Year of the Family, inaugurated at Nazareth, will become, like the Marian Year, another significant stage in preparation for the Great Jubilee. 28

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Prayer and Mary:

Fidei Depositum, p. 6; 3 paragraphs
435, 534, 965, 969, 971, 1014, 1020, 1053, 1106, 1172, 1187, 1195, 1477, 1613, 1676, 2599, 2605, 2617, 2618, 2619, 2622, 2665, 2673, 2674, 2675, 2676, 2677, 2678, 2679, 2682, 2725, 2827, 2837 [BB]

[See specially inserted section on prayer below]

971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." (Lk 1:48; Paul VI, MC 56) The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs....This very special devotion...differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." (LG 66) The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," expresses this devotion to the Virgin Mary. (Cf.. Paul VI, MC 42; SC 103)

Orientale Lumen, 1995 Ut Unum Sint, 1995

[LG lists] "elements of sanctification and truth" which in various ways are present and operative beyond the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church ... "Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the holy eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God. They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits." (UR 15) UUS 12

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Yet the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological center of the Christian faith, in such a way that "when the Mother is honoured, the Son ... is duly known, loved and glorified." (LG 66) 4

...inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, who explained in the following words Mary's role in the process of our configuration to Christ: "Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ. Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ." (True Devotion) Never as in the Rosary do the life of Jesus and that of Mary appear so deeply joined. Mary lives only in Christ and for Christ! 15

[The Rosary] is also the way of a Marian devotion inspired by knowledge of the inseparable bond between Christ and his Blessed Mother: the mysteries of Christ are also in some sense the mysteries of his Mother, even when they do not involve her directly, for she lives from him and through him. 24

Pastores Gregis, 2003

… the Bishop shares the call to holiness proper to all the faithful. He must therefore cultivate a life of prayer and profound faith, and put all his trust in God, offering his witness to the Gospel in docile obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and maintaining a particular filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the perfect teacher of the spiritual life. 13

The Bishop's solid Marian devotion will be constantly related to the liturgy, where the Blessed Virgin is particularly present in the celebration of the mysteries of salvation and serves as a model of docility and prayer, of spiritual oblation and motherhood for the whole Church. Indeed, it will be the Bishop's responsibility to ensure that the liturgy always appears ''as an 'exemplary form', a source of inspiration, a constant point of reference and the ultimate goal'' for the Marian piety of the People of God. While holding to this principle, the Bishop will also nourish his personal and communitarian Marian devotion by devotional practices approved and recommended by the Church, especially by the recitation of that compendium of the Gospel which is the Holy Rosary. Being himself completely familiar with this prayer, completely centered as it is on the contemplation of the saving events of Christ's life with which his holy Mother was closely associated, every Bishop is also called to promote diligently its recitation. 14

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LITURGICAL EXPRESSIONS

Lumen Gentium, 1964

when she is the subject of preaching and worship, she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, to his sacrifice... 65
the sacred synod...admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered 67

Mense Maio, 1965

make provision for special prayers in each diocese and every parish during...May, devoting...the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven to solemn public prayers 11

Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

On the same day [Oct 4, 1966], in St. Peter's Basilica...we also will hold a special ceremony of supplication in honor of the Virgin Mother of God, the protector of Christians and our intercessor for peace 20

Signum Magnum, 1967

The sacred liturgy...interprets this sign [Ap 12:1] as being the Blessed Virgin Mary [ftn 2: See Epistle for the feast of her Lourdes apparition, Feb. 11] 1
"is deservedly honored with a special cult by the Church"; [LG 66] that is "especially the liturgical cult." [LG 67] 5
no need to fear that the reform of the liturgy...might work to the detriment of the "altogether singular" [LG 66] cult that is due to...Mary because of her special privileges... Nor...fear that liturgical or private devotion to the Mother of God could obscure or diminish "the cult of adoration offered to [the Trinity]" [LG 66] 4
[intercession] an age-old antiphon which has found its way, almost unchanged, into the liturgies of the Eastern and Western Churches: "We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities but deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin." 12
[Immaculate Heart] May it draw the faithful to take part in the Church's sacraments [sin and atonement] 36

General Catechetical Directory, 1971

She "summons the believers to her Son and to his sacrifice, and to love for the Father." (LG, 65; note: LG uses the word "prompts" and the context meant is the liturgy) 68

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Liturgy

In the past, as in the image of the "Daughter of Zion," the liturgy, both for Advent and the Immaculate Conception, has, in fact, incorporated such texts long before their scientific exposition....The celebration of the mystery of Mary in the liturgy and other prayer is a school of the faith and a profession of doctrine. 21

[Ancient feasts] Assumption: Memorial of Mary, Dormition 58

In the liturgy "we honor Mary the ever-virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God" (Eucharistic Prayer 1); "Mary, the virgin Mother of God" (Prayers two and three); and "the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God." (Prayer IV) 62 [See also 84, under aspect of intercession, 89 under Eucharistic unity ]

the Church honors the Mother of God when it celebrates the cycle of Christ's saving mysteries. For "Blessed Mary is joined by an inseparable bond to the saving work of her Son." (SC 103) 81

The better we come to know Mary of the gospels as the Church views her in liturgical celebrations and popular commemorations, the more we will be led to imitate her. 83

When we celebrate the memory of Mary in the liturgy, we join together in a present liturgical "moment" the past and the future-what Mary once was on earth, as the Gospels show her, and the future, our reunion with Mary and the saints, including the uncanonized saints of our own families, reunited in the risen Lord. 88

in the liturgy and theology of the Eastern rites. ...at almost every liturgical service, ... three glorious titles for the Mother of the Lord: She is called "the all holy one...... the one without even the slightest stain," and "the one blessed beyond all others." (LG 68) 90

Lack of Expression

The Church is suffering a malaise with respect to the commemoration of Mary. 91
We Bishops of the United States wish to affirm with all our strength the lucid statements of the Second Vatican Council on the permanent importance of authentic devotion to the Blessed Virgin, not only in the liturgy, where the Church accords her a most special place under Jesus her Son, but also in the beloved devotions that have been repeatedly approved and encouraged by the Church and that are still filled with meaning for Catholics. [including rosary, scapular] 93

Practical Suggestions

Two numbers, [LG 66-67], in the chapter on our Lady deal with the cult of Mary, and are filled with practical suggestions, e.g., let the liturgy provide the lead, even for non-liturgical devotions, which are encouraged, especially those which have enjoyed the Church's favor for a long time. 91
some suggestions to increase love and devotion : [renewed liturgy has more readings, more optional days for Marian votive Masses, "on Saturdays in particular," 1970 missal offers new prayers, four Marian prefaces, liturgical veneration of the saints] 94-95
The liturgical season should set the tone for Marian prayers at each particular time of the year, e.g., May devotions should reflect paschal and Pentecostal orientations. (SC 13) Advent provides a unique opportunity for the consideration of Mary, in whom all Old Testament hopes culminated. 98

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[Liturgical: One of the four mandated guidelines for devotion to the BVM]

[incorporating Marian devotion in liturgical reform, quoting SC 103] "venerates with special love Mary the most holy Mother of God" (In)
dialogue, with ... themes connected with the place that the Blessed Virgin occupies in the Church's worship [purpose of MC; continues LG and SM] (In)
The Blessed Virgin in the Revised Roman Liturgy

reform of the Roman liturgy...distributes throughout the year the whole mystery of Christ, from the Incarnation to the expectation of His return in glory ... thus makes it possible in a more organic and closely-knit fashion to include the commemoration of Christ's Mother in the annual cycle of the mysteries of her Son. 2

Advent 3-4
[Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec: 8; Advent Novena, Dec 17-24; Sunday before Christmas - explicit texts; footnotes give references for years A, B, C]
 
Christmas 5

the Solemnity of the Birth of Christ the Church both adores the Savior and venerates His glorious Mother. 5

Epiphany 5

On the Epiphany, when she celebrates the universal call to salvation, the Church contemplates the Blessed Virgin, the true Seat of Wisdom and true Mother of the King, who presents to the Wise Men, for their adoration, the Redeemer of all peoples (cf. Mt. 2: 1 1).

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph 5
(the Sunday within the octave of Christmas)

the Church meditates with profound reverence upon the holy life led in the house at Nazareth by Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, Mary His Mother, and Joseph the just man (cf. Mt. 1: 19).
Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God. [restored] 5

meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother ... through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life." (entry antiphon, collect)

It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf. Lk. 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. It is for this reason that, in the happy concurrence of the Octave of Christmas and the first day of the year, we have instituted the World Day of Peace ... 5

March 25: Solemnity of the Incarnation of the Word ... ancient title - the Annunciation of the Lord - ... deliberately restored the feast was and is a joint one of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin: of the Word, who becomes "Son of Mary" (Mk. 6:3), and of the Virgin, who becomes Mother of God. 6

Queenship of the BVM [occurs seven days after and prolongs the Solemnity of the Assumption] 6

We contemplate her who, seated beside the King of ages, shines forth as Queen and intercedes as Mother. (August 22, collect)
These four solemnities, [Immaculate Conception, Divine Motherhood, Annunciation of the Lord, Assumption] therefore, mark with the highest liturgical rank the main dogmatic truths concerning the handmaid of the Lord. 6

Particular consideration must be given to those celebrations that commemorate salvific events in which the Blessed Virgin was closely associated with her Son. Such are the feasts: 7
Nativity of Our Lady (September 8),

"the hope of the entire world and the dawn of salvation" (Prayer after communion)
Visitation (May 31),

... the liturgy recalls the "Blessed Virgin Mary carrying her Son within her," (Collect) and visiting Elizabeth to offer charitable assistance and to proclaim the mercy of God the Savior. (Collect prayer over gifts)

Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15),
venerating, together with the Son "lifted up on the cross, His suffering Mother." (Collect)

Presentation of the Lord (February 2),
celebration of a mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ, a mystery with which the Blessed Virgin was intimately associated as the Mother of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, as the one who performs a mission belonging to ancient Israel, and as the model for the new People of God, which is ever being tested in its faith and hope by suffering and persecution (cf. Lk. 2:21-35).
other kinds of commemorations connected with local devotions and which have acquired a wider popularity and interest 8

February 11, Our Lady of Lourdes

August 5, the Dedication of the BasiIica of St. Mary Major [etc.]

originally celebrated by particular religious families but which today, by reason of the popularity they have gained, can truly be considered ecclesial 8

July 16, Our Lady of Mount Carmel

October 7, Our Lady of the Rosary [etc.]

apart from their apocryphal content, present lofty and exemplary values and carry on venerable traditions having their origin especially in the East 8

Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, celebrated on the Saturday following the second Sunday after Pentecost [etc.]
[not in Roman calendar but endorsed] Marian feasts proper to the different local Churches 9 Saturday Masses of our Lady ... an ancient and simple commemoration ... very adaptable and varied by the flexibility of the modern calendar and the number of formulas provided by the Missal. 9

[elements in the revised books of the Roman Rite] 10

For example, the ancient Roman Canon, which commemorates the Mother of the Lord in terms full of doctrine and devotional inspiration: "In union with the whole Church we honor Mary, the ever-virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God." 10

Eucharistic Prayer III expresses with intense supplication the desire of those praying to share with the Mother the inheritance of sons: "May he make us an everlasting gift to you [the Father] and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints, with Mary, the Virgin Mother of God." This daily commemoration, by reason of its place at the heart of the divine Sacrifice, should be considered a particularly expressive form of the veneration that the Church pays to the "Blessed of the Most High." (cf. Lk. 1:28) 10

revised Missal...in perfect doctrinal continuity with the past [the listing repeats items above; see themes] 11

revised Missal...other themes, in a certain sense new ones, have been introduced in equally perfect harmony with the theological developments of the present day [see new themes; Mary and the Church] 11

[also Masses proper to the seasons]
in the primitive Church she is seen praying with the apostles; (Common in Paschal season) 11

in our own day she is actively present, and the Church desires to live the mystery of Christ with her: "Grant that your Church which with Mary shared Christ's passion may be worthy to share also in his resurrection." (Sept. 15, Collect) 11

The Lectionary contains a larger number of Old and New Testament readings concerning the Blessed Virgin. ... Only those readings have been accepted which in different ways and degrees can be considered Marian, either from the evidence of their content or from the results of careful exegesis, supported by the teachings of the Magisterium or by solid Tradition. [texts also not exclusively used for Marian context] 12

The Liturgy of the Hours ... also contains outstanding examples of devotion to the Mother of the Lord. [hymns, antiphons, prayer Sub tuum praesidium, prayers of intercession at Lauds and Vespers, trusting recourse to the Mother of mercy, treasury of writings on our Lady] 13

other revised liturgical books: 14
the Church invokes her, the Mother of grace, before immersing candidates in the saving waters of baptism; (Ordo)

nvokes her intercession for mothers who, full of gratitude for the gift of motherhood, come to church to express their joy; (Rituale Romanum)
the Church holds her up as a model to those who follow Christ by embracing the religious life (Ordo) or who receive the Consecration of Virgins. (Ordo)
The Church prays fervently to Mary on behalf of her children who have come to the hour of their death. (Ordo) ... and the Church, through Mary's prayers, invokes comfort upon those who in sorrow mourn with faith the departure of their loved ones. (Ordo ) 14

Gaudete in Domino, 1975

Whenever we say the rosary, the joyful mysteries thus place us once more before the inexpressible event which is the center and summit of history: the coming on earth of Emmanuel, God with us. #

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

Often "in the course of the year, as the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ, Mary, the Mother of God, is especially honored...." [ftn 37: General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, February 14, 1969, 8] 144

Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

I address the brothers and sisters of all the religious families of men and women, in the midst of which there should be a particularly lively witness of the Spirit of Christ and likewise a particular love for the mission of her who consented to be the handmaid of the Lord. 5

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

In the liturgy the Church salutes Mary of Nazareth as the Church's own beginning, (Preface, Dec. 8) for in the event of the Immaculate Conception the Church sees projected, and anticipated in her most noble member, the saving grace of Easter. 1

The fact that she "preceded" the coming of Christ is reflected every year in the liturgy of Advent ... a true "Morning Star" (Stella Matutina) ... "dawn." 3

The liturgy does not hesitate to call her "mother of her Creator" (Liturgy of Hours, Aug. 15) and to hail her with the words which Dante Alighieri places on the lips of St. Bernard: "daughter of your Son." (Lit of Hrs, Mem of BVM, Sat) 10

"Mary figured profoundly in the history of salvation.... Hence, when she is being preached and venerated, she summons the faithful to her Son and his sacrifice." (LG 65) 28
[See 30-34 for a discussion of the rich legacy of liturgical expressions in the Churches of the East.]

[Note:] In the Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, immediately after the epiclesis the assembled community sings in honor of the Mother of God: "It is truly just to proclaim you blessed, 0 Mother of God, who are most blessed, all pure and Mother of our God. We magnify you who are more honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim. You who, without losing your virginity, gave birth to the Word of God. You who are truly the Mother of God." 32

[Magnificat] daily recitation in the liturgy of Vespers and at many other moments of both personal and communal devotion. 35
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. 44

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: ...
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. 44

Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988

It is appropriate during this year, being lived by the whole Church as a Marian Year, to recall the reality of the Incarnation as it relates to the institution of the Eucharist and also to the institution of the Sacrament of the Priesthood. The Incarnation was brought about by the Holy Spirit when he came down upon the Virgin of Nazareth and she spoke her fiat in response to the angel's message (cf. Lk 1:38). 1

Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary: you truly suffered and were immolated on the cross for man. Yes, the same Body! When we celebrate the Eucharist, through our priestly ministry there is made present the mystery of the Incarnate Word, the Son who is of one being with the Father, who as a man "born of woman" is the Son of the Virgin Mary. 1

When, acting in persona Christi., we celebrate the sacrament of the one same sacrifice of which Christ is and remains the only priest and victim, we must not forget this suffering of his Mother, in whom were fulfilled Simeon's words in the Temple at Jerusalem: "A sword will pierce through your own soul also" (Lk 2:35) 2

And in particular, when we celebrate the Eucharist and stand each day on Golgotha, we need to have near us the one who through heroic faith carried to its zenith her union with her Son, precisely then on Golgotha. 2

All this--the superhuman experience of the sacrifice of our redemption, inscribed in the heart of Christ the Redeemer's own Mother--was entrusted to the man who in the Upper Room received the power to make this sacrifice present through the priestly ministry of the Eucharist. 3

As we celebrate the Eucharist at so many altars throughout the world, let us give thanks to the Eternal Priest for the gift which he has bestowed on us in the Sacrament of the Priesthood. And in this thanksgiving may there be heard the words which the Evangelist puts on Mary's lips on the occasion of her visit to her cousin Elizabeth: "The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." (Lk 1:49) Let us also give thanks to Mary for the indescribable gift of the priesthood, whereby we are able to serve in the Church every human being. May gratitude also reawaken our zeal! 8

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

[post-conciliar great interest in] evaluation of its liturgical expression and its multiple manifestations of popular piety, and a deepening appreciation of their mutual relationship. 13
The study of Tradition shows how particularly fruitful in quality and quantity is the Marian patrimony of the various Liturgies and of the Fathers of the Church. 25

Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

The Year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the Savior, who took flesh in Mary's womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of divine life. 55

Signum Magnum, 1967

1020 ... When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints...
. May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life...
May you see your Redeemer face to face....
(Order of Christian Funerals)

1106 Together with the anamnesis, the epiclesis is at the heart of each sacramental celebration, most especially of the Eucharist:
You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine...the Blood of Christ. I shall tell you: the Holy Spirit comes upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and thought....Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself, took flesh. (John Damascene, De fide orthodoxa)

1138 "Recapitulated in Christ," these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the one hundred, forty-four thousand), (cf. Rev 4-5 et al) especially the martyrs "slain for the word of God," and the all-holy Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb, (Rev 6:9-11; 21:9; cf. 12) and finally "a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues." (Rev 7:9)

1161 All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the "cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1) who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in sacramental celebrations. Through their icons, it is man "in the image of God," finally transfigured "into his likeness," (cf. Rom 8:29; 1 Jn 3:2) who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who also are recapitulated in Christ: Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets. (Nicaea II: DS 600)

1172 "In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ, Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, with a special love. She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son. In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit of redemption and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be." (SC 103)

1187 The liturgy is the work of the whole Christ, head and body. Our high priest celebrates it unceasingly in the heavenly liturgy, with the holy Mother of God, the apostles, all the saints, and the multitude of those who have already entered the kingdom.

1192 Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.

1195 By keeping the memorials of the saints, first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father.

1370 To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.

1419 Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.

[Discussion on Penance/Indulgences]
1477 "This treasury [spiritual goods of the communion of saints] includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body." (Indulgentiarum doctrina 5)

[Discussion on Marriage/Family Life]
1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign at his mother's request during a wedding feast. (Cf.. Jn 2:1-11) The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence.

1655 Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household." (cf. Acts 18:8) When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

Orientale Lumen, 1995 Ut Unum Sint, 1995

Mary, "mother of the star that never sets," (Akathistos) "dawn of the mystical day," (ibid.) "Rising of the sun of glory," (Horologion, Sunday Compline in the Byzantine liturgy) shows us the Orientale Lumen. Every day in the East the sun of hope rises again, the light that restores life to the human race. It is from the East, according to a lovely image, that our Savior will come again. (cf. Mt 24:27) OL 28

On the ecumenical level , very special prominence has been given to the liturgy and liturgical signs (images, icons, vestments, light, incense, gestures). UUS 45

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

There are some who think that the centrality of the Liturgy, rightly stressed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, necessarily entails giving lesser importance to the Rosary. Yet, as Pope Paul VI made clear, not only does this prayer not conflict with the Liturgy, it sustains it, since it serves as an excellent introduction and a faithful echo of the Liturgy, enabling people to participate fully and interiorly in it and to reap its fruits in their daily lives. 4

Mary's contemplation is above all a remembering. We need to understand this word in the biblical sense of remembrance (zakar) as a making present of the works brought about by God in the history of salvation. The Bible is an account of saving events culminating in Christ himself. These events not only belong to “yesterday”; they are also part of the "today" of salvation. This making present comes about above all in the Liturgy: what God accomplished centuries ago did not only affect the direct witnesses of those events; it continues to affect people in every age with its gift of grace. To some extent this is also true of every other devout approach to those events: to "remember" them in a spirit of faith and love is to be open to the grace which Christ won for us by the mysteries of his life, death and resurrection.

Consequently, while it must be reaffirmed with the Second Vatican Council that the Liturgy, as the exercise of the priestly office of Christ and an act of public worship, is "the summit to which the activity of the Church is directed and the font from which all its power flows," (SC 10) it is also necessary to recall that the spiritual life "is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. Christians, while they are called to prayer in common, must also go to their own rooms to pray to their Father in secret (cf. Mt 6:6); indeed, according to the teaching of the Apostle, they must pray without ceasing." (cf.1Thes 5:17) (SC 12) The Rosary, in its own particular way, is part of this varied panorama of "ceaseless" prayer.

If the Liturgy, as the activity of Christ and the Church, is a saving action par excellence, the Rosary too, as a "meditation" with Mary on Christ, is a salutary contemplation. By immersing us in the mysteries of the Redeemer's life, it ensures that what he has done and what the liturgy makes present is profoundly assimilated and shapes our existence. 13

Just as moments of silence are recommended in the Liturgy, so too in the recitation of the Rosary it is fitting to pause briefly after listening to the word of God, while the mind focuses on the content of a particular mystery. 31

...many people will not be able to recite more than a part of the Rosary, according to a certain weekly pattern. This weekly distribution has the effect of giving the different days of the week a certain spiritual "color," by analogy with the way in which the Liturgy colors the different seasons of the liturgical year. 38

In the Rosary, in a way similar to what takes place in the Liturgy, the Christian week, centered on Sunday, the day of Resurrection, becomes a journey through the mysteries of the life of Christ, and he is revealed in the lives of his disciples as the Lord of time and of history. 38

In my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte I encouraged the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours by the lay faithful in the ordinary life of parish communities and Christian groups; I now wish to do the same for the Rosary. These two paths of Christian contemplation are not mutually exclusive; they complement one another. 41

Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives. 43

Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003

The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ in the spirit which I proposed in the Apostolic Letters Novo Millennio Ineunte and Rosarium Virginis Mariae cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord. 25

In my Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ's face, and among the mysteries of light I included the institution of the Eucharist. Mary can guide us towards this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with it. 53

At first glance, the Gospel is silent on this subject. The account of the institution of the Eucharist on the night of Holy Thursday makes no mention of Mary. Yet we know that she was present among the Apostles who prayed "with one accord" (cf. Acts 1:14) in the first community which gathered after the Ascension in expectation of Pentecost. Certainly Mary must have been present at the Eucharistic celebrations of the first generation of Christians, who were devoted to "the breaking of bread." (Acts 2:42) 53

But in addition to her sharing in the Eucharistic banquet, an indirect picture of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist can be had, beginning with her interior disposition. Mary is a "woman of the Eucharist" in her whole life. The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery. 53

The tragedy of her Son's crucifixion was thus foretold, and in some sense Mary's Stabat Mater at the foot of the Cross was foreshadowed. In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of "anticipated Eucharist" – one might say a "spiritual communion" – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion. 56

What must Mary have felt as she heard from the mouth of Peter, John, James and the other Apostles the words spoken at the Last Supper: "This is my body which is given for you" (Lk 22:19)? The body given up for us and made present under sacramental signs was the same body which she had conceived in her womb! For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross. 56

Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West. 57

Pastores Gregis, 2003

The Bishop's solid Marian devotion will be constantly related to the liturgy, where the Blessed Virgin is particularly present in the celebration of the mysteries of salvation and serves as a model of docility and prayer, of spiritual oblation and motherhood for the whole Church. Indeed, it will be the Bishop's responsibility to ensure that the liturgy always appears ''as an 'exemplary form', a source of inspiration, a constant point of reference and the ultimate goal'' for the Marian piety of the People of God.[1] While holding to this principle, the Bishop will also nourish his personal and communitarian Marian devotion by devotional practices approved and recommended by the Church, especially by the recitation of that compendium of the Gospel which is the Holy Rosary. Being himself completely familiar with this prayer, completely centered as it is on the contemplation of the saving events of Christ's life with which his holy Mother was closely associated, every Bishop is also called to promote diligently its recitation.[2] 14

The liturgical year with its cycle of celebrations can suitably serve as the basis for the pastoral planning of the life of the Diocese around the mystery of Christ. In this journey of faith, the Church is sustained by the “memory of the Virgin Mary, who, already glorified in body and soul in heaven... shines forth as a sign of sure hope and comfort for the pilgrim People of God''. It is a hope which is likewise nourished by the commemoration of the martyrs and the other saints, who, ''having attained perfection through the manifold grace of God and now possess eternal salvation, sing perfect praise to God in heaven and make intercession for us''. 36.

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VARIOUS FORMS OF MARIAN PIETY

Lumen Gentium, 1964

From earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. [Sub tuum praesidium] 66

The entire body of the faithful pours forth urgent supplications. 69

various forms of piety towards the Mother of God, which the Church has approved within limits of sound and orthodox doctrine... 66

practices and exercises of devotion...recommended by the teaching authority of the Church...be highly esteemed 67

those decrees...regarding the cult images...be religiously observed 67

Mense Maio, 1965

May...a month which the piety of the Faithful has specially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady 5

tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world...(pay) to the Queen of Heaven 5

in church 5 (and)

in the privacy of the home...fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration 5

Let our prayers ascend to Mary in this month of hers, to implore her graces and favors with increased fervor and confidence. 10

the saying of the Rosary 11

Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

It is a solemn custom of the during the month of October to weave with the prayers of the Rosary a spiritual garland to the Mother of Christ. This we heartily approve...and this year we call upon all the children of the Church to perform these special exercises of devotion to the same Most Blessed Virgin. 1

whom we also call Queen of Peace 13

We must pray earnestly and unceasingly to her ... 14

We are anxious for you, venerable brothers, to give a lead and urge by exhortation a more persevering prayer to the gracious Virgin Mary by the devout recitation of the Rosary during the month of October as we have already indicated. This prayer is well suited to God's people, acceptable to the Mother of God and [she is] powerful in obtaining gifts from heaven. 15

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council clearly referred to the Rosary, though not in express terms, when it reminded all the that "practices and exercises of devotion towards her (Mary), recommended by the teaching authority of the Church in the course of the centuries, are to be held in high esteem." (LG 67) 16

This duty of prayer [Rosary], so abundant in its fruits, is efficacious in averting evils and calamities and greatly fosters Christian living. 17

"Above all, it [Rosary] nourishes the Catholic faith which, by timely meditation on the sacred mysteries, gains new strength, and it lifts the mind to the contemplation of divinely revealed truths." (Pius XI, ency letter Ingravescentibus Malis September 29, 1937; AAS ser. II, 4, 1937, p. 378) 17

Signum Magnum, 1967

ceremonies and religious services... Fatima 4

countless faithful are venerating her for her "maternal and compassionate heart." (ftn 6: Pius XII, Radio address to people of Portugal during Fatima celebration, May 13, 1946: AAS 38

(1946):264. A gold crown was placed on Mary's statue in the name of the Holy Father.) 4

the prayer Sub tuum 12

Reverently contemplating Mary, they [Christians] are spurred on to confident prayer, to doing penance, and to cultivating fear of the Lord [connection to the Fatima message without stating so]. 29

Pius XII...solemnly consecrated the Church and the whole human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 37

(Paul VI) repeated this consecration on Nov 21, 1964 37

We urge all members of the Church to consecrate themselves once again to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.... 37

Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

(the Rosary) a form of prayer which is rightly dear to Catholic piety, and which has lost none of its importance amid the difficulties of the present day 1

St. Pius V gave the Rosary a form suitable for all time. 3

Faithful to this sacred heritage [praying the Rosary], from which the Christian people have never ceased to draw strength and courage, We exhort the clergy and faithful to beg earnestly from God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, peace and reconciliation among all men and people. 3

If every man, "as much as he can, as best he can," (Populorum Progressio 75: AAS 59 (1967):294) must work for justice and peace in the world, then each Christian will have it at heart to ask Mary to pray with us and for us, so that peace which the Lord alone can give, may be granted us. [Collect of the Mass for Peace] 9

Moreover, by meditating upon the mysteries of the most holy Rosary, we learn, through Mary's example, to become peaceful souls, through loving and unceasing association with Jesus and with the mysteries of His redemptive life. 9

May the Rosary, in the form handed down by St. Pius V--as well as in other recent forms adapting it, with the consent of the lawful authority, to the needs of today--be indeed, as Our beloved predecessor Pope John XXIII desired, a great public and universal prayer for the ordinary and extraordinary needs of the holy Church, of the nations, and of the entire world," (Il religiose convegno Sept. 29, 1961: AAS 53 (1961:646) for this Rosary is, as it were, "the Gospel in miniature," (Cardinal J. G. Saliège, Voilà ta Mère [Marian pages assembled and presented by Mgr. Garrone], Toulouse: Apostolat de la prière, 1958, p. 40) and "henceforth, a devotion of the Church." (Paul VI, allocution to participants in Third International Dominican Rosary Congress, July 13, 1963: Insegaementi di Paolo VI, I [1963]:464) 15

By this prayer to Mary, the most holy Mother of God and our Mother, we help to realize the wish of the Council: "Let all faithful Christians offer urgent prayers to the Mother of God and Mother of men in order that she may intercede with her son in the communion of all the Saints, until the whole family of nations -- whether they bear the honored name of Christian or still do not know their Savior -- may be joyfully assembled into a single People of God, in peace and harmony, to the glory of the most holy and undivided Trinity." (LG 69) 16

... inviting you to recite the holy Rosary with fervor during this month of October 17

General Catechetical Directory, 1971

(In part five under the title, "Infancy and Its Importance," (the) child may also direct confident prayers to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our mother) 78

Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

(In the introduction: Among the prayers to be taught are the Hail Mary and the Rosary. The Creed is specially mentioned.) 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Prayer

Prayer, "We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God." (perhaps 3 c) 62

The term "Mother of God" was used in Christian prayers before the doctrinal controversy that made it a test phrase of Christian faith. 63

The People of God through the ages have shown her veneration and love. They have called upon her in prayer and they imitate her. (LG 66) 82

To pray to our Lady means not to substitute her for Christ, but to glorify her Son who desires us to have loving confidence in His Saints, especially in His Mother. To imitate the "faithful Virgin" means to keep her Son's commandments. 82 (more on prayer and imitation 83)

Family prayer, in whatever form it takes--meal prayers, night prayers, the family rosary, attending Mass together--provides opportunities for prayer to the Blessed Virgin. 139

(USCC) the Joint Pastoral Letter of 1968, Human Life in Our Day: "Because of the primacy of the spiritual in all that makes for renewal, we give top priority to whatever may produce a sound 'family spirituality': family prayer, above all that which derives its content and spirit from the liturgy and other devotions, particularly the rosary." 139

Forms

Many forms of Marian devotion have fallen into disuse (or) uncertain course... scapular, Miraculous Medal, rosary, statues. 92

extra-liturgical devotional forms : (fifteen-decade Dominican rosary with scriptural content and ancient prayers, "Besides the precise rosary pattern long known to Catholics, we can freely experiment. New sets of mysteries are possible," rosary vigils, OT and NT readings and hymns interspersed with "a decade or two, if not all five," ...) 96-97

Under the guidance of the Holy Father and the bishops we must revitalize old forms and devise new devotions corresponding to current needs and desires. 98

American Custom

It is a cherished American Catholic custom to call the Mother of Jesus "our Blessed Mother."... its own special value. "Mother" belongs to the language of the transmission of life. The reference here is to our life in Christ. 70

The offering of the bride's bouquet at our Lady's statue is an American Catholic custom that invites the Blessed Virgin into the life of the newlyweds. 134

Apparitions

authenticated appearance of our Lady ... influence on Catholic devotion : Lourdes 1858, "Miraculous Medal" 1830, La Salette 1846, Our Lady of Guadalupe, "Queen of the Americas," 1531, Fatima 1917. ... reminders ...of basic Christian themes: prayer, penance, and the necessity of the sacraments. ... Catholics are encouraged to practice such devotions when they are in conformity with authentic devotion to Mary. ... the Church does not make mandatory the acceptance either of the original story or of particular forms of piety springing from it. 99-100

Art Form

The Middle Ages pondered Mary's compassion on Calvary, leading to the familiar representations of the Pieta. 106

Recommendation to Priests

The sorrowful mysteries of the rosary have special meaning to the priest as he walks with the Mother of Jesus along the way of the Cross. 121

Marialis Cultus, 1974

Changes that have occurred in social behavior, people's sensibilities, manners of expression in art and letters and in the forms of social communication have also influenced the manifestations of religious sentiment. Certain practices of piety that not long ago seemed suitable for expressing the religious sentiment of individuals and of Christian communities seem today inadequate or unsuitable because they are linked with social and cultural patterns of the past. On the other hand, in many places people are seeking new ways of expressing the unchangeable relationship of creatures with their Creator, of children with their Father. In some people this may cause temporary confusion. But anyone who with trust in God reflects upon these phenomena discovers that many tendencies of modern piety (for example, the interiorization of religious sentiment) are meant to play their part in the development of Christian piety in general and devotion to the Blessed Virgin in particular. (Introduction)

(forms found in The Liturgy of the Hours: hymns, antiphons, prayer Sub tuum praesidium, prayers of intercession at Lauds and Vespers, prayers which frequently express trusting recourse to the Mother of mercy, selections from the vast treasury of writings on our Lady composed by authors of the first Christian centuries, of the Middle Ages and of modern times.) 13

exhorts us to promote other forms of piety side by side with liturgical worship, especially those recommended by the magisterium. (LG 67) ... the piety of the faithful and their veneration of the Mother of God have taken on many forms according to circumstances of time and place, the different sensibilities of peoples and their different cultural traditions. Hence, it is that the forms in which this devotion is expressed, being subject to the ravages of time, show the need for a renewal that will permit them to substitute for elements that are transient, to emphasize the elements that are ever new and to incorporate the doctrinal data obtained from theological reflection and the proposals of the Church's magisterium. 24

it is supremely fitting that exercises of piety directed towards the Virgin Mary should clearly express the Trinitarian and Christological note that is intrinsic and essential to them ... worship is rightly extended, though in a substantially different way, first and foremost and in a special manner, to the Mother of the Lord and then to the saints.... 25

It is also necessary that exercises of piety with which the faithful honor the Mother of the Lord should clearly show the place she occupies in the Church: "the highest place and the closest to us after Christ." (LG 54) ... devotion to the Blessed Virgin must explicitly show its intrinsic and ecclesiological content: thus it will be enabled to revise its forms and texts in a fitting way. 28

certain attitudes of piety which are incorrect 38

 (Vat II) authoritatively denounced both the exaggeration of content and form which even falsifies doctrine and likewise the small-mindedness which obscures the figure and mission of Mary.
 also denounced certain devotional deviations, such as vain credulity, which substitutes reliance on merely external practices for serious commitment. 38

 Another deviation is sterile and ephemeral sentimentality, so alien to the spirit of the Gospel that demands persevering and practical action. (LG 67) 38

[these deviations] are not in harmony with the Catholic Faith and therefore they must have no place in Catholic worship. Careful defense against these errors and deviations will render devotion to the Blessed Virgin more vigorous and more authentic. It will make this devotion solidly based, 38

with the consequence that study of the sources of Revelation and attention to the documents of the magisterium will prevail over the exaggerated search for novelties or extraordinary phenomena. 38

It (defense against ...) will ensure that this devotion is objective in its historical setting, and for this reason everything that is obviously legendary or false must be eliminated. 38

It (defense against ...) will ensure that this devotion matches its doctrinal content--hence the necessity of avoiding a one-sided presentation of the figure of Mary, which by overstressing one element compromises the overall picture given by the Gospel. 38

It (defense against ...) will make this devotion clear in its motivation; hence every unworthy self-interest is to be carefully banned from the area of what is sacred. 38

Two Exercises of Piety: The Angelus and the Rosary Articles 40-55 (ftn 116: LG 52/57 domestic church)

Angelus 41

a simple but earnest exhortation to continue its traditional recitation wherever and whenever possible (explanation of what it is and why it does not have to be changed) 41

it reminds us of the Paschal Mystery, in which recalling the Incarnation of the Son of God we pray that we may be led "through his passion and cross to the glory of his resurrection." (Collect of March 25, which may be used in place of the recitation of the Angelus) 41

for the majority of people there remain unaltered the characteristic periods of the day - morning, noon and evening (to pray it) 41

Rosary 42-55 (These articles only sketched below; otherwise not graphed)
Rosary 42-55
(Pius XII) "the compendium of the entire Gospel": 42
[Paul VI: publications endorsing Rosary] 42

 his first general audience, July 13, 1963
 Christi Matri, Sept. 15, 1966
 Recurrens mensis Oct 7, 1969 (Fourth centenary of Pius V's Consueverunt Romani pontifices, ... established the traditional form of the Rosary)
(support of) 43

 pastoral role of the Rosary
 meetings (of) associations and individuals profoundly attached to the Rosary and attended by bishops, priests, religious and lay people of proven experience and recognized ecclesial awareness.
special mention ... (Dominicans)

- research work of historians (to uncover) the original inspiration and driving force behind it and its essential structure.
(result of research) 44f

- the Rosary draws from the Gospel the presentation of the mysteries and its main formulas.

- ... the Rosary takes its inspiration from the Gospel to suggest the attitudes (joy, pious consent) with which the faithful should recite it.

- puts before us ... Incarnation of the Word...
- The Rosary is thus a Gospel prayer, as pastors and scholars like to define it, more today perhaps than in the past.

(article 45: the harmonious ordering of the salvific events)
(article 46: the Christological orientation of the Rosary)
(article 47: Rosary's value as prayer forms of praise, petition, and especially of contemplation)
[article 48: the relation between the liturgy and the Rosary]
 the Rosary is, as it were, a branch sprung from the ancient trunk of the Christian liturgy, the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin, whereby the humble were associated in the Church's hymn of praise and universal intercession. (includes argument to value both, but not to mix the forms, i.e., not to pray the rosary during the liturgy) 48

 In fact, meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, by familiarizing the hearts and minds of the faithful with the mysteries of Christ, can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical action and can also become a continuing echo thereof. However, it is a mistake to recite the Rosary during the celebration of the liturgy ... 48

(article 49: elements of the Rosary)
 Contemplation in communion with Mary, of a series of mysteries of salvation,... three cycles. ... joy of the messianic times, the salvific suffering of Christ and the glory of the Risen Lord which fill the Church. ... encourage practical reflection and provide stimulating norms for living.

 The Lord's Prayer, or Our Father
The litany-like succession of the Hail Mary... (150) a certain analogy with the Psalter
(article 50: recommendation for method of prayer)
(article 51: prayer forms takes inspiration from Rosary and incorporate readings,hymns, meditations)
(article 52: strong recommendation for family Rosary - domestic Church)
(article 53: recommendation to pray Liturgy of the Hours in the family)
(article 54: after Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary) considered as one of the best and most efficacious prayers in common that the Christian family is invited to recite (acknowledges difficulties, but encourages family to overcome them)

This very worthy devotion should not be propagated in a way that is too one-sided or exclusive. The Rosary is an excellent prayer, but the faithful should feel serenely free in its regard. They should be drawn to its calm recitation by its intrinsic appeal. 55

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

devotions...the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the months of May and October 143

multiplicity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, devotions to...the virgin...provide a rich tapestry 143

devotions celebrated in Eastern Catholic communities are the Akathistos (praises to our Lord or the Mother of God) and Paraklesis (office of consolation), and Molebens (prayer services)...and rosary (privately) in the Byzantine Church, and the Christmas novena...in the Maronite Church. 143

the great traditional prayers of the Church--such as the Apostles' Creed, the Sign of the Cross, the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory to the Father--should be known by all 143

Sacramentals are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the Church's intercession. They remind us of the symbolic nature of all creation, and encourage prayer and attitudes of reverence. Examples...medals. 147

formulations...Hail Mary, Apostles' Creed,... the mysteries of the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary... 176

Redemptor Hominis, 1979

call to prayer. I wish the Church to devote herself to this prayer, together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as the Apostles and disciples of the Lord did in the Upper Room in Jerusalem after his Ascension.

Above all, I implore Mary, the heavenly Mother of the Church, to be so good as to devote herself to this prayer of humanity's new Advent, together with us who make up the church, that is to say, the Mystical Body of her only Son. Final paragraph

Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

Accordingly, the afternoon liturgy of the solemnity of Pentecost will gather us in the chief Marian Basilica of Rome, in order thus to recall in a special way that in the Upper Room at Jerusalem the Apostles "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with...Mary the mother of Jesus...," (Acts 1:14) in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. We, too, likewise wish on that important day to devote ourselves with one accord to prayer, together with her who, as Mother of God, is, in the words of the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution, "a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ." (LG 63) 11

Thus, devoting ourselves to prayer, together with her, and full of trust in her, we shall entrust to the power of the Holy Spirit the Church and her mission among all the nations of the world of today and tomorrow. 11

On the day of Pentecost, gathered in prayer, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, they became convinced that they could carry out this command [to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation (cf. Mark 16:15) with the power of the Holy Spirit that had come upon them, as the Lord had foretold. (cf. Acts 1:8) On the same day we, their heirs, shall join together in the same act of faith and prayer. 11

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (cf. Lk. 1:40-42). Elizabeth's exclamation or acclamation was subsequently to become part of the Hail Mary, as a continuation of the angel's greeting, thus becoming one of the Church's most frequently used prayers. 12

(See 30-34 for a discussion of the rich legacy of liturgical expressions, poetry, prayers, hymns, sacred images, etc. in the Churches of the East.)
In the course of the centuries they have permeated their whole spiritual outlook, fostering in them a profound devotion to the "All Holy Mother of God." 32

Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787) ... according to the teaching of the holy Fathers and the universal tradition of the Church, there could be exposed for the veneration of the faithful, together with the Cross, images of the Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, in churches and houses and at the roadside. (Nicaea II)

as the throne of God carrying the Lord and giving him to humanity (Theotokos)

as the way that leads to Christ and manifests him (Hodegetria)

as a praying figure in an attitude of intercession and as a sign of the divine presence on the journey of the faithful until the day of the Lord (Deesis)

as the protectress who stretches out her mantle over the peoples (Pokrov)

or as the merciful Virgin of tenderness (Eleousa). She is usually represented with her Son, the child Jesus, in her arms: it is the relationship with the Son which glorifies the Mother.

Sometimes she embraces him with tenderness (Glykophilousa)

at other times she is a hieratic figure, apparently rapt in contemplation of him who is the Lord of history (cf. Rev. 5:9-14). (LG 59) 33

(Special note made of) Our Lady of Vladimir ... In these Icons the Virgin shines as the image of divine beauty, the abode of Eternal Wisdom, the figure of the one who prays, the prototype of contemplation, the image of glory: she who even in her earthly life possessed the spiritual knowledge inaccessible to human reasoning and who attained through faith the most sublime knowledge. 33

I also recall the Icon of the Virgin of the Cenacle, praying with the Apostles as they awaited the Holy Spirit: could she not become the sign of hope for all those who, in fraternal dialogue, wish to deepen their obedience of faith? 33

(Magnificat) daily recitation in the liturgy of Vespers and at many other moments of both personal and communal devotion. 35

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." (LG 66) 42

[Articles 42f indicate special devotion to Mary as God-bearer, as Virgin and Mother.]
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. 45

entrusting is the response to a person's love, and in particular to the love of a mother. 45

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" (Footnote 130, communion of life) 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," (LG 62) "in whose birth and development she cooperates" (GS 22) in the measure of the gift proper to each one through the power of Christ's Spirit. 45


Proclamation of a Marian Year

Pentecost, June 7, 1987 - Assumption, August 15, 1988

Purpose: ... 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 ... 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. (LG 66-67)... 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, 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. 49

(also linked with Millennium of the Baptism of Saint Vladimir, Grand Duke of Kiev (988) --beginning of Christianity in Rus-- hence an ecumenical perspective)
Conclusion: (builds on antiphon, Alma Redemptoris Mater)
"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!" 51
(emphasizes the wonderment of the Incarnation and its significance) At the center of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith stands Mary. (Articles 51-52 are not graphed)

Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988

By reason of this model--yes, of the prototype which the Church finds in Mary--it is necessary that our priestly choice of celibacy for the whole of our lives should also be placed within her heart. We must have recourse to this Virgin Mother when we meet difficulties along our chosen path. With her help we must seek always a more profound understanding of this path, an ever more complete affirmation of it in our hearts. Finally, in fact, there must be developed in our life this fatherhood "according to the Spirit," which is one of the results of "making ourselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God." 5

Speaking from the cross on Golgotha, Christ said to the disciple: "Behold, your mother." And the disciple "took her to his own home" as Mother. Let us also take Mary as Mother into the interior "home" of our priesthood. 6

Through this sacrifice we too, as its sacramental dispensers, together with all those whom we serve through its celebration, continually touch the decisive moment of that spiritual combat which, according to the Books of Genesis and Revelation, is linked with the "woman." In this battle she is entirely united with the Redeemer. And therefore our priestly ministry too unites us with her, with her who is the Mother of the Redeemer and the "model" of the Church. In this way all remain united with her in this spiritual battle which takes place throughout the course of human history. 7

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

(post-conciliar interest in) evaluation of its liturgical expression and its multiple manifestations of popular piety, and a deepening appreciation of their mutual relationship. 13
(post-conciliar: new themes, new treatments)

 the problem of inculturation of Marian doctrine and forms of Marian piety;

 the value of the via pulcritudinis for advancing in knowledge of Mary and the capacity of the Virgin to stimulate the highest expressions of literature and art 16

The study of Mariology holds as its ultimate aim the acquisition of a sound Marian spirituality, an essential aspect of Christian spirituality. On his pilgrim way to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13), knowing the mission which God has entrusted to the Virgin in the history of salvation and in the life of the Church, the Christian takes her as "mother and teacher of the spiritual life" (cf. Marialis Cultus, 21; Collectio missarum de b. Maria Virgine, form. 32); with her and like her, in the light of the Incarnation and of Easter, he impresses on his very existence a decisive orientation towards God through Christ in the Spirit, in order to express by his life in the Church the radical message of the Good News, especially the commandment of love. (cf. Jn 15:12). 35

To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

Participation in the whole Church's growth in devotion to Mary, as a primary result of the Marian Year, will take different forms and expressions, according to the particular vocation of each institute, and its fruitfulness will depend on the fidelity of each institute to its specific gift. 29

The Church, looking to Mary in this special year of grace, feels particularly attentive to and respectful of the rich tradition of contemplative life ... The Blessed Virgin had a spiritual fruitfulness so intense that it made her the Mother of the Church and of the human race. In silence and in constant attention to the Word of God, and through her intimate union with the Lord, Mary became an instrument of salvation at the side of her divine son, Christ Jesus. 31

All men and women Religious who are devoted to the apostolic life, to evangelization and to the works of charity and mercy, will find in Mary a model of charity towards God and man. Following this model with generous fidelity, they will respond successfully to the needs of humanity suffering from a lack of certainty, of truth and of a sense of God. It is a humanity that knows the anguish of injustice, discrimination, oppression, wars and hunger. With Mary, religious will share the plight of their brothers and sisters, and help the Church in her readiness to be of service for the salvation of the humanity she meets on her journey today. 32

 the members of Secular Institutes, as they live their daily lives within the different strata of society, have in Mary an example and a help in offering the people with whom they share life in the world a sense of the harmony and beauty of a human existence which is all the greater and more joyful the more it is open to God ... This will be the canticle which humanity, like Mary, will be able to raise to God, acknowledging him as almighty and merciful. 34

Whole nations and even continents are gathering at the Marian shrines, not to mention the fact that individual Christians have their own "interior" shrines, in which Mary is their guide along the path of faith, hope and loving union with Christ. (LG 63, 68) 37

The Orders, Congregations and Institutes, with their experiences, sometimes centuries old, often have their own shrines, places of Mary's presence, which are linked to their spirituality and even the history of their life and mission in the Church. These "places recall the particular mysteries of the Virgin Mother, the qualities, the events of her life, the testimonies of the spiritual experiences of the founders or the manifestations of their charism which has then passed to the whole community. 38

During this year, try to be particularly present in the "places," in the "shrines." Look to them for new strength, for the paths to an authentic renewal of your consecrated life, to the right direction and form for your apostolate. Seek in them your identity, like that householder, that wise man, who "brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." (cf. Mt 13:52) 39

Yes! Through Mary seek spiritual vitality, be rejuvenated with her. Pray for vocations. Finally, "do whatever he tells you," as the Virgin said at Cana in Galilee (cf. Jn 2:5). Mary, the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit and our Mother, desires this from you and for you. Indeed, I exhort you to respond to this desire of Mary's with a community act of dedication, which is precisely "the response to the love of a Mother." (RM 45) 39

During this Marian Year, I too with all my heart entrust each one of you and your communities to her, and I bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 40

Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

During the Marian Year the Church desires to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the "mystery of woman" and for every woman, for that which constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the "great works of God," which throughout human history have been accomplished in and through her. After all, was it not in and through her that the greatest event in human history--the incarnation of God himself-- was accomplished? 31

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Church venerates the memory of Mary, the ever Virgin Mother of God, and the memory of St. Joseph, because "he fed him whom the faithful must eat as the bread of eternal life." 16

In the Liturgy, Mary is celebrated as "united to Joseph, the just man, by a bond of marital and virginal love." There are really two kinds of love here, both of which together represent the mystery of the Church, virgin and spouse, as symbolized in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. 20

Veritatis Splendor, 1993

O Mary,
Mother of Mercy,
watch over all people,
that the cross of Christ
may not be emptied
of its power,
that man may not stray from
the path of the good
or become blind to sin,
but may put his hope
ever more fully in God,
who is "rich in mercy." (Eph 2:4)
May he carry out
the good works prepared
by God beforehand (cf. Eph 2:10)
and so live completely
"for the praise of his glory." (Eph 1:12)
120

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994Fidei Depositum, 1992

(First illustration in the CCC) It is the most ancient image of the Blessed Virgin. This image, among the most ancient in Christian art, expresses a theme that lies at the heart of the Christian faith: the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary.

At the left, the figure of a man pointing to a star, located above the Virgin with the child: a prophet, probably Balaam, who announced that "a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel." (Num 24:17) (after p 12)
435 The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words "through our Lord Jesus Christ." The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." ...

1014 The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: "From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord"; (Roman Missal, Litany of the Saints) to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us "at the hour of our death" in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death. ... [more on prayer and prayer forms in separate section below]

2502 Sacred art is true and beautiful when its form corresponds to its particular vocation: evoking and glorifying, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God, the surpassing invisible beauty of truth and love visible in Christ, who "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature," in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." (Heb 1:3; Col 2:9) This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints. Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.

Vita Consecrata, 1996

"All beautiful" is the title with which the church invokes her. "The relationship with Mary most holy, which for every believer stems from his or her union with Christ, is even more pronounced in the life of consecrated persons....Mary's presence is of fundamental importance both for the spiritual life of each consecrated person and for the solidity, unity and progress of the whole community." (John Paul II, March 29, 1995) 28

Although the whole of sacred Scripture is "profitable of teaching," (2 Tm 3:16) and is "the pure and perennial source of spiritual life," (DV 21, PC 6) the writings of the New Testament deserve special veneration, especially the Gospels, which are "the heart of all the Scriptures." (CCC 125; DV 18) It is therefore of great benefit for consecrated persons to meditate regularly on the Gospel texts and the New Testament writings which describe the words and example of Christ and Mary and the apostolica vivendi forma 94

Finally, I exhort all consecrated persons, according to their own traditions, to renew daily their spiritual union with the Blessed Virgin Mary, reliving with her the mysteries of her son, especially by saying the rosary. 95

Conclusion of the Document: Invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 112

Mary, image of the church, the bride without spot or wrinkle which by imitating you "preserves with virginal purity an integral faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity," (LG 64) sustains consecrated persons on their journey toward the sole and eternal Blessedness.

To you, virgin of the visitation, do we entrust them, that they may go forth to meet human needs, to bring help, but above all to bring Jesus. Teach them to proclaim the mighty things which the Lord accomplishes in the world, that all peoples may extol the greatness of his name. Support them in their work for the poor, the hungry, those without hope, the little ones and all who seek your son with a sincere heart.

To you, our Mother, who desire the spiritual and apostolic renewal of your sons and daughters in a response of love and complete dedication to Christ, we address our confident prayer. You who did the will of the Father, ever ready in obedience, courageous in poverty and receptive in fruitful virginity, obtain from your divine son that all who have received the gift of following him in the consecrated life may be enabled to bear witness to that gift by their transfigured lives as they joyfully make their way with all their brothers and sisters toward our heavenly homeland and the light which will never grow dim.

We ask you this that in everyone and in everything glory, adoration and love may be given to the Most High Lord of all things, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001

Mary was present in the jubilee celebration not only as a theme of high-level academic gatherings, but above all in the great Act of Entrustment with which, in the presence of a large part of the world episcopate, I entrusted to her maternal care the lives of the men and women of the new millennium. 11

On this journey we are accompanied by the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom, a few months ago, in the presence of a great number of bishops assembled in Rome from all parts of the world, I entrusted the Third Millennium. 58

During this year I have often invoked her as the "Star of the New Evangelization." 58

Now I point to Mary once again as the radiant dawn and sure guide for our steps. Once more, echoing the words of Jesus himself and giving voice to the filial affection of the whole Church, I say to her: "Woman, behold your children." (cf. Jn 19:26) 58

Ecclesia in Oceania, 2001

I invite you to join me in turning to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, who is so revered throughout Oceania. Missionaries and immigrants alike brought with them a deep devotion to her as an integral part of their Catholic faith; and since that time, the faithful of Oceania have not ceased to show their great love for Mary. 53

In churches, chapels and homes, the image of Mary reminds people of her loving presence and her maternal protection. In parts of the Pacific region, she is especially venerated under the title of Help of Christians; and the Bishops have proclaimed her as Patroness of Oceania under the title of Our Lady of Peace. 53

O Help of Christians, protect us!
Bright Star of the Sea, guide us!

Our Lady of Peace, pray for us! [titles of veneration in Oceania] 53

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

...prompted by the forthcoming 120th anniversary of the aforementioned Encyclical of Leo XIII, I desire that during the course of this year the Rosary should be especially emphasized and promoted in the various Christian communities. I therefore proclaim the year from October 2002 to October 2003 the Year of the Rosary. 3

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to "set out into the deep" (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, "the way, and the truth and the life," (Jn 14:6) "the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn." (GS 45) 1

The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation. Developed in the West, it is a typically meditative prayer, corresponding in some way to the "prayer of the heart" or "Jesus prayer" which took root in the soil of the Christian East. 5

The Rosary, precisely because it starts with Mary's own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning, as Pope Paul VI clearly pointed out: "Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ: 'In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words'. (Mt 6:7) By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are disclosed." (MC 47) 12

The Gospels give great prominence to the sorrowful mysteries of Christ. From the beginning Christian piety, especially during the Lenten devotion of the Way of the Cross, has focused on the individual moments of the Passion, realizing that here is found the culmination of the revelation of God's love and the source of our salvation. The Rosary selects certain moments from the Passion, inviting the faithful to contemplate them in their hearts and to relive them. 22

To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. 25

We should not be surprised that our relationship with Christ makes use of a method. God communicates himself to us respecting our human nature and its vital rhythms. Hence, while Christian spirituality is familiar with the most sublime forms of mystical silence in which images, words and gestures are all, so to speak, superseded by an intense and ineffable union with God, it normally engages the whole person in all his complex psychological, physical and relational reality. This becomes apparent in the Liturgy. Sacraments and sacramental's are structured as a series of rites which bring into play all the dimensions of the person. The same applies to non-liturgical prayer. This is confirmed by the fact that, in the East, the most characteristic prayer of Christological meditation, centered on the words "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner," (CCC 2616) is traditionally linked to the rhythm of breathing; while this practice favors perseverance in the prayer, it also in some way embodies the desire for Christ to become the breath, the soul and the "all" of one's life. 27

Much in vogue among these approaches are methods aimed at attaining a high level of spiritual concentration by using techniques of a psychophysical, repetitive and symbolic nature. The Rosary is situated within this broad gamut of religious phenomena, but it is distinguished by characteristics of its own which correspond to specifically Christian requirements. 28

In effect, the Rosary is simply a method of contemplation. As a method, it serves as a means to an end and cannot become an end in itself. All the same, as the fruit of centuries of experience, this method should not be undervalued. In its favor one could cite the experience of countless Saints. This is not to say, however, that the method cannot be improved. ... Otherwise there is a risk that the Rosary would not only fail to produce the intended spiritual effects, but even that the beads, with which it is usually said, could come to be regarded as some kind of amulet or magic object, thereby radically distorting their meaning and function. 28

Announcing each mystery, and perhaps even using a suitable icon to portray it, is as it were to open up a scenario on which to focus our attention. The words direct the imagination and the mind towards a particular episode or moment in the life of Christ. In the Church's traditional spirituality, the veneration of icons and the many devotions appealing to the senses, as well as the method of prayer proposed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises, make use of visual and imaginative elements (the compositio loci), judged to be of great help in concentrating the mind on the particular mystery. 29

Acting as a kind of foundation for the Christological and Marian meditation which unfolds in the repetition of the Hail Mary, the Our Father makes meditation upon the mystery, even when carried out in solitude, an ecclesial experience. 32

To the extent that meditation on the mystery is attentive and profound, and to the extent that it is enlivened--from one Hail Mary to another-- by love for Christ and for Mary, the glorification of the Trinity at the end of each decade, far from being a perfunctory conclusion, takes on its proper contemplative tone, raising the mind as it were to the heights of heaven and enabling us in some way to relive the experience of Tabor, a foretaste of the contemplation yet to come: "It is good for us to be here!" (Lk 9:33) 34

(See meaning of beads and chain at) 36

(See suggested days for various mysteries at) 38

What has been said so far makes abundantly clear the richness of this traditional prayer, which has the simplicity of a popular devotion but also the theological depth of a prayer suited to those who feel the need for deeper contemplation. The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation. 39

To pray the Rosary for children, and even more, with children, training them from their earliest years to experience this daily "pause for prayer" with the family, is admittedly not the solution to every problem, but it is a spiritual aid which should not be underestimated. It could be objected that the Rosary seems hardly suited to the taste of children and young people of today. But perhaps the objection is directed to an impoverished method of praying it. Furthermore, without prejudice to the Rosary's basic structure, there is nothing to stop children and young people from praying it --either within the family or in groups-- with appropriate symbolic and practical aids to understanding and appreciation. Why not try it? With God's help, a pastoral approach to youth which is positive, impassioned and creative --as shown by the World Youth Days!-- is capable of achieving quite remarkable results. If the Rosary is well presented, I am sure that young people will once more surprise adults by the way they make this prayer their own and recite it with the enthusiasm typical of their age group. 42

Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003

By proclaiming the Year of the Rosary, I wish to put this, my twenty-fifth anniversary, under the aegis of the contemplation of Christ at the school of Mary. 7

Pastores Gregis, 2003

The forms in which popular piety is expressed should be shaped and, when necessary, purified in accordance with the principles of Christian faith and life. The faithful, through popular piety, should be led to a personal encounter with Christ and to fellowship with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, especially through hearing the word of God, recourse to prayer, participation in the Church's sacramental life, and the witness of charity and the works of mercy. 40

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MARIAN APOSTOLATE

Lumen Gentium, 1964

The Church...in her apostolic work too, rightly looks to her who gave birth to Christ,...in order that through the Church he could be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful. 65

In her life the Virgin has been a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church's apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated. 65

Mense Maio, 1965

the Christian people enriched with spiritual gifts [because of pious practice of honoring Mary in May] 5

Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

[theme: praying the rosary for world peace ]

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

In its apostolic work the Church looks to Mary. (LG 65) 80

Defenders of unborn life do well to appeal to the first part of the Hail Mary. Elizabeth's words, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb," are true in a real sense of every unborn child. 132

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

"The Church in her apostolic work also rightly looks to her who brought forth Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin, so that through the Church Christ may be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful also." (LG 65) 28

During this time of vigil [second Christian Millennium], Mary, through the same faith which made her blessed, especially from the moment of the Annunciation, is present in the Church's mission, present in the Church's work of introducing into the world the Kingdom of her Son. (cf. LG 13) 28

[presence through]
 the faith and piety of individual believers
through the traditions of Christian families or "domestic churches,"
of parish and missionary communities,
religious institutes and dioceses;
through the radiance and attraction of the great shrines
[individuals, local groups, nations and societies, continents, Land of Palestine - the spiritual homeland of all Christians, of the many churches in Rome and throughout the world, Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, Jasna Gora and the others] 28

One could perhaps speak of a specific "geography" of faith and Marian devotion, which includes all these special places of pilgrimage where the People of God seek to meet the Mother of God in order to find, within the radius of the maternal presence of her "who believed," a strengthening of their own faith. For in Mary's faith ... an interior space was reopened within humanity which the eternal Father can fill "with every spiritual blessing." It is the space "of the new and eternal Covenant," (Roman Missal, consecration of a chalice) and it continues to exist in the Church ... 28

In the faith which Mary professed ... the Church "strives energetically and constantly to bring all humanity ... back to Christ its Head in the unity of his Spirit." (LG 13) 28

"(God) has anointed me to preach good news to the poor," (cf. Lk. 4:18) the Church has sought from generation to generation and still seeks today to accomplish that same mission. The Church's love of preference for the poor is wonderfully inscribed in Mary's Magnificat. 37

Mary truly proclaims the coming of the "Messiah of the poor." (cf. Is. 11:4; 61:1) Drawing from Mary's heart, from the depth of her faith expressed in the words of the Magnificat, the Church renews ever more effectively in herself the awareness that the truth about God who saves, the truth about God who is the source of every gift, cannot be separated from the manifestation of his love of preference for the poor and humble, that love which, celebrated in the Magnificat, is later expressed in the words and works of Jesus. 37

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

virtuous model of the Church, which is inspired by her in the exercise of faith, hope and charity (cf. LG 53,63,65), and in apostolic work (cf. LG 65) 9

To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

The Marian Year began on the Solemnity of Pentecost, so that everyone, together with Mary, might feel invited to the Upper Room, from which the entire apostolic history of the church from generation to generation takes it beginning ... Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit you have built your lives and your vocation on the principle of a special consecration, a total self-giving to God. This invitation to the Upper Room at Pentecost means that you must renew and deepen your awareness of your vocation in two directions.

The first consists in strengthening the apostolate contained in your consecration itself;

the second consists in giving new life to the many different apostolic tasks which derive from this consecration in the context of the spirituality and goals of your communities and institutes, and of each of you individually. 26

[Paragraphs 26f speak of forms of apostolate according to the various forms of consecrated life]

Vita Consecrata, 1996

[See also catechetics below (docs8.html) and prayer (docs7-2.html) above]

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© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
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Most recently updated in 2005.

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