Magisterial Documents: The Person of Mary

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
Historical Character (historical versus symbol)

Cultural Background (Jewishness)
Creatureliness (like us!)
Femininity (a woman)
Humanness
Human Personality
Freedom
Knowledge
Human Weakness and Limitations
Human Development
Social Dimension (Mary and Women ...)
Religious Dimension (faith, faith development)


GENERAL

Lumen Gentium, 1964

received the Word of God in her heart and in her body 53

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

Post-conciliar Mariology has given renewed attention to anthropology. ... In the convergence of the data of faith and the data of the anthropological sciences, when these turn their attention to Mary of Nazareth, one understands more clearly that the Virgin is both the highest historical realization of the Gospel (cf. III Conferencia General del Episcopado Latino-Americano (Puebla 1979), La evangelización en el presente y en el futuro de America Latina (Bogota 1979), 282), and the woman who, through her self-control, her sense of responsibility, her openness to others and to the spirit of service, her strength and her love, is the most completely realized on the human level. 15

Finally, in Mary everything is referable to the human race, in all times and all places. She has a universal and permanent value. She is "our true sister," (MC 56), and "because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all human beings in their need for salvation." (LG 53) Mary does not disappoint the expectations of contemporary man. Because she is the "perfect follower of Christ" (MC 35), and the woman most completely realized as a person, she is a perennial source of fruitful inspiration. 21

Research into Scripture and Tradition ... must also integrate and be strengthened by the more secure fruits of learning in anthropology and the human sciences. 27

Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

The special presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of the Church makes us think of the exceptional link between this "woman" and the whole human family. It is a question here of every man and woman ... "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:27) 1

In this "revealing of man to himself," [Christ does so] do we not need to find a special place for the "woman" who was the Mother of Christ [and thereby of all women]? 2

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HISTORICAL CHARACTER (HISTORICAL VERSUS SYMBOL)

Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

the humble Virgin of Nazareth 7

Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

special place of the Virgin Mary in the history of salvation and in the church 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Remembering the coming of the Son of God among us as the Son of Mary, in one of the earliest New Testament passages, St. Paul wrote: "When the designated time had come, God sent forth his Son born of a woman, born under the law." According to the plan of the Father of mercies this took place "that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Gal 4:4-5) 12

"Mary is today, even as at Ephesus, a witness to the Incarnation. She was then a pointer to the truly historical reality of Jesus Christ who is God. Today she must be seen as indicating the full implications of the Incarnation for our understanding of being human." (Donal Flanagan, "Mary in the Ecumenical Discussion," Irish Theological Quarterly XL, July 1973) 111

Mother of the Holy Family at Nazareth... [example to family life] 131

[sorrows but] also the joyous years at Nazareth 134

Marialis Cultus, 1974

This devotion takes into account the part she played at decisive moments in the history of the salvation which her Son accomplished. 56

Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

As He sat on her lap and later as He listened to her throughout the hidden life at Nazareth 73
she was the first in time 73

Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986

Both in Isaiah and in the whole of the Old Testament the personality of the Holy Spirit is completely hidden: in the revelation of the one God, as also in the foretelling of the future Messiah 17

Jesus Christ will make reference to this prediction contained in the words of Isaiah at the beginning of his messianic activity. This will happen in the same Nazareth where he had lived for thirty years in the house of Joseph the carpenter, with Mary, his Virgin Mother. 18

While it is through creation that God is he in whom we all "live and move and have our being," (Acts 17:28) in its turn the power of the Redemption endures and develops in the history of man and the world in a double "rhythm" as it were, the source of which is found in the Eternal Father. On the one hand there is the rhythm of the mission of the Son, who came into the world and was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit; and on the other hand there is also the rhythm of the mission of the Holy Spirit as he was revealed definitively by Christ 63

While it is an historical fact that the Church came forth from the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost, in a certain sense one can say that she has never left it. Spiritually the event of Pentecost does not belong only to the past: the Church is always in the Upper Room that she bears in her heart. The Church perseveres in prayer, like the Apostles together with Mary, the Mother of Christ, and with those who in Jerusalem were the first seed of the Christian community and who awaited in prayer the coming of the Holy Spirit. 66

In the time leading up to the third Millennium after Christ, while "the Spirit and the bride say to the Lord Jesus: Come!," this prayer of theirs is filled, as always, with an eschatological significance, which is also destined to give fullness of meaning to the celebration of the great Jubilee. It is a prayer concerned with the salvific destinies towards which the Holy Spirit by his action opens hearts throughout the history of man on earth. But at the same time this prayer is directed towards a precise moment of history which highlights the "fullness of time" marked by the year 2000. The Church wishes to prepare for this Jubilee in the Holy Spirit, just as the Virgin of Nazareth in whom the Lord was made flesh was prepared by the Holy Spirit. 66

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

from the time of her Immaculate Conception preceded the coming of the Savior, the rising of the "Sun of Justice" in the history of the human race. (Ineffabilis Deus) 3

Her presence in the midst of Israel - a presence so discreet as to pass almost unnoticed by the eyes of her contemporaries ... 3

we Christians who know that the providential plan of the Most Holy Trinity is the central reality of Revelation and of faith feel the need to emphasize the unique presence of the Mother of Christ in history. 3

[Mary, a concrete part of the history of salvation] a great historical process, comparable "to a journey." ... within which the Blessed Virgin Mary continues to "go before" the People of God 6

[Annunciation] takes place at Nazareth, within the concrete circumstances of the history of Israel, the people which first received God's promises. 8

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

[necessity] of drawing out the relevance of the human reality of the Virgin to people in our own time, stressing the fact that she is an historical person, a human Jewish girl 15

Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

think of this [Incarnation] even in the setting of the history of Israel, the Chosen People of which Mary is a daughter ... 3

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

Joseph is visited by the messenger as "Mary's spouse," as the one who in due time must give this name to the Son to be born of the Virgin of Nazareth who is married to him. 3

Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

the unassuming Young Woman of Nazareth , who two thousand years ago 59

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994

Fidei Depositum, 1992 423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem ...

Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001

Christianity is a religion rooted in history! It was in the soil of history that God chose to establish a covenant with Israel and so prepare the birth of the Son from the womb of Mary "in the fullness of time." (Gal 4:4) 5

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CULTURAL BACKGROUND (JEWISHNESS)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

exalted daughter of Sion 55

being of the race of Adam 53

daughter of Adam 56

Signum Magnum, 1967

humble virgin of Nazareth 25

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

a daughter of Adam (LG 56) 55

In the tradition of her people she recognized that God gives life and watches over its growth. "Just as you do not know the way of the wind or the mysteries of a woman with child, no more do you know the work of God who is behind it all." (Eccl 11:5; see also Ps 138 (139):13; 2 Mc 7:22) 131

According to the customs of her time and people, Mary was probably no more than fourteen when her parents arranged her marriage, and Joseph probably about eighteen [years old]. 143

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[regarding anthropological guidelines] the Virgin Mary has always been proposed to the faithful by the Church as an example to be imitated, not precisely in the type of life she led, and much less for the socio cultural background in which she lived and which today scarcely exists anywhere. She is held up as an example to the faithful rather for the way in which, in her own particular life, she fully and responsibly accepted the will of God (cf. Lk. 1:38), because she heard the word of God and acted on it, and because charity and a spirit of service were the driving force of her actions. 35

It should be considered quite normal for succeeding generations of Christians in differing socio cultural contexts to have expressed their sentiments about the Mother of Jesus in a way and manner which reflected their own age. 36

When the Church considers the long history of Marian devotion, she rejoices at the continuity of the element of cult which it shows, but she does not bind herself to any particular expression of an individual cultural epoch or to the particular, anthropological ideas underlying such expressions. The Church understands that certain outward religious expressions, while perfectly valid in themselves, may be less suitable to men and women of different ages and cultures. 36

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

Catholics and Jews share a common heritage - a heritage not only of biblical revelation rooted in faith in the one true God and the liberation of the exodus event, but also in the, family origins of Jesus, Mary, and the apostles. 77

Dives in Misericordia, 1980

two voices ... in Luke's Gospel ... They express the semantic elements linked to the differentiated terminology of the ancient books. Mary, entering the house of Zechariah, magnifies the Lord with all her soul for "his mercy," which "from generation to generation" is bestowed on those who fear Him. A little later, as she recalls the election of Israel, she proclaims the mercy which He who has chosen her holds "in remembrance" from all time. [hesed] [Zechariah is the second voice] 5

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

Virgin of Nazareth 8, 12, 27, 37, 43, 46, 51

[Elizabeth's home] "a city of Judah" (Lk. 1:39) According to scholars this city would be the modern Ain Karim, situated in the mountains, not far from Jerusalem. 12

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

Attention of the Church to Mary of Nazareth runs through the centuries. 2

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

Luke refers to Mary as "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph." (Lk 1:27) Even before the "mystery hidden for ages" (Eph 3:9) began to be fulfilled, the Gospels set before us the image of husband and wife. According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal, or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his own house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her "husband." Mary, however, preserved her deep desire to give herself exclusively to God.

One may well ask how this desire of Mary's could be reconciled with a "wedding." The answer can only come from the saving events as they unfold, from the special action of God himself. From the moment of the Annunciation, Mary knew that she was to fulfill her virginal desire to give herself exclusively and fully to God precisely by becoming the Mother of God's Son.. Becoming a Mother by the power of the Holy Spirit was the form taken by her gift of self: a form which God himself expected of the Virgin Mary, who was "betrothed" to Joseph. Mary uttered her fiat.

The fact that Mary was "betrothed" to Joseph was part of the very plan of God. This is pointed out by Luke and especially by Matthew. The words spoken to Joseph are very significant: "Do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 1:20). These words explain the mystery of Joseph's wife: In her motherhood Mary is a virgin. In her, "the son of the Most High" assumed a human body and became "the Son of Man." 18

This "just" man, who, in the spirit of the noblest traditions of the Chosen People, loved the Virgin of Nazareth and was bound to her by a husband's love, was once again called by God to this love. 19

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Jewishness of Mary: 423, 488, 528, 529, 531, 532, 583, 593 [BB]

423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem ....

Orientale Lumen, 1995  Ut Unum Sint, 1995

My gaze turns to the Orientale Lumen which shines from Jerusalem (cf. Is 60:1; Rv 21:10), the city where the Word of God, made man for our salvation, a Jew "descended from David according to the flesh," (Rom 1:3; 2 Tm 2:8) died and rose again. In that holy city, when the day of Pentecost had come and "they were all together in one place," (Acts 2:1) the Paraclete was sent upon Mary and the disciples. From there the good news spread throughout the world because, filled with the Holy Spirit, "they spoke the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31) From there, from the mother of all the churches, the Gospel was preached to all nations. OL 2

Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001

Christianity is a religion rooted in history! It was in the soil of history that God chose to establish a covenant with Israel and so prepare the birth of the Son from the womb of Mary "in the fullness of time." (Gal 4:4) 5

They recorded his religious fervor, which prompted him to make annual pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem with his family (cf. Lk 2:41), and made him a regular visitor to the synagogue of his own town (cf. Lk 4:16). 18

Ecclesia in Oceania, 2001

Authentic inculturation of the Christian faith is grounded in the mystery of the Incarnation.(41) "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16); in a particular time and place, the Son of God took flesh and was "born of a woman." (Gal 4:4) To prepare for this momentous event, God chose a people with a distinctive culture, and he guided its history on the path towards the Incarnation. 53

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CREATURELINESS (LIKE US!)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

being obedient [St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 22, 4: PG 7. 959 A, Harvey, 2, 123] 56

Signum Magnum, 1967

Mary, who is like us in all things save sin 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Conceived and born of human parents in the normal way, ... gifted by God from "the first instant of her conception." 53

An eighth century prayer ... in some Western liturgies "On this day the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but could not be held fast by the bonds of death, who gave birth to our Lord made flesh." 58

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[active love at Nazareth, Elizabeth's, Cana, Golgotha] - all salvific episodes having vast ecclesial importance 28

Mary, in fact, is one of our race, a true daughter of Eve-though free of that mother's sin - and truly our sister, who as a poor and humble woman fully shared our lot. 56

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

She who belongs to the "weak and poor of the Lord" bears in herself, like no other member of the human race, that "glory of grace." 11

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

[necessity] of showing forth the permanent and universal human values of Mary in such a way that discourse about her throws light on discourse about [human beings]. 15

Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

Each and every time that motherhood is repeated in human history, it is always related to the Covenant which God established with the human race through the motherhood of the Mother of God. 19

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

Therefore he became a unique guardian of the mystery "hidden for ages in God," (Eph 3:9) as did Mary, in that decisive moment which St. Paul calls "the fullness of time," when "God sent forth his Son, born of woman...."(Gal 4:4) 5

As can be deduced from the gospel texts, Joseph's marriage to Mary is the juridical basis of his fatherhood. It was to assure fatherly protection for Jesus that God chose Joseph to be Mary's spouse. It follows that Joseph's fatherhood a relationship that places him as close as possible to Christ, to whom every election and predestination is ordered (cf. Rom 8:28-9) comes to pass through marriage to Mary, that, through the family. 7

"By reason of their faithful marriage both of them deserve to be called Christ's parents, not only his mother, but also his father, who was a parent in the same way that he was the mother's spouse: in mind, not in flesh." [Augustine] In this marriage none of the requisites of marriage were lacking: "In Christ's parents all the goods of marriage were realized offspring, fidelity, the sacrament: the offspring being the Lord Jesus himself; fidelity, since there was no adultery: the sacrament, since there was no divorce." [Augustine] 7

Analyzing the nature of marriage, both St. Augustine and St. Thomas always identify it with an "indivisible union of souls," a "union of hearts," with "consent." These elements are found in an exemplary manner in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. 7

Veritatis Splendor, 1993

Mary shares our human condition, but in complete openness to the grace of God. 120

Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

Mary gave full expression to the longing of the poor of Yahweh. 48

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Poverty, humility, poor of God and Mary: 525, 526, 533, 544, 559, 563, 564, 711, 716, 724 [BB]

508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. ...

2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name. (cf. Lk 1:46-49) The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

At the same time our heart can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church, and all mankind. Our personal concerns and those of our neighbor, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life. 2

The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. 10

The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary's side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is "fully formed" in us (cf. Gal 4:19). 15

To meditate upon the "joyful" mysteries, then, is to enter into the ultimate causes and the deepest meaning of Christian joy. It is to focus on the realism of the mystery of the Incarnation and on the obscure foreshadowing of the mystery of the saving Passion. Mary leads us to discover the secret of Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is, first and foremost, evangelium, "good news," which has as its heart and its whole content the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the one Savior of the world. 20

The Rosary is at the service of this ideal; it offers the "secret" which leads easily to a profound and inward knowledge of Christ. We might call it Mary's way. It is the way of the example of the Virgin of Nazareth, a woman of faith, of silence, of attentive listening. 24

Following in the path of Christ, in whom man's path is "recapitulated," revealed and redeemed, believers come face to face with the image of the true man. Contemplating Christ's birth, they learn of the sanctity of life; seeing the household of Nazareth, they learn the original truth of the family according to God's plan; listening to the Master in the mysteries of his public ministry, they find the light which leads them to enter the Kingdom of God; and following him on the way to Calvary, they learn the meaning of salvific suffering. Finally, contemplating Christ and his Blessed Mother in glory, they see the goal towards which each of us is called, if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. It could be said that each mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. 25

Twenty-five years later, thinking back over the difficulties which have also been part of my exercise of the Petrine ministry, I feel the need to say once more, as a warm invitation to everyone to experience it personally: the Rosary does indeed "mark the rhythm of human life," bringing it into harmony with the "rhythm" of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing. 25

In Christ, God has truly assumed a "heart of flesh." Not only does God have a divine heart, rich in mercy and in forgiveness, but also a human heart, capable of all the stirrings of affection. If we needed evidence for this from the Gospel, we could easily find it in the touching dialogue between Christ and Peter after the Resurrection: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Three times this question is put to Peter, and three times he gives the reply: "Lord, you know that I love you." (cf. Jn 21:15-17) Over and above the specific meaning of this passage, so important for Peter's mission, none can fail to recognize the beauty of this triple repetition, in which the insistent request and the corresponding reply are expressed in terms familiar from the universal experience of human love. To understand the Rosary, one has to enter into the psychological dynamic proper to love.

One thing is clear: although the repeated Hail Mary is addressed directly to Mary, it is to Jesus that the act of love is ultimately directed, with her and through her. The repetition is nourished by the desire to be conformed ever more completely to Christ, the true program of the Christian life. 26

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. This is a methodology, moreover, which corresponds to the inner logic of the Incarnation: in Jesus, God wanted to take on human features. 29

The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the center, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on. 41

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FEMININITY (A WOMAN)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

born of a woman (Gal 4:4) 52

the figure of a woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light (development of doctrine) 55

a woman should contribute to life [woman shared in bringing death] 56

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

"born of a woman, born under the law." According to the plan of the Father of mercies this took place "that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Gal 4:4-5) 12

"Just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life." (LG 56) 18

Salvation comes through Mary's flesh, through Mary's faith. 27

In ... John, ... Cana and Calvary, the beginning and the end of her Son's public life. Both times Jesus addresses her as "woman." 34

When Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus, human motherhood reached its greatest achievement. 131

The dignity which Christ's redemption won for all women was fulfilled uniquely in Mary as the model of all real feminine freedom. The Mother of Jesus is portrayed in the gospels as: intelligent (the Annunciation, "How can this be?"); apostolic (the visit to Elizabeth); inquiring and contemplative (the Child lost in the temple); responsive and creative (at Cana); compassionate and courageous (at Calvary); a woman of great faith. These implications in the lives of Jesus and Mary need to be elaborated into a sound theology on the role of Christian women in contemporary Church and society. [This text not subdivided in other areas.] 142

Marialis Cultus, 1974

The Church's reflection today on the mystery of Christ and on her own nature has led her to find at the root of the former and as a culmination of the latter the same figure of a woman: the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God, who has placed within His family (the Church), as in every home, the figure of a Woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family "and carefully looks after it until the glorious day of the Lord." (Votive Mass BVM, Preface) (In)

In contemplating Mary and her mission these different generations of Christians, looking on her as the New Woman and perfect Christian, found in her as a virgin, wife and mother the outstanding type of womanhood and the pre-eminent exemplar of life lived in accordance with the Gospels and summing up the most characteristic situations in the life of a woman. 36

Thus, the modern woman, anxious to participate with decision-making power in the affairs of the community, will contemplate with intimate joy Mary who, taken into dialogue with God, gives her active and responsible consent, (LG 56) not to the solution of a contingent problem, but to that "event of world importance," as the Incarnation of the Word has been rightly called." (Peter Chrysologus) 37

[other woman issues and values] 37

choice of the state of virginity [as consecration to God]

completely devoted to the will of God [but]

not a timidly submissive woman [and]

not one whose piety was repellent to others

a woman who did not hesitate to proclaim that God vindicates the humble and the oppressed, and removes the powerful people of this world from their privileged positions (cf. Lk. 1:51-53). Modern woman will recognize in Mary, who "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord (LG 55) a woman of strength, who experienced poverty and suffering, flight and exile." (cf. Mt. 2:13-23)

Mary will appear not as a Mother exclusively concerned with her own divine Son, but rather as a woman whose action helped to strengthen the apostolic community's faith in Christ (cf. Jn. 2:1-12),

and whose maternal role was extended and became universal on Calvary. (SM 1) 37

as a poor and humble woman fully shared our lot. 56

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

born of woman, (Gal. 4:4-6) [start of ency intentionally same as LG 52] 1

"daughter of the human race," that extraordinary "woman" who became the Mother of Christ. (cf. GS 22) 4

a special place for the "woman" who is the Mother of him to whom the Father has entrusted the work of salvation. 7

(cf. Gen. 3:15). And so, there comes into the world a Son, "the seed of the woman" who will crush the evil of sin in its very origins: "he will crush the head of the serpent." 11

The "enmity," foretold at the beginning, is confirmed in the Apocalypse (the book of the final events of the Church and the world), in which there recurs the sign of the "woman," this time "clothed with the sun." (Rev. 12:1) 11

She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine "I" 13

[addressed "woman" at Cana and Calvary ] this expression goes to the very heart of the mystery of Mary, and indicates the unique place which she occupies in the whole economy of salvation? 24

The figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God, in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman. 46 [See C. Neumann, S.M., MS, 1988,162: availed; not entrusted]

It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. 46

In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable:
the self-offering totality of love;
the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows;
limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work;
the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement. 46

[Note: document started with "woman" and addresses this toward the end.] Thanks to this special bond linking the Mother of Christ with the Church, there is further clarified the mystery of that "woman" who, from the first chapters of the Book of Genesis until the Book of Revelation, accompanies the revelation of God's salvific plan for humanity. 47

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

born of a woman...so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Gal 4:4-5) (LG 52) 6

Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

Theme of letter [builds on opening paragraphs of both LG and RM]
Mary - the "woman" of the Bible (cf. Gen 3:15; Jn 2:4; 19:16) - intimately belongs to the salvific mystery of Christ, and is therefore also present in a special way in the mystery of the Church ... the special presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of the Church makes us think of the exceptional link between this "woman" and the whole human family. 1

Do we not need to find a special place for the "woman"? 2

born of a woman (Gal 4:4) 3

It is significant that St. Paul ... calls her "woman": this coincides with the words of the Proto-evangelium and the Book of Genesis (cf. 3:15). She is that "woman" who is present in the central salvific event which marks the "fullness of time": this event is realized in her and through her. 3

The sending of this Son ... "born of woman," constitutes the culminating and definitive point of God's self-revelation to humanity. ... A woman is to be found at the center of this salvific event. 3

The "woman" is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race .... [because of union with God in Jesus Christ] 4

she represents the humanity which belongs to all human beings [but also] a form of union ... which can only belong to the "woman," Mary: the Union between mother and son. 4

Through her response of faith Mary exercises her free will and thus fully shares with her personal and feminine "I" in the event of the Incarnation. 4

[dignity of serving, fashioned on Christ who came to serve] Mary, the woman of the Bible, is the most complete expression of this dignity and vocation. For no human being, male or female, created in the image and likeness of God, can in any way attain fulfillment apart from this image and likeness. 5

...about motherhood, and about virginity, as two particular dimensions of the vocation of women in the light of divine Revelation. These two dimensions will find their loftiest expression at the "fullness of time" (cf. Gal 4:4) in the "woman" of Nazareth: the Virgin-Mother. 7

The Covenant [in the redeeming blood of Christ] begins with a woman, the "woman" of the Annunciation at Nazareth. ... In the OT ... God addressed himself to women ... However, to make his Covenant with humanity, he addressed himself only to men ... At the beginning of the New Covenant, which is to be eternal and irrevocable, there is woman: the Virgin of Nazareth. It is a sign ... "in Jesus Christ" "there is neither male nor female." (Gal 3:28) 11

virginity and motherhood ... two particular dimensions of the fulfillment of the female personality ... acquire their full meaning and value in Mary, who as a Virgin became the Mother of the Son of God. These two dimensions of the female vocation are united in her in an exceptional manner, in such a way that one did not exclude the other but wonderfully complemented it. 17

... firm in her resolve to preserve her virginity 17

The person of the Mother of God helps everyone - especially women - see how these two dimensions [virginity and motherhood], these two paths in the vocation of women as persons, explain and complete each other. 17

Mary's words at the Annunciation - "Let it be to me according to your word" - signify the woman's readiness for the gift of self and her readiness to accept a new life. 18

... unless one looks to the Mother of God ... impossible to understand the mystery of the Church ... The Bible convinces us of the fact that one can have no adequate hermeneutic of man, or of what is "human," without appropriate reference to what is "feminine." ... we cannot omit, in the perspective of our faith, the mystery of "woman": virgin-mother-spouse. 22

Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

"When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman." (Gal 4:4) The fullness of time coincides with the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, of the Son who is of one being with the Father, and with the mystery of the Redemption of the world. 1

In this passage, Saint Paul emphasizes that the Son of God was born of woman, born under the Law, and came into the world in order to redeem all who were under the Law. So that they might receive adoption as sons and daughters. 1

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

726 At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve ("mother of the living"), the mother of the "whole Christ." (cf.. Jn 19:25-27) As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer," (Acts 1:14) at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.

Vita Consecrata, 1996

The Church as Bride ... This spousal dimension, which is part of all consecrated life, has a particular meaning for women, who find therein their feminine identity and as it were discover the special genius of their relationship with the Lord. 34

As moving sign of this is seen in the New Testament passage which portrays Mary with the apostles in the Upper Room, in prayerful expectation of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:13-14). We can see here a vivid image of the church as bride, fully attentive to her bridegroom and ready to accept his gift. 34

In Peter and the other apostles there emerges above all the aspect of fruitfulness as it is expressed in ecclesial ministry, which becomes an instrument of the Spirit for bringing news sons and daughters to birth through the preaching of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and the giving of pastoral care. In Mary the aspect of spousal receptivity is particularly clear; it is under this aspect that the church through her perfect virginal life, brings divine life to fruition within herself. 34

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HUMANNESS

Lumen Gentium, 1964


Human Personality:

joyfully showed (nativity) 57

moved with pity (Cana: cf. Jn 2:1-11) 58

pondered in her heart (cf. Lk 2:34-35) 57

sought him sorrowing (cf. Lk 2:41-51) 57

lovingly consenting to the immolation 58

imploring the gift of the Spirit 59

Freedom:

assent on the part of the predestined mother 56

consenting to the word of God 56

consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross 62

not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating...through faith and obedience 56

associated herself with his sacrifice and lovingly consenting to the immolation 58

they [Mary and Joseph] sought him sorrowing 57

Knowledge:

They [Mary and Joseph] did not understand the words of their Son. 57

pondered in her heart 57

Human Weakness and Limitations:

subordinate role 62

Human Development:

faithfully persevered 58


 

Mense Maio, 1965

Human Weakness and Limitations:

who knows the sufferings and troubles of life here below, the weariness of everyday work, the hardships and privations of poverty, the suffering of Calvary 10



Signum Magnum, 1967

Human Personality:

How Mary's maternal heart must have rejoiced as she looked down from heaven on those pastors and faithful! [Ephesus celebration] 3

her "maternal and compassionate heart" [Pius XII, May 13, 1946] 4

Freedom:

She freely and earnestly heeded the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit at all times. 16

It was this perfect harmony between divine grace and her own human activity that gave honor to the Blessed Trinity and made her the crowning glory of the Church. 16

Chosen by God to be the spotless Mother of his only begotten Son, she immediately accepted this role which would tax every ounce of strength in her frail nature [harmony of grace and freedom] 17

in God's kind dispensation, her freely proffered assent and her generous efforts under God's inspiration have greatly contributed - and still do - to man's attainment of salvation 21

Human Weakness and Limitations:

[see frail nature above] 17

Human Development:

her enduring and ardent love 19

loyally and steadfastly she carried out her new role 19



Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

Human Weakness and Limitations:

The Gospel teaches us that Mary is sensitive to the needs of men. (Cana) 7




General Catechetical Directory, 1971

Freedom:

who was freely and fully faithful to the Lord 68



Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Human Personality:

He [God] chose Mary, prepared her, guided her to a fully human consent. 15

the totally unselfish person 143

Freedom:

By thus consenting to the divine utterance (LG 56) 55

Mary consented in faith to become the Mother of Jesus. 71

By God's call and her free response in the power of His grace... 114

Knowledge:

Entrusted with this precious life of her Child, Mary loved it, and defended it against all dangers. She protected Jesus before and after He was born. 135

Human Weakness and Limitations:

her poverty seemed to exclude her 126

Human Development:

the brave young woman who could face and accept the hidden future bound up with being Virgin Mother of the Messiah 143

[Cana] We see her quick grasp of the situation, her concern over the embarrassment of the young couple, her willingness to make compassionate intercession. "She was moved by pity, and her intercession brought about the beginning of miracles by Jesus the Messiah." (LG 58) 36

Because... Mother of all the living, ... guardian of the child in the womb, ... the child that enters this earth alive. More than any other person, the Blessed Mother understood that the beginning of human life is attributable to God's creative love, as well as to the parents' action. 135



Marialis Cultus, 1974

Human Personality:

...Advent, by thinking about the inexpressible love with which the Virgin Mother awaited her Son, (Advent Preface) 4

Freedom:

March 25: These liturgies [of East and West] celebrate it as a culminating moment in the salvific dialogue between God and man, and as a commemoration of the Blessed Virgin's free consent and cooperation in the plan of redemption. 6

her active and responsible consent," (LG 56) 37



Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

Knowledge:

She received from Him lessons that she kept in her heart. (cf. Lk 2:51) 73



Dives in Misericordia, 1980

Knowledge:

Mary, then, is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. 9



Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986

Freedom:

When the Triune God opens himself to man in the Holy Spirit, this opening of God reveals and also gives to the human creation the fullness of freedom. This fullness was manifested in a sublime way precisely through the faith of Mary, through the "obedience of faith:" (cf. Rom 1:5) truly, "Blessed is she who believed!" 51



Redemptoris Mater, 1987

Human Personality:

This fiat of Mary - "let it be to me" - was decisive, on the human level, for the accomplishment of the divine mystery. 13

Freedom:

At the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with the "full submission of intellect and will," manifesting "the obedience of faith" to him who spoke to her through his messenger. (DV 5) She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine "I," and this response of faith included both perfect cooperation with "the grace of God that precedes and assists" and perfect openness to the action of the Holy Spirit, who "constantly brings faith to completion by his gifts." (LG 56) 13

"Mary is totally dependent upon God and completely directed towards him, and at the side of her Son, she is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe. It is to her as Mother and Model that the Church must look in order to understand in its completeness the meaning of her own mission." ("Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation," Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, March 22, 1986) 37

Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman 46

Knowledge:

Mary knows she has conceived and given birth to him "without having a husband," by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the power of the Most High who overshadowed her (cf. Lk. 1:35), just as at the time of Moses and the Patriarchs the cloud covered the presence of God (cf. Ex. 24:16; 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-12). Therefore Mary knows that the Son to whom she gave birth in a virginal manner is precisely that "Holy One," the Son of God, of whom the angel spoke to her. 17

She does not know him as the Father does; and yet she is the first of those to whom the Father "has chosen to reveal him" (cf. Mt. 11:26-27; 1 Cor. 2:11). If though, from the moment of the Annunciation, the Son -whom only the Father knows completely, as the one who begets him in the eternal "today" (cf. Ps. 2:7) - was revealed to Mary, she, his Mother, is in contact with the truth about her Son only in faith and through faith! 17

[lived in same home, "knew" and yet]" And they (Joseph and Mary) did not understand the saying which he spoke to them." (Lk. 2:48-50) Jesus was aware that "no one knows the Son except the Father" (cf. Mt. 11:27); thus even his Mother, to whom had been revealed most completely the mystery of his divine sonship, lived in intimacy with this mystery only through faith! 17

Human Weakness and Limitations:

[limitations] The birth had taken place in conditions of extreme poverty. 16

Human Development:

[human dignity] In creating man, God gives him the dignity of the image and likeness of himself in a special way as compared with all earthly creatures. Moreover , in his desire to give, God gives himself in the Son, notwithstanding man's sin: "He so loved the world that he gave his only Son." (Jn. 3:16) Mary is the first witness of this marvelous truth, which will be fully accomplished through "the works and words" (cf. Acts 1:1) of her Son and definitively through his Cross and Resurrection. 27 [See also 45]



The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

Human Personality:

"willed that consent of the predestined mother should precede the Incarnation" (LG 56) 6

Freedom:

The popes have repeatedly presented Mary of Nazareth as the supreme expression of human freedom in the cooperation of man with God, who "in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of women". (RM 46). 15




Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

Freedom:

[grace, but also] through her response of faith Mary exercises her free will and thus fully shares with her personal and feminine "I" in the event of the Incarnation. ... All of God's action in human history at all times respects the free will of the human "I." And such was the case with the Annunciation at Nazareth. 4



Veritatis Splendor, 1993

Freedom:

Mary lived and exercised her freedom precisely by giving herself to God and accepting God's gift within herself. 120



Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

Human Personality:

Never in human history did so much depend, as it did then, upon the consent of one human creature. (cf. St. Bernard) 2
The Virgin Mary responded to God's call with complete openness. 54



Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Freedom:

490 ... in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly born by God's grace.

494 ... giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus

511 The Virgin Mary "cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation." (LG 56) She uttered her yes "in the name of all human nature." (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 30, 1) By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.


Vita Consecrata, 1996

Human Personality:

Having given her assent to the divine Word made flesh in her, Mary is the model of the acceptance of grace by human creatures. 28



Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Human Personality:

In my testimony of 1978 mentioned above, where I described the Rosary as my favorite prayer, I used an idea to which I would like to return. I said then that "the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life."

In the light of what has been said so far on the mysteries of Christ, it is not difficult to go deeper into this anthropological significance of the Rosary, which is far deeper than may appear at first sight. Anyone who contemplates Christ through the various stages of his life cannot fail to perceive in him the truth about man. This is the great affirmation of the Second Vatican Council which I have so often discussed in my own teaching since the Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis: "It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man is seen in its true light." (GS 22) The Rosary helps to open up the way to this light. Following in the path of Christ, in whom man's path is "recapitulated," revealed and redeemed, believers come face to face with the image of the true man. Contemplating Christ's birth, they learn of the sanctity of life; seeing the household of Nazareth, they learn the original truth of the family according to God's plan; listening to the Master in the mysteries of his public ministry, they find the light which leads them to enter the Kingdom of God; and following him on the way to Calvary, they learn the meaning of salvific suffering. Finally, contemplating Christ and his Blessed Mother in glory, they see the goal towards which each of us is called, if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. It could be said that each mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated upon, sheds light on the mystery of man.

At the same time, it becomes natural to bring to this encounter with the sacred humanity of the Redeemer all the problems, anxieties, labors and endeavors which go to make up our lives. "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you." (Ps 55:23) To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. Twenty-five years later, thinking back over the difficulties which have also been part of my exercise of the Petrine ministry, I feel the need to say once more, as a warm invitation to everyone to experience it personally: the Rosary does indeed "mark the rhythm of human life," bringing it into harmony with the "rhythm" of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing. 25

Freedom:

Christ is the supreme Teacher, the revealer and the one revealed. It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of "learning him." In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ (cf. Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother. 14

Human Weakness and Limitations:

The revelation of his mystery as the Son wholly dedicated to his Father's affairs proclaims the radical nature of the Gospel, in which even the closest of human relationships are challenged by the absolute demands of the Kingdom. Mary and Joseph, fearful and anxious, "did not understand" his words. (Lk 2:50) 20

The Rosary selects certain moments from the Passion, inviting the faithful to contemplate them in their hearts and to relive them. The sequence of meditations begins with Gethsemane, where Christ experiences a moment of great anguish before the will of the Father, against which the weakness of the flesh would be tempted to rebel. There Jesus encounters all the temptations and confronts all the sins of humanity, in order to say to the Father: "Not my will but yours be done." (Lk 22:42 and parallels) ...the Lord is cast into the most abject suffering: Ecce homo! ... The sorrowful mysteries help the believer to relive the death of Jesus, to stand at the foot of the Cross beside Mary, to enter with her into the depths of God's love for man and to experience all its life-giving power. 22


Deus Caritas Est, 2005

Mary is a woman who loves. How could it be otherwise? As a believer who in faith thinks with God's thoughts and wills with God's will, she cannot fail to be a woman who loves. 41

Top


HUMAN PERSONALITY

Lumen Gentium, 1964

joyfully showed (nativity) 57

moved with pity (Cana: cf. Jn 2:1-11) 58

pondered in her heart (cf. Lk 2:34-35) 57

sought him sorrowing (cf. Lk 2:41-51) 57

lovingly consenting to the immolation 58

imploring the gift of the Spirit 59

Signum Magnum, 1967

How Mary's maternal heart must have rejoiced as she looked down from heaven on those pastors and faithful! [Ephesus celebration] 3

her "maternal and compassionate heart" [Pius XII, May 13, 1946] 4

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

He [God] chose Mary, prepared her, guided her to a fully human consent. 15 the totally unselfish person 143

Marialis Cultus, 1974

...Advent, by thinking about the inexpressible love with which the Virgin Mother awaited her Son, (Advent Preface) 4

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

This fiat of Mary--"let it be to me--was decisive, on the human level, for the accomplishment of the divine mystery. 13

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

"willed that consent of the predestined mother should precede the Incarnation" (LG 56) 6

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

He took her in all the mystery of her motherhood. He took her together with the Son who had come into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way he showed a readiness of will like Mary's with regard to what God asked of him through the angel. 3

Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

Never in human history did so much depend, as it did then, upon the consent of one human creature. (cf. St. Bernard) 2

The Virgin Mary responded to God's call with complete openness 54

Vita Consecrata, 1996

Having given her assent to the divine Word made flesh in her, Mary is the model of the acceptance of grace by human creatures. 28

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

In my testimony of 1978 mentioned above, where I described the Rosary as my favorite prayer, I used an idea to which I would like to return. I said then that "the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life."

In the light of what has been said so far on the mysteries of Christ, it is not difficult to go deeper into this anthropological significance of the Rosary, which is far deeper than may appear at first sight. Anyone who contemplates Christ through the various stages of his life cannot fail to perceive in him the truth about man. This is the great affirmation of the Second Vatican Council which I have so often discussed in my own teaching since the Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis: "it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man is seen in its true light." (GS 22) The Rosary helps to open up the way to this light. Following in the path of Christ, in whom man's path is "recapitulated," revealed and redeemed, believers come face to face with the image of the true man. Contemplating Christ's birth, they learn of the sanctity of life; seeing the household of Nazareth, they learn the original truth of the family according to God's plan; listening to the Master in the mysteries of his public ministry, they find the light which leads them to enter the Kingdom of God; and following him on the way to Calvary, they learn the meaning of salvific suffering. Finally, contemplating Christ and his Blessed Mother in glory, they see the goal towards which each of us is called, if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. It could be said that each mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man.

At the same time, it becomes natural to bring to this encounter with the sacred humanity of the Redeemer all the problems, anxieties, labors and endeavors which go to make up our lives. "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you" (Ps 55:23). To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. Twenty-five years later, thinking back over the difficulties which have also been part of my exercise of the Petrine ministry, I feel the need to say once more, as a warm invitation to everyone to experience it personally: the Rosary does indeed "mark the rhythm of human life," bringing it into harmony with the "rhythm" of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing. 25

Top


FREEDOM

Lumen Gentium, 1964

assent on the part of the predestined mother 56

consenting to the word of God 56

consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross 62

not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating...through faith and obedience 56

associated herself with his sacrifice and lovingly consenting to the immolation 58

they [Mary and Joseph] sought him sorrowing 57

Signum Magnum, 1967

she freely and earnestly heeded the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit at all times 16

It was this perfect harmony between divine grace and her own human activity that gave honor to the Blessed Trinity and made her the crowning glory of the Church. 16

Chosen by God to be the spotless Mother of his only begotten Son, she immediately accepted this role which would tax every ounce of strength in her frail nature [harmony of grace and freedom]. 17

In God's kind dispensation, her freely proffered assent and her generous efforts under God's inspiration have greatly contributed - and still do - to man's attainment of salvation. 21

General Catechetical Directory, 1971

who was freely and fully faithful to the Lord 68

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

By thus consenting to the divine utterance (LG 56) 55

Mary consented in faith to become the Mother of Jesus. 71

by God's call and her free response in the power of His grace.... 114

Marialis Cultus, 1974

March 25: These liturgies [of East and West] celebrate it as a culminating moment in the salvific dialogue between God and man, and as a commemoration of the Blessed Virgin's free consent and cooperation in the plan of redemption. 6

"her active and responsible consent" (LG 56) 37

Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986

When the Triune God opens himself to man in the Holy Spirit, this opening of God reveals and also gives to the human creation the fullness of freedom. This fullness was manifested in a sublime way precisely through the faith of Mary, through the "obedience of faith": (cf. Rom 1:5) truly, "Blessed is she who believed!" 51

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

At the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with the "full submission of intellect and will," manifesting "the obedience of faith" to him who spoke to her through his messenger. (DV 5) She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine "I," and this response of faith included both perfect cooperation with "the grace of God that precedes and assists" and perfect openness to the action of the Holy Spirit, who "constantly brings faith to completion by his gifts." (LG 56) 13

"Mary is totally dependent upon God and completely directed towards him, and at the side of her Son, she is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe. It is to her as Mother and Model that the Church must look in order to understand in its completeness the meaning of her own mission." (Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, March 22, 1986) 37

Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman 46

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

The popes have repeatedly presented Mary of Nazareth as the supreme expression of human freedom in the cooperation of man with God, who "in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of woman." (Redemptoris Mater, 46). 15

Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

[grace, but also] through her response of faith Mary exercises her free will and thus fully shares with her personal and feminine "I" in the event of the Incarnation. ... All of God's action in human history at all times respects the free will of the human "I." And such was the case with the Annunciation at Nazareth. 4

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

At the culmination of the history of salvation, when God reveals his love for humanity through the gift of the Word, it is precisely the marriage of Mary and Joseph that brings to realization in full "freedom" the "spousal gift of self" in receiving and expression such a love. 7

Veritatis Splendor, 1993

Mary lived and exercised her freedom precisely by giving herself to God and accepting God's gift within herself. 120

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

490 ... in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly born by God's grace.

494 ... giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus.

511 The Virgin Mary "cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation." (LG 56) She uttered her yes "in the name of all human nature." (St. Thomas Acquinas, STh III, 30, 1) By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.

Top


KNOWLEDGE

Lumen Gentium, 1964

They [Mary and Joseph] did not understand the words of their Son. 57
pondered in her heart 57

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Entrusted with this precious life of her Child, Mary loved it, and defended it against all dangers. She protected Jesus before and after He was born. 135

Gaudete in Domino, 1975

She grasped, better than all other creatures, that God accomplishes wonderful things: His name is holy, He shows his mercy, he raises up the humble, he is faithful to his promises. #

Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

She received from Him lessons that she kept in her heart. (cf. Lk 2:51) 73

Dives in Misericordia, 1980

Mary, then, is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy. She knows its price; she knows how great it is. 9

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

Mary knows she has conceived and given birth to him "without having a husband," by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the power of the Most High who overshadowed her (cf. Lk. 1:35), just as at the time of Moses and the Patriarchs the cloud covered the presence of God (cf. Ex. 24:16; 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-12). Therefore Mary knows that the Son to whom she gave birth in a virginal manner is precisely that "Holy One," the Son of God, of whom the angel spoke to her. 17

She does not know him as the Father does; and yet she is the first of those to whom the Father "has chosen to reveal him." (cf. Mt. 11:26-27; 1 Cor. 2:11) If though, from the moment of the Annunciation, the Son - whom only the Father knows completely, as the one who begets him in the eternal "today" (cf. Ps. 2:7) -was revealed to Mary, she, his Mother, is in contact with the truth about her Son only in faith and through faith! 17

[lived in same home, "knew" and yet] "And they (Joseph and Mary) did not understand the saying which he spoke to them." (Lk. 2:48-50) Jesus was aware that "no one knows the Son except the Father" (cf. Mt. 11:27); thus even his Mother, to whom had been revealed most completely the mystery of his divine sonship, lived in intimacy with this mystery only through faith! 17

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Christ is the supreme Teacher, the revealer and the one revealed. It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of "learning him." In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ. (cf. Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13) But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother. 14

Top


HUMAN WEAKNESS AND LIMITATIONS

Lumen Gentium, 1964

subordinate role 62

Mense Maio, 1965

who knows the sufferings and troubles of life here below, the weariness of everyday work, the hardships and privations of poverty, the suffering of Calvary 10

Signum Magnum, 1967

Chosen by God to be the spotless Mother of his only begotten Son, she immediately accepted this role which would tax every ounce of strength in her frail nature [harmony of grace and freedom]. 17

Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

The Gospel teaches us that Mary is sensitive to the needs of men. (Cana) 7

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Her poverty seemed to exclude her. 126

Gaudete in Domino, 1975

Not that the apparent course of her life in any way departs from the ordinary, but she meditates on the least signs of God, pondering them in her heart. 48
Not that she is in any way spared sufferings: she stands, the mother of sorrows 48

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[limitations] The birth had taken place in conditions of extreme poverty. 16

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

The angels greeting: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lk 1:28) created an inner turmoil in Mary and also moved her to reflect. Then the messenger reassured the Virgin and at the same time revealed God's special plan for her: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus." (Lk 1:30-32) 2

[Joseph] did not know how to deal with Mary's "astonishing" motherhood. 3

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

The revelation of his mystery as the Son wholly dedicated to his Father's affairs proclaims the radical nature of the Gospel, in which even the closest of human relationships are challenged by the absolute demands of the Kingdom. Mary and Joseph, fearful and anxious, "did not understand" his words. (Lk 2:50) 20

The Rosary selects certain moments from the Passion, inviting the faithful to contemplate them in their hearts and to relive them. The sequence of meditations begins with Gethsemane, where Christ experiences a moment of great anguish before the will of the Father, against which the weakness of the flesh would be tempted to rebel. There Jesus encounters all the temptations and confronts all the sins of humanity, in order to say to the Father: "Not my will but yours be done." (Lk 22:42 and parallels) ... the Lord is cast into the most abject suffering: Ecce homo! ... The sorrowful mysteries help the believer to relive the death of Jesus, to stand at the foot of the Cross beside Mary, to enter with her into the depths of God's love for man and to experience all its life-giving power. 22

Top


HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Lumen Gentium, 1964

faithfully persevered 58

Signum Magnum, 1967

her enduring and ardent love 19
Loyally and steadfastly she carried out her new role. 19

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

the brave young woman who could face and accept the hidden future bound up with being Virgin Mother of the Messiah 143

[Cana] We see her quick grasp of the situation, her concern over the embarrassment of the young couple, her willingness to make compassionate intercession. "She was moved by pity, and her intercession brought about the beginning of miracles by Jesus the Messiah." (LG 58) 36

Because... Mother of all the living, ... guardian of the child in the womb, ... the child that enters this earth alive. More than any other person, the Blessed Mother understood that the beginning of human life is attributable to God's creative love, as well as to the parents' action. 135


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[human dignity] In creating man, God gives him the dignity of the image and likeness of himself in a special way as compared with all earthly creatures. Moreover, in his desire to give, God gives himself in the Son, notwithstanding man's sin: "He so loved the world that he gave his only Son." (Jn. 3:16) Mary is the first witness of this marvelous truth, which will be fully accomplished through "the works and words" (cf. Acts 1:1) of her Son and definitively through his Cross and Resurrection. 27 [See also 45]


Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

In response to what is clearly the plan of God, with the passing of days and weeks Mary's "pregnancy" is visible to the people and to Joseph; she appears before them as one who must give birth and carry within herself the mystery of motherhood. 2

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SOCIAL DIMENSION (MARY AND WOMEN ...)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

She is at the same time also united to all those who are to be saved. 53

By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth. 62

Signum Magnum, 1967

From that moment [Annunciation] she devoted herself wholly to serving not only her heavenly Father and the Incarnate Word, but also the whole human race. 17
whole life [and in heaven]... was one of loving service 21

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Mary was the person who acted on behalf of "the total remnant"; she stood out among the Lord's Poor and lowly who looked for salvation. 18

She is the greatest among the "lowly and poor of the Lord," whose trust in Him brings the abundant harvest. 126

Her poverty seemed to exclude her Son from the Davidic inheritance, but Jesus was the promised "Son of David." 126

Her example of concern for others, as shown at the wedding feast of Cana, will exercise its gentle influence. 137

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[ See section on "Right Measure" ]

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[Many features described are relational in context, these are not specifically graphed here.]
Mary "by her maternal charity, cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy homeland." (LG 62) 40

[faith, entrustment] This Marian dimension of Christian life takes on special importance in relation to women and their status. In fact, femininity has a unique relationship with the Mother of the Redeemer. [invites to further study, see also the topic "femininity"] 46

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

The subject of "Mary and women" has been treated many times, but it is susceptible of many different approaches, and it is a long way from being exhausted and from yielding its finest fruits; and it awaits further developments. 15 [See more under V.]

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

"... We see that at the beginning of the New Testament, as at the beginning of the Old, there is a married couple. But whereas Adam and Eve were the source of evil which was unleashed on the world, Joseph and Mary are the summit from which holiness spreads allover the earth. The Savior began the work of salvation by this virginal and holy union, wherein is manifested his all-powerful will to purify and sanctify the family that sanctuary of love and cradle of life." [Paul VI] 7

He dwelt among men, within the surroundings of the Holy Family of Nazareth one of many families in this small town in galilee, one of the many families of the land of Israel. 15

Together with human nature, all that is human, and especially the family as the first dimension of man's existence in the world is also taken up in Christ. Within this context, Joseph's human fatherhood was also "taken up" in the mystery of Christ's Incarnation. 21

On the basis of this principle, [above], the words which Mary spoke to the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple take on their full significance: "Your father and I...have been looking for you." This is no conventional phrase: Mary's words to Jesus show the complete reality of the Incarnation present in the mystery of the Family of Nazareth. 21

Vita Consecrata, 1996

Having lived with Jesus and Joseph in the hidden years of Nazareth, and present at her Son's side at crucial moment of his public life, the Blessed Virgin teaches unconditional discipleship and diligent service. 28

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RELIGIOUS DIMENSION (FAITH, FAITH DEVELOPMENT)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

received Word of God in heart and body 53

outstanding model in faith and charity 53

blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation 57

The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith 58

cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity 61

a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ [divine virtue is meant] 63

Through her faith and obedience she gave birth...in the manner of a new Eve who placed her faith...in God's messenger without wavering in doubt 63

Signum Magnum, 1967

"pilgrimage of faith" [LG 58] which she once made 11

[we observe] her unshakable faith, her ready obedience, her simple humility, her joyous praise of the Lord, her ardent love, the brave and steadfast performance of her duty 20

who always adapted herself to God's will 23

[Augustine] "Mary was more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ than in conceiving the body of Christ....Her motherly closeness to Christ would have meant nothing if she had not carried Christ more happily in her heart than in her womb." [ftn 42: Serm 215, 1: PL 38, 1074] 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Believing and obeying, she brought forth... (LG 63) 5

The Holy Spirit led the Second Vatican Council to describe our Lady's life on earth as a pilgrimage of faith. 12 [See also 77 ]
Her faith opened the way for Jesus to perform His salvific mission. 15

For St. Luke and St. John the Mother of Jesus is the typical, the perfect believer. 20

Salvation comes through Mary's flesh, through Mary's faith. 27

The episode of the Annunciation concludes with a double tribute to Mary's faith. 28 [also see 69]

Her maternal "yes" was also her act of faith. 28

Abraham, our father in faith, can teach us much about Mary, our mother in faith. 30 [More on the Abraham-Mary parallel: 31-33]

In the strength of her faith, Mary consents to the merciful Father's invitation, and in the power of the Spirit becomes the Mother of Jesus, Son of God in human flesh. 33 [See also 71]

[Cana] It is striking that no sign is done to help Mary believe. The Mother of Jesus requires no miracle to strengthen her faith. At her Son's word, before "this first of his signs," she shows her faith. 35 [See also 69]

The Gospels portray her as a woman who walked by faith from the time of the Annunciation to Pentecost.... In the Scriptures, "faith" means surrender of heart and body as well as of mind and intellect. 69

woman of faith 106

Through her faith and love, Mary's maternity reached out to include all the members of her Son's Mystical Body. 115

Her humble circumstances left little choice but to accept what life brought, but her splendid obedience made her an associate of her Son's saving work. 126

As a woman of faith, she inspires all mothers to transmit the Christian faith to their children. 137

Mary's obedience to God [inspires children] 137

Mary's obedience to the Law and to the traditional prayer life of her people. This is evident, for example, in her annual trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. Faithful to the Law of Moses, the holy couple brought Jesus to the temple, His Father's house, for the presentation. Such obedience was the flower of Mary's faith. Because of it, God found her worthy to be the Mother of His Son. 137

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[As model of the Church's response, esp. in the liturgy]
the attentive Virgin, who receives the word of God with faith, that faith which in her case was the gateway and path to divine motherhood. [paragraph discusses Mary's faith using Augustine's quote, Lk 1:34-37, Lk 1:38, Lk 1:45, Lk 2:19, 51] 17

the Virgin in prayer... in the visit to the mother of the precursor, when she pours out her soul in expressions glorifying God, and expressions of humility, faith and hope. This prayer is the Magnificat (cf. Lk. 1:46-55), Mary's prayer par excellence, the song of the messianic times in which there mingles the joy of the ancient and the new Israel. [quotes Irenaeus' analogy to Abraham's rejoicing, Cana, Pentecost] 18

the Virgin-Mother - she who "believing and obeying ... brought forth on earth the Father's Son. This she did, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit." (LG 63) 19

the Virgin presenting offerings [in the Temple, on Calvary] 20

[The Fathers] attributed to the Spirit the faith, hope and charity that animated the Virgin's heart, the strength that sustained her acceptance of the will of God, and the vigor that upheld her in her suffering at the foot of the cross. (Paulus Diaconus) 26

[See also 35, she is held up as example of one who fully and responsibly accepted the will of God]

her holiness, already full at her Immaculate Conception yet increasing all the time as she obeyed the will of the Father and accepted the path of suffering (cf. Lk. 2:34-35, 41-52; Jn. 19:25-27), growing constantly in faith, hope and charity. 56

Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

And it is wonderful that, just as Mary awaited with faith the coming of the Lord, so also in this last part of the second millennium she should be present to illuminate our faith as we await this "advent." 4

Gaudete in Domino, 1975

manifests her joy before her cousin Elizabeth who celebrates her faith #

Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986

The Holy Spirit, who with his power overshadowed the virginal body of Mary, bringing about in her the beginning of her divine Motherhood, at the same time made her heart perfectly obedient to that self-communication of God which surpassed every human idea and faculty. "Blessed is she who believed!" (Lk 1:45) thus Mary is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth, herself "full of the Holy Spirit." (cf. Lk 1:41) In the words of greeting addressed to her "who believe" we seem to detect a distant (but in fact very close) contrast with all those about whom Christ will say that "they do not believe." (cf. Jn 16:9) Mary entered the history of the salvation of the world through the obedience of faith. And faith, in its deepest essence, is the openness of the human heart to the gift: to God's self-communication in the Holy Spirit 51

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[Note: pilgrimage of faith - Mary/Church - is the central mark of this document]

[the Church] proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary, who "advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and loyally persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross." (LG 58) 2 [See also 5; LG 52]

The pilgrimage of faith indicates the interior history, that is, the story of souls. But it is also the story of all human beings, subject here on earth to transitoriness, and part of the historical dimension. 6

Her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the Church. 6

The pilgrimage of faith no longer belongs to the Mother of the Son of God: glorified at the side of her Son in heaven, Mary has already crossed the threshold between faith and that vision which is "face to face." (I Cor. 13:12) 6

[Article 13 discusses "obedience of faith."] "'The obedience of faith' (Rom. 16:26; cf. Rom. 1:5; 2 Cor. 10:5-6) must be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man entrusts his whole self freely to God." (DV 5) This description of faith found perfect realization in Mary. 13

And--as the Fathers of the Church teach--she conceived this Son in her mind before she conceived him in her womb: precisely in faith! (LG 53) 13

[Article 14 discusses Mary/Abraham parallel] Just as Abraham "in hope believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations" (cf. Rom. 4:18), so Mary, at the Annunciation, having professed her virginity ("How shall this be, since I have no husband?") believed that through the power of the Most High, by the power of the Holy Spirit. she would become the Mother of God's Son in accordance with the angel's revelation: "The child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God." (Lk. 1:35) 14 [See also 26]

To believe means "to abandon oneself" to the truth of the word of the living God, knowing and humbly recognizing "how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways." (Rom. 11:33) Mary, who by the eternal will of the Most High stands, one may say, at the very center of those "inscrutable ways" and "unsearchable judgments" of God, conforms herself to them in the dim light of faith, accepting fully and with a ready heart everything that is decreed in the divine plan. 14

Although through faith she may have perceived in that instant that she was the mother of the "Messiah-King," nevertheless she replied: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Lk. 1:38) 15 [See also 26]

bears within herself the radical "newness" of faith: the beginning of the New Covenant. ... [yet also] a particular heaviness of heart, linked with a sort of "night of faith"- to use the words of St. John of the Cross - a kind of "veil" through which one has to draw near to the Invisible One and to live in intimacy with the mystery. 17

Standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary is the witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words. [Son, Savior]. 18

Through this faith Mary is perfectly united with Christ in his self-emptying ... At the foot of the Cross Mary shares through faith in the shocking mystery of this self-emptying. This is perhaps the deepest "kenosis" of faith in human history. 18

In the expression "Blessed is she who believed," we can therefore rightly find a kind of "key" which unlocks for us the innermost reality of Mary, whom the angel hailed as "full of grace." If as "full of grace" she has been eternally present in the mystery of Christ, through faith she became a sharer in that mystery in every extension of her earthly journey. 19

In the Upper Room Mary's journey meets the Church's journey of faith. 26 [reasons]

 Some had been called by Jesus gradually from the beginning of his mission in Israel [but] Mary did not directly receive this apostolic mission. She was not among those whom Jesus sent "to the whole world to teach all nations" (cf. Mt. 28:19) when he conferred this mission on them. 26

 [However] she was in the Upper Room, where the Apostles were preparing to take up this mission with the coming of the Spirit of Truth: she was present with them. In their midst Mary was "devoted to prayer" as the "mother of Jesus" (cf. Acts 1: 13-14) [and she] a unique witness to the mystery of Jesus. 26

Thus, from the very first moment, the Church "looked at" Mary through Jesus, just as she "looked at" Jesus through Mary [for infancy and hidden life, but most of all because] she was the first to believe. 26

 She followed him [from Annunciation to Upper Room]. 26

 It is precisely Mary's faith which marks the beginning of the new and eternal Covenant of God with man in Jesus Christ; this heroic faith of hers "precedes" the apostolic witness of the Church, and ever remains in the Church's heart, hidden like a special heritage of God's revelation. 27

 All those who from generation to generation accept the apostolic witness of the Church share in that mysterious inheritance, and in a sense share in Mary's faith. 27

 It is a faith that is passed on simultaneously through both the mind and the heart. It is gained or regained continually through prayer. 28 [See more in this paragraph] [See 42]

Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988

Behold the agony of the heart of the Mother who suffered together with him, "consenting to the immolation of this victim which she herself had brought forth." Here we reach the high point of Mary's presence in the mystery of Christ and of the Church on earth. This high point is on the path of the "pilgrimage of faith" to which we make special reference in the Marian Year. (RM 33) 2

Dear Brothers: who more than we has an absolute need of a deep and unshakable faith - we, who by virtue of the apostolic succession begun in the Upper Room celebrate the sacrament of Christ's sacrifice? We must therefore constantly deepen our spiritual bond with the Mother of God who on the pilgrimage of faith "goes before" the whole People of God. 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

The Council teaches that Mary advanced in her pilgrimage of faith through her perfect union with her Son unto the cross and goes before, presenting herself in an eminent and singular way to the whole People of God, which follows the same path, in the footsteps of Christ in the Holy Spirit. Should not we priests unite ourselves with her in a special way, we who as pastors of the Church must also lead the communities entrusted to us along the path which from the Upper Room of Pentecost follows Christ throughout human history? 7

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

accepting with faith the message of the Angel (cf. LG 57,61) 7

Full of faith in the promise of the Son (cf. LK 24:49), the Virgin is present, praying in the midst of the community of disciples. (LG 59) 21

The Encyclical Redemptoris Mater confirms the Christological and ecclesiological approach to Mariology that clearly reveals the wide range of its contents. 17

Through a prolonged meditation on the exclamation of Elizabeth, "Blessed is she who believed," (Lk 1:45) the Holy Father thoroughly studies the multiple aspects of the "heroic faith" of the Virgin, which he considers " a kind of key which unlocks for us the innermost reality of Mary," (LG 19) and he illustrates the "maternal presence" of the Virgin in the pilgrimage of faith according to two lines of thought, one theological, the other pastoral and spiritual. 17

To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

the Mother of God as the one who "precedes" the People of God in the pilgrimage of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. (LG 58, 63) 1

At the Visitation, Elizabeth, Mary's kinswoman, called her blessed because of her faith: "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Lk 1:45) 3

The Marian Year has become the time for a unique "pilgrimage" in the footsteps of her who "precedes" the whole People of God in the pilgrimage of faith: she precedes each individual and everyone together. 37

Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

These words were the guiding thought of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, in which I sought to deepen the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which stated: "The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the cross," [LG 58] "preceding" [LG 61] all those who follow Christ by faith. 4

Now at the beginning of this pilgrimage, the faith of Mary meets the faith of Joseph. 4

One can say that what Joseph did united him in an altogether special way to the faith of Mary. 4

One can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God, and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary's "pilgrimage of faith." 5

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Faith of Mary: 144, 148, 149, 165, 273, 494, 506, 511, 534, 964, 967, 968, 972, 2617, 2622, 2719 [BB]

148 The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that "with God nothing will be impossible" and so giving her assent: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." (Lk 1:37-38; cf. Gen 18:14) Elizabeth greeted her: "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Lk 1:45) It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed. (cf. Lk 1:48)

149 Throughout her life and until her last ordeal (cf. Lk 2:35) when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God's word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.

165 It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who "in hope...believed against hope"; (Rom 4:18) to the Virgin Mary, who, in "her pilgrimage of faith," walked into the "night of faith" (LG 58) in sharing the darkness of her son's suffering and death; and to so many others: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." (Heb 12:1-2)

273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ's power. (cf. 2 Cor 12:9; Phil 4:13) The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that "nothing will be impossible with God," and was able to magnify the Lord: "For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." (Lk 1:37, 49)

490 In order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly born by God's grace.

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that "with God nothing will be impossible": "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." (Lk 1:28-38) Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace: (cf. LG 56) [see continuation]

As St. Irenaeus says, "Being obedient, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race." Hence, not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert...: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith." Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary "the Mother of the living" and frequently claim: "Death through Eve, life through Mary." (LG 56, etc)

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith "unadulterated by any doubt," and of her undivided gift of herself to God's will. (LG 63; cf. 1 Cor 7:34-35) It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Savior: "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ." (Augustine)

Vita Consecrata, 1996

You who did the will of the Father, ever ready in obedience, courageous in poverty and receptive in fruitful virginity 112

Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001

Together, we must all imitate the contemplation of Mary, who returned home to Nazareth from her pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem, treasuring in her heart the mystery of her Son (cf. Lk 2:51). 59

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Contemplating the scenes of the Rosary in union with Mary is a means of learning from her to "read" Christ, to discover his secrets and to understand his message. This school of Mary is all the more effective if we consider that she teaches by obtaining for us in abundance the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even as she offers us the incomparable example of her own "pilgrimage of faith." (Lg 58) 14

As we contemplate each mystery of her Son's life, she invites us to do as she did at the Annunciation: to ask humbly the questions which open us to the light, in order to end with the obedience of faith: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38). 11

Another mystery of light is the first of the signs, given at Cana (cf. Jn 2:1- 12), when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers. 21

The Rosary is at the service of this ideal; it offers the "secret" which leads easily to a profound and inward knowledge of Christ. We might call it Mary's way. It is the way of the example of the Virgin of Nazareth, a woman of faith, of silence, of attentive listening. 24

Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003

Mysterium fidei! If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition. 54

Deus Caritas Est, 2003

She knows that she will only contribute to the salvation of the world if, rather than carrying out her own projects, she places herself completely at the disposal of God's initiatives. 41

Mary is a woman of faith: “Blessed are you who believed”, Elizabeth says to her (cf. Lk 1:45). 41

Here we see how completely at home Mary is with the Word of God, with ease she moves in and out of it. She speaks and thinks with the Word of God; the Word of God becomes her word, and her word issues from the Word of God. Here we see how her thoughts are attuned to the thoughts of God, how her will is one with the will of God. 41


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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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