SUNDAY
July 2, 2006
vol. 17, no. 171

Theotokos, the God-Bearer

        The Visitation is a reminder of the reason why Mary is so necessary in what her divine Son says, "Knock and it shall be opened to you." Jesus is the Door, His Blessed Mother as Mediatrix and CoRedemptrix holds the key to the Door for she is the Portal to beholding the Beatific Vision. With that kind of joy we should leap, as the Baptist did, at the opportunity to grow in grace so we can be assured our visitation to Heaven will be in perpetuity.

    "See her in your mind's eye, in your spirit, our Immaculate Mother, filled with the Holy Spirit, reaching out to you with heavenly gifts and graces. They are yours for the asking. Don't be afraid to go to her, to contemplate her spiritual beauty - she comes as she came to Elizabeth, 'full of grace,' bringing Jesus with her. She is accompanied by the Holy Ghost, with Whose Divine presence we are filled, like St. Elizabeth, and we leap for joy in our spirits, like St. John the Baptist in his mother's womb."

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost, which this year is superseded by the Feast of the Visitation, he focuses on this joyful mystery when Elizabeth immediately recognized Mary as Theotokos - the Greek word for Bearer of God. Thus she is the Mother of God. Even the child in Elizabeth's womb recognized this truth - having been granted the grace to identify God even before both were physically born. More proof of the fact that life begins at conception and that abortion during any part of the pregnancy cycle is murder. What greater attribute to motherhood than these two holy women with child embracing in all Christian love and fidelity? Father shares the truth of Sacred Scripture passages and the teachings of several saints who confirm the importance of the Visitation in affirming Mary as Theotokos and our heavenly Mother as well. Father refutes through these holy saints those who do not follow what Christ wills, those who dismiss Mary as a Catholic fable or think Mary is not necessary for salvation. She is very necessary as Father points out in his sermon. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]


    When the Blessed Virgin Mary hurried through the hills of Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth she had just entertained a visit from the Angel Gabriel. Fresh in her mind were his words: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28). She had given her consent, her "Fiat", and was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, conceiving the Son of God in her womb. Upon hearing her words of greeting Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:42,43).

    By her Fiat Mary consented to being the Mother of the Savior, and to all that was implied in being such. Her future role in the Church was immediately foreshadowed by what transpired as she arrived at the home of her cousin. Her words of greeting mediated, like a sacrament, the grace of the Holy Spirit from her Divine Son to Elizabeth, and the child John the Baptist in her womb: "For the moment that your greeting sounded in my ears the infant in my womb leapt for joy" (Luke 1:44). This was the sanctification of the child John through the presence of the Holy One, Jesus Christ and the grace of the Holy Ghost. Some thirty years later John would baptize in the Jordan waters Him by Whom he had been sanctified.

    Many see the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as limited to her human function of childbearing, failing to grasp the spiritual dimension of her motherhood. They blasphemously assert that she and St. Joseph had other children, citing Scripture passages that speak of the brothers and sisters of Jesus, which actually means other close relatives like cousins. We could ask, if Mary and Joseph had other children, where were they when the Child Jesus accompanied His parents to Jerusalem at the age of twelve? And especially where were they when Jesus entrusted His Mother to the disciple John moments before His death on the Cross. It would have been the right and the duty of His brothers and sisters to take care of their Mother.

    Mary, of course, was the Ever-Virgin Mother of God's only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. No man, especially her chaste and holy spouse, St. Joseph, would have the temerity to touch the holy, immaculate and Ever-Virgin Mary. She herself told us, "I do not know man" (Luke 1:34). But not being the natural mother of other children allowed Mary to become "mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). We are children of Eve in the order of nature; we are children of Mary in the order of grace.

    We see that Mary acted as an intermediary between her Divine Son and St. Elizabeth, or, as we say more familiarly, a Mediatrix. This was only the beginning of her role in the Church as the Spouse of the Holy Ghost and "Theotokos," the God-Bearer, a living Tabernacle bringing God to us. St. Elizabeth was the first to call Mary "Mother of my Lord," (Luke 1:43). St. Ephraim the Syrian comments: "It is essential for us to confess that the holy Ever-Virgin Mary is actually Theotokos (Birth-giver of God), so as not to fall into blasphemy. For those who deny that the Holy Virgin is actually Theotokos are no longer believers, but disciples of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (To John the Monk).

    Blessed Peter Julian Eymard explains: "Mankind was unworthy to receive the Word directly from God, so Mary was our Mediatrix in the Incarnation, and she continues to exercise that function. No one comes to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and embraces His holy law except through her; no one obtains the saving gift of faith except by her prayers. Her mission, to which she is ever faithful, is to give us Jesus. He must be received from her hands, and in vain do we seek Him elsewhere."

    St. Louis de Montfort agrees: "To Mary, His faithful spouse, God the Holy Ghost has communicated His unspeakable gifts; and He has chosen her to be the dispensatrix of all He possesses, in such sort that she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills and when she wills, all His gifts and graces. The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which does not pass through her virginal hands."

    And St. Alphonsus: "God, who gave us Jesus Christ, wills that all graces that have been, that are, and will be dispensed to men to the end of the world through the merits of Jesus Christ, should be dispensed by the hands and through the intercession of Mary" (The Glories of Mary).

    "All the saints," says St. John Vianney, "have a great devotion to Our Lady: no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the doorkeeper. Well, the Holy Virgin is the doorkeeper of Heaven."

    By contemplating the beauty of our Holy Mother, our glorious Queen, we learn to aspire to noble things, heroic things, heavenly things, things the world cannot understand because it is immersed in the carnal pleasures of this world that are offensive to God. We must resolve to live without sin, "For perverse counsels separate a man from God, and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy; because into a soul that plots evil wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin" (Wisdom 1:3,4).

    See her in your mind's eye, in your spirit, our Immaculate Mother, filled with the Holy Spirit, reaching out to you with heavenly gifts and graces. They are yours for the asking. Don't be afraid to go to her, to contemplate her spiritual beauty - she comes as she came to Elizabeth, "full of grace," bringing Jesus with her. She is accompanied by the Holy Ghost, with Whose Divine presence we are filled, like St. Elizabeth, and we leap for joy in our spirits, like St. John the Baptist in his mother's womb.

    With St. Bonaventure we invoke the Holy Mother of God: "The foundations of life in the soul of the just: are to persevere in charity unto the end. Thy grace raises up the poor man in adversity: and the invocation of thy name inspires him with confidence. Paradise is filled with thy tender mercies: and by the fear of thee the infernal enemy is confounded. He who hopes in thee, will find treasures of peace: and he who invokes thee not in this life, will not attain to the kingdom of God. Grant, O Lady, that we may live in the grace of the Holy Ghost: and lead our souls to a holy end. Amen." (Psalter of the B.V.M., Psalm 86).

Father Louis J. Campbell


    SUNDAY
    July 2, 2006
    vol 17, no. 171
    "Qui legit, intelligat"
    Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons