DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     May 3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 86

Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
    INTRODUCTION
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat reminds us all of the month of May and why it is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary for May is Mother Mary's month and all should honor her accordingly as our mother because when we honor her we are giving her Divine Son Jesus the greatest honor we can - paying due respect to His Blessed Mother as various saints have recorded.

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy...

          Mary, what can we say about her? What honors can we give her that our Lord hasn't already? Not even a month is enough to adequately give her a fair understanding.

          God's perfect creation and perfect disciple. She is Eve's counter, a new Eve. She is prefigured in Sarah, the mother of Ishmael and Isaac. Her role is hinted at with King Solomon's mother. She is the most favored daughter of the Father, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and first and foremost, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. The Theotokos.

          Martin Luther even said, "God says….'Mary's Son is My only Son.' (and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."[Lk. 3:21-22]) Thus Mary is the Mother God."

          In that Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity, she is the mother of God. This simple fact is the basis and most fundamental teaching about Mary.

          Vatican II teaches: "The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth." (LUMEN GENTIUM; Chapter VIII The Blessed Virgin Mary; Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church; I. Introduction; #53)

          Because of this special and unique relationship she is owed honor, being that she " far surpasses all creatures, both in Heaven and on earth." " At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved." (Ibid) So her honor does not reach the same level of honor and devotion owed to God. St. Thomas Aquinas calls this honor hyperdulia whereas the honor we give to God is Latria. (The saints are giving an honor called dulia)

          We should honor Mary, especially since Christ Himself exhorted us to. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you." (Exodus 20:12)

          Is it likely that Christ would break His own Commandment? So if Christ honored His mother, so should we.

          This can be seen at the wedding feast at Cana. "When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to Him, 'They have no wine.' And Jesus said to her, 'O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever He tells you.'" (John 2:3-5)

          Note that our Lord performed His first public miracle at her request. Even though His hour had not yet come.

          Even her older cousin honored her, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. "and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:41-43).

          Is Mary the mother of Elizabeth's husband? The mother of the king? The mother of Caesar? Or Elizabeth's father? No, of course not. But Elizabeth calls her the mother of her Lord. The Mother of God.

          St. Irenaeus (+202 A.D.), bishop of Lyons and pupil of Polycarp, St. John's disciple, wrote; "The Virgin Mary being obedient to His Word, received from the angel the glad tidings that she would bear God."

          St. Alexander (+328 A.D.), bishop of Alexandria, wrote, "Jesus Christ . . . bore a body not in appearance but in truth, derived from the Mother of God."

          St. Athanasius (+373 A.D.) wrote, "the Word begotten of the Father on high" who "inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly and eternally, is he that is born in time here below, of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God."

          St. Gregory of Nazianz (+382 A.D.), bishop of Constantinople, wrote, "If anyone does not agree that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead."

          And lastly (though there are many more), St. Cyril of Alexandria wrote, "I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the Holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if Our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the Holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?"

          St. Paul tells us: "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit….. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (1 Corinthians 12:12-12;27).

          If then the Church is the Body of Christ, then Mary is our Mother as well. If we, as Christians, are sons and daughters of the Father, and brothers and sisters of Christ, then, again, she is our mother. And as she cared and loved her Son, our Lord, so too she cares and loves us. It's been said that just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so too does Mary reflect the light of her Son.

          "Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! You did enclose in your sacred womb the One Who cannot be encompassed. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! With the shepherds we sing the praise of God, and with the angels the song of thanksgiving _ Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will! Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! Through you came to us the Conqueror and triumphant Vanquisher of hell." (St. Cyril)

          To honor the mother is to honor the Son.

      Pax Christi, Pat

May 3, 1999       volume 10, no. 86
VIEW FROM THE PEW

DAILY CATHOLIC

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