Wrapping up what we said
“The capacity to believe” in the Resurrection, we don’t have it. Nobody (except Mary) was capable of believing the Word of God in the Annunciation, nobody was capable of believing the Word of the Son of God saying that He will die and rise. So nobody (except Mary) was waiting for Him, was expecting Him, nobody was there. They all struggled to believe in His Resurrection, even when they saw Him risen, many had doubts (see .
Dear reader, you might find that all this “is normal”. That “He had to rise anyway”. That “anyway He had to do it all by Himself”. Well, with all due respect, this is not totally true.
The Marian dimension of the Church
Let us go back to a very simple (but striking) statement made by Pope John Paul II and, afterward, introduced in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (CCC). “The “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine”” (CCC 773) “Petrine” means: “of Peter”. It alludes to the hierarchical dimension of the Church. But we should ad as well: it alludes to the Apostolic dimension of the Church.
Here is what the Pope John Paul II says about that: “The Second Vatican Council, confirming the teaching of the whole of tradition, recalled that in the hierarchy of holiness it is precisely the “woman”, Mary of Nazareth, who is the “figure” of the Church. She “precedes” everyone on the path to holiness; in her person “the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5:27)”.” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 27)
At this point in this text, there is a “note”, note 55, that says:
“This Marian profile is also – even perhaps more so – fundamental and characteristic for the Church as isthe apostolic and Petrine profile to which it is profoundly united. […] The Marian dimension of the Church is antecedent to that of the Petrine, without being in any way divided from it or being less complementary. The Immaculate Mary precedes all others, including obviously Peter himself and the Apostles. This is so, not only because Peter and the Apostles, being born of the human race under the burden of sin, form part of the Church which is “sancta ex peccatoribus” (holy, but taken from sinners), but also because their triple munus (function) has no other purpose except to form the Church in line with the ideal of sanctity already programmed and prefigured in Mary. A contemporary theologian has well commented: “Mary is ‘Queen of the Apostles’ without any pretensions to apostolic powers: she has other and greater powers” (von Balthasar, Nette Klarstellungen, Ital. transl., Milan 1980, p. 181).” (Annual Address to Roman Curia,
H. H. John Paul II,
December 22, 1987)
All this intuition and understanding of the relationship between the Apostles, the Church and Mary, has been introduced in a more formal way in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” as follows: ““the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine”” (CCC 773).
It looks simple? Maybe. To me, it should be simply mind blowing to everybody. Because it has plenty of consequences in our daily life.
In our name, Elisabeth says to Mary: “blessed is she who believed” (Luke 1:45).
This statement is not at all an isolated statement in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”. In many places the Catechism, you’ll find it speaking about “Mary’s Faith” being the Archetype of the Church’s Faith, it’s perfection. Here are few striking quotes:
“The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. […] It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.” (CCC 148)
“the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.” (CCC 149)
“The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith” (CCC 273)
Mary “because of her faith, became the mother of believers” (CCC 2676)
“The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment [of the obedience of faith].” (CCC 144)
“Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as “the bride without spot or wrinkle. This is why the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine.”” (CCC 773)
“By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus) of the Church.” (967)
I guess you’ve got the message.
Not a matter of degree, but of “another order”
After all, one can think that if Mary “is an exemplary [the best] realisation of the Church” we still have other realisations: Abraham (as stated by the Catechism, see 148 and following), Peter, the rest of the Apostles, the Martyrs, all the Saints. What I was pointing out in the previous posts, is that, while comparing Mary’s faith (and her role in our life) with other saints one (the Apostles for instance), the comparison is not at all a matter of degree. Mary’s faith, belongs to another order.
She belongs to another league: she believes where nobody can believe. It is not that somebody was able to believe a little bit. No. You may want to go back to the previous Blogs in order to perceive that sharp cut, that sharp abyss that separates her from the rest of human kind.
It is certainly related to her Immaculate Conception, related to the fact that before the Cross, but because of the Cross, she is born with no sin, coming in fact from the side of Jesus on the Cross, “New Eve”, as “the First Saved Person”, but as well as “the Mother of all the Saved”. She is made “mother” by Jesus, and with Jesus.
What are the practical consequences of all that? We can’t start to believe, we can’t grow in our Faith to it’s fullness, to the total Hight of Jesus (at the level of His Side, from where we come) without the constant intervention of Mary. We have to draw our “capacity to believe” from Her… better: we have to receive Her from His Hands, as the best Gift: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother”. From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)
We should hear Jesus’ voice to each one of us saying: “here is your mother”, you can’t reach Me without her. She’ll form in you the new “capacity of believing”, she’ll keep you “in her womb”, “in her Heart”, she’ll form you, – you “my Body” – as she formed Me in her.
We need to deeply understand how sharply, radically, vitally it is indispensable to “take Mary into our home”. Our eternal life, its quality, depend on that!
We need to have the humility not to pretend to “follow Jesus” with our own means, but with the help of Mary’s faith. Acknowledging that “she believed for me”, and using this asset, this huge Talent, received in our Baptism in order to grow. We need to discover how deeply we are “helpless” when it comes to follow Jesus till the end, till real-holiness, without the help of Mary.
Her help and presence are not something optional in our life. She is part of the structure itself of our Faith. Her faith becomes our faith (as John Paull II said in his Encyclical letter: “Redemptoris Mater”, 20)). Jesus, in our Baptism, gives us the “object of our faith” (Himself) and “the capacity to believe in Him”.
All what we have to learn is how to “receive her in our home”, in our daily life, receiving the gift of her presence, and using it for our growth.
We need to receive her from the Hands of Jesus, on the Cross, as our “spiritual Mother”.
In order to “receive Mary” in our life, we are invited to offer ourselves totally in Her Hands, to the full Action of the Holy Spirit (she is full of the Holy Spirit). This is what we want: the full action of the Holy Spirit, with no obstacles.
After that, we need constantly to let her act, show, guide, inspire us.
This way, “our poor way” of dealing with Jesus, is transformed into “her way of dealing with Jesus”. We go from a very weak, slow, radically incapable way to deal with Jesus, to a successful way, Mary’s way.
If we want to reach our own resurrection (the Union with Jesus), if we want to reach the fullness of growth of our faith, there are no other ways than Mary’s. Just don’t loose your time with dead-ends.
Please, do keep meditating on how and to which degree Mary’s action in our life is not just an optional thing, and that it is simply possible to do it in another way.
Let us have the right humility in order to accept God’s means, not ours, in order to become saints, in Mary’s womb.
Everybody accepts the fact that faith is a grace of God, something supernatural. Fine, this is right. But let us perfect this statement with the one: “all generations will call you Blessed” because you believed, and because we draw our faith in Jesus from you. Mary, you are truly our mother.
Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1) Jesus gives us “the door” (Mary, full of the Holy Spirit, as our Mother) at the Baptism. The “sheepfold” = “to be with Jesus”. Let us not to try to reach the father out of Jesus’ way: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:16) Jesus is “the way”, He shows us the way inviting us the consider Mary as our Mother, the Woman, the New Eve. He advices us not to try to reach God without Him. “he who climbs in (through the wall) to the sheepfold, that man is a thief and a robber”
Humility, humility, humility.
“Mary, thank you very much for all what you have done for us, for your Active Presence at our side… Help us, Mary, with your all-powerful intercession, to receive you from the Hands of Jesus, and give ourselves totally to Him, in your Hands. Mary, help us discover all the mysteries of our faith and reach our final destination: being united with Jesus-God, in you, with you.”