Pope Addresses Mary in the Mystery of Christ and the Church and the Year of Faith
The faith of Mary precedes us and accompanies us as a brightly burning lamp and as a model of the Christian fullness and maturity
In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. "[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." 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." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #733)
Mary, Mother of the Lord and Mother of the Church
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (Catholic Online) - On Saturday, September 8, 2012, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, the Mother of the Lord, Pope Benedict XVI addressed representatives from an International Marian Congress.
He spoke to them of the profound connection between the mystery of Mary, the mystery of the Church, the hopes he has for the upcoming commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the importance of the upcoming Year of Faith which begins on October 11, 2012.
Below we offer some excerpts from the Holy Father's inspired talk for the prayer, education, edification and reflection of our readers. We also remind you of the special virtual pilgrimage site we offer entitled Mary Mother of God which can be visited daily by clicking here:
Dear brothers and sisters,
With great joy I welcome all of you here to Castel Gandolfo as we near the conclusion of the 23rd International Mariological Marian Congress. It is quite appropriate that you are reflecting on the topic "The Mariology from Council Vatican II: Receipt, result and perspectives" since we will soon be remembering and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of that great assembly on October 11, 1962.
Blessed John XXIII wanted the Vatican Ecumenical Council II to open precisely on October 11, on the same day in which the Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary "Theotokos" Mother of God in 431 (cf. AAS 54, 1962, 67-68). On this occasion he began his address with significant and programmatic words: "Gaudet Mater Ecclesia quod, singulari Divinae providentiae munere, optatissimus iam dies illuxit, quo, auspice Deipara Virgine, cuius materna dignitas hodie festo ritu recolitur, hic ad Beati Petri sepulchrum Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum sollemniter initium capit."
["Mother Church rejoices because, through a special gift of divine Providence, there has now come the greatly desired day in which - under the protection of the Virgin Mother of God, whose maternal dignity is celebrated with joy today - here at the tomb of St. Peter, there solemnly begins the second Vatican Ecumenical Council."]
As you know, on October 11, to remember that extraordinary event, there will be the solemn opening of the Year of Faith, which I wished to announce with the motu proprio "Porta fidei," in which, presenting Mary as an exemplary model of faith, I invoke her special protection and intercession in the Church's journey, entrusting to her, blessed because she believed, this time of grace. Today too, dear brothers and sisters, the Church rejoices in the liturgical celebration of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the All Holy, dawn of our salvation.
The meaning of this Marian feast is explained to us by St. Andrew of Crete, who lived between the seventh and eighth centuries in his famous Homily for the Feast of the Nativity Mary in which the event is presented as a precious piece of the mosaic that is the divine plan for the salvation of humanity:
"The mystery of the God who becomes man, the divinization of man assumed by the Word, represent the most supreme good that Christ has granted us, the revelation of the divine plan and the defeat of every presumptuous human self-sufficiency. God's coming among men, as the brilliant light and clear and visible divine reality, is the great and marvelous divine gift bestowed upon us.
Today's celebration honors the birth of the Mother of God. But the true meaning and purpose of this event is the incarnation of the Word. In fact, Mary is born, nursed and raised to be the Mother of the King of the Ages, of God" (Discourse 1, PG 97, 806-807). This important and ancient witness brings us to the heart of the theme upon which you are reflecting and that Vatican Council II wanted to underscore in the title of chapter 8 of the dogmatic constitution on the Church "Lumen gentium":
"The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church." This is the "nexus mysteriorum" of the intimate connection among the mysteries of the Christian faith that the Council indicated as the horizon for the understanding of the individual elements and the different statements of the patrimony of the Catholic faith.
In the Council, in which I took part as an expert when I was a young theologian, I had a chance to see the various ways of dealing with the questions about the figure and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the history of salvation. In the second session of the Council a large group of the fathers asked that Our Lady be treated in the constitution on the Church, while a group of similar size supported the necessity of a specific document that adequately shed light on the dignity, the privileges and the singular role of Mary in the redemption wrought by ...
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