Monday, April 11, 2011

Hail WHO? Part Six -- Behold, Your Mother

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

We're back to our "Hail WHO? - What Do Catholics Really Believe About Mary." In this sixth installment, we'll continue on with the next passage of my paper which examines the theological concept of Mary as the new Eve. Whenever Jesus refers to his mother, Mary, as 'woman,' he is referring to the woman referred to in Genesis 3:15, the 'protoevangelium' or first gospel in which God declares that "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers." When Jesus calls Mary 'woman,' he is indicating her role as the new Eve -- as Eve was to be mother of all the living but fell, Mary is given the role of mother of all people as Jesus is about to die on the cross, and she restores and gloriously transcends all that was lost through Eve's disobedience. Let's begin!

Open Wide the Gates - Mary as the New Eve

Behold, Your Mother - Mary, Mother of All Peoples 
and Mediatrix of All Graces

"In calling his wife 'Eve' Adam signified her vocation to be 'the mother of the living' (Gn 3,20)." (32) However, although Eve would still be the bearer of physical life for all generations after the Fall, her disobedience led to death's entrance into human history, a death that was both physical and spiritual. The fullness of motherhood, then, was left to be fulfilled by the new Eve promised in the Protoevangelium.

Indeed, "As Eve received natural life from Adam, Mary received spiritual life, the life of grace, through her Son," (33) Jesus Christ, the new Adam. The Church Fathers affirm this by "comparing Mary with Eve, ... call her 'the Mother of the living,' and still more often they say: 'death through Eve, life through Mary.'" (34) Mary accepts a motherhood that will bring forth the fullness of life, a motherhood that embraces profound suffering out of love for the life of the world.

This complete motherhood "is valid only through that of the woman who is ceaselessly in labor and in the joy of childbirth, a figure behind whom all other mothers stand in profile -- from Eve, the mother of the living, to the Church, mother of believers: through the mother of Jesus, Mary our mother (Ap 12)." (35) Indeed, not only does Mary willingly accept the full extent of motherhood in order to give birth to the Church through Christ, but she also gives up her maternal rights out of submission to the will of the Father and in this way allows a spiritual birth as the fruit born of deeply suffering with her Son. Pius XII, in his Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis, says of Mary:
"She it was who, immune from all sin, personal or inherited, and ever more closely united with her Son, offered him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and motherly love, like a new Eve, for all the children of Adam contaminated through this unhappy fall, and thus she, who was the mother of our Head according to the flesh, became a new title of sorrow and glory the spiritual mother of all His members." (36)
Because of Mary's profound union in suffering with her Son on the Cross, it is fitting that from the Cross, Jesus would give Mary, His mother, to John the beloved disciple and to the whole world: "Behold, your mother." (37) As Pope Benedict XV describes, "From the cross, He addressed His own Sorrowful Mother as the 'woman,' and proclaimed her the new Eve, the Mother of all men, for whom He was dying that they might live." (38)

She who suffered with with Christ most intimately as Hid mother now becomes the mother of all people, mediating the graces of His redemption to all of her spiritual children. As Dr, Mark Miravalle describes, "At the cross, her spiritual suffering united to the redemptive sacrifice of her Son, as the New Eve with the New Adam, leads to universal spiritual fruits of the acquisition of graces of the redemption." (39)

Miravalle continues, explaining that "The Redeemer's gift of his own mother as spiritual mother to all humanity leads to the spiritual nourishment from the Mother to her children in the order of grace. This constitutes her role as Mediatrix of all graces which perpetually continues her unique sharing in the one saving mediation of Jesus Christ." (40) Mary's mediation of the graces of Christ's saving work continues even now, as Pope Paul VI explains:
"the blessed Mother of God, the New Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ's members, cooperating with the birth and growth of divine life in the souls of the redeemed." (41)
32. Leon-Dufour, Dictionary of Biblical Theology, p. 370.
33. Novena to the Immaculate Conception. In Treasury of Novenas by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, SVD. p. 203.
34. Lumen Gentium, #56.
35. Leon-Dufour, p. 371.
36. Calkins, p. 68-69.
37. John 19:27
38. Calkins, p. 52
39. Miravalle, Dr. Mark. "Mary Co-redemptrix: A Response to 7 Common Objections." In Mary Co-redemptrix - Doctrinal Issues Today. p. 106.
40. Ibid.
41. Calkins, p. 53.
More coming tomorrow! As always, thanks for stopping by.

Peace and all good,

No comments:

Post a Comment