We are now on part three of the "Hail WHO? -- What Do Catholics Really Believe About Mary" series. In tonight's post, I am going to introduce the theological concept of Mary as the new Eve. I am going to use a paper I wrote called "Open wide the Gates - Mary as the New Eve" to lay the groundwork for this theological explanation of Mary's role in salvation history.
The paper is rather academic (you know, with many sources and footnotes and such), but I think it's pretty easy to read and will introduce some important concepts in Marian theology that are necessary for understanding Catholic Christian teachings on and devotion to Mary. Also, it's is pretty long, so I'll include one section per night until we make our way through it. I thought about holding off on sharing the paper, but since almost every Marian doctrine and dogma can be derived from the image of Mary as the new Eve, I've decided just to bring out the Marian big guns and hope you'll stay with me for the ride. Also, I find the images of Jesus as the new Adam and Mary as the new Eve to be theologically interesting and exciting, and I hope that you will, as well!
The basic idea is this -- just as Eve was instrumental, though secondary in the Fall of the human race, so Mary was instrumental, though secondary in the restoration of grace. And note well, it is through Mary that we receive the saving graces of Christ -- she is never and end in herself, but she also cannot be ignored when God so clearly chose her as an instrument to give birth to the Savior. Her coming was foretold along with Christ's in the beginning.
[Warning: This paper was for a graduate level theology course on Mary, and I use the terms "Co-Redemptrix" and "Mediatrix" at the end of this passage -- the terms will be given more attention and explanation later. I just don't want you to be scared away by the terminology of Mariology (theological study of Mary) that may seem to indicate Mariolatry (idolatrous worship of Mary) if you are unfamiliar with them. By the end of the paper, I think you will find all terms and teachings to be well supported by Scripture and other relevant sources, and please ask questions as we go if you have any.]
Without further ado, let's dive in!
God calls [man] and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevengelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of a final victory of a descendant of hers. (7)
- Genesis 1:27
- St. Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching. #12.
- Genesis 1:1
- Genesis 2:23
- Genesis 3:6
- Genesis 3:15
- Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #410.
- CCC #411.
- St. Irenaeus, Proof, #6.
- St. Irenaeus, Proof, #36.
- Calkins, Rev. Msgr. Arthur Burton. "The Mystery of Mary Coredemptrix in the Papal Magisterium." In Mary Co-redemptrix - Doctrinal Issues Today. 2002. p. 61
- St. Irenaeus, Proof, #12.
- St. Irenaeus, Proof, #32.