TODAY'S BIBLE VERSE:
BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a woman. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honor as Mother of God. From the Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater encyclical the Virgin Mary has come to be seen, not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church.
As the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary has a central role in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic veneration of her as the Blessed Virgin Mary has grown over time both in importance and manifestation, not only in prayer but in art, poetry and music. Popes have encouraged this veneration but from time to time have also taken steps to reform it. Overall, there are significantly more titles, feasts and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than any other Christians traditions.
The key role of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic
beliefs, her veneration, and the growth of Roman Catholic Mariology have not only come about by official
statements made in Rome but have often been driven from the ground up, by the Marian writings of the saints and from the masses of believers, and at times
via reported Marian
apparitions to young and
simple children on remote hilltops, which have then influenced the higher
levels of the Holy See via sensus
fidei. The Holy See continues to approve of Marian apparitions on remote mountains, the latest approval being
as recent as May 2008. Some
apparitions such as Fatima have given rise to Marian Movements and
Societies with millions
of members, and many other Marian
societies exist around the world.
The Catholic veneration of Mary is basd on two aspects: the workings of God who made a virgin the Mother of God, and the biblical view of Mary as the selected maiden of the Lord who is greeted by the angel Gabriel and Elisabeth and praised. God's work is further illuminated in the Marian dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church such as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, the factual basis of both taking place in apostolic time and are, in the Roman Catholic view, part of the apostolic tradition and divine revelation.
Mysteries of Christ and Mary
In Roman Catholic teachings, the veneration of Mary is a logical and necessary consequence of Christology: Jesus and Mary are son and mother, redeemer and redeemed. This sentiment echoed loudly through Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rose on March 25, 1987 as Pope John Paul II delivered his encyclical Redemptoris Mater and said:
At the center of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: "To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator"
In the Roman Catholic tradition Mariology is Christology developed to its full potential. Mary and her son Jesus are very close but not identical in Catholic theology. Mary contributes to a fuller understanding of her son, who Christ is and what he did. A Christology without Mary is erroneous in the Roman Catholic view, because it is not based on the total revelation of the Bible. Traces of this parallel interpretation go back to the early days of Christianity and numerous saints have since focused on it.
The development of this approach continued into the 20th century, e.g. in his 1946 publication Compendium Mariologiae, the respected Mariologist Gabriel Roschini explained that Mary not only participated in the birth of the physical Jesus, but, with conception, she entered with him into a spiritual union. The divine salvation plan, being not only material, includes a permanent spiritual unity with Christ. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote
"It is necessary to go back to Mary if we want to return to that "truth about Jesus Christ," "truth about the Church" and "truth about man"
when he suggested a redirection of the whole Church towards the program of Pope John Paul II in order to ensure an authentic approach to Christology via a return to the "whole truth about Mary".
WHO IS MARY?
Mary (Aramaic, Hebrew: מרים, Maryām, Miriam; Arabic:مريم, Maryam), commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of Jesus", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee. She is identified in the New Testament and in Islam as the mother of Jesus through divine intervention. [Mt 1:16, 18-25] [Lk 1:26-56] [2:1-7]
The canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke describe Mary as a virgin (Greek παρθένος, parthénos). Christians and Muslims believe that she conceived her son miraculously by the agency of the Holy Spirit. This took place when she was already betrothed to Saint Joseph and was awaiting the concluding rite of marriage, the formal home-taking ceremony. She married Joseph and accompanied him to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
The New Testament begins its account of Mary's life with the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced her divine selection to be mother of Jesus. Church tradition and early non-biblical writings state that her parents were an elderly couple, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. The Bible records Mary's role in key events of the life of Jesus from his conception to his Ascension. Apocryphal writings tell of her subsequent death and bodily assumption into heaven.
Christians of the Catholic Church,
the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental
Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion believe
that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Mother
of God (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ) and the Theotokos, literally Birthgiver of God. Mary has been an
object of veneration in Christianity since the Apostolic
Age. Throughout the ages she has been a favorite subject in Christian
art, music, and literature.
There is significant diversity in the Marian beliefs and devotional practices of major Christian traditions. The Catholic Church has a number of Marian dogmas, such as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. Catholics refer to her as Our Lady and venerate her as the Queen of Heaven and Mother of the Church.
Islam regards Mary as the virgin mother of Jesus who they believe was one of
the prophets. In the Qur'an, Mary
has one of the biggest chapters. She is treated in the Sura Maryam and Al-i imran.