of the Mass
Latin Mass Text-3rd Sunday
English Mass Text-3rd Sunday
Mary conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
This morning we crowned the
statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary—Our Lady of Fatima. We do this every
year on the first Sunday of May because May is the month dedicated to
her. The crown is a symbol of her motherhood—she is the Mother of
Christ the King.
It is important to understand
that Mary is much more than the mother of the man Jesus Christ. It is
altogether correct to call her the mother of God. In fact, the contrary
opinion—that Mary was only the mother of the human Christ was condemned
by a general council of the Church in 431 A.D. A man named Nestorius,
who was then the bishop of Constantinople, had advanced the theory that
Mary had given birth merely to the human nature of Jesus Christ. His
chief opponent, Saint Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria (in Egypt),
insisted that the two nature's of Jesus Christ, the human and the
divine, were joined together in such a way that they could not be
distinguished. The theologians refer to this as the “hypostatic”
union. God and man are united in the Person of Jesus Christ.
The heretic Nestorius urged the
Emperor Theodosius II to call a council of the bishops to settle his
dispute with Saint Cyril. Over two hundred bishops assembled in the
town of Ephesus in the Church of the Virgin Mary. (Ephesus was very
appropriate as Mary is known to have lived there in the care of Saint
John after the Crucifixion.). The vast majority of bishops agreed with
Saint Cyril, and their decision was ratified by Pope Sixtus III.
Unfortunately, the bishops of Assyria and Persia sided with Nestorius
and broke away from the Catholic Church. They formed a schematic
church, today called the Nestorian church (sometimes called the Assyrian
It is important to note that
when we speak of Mary's divine motherhood, we are absolutely not
claiming that Mary existed before God and before creation! Mary was a
created being, as are all of God's creatures. Although she had been
part of God's plan of creation from all eternity, she was born of two
normal parents just shortly before the Christian era. Her conception by
these parents was unique, as she was conceived without original sin.
She would remain forever sinless,. But otherwise she was a normal child
of her era. Normal, yet exceptionally humble. In fact it is said that
her humility was so strong that it was what drew God down from heaven.
We know from Sacred Scripture
that God was, indeed, drawn down to Mary, so that the Second Person of
the Blessed Trinity might take His human form from her:
Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall
overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee
shall be called the Son of God.
Thus Jesus Christ was born—true
God and true man—without any human father—taking His human substance
entirely from the Blessed Mother, who remained forever a virgin.
The Church has defined that Mary
was the Mother of God (Ephesus [Dz113]), was ever‑Virgin
(Constantinople II [Dz 214]), was conceived without sin (Pope Pius IX [Dz 1641],
and was taken body and soul into Heaven (Pius XII [Dz 2333]). These are
often referred to as “the four Marian dogmas.”
There is a tradition in the
Church that Mary can also be called “co‑Redemptorix,” and “Mediatrix of
all Graces,” About nine years ago (2008) a small group of cardinals
petitioned Pope Benedict XVI to declare Mary to be:
Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the co-redemptrix with Jesus the
redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and
advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.”
A number of reasons for delaying
the proclamation have been advanced.
To me they all sound like infighting between various theologians and
apparition devotees—and, probably, a hope of not “offending” the
Protestants. We already have Masses in the Roman Missal
acknowledging Mary as “Mediatrix of all Graces,” “Help of Christians,”
and “Mother of Perpetual Help.” It is a commonplace that “Mary is the
second Eve,” and thus the “spiritual mother of all humanity.” No one
denies that Mary suffered immensely at the Crucifixion as she watched
her Son be crucified in the flesh—flesh which she had a very real claim
to being her own.” History reminds us that Mary has been our advocate
down through the centuries—beginning with the bridal couple at Cana, the
encouragement of Saint James at a pillar in Spain, lifting the siege of
Benevento in 663, the protection of Constantinople from the Moslems in
911, her work to ransom captives beginning in 1218, the conversion of
Aztec savages in the 1530s, the naval victory at Lepanto in 1571 and the
land battle at Vienna in 1683.
In more modern times we can
point to the miracles at Lourdes and Fatima as examples of Mary’s
advocacy—the first miracle healing the sick, and the second miracle
warning Christendom of the errors of Marxism about to be unleased on the
world and predicting the start of the Second World War.
This very year we celebrate the
100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. This Saturday, May 13th is
the anniversary of the first apparition, and I invite as many as
possible of you to attend our 8:00 AM Mass in her honor.
You may know that on October
13th the apparitions ended with thousands of people observing the Sun
dance around at noontime, drying up the pouring rains and healing the
sick—the “Miracle of the Sun.” Even the skeptical, secular, newspaper,
O Sèculo reported “Amazing things: As the sun dances at noon
in Fatima” and printed a picture of the child visionaries.
This year we are told that there
will be an eclipse of the Sun on August 21, the day before the feast of
Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and 54 days before the October anniversary. I
don’t know whether or not the eclipse has any mystical significance—it
may or may not be our “mini‑miracle of the Sun.” But there is a
movement afoot to take those days and begin a 54 day rosary novena in
honor of the Blessed Virgin, begging her intercession for our troubled
world. This “triple novena” consists of saying only 5 decades of the
Rosary each day for 27 days in petition, followed by five decades each
day for 27 days in thanksgiving.
We’ll have a reminder on the
feast of the Assumption (August 15), and I’ll some literature available,
and I will ask everyone in this Parish to join in the 54 day novena
beginning on the day of the eclipse (August 21).
I propose that our petition be
for the return of Christian civilization under Christ the King and Mary
His Queen. Mary is our “co‑redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer,
mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with
Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.”
Mary conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee.”