Day 13. M is for Mary

Marian devotion is one of those aspects of the Faith that tends to weird out a lot of non-Catholics, and even makes some Catholics feel uncomfortable. But for me it just intuitively clicks.

Lumen Gentium, Vatican II’s dogmatic constitution on the Church, devotes its last chapter to Mary, stating,

The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and brought forth life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as truly the mother of God and of the Redeemer. Redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son and united to him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. But, being of the race of Adam, she is at the same time united to all those who are to be saved; indeed, “she is clearly the mother of the members of Christ…since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the church, who are members of its head.” Therefore she is hailed as pre-eminent and as a wholly unique member of the church, and as its exemplar and outstanding model in faith and charity. The catholic church taught by the holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and devotion as a most beloved mother.

Mary, while remaining a mere human, is the spouse of the Holy Spirit and the mother of the Son. That unique relationship with God makes her the queen of heaven, ruling over all the angels and saints. She’s in a league of her own. But this uniqueness helps to underline Christ’s uniqueness. The doctrine of Mary as Theotokos (God-bearer) for instance, implicitly points out that Christ is indeed divine, while the immaculate conception indicates that Christ was formed in the womb of someone who wasn’t fallen in the way we are, etc.

But again I find it intuitively delightful that such a thing is true. Queens, and in particular the paying of homage to one, don’t quite fit into our modern, democratic and egalitarian ideas. But the imagery still holds sway over our imaginations.* There is also, I find, something kind of cool and trippy about an apparently normal peasant girl being exalted to a status of cosmic import.

*And, indeed, thanks to Tolkien we have at least one archetype of the Virgin Mary in our pop culture: Galadriel

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About Josh W

A Catholic; an occasional writer.
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