Mary Mediatrix, Spouse of the Spirit of the Divine & Unitive Love of God: A Fresh Approach to Marian Mediation

Mother Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and Mercy

Mother Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and Mercy

by Jayson M. Brunelle

Introduction

In what follows, this author shall attempt to provide a deeper analysis of just how and why Mary, the Mother of Christ, is indeed the Mediatrix of every grace, and that nothing of the vast treasury of God’s Grace – which may be defined as the unmerited gift of participation in God’s own divine, Trinitarian and Family Life, through, with and in Jesus Christ – reaches humanity except through the willed intercession and consent of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

More specifically, it shall be the task of this author to explain this unique Maternal role of the Blessed Virgin in light of her spousal union with the Holy Spirit.  For Mary, not unlike most women in most cultures, assumes the “family name” and “mission” of her spouse.  In the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she too assumes the titles and mission of her Divine Spouse, the Holy Spirit of God, Who is chiefly the “Advocate” and the “Unifying and Binding Principle” as the very “Love of God,” Who, as explained by St. Maximilian Kolbe, must be understood to be the “Un-created Immaculate Conception,” Who is the divine fruit of that perfect reciprocity of love between the Father and the Son.

I Divine Revelation and Mariology

Before delving into the theology of the Holy Spirit and His Spousal relationship with Mary, however, I would be doing the reader a great disservice were I not to proceed according to the traditional theological exposition of some truth (or rather, a series of truths) to which both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the twin-fold source of God’s Divine Revelation, attest.  Moreover, considering the logical, philosophical reality that an effect cannot be greater than it’s cause, and furthermore, considering that the most holy and divine Word of God, that is, the Sacred Canon of individual books, letters, and other writings that comprise the Two Testaments of Holy Scripture could not possibly be what Christians the world over believe and adamantly claim them to be – namely, both “Inspired and Inerrant” – had not their sources – the Biblical authors and the Churchmen who identified and “canonized” the texts, themselves been “Inspired” and prevented from teaching any error regarding anything and everything which pertains to faith and morality. 

The faith that all Christians have in the “Inspired and Inerrant” nature and essence of Sacred Scripture makes absolutely no sense whatever without additionally believing in and attesting to the truth and reality of the existence of an equally inspired “Sacred, Living, Oral Tradition,” which made it possible for the Roman Catholic Bishops to be guided by that Same Spirit of Divine Authorship, in determining which of the multiple texts, letters, books and sundry other writings would, indeed, be incorporated into the Sacred Canon of Inspired and Inerrant Scriptural texts  “Inspired.”  Would it not take Inspiration to know, discern and identify Inspiration?

A proper understanding of the twin-fold source of Divine Revelation as being equally comprised of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition is of paramount importance in the study and comprehension of Mariology, for, many of the sacred “Truths, Dogmas and Doctrines” regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, while present in a seminal form in Sacred Scripture, are not nearly as fleshed out as, say,  the parables of Christ, or other essential elements of the faith.  Now, I’m fully aware that the statement I have just made will be read and filtered with great suspicion and skepticism by numerous of my beloved Protestant Brethren, and I can appreciate that.  My only response is what I’ve already stated above regarding the equality of dignity possessed by Sacred Tradition, pointing out that an effect (such as an “Inspired” Scripture) cannot be greater than its cause (an uninspired Church).

II Sacred Tradition

Dr. Mark Miravalle, Full Professor of Theology and Mariology at Franciscan University, recognized the world over as one of the leading authorities within the field of Mariology, has made tremendous contributions to the literature in this, his field of expertise.  Additionally, as a scholar working in academia, he represents those exceedingly rare theologians who, in truth, “does Theology on his knees.”

Having been so blessed by Our Lord and Our Lady as to have studied under Miravalle,  during my tenure at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH, I have witnessed his genuine piety and deep humility, the latter being a character trait that is almost never seen amongst college professors. It is evident that  Miravalle is living the life of a saint through his earnest efforts at living his Total Consecration to Jesus, through Mary.

Alas, I digress… The reason for my musings on Dr. Miravalle have to do with the fact that he has done the Church and the world a great service in writing, with such lucidity and depth of comprehension, on this very topic of Mary’s Maternal Mediation, specifically, to save the rest of us the time and effort of having to pour over pages of papal encyclicals, mottus propios, Wednesday Audiences, Papal Anguleses, and so on and so forth.  In a small booklet of no more than 42 pages that he wrote for the Marian Movement of Priests, he lists all of the instances when Popes of the 20th Century have referred to Mary as  “Mediatrix.”  This list is no small feat, and speaks to the consistency and repetition necessary to raise a certain teaching of the faith to the level of official Catholic “doctrine,” to which all the faithful must give full assent of intellect and will, as a divinely revealed truth, contained in the “Deposit of the Faith.”  Let us take a look at this impressive display of repetition and consistency in Ordinary Magisterial teaching::

  1. Benedict XIV: “Our Lady is like a celestial stream through which the flow of all graces and gifts reach the soul of all wretched mortals” (Pope Benedict XVI, Op Omnia, v. 16, ed., Prati, 1846, p. 428.
  2. Pius VII: “Dispensatrix of all graces (Pope Pius VII, Ampliatio privilegiorum ecclesiae B. M. Virginis ab angelo salutatae in coenobio Fratrum Ordinis Servorum B.V.M. Floretiae, AD., 1806;  in J. Bourasse, Summa aurea…, V. 7. Paris, 1862, col. 546).
  3. Pius IX: “For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her [are] obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation” (Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Letter, Ubi Primum, 1849).
  4. Pius IX: “With her only-begotton Son, [Mary is] the most powerful Mediatrix and Reconciler of the world (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854).
  5. Leo XIII: “…through whom [Christ] has chosen to be the dispenser of all heavenly graces (Pope Leo XIII, Jucunda semper, 1883).
  6. Leo XIII: “It is right to say that nothing at all of the immense treasury of every grace which the Lord accumulated – for “grace and truth come from Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:17) – nothing is imparted to us except through Mary… (Pope Leo XIII, Octobri Mense, 1891).
  7. St. Pius X: “[Mary is the] dispensatrix of all the gifts aquired by the death of the Redeemer” (Pope St. Pius X, Ad diem illum, AAS 36, 1904, p. 453).
  8. St. Pius X: “…she became most worthily the reparatrix of the lost world’ and dispensatrix of all the gifts that our Savior purchased for us by his death and his blood” (Pope St. Pius X, Ad diem illum, 1904;cf., Eadmer, De Eccellentia Virginis Mariae, c.9).
  9. St. Pius X: “For she is the neck of our Head by which He communicates to His Mystical Body all spiritual gifts” (Pope St. Pius X, Pope St. Pius X, Ad diem illum, 1904).
  10. Benedict XV: “For with her suffering and dying Son, Mary endured suffering and almost death…. One can truly affirm that together with Christ she has redeemed the human race…For this reason, every kind of grace we receive from the treasury of the redemption is ministered as it were through the hands of the same sorrowful Virgin…” (Pope Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter, Inter Sodalicia, AAS 10, 1918, p. 182; Mass and Office of Mediatrix of All Graces approved 1921).
  11. Pius XI: “…the Virgin who is treasurer of all graces with God….” (Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Letter, Cognitum sane, AAS 18, p. 213.
  12. Pius XI: “…We know that all things are imparted to us from God, the greatest and best, through the hands of the Mother of God.” (Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Letter, Ingravescentibus malis, AAS 29, 1937, p. 380).
  13. Pius XII: “…it is the will of God that we obtain all favors through Mary; let everyone hasten to have recourse to Mary.” (Pope Pius XII, Superiore anno, AAS 32 1940, p. 145).
  14. Pius XII: “She teaches us all virtues; she gives us Her Son and with Him all the help we need, for God wished for us to have everything through Mary.” (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 1947).
  15. Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 62: “Taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth, surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home.  Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” (Lumen Gentium, Para. 62).
  16. St. John Paul II: “Thus there is mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of its wants, needs and sufferings.  She puts herself  “in the middle”, that is to say, she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as Mother.  She knows that, as such, she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind and in fact, she “has the right” to do so.” (Pope St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 1987, no. 21).

This impressive display of consistency and repetition in the Papal teachings of the past 150 years leads Miravalle to make the following statement in the aforementioned booklet: “We must thereby keep in mind that the role of Our Lady as Mediatrix of Grace is anything but a new doctrine, but rather constitutes the consistent doctrinal teaching of the Papal Magisterium.”

III Sacred Scripture

(To Be Cont’d…)

IV Two, In Becoming One, Become Three

Divine Revelation, via it’s twin-fold source of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (with the latter being a “living” Tradition that is guided by the Spirit Himself) makes known to us that the Spirit is both the “Advocate” and the “Love of God.”  As the “Love of God,” the Holy Spirit is, as it were, the “divine fruit” of the love that exists, from all eternity, between the First Two Persons of the Holy Trinity; namely, the Father and the Son.  Thus, while the Father eternally begets the Son, and as the Son inherits the fullness of everything that the Father is and has, including the absolute fullness of His divinity, the Son experiences the most perfect, profound and metaphysically intense love for His Father – a Divine love that is perfectly reciprocated by the Father for the Son.  It may be stated that the divine love between the Father and the Son is so ontologically perfect and fecund, that it gives rise to a new, Third Divine Person, Who can be said to be the divine personification of the love between the two aforementioned Divine Persons. Continue reading

At Mass with Mary

By Anonymous (Russia) (Walters Art Museum:  Home page  Info about artwork) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Anonymous (Russia) (Walters Art Museum: Home page Info about artwork) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By John Sexton Kennedy, Catholic Truth Society

A glory of new stars, downward flung And forged into seven swords, has stung The heart of the Woman whom I pass On my way to the altar for morning Mass. There is no shrill crowd, there are no hoarse cries, But I meet One bearing a cross in her eyes. – JOHN SEXTON KENNEDY

Those people who twenty centuries ago were present on Calvary because they hated Jesus Christ paid more attention to the sacrifice of the cross than do most of us who are Sunday after Sunday present at Mass because we love Jesus Christ. This is a fact at once startling and sobering. At the beginning of each week we and many, many like us take our places before a thousand altars, and, as the great Action wherein Christ intended that we should, each of us, intensively participate, proceeds, we stand, kneel, sit absently. For us the Mass remains the measured movements, the mystifying mumblings of a remote, brightly clad figure. And so we are paupers in the midst of plenty, drought-ruined in a land of living waters; we miss the full worth of this unique means of best paying our debts to God, this unique means too of best building up and improving our poor, uncertain lives. What are we to do? Methods of hearing Mass well are numerous. Some have been explained to us. We have found them involved, almost baffling. What is most difficult is to keep well focused the basic truth that the Sacrifice of the Mass is really the same sacrifice as that of Calvary. In the absence of glittering spears, strained and distorted faces, hideous cries, a grim cross we utterly forget that we attend the crucifixion of Christ. Could we but sufficiently appreciate the fact, our problem of keeping attentive, devout at Mass would be solved. As a means to this end, a means not indeed perfect but if earnestly tried quite effective, we are suggesting the effort to hear Mass with Mary. The lessons which we can learn from Our Blessed Lady are quite beyond numbering; none of them is simpler or of greater value than that of worthy assistance at holy Mass. Herein we shall consider first the thorough excellence of Mary’s following of the first Mass, and then the value to us of her exceptional example. Continue reading

Celebrating the Stigmata of St. Francis, Who, with Our Lady – Co-Redemptrix – Teaches Us the Tremendous Value of Salvific Suffering

Celebrating the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Anne, St. Joachim, and Mary (Public Domain)

On this day in the Liturgical Calender, the Church celebrates the great Marian Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Those who have consecrated everything they are and everything they have to Her, as well as those who have yet to make a solemn act of consecration to Jesus through Mary, must know that celebrating and reflecting upon this Feast of Mary’s Nativity is integral to a better understanding of that profound littleness and poverty of spirit which authentic Marian devotion ultimately leads us to.  For, it is precisely on this feast, which celebrates the “littleness” of our infant Mother Mary, that we learn from her the necessary virtues of littleness, humility,docility, meekness, obedience and silence – that constellation of virtues which the Lord finds so very pleasing, and which laid the foundation for the exalted role that Mary, as the New Eve, would play with her son, the New Adam, in the economy of salvation.  For, it is precisely through poverty of spirit, littleness, weakness, and the recognition of our radical dependence on God, a God Who not only loved us into existence, but, additionally, redeemed us from sin while we were still mired in sin, that the Spirit, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is capable of working in those souls who, totally consecrated to Mary, are truly childlike.  For, as Christ states, “Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3). It is through the gift of our total consecration, or entrustment, to Mary that the Immaculate Mother of God, through whom the Holy Spirit has freely chosen to work, forms within our souls the image of the silent, obedient, meek, humble and crucified Christ.  Let us, for a moment, revisit the great Canticle of Mary, or the Magnificat (recited each day toward the end of Evening Prayer, by all bishops,  priests, deacons and religious of the Catholic Church, in the Liturgy of the Hours), in order to better comprehend not only Mary’s own reaction to the knowledge of the exalted role that she had been chosen by God to play in the economy of salvation, but additionally to understand that true poverty of spirit which she necessarily leads all of her clients and consecrated children to, provided they adhere to the dictates of her Motherly Heart and the solemn promises made to her via their total consecration: Continue reading

Reflections on the Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries

“Madonna dell Granduca” – A painting by Raphael (1483-1520).

by Jayson M. Brunelle

With Labor Day upon us, the “unofficial” end of summer and the beginning of the truly beautiful season of autumn, Holy Mother Church, in her liturgical calender, presents us with two consecutive months dedicated to Our Lady: September – the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows, and October – the Month of the Most Holy Rosary.  Moreover, within these two months are numerous magnificent feasts of our Lord, our Lady, and many very popular, patron saints to keep in mind.  For instance, in September we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 8th, the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the 14th, Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th,  St. Robert Bellarmine (Doctor of the Church) on the 17th, St. Joseph of Cupertino on the 18th, St. Matthew on the 21st, Padre Pio on the 23rd, St. Vincent de Paul on the 27th, and the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael on the 29th.  Additionally, in October, we begin the month with a number of significant feasts and commemorations: The Little Flower – St. Therese of Lisieux on the 1st, the Holy Guardian Angels on the 2nd, the great St. Francis of Assisi on the 4th, and the great St. Faustina Kowalska (Secretary of Divine Mercy) on the 5th.

This brings us to the great feast to which this series of articles is devoted; namely, the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, formerly, Our Lady of Victory, celebrated on October 7th.  Wikipedia, the very reputable online encyclopedia,  quite possibly among the largest of information databases in the world, provides a very succinct history of the evolution of this particular feast: “In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted “Our Lady of Victory” as an annual feast to commemorate the victory in the Battle of Lepanto.[1][2][3] The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a rosary procession had been offered on that day in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XI to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays” (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_the_Rosary). Continue reading

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Purpose of Fatima: The Shield, The Weapon, and The Standard

by Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS

On July 13, 1917, during the third apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Mother spoke the following words:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. Continue reading

Let Us Rejoice in this, the Great Feast of the Annunciation

by Jayson M. Brunelle

Luke 1:26:  “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Continue reading