Catholic Teachings - O'Brien: Rightfully, we honor Mary

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Mary is truly the mother of God because her son Jesus is God. Our Lord speaks in the Gospels about knowing the thoughts of his detractors. Once he told the people "Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham come to be, I AM." (John 8:56 - 58)

St. John also relates (5:18) he "also called God his Father, making himself equal to God." God is God. Our Lord who said that before Abraham was, he is, takes us back to Moses and the burning bush: "I am who am sends you." He said to Martha "I am the resurrection and the life" and in the presence of many people he called Lazarus from the grave. And Lazarus came out, still wrapped in the burial robes. And he had been dead four days. Jesus became man because he loves us and he took up his cross for us. We could never fully satisfy the Almighty for our sins. But he did.

St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to the Philippians: "Have this mind among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours with Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (2:5-11)

"Theologians commonly teach not only that Christ's human soul enjoyed the beatific vision from the first moment of its creation but also that Christ's human mind was infused with the highest possible degree of natural and supernatural knowledge." (Catholic Encyclopedia, 8, p. 230)

"Christ being God and man had a divine and a human knowledge...He knows distant things; he reads the hearts of men; he foretells the future...He speaks of what He has seen with the Father...He enjoyed the beatific vision; he had infused knowledge...He had a special knowledge, usually reserved for the blessed in the final phase of God's kingdom, the vision of God. In this He saw the Word and His own human nature. He recognized that He was God the Word made man and realized that the ultimate subject of His human activity was the eternal Son of God." (Ibid., 7. pp.930 - 946)

Rightfully, then, we honor Mary, who called herself the handmaid of the Lord. She points the way to Jesus in her words to the stewards at the marriage feast of Cana: "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:5) It was fitting that she be conceived without sin, she who would be the gentle mother of our Savior. At the foot of the cross she became our mother because it was the will of Jesus. As we honor her as truly the mother of God so do we ask of her: "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

Martin Luther: "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin." (Sermon: On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God.." 1527)

"Our tainted nature's solitary boast." William Wordsworth

--May 9, 2000