The Dispatch: More from CWR...

“We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother…”

St. Louis de Montfort’s unswerving focus can be encapsulated in that maxim of classic Catholic spirituality: Ad Jesum per Mariam, remembering always that the goal is “Ad Jesum.”

Statue of Louis de Montfort at Saint Peter's Basilica. (Jordiferrer/Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: The following homily was preached for the memorial of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort (April 28, 2022) at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City.

Today the Church holds up for our veneration St. Louis Grignion de Montfort, a French priest of the eighteenth century, most known for his promotion of Marian devotion.

Firstly, let’s do a quick review of his life – actually, a very short life. He was born in 1673, the eldest surviving of eighteen children. He was a gifted student and early on came under the spiritual influence of the Abbé Julien Bellier, who propagated consecration and entrustment to Mary among his students. The 23-year-old Louis fell quite ill but upon release from hospital, he found himself at Saint-Sulpice, where he then came under the influence of none other than the Abbé Jean-Jacques Olier, a key figure in what developed into the French school of spirituality, with its strong stress on Marian devotion. He also became familiar with the thought of Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle – another luminary of the so-called French school. Angels had a prominent place in the spirituality of both Olier and Bérulle – which likewise was picked up by Montfort who, like Pope John XXIII centuries later, always greeted the guardian angel of his interlocutors.

Montfort was ordained at the age of 27 and, barely six months later, he became a Third Order Dominican, preaching the importance of the rosary and forming rosary confraternities. Not surprisingly, eventually he would write The Admirable Secret of the Rosary. Having a burning desire to become a missionary, he went to Rome to seek the counsel of Pope Clement XI (amazing how easy it once was to gain personal access to a pope!)1. Clement told him there was a fertile field for his aspirations right in France.

Falling back on his devotion to angels, he made a pilgrimage to Mont Saint Michel, praying to that archangel for the grace “to win souls for God, to confirm those already in God’s grace, and to fight Satan and sin.” Buoyed up by this retreat, he launched out on years of preaching missions throughout France. He also laid the foundations for three institutes of religious life – the male Company of Mary and its female counterpart, the Daughters of Wisdom, as well the Brothers of St. Gabriel (sadly, all three of those congregations have gone the way of all flesh, which is what happens when you abandon the charism of your Founder).

His fiery preaching hit home, so much so that he once was poisoned; although he recovered, it caused his already-frail health to deteriorate further. In April of 1716, he preached his last mission, the theme of which was the tenderness of Jesus and the Incarnate Wisdom of the Father. He was only 43 years of age and a priest for a mere sixteen years, but those years were jam-packed with hard and fruitful labor.

His spirituality can be summed up in these five points: “God alone” (his personal motto, which surfaced more than 150 times in his writings); the Incarnation, causing Pope John Paul II to declare: “The Incarnation of the Word is for him the absolute central reality.”; love of the Blessed Virgin; fidelity to the Cross; missionary zeal.

Of course, Montfort is most known for his “total consecration,” comprised of seven elements and effects: knowledge of one’s own unworthiness; sharing Mary’s faith; the gift of pure love; unbounded confidence in God and Our Lady; communication of the spirit of Mary; transformation into the likeness of Christ; enhancing the extrinsic glory of Jesus. St. John Paul – the quintessential Marian pope – once shared that as a young seminarian he “read and re-read” Montfort and came to “understand that I could not exclude the Lord’s Mother from my life without neglecting the will of the Triune God.”

Montfort was beatified in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII, who produced twelve encyclicals on the Holy Rosary; he was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII, who defined the dogma of Mary’s bodily Assumption into Heaven.

At times, some of his most ardent devotees do him the disservice of “cherry-picking” lines from his works which present a rather unbalanced Mariology. So, let’s consider some of his bons mots that give a context for his Marian devotion and so learn just how Christo-centric was his spirituality:

Chosen soul. . . what steps will you take to reach the high level to which God is calling you? The means of holiness and salvation are known to everybody, since they are found in the Gospel; the masters of the spiritual life have explained them; the Saints have practiced them…These means are: sincere humility, unceasing prayer, complete self-denial, abandonment to Divine Providence, and obedience to the will of God.

We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.2

God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.

The Our Father contains all the duties we owe to God, the acts of all the virtues and the petitions for all our spiritual and corporal needs.

Take advantage of little sufferings even more than of great ones. God considers not so much what we suffer as how we suffer. . . Turn everything to profit as the grocer does in his shop.

Now, we are in a position to appreciate how he sees Mary fitting into the economy of salvation:

The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in Mary and through Mary.

Mary has produced, together with the Holy Spirit, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be – a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.

The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.

The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother.

Recite your rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.

St. Louis de Montfort’s unswerving focus can be encapsulated in that maxim of classic Catholic spirituality: Ad Jesum per Mariam, remembering always that the goal is “Ad Jesum.” When Cardinal Newman was struggling to understand Marian devotion, a wise and holy Jesuit (there are some!) told him “we could not love the Blessed Virgin too much, if we loved Our Lord a great deal more.”

I think our saint of the day would agree.

Endnotes:

1Here we can recall the impetuous Little Flower at the age of fifteen jumping into the lap of Pope Leo XIII, seeking his approval for her way-too-early entrance into the Carmel.

2This saying puts one in mind of the title of one of the sermons of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman – “The Glories of Mary – for the Sake of Her Son.”


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Peter M.J. Stravinskas 280 Articles
Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas founded The Catholic Answer in 1987 and The Catholic Response in 2004, as well as the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, a clerical association of the faithful, committed to Catholic education, liturgical renewal and the new evangelization. Father Stravinskas is also the President of the Catholic Education Foundation, an organization, which serves as a resource for heightening the Catholic identity of Catholic schools.

53 Comments

  1. Picking up on St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, we have this from his first sermon on Our Lady (March 25, 1831), which concludes:

    “…how shall we duly conceive of her, who was the only one whom Christ served on earth? His only natural superior? When we estimate the reverence which her Son showed her, then may we know how fitly to honour her memory.
    “Now then let us ascribe to her Son glory for ever and ever more bless Him for His great condescension in becoming as on this day [the Annunciation], incarnate to save a guilty world” (Philip Boyce (ed.), “Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman,” 2001).

  2. Is this an optional devotion for those who find it helpful? Or is it dogma such that those of us who cannot go there should, in honesty, leave Catholicism?

    • Devotion to Mary? If so, why cannot you “go there”?

      The Catechism:

      “All generations will call me blessed”: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.”The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary. (CCC, 971)

      The entire section (CCC, 963-75) is worth reading. And I highly recommend Chapter VIII of “Lumen Gentium”, which focuses on Mary and says this:

      This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed. But it exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God. Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.

      • So, trusting in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour does not give him as much honor as honoring Mary? Celebrating mass does not give Jesus as much honor as honoring Mary? Our Easter Triduum liturgies do not give him as much honor as honoring Mary? Evangelizing does not give Jesus as much honor as honoring Mary? If the highest honor we can give to someone is to honor his mother, where are our statues of the mother of George Washington? Lincoln? Martin Luther King? Where are our icons of the mothers of Thomas Aquinas? Pope John Paul II?

        • The key, I think, is to recognize that Mary is the first and perfect disciple of her Son. The reality of the Incarnation is intimately bound with Mary’s Fiat.

          The central reason we honor Mary is because of her perfect faith, which in turn gives honor and glory to God (and of course worship, which He alone deserves):

          As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Lk 11:27-28)

          This is a direct acknowledgment by Jesus that His Mother’s greatness, at the core, is that she heard the word of God and kept it; of course, she alone carried the Word of God and kept Him in her womb for nine months.

          Frankly, as a Byzantine Catholic, I don’t think the West’s occasional fixation of a sort of competitive hierarchy when it comes to such matters is always helpful. In the Divine Liturgy, the relationship between Christ and the Theotokos is not about measuring honor but offering praise and thanksgiving. So, at Pascha, we sing:

          The angel cried to the Lady Full of Grace: Rejoice, O Pure Virgin! Again I say: Rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb! With Himself He has raised all the dead! Rejoice, all you people! Shine! Shine! O New Jerusalem! The Glory of the Lord has shone on you! Exalt now and be glad, O Zion! Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection of your Son!

          And at the Feast of the Annunciation:

          Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery! The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin, as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace! The Lord is with you!

          For what it’s worth!

          • I really was not trying to start an argument. I just wanted an answer to my question: devotion or dogma? optional or mandatory?

          • I need to be more precise. I did not intend to start an argument. I just wanted an answer to my question about this teaching in Fr. Stravinskas’s homily, a teaching taken, I gather, from the writings of St. Louis de Monfort: is this homily teaching a devotion that is optional or a dogma that is mandatory?

          • My apologies. I misunderstood your question. Marian doctrine is obviously doctrinal, but the consecration is not.

    • No Leon, it is not a dogma. So, do not worry too much about it. However, the sentiments expressed in the article are worth considering. Mary was a human soul like the rest of us but she was especially chosen by God to mother Jesus, our one and only Redeemer. We honor her for the perfect way in which she played her unique role in God’s plan.
      Having said that, we know that Jesus treats all of us as his beloved family – mother, father, brother and sister – as long as we do the will of our Heavenly Father. (Matt 12:48-50). Jesus also said that what we do to the least of his brothers (and sisters) we do that to him. This shows us how intimately we are involved with Jesus – and this includes his beloved mother.

      • No, Mary was not like the rest of us. She was conceived without original sin. She was perfect and pure in ways we can’t fully comprehend. In the OT the ark of the covenant was revered and off limits to except to the high priest. Mary is the ark of the new covenant, the God bearer.

        • We need to be careful here. Mary, the Church tells us, was uniquely blessed at the moment of her conception.
          Can you answer these three questions. Was Mary the mother of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – our triune God?
          Or was she the mother of the human Jesus, when the Son of God assumed human nature in order to implement the Father’s wonderful plan of redemption?
          Original sin placed a barrier between God and man and so our “way” to God was blocked. The question is: Could Mary have gone to heaven without our Lord’s accomplishment?

          • Given that we are dealing with transcendent reality which has always existed and will always exist your question remdered in temporal terms is impossible to answer. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is equal to and is consubstantial to the Father. There is no past and present in God I AM. Simultaneously from that generative unity which is and has always existed is the Holy Spirit. The human nature adopted by Divinity is taken from the Blessed Virgin Mary by His will.
            Deductive reasoning — often an exercise in self-deception by the prayer-less and nominally faithful is totally inadequate in the face of the Mystery and a means to excuse one’s self from surrender to ineffable awe and adoration. We all need “…be still and know that I AM God…” abandoning all futile, debasing and impotent rationalization.
            To draw upon Marcel, Mystery comprehends us.

          • Mal: The questions you set forth have long been completely answered, and you can find basic information in the Catechism, but in your case, I believe your skepticism/caution about such things will benefit a bit more from some detailed information and explanations you can easily review via the “Catholic Answers” Website (https://www.catholic.com) wherein you will find many articles and quite a few specific responses to your questions and many others as well. Check it out.

          • You need to study the Hypostatic Union, one Person with two natures, human and divine. Christ is the only human whose personhood pre-existed their conception. A mother gives birth to a person, not a nature. Christ is the second Person of the Holy Trinity, fully divine, Son of God. That is why we call Mary the Mother of God.

          • GregB, No one here said that Mary gave birth to a nature. However, I did say that the Son of God assumed human nature. He was the NEW ADAM from heaven who matured in the womb of Mary. He, in my humble opinion, was not a biological descendant of the first Adam and so was not affected by the consequences of Adam’s disobedient action. However, to usher in the New Covenant promised by the Father, Jesus, had to live a life that was sinless and totally obedient to the Father’s plan – something that Adam failed to do earlier. Because of this perfect life, Jesus made Life available to us, the members of his family – the Church.
            BTW, I do faithfully accept the teachings of our Church about Mary. I asked those questions simple to provide some food for thought, to ensure that Mary – the simple, humble obedient human soul – is not deified in the minds of some.

          • In Luke 3:23-38 there is a genealogy of Jesus. It goes all the way back to Adam. The Immaculate Conception of Mary took place to break the transmission of Original Sin to Mary and to her Son Jesus. Adam and Eve were both created without sin in a state of Original Innocence. By means of the Immaculate Conception Jesus and Mary are both in the state of Original Innocence, which they never lost. In addition to giving her fiat to the Incarnation, Mary also had to undergo her Seven Sorrows. Mary had a share in the sufferings of Jesus. Adam and Eve, male and female, both brought about Original Sin. Jesus, the New Adam, and Mary, the New Eve, male and female, both had their roles to play in the redemption. I wonder how many people pay attention to Mary’s sufferings?

          • This genealogy is simply narrative of the family line. Our appreciation of Jesus, the Son of God, and even of our triune God evolved over time. The Son of God was still the divine Person when he assumed human nature. He was thus a unique person having his two natures. He had to live a sinless life that was fully obedient to the Father’s plan in order to redeem us from the consequences of Adam’s failure to do so. This is why those who remain in Adam’s family are doomed, but those who are baptized into our Lord’s family – the Church – are saved.

          • Mal I’ve had a long-term involvement in Catholic Bible study. In the Bible genealogies have great importance. They are a record of kinship bonds and of tribal identity. They were very important in the priesthood of the tribe of Levi. The genealogy of Jesus is used to prove that He is a descendant of the House of David, legitimizing His claim to the throne of David. Dr. Brant Pitre has done a lot of work showing the Jewish roots of Catholicism. The Bible can be more fully appreciated when it is presented by people like Dr. Pitre. He has done a video about the Jewish roots of Mary. In the Davidic kingdom the queen was not the king’s wife, it was the king’s mother. The Queen Mother, the Gebirah. One of her duties was to intercede with the king on the behalf of the people. Mary did this in the Wedding Feast at Cana. Mary’s role as an intercessor with Jesus has a firm biblical foundation.

      • What does exist as dogma is the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception and her Assumption into Heaven.
        No, despite the erroneous post-conciliar deceit that such are secondary to authentic Christian existence, they are primary and stand vigilant against the low Christology which is now quite the mature though masked heresy rampant throughout Roman Catholicism.
        Marian devotion always supports and amplifies our relationship to Jesus Christ, True God and True Man. Our assent to His Gospel is not primarily an intellectual accommodation, it is a deep personal and intimate love of the person of Jesus Christ. Such love overflows in love for all He loves.
        Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary is an inspired, brilliant and efficacious practice that insures orthodoxy and deeply changes lives. Anyone discounts it at risk.

    • I’ve never felt the need to engage in the “Total Consecration to Mary*,” but I do have a 5-Day-Candle on the fireplace mantle in front of the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus. I also say many Hail Mary’s through out the day, but not the complete Rosary–I’ve tried (probably not hard enough).
      .
      But I have have prayed the Akathist Hymn to Mary, and that’s lovely
      .
      https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=249
      .
      I heard it explained this way: Would you treat your best friend’s mother rudely? Would not you help her bring in the groceries if you are over at her house, and she’s got fixings for a BBQ? So say a Hail Mary. Light a candle. Put flowers next to Her picture/Icon on your mantle. Don’t neglect any particular Feast days associated with Her. Surely that is not too much?
      .
      (*I am going to guess something is lost in translation when Father Montfort says “We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.” Huh? “We go to her ONLY as a way…” Oy vey, that sounds name dropping here. Using the Theotokos as a means to get to Her Son? Like, she isn’t good enough to invite over for tea and crumpetts, and ask her opinion on things? I find this very, very off-putting.)

    • Leon, the Word of God, the Son of the living God, God Incarnate, took his sacred humanity from the blessed Virgin whom He chose to make pure, holy, immaculate. She carried God in her womb and served Him as mother and disciple. Jesus loves His mother. She is God’s masterpiece and the apple of His eye. Jesus wants to give you his mother as your spiritual mother; she prays and intercedes for us. I, too, am not comfortable with the title of this homily. It can be misleading. God Incarnate Jesus Christ is to be honored, loved, praised, exulted and glorified. A Jewish Harvard professor became a Catholic after the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Heaven, appeared to him. (“Salvation is from the Jews”, Roy Schoeman). She called herself, the daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and bride of the Holy Spirit. She told him, her favorite prayer to her is:
      “Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Try that one! God bless!

      • edith, did the Son of God really get his human nature from Mary? Could you provide a quote from scripture or the Catechism to support that claim?

        • Mal, easy! “When Jesus saw HIS Mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to HIS MOTHER, Woman behold your son!” (Jn 19:25)
          Jesus, the Son of God, calls Mary his mother at the Cross.

          • Mary was indeed the mother of Jesus. That has never been in doubt about that. A virgin will give birth to a son.

        • For Mal: “With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man” (456 CCC).
          “Since, therefore, the human nature was taken by the Divine Person in the very beginning of the conception, as stated above (ST 3a 33, 3), it follows that it can be truly said that God was conceived and born of the Virgin. Now from this is a woman called a man’s mother, that she conceived him and gave birth to him. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is truly called the Mother of God. For the only way in which it could be denied that the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God would be either if the humanity were first subject to conception and birth, before this man were the Son of God, as Photinus said; or if the humanity were not assumed unto unity of the Person or hypostasis of the Word of God, as Nestorius maintained. But both of these are erroneous. Therefore it is heretical to deny that the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God” (Aquinas ST 3a 35, 4).

        • The Catechism covers concerns of Jesus’ human nature, being conceived and born of the virgin Mary, and the mysteries in Christ’s life Part One, Article 3.

          The Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, Nicea and Constantinople described the Incarnation and the human nature of Jesus.

          Finally, the first chapters of Luke and Matthew relate Mary’s conception of the Jesus and Jesus’ human genealogy. For a theological study of Matthew’s four senses of scripture of chapter one, for many theological pointers to Jesus as the human/divine Messiah foreshadowed in the OT, the Roman Theological Forum has a couple articles which you can access online.

          These resources should get you started in a good direction.

        • For Mal. Further doctrine, here a prominent Father of the Church, Cyril of Alexandria on Christ’s human nature, “So then he who had an existence before all ages and was born of the Father, is said to have been born according to the flesh of a woman, not as though his divine nature received its beginning of existence in the holy Virgin, for it needed not any second generation after that of the Father (for it would be absurd and foolish to say that he who existed before all ages, coeternal with the Father, needed any second beginning of existence), but since, for us and for our salvation, he personally united to himself an human body, and came forth of a woman, he is in this way said to be born after the flesh; for he was not first born a common man of the holy Virgin, and then the Word came down and entered into him, but the union being made in the womb itself, he is said to endure a birth after the flesh, ascribing to himself the birth of his own flesh” (Cyril of Alexandria 2nd letter to Nestorius).

          • Thanks for that, Fr Peter. Let us see what our Catechism says:

            470 Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”, 97 in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”. The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity: 98
            The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin. 99
            Christ’s soul and his human knowledge
            471 Apollinarius of Laodicaea asserted that in Christ the divine Word had replaced the soul or spirit. Against this error the Church confessed that the eternal Son also assumed a rational, human sou

            472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man”, 101 and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. 102 This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.

          • Mal. Good research in citing the Catechism’s confirmation that the divine Word assumed his flesh and blood from Mary [Nestorius’ heretical contention was that the Word entered a pre existing human body]. Whereas the Catechism teaches that the Word assumed his human body and soul [nature] from the Blessed Virgin as his own. This doctrine, that the Word assumed, in hypostatic union, his human body and soul from Mary, verifies that the flesh and blood Jesus took from Mary conveys the Word. Nestorius patriarch Constantinople repudiated this. Pope Celestine condemned Nestorius 430 and requested Cyril draw up a list of errors attributed to Nestorius. The integrity of the Holy Eucharist, Christ’s real presence, is contained in Cyril’s 11th Anathema, Nestorius’ denial of the Divine Presence in the flesh of Jesus taken from the Blessed Virgin. 431 Ephesus Mary was declared Theotokos [there was controversy of the terms physis and hypostasis which Cyril considered synonymous and had to explain further].

          • Fr. Peter, I did not read anywhere in the catechism that Jesus assumed human nature from the womb of Mary. It was assumed and not absorbed from Mary.
            Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”.

        • Mal, you asked me a question. I want to answer you truthfully. You seem to ask again and again. For some of us we have to go directly to the source for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. Forty years ago I did not know which path to go. The Lord says: search and you will find, ask and you will receive! I went before the tabernacle where the God Incarnate Jesus Christ dwells and according to the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Father dwells there as His Son Jesus is His delight. I cried out “What is the truth?” Not at once but soon after the Lord Jesus himself revealed Himself to me with no more doubts or questions. You received many answers but your questions remain. The Lord says: You give your children good things so how much more will your heavenly Father give you the Holy Spirit. The God Incarnate Jesus Christ is with us. God is love. Go straight to Him with an open heart and your questions will be answered. Look at the Passion of Jesus. Look how He loves us. Do you love Him ?Tell Him! You might find yourself on a journey, an adventure to intimacy with God Himself.

          • edith, I did search and I found the answer in our catechism. It is true that many answers were given but I will go by the one provided by our go-to book for this issue.
            Here is something we need to ponder. Adam has a family, but pays a price for Adam’s bad choice, about which he had been warned. Destruction, chaos and death were the consequences of that action.
            Faithful Abraham, whose name was given by God, has a family that was especially blessed by our Lord. But the consequences still remained.
            The Son of God, who assumed human nature, was named Jesus by God, ushered in the New Covenant at the end of his life that was sinless and totally obedient to the Father’s Will. UNLIKE ADAM. And so in him and with him we – his Unique family – have been freed from those consequences. Our union with Jesus is mystical and complete. Jesus does not have another family of blood relatives, that are biologically in union with him – as Adam and Abraham did.

  3. [Corrected (with apologies), I hope a moderator can delete the first one. I hope I got it right this time.]

    It pains me that some people see things (especially love) as a “zero-sum game,” causing them to fail to try to love the Mother of God as much as the Son of God must love her.

    Absurd and myopic. It would be inconceivable to me if I myself weren’t beset by a such a stunted intellect for a half a lifetime or so. How well could I have really known Jesus then. Did I at all?

  4. At a Dominican Monastery I visited, there is at least one chapel with no cross, just a painting of Mary where mass is said daily . In practice the cart is often placed before the horse thus most appropriate to pray with Mary to God to whom she prays rather than to Mary in accordance with the moderate realism of St Thomas. Mary was and is a creature, though by the grace of God, a special creature providing the means by which He acted through her to fulfill His Intent, His Purpose. One may reasonably suspect that the glorification of Mary is influenced by creeping, modern feminism.

  5. “He [de Montfort] preached his last mission, the theme of which was the tenderness of Jesus and the Incarnate Wisdom of the Father” (Stravinskas).
    Perhaps a better understanding of Fr Stravinskas on devotion to Mary and the issue, identified by editor Carl Olson as “the West’s occasional fixation of a sort of competitive hierarchy” is perceived in the difference he references in the “tenderness” of the Son of Man and the wisdom of the Father.
    A son is by nature honored when his mother is, explicitly for the reason that she is his mother. The gratitude we give to Mary in the West in this context is neither competitive nor unwarranted. What greater thanks might we have for Mary than when she assented for us all at the Annunciation? Jesus, born from her, nourished by her with her own blood and milk [and by her silent fealty to him in respect of his Messiahship], in this, is most honored by our recognition.
    I would differ with Olson, in the following context, on the Latin devotion to Mary as competitive [an occasional fixation] with Christ, although admitting there are frequent instances of this mistaken devotion. What do I mean? It’s that nevertheless, we cannot fully understand the depth of the Son of man’s tender love for us sans a deeper devotion to Mary that differs in context of intensity from that of Eastern rite Catholics. To love her with full devotion, by nature of her identification with, though nevertheless peripheral relation to the Trinity, glorifies the Son. A true love for Mary, the perfect Christian perfect in all the virtues, gives the fullness of glory to Christ her Son [in emulating her virtue we assume the spirit of martyrdom]. That underlies the purpose of Christ’s commands at the Cross to Mary, Woman, there is your son, and to John [a universal command for all Christians], There is your mother.

  6. Mary is a fallen human being and as needy as we all are. ONLY the cross could solve her problem…just like you and me. Thankfully, we can glory in the cross which delivered her…exactly as it delivers us. Mary included, there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we might be saved.

    • Barry Gregory:

      Since the Blessed Virgin Mary (remember: “all generations shall call me blessed.” Do you call her blessed or simply refer to her only as Mary?) was preserved free from original sin, this means that she was not fallen like the rest of us are who are conceived under the stain of original sin, and this automatically makes her less needy than the rest of us even though she did indeed need the redemptive power of Christ’s redemptive actions through His crucifixion as all humans do. Preredemption is the singular grace that was given to her by God.

      God chose Mary to be His mother and gave her special gifts not given to you, me, nor anyone else. You can either humbly accept and honor what God did for this one particular person or you can foolishly try to diminish God’s work while wrongly and proudly believing that your refusal to acknowledge and honor the singular gifts bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary are preventing you from giving her too much honor reserved only for God.

    • “Mary is a fallen human being”…”no other name …whereby we might be saved”
      Almighty God, omnipotent, holy sacred, holy perfect, could only take on flesh as the God Incarnate from a holy immaculate pre-redeemed woman, conceived WITHOUT sin because Jesus Christ could not dwell in the womb of a sinful woman. Or do you not believe that Jesus is God, true God and true man? And the angel said: “Hail full of grace” full of grace nothing wanting in her the immaculate conceived one. The only way the Son of God could become flesh and dwell in the Blessed Virgin to redeem mankind. I don’t think you believe that Jesus is God if you do not understand this. He is holy, holy, holy. You offend God Incarnate Jesus Christ with this unbelief. I pray for you.

      • Good stuff, edith, but note that God could have chosen another way for Jesus to become flesh. The fact that He chose to come in the manner of a child with a human mother provides a special excellence and grace to humanity and human nature in general with even more excellence and grace granted to the Blessed Virgin herself.

        • Not a chance.

          God does not have ‘choices’ by definition. If He does, then Scripture is unintelligible if the human writers were divinely inspired. The perfect entity can only do the perfect action and no other. How can there be a ‘choice’ and by what criteria and contrast can a choice be made if there is an equity of actions perfectly ‘good’? How can a Divine Intelligence ponder inferior choices? How would they even exist as a choice to a Divinity?

          With the opposite in humanity, and mankind in space and time, did not God by His very essence provide the perfect ‘choice’ in His plan of salvation in the consummation of the Old Testament and in the timeline of humanity at that point in Salvation history? Where is the credible argument that defies what God did do with humanity at the Incarnation and claim it would have been fulfilled just as equally in perfection in a different way?

          Is it not often in the way that Scripture has been written that it appears that God ‘changes’ His mind and has choices because that is the only way humans could comprehend that which cannot be comprehended in acquiring Salvation? God is not in time and would not be God if
          He could only answer man’s actions in real time.

          • Maybe replace “choice” with “will”, as we deal with God Almighty, the Holy Power. We do not always understand the Holy Will of God but we can be assured that His Plan is perfect always because He is Holy Perfection.

          • Significant but somewhat understandable error on your part, Ramjet. First, the use of the term ‘choice’ as set forth in my previous comment should not be considered in the limited manner you have done so in the sense of it being equivalent to or virtually the same thing as a mere human choice among options, but I can see how such could indeed be confusing unless you look more carefully into the nature of God’s freedom and freedom of will. Note very carefully the following from Dr. Ott’s definitive collection of Church dogma, etc. in his “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”:

            “The Vatican Council teaches that God, in His Will, is infinite (voluntate infinitus). D1782. Holy Scripture sees in God’s free will the ultimate basis of the world-order (Ps. 134, 6: Whatsoever the Lord pleased He hath done in heaven, in earth, in the sea, and in all the deeps), and considers the will of God as the supreme norm of morality (Mt. 6,10: ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’). The Fathers defend the freedom of God’s will against the fatalism of the heathens.” (See Book One, Section 3; Sub-Section 24 re: The Perfection of the Divine Willing)

            From the above, it can only be concluded that if God is compelled to act in any way, then He does not have free will.

            Now look at an even more compelling section from Ott’s monumental work regarding God’s freedom:

            “God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity. (De fide.)

            The Vatican Council declared that God ‘with a will free from all necessity’ (voluntate ab omni necessitate libera) executed the act of Creation (D 1783, 1805; cf. D 706). The Vatican definition refers primarily to ‘libertas contradictionis,’ which asserts that God had the choice of creating or not creating. It is directed chiefly against Hermes, Günther, and Rosmini, who maintained that the goodness of God imposed on Him a necessity to create.” (See Book Two, Section 1; Sub-Section 5 re: Freedom of the Divine Act of Creation)

            Wow! Note from the get-go of this section that God’s creative action is free from exterior compulsion as well as from an inner necessity. Also note the use of the word “choice” and the explanation that God had the CHOICE of creating or not creating.

            Now one more selection from Ott’s book on Church teaching because of its parallel to God’s choice regarding how He became man. This is taken from the same section just referenced, but a few paragraphs later:

            “God was free to create this world or any other. (Sent. certa.)

            So declared the Provincial Synod of Cologne in 1860 against the absolute optimism expounded by Abelard, Malebranche and Liebniz, according to which God was obliged to create the best imaginable of all possible worlds. Cf. D 374. The world now existing does not possess the highest conceivable measure of perfections. Neither did God owe it to Himself to create the best world, because His perfections and happiness cannot be increased even by the best world. If one were to deny God’s freedom in the choice between this or that world (libertas specificationis) one would limit His Omnipotence, which extends to all that is intrinsically possible.” (Again, See Book Two, Section 1; Sub-Section 5 re: Freedom of the Divine Act of Creation)

            Once again note the use of the word choice pertaining to God’s freedom to act, and also note the admonition against those who would compel God to act in only one possible way.

            Now, as God is free to so act regarding Creation, He is also free to act regarding all aspects of Creation, and so he was not compelled to come to earth as a man in the manner that He did. It was His free choice to do so.

            QED

        • Hi, edith: no need to replace “choice” with “will” even though related. See my response to ramjet that presents official Church teaching which rejects ramjet’s position of basically denying God’s freedom like some misguided people of the past also did.

          God Bless

      • “Jesus Christ could not dwell in the womb of a sinful woman.” And why not, Edith?
        Jesus did dwell in the world. He did mix and dine with sinners – prostitutes and all. He taught and denounced sin, but loved the sinners. He did not name and condemn a single human being? Why? Because he did not come to condemn but to save.

        • Mal, yes, God Himself came into this world. Jesus came to save sinners in the world. He is true God and true man, God Incarnate. It is the Son of God who made Himself a holy immaculate mother to dwell in her. God Incarnate Jesus Christ lived among sinners and touched sinners. He cannot dwell in a sinful body and be nourished by it. The Father Himself dwells in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus abides in us and we in Him when we are in saving grace; but when we commit a grievous mortal sin He cannot dwell in us but He gave us holy confession to wash us clean by His precious Blood. “God decrees to call creatures to share this Divine Life, so transcendent that God alone has the right to live it….The Son of God, who dwells internally in the Bosom of the Father, unites Himself to a human nature but in so close a manner that this nature, while being perfect in itself, belongs entirely to the Divine Person to whom it is united.(page 24) Some have no precise idea of what holiness is; being ignorant of the plan traced out of Eternal Wisdom….That is why God’s plan is so wise that it cannot fail…but only through our own fault. (Page 22 Christ, the life of the soul, Bl. Columba Marmion)” Jesus walked among us to redeem us and call us to holiness. Adam and Eve obeyed Satan and disobeyed God. They were banned from Paradise; no sin and evil can be allowed in heaven. Adam taught his sons to bring sacrifices to God. You are asking why could God not dwell in the womb of a sinful woman? “For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ. with the Holy Spirit.” ((Gloria) Let me refer you to Saint Francis: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, is and who was and who is to come. Let us praise and exalt Him forever……Let us therefore desire nothing else and let nothing please and delight us except our Creator and Redeemer and Savior, the only true God, who is full of good, entire good, the true and supreme good, who alone is good, merciful and kind, gentle and sweet, who alone is holy just and true, and upright, who alone is benign, pure and clean, from whom and through whom, and in whom is all mercy, all grace, all glory…Let us all, everywhere, in every place, at every hour and at all times, daily and continually believe, truly and humbly, and let us hold him in our hearts, and love, honor, adore, serve, praise, bless, glorify and exult, magnify and give thanks to the most High and Supreme Eternal God in Trinity and in Unity, to the Father and Son and Holy Ghost, to the Creator of all, to the Savior of all who believe and hope in Him, and love Him, who without beginning or end, is immutable, invisible, unerring, ineffable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, praiseworthy, glorious, exalted, sublime, most high, sweet, amiable, lovable, and always wholly desirable above forever.”
          “The Lord is King
          all power is his
          enthroned above the Cherobim
          all tremble before him
          and his mantle’s trim
          covers the universe.
          Extol and praise his holy name.
          He is holy, holy, holy
          Amen
          (Maria Louise Thalmair)
          Why could Jesus not dwell in a sinful woman? Because He is God!
          Jesus, Creator of souls, Redeemer, Savior, fulfillment of all desire, delight of heaven and earth, radiant brilliance of heaven, worshipped by angels. JESUS mighty God, entirely irresistible, Incarnate God, You desire the love of your creatures! “Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, blessed are you, who look into the depths from your throne upon the Cherubim, blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom!” (Daniel 3) Come let us adore Him!

        • What was the reason Jesus came to historically live among sinful men?

          Was it not his purpose to save men from sin, to show that He alone had power to take sin away? Jesus came to show the way, through His grace, to denounce sin and thereby obtain everlasting life. His purpose was to heal, to forgive, to teach us how to rise above sin. Those who have no need of a physician were not those He came to heal.

          His purpose was not to dwell forever on earth in order to keep dwelling among sinners. His purpose was not to suffer sin in eternity. He sits now at the right hand of God, in everlasting glory.

          There is no sin in heaven, and there never was sin in His flesh. Sin caused His earthly mortal wounds and suffering, and yes, he lived among sinners, but Why? To show that He could forgive sin, that He was greater than sin by rising from the death sin causes. And he came to show that man was capable through His life, through His grace, to become like Him and dwell where sin does not, forever.

          It is fitting, appropriate, right, just, and good, that God should take pure and holy flesh at His Incarnation. He, as the Creator of all creation that He made “very good” at the beginning, would have His world and his Word take up material physical flesh as He would have it from its creation. Mary was “full of grace.” Scripture itself tells us that. How can it be possible that the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, goodness Itself, dwell in sin? He does not abide it. In order to remove it from Paradise, He removed the carriers of sin from there. Jesus died in order to save us from sin, not to further it or live in it.

          • Edit: Second paragraph: His purpose (in the historical period when He walked on earth) was not to dwell forever on earth (in his historical person). He DOES dwell on earth in His Church, in the Eucharist, in His Spirit, etc.

          • edith, why should Jesus take flesh from anyone? Our catechism very clearly tells us that our Lord, who is always in existence, assumed his human nature. His “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”.

  7. My mother’s name was Mary, her mother’s name was Anne, and her father’s name was Joseph. My mother’s mother passed away when my mother was just a child. My mother was blessed to be able to call upon the Theotokos as her model, and she taught me the same, beginning when I was younger than I can remember. Mary knows more about me than my own mother does, and I thank my mother often for introducing Our Mother to me. I am blessed.

    Mary. She is special not because WE call upon her. She is special because GOD called upon her to MEDIATE His revelation of Himself to Mankind. We honor Mary because GOD CHOSE HER. She is God’s Mediatrix to man through Jesus, and she is man’s Mediatrix to God through Jesus. Her soul magnified the Lord so that Mankind could begin to see the face of God yet live. Jesus was obedient to her. We seek to know her so that we too may become obedient to her. She is gentle, humble, kind, consoling, and capable of enduring all sorrow known to both God and man. What conceivable reason could we concoct not to seek obedience to her? Obedience to Mary is conforming our soul so that it may act in imitation of Jesus. Jesus called Mary “Mother.” When we honor Mary as “Mother” we imitate Jesus. She is not only a way to Jesus. She is the best, quickest, easiest, gentlest, most sure, most fitting, and most proper way to Him. Her grace she shares abundantly. Seek her since she is where Jesus was, is, and will be.

      • Yes, that is the Mary we know. Humble, meek, not boastful or egotistical. Humbly, this handmade of the Lord said: Do whatever he tells you, as she remained in the background.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. “We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother…” – Via Nova Media
  2. “We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother…” – Catholic World Report – Holiday Helper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*