March 17, 1998
Mary Page is a link to a variety of information. The items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the myriad ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.
If the Holy Spirit finds Mary...
Marian Devotion in Asia - Working Paper for the Bishops' Special Assembly for Asia
New Books and Articles on Mary
The Pope Speaks to a Parish About Mary
Many of our correspondents enquire about apparitions: their frequency in past and present, norms and process for discerning their authenticity and a number of related questions. We have grouped extant features under one heading: Apparitions and put this key word on the sidebar. We added two new features: (1) A statistical study on apparitions of the past and (2) a directory of 20th century apparitions. The latter was and remains a particularly challenging undertaking. Exact numbers are difficult to come by, even more difficult to glean exact information on specific events. Our current directory of 20th century apparitions is far from accurate and complete. As more exact information becomes available we will upgrade its accuracy. Let us know if you have such quality information, and as you do so do not forget to indicate your source(s).
If the Holy Spirit finds Mary...
The following excerpt is taken from the book, Moved by the Spirit, a collection of pastoral writings on the Holy Spirit from the works of Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Movement, 1998 [ISBN 81-7109-336-1]:
[The Virgin of the Annunciation by Melozzo da Forli; Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy]
Let us take a look at a unique law in the kingdom of God. A saintly devotee of Mary, Grignion de Montfort was his name, once explained a law in God's kingdom in very understandable terms. He said: If the Holy Spirit discovers the Mother of God, his Bride, in a soul, ( ... ) he enters into that soul with his endless riches. To start with, he forms our Lady in us. Then, when he sees the Blessed Mother in us, when we are her image and likeness, he is not sparing or reserved, he does not remain far from us and our souls. He enters into our souls with his endless riches, he gives his gifts and graces. He brings his presents to the extent that our soul is an image and likeness of the Blessed Mother. What wonderfully deep and beautiful thoughts!
Grignion de Montfort went on to say: Today we find so few ideal Christians in whom God, the Holy Spirit, works the miracle of spiritual transformation. Why? Because the Holy Spirit can only form and mould heroism when he finds his Bride, his inseparable Bride. That is to say, the Holy Spirit will only intervene in a deeper way in those souls where he discovers his Bride, who is inseparably united with him. So when he does not discover Mary in me, if he does not discover Mary's attitude, if I am not a likeness of the Blessed Mother, he takes no interest in working great things in me.
We need to pause here and ponder on what has been said. If we penetrate a little deeper, this great law tells us think of what we pray in the Creed: Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine (and the Word was made flesh through the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary). What does that mean? How did the only begotten Son of God take on our human nature - et incarnatus est? The answer - we pray it on countless occasions through the espousal of the Holy Spirit with the Mother of God: de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine. The Holy Spirit took possession of the Blessed Mother. It was as though he set the maternal seed in motion: Et verbum caro factum est (and the Word was made flesh), et incarnatus est (and became Man). That is the same law according to which we should be re-born. How does that happen? The Holy Spirit again espouses himself -- ex Maria Virgine. Whoever should take on the form of Christ, whoever should be formed into Christ and become another Christ -- and that is the meaning of Christianity: we should become other Christs -- how is this brought about? How are we perfectly transformed? Through the Holy Spirit discovering our Lady in us, and in and through his Bride forming Christ in us anew.
J. Kentenich, Sermon to the German community in St Michael, Milwaukee, USA, 3rd June 1962.
Marian Devotion in Asia
The February 25, 1998 edition of L'Osservatore Romano contained a document which will be presented to the upcoming Synod of Bishops--Special Assembly for Asia to be held in Rome from April 19 - May 14. The draft for the Working Paper in preparation for the meeting was prepared in 1997 and sent to the Asian bishops for review. The paper also recently appeared in the march 12, 1998 issue of Origins. Article 54 of that document refers to Marian Devotion in Asia.
54. Mary was the first to receive the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ brought from God by the angel Gabriel. Her total acceptance of the plan of God in her life from the first moment of the Lord's Incarnation in her womb to his Redemption on the Cross makes her the Mother of Faith. The Gospel of Luke records the fact that following the announcement that she was to be the Mother of God, Mary's thoughts were not towards herself, but towards her cousin who was with child. As a result, she immediately ventured forth, at no little inconvenience to herself, to be of service to Elizabeth in her time of expectation. Upon her arrival, the child in the womb of Elizabeth recognizes the divine presence in the womb of Mary. Mary stays with her a few months. In this way, Mary is seen as the woman of service, bringing Christ to others (cf. Lk 1:39ff). After her example, the Church's members are to totally accept Jesus Christ into their fives and through love and service bring him to others.
The responses to the Lineamenta [for Asia] attest that throughout Asia the Catholic faithful love and revere Mary with deep affection. Looking to her as the Mother of Jesus, given by Christ himself to his Church from the cross, they confidently approach Mary in time of joy and sorrow and continually raise their prayers to her in supplication as a ready helper in time of need. The reverence with which mothers are held in a Asian cultures greatly influences the Church's devotion to Mary.
In Western Asia, the Eastern Churches, similar to Orthodox Churches, look upon the person of Mary as strongly linked to that of Christ. Oriental spirituality always unites Mother and Son. This is exemplified in the iconic tradition in which Mary, as Seat of Wisdom, is portrayed holding the Child Jesus on her lap. In West Asia, devotion to Mary at times is a point of unity between Christians and Muslims, who visit her shrines and hold her in veneration.
In other parts of Asia, the responses to the Lineamenta note that there exist many forms of popular piety to Mary and many Marian shrines, which, drawing many persons - at times even those from other religions - is a source of consolation and support for many in the practise of their faith. However, some mention that in some cases Marian devotion would be helped by making more clear the essential bond between Jesus and his Mother. Where this is lacking, other Christians and followers of other religions are at times left confused. In some Asian countries, certain persons in the Church are exploring the Gospel image of Mary as a model for Asian women and as a key figure in presenting a spirituality for women.
At the same time, emphasis on the role of Mary as the perfect disciple of Jesus and model of evangelization could supplement in the faithful's mind the already existent teachings associated with Marian devotion. In this way, the qualities and virtues of Mary, drawn from the Biblical testimony and the rich tradition of the Church throughout the ages, can be recalled and recommended to the faithful in the Church's mission of love and service in Asia. By taking Mary as a model of love and service towards others, they will lead them to an encounter with the fruit of her womb, Jesus Christ.
New Books and Articles on Mary
The following article appeared in The Marian Library Newsletter (Winter, 1998):
Servants of the Magnificat: The Canticle of the Blessed Virgin and the Consecrated
Available from the Servite Provincialate; 3121 West Jackson Blvd.; Chicago, IL 60612.
The General Chapters of the Order of the Servants of Mary (Servites) have produced two extraordinary documents on Marian devotion. The first was the 1983 document Do Whatever He Tells You, which was a perceptive analysis of the crisis of Marian devotion and its repercussions on religious institutes, together with suggestion for promoting a renewed Marian devotion.
The second document, Servants of the Magnificat, from the 1996 Servite General Chapter, can be seen as a commentary on the Marian references in the postsynodal apostolic exhortation, The Consecrated Life (1996). In the apostolic exhortation, Mary is proposed as the model of the consecrated life. Servants of the Magnificat begins by describing four features common to Mary, the Church, and institutes of the consecrated life: consecration, vocation, radical discipleship, and mission. Mary's relation to the consecrated life--summarized under the terms of mother, patron, queen, teacher, and guide--is explained in a way sensitive to contemporary vocabulary. The last section is a reflection on the consecrated life in light of the Magnificat. A valuable resource for all interested in a deeper understanding of the Marian images and references in The Consecrated Life.
Praise for All Seasons: The Hymns of James Quinn S.J.
New Brunswick, NJ: Selah Publishing Co. 1996.
Fr. James Quinn, a Jesuit in Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the finest writers of English hymn texts of our times. This collection contains over 270 of Quinn's hymns. In addition to original hymns, Quinn has written paraphrases of psalms and other verses of Scripture. His works are found in the Liturgy of the Hours and in hymnals of many denominations. (In Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, Kathleen Norris speaks of the attractive simplicity of Quinn's evening hymn, "Day is done, but Love unfailing dwells ever here," as sung in a Benedictine monastery in South Dakota.)
This collection contains thirty Marian hymns; in addition, Marian references occur in a second or third verse of a hymn directed to some other religious theme. The translations of the Salve Regina and the Alma Redemptoris Mater capture well the sense of the original. There are hymns showing Mary's relation to the paschal mystery: "The new Eve stands before the Tree,//the sinless mother of our race;//this is the hour when Adam gives//at Eve's request the wine of grace."
No music is given, but the meter is indicated together with suggestions for the hymn tune. The collection is a great resource for those planning liturgy, and it could also serve as a book of prayer. "All that you made is gift and grace,//by which you raise us up to you://help us to know what is your will,//to see the false, to choose the true."
--"Mary, First and Most Perfect Disciple in the New Testament," Raymond E. Brown. Scripture From Scratch, (Reprint N0597) St. Anthony Messenger Press, Cincinnati, OH. 1-800-488-0488. A succinct and readable overview of Mary's place as the first the most perfect of Christ's disciples.
--Marie dans le dessein de Dieu et la communion des saints," [Document du Groupe des Dombes], in Documentation Catholique, 3/17 août, 1997, no. 2165, 721-749. The Group des Dombes, an unofficial ecumenical dialogue in France, presents the first two parts of study showing the origins and development of Marian devotion. The third and fourth parts will deal with the Marian dogmas and expressions of devotion.
--"Mary in Ecumenical Perspective," by Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm., in Ecumenical Perspective, 26/5 (May, 1996), includes some of the early attempts at the World Council of Churches to discuss Marian topics and the place of Mary in the national ecumenical dialogues. Three encouraging developments are given.
--"The Role of the Virgin Mary in Ecumenical Dialogue," by George H. Tavard, in One in Christ, 1997/3, 220-232. An examination of the long path required so that the Marian doctrines can become factors of reconciliation rather than of division between the churches. Ecumenical reflection on Mary should be "centered on the point of interaction between cosmology, anthropology, christology, soteriology, and eschatology."
--"Mary and Liturgy," was the topic for the entire issue of Liturgical Ministry 6 (Winter, 1997). Included were "Mary in the Western Liturgical Tradition" (Thomas A. Thompson, SM) and "Mary in the Eastern Liturgical Tradition" (David M. Petras).
--"Essai de bibliographie mariale," by Jean Longère, in Esprit et Vie, 16/17 (21 aout-4 septembre 1997). A survey of recent books in French, with helpful notes.
--"The Girl Next Door," by Sebastian Moore, O.S.B. in Irish Theological Quarterly 62/1 (1996/97). A fresh interpretaion of the significance of the Virgin Birth of Christ for the Christian faith.
Marian Studies 1996, "Marian Spirituality and the Interreligious Dialogue," is currently available ($15.00 prepaid). The 1996 issue contains the following articles: "World Religions, Symbolism, and Marian Theology" (Walter T. Brennan, O.S.M.); "The Virgin Mary in the Breadth and Scope of Interreligious Dialogue" John Borelli); "Maria-Kannon: Mary, Mother of God, in Buddhist Guise" (Maria Reis-Habito); "The Sources for the Marian References in the Qur'an" (Dominic F. Ashkar); "The Virgin Mary as Mediatrix between Christians and Muslims in the Near East" (Otto F. Meindarus); "Mary and the Millennium: Woman, Son, and Fullness of Time" James McCurry, O.F.M.Conv.); "A Survey of Recent Mariology, 1996" (Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm.).
The Pope Speaks to a Parish About Mary
When the chief pastor of the Roman Catholic Church visits an ordinary parish, like any in the world, what does he tell them about Mary? Here is a sample from Sunday, December 21, 1997, when the Holy Father visited St. Bartholomew the Apostle parish in Rome.
1. "Blessed is she who believed" (Lk 1:45). The first beatitude mentioned in the Gospels is reserved for the Virgin Mary. She is proclaimed blessed because of her attitude of total trust in God and full acceptance of his will, shown by the "yes" spoken at the time of the Annunciation. By proclaiming herself "the handmaid of the Lord" (Gospel acclamation; cf. Lk 1:38), Mary expresses the faith of Israel. She is the fulfilment of the long wait for salvation which, starting in the garden of Eden, passes through the Patriarchs and the history of Israel, to reach that "city of Galilee named Nazareth" (Lk 1:26). Because of Abraham's faith, the great work of salvation begins to be revealed; because of Mary's faith, the new times of the Redemption are inaugurated.
In today's Gospel passage we listened to the account of the Mother of God's visit to her elderly relative, Elizabeth. The first meeting between John the Baptist and Jesus takes place through their mothers' greeting. St Luke tells us that Mary "went with haste" (cf. Lk 1:39) to Elizabeth. This anxiety to visit her cousin indicates her wish to be of assistance to her during her pregnancy, but above all her desire to rejoice with her that the time of salvation had arrived. In the presence of Mary and the incarnate Word, John leapt for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:41).
2. We find reflected in Mary's visitation the hopes and expectations of the humble, God-fearing people who were awaiting the fulfilment of the prophetic promises.... 3. ... As I recalled a few moments ago, today's Gospel offers us the "missionary" episode of Mary's visit to Elizabeth. By accepting the divine will, Mary, offered her active cooperation so that God could become man in her maternal womb. She bore the divine Word within her as she went to visit her elderly cousin who, in turn was awaiting the Baptist's birth. In this act of human solidarity, Mary demonstrated that authentic charity which grows within us when Christ is present.
4. Beloved Parishioners of St Bartholomew the Apostle, may everything your community does always be inspired by this Gospel message! I am well aware of how committed you are to spreading the Gospel in your district, and I know of the challenges and difficulties you encounter. These are spiritual challenges, but social and economic challenges are present as well. I am thinking especially of the scourge of drugs which, unfortunately, ensnares many young people of this neighborhood, as in other parts of the city. I am thinking of the lack of centers offering healthy recreation and opportunities for cultural growth to adolescents and adults. I am thinking of the situations of isolation, sometimes even physical, in which many people here live.
In view of these situations, you are not idle. Indeed, enlivened by apostolic and missionary zeal, your community never ceases to bear witness to the hope that the Gospel brings those who accept it and make it their rule of life. I encourage you, dear people, to continue in this direction. Whoever actively participates in parish life cannot fail to hear the baptismal call to be close to those who are tried by hardship and suffering. ...Do not be afraid, Christ is born for us! Spread this proclamation everywhere... Go to where people live, and be prepared, as far as you can, to help them escape from every form of isolation. To each and every one, proclaim and witness to Christ and to the joy of his Gospel.
This mission is yours, dear families: the Church calls you to mobilize yourselves to transmit the faith and especially to live it deeply yourselves.
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