The Person of Mary: Creatureliness (like us!)©

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Mary, A Person Like Us. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: List of Magisterial Documents
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Documents V. The Person of Mary / 3. Creatureliness (like us!)
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • being obedient [St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 22, 4: PG 7. 959 A, Harvey, 2, 123] 56
Signum Magnum, 1967
  • Mary, who is like us in all things save sin 24
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • Conceived and born of human parents in the normal way, ... gifted by God from "the first instant of her conception." 53
  • An eighth century prayer ... in some Western liturgies "On this day the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but could not be held fast by the bonds of death, who gave birth to our Lord made flesh." 58
Marialis Cultus, 1974
  • [active love at Nazareth, Elizabeth's, Cana, Golgotha] - all salvific episodes having vast ecclesial importance 28
  • Mary, in fact, is one of our race, a true daughter of Eve-though free of that mother's sin - and truly our sister, who as a poor and humble woman fully shared our lot. 56
Redemptoris Mater, 1987
  • She who belongs to the "weak and poor of the Lord" bears in herself, like no other member of the human race, that "glory of grace." 11
The VM in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988
  • [necessity] of showing forth the permanent and universal human values of Mary in such a way that discourse about her throws light on discourse about [human beings]. 15
Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988
  • Each and every time that motherhood is repeated in human history, it is always related to the Covenant which God established with the human race through the motherhood of the Mother of God. 19
Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989
  • Therefore he became a unique guardian of the mystery "hidden for ages in God," (Eph 3:9) as did Mary, in that decisive moment which St. Paul calls "the fullness of time," when "God sent forth his Son, born of woman...."(Gal 4:4) 5
  • As can be deduced from the gospel texts, Joseph's marriage to Mary is the juridical basis of his fatherhood. It was to assure fatherly protection for Jesus that God chose Joseph to be Mary's spouse. It follows that Joseph's fatherhood a relationship that places him as close as possible to Christ, to whom every election and predestination is ordered (cf. Rom 8:28-9) comes to pass through marriage to Mary, that, through the family. 7
  • "By reason of their faithful marriage both of them deserve to be called Christ's parents, not only his mother, but also his father, who was a parent in the same way that he was the mother's spouse: in mind, not in flesh." [Augustine] In this marriage none of the requisites of marriage were lacking: "In Christ's parents all the goods of marriage were realized offspring, fidelity, the sacrament: the offspring being the Lord Jesus himself; fidelity, since there was no adultery: the sacrament, since there was no divorce." [Augustine] 7
  • Analyzing the nature of marriage, both St. Augustine and St. Thomas always identify it with an "indivisible union of souls," a "union of hearts," with "consent." These elements are found in an exemplary manner in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. 7
Veritatis Splendor, 1993
  • Mary shares our human condition, but in complete openness to the grace of God. 120
Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994
  • Mary gave full expression to the longing of the poor of Yahweh. 48
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
Fidei Depositum, 1992

Poverty, humility, poor of God and Mary: 525, 526, 533, 544, 559, 563, 564, 711, 716, 724 [BB]

508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. ...

2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name. (cf. Lk 1:46-49) The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002
  • At the same time our heart can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church, and all mankind. Our personal concerns and those of our neighbor, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life. 2
  • The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. 10
  • The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary's side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is "fully formed" in us (cf. Gal 4:19). 15
  • To meditate upon the "joyful" mysteries, then, is to enter into the ultimate causes and the deepest meaning of Christian joy. It is to focus on the realism of the mystery of the Incarnation and on the obscure foreshadowing of the mystery of the saving Passion. Mary leads us to discover the secret of Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is, first and foremost, evangelium, "good news," which has as its heart and its whole content the person of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the one Savior of the world. 20
  • The Rosary is at the service of this ideal; it offers the "secret" which leads easily to a profound and inward knowledge of Christ. We might call it Mary's way. It is the way of the example of the Virgin of Nazareth, a woman of faith, of silence, of attentive listening. 24
  • Following in the path of Christ, in whom man's path is "recapitulated," revealed and redeemed, believers come face to face with the image of the true man. Contemplating Christ's birth, they learn of the sanctity of life; seeing the household of Nazareth, they learn the original truth of the family according to God's plan; listening to the Master in the mysteries of his public ministry, they find the light which leads them to enter the Kingdom of God; and following him on the way to Calvary, they learn the meaning of salvific suffering. Finally, contemplating Christ and his Blessed Mother in glory, they see the goal towards which each of us is called, if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. It could be said that each mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. 25
  • Twenty-five years later, thinking back over the difficulties which have also been part of my exercise of the Petrine ministry, I feel the need to say once more, as a warm invitation to everyone to experience it personally: the Rosary does indeed "mark the rhythm of human life," bringing it into harmony with the "rhythm" of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing. 25
  • In Christ, God has truly assumed a "heart of flesh." Not only does God have a divine heart, rich in mercy and in forgiveness, but also a human heart, capable of all the stirrings of affection. If we needed evidence for this from the Gospel, we could easily find it in the touching dialogue between Christ and Peter after the Resurrection: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Three times this question is put to Peter, and three times he gives the reply: "Lord, you know that I love you." (cf. Jn 21:15-17) Over and above the specific meaning of this passage, so important for Peter's mission, none can fail to recognize the beauty of this triple repetition, in which the insistent request and the corresponding reply are expressed in terms familiar from the universal experience of human love. To understand the Rosary, one has to enter into the psychological dynamic proper to love.

    One thing is clear: although the repeated Hail Mary is addressed directly to Mary, it is to Jesus that the act of love is ultimately directed, with her and through her. The repetition is nourished by the desire to be conformed ever more completely to Christ, the true program of the Christian life. 26

  • In the Church's traditional spirituality, the veneration of icons and the many devotions appealing to the senses, as well as the method of prayer proposed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises, make use of visual and imaginative elements (the compositio loci), judged to be of great help in concentrating the mind on the particular mystery. This is a methodology, moreover, which corresponds to the inner logic of the Incarnation: in Jesus, God wanted to take on human features. 29
  • The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the center, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on. 41

© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.

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