The Mystery of
Gracewing--Hillenbrand Books, 2004.
Fr. Paul Haffner is an English priest, who studied physics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After seminary studies at the Venerable English College in Rome, he presented his thesis at the Gregorianum, directed by S. L. Jaki, which was later published as Faith in God the Creator in Relation to Modern Science according to the Works of S.L. Jaki.
Now Fr. Haffner, with scientific precision and great clarity, turns to Marian studies and presents The Mystery of Mary, a well-integrated synthesis of Scripture, liturgy, and Tradition. In his words, the work is a "theological and doctrinal panorama concerning Mary, in an historical perspective," written in "a realistic perspective ... to guarantee the true relation between the knower and reality," an approach which avoids Kantian subjectivism and evolutionary notions.
The two chapters on Scripture are titled "Daughter of Zion" and "Handmaid of the Lord." Five prophetic passages dealing with the Daughter of Zion are fulfilled in the Virgin Mary, who is united to the mysteries of Christ. Mary cannot be separated from this economy of salvation, and this economy cannot be understood apart from Mary.
The work proceeds systematically: the "fullness of grace" is the foundation for Mary's motherhood. In view of her motherhood, she was immaculately conceived and remains ever-virgin, and, in view of that motherhood and her relation to Christ's saving work, she is assumed body and soul. Finally, her motherhood, along with her attentive reception of God's word, provides the basis for her discipleship, her role as co-redemptrix and as Mother of the Church.Several years ago, Fr. René Laurentin spoke of the need for studies which present a integrated synthesis of doctrine dealing with Mary's relation to Christ and her role in salvation history. This book fulfills Fr. Laurentin's desire, and it will be used in seminary and college courses. Fr. Haffner's purpose in writing was to provide a "little shrine of the mind and heart for Our Lady, to celebrate the one hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the definition of the dogma of her Immaculate Conception."
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