Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Now THIS Speaks Louder Than Words
04/06/2005 - James White
This image expresses what I have been trying to say for a few days now. This image appears in rotating fashion at www.catholic.com, the Catholic Answers website. A number of years ago I wrote the following in my book, Mary--Another Redeemer?:
It is general knowledge that Pope John Paul II is highly devoted to the Virgin Mary. He credits Mary with saving him from an assassin's bullet early on in his pontificate. His personal motto, inscribed upon his blue-and-white coat of arms, Totus Tuus sum Maria, means Mary, I am totally yours. He has visited just about every Marian shrine in the world, and has done much to revive and foster Marian devotion in the Roman Church.John Paul II's devotion to Mary, especially his belief in her as co-redemptrix, co-mediatrix, and advocate for the people of God, portrayed in this image (which, I am told, has appeared not only on the Catholic Answers website, but others as well), illustrates perfectly what I am talking about when I speak of how Rome's gospel gets in the way of Christ. Remember the words of Liguori in The Glories of Mary:
On this account it was, says St. Bernard, that the Eternal Father, wishing to show all the mercy possible, besides with giving us Jesus Christ, our principal advocate him, was pleased also to give us Mary, as our adwith Jesus Christ. There is no doubt,the saint adds, that Jesus Christ is the only mediator of justice between men and God; that, by virtue of his own merits and promises, he will and can obtain us pardon and the divine favors; but because men acknowledge and fear the divine Majesty, which is in him as God, for this reason it was necessary to assign us another advocate, to whom we might have recourse with less fear and more confidence, and this advocate is Mary, than whom we cannot find one more powerful with his divine majesty, or one more merciful towards ourselves. The saint says, Christ is a faithful and powerful Mediator between God and men, but in him men fear the majesty of God. A mediator, then, was needed with the mediator himself; nor could a more fitting one be found than Mary. (pp. 195-196)
Outside of the flowery language, is there that much difference from this kind of Marian devotion and that found in the official writings of John Paul II, such as this from his encyclical Redemptoris Mater?
(19) And now, standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary is the witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words. On that wood of the Cross her Son hangs in agony as one condemned. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows . . . he was despised, and we esteemed him not: as one destroyed (cf. Is. 53:3-5). How great, how heroic then is the obedience of faith shown by Mary in the face of Gods unsearchable judgments! How completely she abandons herself to God without reserve, offering the full assent of the intellect and the will to him whose ways are inscrutable(cf. Rom. 11:33)! And how powerful too is the action of grace in her soul, how all-pervading is the influence of the Holy Spirit and of his light and power! Through this faith Mary is perfectly united with Christ in his self-emptying. For Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men: precisely on Golgotha humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (cf. Phil. 2:5-8). At the foot of the Cross Mary shares through faith in the shocking mystery of this self-emptying. This is perhaps the deepest kenosisof faith in human history. Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in his redeeming death; but in contrast with the faith of the disciples who fled, hers was far more enlightened. On Golgotha, Jesus through the Cross definitively confirmed that he was the sign of contradiction foretold by Simeon. At the same time, there were also fulfilled on Golgotha the words which Simeon had addressed to Mary: and a sword will pierce through your own soul also. Yes, truly blessed is she who believed!I fully understand the sentimental impact of the painting presented in this image. And for the mind deeply infected by post-modernism, I'm sure the image tugs at the heart. But may the Lord be pleased to guard your minds from the error that would lead you to think that anything or anyone can be inserted between Christ and His people, including Mary without detracting from the singular glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Mary: Another Redeemer? I produced a chart toward the end of the book. I present it here as well.
(21) At Cana in Galilee there is shown only one concrete aspect of human need, apparently a small on and of little importance (They have no wine). But it has a symbolic value: this coming to the aid of human needs means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christs messianic mission and salvific power. Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself in the middle, that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, bon as mother. She knows that as such she can point out to her son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she has the rightto do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary intercedesfor mankind. And that is not all. As a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that salvific power of his which is meant to help man in his misfortunes, to free him from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon his life
(24) The words uttered by Jesus from the Cross signify that the motherhood of her who bore Christ finds a new continuation in the Church and through the Church, symbolized and represented by John. In this way, she who as the one full of gracewas brought into the mystery of Christ in order to be his Mother and thus the Holy Mother of God, through the Church remains in that mystery as the womanspoken of by the Book of Genesis (3:15) at the beginning and by the Apocalypse (12:1) at the end of the history of salvation. In accordance with the eternal plan of Providence, Marys divine motherhood is to be poured out upon the Church, as indicated by statements of Tradition, according to which Marys motherhood of the Church is the reflection and extension of the motherhood of the Son of God.
(26) In a sense her journey of faith is longer. The Holy Spirit had already come down upon her and she became his faithful spouse at the Annunciation, welcoming the Word of the true God, offering the full submission of intellect and will . . . and freely assenting to the truth revealed by him, indeed abandoning herself totally to God through the obedience of faith, whereby she replied to the angel: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.The journey of faith made by Mary, whom we see praying in the Upper Room, is thus longer than that of the others gathered there. Mary goes before them, leads the wayfor them. The moment of Pentecost in Jerusalem had been prepared for by the moment of the Annunciation in Nazareth, as well as by the Cross. In the Upper Room Marys journey meets the Churchs journey of faith.
|The Lord Jesus||Mary|
|Predestined to be Redeemer||Immaculately Conceived|
|Virgin Born||Immaculately Conceived|
|Incarnate Deity: the Son in Human Flesh||Spouse of the Spirit, Called by Saints and Theologians a kind of “incarnation of the Spirit”|
|Sinless||Kept from original sin and personal sin|
|Suffered and Died on Calvary||Suffered and Almost Died at the Foot of the Cross|
|Ascended into Glory||Bodily Assumed into Glory|
|King of Heaven||Queen of Heaven|
|Source of Grace||Channel of Grace|
|Our Peace with God||Treasurer of our Peace with God|