18 May 2008

Think About Mary

One of the toughest hurdles for Protestants looking at the Catholic Church is the reverence shown to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They say, "She's in the background--the Bible hardly talks about her."

Sure, we don't know much about her day to day life because she always points to her Son. Many scholars say that the only reason for not including the Protoevangelium of James in the canon of Scripture was not that the content or the authorship in question, but that the emphasis of the New Testament was Christ and the Church.

But we do know more about Mary by using our minds. If you think about who Jesus is and how that effects His mother, then a clearer image appears. For example, Jesus is the Bread from Heaven (Manna)--Manna was one of the things kept in the Ark of the Covenant--therefore since Mary carried the Bread from Heaven in her womb she can be called the Ark of the Covenant!

Another example: the prophets said that the Messiah would enter through the Eastern Gate and no other would enter after Him. Therefore Mary can be called the Eastern Gate and her status as ever-virgin is upheld.

Throughout Church history mystics have contemplated how the life, death, resurrection, and divinity of Christ affected the Blessed Virgin. Reading through these will boggle your mind! You can't help but fall in love with her and repeat the inspired words of St. Elizabeth "Blessed art thou among women!"

I highly recommend a book called "The 100 Names of Mary" by Fr. Anthony Chiffolo. It goes through many of her titles and includes background and prayers for each. Some are ancient, some are more recent aparitions like Our Lady of Lourdes.

Below is a lengthy list of titles from the Western "Litany of Loretto" and the Eastern "Akathist". Many are Biblical terms from the Old Testament. You'll also notice that most point to her relationship with Christ, her Son.

Theotokos (Mother of God), Virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Our Lady of good counsel, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Redeemer, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Singular vessel of devotion, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of Heaven, Morning Star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of all Saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of peace.

Her through whom Joy shines forth; Her through whom the curse disappears; Restoration of the Fallen Adam; Redemption of the Tears of Eve; Peak above the reach of human thought; Depth even beyond the sight of angels; Her who has become a Kingly Throne; Her who carries Him Who Carries All; Star who manifest the Sun; Womb of the Divine Incarnation; Her through whom creation is renewed; Her through whom the Creator became a Babe; Hidden Sense of the Ineffable Plan; Belief in Silence That Must Be; Forecast of the Marvels of Christ; Fountainhead of truths concerning Him; Celestial Ladder, by whom God came down; Bridge leading earthly ones to heaven; Wonder, ever-thrilling to the angels; Wound, ever-hurting to the demons; Her who gave birth to Light ineffably; Her who told no one how it was done; Her who surpassed the wisdom of the wise; Her who enlighten faithful minds; Bride without bridegroom--Maiden ever-pure; Tendril whose Bud shall not wilt; Soil whose Fruit shall not perish; Tender of mankind's loving Tender; Gardener of the Gardener of Life; Earth who yielded abundant mercies; Table full-laden with appeasement; Her who greened anew the pastures of delight; Her who prepared a haven for the souls; Acceptable Incense of Prayer; Expiation of the whole universe; Favor of God to mortal men; Trust of mortals before God; Mother of Lamb and Shepherd; Fold of rational sheep; Protection against unseen foes; Key to the Doors of Paradise; The Unsilenced Voice of the Apostles; The Undaunted Might of Martyrs; Steadfast Foundation of Faith; Shining Emblem of Grace; Mother of the Star Without Setting; Radiance of the Mystical Day; She who quenched the flame of error; Light of those who search the Trinity; She who unthroned the Enemy of Men; She who showed forth Christ the Lord, Lover of Mankind; She who cleansed us from the stain of pagan worship; She who saved us from the mire of evil deeds; She who made cease the cult of fire; She who dispelled the flames of Passion; She who guides the faithful toward wisdom; Delight of all the Nations; Downfall of the Demons; She who crushed the error of deceit; Sea who drowned the symbolic Pharaoh; Rock who quenched those who thirst for Life; Shelter of the World, wider than the clouds; Handmaid of holy delight; Land of the promised good; She who flow with milk and honey; Blossom of Incorruption; Crown of Self-mastery; Fruitful Tree from whom believers feed; Shady Glen where many are sheltered; She who has born the Guide of the Lost; Source of Life to the captives' Release; She who unsettled even the Just Judge; Indulgence of many who have fallen; Stole for those who lack freedom to speak; Tenderness who exceed all desire; Space of the Spaceless God; Gate of the Sublime Mystery; Message unsure to men without faith; Glory most certain to those who believe; Sacred Chariot of the One above the Cherubim; Perfect Dwelling of the One above the Seraphim; She who reconciled opposites; She who combined maidenhood and motherhood; She through whom transgression was erased; She through whom Paradise was opened; Key to the Kingdom of Christ; Hope for the Ages of Bliss; Container of God's Wisdom; Treasury of His Providence; Reproof of foolish philosophers; Confusion of speechless wise men; She perplexed the inquisitive minds; Retriever from the Abyss of Ignorance; Lamplight of Knowledge to many; Ship for those who seek Salvation; Harbor for the Sailors of Life; Pillar of Virginity; Gateway of Salvation; Principle of the New Creation; Dispenser of God's bounties; She who bore the Sower of Chastity; Holy Chamber of virginal wedlock; She who joins the faithful with God; Bridesmaid of holy souls; Beam of the Mystical Son; Radiance of the Light without setting; Lightning-Flash that brightens the souls; Thunder-Clap that strikes down the foes; She who raised the many-lighted Star; She who opened the many-coursed Stream; She who traced the living Model of the Pool; Flowing Water that cleanses the conscience; Holy Vessel overflowing with joy; Fragrance of the sweetness of Christ; Life of the Mystical Banquet; Tabernacle of God the Word; Holy One, more holy than the saints; Ark that the Spirit has gilded; Inexhaustible Treasure of Life; Precious Crown of rightful authorities; Sacred Glory of reverent priests; Unshakable Tower of the Church; Unbreachable Wall of the Kingdom; Her through whom the trophies are raised; Her through whom the enemies are routed.

Ora pro nobis sancta Dei Genitrix. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

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