Mariology and today’s gospel reading

Like Mark 3:31-35, today’s gospel is one of the more difficult for the more extreme claims of mariology:

While Jesus was speaking,a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,”Blessed is the womb that carried youand the breasts at which you nursed.”He replied, “Rather, blessed are thosewho hear the word of God and observe it.”

(Lk 11:27-28.) In neither case, of course, is the point to diminish Mary, and the passage just quoted must of course be read in light of the magnificat: “For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” (Lk 1:46 et seq.) We should look for a balanced mariology; the joint Catholic-Evangelical statement Do Whatever He Tell You is a good start. Lumen Gentium‘s mariology strikes me as reflecting the right balance:

because [Mary] belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.” Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother. [Cf. Jn 19:26-27.]

. . . .

The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. …  Adorned from the first instant of her conception [because of her unique role as a living tabernacle] with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God’s command, by an angel messenger as “full of grace”, and to the heavenly messenger she replies: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word”. Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. … Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. … “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” …

There is but one Mediator … [and t]he maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.


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