Mary, Mother of Jesus, Queen of Heaven
This essay was a challenge to write, and it may be a challenge for you to read. The purpose here is to try to explain (or convey) the importance of Mary, the mother of Jesus, within Christianity. Even if you are not a Christian, you may benefit from reading this essay by gaining an understanding of why many Christians, primarily Catholics and Orthodox, honor Mary. Be advised, that I am not claiming to be an expert in this area, but have some knowledge of the subject, and some thoughts about it. (The format will be in bullet points.) Thank you.
1. Theological importance of Mary’s virginity.
True God, True Man. As the Nicean Creed states, concerning Jesus, He was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary”. Therefore, Jesus has both a divine nature and a human nature.
The Council of Nicea (325 a.d., alternatively spelled Nicaea) reaffirmed what had been believed since New Testament times three centuries before. (Some individuals in recent decades have asserted that Christianity was “made up” or “invented” at Nicea. That is simply not true. These uninformed individuals did not do a rigorous, or even a cursory, study of the history of the very early Christian church.) As discussed in the earlier essay on the Coptic Christians of Egypt (filed under the Human Rights category tab), the Council of Nicea was convened in large part to combat the heresy of Arias (Arian Heresy) that denied Christ’s divinity and asserted that He was merely a man.
2. Mary’s virginity, or purity, means more than merely sexual virginity. This point is not explained well at present by the churches. Mary, because of the Immaculate Conception, did not suffer the effects of original sin, and hence did not have a “fallen” nature. (The Immaculate Conception was only made a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church in 1854 by Pope Pius IX. The delay (of centuries) in making this a dogma of the Church is beyond the scope of this essay; but suffice it to say that the delay was largely due to the lasting negative effects of (St.) Augustine’s pessimistic thinking on both original sin and human conception (through sex).)
Mary was the exception. Being free of original sin: I think it means being free from all taint of sin or character defect, and being free from the human tendency (or predilection) to sin because of our fallen and selfish nature.
Mary had, already while on earth, the pure, perfect human nature. She possessed the “unfallen” pure human nature that God had intended for us to have. Hence, she can love God and love other humans as God intended man to love, free from any human weakness, or selfishness. Her love for God, and for us, is qualitatively similar to God’s love for us.
3. As she is the queen of all, she is the advocate of all. Mary is also known as the advocate of sinners. Many Christians believe that Mary is very powerful through her prayers as her Son, Who loves His mother, will not deny her anything she asks of Him. That is why many people, when they pray, ask for Mary’s intercession with her Son on behalf of their prayer requests.
4. Mary as Mediatrix of all Graces, and the proposal to recognize Mary as Coredemptrix of fallen humanity.
As to Mediatrix of all Graces, note: The Catholic Church has yet to affirm this belief, currently held by many, as a dogma of the faith, and may not do so. Please note , that if you read the book, Hail Holy Queen (pictured below), you will see that the writings of many saints do claim that Mary is the Mediatrix of all Graces given by God to man. I relied on the linked article from Wikipedia for this item. Here is the link:
Also, this same article in Wikipedia mentions the “Mary as Coredemptrix” issue. (The right sidebar to this Wikipedia article has links to many other articles on Mary and the Church.) This title for Mary has also not been approved by the Church.
But to approve such a title would clearly be an error. Given Mary’s obedience to God and her humility, this misguided idea must be offensive to her.
5. Apparitions of Mary throughout the centuries and throughout the world.
Our Lady of Fatima (Portugal, 1917)http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/approved/appariti/fatima.html
Our Lady of Knoch (Ireland, 1879)
The Black Madonna (Czestochowa, Poland, 1382)
Our Lady of Lourdes (France, 1858)
Our Lady of Guadalupe (southern Mexico, 1531)
If you live in the West or the southwest areas of the US, you have likely seen the automobile decal, on car or truck windows or rear windshields, of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as she is honored and revered among many Mexican Americans.
Akita, Japan (1973, where Mary spoke on 3 separate occasions from a statue)
Our Lady of Sheshan (Shanghai, China, not an apparition)
Here is an interesting article on the pilgrimage site and its history in the Shanghai area.
Here is another article on Our Lady in China.
To the skeptics or cynics, can all of these be attributed to mass hysteria, hallucinations, evidence of individual or collective mental illness, or fabrications (frauds)? Remember, the above is only a partial listing of apparitions throughout the centuries. For other apparitions, click here and scroll down a bit for a further listing. http://www.marypages.com/ or do a search of the web for yourself.
The Rosary consists mostly of the Hail Mary, the first part of which is the angelic salutation that the angel said to Mary at the Annunciation. Yes, the Rosary is repetitive, but it is not vain repetitious prayer. The reader is referred to St. Louis de Montfort (died 1714) and his writings on Mary and the Rosary.
Hail Holy Queen! Mother of mercy.
This beautiful painting, “Our Lady of Good Remedy”, is on the front cover of a paperback book and is used with the kind permission of the publisher, Tan Books and Publishers.
This photo of a statue in Israel (below) is from shutterstock.com.
The image of this painting is courtesy of ewtn.com.
This image is from blog.chron.com.
More images (2) for “Our Lady of Good Remedy” – it is a very beautiful painting.
This image is courtesy of avemariafoundations.com.
This image is from tanbooks.benedictpress.com.
And last, here is a church, Our Lady of Victory Basilica, in Lackawanna, New York (Buffalo area). It is the main church for Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity in the Lackawanna and Buffalo area.
Today, July 18, 2012, we are adding these additional remarks based upon further reflection.
1. There is not a single passage in (Christian) Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament) that denigrates Mary, the mother of the Savior.
2. For those who call themselves Christian, and yet do not respect and honor Mary, we submit this to think upon. If you are really an authentic Christian, and are not just giving “lip service” to being one, then you will respect the events of Jesus’ life on earth. You respect and honor His public ministry and His teachings that have come down to us in the Gospels. You respect His passion, suffering, death and resurrection. Why then would you not respect His birth (Nativity)?
If you take a negative view of Jesus’ mother, you are then indirectly failing to honor Jesus’ birth. Is that something that you really want to do? That is, if you are sincere in your claim to being a Christian.
In closing, let us ask: was this lengthy essay (with all its pics and all the links) of some benefit to you? At the close of a marital debate, after my wife has made her final concluding remarks, she is fond of asking: “Agree or no? . . . . . agree somewhat???”