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mary

Presence

  • How do I come?
  • How do I come to this retreat on Mary?

St. Mary Major

  • light candle

We come to this retreat time to prayerfully reflect on our tradition and on the life and words of Mary. Mary is the model for our lives and relationship with God. Her life shows us how to live in relationship with God, how to be open to God’s Will, and how to respond to God. In this passage of Scripture too, she sums up the hopes of generations of Prophets and Patriarchs; she speaks prophetically about the Kingdom of God. This retreat will try and help you to understand how to make these prophetic words part of your daily life. We sing the Magnificat in with Mary

  • song: Magnificat
  • What particularly do you want to reflect on in our time together?
  • What particularly do you want to pray for in our time together?
  • What particularly do ask of God during in our time together?

Mary our Sister

Orientations

  1. To explore the Catholic tradition on Mary
  2. To assess challenges to Marian doctrine and pastoral praxis
  3. To hear again the words of Mary in the scriptures
  4. To discover Mary as mystic and prophet

Part One - Mary in the Church

Historical Mary?

  • First-century
    • Fog of historical past
    • Archeology
    • World history
  • Jewish woman
    • Gender in the the Middle-East
    • Gender in scripture
    • Gender in Judaism
  • Living a hard-scrabble life
    • Much of life is about survival
    • Rough hewn life
    • Rough hewn language
    • Hunger and Thirst for Justice
    • Artisan - new poverty
  • In a land violently occupied
    • Soldiers present
    • Oppression
    • Foreign justice
  • By a foreign power
    • Romans brought order in their image
    • Jews were considered savages.

First Millenium

  • Theotokos - Θεοτόκος
  • Godbearer - one who bears God
  • Christocentric Mariology
  • Legends
  • First Century Image of Christ

  • Fifth Century Image of Christ

  • Second Century Image of Mary

  • Fifth Century Image of Mary

  • Third Century Prayer: Sub Tuum - early prayer to Mary

  • Sub Tuum
We fly to Thy protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus,
Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis
libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta

Second Millenium

  • Expanded religious imagination
  • Coronation of Christ
  • Coronation of Mary
  • Reading hierarchy into theology
    • Need for mediation
  • Fifteenth Century Image of Mary

  • Sixteenth Century Image of Mary

  • Seventeenth Century Image of Mary

  • Baroque Period

  • Affective faith in the ascendency over intellectual faith
    • Marian devotions
    • Marian apparitions
    • Reformers object and Catholics double-down on popular piety - distinctive marker of Catholic identity
    • Art, Music, Shrines, Rosary, Litanies, Processions, Hymns, May-crownings, Fraternities, Consecrations
    • Migration of the divine feminine to Mary

Lumen Gentium

  • Mary occupies a place in the Church
  • highest after Christ
  • and yet very close to us. (LG 54)

The council treated Mary in Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium - the document on the Church rather than a separate document because Mary belongs “within the Church” rather that outside of it.

  1. The Mystery of the Church
  2. The People of God
  3. The Hierarchical Structure of the Church and In Particular on the Episcopate
  4. The Laity
  5. The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church
  6. The Religious
  7. The Eschatological Nature of the Pilgrim Church and Its Union with the Church in Heaven
  8. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the Mystery of Christ and the Church
    • Associate of Christ on earth
    • Heavenly mother to all Christians in the order of grace
    • A model which every member of the Church should aim to imitate.

Mary in Liturgy

Dogmas:

  • Mother of God - Jan 1
  • Assumption of Mary - Aug 15
  • Immaculate Conception of Mary - Dec 9
  • Perpetual virginity of Mary

Mother of God - Jan 1

  • Earliest understanding of Mary
    • Mary is Mother of Jesus Χριστοτόκος
    • Jesus is Divine and Human
    • Mary is mother of the one person of Jesus in both of natures: Θεοτόκος
  • Council of Ephesus 431
  • Θεοτόκος - Μήτηρ Θεοῦ

  • Mary as our mother
    • Ancient cultural meaniing of intercession forms theology
    • Perpetually available to do children's bidding -
    • Virgin and Mother - defined by feminine passivity.
Jan 1 - 
O God, who through the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary
bestowed on the human race
the grace of eternal salvation
grant, we pray, 
that we may experience the intercession of her,
to receive the author of life,
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.

Assumption of Mary - Aug 15

  • Ancient tradition
  • Dormition - 5th Century
  • Death? (punishment for original sin v Immaculate Conception)
  • Assumption Defined officially in 1950
    • The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Aug 15 - Assumption
O God, who, looking on the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
raised her to this grace,
that your Only Betonnen Son was born of her according to the flesh
and that she was crowned this day with surpassing glory,
grant through her prayers, 
that, saved by the mystery of your redemption,
we may merit to be exalted by you on high.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.  

Immaculate Conception of Mary - Dec 9

  • Defined in 1854 - four years before the apparitions at Lourdes
    • Original Sin:
      • Original Blessing / Created in the image of God
      • Deeply compromised, conflicted, weakened
    • Gen 1:27 God created mankind in God's own image, in the image of God-self God created them; male and female God created them.
    • Gen 2:25: Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
    • Gen 3
      • Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.
      • He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
      • The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
      • “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
      • ….they ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
      • Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
      • He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
    • Rom 5:12: Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. (1 Cor 15:22)
    • For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.
    • Catholic Sinfulness, weakness before temptation; East: fallen; Protestant: corruption, depravity; Judaism and Islam don't hold this.
  • Mary is free from original sin
  • Mary was redeemed by Christ
  • In view of the merits of Jesus Christ
  • So that Christ could be born of a sinless person.
  • Widely held since late antiquity
  • With some significant dissenters: Aquinas, Bonaventure, Bernard
  • Eastern Christians see this as an over elaboration. Makes Mary admirable but not truly our sister.
  • Reform Churches see this as without scriptural basis, negating the saving power of Christ and flying in the face of modern scientific understanding.
December 8
Oh God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son,
grant, we pray,
that, as you preserved her from every stain
by virtue of the Death of your son, which you foresaw
so, through her intercession,
we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.  

Perpetual Virginity of Mary

  • From the early ecumenical councils
  • Strong liturgical evidence “Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary”
  • Mary was virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus
  • Early Christian writers posit a vow of virginity
  • Not supported by Mary's Jewish roots (Hanah, Rebeccah, Sarah) - Be fertile and multiply.
  • She had no relations until the child was born.
  • Jesus brothers, cousins, half-brothers…. and the extended family unit
  • “Behold thy son.”

Part Two - Challenges

  • Marialis cultus, Paul VI 1974 - part II
    • Biblical
    • Liturgical
    • Ecumenical
    • Anthropological

Mary in Scripture

  • 4 words of Mary
  • 44 references to Mary
  • Faithful disciple
  • Mystic and prophet
  • Theotokos - Θεοτόκος

Mary in Ecumenism

Eastern Christianity

  • Christo-centric Mariology
  • Theotokos - God-bearer - https://orthodoxwiki.org/Theotokos
  • Doxological - praise
  • Liturgical - integrated
  • Symbolic - of the mystic and prophetic call.
    • Rejoice, O you through whom joy will shine forth;
    • Rejoice, O you through whom the curse will disappear!
    • Rejoice, O Restoration of the Fallen Adam;
    • Rejoice, O Redemption of the Tears of Eve!
    • Rejoice, O Peak above the reach of human thought;
    • Rejoice, O Depth even beyond the sight of angels!
    • Rejoice, O you who have become a kingly Throne;
    • Rejoice, O you who carries One Who carries all!
    • Rejoice, O Star who manifests the Sun;
    • Rejoice, O Womb of the Divine Incarnation!
    • Rejoice, O you through whom creation is renewed;
    • Rejoice, O you through whom the Creator becomes a Babe!
    • Rejoice, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
    • Rejoice, O Space of the spaceless God;
    • Rejoice, O Gate of the Sublime Mystery!
    • Rejoice, O Message unsure to those without faith;
    • Rejoice, O Glory most certain to those who believe!
    • Rejoice, O Sacred Chariot of the One Above the Cherubim;
    • Rejoice, Perfect Dwelling of the One Above the Seraphim!
    • Rejoice, O you who reconciled opposites;
    • Rejoice, O you who combined maidenhood and motherhood!
    • Rejoice, O you through whom transgression was erased;
    • Rejoice, O you through whom paradise was opened!
    • Rejoice, O Key to the Kingdom of Christ;
    • Rejoice; O Hope for the Ages of Bliss!
    • Rejoice, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
    • Rejoice, O Beam of the Mystical Sun;
    • Rejoice, O Radiance of the Light Without Setting!
    • Rejoice, Lightning-Flash that brightens the souls;
    • Rejoice, Thunder-Clap that strikes down the foes!
    • Rejoice, for you have raised the many-lighted Star;
    • Rejoice, for you have opened the many-coursed Stream!
    • Rejoice, O you who traced the Living Model of the Pool;
    • Rejoice, O you who erased the stain of sin!
    • Rejoice, Flowing Water that cleanses the conscience;
    • Rejoice, Holy Vessel overflowing with joy!
    • Rejoice, O Fragrance of the Sweetness of Christ;
    • Rejoice, O Life of the Mystical Banquet!
    • Rejoice, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
    • Rejoice, O Tabernacle of God the Word;
    • Rejoice, Holy One, more holy that the Saints!
    • Rejoice, O Ark that the Spirit has gilded;
    • Rejoice, Inexhaustible Treasure of Life!
    • Rejoice, Precious Crown of Rightful Authorities;
    • Rejoice, Sacred Glory of Reverent Priests!
    • Rejoice, Unshakable Tower of the Church;
    • Rejoice, Unbreachable Wall of the Kingdom!
    • Rejoice, O you through whom the trophies are raised;
    • Rejoice, O you through whom the enemies are routed!
    • Rejoice, O Healing of My Body;
    • Rejoice, O Salvation of My Soul!
    • Rejoice, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure!
  • Theotokos - Incarnational
  • Walking with Mary

Reform Christianity

  • Most reformers hold to Ecumenical Councils
  • Theotokos
  • Christological Mariology

Mary in Anthropology

  • Feminism
    • Critical examination of historical evidence
    • Critique of Essentialism / Dualism
    • Most societies are patriarchal, where males are normative, dominant, oppressive.
      • Woman's lives, voices and accomplishments are largely invisible / silent
      • Scripture written in this milieux,
      • Marian theology developed in this milieux
  • What to make of a Mariology developed by patriarchy
    • Hesitance to ascribe the feminine to God
      • Made in the image of God (male and female)
      • Ascribing feminine aspects of God to Mary
      • Migrate feminine back to God
      • Queen of Heaven
      • Woman clothed with the Sun = Church
    • Integrate the Fiat with the Magnificat
      • Interpret Fiat as divine/human rather than male/female
      • Full humanity of women:
    • Justice
    • Sustainable Human Development
    • Women's rights are Human Rights
    • We as a church are in process, evolution
    • Full dignity of women
    • There is no Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male or Female
  • Call to responsible discipleship for all
  • Evolutionary world - responsible co-evolution
  • Scientific world-view
  • Deconstruct hierarchies
  • Social responsibilities

Part Three - Words of Mary

I know not // Fiat

When the sixth month came, God sent the angel Gabriel to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, where a virgin dwelt, betrothed to a man of David’s lineage; his name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Into her presence the angel came, and said, hail you who are full of grace; the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.


She was much perplexed at hearing the angel speak so, and cast about in her mind, what she was to make of such a greeting. Then the angel said to her, Mary, do not be afraid; you have found favor in the sight of God. And behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and shall bear a child, and whom you will call Jesus.


He will be great and will be known as child of the most High; God will set him on the throne of his ancestor David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob eternally in a kingdom that shall never end. How can this be since I do not know man?


And the angel answered her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you. Thus the holy one which is to be born of you shall be known as the child of God.


See, moreover, how it fares with your cousin Elizabeth; she is old, yet she too has conceived a child; she who was reproached with barrenness is now in her sixth month, to prove that nothing can be impossible with God. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of God; let it be unto me according to your word. And with that the angel left her.


How can this be?

  • Hail, you are full of grace, you are blessed….
  • Perplexed / Cast about / Afraid
  • You have found favor, you shall conceive, you shall bear, you will call
  • He will be great / He will reign
  • How can this be…
    • I do not know…

Mary's yes to God.

vv           vv

Woman's yes to man.


The Spirit comes Most high overshadows Holy one is born of God Elizabeth conceives Nothing is impossible Let it be….


Magnificat

(Lk1)

  • “My soul proclaims God's greatness,
  • and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
  • for you have looked on the humble estate of your servant.
  • For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
  • for you who are mighty has done great things for me,
  • and holy is your name.

  • And your mercy is for those who fear you
  • from generation to generation.
  • You have shown strength with your arm;
  • You have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
  • You have brought down the mighty from their thrones
  • and exalted those of humble estate;

  • You have filled the hungry with good things,
  • and the rich you have sent away empty.
  • You have helped your servant Israel,
  • in remembrance of your mercy,
  • as you spoke to our ancestors,
  • to Abraham and Sarah and to their offspring forever.”

Starts with the mystic lost in God:

  • My soul proclaims the greatness
  • My spirit rejoices

Moves to the prophetic

  • Your mercy
  • Shown strength / scattered
  • Brought down / raised up
  • Filled / emptied
  • Helped / spoke

Occupy Bethlehem


Yes to God's Project in the Fiat No to the Project of Oppression in the Magnificat


Did you not know?

Finding in the Temple (Lk2)

  • His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
  • “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
  • Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Do whatever he tells you

John 2

  • When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

[And] Jesus said to her,

  • “Woman, how does your concern affect me?
  • My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”


Part Four - Mystic and Prophet

Inkblot

Migrate feminine images back to God. Develop / share a meaningful marian spiritual practice or image, or a challenge



  1. Pneumatological mariology that considered Mary in light of the Holy Spirit offered a fruitful approach.
  2. I explore a theology of Mary as friend of God and prophet in the communion of saints.

http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2010/07/sunday-lyric-restless-mind.html

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree. Jesus as tree of life.

mary.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/05 11:28 (external edit)