All men are vain in whom there is not the knowledge of God; and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand Him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman. (Wisdom 13:1)
March 17, 2018 ~ Saint Patrick, opn!
1. Mary as Co-Redemptrix
2. Passion Sunday
3. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
Sunday we will enter into the Church and notice everything is covered in purple (except Saint Joseph—as his feast will be celebrated on Monday, and then his image, too, will be covered). After the joy that was expressed on Laetare Sunday the Church places us into a deeper spirit of penance and union with Christ in His sufferings. Friday we will join the Mother of Sorrows before we begin Holy Week to follow Jesus Christ in His entry into Jerusalem and continue to accompany Him during the week of His passion and death.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
Mary as Co-Redemptrix
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Mary as Co-Redemptrix as found in the New Testament
In the visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, Mary, is now also the Theotokos, the Mother of God, co-operating with her Son to bring salvation to the world. This begins with the sanctification of John the Baptist:
And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. . . .
And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house. (Luke 1:39-45, 56.)
It is clear in this passage that it was Mary who brought salvation, not of herself, but by her bearing the Son of God, to the house of Zachary. This gives both that of her role as mediatrix (another topic), but also that which is repeated in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loretto), Ark of the Covenant. She is given this title for God’s very Being dwelt in her womb for nine months. One reads of the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Kings 6:11-12: And the ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite three months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household. And it was told king David, that the Lord had blessed Obededom, and all that he had, because of the ark of God.
Saint Alphonsus Ligouri writes:
And now, if all these first-fruits of Redemption passed through Mary as the channel through which grace was communicated to the Baptist, the Holy Ghost to Elizabeth, the gift of prophecy to Zachary and so many other blessings to the whole house, the first graces that to our knowledge the Eternal Word had granted on earth after his Incarnation, it is quite correct to believe that thenceforward God made Mary the universal channel, as she is called by St. Bernard, through which all the other graces that our Lord is pleased to dispense to us should pass. . . . (376)
Thus far, in the Annunciation and the Visitation, one should see that God places His dependence upon the actions of a woman. He does not come into this world without her consent; He cannot go to the house of Zachary unless the Woman goes there. It is not that Mary is independent of God; rather it is that God knows that Mary will co-operate with Him perfectly. This dependence is expressed already by the early Church Fathers in teaching about Redemption. Saint Justin Martyr, in his work Against Typhro, writes:
. . . and that He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it done unto me according to your word.’ Luke 1:38 And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him. (par. 100)
It corresponds to Saint Paul’s words speaking of women to Timothy: For Adam was first formed; then Eve. And Adam was not seduced; but the woman being seduced, was in the transgression. Yet she shall be saved through childbearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety. (1 Tim. 2:13-15) And, again, writing to the Galatians, Paul teaches: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal. 4:4-5) Clearly showing Saint Paul understood Mary as the woman who takes the place of Eve and, by bearing a child, saves mankind—to which women, in following Mary’s example, also find salvation.
Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who, himself was a disciple of John the Apostle and Evangelist, follows Saint John in seeing Mary as the new Eve:
That the Lord then was manifestly coming to His own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation which is supported by Himself, and was making a recapitulation of that disobedience which had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience which was [exhibited by Himself when He hung] upon a tree, [the effects] also of that deception being done away with, by which that virgin Eve, who was already espoused to a man, was unhappily misled — was happily announced, through means of the truth [spoken] by the angel to the Virgin Mary, who was [also espoused] to a man. For just as the former was led astray by the word of an angel, so that she fled from God when she had transgressed His word; so did the latter, by an angelic communication, receive the glad tidings that she should sustain (portaret) God, being obedient to His word. And if the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness (advocata) of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience. For in the same way the sin of the first created man (protoplasti) receives amendment by the correction of the First-begotten, and the coming of the serpent is conquered by the harmlessness of the dove, those bonds being unloosed by which we had been fast bound to death. (Against Heresies, v:19, 1)
Saint Luke, in recording the Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:46-56), provides a confirmation of Mary being chosen to bring salvation into the world:
And Mary said:
My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
In contrast, the Benedictus of Zachary was a confirmation that John the Baptist was the precursor of the Christ:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people:
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant:
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us:
To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament,
The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us,
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,
In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins:
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:68-79)
Saint Luke could not have given a better synopsis of the salvation history being fulfilled than in the three events portraying the Angel Gabriel’s appearance first to Zachary and then to Mary and the culmination in the Visitation where recognition is given to the New Eve and the Precursor. The Precursor will fade from view until the time appointed, but the New Eve will still be presented as an integral part of the New Adam.
In the Presentation in the Temple, while there is the rite of purification prescribed according to Moses in the book of Leviticus, besides the offering of two turtle doves, the focus is on the Christ Child being presented in the Temple and ransomed—there is no mention of the ransom, which, according to Numbers 18:16, was 5 silver sicles (And the redemption of it shall be after one month, for five sicles of silver, by the weight of the sanctuary. A sicle hath twenty obols.) The absence indicating that Christ wasn’t ransomed with Saint Luke recording the words of Simeon to Mary: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34-35)
Simeon takes the child and acknowledges that the work of Redemption is inseparable from Mary, to whom he returns the Child, not that she would redeem, but she would be obliged to raise the child, give consent to His sacrifice and witness the sacrifice. Another mother may see her son die whether she gives consent or not because it is not dependent on her decision; but Jesus could not be put to death without the consent of Mary. Saint Alphonsus writes:
Mary really offered her son to death, and knew for certain that the sacrifice of the life of Jesus which she then made was one day to be actually consummated on the altar of the cross; so that Mary, by offering the life of her Son, came, in consequence of the love she bore this Son, really to sacrifice her own entire self to God.
. . . although from the moment she became the Mother of Jesus, Mary consented to his death, yet God willed that on this day she should make a solemn sacrifice of herself, by offering her Son to him in the Temple, sacrificing his precious life to divine justice. Hence St. Epiphanius calls her “a priest.” [“Virginem appello velut sacerdotem”, Hom. in Laud. S. M.] And now we begin to see how much this sacrifice cost her, and what heroic virtues she had to practise when she herself subscribed the sentence by which her beloved Jesus was condemned to death. (392-394)
As Matthew records the suffering of exile, Luke records the suffering of the Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem:
And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch, And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him.
And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. (Luke 2:41-50)
The sorrow that Mary suffered cannot be fathomed, for she did nothing, but she had to suffer with and for her Son. But here there is not just the suffering that should be pointed out, there is also that the desire of the Child Jesus to begin the work of His Father, yet is stopped by His Mother. As it is written in Proverbs: For I also was my father’s son, tender and as an only son in the sight of my mother (Proverbs 4:3). When Jesus begins His work at the Marriage Feast of Cana, performing His first miracle at the request of His mother, Saint John seemingly goes back to the scene that was delayed with Christ in the temple, for the next public appearance places Christ back in the temple:
And the pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew.
And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up [Psalm 68:10]. The Jews, therefore, answered, and said to him: What sign dost thou shew unto us, seeing thou dost these things? Jesus answered, and said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building; and wilt thou raise it up in three days?
But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen again from the dead, his disciples remembered, that he had said this, and they believed the scripture, and the word that Jesus had said. (John 2:13-22)
(To be continued)
Dr. Pius Parsch
The Church’s Year of Grace (1953)
Station at St. Peter
The High-priest enters His sanctuary
Before our eyes the Church unrolls three tableaus on Christ’s sacred passion, a) an Old Testament type, b) a New Testament account, c) a scene that transcends time. a) The Church takes us back into Jewish history to about the sixth century before Christ. Upon David’s throne unworthy kings were sitting. In the Promised Land idols were being worshiped. Injustice and immorality prevailed in the very nation where Yahweh was king.
The drawing contrasts the tree of knowledge in paradise with the tree of the Cross upon which the Eucharistic vine is entwined. The fruit of the former was death, the fruit of the latter is life. The inscription says: The fruit of the tree seduced us, the Son of God redeemed us. The drawing illustrates the preface of Passiontide.
Then the spirit of God awakened prophets and commissioned them to warn the people and their leaders. Among the greatest of these was Jeremias, a man of noble soul, full of love toward God, his people, and his native land. He saw the approaching calamity of the exile and preached penance, but his fellow men paid no heed. Indeed they preferred being rid of the troublesome prophet, and took to persecuting him, tormenting him.
Since his admonitions proved futile, the promised misfortunes came; city and temple were destroyed, king and people led into exile. Upon the ruins of Sion Jeremias sat, moaning his Lamentations. In his very person rather than in deed or word Jeremias typified the suffering Savior. Today the Church reads the beginning of his book. (The beginning indicates the entire book.) He will accompany us through the whole of Passiontide.
b) The New Testament story comes from the Gospel. Christ is surrounded by hostile Jews; already they are lifting stones to kill Him. His death was decided upon, the act has been actually accomplished in their hearts, but “His hour had not yet come.” Christ stands in their midst full of divine majesty. “Who of you can convict Me of sin?” “Before Abraham was, I am.”
c) The scene that transcends time occurs in the Epistle. It is a solemn liturgical act. The divine High-priest in full panoply enters the Holy of Holies of heaven with His own blood and accomplishes eternal redemption. In these three tableaus the whole of this Sunday’s liturgy is set forth.
1. Passiontide. “Today, when you hear the voice of the Lord, do not close your hearts.” With these words of the invitatory the Church admonishes us to begin worthily the great season which commemorates the sufferings of our Lord. At the same time they are an invitation to suffer and sacrifice with Christ as members of His mystical Body. In solemn terms the first responsory of Matins introduces this passion period and gives us a glimpse of Easter, only fourteen days hence, “These are the days that you should keep holy when they come. Fourteen days from now the Pasch of the Lord will begin, and on the fifteenth you will celebrate the great solemnity in honor of God Most High.”
During the coming two weeks let us draw close to Christ in His bitter suffering, to Jesus the Man of Sorrows. Let us weep and sympathize with Him; but let us likewise regard Him as the conqueror upon the battlefield of Golgotha, with whom we too will be victorious. Let us see in Him the King who rules while suffering upon the throne of the Cross, with whom we too may rule by rising above the troubles and misfortunes of life. In spirit let us follow our High-priest as He passes into the Holy of Holies to sacrifice Himself for us; He is inviting us to share in His priesthood by offering ourselves as victims.
2. Holy Mass (Judica me). Today we pilgrimage to the grave of the prince of the apostles. In ancient times a vigil, with ordinations, was kept here at St. Peter’s during the night before Passion Sunday. The station and the content of the Mass point to this. Peter was the first successor to the divine High-priest Christ. In the Introit the Lord is struggling as, on the Mount of Olives, He begs for a judicial decision between Himself and the unholy Jewish people, particularly the evil, treacherous man (Judas).
In the Epistle we see the divine High-priest moving toward the altar of the Cross. With His own blood He will atone for mankind’s sins, He the sinless One. The Gradual and Tract are laments from the lips of Christ in His suffering; our thoughts dwell on the scourging pillar (“Upon My back the plowers plowed; long did they make their furrows”), or on the Cross (“Do Me justice, O God, and fight My fight against a faithless people; from the deceitful and impious man rescue Me”).
The day’s three leading themes arc here pictured in one drawing. Instead of Christ in agony we see the Cross with the chi-rho monogram and the letters, alpha and omega, recalling the Gospel passage: “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Savior’s enemies are pictured as roaring lions; the invocation, “Deliver Me from the jaws of the lion,” occurs repeatedly in the Passiontide offices. The Cross shining resplendently reflects the patristic mentality of regarding Christ’s suffering as a beata passio, His Cross is also a tree of life. The high priest of the Old Covenant was privileged to enter the dark chamber of the Holy of Holies once a year; but Christ entered and remains in the bright sanctuary of heaven after having passed through the dark night of suffering. His holy humanity is the ark of the New Covenant before which angels fall down and worship. At the bottom of the picture we see Jeremias weeping on the ruins of Jerusalem.
The Gospel shows us Christ as the Son of God, sinless and eternal. Another glance into the abysmal wickedness of His enemies; yet even there the Easter light shines through, “Abraham rejoiced that he would see My day (Easter).” When the Jews were on the point of stoning Jesus, He hid Himself (Passiontide and Easter motif). The Offertory, from one of the Pilgrim Psalms, voices our resolve to become spotless like our sinless High-priest.
By the Communion we are reminded that the Eucharist is a memorial of Christ’s death. “This is My Body which shall be given up for you; this cup is the New Testament in My blood, says the Lord. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” The two oblation prayers focus attention on the fruits of the Sacrifice: our gifts should loosen the bonds of sin and confer the blessings of grace (Secret), while the Eucharist should bring unfailing assistance (Postc.).
3. Divine Office. At Matins we listen to homilies by two illustrious popes, St. Leo I and St. Gregory the Great. These sermons take on an added significance in that both were delivered during the liturgical services on Passion Sunday in St. Peter’s at Rome, the first about 4
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