Understanding the Bible Series:
Our Lady in the Bible
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Jesus therefore had as God, His own natural Father
being God, the First Person is the Father of the Second Person. That filiation,
as we call it, on Christs side; or paternity on the side of the First Person
never began and will never end. The generation of the Second Person is from
all eternity. However Jesus did have a natural Father therefore, as God. He
did not have a natural Father as man. Did He have a natural mother? Of course,
we hesitate using the word natural because of the way that Mary conceived
her Son. But Jesus did have a natural mother because the human nature that
He received indeed from God but came through her. Therefore Mary was a descendant
of David. For legal purposes, in other words, to protect both Marys and Christs
reputation, Mary, as we know, was espoused to Joseph. They did not live as
husband and wife but in the eyes of everyone Joseph was the spouse of Mary and
considered the father of Jesus. Joseph the name among all the possible interpretations
of the name, the one that I like best is may God give an increase. As we
know there were Josephs in the Old Testament of whom the most famous was sold,
remember, to the Egyptians. And then when the second Joseph took Jesus with
Mary to Egypt, he had been preceded by another Joseph who as we know was both
a forerunner and what we call a pre-figurement of Christ. In any case, Joseph
was the spouse of Mary and we say the foster father of Jesus. Over the years
in teaching Mariology, and well of course have other things besides our Lady
during our semester in concentrating on the Bible. But I thought to get as
a large amount of matter into both a short space and a necessarily short period
of time I would do what a number of great writers over the centuries have divided
Mariology into sets of threes. First of all the three famous words.
Full of GraceThe Three Famous Words
First, the angel addressing Our Lady, as full of
grace. And even as I am speaking I keep coming back to it and people smile
when I say it, but it makes almost no difference to most people I talk to.
There are so many scriptures, translations whose text you simply cannot trust.
I repeat, and just because the biblical translation has an imprimatur does not
guarantee that the text or the translation is sound. Like for example, the
English translation, as you know that was done, has not yet been accepted by
the Holy Father. Used the Revised Standard Version of the Bible which is well
the Bible of the Anglican Church in England and the Catholics in England, somebody
borrowed the Episcopalian bible and then put in those seven books that are missing
from the Protestant bible and as you read that and of course the translation
is the one used by Cardinal Laws translator. For example, I think Ive mentioned
this more than once, seventh chapter of Isaiah, the text of Isaiah where the
prophesy was made that, A virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son and
shall call His name Emmanuel. In the Revised Standard Version, including the
Catholic one which has a bright shiny imprimatur it says, A woman, a young
woman will conceive and bear a son. Theres no miracle there. And I think
I told you, ironically, in quoting St. Matthew because Matthew has, quoting
from Isaiah he quotes Isaiah, A virgin shall conceive. Well the buggers,
in England they improved both on Isaiah and on Matthew and changed the word
virgin to a young woman. This is why today unless we know our faith and
I mean, know it, you are going to be misled even by people who should
be teaching us the faith. So hear again, the angel addressed Our Lady, Hail,
full of grace and not hail, beloved of God, beloved daughter forget it.
Its either full of grace or its not a Catholic translation. I wish I did
not have to say it but say it I must, imprimaturs are no longer a guarantee
of sound doctrine.
Hail, Full of Grace
The one who was sent by God, of course, was Gabriel,
whose name means, power of God. And what do those words of the angel to Our
Lady mean? Hail means rejoice. And Mary is full of grace. Could Mary
grow in grace? Yes. Mary was as filled with grace as a human being can be
but then the capacity can keep increasing and thus also, and the quantity if
I can use the word of grace grows accordingly. And of course her fullness of
grace means first that no human person ever was or will be as gifted with Gods
grace as was Mary. She alone had the extraordinary grace of being chosen to
be the Mother of God.
And then the Lord is with you. This is the standard
term for predestination. Everyone of us has been pre-destined from the moment
we came into the world. God knows our destiny. Our destiny, as we know, is
determined indeed by God, and we must say that, but it is not pre-determined
independent of our wills. God from all eternity foresaw how we would use our
wills. He knows our destiny. And we must even say, He somehow mysteriously
determines our destinybut not unconditionally, but conditionally. Whats the
condition? On how we cooperate with the grace that God gave us. And this is
I keep repeating to one audience after another, it is an article of faith that
those who pray will be saved. It is an article of faith that those will not
reach heaven who do not pray. God then foresaw from all eternity who would
pray and thus be destined for heaven. With Our Lady however, when God as we
speak of pre-destination or destines us it is not only destining us for our
final goal, which is heaven, there is also predestination on Gods side for
how we will reach heaven. In other words, part of Gods predestination is the
graces that from all eternity He planned to give us. But the graces that we
receive are determined by the way that God intends us to reach heaven; some
in one way, others in another way. When I look at my cassock I cant believe,
knowing myself before entering the Society of Jesus, it must be somebody else
impersonating my name. The Hardon that I knew was no raw material for the priesthood,
no. Consequently, when we speak of Our Lady as full of grace that she was
destined to not just receive the grace to reach heaven but the grace she needed
to be and remain faithful to the role as the Mother of God. So thats what
technically the words, the Lord be with you meaning what? The Lord giving
you the grace, giving her the grace she needed and constantly giving us the
grace that we need. And what was the message, it was to become the Mother of
And although weve touched on this again, before,
I want to repeat, the most organized, militant and committed enemy of Christianity
on earth is Islam, not to know that is not to know the A, B, Cs of the Churchs
history. The five hundred million Muslims their number in the world, one of
the largest mosques in the world, in case you dont know is in Detroit. And
the opposition to the point of twenty-four nations as Ive said I believe in
one of our classes, twenty-four Muslim nations have agreed to form, well an
organization to extirpate, to remove Christianity from Africa. And in more
than one country, there have been, like in the Sudan my figures are two million,
two million Catholics starved to death by the Muslims in the 50s of this century,
So Marys divine maternity is a crucial mystery
of our faith that we must recognize that the Mary that we believe in is no ordinary
woman, even a great and holy woman but a woman who was chosen from all eternity
and therefore pre-destined to be the mother of the Living God.
Behold the Handmaid
These words of course are those of Our Lady, they
were spoken remember by Mary to the angel after he explained to her of the miracle
of her own virginal conception of Jesus. Its credible, it was the same God
Who worked the miracle of having an aged and sterile woman, she was sterile
to begin with, then she was way beyond childbearing years, thats Elizabeth.
God worked one miracle to make another miracle credible. In other words, Marys
virginal conception of her Son became credible because as the angel explained,
your kinswoman Elizabeth, already in her old age, she is now in her sixth month.
That nothing is impossible with God, including an aged, sterile woman conceiving.
Then Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord. And of course the lesson
for us, theres only one lesson we have to learn in life. There are only two
wills in competition in this world. Only two? Only two. Gods will and our
will. Everything else is either a prelude to that or a consequence of that.
And this is where the more gifted we are the more we must and weve got to work
at it and work at it, the more humble we must become. Because in the last analysis,
humility is submission of will to someone else, either the submission of our
will to the will of God.
The Word was Made Flesh
As St. John tells us. The moment Mary said, Be
it done to me according to your word, the Incarnation took place. And over
the years how many sermons, lectures that I have given on this subject, I never
tire repeating to people that God Who is Almighty, you dont explain this, you
believe it, the all powerful Creator of heaven and earth, will not do certain
things unless we first bend our wills in obedience to His. Humble people work
miracles. In other words, the Incarnation would not have taken place unless
Mary had said yes. Ive taught too many people, too many priests not to know,
if we submit our wills to God, I mean it, I mean every syllable, God will work
miracles through us, I mean it. He wants to work miracles. But Father you
have no idea what situation Im in. Its impossible. Well then I repeat what
the angel told Mary, remember, Nothing is impossible with God. Theres only
one condition, only one condition for something impossible taking place, that
is, does God want it? If He wants it, Hell do it. One condition, that we
are humble in accepting His will. You do Gods will from Sunday through Friday
and by Saturday you can expect miracles. Im using a figure of speech to bring
out a principle.
The Incarnation took place, when? Because Mary
made her fiat. The Latin word, fiat, only the Italians and whenever
Im in Rome or Italy, it bothers me, oh no, imagine, naming an automobile after
that very sacred statement that Mary made, Fiat mihi, secundum verbum tuum,
let it be done to me, thats what fiat means, let it be done to me.
When God does things for us, oh we sing His praises, how great Thou art O Lord,
how great Thou art. But when He does things to us, oh no. Oh yes! In other
words, fiat, let it be done to me, thats what it means, as pronounced
by Our Lady and the Incarnation took place because Mary said those words, and
she said them because in her heart she believed them.
The Three Canticles
The First CanticleOur Lady
The first and most important recorded in, who remembers
in whose Gospel, who gives us the Magnificat of Our Lady? St. Luke. It is
well to know that St. Luke is first of all the evangelist of Our Lady. Luke
tells us more about Our Lady than all the other evangelists put together. Luke
is also the evangelist of the Holy Spirit. Again, the Holy Spirit is referred
to and speaks more in the Gospel of Luke than any other Gospels than all the
other three put together. The Holy Spirit came down on Our Lady, thats in
the beginning of Luke and the closing verses of Lukes Gospel, same thing, Our
Lord promises, promises those who believe in Him the Holy Spirit. Luke is also
the evangelist that gives us factual data. Luke is very specific, place, time,
date, names, thats Luke. In any case, the Magnificat of Our Lady is in Lukes
Gospel. And we may say that Marys Magnificat is an act of thanksgiving three
First of all, gratitude for Marys election, her
choice to be the Mother of God. Again, Marys gratitude for Gods providence
in her life. In other words, God plans everyones life differently and we might
add distinctively. Nothing happens by chance and Lukes Gospel is especially,
especially clear in what one might call the providential timing of God. Elizabeth
had to be six months already with child, not five months, not six and a half,
six months. And then just long enough for Mary then to go help her kinswoman.
And then when Marys time came to deliver her Son, again Gods timing. Then
of all times, oh no, what did the emperor do? He calls for a census. Cant
you wait? Caesar Augustine didnt know what he was doing but God did. And
then remember when they got to Bethlehem and there was no room for them. All
of this is part of Gods providence. And where then should the infant and Almighty
God be born? Oh no. In a stable. All of that was planned by God. So Gods
And finally, Mary thanks God for giving guidance
to Israel, to the Jewish people and that is why after two thousand years since
the coming of the Messiah, the Jewish people, just a handful are still on earth
as a nation. They had for two thousand years a very special mission. The Messiah
came, most of His own people did not acknowledge Him. But the Chosen People
are still on earth. And may I ask, as Our Lady surely must have prayed often,
for her own people, pray for the Jewish people, pray for the Jewish people.
Last night I got a call from Florida from a young
woman whom I have known for about maybe eight years. Shes Jewish, she would
like to become a Christian and a Catholic but the family is against it. So
she calls me up every so often, I give her a great big Sign of the Cross. She
knows all the basic prayers. But shes waiting to be baptized once her own
people allow her. In any case, prayer for Israel.
The Second of the CanticlesThe Angels
Now of course, Mary was not there, to well, hear
the song, but the song was made, made by the angels. Why? Because the moment
Mary gave birth to her Son on earth the angels from heaven decided to tell and
of all people, shepherds. Talk about choosing and picking. And whom did He
choose? Nobodies who were keeping watch over their flock by night. You mean
sheep can graze even during the night? Yes, and my shepherdess mother told
me. I did tell you didnt I, I know a lot about sheep? Sheep are dumb. They
walk to the edge of the cliff and
not look where theyre going. Do we ever
need a shepherd. Perfectly good food two feet away, they dont realize, here
this is food, eat it. So the shepherds watching their flock by night were
blessed, and this is what the Churchs teaches, no sooner was Christ born at
that moment the angels were sent by God to announce. To whom? To shepherds.
Needless to say, not to the merchants, not to the business people and of course,
not to the scholars. Like who? Like the Scribes and Pharisees. Then, and
here again, Peace to men, of good, Peace on earth to men of goodwill.
Do we have a copy of the Sacramentary here, is it still here? That we used
for Mass. (Its put away Father) Is it still room? (No.) Well, we all know
it. Lets say the Glory together until I tell you to stop. Glory to God in
the highest and peace to His people on earth. No, thats wrong. The ICEL,
International Commission for English in the Liturgy, pray for their conversion.
This is not what the Latin says. Lets say it again, Glory to God in the highest
and peace [to people on earth] No, peace to men of good will. Didnt put
the men in there because the feminists wouldnt like it. And of good will
thats, thats the Catholic faith. What does your bible say? Does it say
good will? Good bible. Because a person is of good will, when is a persons
good will good? When the person does the will of God. But notice we have a
free will, we can choose to do Gods will, then our wills become good. Or we
dont choose to do Gods will and then weve got a bad will. Every person who
chooses to do Gods will has a good will. But youve got to choose. Whereas
the Protestants, as Protestants do not believe weve got a free will.
The Third CanticleSimeon
So the first was of Our Lady. The second canticle
was of the angels and the third was, remember of Simeon the prophet. When Mary
and Joseph brought the child Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord
and it was then Simeon, in Latin, Nunc Dimittus, Now Thou dost dismiss
Thy servant, O Lord in peace, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation. And
not just the eyes of faith but the eyes of the body. Simeon lived, he prayed
he would not die before he physically saw the Messiah and to make it even more
sure he asked Mary, could I hold the baby. So he both saw the Messiah and held
the Messiah in his hands and then he sang the third of the three great Marian
Now you can, now ready, Im ready Lord, because
my eyes have seen your salvation. But remember it was in that same context
that Simeon did what, having pronounced the Nunc Dimmitus, Now Thou
dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, then he told Mary that she would suffer and
a sword, remember, would pierce her soul, and why? Because she would see her
Son accepted by some, but rejected by many. Marys sorrow therefore was both,
you might say, the sorrow of a mother seeing her own son not just despised,
no sooner was He born than Herod tried to kill Him. And Mary knew her prophets
too well to have any illusion of how much she would have to suffer because of
her Son being not just rejected or opposed but finally crucified. And when
we ask, why did Jesus remain at Nazareth for thirty years, barring a stay in
Egypt? He had to, they would have killed Him long before He could have preached
Now the three famous places. By the way, what Im
giving you is not just clever, over the centuries the great Marian theologians
have reduced things to threes. I just put them on one page and well this morning
made copies for class.
The Three Famous Places
The three famous places that are most important
in the life of Our Lady. First Egypt, remember, shortly after Christ was born
Herod tried to kill Him. And then as the angel told Joseph, take the Child,
mind you, he didnt say, take your Child, take the Child and His mother
and fly to Egypt and in the dead of night, again talk about providence. Couldnt
the angel wait until the morning until Joseph had a good nights sleep? No.
And if God wakes you up and wants you to do something at night dont complain,
get up and do it. Egypt as you know is a very important country in the Sacred
Scriptures. In the Old Testament, as we know the Jews went to Egypt. How did
the Jews first get into Egypt? Who remembers? By Joseph, see, talk about,
oh what God does. No mystery by Agatha Christie. Its more unpredictable,
no Perry Mason novel is as unusual as the way God works and this is one thing,
and we should learn this especially from Our Lady. The more strange the situation,
the more sure you are that somehow God must be behind it. It is now more than
five years that I am in the blessed state of Michigan and speaking in Ann Arbor.
If anybody had told me five years ago, you are going to be giving lectures in
Ann Arbor, Youre kidding! Happily teaching in five cities every month.
Well, Im here. And the secret is never to tell God, Lord, this is, this is
not, not real. Hell tell us, Stop complaining, Im in charge. If its
ordinary, must be some human beings. If its unusual, unexpected, unpredictable
must be God. So the Jews got into Egypt and once they, I got this, let me just
say this, it will illustrate something, I got this in Detroit, when I was teaching
chemistry at Junior High School before my ordination, teaching chemistry one
of my students asked me to put some glass tubing into rubber, rubber stopper.
Well, I didnt get the glass tubing into the stopper I got it into my hand.
So my right hand has been crippled ever since. Without realizing it I would
knock things over but not once, thank God, have I knocked over the chalice at
So Herod then wanted to kill Christ and to make
sure, he killed all the, remember, all the boys two years old and under. Then
in relation to Mary, and in relation to the Magi, in other words, Our Lady was
meant to be part of Christs sufferings. From the very beginning, with Him
being born in a stable and then having to fly into Egypt, to His crucifixion
on Calvary Mary had to be there. And the Magi, remember, again talk about,
not divine coincidence. See there are no coincidences with God, the word chance,
coincidence, its not in Gods vocabulary, its providence. If the Magi had
not been in search of Jesus they would not have stopped in Jerusalem. In fact,
you think of the star at Bethlehem as far as Jerusalem, the star wasnt getting
tired, it could have gone on to Bethlehem, but no. See what God did, He made
the star, well, whatever it was doing, stop showing where they were to go.
They figured, maybe its Jerusalem. They said, maybe since he is a king maybe
we should find out, maybe this king of the Jews was born in the kings palace
so they pay their respects to the king. He knew nothing about it. And because
the Magi told him thats why there was the massacre of the innocents. And as
you read through Divine Revelation, one incident, what a word, one incident
after another doesnt just take place but it takes place, and hear it, it takes
place because often of the machinations, the wicked designs, the sins of human
beings, God used, God uses peoples sins to achieve His providential designs.
Like in this case, the Magi were looking for the King. Not realizing what they
were doing they reported, where else, at the kings palace. King Herod, once
he found out, well, and he couldnt have waited too long, decided to kill all
the children, the baby boys two years old and under. And the lesson for Christians
and conversions and if theres one group of people for whose conversion we should
pray and pray daily, that is for the conversion of the Jewish people. I think
I forgot to tell you or did I, that the lady calling me from Florida, shes
Jewish, did I tell you that, Jewish. And when they become Catholics, may I
ask, is there any Jewish convert in class? Would you please get one? They
make wonderful converts. Pray for their conversion. Its very simple all they
have to do is build on what they already believe. Believing Orthodox Jews are
every Sabbath day in the Synagogues they pray, O come Messiah, O come. Well,
now they can thank Him for coming. In any case, Egypt.
Now I thought I should quote at least one short
sentence from Josephus. Josephus as you know is the Jewish historian, just
for the record died 98 A.D. He wrote the history of the Jewish people, which
is I would recommend it to all of you, read it. History of the Jewish People,
in which he describes the history of the Jews including the fall of Jerusalem.
Heres what Josephus says about Herod.
That he was a brut, murdered the members of his
own family. And as Josephus says, he was a stranger to all humanity. No humane
or human virtues in Herod. And if there had been a less vicious person in power
then there might not have been the massacre of the innocents. Thats why I
tell people, I thank God for the heretics weve got today. I thank God for
Hans Küng, Edward Schillebeeckx and Richard McBrian. They inspire my zeal to
protect you people from the Hans Küngs, and the Schillebeeckxes and the McBrians.
I thought I would do a little research regarding
Nazareth. Did you know that Nazareth, does not occur, the name of the town
does not occur anywhere in the Old Testament, not even once. In other words,
talk about obscurity. And now the significance of Mary conceiving Jesus at
Nazareth and then coming back to the same place where she had conceived Him
after returning from Egypt. Nazareth therefore was where Mary lived. Now the
location, we are told, is or was then a very beautiful location. But then I
thought I would tell you something about the house of Nazareth. Have you ever
heard about it? House of Nazareth? Who knows what city in Italy has? How
many know, put up your hands? Oh. It is the House of Loreto. As Jesuits,
during our two years in novitiate each of us is required to give one homily
on Our Lady, it goes back to St. Ignatius. Every young Jesuit in the novitiate
is to give one homily on the Blessed Virgin to his assembled Jesuit brethren
while theyre eating. Youve got to talk very loud, youve got to be very interesting
for them even to hear you not to say listen to you. Well I figured Im going
to get these fellows to listen. So I spoke on the House of Loreto. My first
sermon in the Society of Jesus. And of course all kinds of learned scholars
who claim its not the House of Loreto. You know what the story is, that angels
transported from Nazareth to well, where else, Loreto. Well my whole homily
was blasting those scholars who claimed that the angels did not transport that
house. Well, years later people reminded me, they remembered that sermon.
Now, regarding the House of Loreto, let me read
what it says from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Loreto is famous for its shrine of the holy house
of the Blessed Virgin. A stone edifice of 31 feet by 13 feet. The tradition
as recorded by Pietro di Georgio. It is the basis of this story of the holy
house according to the tradition, the building was the house of the Blessed
Virgin at Nazareth, made into a church by the apostles for which St. Luke made
a statue of Mary. After the fall of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem angels transported
the church to, oh, first to Fiume then to Rijecka in Yugoslavia and finally
it was transported to its present location. As I say, all kinds of writings,
learned books saying its all peoples pious imagination, dont you dare say
this is imagination, this is good. In any case, I thought I would quote Our
Lady when the angel visited her at Nazareth and now that house is in Loreto,
Italy. By the way, many of the popes, including the present Holy Father, made
sure they visited that house and prayed there where Jesus was conceived of His
Jerusalem figures, as we know, in Marys life in
many ways. First of all, Jerusalem is important in Marys life because they
went to the Temple to present Him to the Lord. Then secondly, again, Mary went
to with her Son, to Jerusalem and then went back to Jerusalem to find Him when
He was twelve years old. And what was the third very important occasion where
Jerusalem figures in the life of Mary, where was Jesus crucified? In Jerusalem.
The Three Meetings
The first occasion, this is after Jesus had reached
maturity and began His public ministry. It was the time of His first miracle
at Cana in Galilee. In other words, we speak of Our Lady as being part of Christs
public ministry by being there when He worked His first miracle. But notice,
she had to be there to work, is working that miracle and ever since most of
the miracles that Christ has worked over the centuries have been through His
mother Mary. And what does that miracle provide us with. The miraculous turning
of water into wine gave credibility to Christs teaching so that as saint
who remembers, who describes Christs changing water into wine at Galilee, which
evangelist? Thats the difference between teaching Catholics and teaching Protestants.
(Is it St. John, Father?) Who was that? Who was that, did you say John? John
does not have many miracles but every miracle that John records is a long story,
it has a beginning, a middle and an end. And in this case Im sure the disciples
also drank the wine which helped their faith. This Jesus is really great.
Anybody who can make wine like this out of plain water, lets follow him.
All John tells us is that His disciples believed in Him. And then of course
the finding and Mary was, was there, in fact it was Our Ladys conversation
and in fact Mary spoke at the Annunciation remember, she spoke at the Finding
in the Temple and then
are there any more recorded words of Mary? Well, I
like to keep, have people guessing. Find out would you? If Mary said anything
after they, she and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple at the age of twelve.
(Yes, at Cana.) Please? (Cana.) So Cana and Galilee followed the Finding
in the Temple. Did then Mary speak after Cana and Galilee? Well. Look it
up see if you can find something. And this by the way, I trust I will not be
misunderstood. If there is one thing that all of us, and I begin with the speaker,
that all of us are to learn from Our Lady is speaking very little, speaking
only when necessary and saying only what God wants us to say. And we in the
United States weve got all kinds of superlatives that we can apply to our country.
One superlative that we can safely apply we are the most talkative nation in
human history. Which is one reason why I tell people to write, because most
people can talk without thinking, you cannot write without thinking. In any
case, Mary spoke very little and then Jerusalem as we know, figures very largely
in Marys life when Our Lord died on the cross and as the Doctors of the Church
tell us and Christs blood splattered His Mother standing under the cross.
Galilee, I thought I should put the Scripture text
where these statements occur. Remember the occasion when Our Lord was speaking
and the context that Luke 8:1-4 is an introduction to what follows. In other
words, there were women in the audience, sometimes thousands were listening
to Christ speaking and now whether Mary really wanted to see her Son, at any
rate the women who were there said, shes here and shed like to talk to You.
Now you can be sure that Our Lord did talk to His mother but He did not talk
to her before He gave a lesson to the people. What did Jesus tell the people?
Who is My mother? Who is My brother? Who is My sister? Who is it? The
one who does the will of My Father. And this by the way, and if I lectured
on Our Lady for the next three months I could not emphasize more clearly, theres
only one but its everything, only one lesson that Our Lady teaches us, and
that is what she told, remember the stewards at Cana, Do whatever He tells
you, thats it, Do whatever He tells you. And then Christ emphasized that
by saying, thanks I love my mother very dearly but in human language the dearest
person that anyone of us has is our father and mother, those persons except
for whom we wouldnt even be on earth. And yet, as deep as the affection is
and should be between their children and their parents, what does Christ do,
He uses that deepest human affection to say the one whom God loves most is the
one who does His will. In other words, Christ being God loves everyone. Does
God love everyone equally and remember that and be able to theologically defend
it. No. And one reason of course is because God does not give His, well, share
in His own attributes equally to everyone. All of us could have been snails
or worms or flies or fleas and we have no more right to be a flea than to be
what we are. But given that God made us human beings, God does not make any
two human beings equally and we have to use the word, gifted. Ive taught for
too many years not to know, oh. Thats what a test is. Its the measure of
how much, oh two things, a measure of how much a person has been gifted by God
and a measure of how willing the student is to work. And over years of teaching,
the laziest people Ive taught have been the most intelligent. Theyre lazy.
However God loves us unequally because no two people respond to the grace they
receive from God with equal generosity.
In Calvary under the Cross, this is where Mary was
declared to be the spiritual mother of the human race. She was, as we know
the natural mother of Jesus as Man. And through Him, Mary is our spiritual
mother because she brought into being the source of all grace, namely her Divine
Son. But on the cross Christ did more. In other words, Mary is the natural
mother of Christ as Man and therefore the spiritual mother of the human race
because she is the Mother of God from whom all graces derive but on the cross
Christ declared, remember, speaking to John, representing us, Behold your mother
then to Mary, Behold your son. In other words, Christ made His mother the
dispenser of the graces that He as God gives the human race.
The Three TitlesMother, Mediatrix and Queen
Mother, Mediatrix and Queen. And over the centuries
all three titles have been found in the Liturgy, the writings of the saints
and that we as Catholics are to use.
She is the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the
Church. On Calvary, therefore, Mary was made the Mother of the Church. Why?
Because it was on Calvary that the Church was born and the labor pains as we
call them, for the Churchs birth Mary endured along with her Son by watching
Him and they lasted three hours on the Cross and finally her Son expired.
First, by giving us the Author of grace. Except
for her we wouldnt have Him, without Him there would be no heaven. But Mary
also is Mediatrix, channel between God and us by interceding with her Son.
Mary is constantly pleading at the throne of her Divine Son for us. That is
why we should make sure that everyday all of us pray to Our Lady. Weve said
this before, I strongly recommend that all of you memorize certain, either short
aspirations or short prayers to Our Lady then just casually when youre driving,
when youre doing something between errands to say either those aspirations
or those short prayers. For me, as I think Ive told you, its the Memorare.
And every evening, I think Ive told you, I put down the number of Memorares
that Ive said during the day. I dont go around with a list but afterwards
your memory becomes attune to it. And the numbers can be quite high. And dont
just, dont just drift or loaf, keep your mind busy always, always. And this
Mary as Queen
This goes back to the very beginning of Christianity.
Already in the catacombs Our Lady is portrayed as Queen. And then the famous
statement of St. Ephrem, The Lady ruler of all mortal beings. I know St.
Ephrem because his feast, it may still be, is on the 18th of June
which is my birthday. Certain saints you dont forget. St. Ephrem is the great
Father of the Church who gave us from the Eastern Christianity, the most profound
and inspiring language about the Mother of God.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Copyright © 2005 Institute on Religious Life
Conference transcription from a talk that Father Hardon
gave to the Institute on Religious Life
Institute on Religious Life, Inc.
PO. Box 410007
Chicago, Illinois 60641