© 2017 by Cathlogic

Mariology: A Brief Overview

December 18, 2017

 

A short review of Mariology in the Catholic Church with special regard for Mary’s perpetual virginity (CCC., 499-501; 510), a weekly discussion post; submitted September 28, 2017.


God has made apparent over the course of salvation history, indeed, in all of biblical history, that order and structure are intimately woven into his divine plan. Perhaps in one of the most significant ways, this order and structure is expressed perfectly in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the subsequent conception of Our Lord in her womb. In support of this structure, the Catechism of the Catholic Church confesses, “[t]hroughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary.”[1]

As the object of the most perfect conception of Christ Jesus, Mary, by her timeless Fiat, is one of the most significant people in biblical history. By a single act of her free will she willingly accepted the incredible responsibility of bearing God, becoming the Mother of God;[2] a title as unique as, but of course subordinate to, “Christ.”

With the brief introduction of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God, along with the realization that she remained free from all sin—[3] as is essential for a person who is to bear God himself, to contain the uncontainable—it becomes more reasonable to acknowledge the explanation behind this Dogma of her Perpetual Virginity. Just as it was necessary that Mary be “wholly born by God’s grace,”[4] so too was it necessary that her virginal integrity be “sanctified,” rather than “diminished.”[5] This, of course, is a sound and perfect response to those sins of the first us who “exchanged the truth for a lie;”[6] for just as the woman, by consent of her free will, abandoned her God in sin and brought death upon with world,[7] so too would woman, by consent of her free will, embrace her God and usher eternal life into the world, making salvation possible for all men.

Further, as a result of the infidelity of Eve to God, she is punished in part with painful childbearing and labor.[8] In bringing about sin to the world, man suffers from physical pain and death. Mary, then, receives obverse effects for her perfect fidelity to God, which, by her faith, saves her from such pain, and, in the same way, preserves her virginity even after Christ’s birth.[9]

Such a realization is incredibly important for catechesis precisely because it evidences so much of what Catholics believe. While we ought to understand most importantly those things that are of God, it is of major importance to also study and understand those things which God makes important: “Behold, your mother!”[10] Because Christ directly informs us of Mary’s maternal importance, and because it can be reasonably deduced from Scripture and Tradition, Catechesis must inform the faithful of the help our Blessed Mother offers, and love she extends to all men.[11]


*Some errors have been corrected and clarification has been made on some points which are not reflected in the original post.


[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2nd Ed. (Washington D.C., United States Catholic Conference, 2000). 489.
[2] CCC 494.
[3] CCC 490-93.
[4] CCC 490.
[5] CCC 499.
[6] Romans 1:25
[7] See Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21
[8] See Genesis 3:16
[9] CCC 499; 510
[10] Conf. John 19:27
[11] See CCC 501

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