Raney Heald wrote:

Hey there, Mike —

You probably don't remember me, but we communicated some last year.

You sent me a copy of the CCC and a Rosary (which I use quite often), through your FREE Catechism Program.

Thanks again for those holy gifts.  Now I have another question for you.

I have been somewhat troubled by John Paul II's use of "Totus Tuus" in relation to his personal consecration to the Blessed Mother. I certainly share his veneration of Mary but have some difficulty with some of St. Louis de Monfort's Mariology which I understand greatly influences his own conceptions.

While I understand that Mary points us towards Christ, to be "totally" hers, it seems to reinforce the idea that devotion to Mary obscures, diminishes, or replaces the devotion due to God.

I guess it just doubly concerns me coming from a Pope.

While I am definitely being drawn to Rome, I still get the "willys" when I encounter certain things like this and would like some clarification.

Thanks so much,

Raney

  { Trying to understand a Pope totally consecrating himself to Mary, Jesus' mother. }

Mike replied:

Hi, Raney —

Great to hear from you.

I don't mean to blow you off, but read these postings and tell me if they help.

The only public word's Mary ever spoke in the Gospels were:

"Do what ever He tells you."

at the wedding feast in Cana. Every special privilege Mary has, says something about who Jesus Christ is. Whether we are talking about:

  • Her title, Mother (meaning God-bear) of God, or
  • Her Immaculate Conception, being born free from sin through the merits of Christ, in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.

Mary always points to her Divine Son, Jesus. We can have confidence in this, because unlike you and me, who were born with original sin, Mary was born free from original sin, not on her own merit, but by the merits of her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Lord.

For short, there aren't family fights in Heaven over who gets the prayers and who doesn't.

We don't pray only to Mary. We pray to both Jesus and Mary.

There no reason whatsoever why any Catholic can't and shouldn't consecrate [him/her]self to Jesus on a regular basis (Google Devotion to the Sacred Heart), but because of the special place Mary holds in the salvation of all mankind and in the minds of Catholic Christians, we consecrate ourselves to Mary, knowing she always points to her Divine, Resurrected, and Glorified Son.
I'd say when we consecrate ourselves to Mary, we are consecrating ourselves to Jesus.

  • Where did the incarnated Jesus come from?
  • Where did He get His Holy Flesh from?

Mary!

This doesn't change the fact that Mary is just a human person, though born free from sin, and
Jesus is a Divine Person, with two natures, one human and one divine, neither of which confuse the other.

To say Jesus is a human person is a Christian error.

Personally, I think it's a mind set thing. Most Protestants have a "me and Jesus" relationship, which is very good, if not excellent; but there is more. The Church is a family affair.

Make sense?

You also may be interested in this posting. It talks about special Catholic devotions we have to both Jesus and Mary, called First Fridays and First Saturdays.

Mike

John replied:

Raney,

If someone doesn't first have a real relationship with the Lord, whether they are a:

  • non-Catholic
  • poorly catechized Catholic, or
  • un-evangelized Catholic:

they can have a dangerous and incorrect understanding of what the Total Consecration to Mary by St. Louis de Monfort is all about. Because they lack a true relationship with the Lord, Jesus, their Marian devotion can lead to an idolatry: one that develops inside spiritually and may manifest itself in public. A Catholic Christian that does not have a true relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, can develop an attitude that:

They go to Mary, because Jesus wouldn't do what they want for them anyway.

This is heresy.

We go to Mary to manifest the same love, that Our Lord has for [His and Our] Mother. He is very pleased when we make this total consecration to [His and Our] Mother.  Because we have already laid a previous foundation of love, where we have a true relationship with Our Lord, Himself, our faith remains secure and solid.

There are also some who have a true relationship with the Lord Jesus, but have little, to no, Marian spirituality. If their relationship with the Lord is truly devout, they should not fear having any Marian devotion for any reason. Numerous Catholic and non-Catholic Christians have received many, many blessings by having a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother, especially by praying the Rosary. Nevertheless, one has to first have a truly devout relationship with Christ, Our Blessed Lord.

As it relates to the Pope consecrating himself to Our Blessed Mother, the assumption here, is that the person already is a believer, so Mary becomes a pair of glasses that we put on, to help us see Jesus. We are not looking at Mary, we're looking through Mary.

Think about what happens when you or I walk into a room.

The Holy Spirit abides in us, and therefore so does Jesus. When you or I walk into a room, Jesus Christ walks in with us, yet people don't fall down on their knees and worship. That's because they can't see Him. They may see certain Christian qualities in us and hopefully, the more we grow in Christ, the more they notice Him in us. I highly doubt, we will reach a stage in our lives where we are so Christ-like, that people see Jesus, in us, when we walk in a room. Mary, on the other hand, is that transparent. When we look at Mary, we can see through her and see Her Son, Jesus.

Mary's will is so much in sync with the will of Jesus and so much in sync with the will of the Trinity, yet she remains a human being. As such, she is the perfect disciple. She is perfected by grace, and is what we hope to be when we have received our Resurrected bodies.

The Church teaches that everything we believe about Mary, relates to what we believe about Christ, and therefore it illuminates what we believe about Christ.

Evangelicals talk about asking Jesus into their heart. That's great. We should all do that so Jesus dwells in my heart and in yours. Unfortunately, we don't let Him in every room. He may live there, but we put limits to where we let Him go, what rooms in our heart we'll let Him go into.

Mary doesn't do that. Being preserved from original and personal sin, by grace, she is completely free to say Yes to Jesus, so we look to her heart, to be that magnifying lens we sometimes need to better understand her Son.

John

Raney replied:

Hi, guys —

Thanks for the clarification.

I feel I have a rather firm understanding of the theological "substructure" regarding Mary, i.e.:

  • her role as Theotokos
  • her acceptance of and cooperation in the divine plan of redemption
  • her mediatorial role as well, at least in the sense of her intercession.

I know that it is through her, that God, as Logos, co-opted, assimilated, or "took on" humanity for a redemptive effort and effect as the Incarnate Word.

  • Does the Church teach, however, that her exalted role is eternal or temporal?
  • In other words, will she be part of the Bride of Christ or is she somehow exalted beyond that role?
  • Will her "function" as Mediatrix, for example, one day be fulfilled (ended) when the entire Church is united with Christ?
  • I guess what I'm asking is, what is her relationship to the Saints (capital S) who have already gained heaven?
  • And are we to be graced as fully as she has in the hereafter?

I realize that I have somewhat strayed from my original question. This has turned into a bit of stream-of-consciousness musing. Sorry. I do find it an interesting question though.

  • Does the Church have anything specific to say regarding this?

Thanks,

Raney

Mike replied:

Hi, Raney —

You said:

  • Does the Church teach, however, that her exalted role is eternal or temporal?
  • In other words, will she be part of the Bride of Christ or is she somehow exalted beyond that role?
  • Will her "function" as Mediatrix, for example, one day be fulfilled (ended) when the entire Church is united with Christ?
  • I guess what I'm asking is, what is her relationship to the Saints (capital S) who have already gained heaven?
  • And are we to be graced as fully as she in the hereafter?
  • Does the Church have anything specific to say regarding this?


  • Does the Church teach, however, that her exalted role is eternal or temporal?

Because of the Lord's choice to redeem mankind this way and Mary's choice to say:

"Yes, I will become the Mother of Jesus"

her role is special, unique and eternal in cooperating with the salvation of mankind.

In lieu of the manner God wanted to save mankind, without Mary's Yes, Jesus would not have to been able to come down from Heaven to redeem us, so again, Yes, it is eternal and higher than the saints.

  • In other words, will she be part of the Bride of Christ or is she somehow exalted beyond that role?

Yes! She is part of the Body of Christ.
To implied in any way she is part of the head of Christ would be heresy.

  • Will her "function" as Mediatrix, for example, one day be fulfilled (ended) when the entire Church is united with Christ?

Boy, that's a good question. Personally, would say, Yes, her function as Mediatrix, will be fulfilled (ended) when the entire Church is united with Christ, as she is now united with Him.

  • I guess what I'm asking is, what is her relationship to the Saints (capital S) who have already gained Heaven?

She is the Saint of all Saints. Think of the smartness Saint in the Church. Mary is many steps ahead of that Saint and the model we should all follow, because her perpetual plea consists of the only public words she spoke in Gospels:

Do whatever my Divine Son tells you!

Catholic Christians strive to follow what Mary wants us to do.

  • And are we to be graced as fully as she in the hereafter?

Hmmmm. I'd say Yes. The main difference being our different roles in salvation history.

  • Mary had one (role/calling).
  • You have one (role/calling).
  • I have one (role/calling), and
  • John has one (role/calling).

Here's an analogy to reflect on. There are two glasses.

  • One is a whisky shot glass.
  • the other is an extra-large "to-go" cup at your favorite ice cream shop

Question: If we fill both glasses to the top with water and think of the water as happiness and joy, which glass is happier?  Both are equally as happy.

Why? Because although, by design, they have different capacities, they are both "full of water", as Mary is "full of grace".

  • Does the Church have anything specific to say regarding this?

The important stuff would be in the Catechism I sent you.

That's the best I can do. May be my colleagues can fill in any holes : )

Mike

John replied:

Hi, Raney —

Just a few thoughts, right of the bat. Mary differs in a very tangible way from the other saints in Heaven. She has a body, they don't. You see, even attaining Heaven is not the fullness of salvation. The fullness of salvation comes at the Resurrection of the Dead, when we shall all receive our glorified bodies. Mary already received hers. Her Body was transformed and glorified at her Assumption.

Mary was crowned queen of Heaven. That was her reward, just as we shall have our particular rewards. We need to try to think of this "eternal hierarchy" not in human terms. We will all rejoice in each other's eternal rolls. There will be no hint of jealousy. When we say she is exalted above us, it will be like our Mother being exalted.

There will be no selfishness, or self giving in Heaven. We will participate in the Life of the Trinity which is nothing less than total love — Total self giving.

Mary's role on earth was to bring Jesus into the world and give Him to us. That's why She has the title of Mediatrix. That is what a mediator or Mediatrix does, brings Christ to the people. She is still doing that in Heaven, so we will be all the more loving her, and rejoicing with her.
God created us to be family, so that our relationship with Him was indeed contingent to our relationship to others. He taught us to pray Our Father, not my Father.

While we have a personal relationship with Christ, that relationship, by it's very nature, brings about a relationship to other human beings as it does in Heaven with the exception that in Heaven we won't have selfishness and petit jealousy to mess things up.

John

Raney replied:

Thanks guys,

Your explanations have helped greatly in my attempt to grasp the "big picture" where our Blessed Mother is concerned. I'm simply trying to discern the Truth in all its beauty and profundity.

I'm sure you're familiar with the Catholic Home Study Service. I've completed two of Fr. Lukefahr's books, the one on the Bible and the survey of Catholicism. I've ordered the course dealing with Mary and expect it will be a great help to my understanding as well.

It's very nice to know that such knowledgeable people, so willing to help as you, are only an e-mail away. If I ever make it all the way to "Rome", you guys will certainly be one of the reasons.

Thanks so much,

Raney

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