Marian Theology

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Mary is the Daughter of the Father, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of the Son.

She is a model of faith for all believers.

Dogma Feast Defined Notes
Immaculate Conception December 8 1854 Mary was conceived without sin. She was conceived through the normal act of marriage.
Perpetual Virginity Patristic era
Theotokos December 25 431 "Mother of God"
Assumption August 15 1950 At the end of her life, Mary was taken body and soul into Heaven.

Hail, full of grace

Luke 1:28
χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ.[1]

There is a play on words in the Greek.

χαῖρε is etymologically related to charis, grace, and has the connotation, "Rejoice in God's grace." "Hail" is a weak translation in contemporary English because it treats the word as just a way of saying "hello."

κεχαριτωμένη is the perfect passive participle of χαριτόω, χαρίτω, and literally means "having been endowed with grace [charis]." The Vulgate translated this as "full of grace" ("Ave Maria, gratia plena").[2]

To reproduce the Greek play on words in English makes the translation very wordy: "Rejoice in God's grace, you who have been filled with grace."

"The Lord is with you" is echoed in the traditional liturgical phrase, et cum spiritu tuo — "and with your spirit." Because all grace flows from God's presence with His People, there is no greater blessing than to have God with us.

Parallel passages:

  • Jgs 6:12
  • Ru 2:4
  • Jdt 13:18

"Most blessed of all women"

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name" (Lk 1:41-49).

Mother of God (Theotókos)

Wikipedia, "Theotokos"
Theotokos (Greek: Θεοτόκος, transliterated Theotókos) is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God. Roman Catholics and Anglicans use the title Mother of God more often than Theotokos. The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 AD that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human.
GKC, story heard in Donegal about an encounter with a beautiful peasant woman carrying a child.
"I am the Mother of God, and this is Himself, and He is the boy you will be wanting at the last."

Mother of the Church

"Paul VI made the pronouncement of the title Mother of the Church during his speech upon the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on September 21, 1964: 'For the glory of the Virgin and our consolation, we proclaim Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of the whole People of God, both the faithful and the pastors.'"[3]

Queen of Angels

Ikon of Faith

Mary is the first Christian and the mother of all Christians. By God's grace, she is a new Eve, conceived without sin, who chose to obey God, thus undoing the sin of Eve and allowing God to create the new Adam within her womb. All who are "born again" in Baptism imitate her reception of God's sanctifying grace.

"Be it done unto me according to Thy will" is the first form of the Infallible Prayer recorded in the gospels.

Mary's soul "magnifies the Lord." When we look at her, we see what God wants to accomplish in us.

Conceived without sin

Taken into Heaven


CCC #969
"This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."[4]

Terrifying as an army

"Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising,
fair as the moon,
bright as the sun,
as terrifying as an army set in array?" (Sng 6:10)

Approved apparitions

"Nine Major Approved Apparitions."

Our Lady of Date Country Recipient(s) Notes
Guadalupe December 9, 1531 Mexico St. Juan Diego Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas, Patroness and Mother of the Americas.
Good Success February 2, 1610 Quito, Ecuador Mother Mariana de Jésus Torres Mary told Mother Mariana some prophecies which will happen in the Twentieth Century, particularly about the corruption, oppression and unavailability of the sacraments and also crisis in the clergy.
“First so that men in the future might realize how powerful I am in placating Divine Justice and obtaining mercy and pardon for every sinner who comes to me with a contrite heart. For I am the Mother of Mercy and in me there is only goodness and love.”
“And second …when tribulations of spirit and sufferings of the body oppress them and they seem to be drowning in this bottomless sea let them gaze at my holy image and I will always be there ready to listen to their cries and soothe their pain. Tell them that they should always run to their Mother with confidence and love...”
Miraculous Medal July 18, 1830 Paris, France Saint Catherine Labouré "All who wear [these images] will receive great graces."
La Salette September 19, 1846 Grenoble, France Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat "Priests, my Son's ministers, priests, by their evil life, by their irreverences and their impiety in celebrating the holy mysteries, love of money, love of honor and pleasures, priests have become sewers of impurity. Yes, priests call forth vengeance, and vengeance is suspended over their heads. Woe to priests, and to persons consecrated to God, who by their infidelities and their evil life are crucifying my son anew! The sins of persons consecrated to God cry to heaven and call for vengeance, and now here is vengeance at their very doors, for no longer is anyone found to beg mercy and pardon for the people; there are no more generous souls, there is now no one worthy of offering the spotless Victim to the Eternal on the world's behalf."
Lourdes February 11, 1858 Lourdes, France Saint Bernadette Soubirous "I am the Immaculate Conception." Our Lady asked asked for prayer and penitence for the conversion of sinners.
Our Lady of Pontmain January 17, 1871 Pontmain, France Eùgene and Joseph Barbadette, two girls "Pray, my children. God will soon answer you. My Son allows Himself to be moved."
Knock August 21, 1879 Knock, Ireland Fifteen parishioners Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, an altar, a lamb on the altar, and a cross.
Fatima May 13, 1917 Fatima, Portugal Lúcia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto "O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners."
Our Lady of Beauraing November, 1932, to January, 1933 Beauraing, Belgium Fernande Voisin, Andree and Gilberte Degeimbre, Albert and Gilberte Voisin. "Always be good. Pray, pray very much. Pray always. I will convert sinners."
Our Lady of Kibeho 28 November 1981 to 3 December 1983 Kibeho, Rwanda Alphonsine Mumureke, Nathalie Mukamazimpaka (killed in the 1994 war), and Marie Claire Mukangango
"Judgment on the Apparitions of Kibeho."
The Virgin appeared to them with the name "Nyina wa Jambo", that is "Mother of the Word", which is synonymous to "Umubyeyl W'iamna" that is, "Mother of God", as she herself explained.
The alleged apparitions of Jesus reported at Kibeho beginning in July 1982 are not taken into consideration in this Declaration for various reasons, primarily because the alleged visionaries of Jesus known to the pilgrims of Kibeho, developed disquieting personal situations.
The name given to the Marian sanctuary at Kibeho is "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows", as the Bishop had anticipated when the first stone was laid, 28 November 1992.

The Virgin Mary said that the purpose of Her coming was to communicate a message of conversion (through a life of prayer and confession, a life renewed by the Word of God, and by works of charity and justice).[5]

Fr. Salvatore Perella
More than 1,500 visions of Mary have been reported around the world, but in the past century only nine cases have received official church approval as being "worthy of belief," said an expert in Marian apparitions.
The church has made very few judgments on apparition claims. "It's not always possible to ascertain if they are true or false because the phenomenon is much bigger than us," said Marianist Father Salvatore Perrella, assistant dean at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum and a theologian who also serves as an expert for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The enormous job of determining the veracity of an apparition falls to the local bishop, said Father Perrella.[1]

Our Lady of Good Help

"In October 1859, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on three occasions to Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant. Brise stated that a lady dressed in dazzling white appeared to her and claimed to be the 'Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.'
"The Lady asked Brise to pray for sinners, as well as to gather the children and teach them what they should know for salvation. The Blessed Virgin followed the commands with these words of assurance to Adele Brise, 'Go and fear nothing, I will help you.'
"Since 1859, countless faithful have made the pilgrimage to Champion, Wisconsin to offer prayers of thanksgiving and petition to Jesus and to ask for intercession from Our Lady of Good Help."

Our Lady of Knock

  • On August 21, 1879, about fifteen parishioners saw Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, an altar, a lamb on the altar, and a cross. Wikipedia.
  • Knock Shrine.
Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, you gave hope to your children in a time of distress and comforted them in sorrow. You have inspired countless pilgrims to pray with confidence to your divine Son, remembering His promise: "Ask and you shall receive, Seek and you shall find." Help me to remember that we are all pilgrims on the road to heaven. Fill me with love and concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who live with me. Comfort me when I am sick or lonely or depressed. Teach me how to take part ever more reverently in the Holy Mass. Pray for me now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.
"The purpose of the Bureau is to help Catholics to meet suitable prospective Marriage partners. As this is a branch of Catholic Action, it is presumed that all applicants are practising Catholics, free to marry and definitely seeking a Catholic marriage."

Our Lady of La Salette

National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette
In 1846, at La Salette in France, the Blessed Mother appeared to two children. Speaking to them she told them to make her message to "make known to all my people." Inspired by Mary's call for reconciliation with God, the Missionaries of La Salette were founded in 1852 as "ministers of religion" to be "faithful dispensers of the mysteries of God." Their charism focuses on Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

Miraculous Medal

Catherine Labouré.

Apparitions that have not been approved

Prayer to the Queen of Angels

Most noble Queen of Heaven,
sovereign of the Angels,
who received from the beginning
the mission and the power to crush the serpent's head,
we earnestly ask you to send the holy angels,
that under your command and by the power God has given you,
they may pursue the evil spirits,
confront them on every side,
resist their bold attacks,
and drive them into the abyss of woe.

Most holy Mother,
send the angels to defend us
and to drive the cruel enemy far away from us.

All you holy angels and archangels,
help and defend us.


O good and tender Mother!
You will always be our Love and our Hope.

Holy Angels and Archangels,
guard and defend us.


Source, edited to my taste.