Mary's Relationship with the Trinity
by Pope John Paul II
Mary "is Endowed with the High Office and Dignity of
the Mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the Beloved Daughter of the Father and the Temple of the Holy Spirit"
(Lumen Gentium, n. 53). With this Quote from the Second Vatican Council,
Pope John Paul II expressed in Concise-form the Trinitarian dimension of
Marian Doctrine, which was the Subject of his Catechesis at the General Audience of Wednesday,
10 January 1996.
1. The Eighth Chapter of the Constitution
Lumen Gentium shows in the Mystery of
Christ the Absolutely Necessary Reference-to Marian Doctrine. In this regard,
the First Words of the Introduction are significant: "Wishing in His
Supreme Goodness and Wisdom to effect the Redemption of the World, 'when the Fullness of Time came, God sent His Son, born of a Woman ... that
we might receive the Adoption of Sons'" (Galatians 4:4,5) (Lumen
Gentium, n. 52). This Son is the Messiah,
awaited-by the People of the Old Covenant, sent by the Father at a Decisive Moment of History,
the "Fullness of Time" (Galatians 4:4), which coincides with
His Birth in our World from a Woman. She
who brought the Eternal Son of God
to Humanity can never be Separated-from Him Who is found at the Center of the
Divine Plan carried-out in History.
The Primacy of Christ is shown forth in the
Church, His Mystical Body: in Her
"the Faithful are joined to Christ the Head and are in Communion with all His Saints" (cf.
Lumen Gentium, n. 52). It is Christ
Who draws all Men to Himself. Since in her Maternal
Role she is Closely United with her Son,
Mary helps Direct the Gaze and Heart of Believers towards
She is the Way that leads-to Christ:
indeed, she who "at the Message of the Angel received the Word of God
in her Heart and in her Body" (Lumen Gentium, n. 53) shows us
how to receive into our lives the Son come down from
Heaven, teaching us to make Jesus the Center and the Supreme
"Law" of our Existence.
A Unique Bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit
2. Mary also helps us discover, at the Origin of the Whole Work of
Salvation, the Sovereign Action of the Father Who
calls Men to become Sons in the One (1) Son. Recalling,
the very Beautiful Expressions of the Letter to the Ephesians: "God, Who is Rich in Mercy, out of the great Love with
which He Loved us, even when we were Dead through our Trespasses, made us Alive together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:4),
the Council gives God the Title "Most Merciful": the
Son "Born of a Woman" is thus seen as the
Fruit of the Father's Mercy and enables us to understand better how this
Woman is the "Mother of Mercy".
In the same context, the Council also calls God "Most
Wise", suggesting a Particular Attention to the close link between Mary and the
Divine Wisdom, which in Its
Mysterious Plan, Willed the Virgin's Motherhood.
The Council's Text also reminds us of the Unique Bond Uniting Mary with the
Holy Spirit, using the words of the Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed which we Recite
in the Eucharistic Liturgy: "For us Men and for our Salvation He came down from
Heaven; by the Power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became Man".
In expressing the Unchanging Faith of the Church,
the Council reminds us that the Marvelous Incarnation of the Son
took place in the Virgin Mary's Womb without Man's Co-operation, by the
Power of the Holy Spirit.
The Introduction to the Eighth Chapter of
Lumen Gentium thus shows in a Trinitarian Perspective an Essential Dimension of
Marian Doctrine. Everything in fact comes from the Will
of the Father, Who has sent
His Son into the World, Revealing Him to Men and Establishing
Him as the Head of the Church and the Center of
History. This is a Plan that was Fulfilled-by the Incarnation, the Work of the
Holy Spirit, but with the Essential Co-operation of a Woman, the
Virgin Mary, who thus became an Integral Part in the Economy
of Communicating the Trinity to Mankind.
4. Mary's Threefold (3)
Relationship with the Divine Persons is Confirmed in Precise Words and with a
description of the Characteristic Relationship which links the Mother of
the Lord to the Church: "She is
endowed with the High Office and Dignity of the Mother of the Son of God, and therefore she is also the Beloved Daughter of the Father and the Temple
of the Holy Spirit". (Lumen Gentium, n. 53).
Mary's fundamental Dignity is that of being
"Mother of the Son", which is expressed in Christian Doctrine
and Devotion with the Title "Mother of God". This is a Surprising Term, which shows the
Humility of God's Only Begotten Son in
His Incarnation and, in connection with It, the Most High Privilege granted
a Creature Who was called to give Him Birth
in the Flesh.
Mother of the Son,
Mary is the "Beloved Daughter of the Father" in a unique way.
She has been granted an Utterly Special Likeness between her Motherhood
and the Divine Fatherhood.
And again: every Christian is a "Temple of the Holy
Spirit", according to the Apostle Paul's expression (1Corinthians 6:19). But this assertion takes on an Extraordinary
Meaning in Mary: in her the
Relationship with the Holy Spirit is Enriched with a Spousal Dimension. I recalled this in
Redemptoris Mater: "The Holy Spirit had already come down upon her, and she became His Faithful
Spouse at the Annunciation, welcoming the Word of the True God ... " (n. 26).
Mary's Dignity surpasses that of every Creature
5. Mary's Privileged Relationship with the
Trinity therefore Confers-on her a
Dignity which far surpasses that of every other Creature. The Council recalls this explicitly:
because of this "Gift of Sublime Grace" Mary
"far surpasses all Creatures" (Lumen
Gentium, n. 53). However, this Most High Dignity does not hinder
Mary's Solidarity with each of us. The Constitution Lumen
Gentium goes on to say: "But, being of the Race of Adam, she is at the same time also united to
all those who are to be Saved" and she has been "Redeemed,
in a more Exalted Fashion, by reason of the Merits of her Son" (ibid.).
Here we see the Authentic Meaning of Mary's Privileges and of
her Extraordinary Relationship with the Trinity:
Their Purpose is to Enable her to Co-operate in the
Salvation of the Human Race. The Immeasurable Greatness of the
Lord's Mother therefore remains a Gift
of God's Love for all Men. By proclaiming her
"Blessed" (Luke 1:48), Generations praise the "Great
Things" (Luke 1:49) the Almighty has done in
her for Humanity, "in remembrance of His Mercy" (Luke 1: 54).