Saturday, September 22, 2012

Five Marian Dogmas?

The Catholic Church has only four -- not five -- dogmas about Mary. Some Catholics wish the Church would proclaim a fifth dogma, but that is not likely to occur anytime soon (and maybe not at all).

1. Immaculate Conception
To become the mother of the Savior, God enriched Mary with gifts appropriate to such a role. The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace." The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a special grace of God, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

2. Mother of God
The One whom Mary conceived as man by the Holy Spirit was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God."

3. Perpetual Virginity
In the words of St. Augustine (4th century), Mary "remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin."

4. Assumption
The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things.

5. Mediatrix (latin, literally Mother of the Mediator)
Taken up to Heaven, Mary did not lay aside her role as Mother. By her intercessory prayers, she continues to bring us the gifts of her Son, the only Mediator.

This picture (to the right) is Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1531, a miraculous image was placed on a quilt of cactus fibers through the Blessed Virgin’s intercession in an apparition to a man named Juan Diego. Cactus fibers are expected to decay in 100 years, but neither the paint nor fibers have decayed in over 450 years.

The image is very symbolic. It contains the five Marian dogmas:
  1. Immaculate Conception -- Mary is not under the power of sin. She is crushing the head of the angel Satan (Gen 3:15).
  2. Mother of God -- Mary is shown pregnant with the Savior.
  3. Perpetual Virginity -- The bow around her waist represents virginity in the Mexican culture.
  4. Assumption -- She is the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and crowned with stars (Rev 12).
  5. Mediatrix -- Her folded hands symbolize her constant prayers of intercession.
Hail Mary, full of Grace,
The Lord is with you,
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of death.