The Power of the Marian Connection (4) — How the Mother of Jesus ‘Connects’ us to the Angels and the Saints of God
1. How the Blessed Virgin Mary ‘connects’ us to the Holy Angels
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin … And the virgin’s name was Mary.” (Lk. 1:26–27)
As handmaid of God the Father, as mother of God the Son and as spouse of God the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary is placed high above the angels and archangels in glory and in grace, since none of the angels is connected to the Triune Godhead in the deep and profound manner that she is. We wish to see clearly here that, though she is human, Mary towers above the angelic beings both in the possession of grace and of glory; and that even though from the very moment of their existence they have dwelt in heavenly glory, yet the angels do not possess the filiality, affinity and union that the Blessed Virgin possess with the Blessed Trinity. The choice of the Blessed Virgin to be the ‘theotokos’ raises her above all creatures, both human and angelic. One may ask: could the angels have done for God what the Blessed Virgin did? Yes, if they were humans; and no, since they were not humans. God had no need to redeem the angels. They are already united with God in their wills and already enjoy the beatific vision. It was man who needed redemption. But to accomplish this redemption, God needed someone who would be like unto God Himself, far and above both men and angels. This is because, such one would not only have to possess the fullness of humanity — a perfected humanity — but would also be capable of entering into mystical intimate union with God, the Redeemer. Her possession of ‘perfected humanity’ which enabled her threefold mystical intimate union with God, placed the Blessed Virgin above the angels, both in grace and in glory, and rendered her closer to God more than all other creatures. Therefore, it is clear that the Mother of the Lord, seats above the angels both in heavenly in heavenly glory and in the possession of grace.
So, how does she, ‘who found favour with God’ (Lk. 1:30), relate with angels of God and connect us with them? Sacred Scriptures show us that the angels are ministering spirit that divine providence sends to us to aid us in our sojourn in the world. “Are not the angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hb. 1:14) All of God’s creatures, and especially all who surrender and yield to divine dominion and guidance, profit from the ministry of the Holy Angels. However, more than every other creature ever, the angels are at the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By reason of her mission as servant of God the Father, as spouse of God the Holy Spirit and as mother of God the Son, the Blessed Virgin, above anyone else, enjoy the presence, protection and patronage of the host of heaven’s angels.
The ministry of the angels towards man and creation is to serve the Lord in aiding his creatures to live within and according to his will. In serving man, the angels serve the will of God. In protecting man, the angels honour and protect the image of God enshrined in the soul of man destined unto salvation. (Heb. 1:14) But in serving the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels are continuing to fulfil their delightful lot of dwelling in the presence of the Most High and the Most Holy God, since she is united with God in a special way, in her threefold roles as servant of the Father, as spouse of the Spirit and as mother of the Son. At the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel confirmed to the Blessed Virgin that: “The Lord is with thee” (Lk. 1:28) Indeed, more than anyone else ever, the Lord abides with the Blessed Virgin. As it is, the Lord God made for Himself a dwelling in the bosom of the virgin, Mary. God the Father is with her who is His faithful handmaid (Lk. 1:38, 48) and whom His power overshadows. (Lk. 1:35) God the Holy Spirit is with her who is a living Temple of the Spirit and upon whom He descended at the Incarnation. (Lk. 1:35) God the Son is with her, who is His living tabernacle and in whom He was pleased to take flesh and blood. (Lk. 1:31–33; Mt. 1:18–21) There is no doubt that wherever God is, there too His angels are found. (See Lk. 1:19; Mt. 18:10; Rv. 7:11; 5:11–12; see also Rv. 7:15) Thus, wherever the Blessed Virgin is found, there too, are found the angels. The angels minister to the Blessed Virgin and to God who dwells with her.
The Fathers of our holy Faith, acknowledging this high honour and glory that the Eternal Father has willed and conferred on the Blessed Virgin, have further taught us that she is the Queen of Angels. The Marian Pope, Pius XII, shows us the root of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin: “Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice of the Father” (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 38. 266) Sacred Tradition has for centuries honoured her, among others as Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Apostles, and particularly as Queen of Angels. As Pope Pius XII taught, sharing in the power and dominion of her divine Son, the Blessed Virgin holds sway even over the angelic hosts. In Jesus, with Jesus and through Jesus, she reigns as Queen, over the heavens and the angels as well as over the earth and all men. Since she reigns in union with God, the angels are subject to and at the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since she has ‘the same mind which is also in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 2:5) and reigns according to the will and mind of God, the angel submit to the Queenship and bidding of the Blessed Virgin.
As we see both in the Gospels and in the phenomenon of Marian apparitions, the Angels work for her and with her. The angels serve her and support her. At the Annunciation, it was the angel Gabriel who came to announce to her the dawn of the Incarnation. At the apparition at Fatima, it was the angel of Portugal that came to announce to and prepare the three children of her coming. At the apparition of Garabandal, it was the Archangel Michael that announce to the three visionaries, that the Mother of God is calling them. At Medjugorje, again it was an angel that first came to summon the six visionaries and several times she appears accompanied by the angels. To the visionary of the apparition of Akita, the Virgin has also sent an angel to bring the message of heaven. There is no doubt that the angels, the Legion of Mary, have always been at the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her God-given mission for the world. There is no doubt that the Blessed Virgin, in her several historical maternal interventions, both public and private, have reached out to humanity through the ministry of the angels and the archangels. There can be no doubt that those who are connected to the Blessed Virgin Mary, can through her gain the favour and the supernatural aid of the angels in the vicissitudes of life on earth.
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2. How the Blessed Virgin Mary ‘connects’ us to the Saints
“Blessed are you among all women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb!” (Lk. 1:42)
The Saints are the holy souls in heaven. They are the spirits of the just made perfect, the congregation of the firstborn sons enrolled in heaven. (Heb. 12:23) “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14) They are the apostles, the martyrs, the mystics, the missionaries, the evangelists, the catechists, the crusaders, the knights, the nuns and monks, the hermits and the cures, men and women, poor and rich, kings and princes, slaves and lords, scholars and simpletons, the boys and girls, who gave their lives to the Gospel and to God, to Christ and to his Church. They are the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ (Hb. 12:1) who responded to the demand of the Lord Jesus: ‘you will be my witnesses.’ (Acts. 1:8) The saints are those creatures of God who surrender to God’s plan and let Jesus, the Messiah sent by God, to enter their lives and to rule I their lives. They accept him, love him, serve him and live for him. They give their lives to him. First among these people is the woman who found favour with God, the Blessed Virgin. She was the first to give her life to Jesus Christ. The Virgin Mary was the first to serve the Lord Jesus. She loved him before anyone else did! Thus, she is a paragon of the holy souls, a model of the saints, a protype of the new creation in Christ Jesus. She is the first of those who follow Christ. She is the first Christian.
The message of the new era of grace and of the salvation of all creation, was made known by God, first to her before all else. (Lk.1:26–38) She too was the first to spread the grace and the joy of the good news with others. (Lk. 1:39–56) She was the first to serve as a disciple of Christ. She was the first to hear Jesus knocking at the door and the first to open to Him the door of her heart. (Rv. 3:20) She was the first to welcome the Lord into her heart, but also into her home. She was the first to hear the good news from the mouth of the Logos Himself, the Incarnate word and to live by it. She was the first to witness that indeed, the Word of God has been made flesh and that it dwells among men. (Jn. 1:14) Before John the Baptizer declared Him to the Jews, the Blessed Virgin knew that her Son was ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world’ (Jn. 1:29) Before Peter was granted the revelation of His divinity, she knew that her Son Jesus, was the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mt. 16:16); Him who has the message of eternal life. (Jn. 6:68) She knew who he was! Before He did, the first miracle. In fact, she knew that her Son could turn water into wine, and she literally ‘forced’ Him to do so at the Wedding at Cana (Jn. 2:1–11) She knew His mission and destiny; that He would be for the ‘rise and the fall of many’ (Lk. 2:38). She willingly and silently accompanied Him unto the cross and unto the end. The Evangelist testifies thus to this: “Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother” (Jn. 19:25) Indeed, the Blessed Virgin is the first follower of Jesus Christ and the first among all the Saints.
But she is not just a primus inter pares, she is the pattern of the Saints. The Blessed Virgin Mary is to all who follow Jesus a model and a mother. On that same day, the high point of the plan of redemption, upon the cross and upon Calvary, Jesus made His mother, the mother of all who cling to the cross; all who look up to the cross for salvation. Like St. John, the beloved Apostle, all who love Jesus, all who come to the feet of the cross, seeking after the Saviour, will find the Blessed Virgin already there, as their mother and as their model. The Blessed Virgin is the mould in which Jesus, the Godman was formed. She is also the mould in which all who wish to be like unto Jesus, all who wish to follow after Jesus, all who wish to be made into the image of Jesus, are moulded. God used her to bring Jesus into the world. The same God uses her to bring Jesus into the hearts of all who come to the feet of the cross. For this reason, the Church of her Son has for centuries honoured her as her model and model. The Catechism puts it thus “By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity.” (CCC 967) The Church and all her children, all the saints, all the faithful, take the Blessed Virgin as mother and model; desiring to follow her footsteps and to be born to Christ though her.
Right from the days of the apostle, our ancestors in the Faith, the Saints themselves, acknowledge the Blessed Virgin and submit to her, not only as their mother and model, as we have seen, but indeed as their Queen and the Empress of their souls. Like, the holy angels, the holy souls too, submit to the dominion and queenship of Mary, the mother of their Lord and king, Jesus Christ and honour her, whom it pleased God Himself to greatly honour and to declare ‘Blessed’. (Lk. 1:28,48) Yet it must be stated that their relationship did not end with affections of honour. Rather, in their desire to please Jesus and to be made worthy to behold Him in glory, the Saints actually entrusted themselves to aid and benefaction of the Blessed Virgin. These Saints whom we love and trust are certain and clear on this matter. Let’s hear some of them. The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, puts it this way: “As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.” St. Francis de Sales, the gentleman Saint, admonishes us thus: “Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.” Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, the apostle of Mary, teaches that: “All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father.” All the Saints, in heaven and on earth, rightly belong to the Blessed Virgin as spiritual children, begotten in Christ, in the order of grace. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin Mary is for us a link to all the Saints in heaven and to the Saints a channel of grace and blessing upon us.
Michael Richmond Duru
24th May 2022