Yesterday, on my facebook wall, I mentioned the most difficult teaching for me, confession (and it was apparently rather hot button). Today, I'd like to talk about my favorite: Mary, the Holy Queen Mother of Heaven.
The Catholic teachings on Mary are deep and rich. There's an absolute plethora of things to read about her, but I'd like to start at the end instead of the beginning.
In Revelations, we see the following:
[Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter." And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne...The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him...Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus." - Revelations 11:19-12:17]
So MUCH to see here. But I'd like to focus on just a few key things:
First, "the ark of his covenant". I've briefly mentioned this before, but the ark of the covenant contained three things: manna from heaven, the stone tablets and Aaron's rod. This things were the bread that sustained the Israelites in the desert, the word of God, and the right to rule. Jesus was the perfection of all of these three things, thus Mary was the ark of the covenant, which is why John sees them in sequence here.
Next: The crown of 12 stars. She is Queen of the Heavenly perfection of the Davidic Kingdom. The 12 Tribes of Israel.
The son: Jesus, obviously. He "shall rule all nations with a rod of Iron".
The Dragon: quite clearly, Satan as it plainly says and we'll come back to him (and her..they have a long history it seems) in a moment.
The last statement is really quite interesting: the Dragon goes off to wage war against her other children. Those other children are defined as those who do two things:
1) Keep God's commandments and
2) Hold to the testimony of Jesus
Therefore..she IS your heavenly mother.
Now, back to the "long history".
If you look at Genesis 3:15 the KJV says:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Now this is God talking to the Dragon and the last part is very interesting. It says "IT" shall bruise his (the Dragon) head. This is referring to the SEED.
However, that translation was done in the early 1600s.
Here's what the Latin Vulgate, translated by St. Jerome in the late 4th century says:
"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: SHE shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for HER heel."
You see..she, Mary, and the Dragon have a long history together. He has quite literally hated her from the beginning, which means: she was always in the plan.
She was picked out from the very beginning.
Just as God redeemed Adam's failure by sending Jesus, he redeemed Eve's failure by sending Mary.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray. O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.