‘The Marian Dimension’

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

“The Marian dimension of the life of a disciple of Christ is expressed in a special way precisely through this filial entrusting to the Mother of Christ, which began with the testament of the Redeemer on Golgotha. Entrusting himself to Mary in a filial manner, the Christian, like the Apostle John, “welcomes” the Mother of Christ “into his own home”130 and brings her into everything that makes up his inner life, that is to say into his human and Christian “I”: he “took her to his own home”.”

 Pope John Paul II:

“Redemptoris Mater”

(# 45)

 

Just possibly, John Paul II may have picked up this phrase, “The Marian Dimension”, from a one-time mentor of mine, Frits Albers, who used the description twice in titles of books that he wrote, one of which was apparently part of the Offertory at the pope’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne (Australia) in 1986. Frits’s book, The Marian Dimension in the Apocalypse of St. John (1982) preceded John Paul II’s sixth encyclical letter, Redemptoris Mater (1987), by some 5 years.

Frits Albers, philosopher and maths teacher, was an extraordinary and controversial character, who studied for ten years to become a Jesuit at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in Holland. He claimed to have lost his vocation, but never his faith, and he blamed his loss of vocation on the teachings of Father Teilhard de Chardin that were rampant at the time. Moving later to Geelong in Victoria (Australia), Frits married and he and his wife together had ten children.

Frits was a relentless warrior in defence of the Catholic Faith, and launched many broadsides against de Chardin. Some of it must have rubbed off on me. See my:

 

The Sheer Silliness of Teilhard de Chardin

https://www.academia.edu/19566354/The_Sheer_Silliness_of_Teilhard_de_Chardin

 

 

Pope John Paul II makes another mention of “the Marian dimension” in the same part of his encyclical, when writing:

It can be said that motherhood “in the order of grace” preserves the analogy with what “in the order of nature” characterizes the union between mother and child. In the light of this fact it becomes easier to understand why in Christ’s testament on Golgotha his Mother’s new motherhood is expressed in the singular, in reference to one man: “Behold your son.”

 

lt can also be said that these same words fully show the reason for the Marian dimension of the life of Christ’s disciples. This is true not only of John, who at that hour stood at the foot of the Cross together with his Master’s Mother, but it is also true of every disciple of Christ, of every Christian. The Redeemer entrusts his mother to the disciple, and at the same time he gives her to him as his mother. Mary’s motherhood, which becomes man’s inheritance, is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary. At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ, which in the history of the Church has been practiced and expressed in different ways. The same Apostle and Evangelist, after reporting the words addressed by Jesus on the Cross to his Mother and to himself, adds: “And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn. 19:27). This statement certainly means that the role of son was attributed to the disciple and that he assumed responsibility for the Mother of his beloved Master. And since Mary was given as a mother to him personally, the statement indicates, even though indirectly, everything expressed by the intimate relationship of a child with its mother. And all of this can be included in the word “entrusting.” Such entrusting is the response to a person’s love, and in particular to the love of a mother.

 

 

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