St. Louis de Montfort, the Holy Family, St. Maximilian Kolbe
by Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., C.A.G.S | HPR
St. Louis de Montfort and St. Maximillian Kolbe, … have consistently taught that the most appropriate response on our part to Mary’s role as spiritual mother is filial entrustment, or “total consecration” to her. This perfect devotion of total consecration to Jesus through Mary is truly the most sanctifying of all devotions.
So very few persons, pious Catholic Christians included, realize the tremendous role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the sanctification of souls. Being spiritual mother of the Mystical Body, she, along with the Holy Spirit, has the tasks of forming Christ in souls, and nourishing her children with the milk of divine grace. St. Louis de Montfort and St. Maximillian Kolbe, two of the most outstanding Marian saints, along with a significant number of other great Marian saints and popes, have consistently taught that the most appropriate response on our part to Mary’s role as spiritual mother is filial entrustment, or “total consecration” to her. This perfect devotion of total consecration to Jesus through Mary is truly the most sanctifying of all devotions. It is the purpose of this essay to study the essence of this devotion. We will begin with an exploration of the image of Mary as the Mediatrix of all grace, the firm theological foundation for Marian consecration. Next, we will study St. Louis de Montfort’s explanation of the nature and motives of the devotion. Finally, we will turn our attention to St. Joseph’s role in this devotion, focusing first on his spousal union with Mary as the ultimate model of total consecration; secondly, on his role as “spiritual father” and protector of the mystical body; and, finally, on the universality of Joseph as a model of holiness.
To understand the logic of total consecration to Jesus through Mary, we must first grasp Mary’s role as Mediatrix of all graces. This is the Church’s doctrine that every grace that comes to us from God comes through the willed intercession of Mary. But this role of Mary as Mediatrix of all grace is really the completion of her role as Spiritual Mother, and follows from her unique cooperation in the redemption of humanity with Christ on Calvary. So let us first review these two concepts of Mary as Spiritual Mother, the Mediatrix of all grace.
A Luminous Mary | Gibbons J. Cooney | Catholic World Report
Alissa Jung overwhelms in the new film “Mary of Nazareth”
On October 11, at the Metreon Theater in San Francisco, Ignatius Press sponsored a premiere screening of the film Mary of Nazareth. Originally released in 2012 as a two-part, 200-minute production for Italian TV, the film has been edited down to 153 minutes for theatrical release. Mary of Nazareth was directed by the Italian Giacomo Campiotti, whose other religious movies include Bakhita about St. Josephine Bakhita, and St. Giuseppe Moscati, about the Physician Saint of Naples. It was written by the Italian Francesco Arlanch, author of the screenplay for Restless Heart (about St. Augustine), Pius XII, and Pope John Paul II. Actors include the Germans Alissa Jung as Mary and Andreas Pietschmann as Jesus, and the Italian Luca Marinelli as Joseph.
The movie chronicles the life of Mary from just before the time of her Presentation at the Temple until the Resurrection. Much of Mary of Nazareth can be seen as a modern version of the “pious legends” of the Middle Ages. Like the pious legends, nothing in the movie contradicts Scripture, but it does contain scenes that are not in Scripture—things that a reasonable person realizes must have happened even if there is no record. Such things include the wedding of Mary and Joseph, Jesus as a boy falling and hurting himself, the death of Joseph, etc. Luca Marinelli is splendid as Joseph: young, masculine, kind, and, of course, just. When he requests permission from St. Joachim to speak to Mary for the first time, and meets with the familiar fatherly suspicion on Joachim’s part, we laugh, because we know the outcome, but we feel for the nervous young man at the same time. Joseph’s character grows the most in the movie, as he accepts, then loves, and finally, in his humility, even develops a sense of humor about his unprecedented situation. A seminarian who was in attendance at the premiere said, “That’s masculinity, right there!” Andreas Pietschmann is good as Jesus, strong and steady in an almost impossible role. Paz Vega is properly intense and passionate as Mary Magdalene. But this movie is all about Alissa Jung’s Mary.
Ms. Jung’s performance is radiant—like nothing I can remember seeing.
Ignatius Press brings stunning film on Mary exclusively to North America
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2013 – Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ is revered throughout the world. However, her amazing life has not been featured on the big screen — until now.
Ignatius Press will release MARY OF NAZARETH, a major motion picture on the life of Our Blessed Mother, for sponsored theatrical screenings across the country beginning in October. The North American premiere will take place in San Francisco on October 11 featuring the stunning actress who portrayed Mary in the film, Alissa Jung, and well-known Marian expert Father Donald Calloway, MIC.
“Ignatius Press is very excited to bring to the silver screen this incredible new epic feature film on Our Lady, MARY OF NAZARETH,” said Ignatius Press Director of Sales and Marketing Anthony Ryan. “Produced by the same European studios who have made such other high-quality films with profound spiritual depth like Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine, Pope John Paul II, Bakhita: From Slave to Saint and Padre Pio: Miracle Man, this powerful film on the life of Mary will provide deep inspiration for all who see it on the big screen. Ignatius is very happy to follow in the wake of the theatrical sponsored screening success of Restless Heart to work with faith-filled movie fans everywhere to bring this amazing film on Mary to theaters in their neighborhoods, providing a unique opportunity for inspiring entertainment, strong evangelization and significant fundraising.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI screened the movie in the Apostolic Palace in 2012, and was touched by the portrayal of Mary so movingly revealed on film. He commented that “it is not easy to characterize the figure of any mother, because the riches of the maternal life are difficult to describe, but this is even more challenging when it comes to the Mary of Nazareth, who is the mother of Jesus, the Son of God made man.”
Unlike many faith-based films that open in limited release around the country and often don’t make it to cities and towns with significant interest, MARY OF NAZARETH is available for showing anywhere in North America. Individuals, parishes, church groups or other organizations can arrange to bring this epic film to their towns immediately. There are currently close to 250 screenings in various stages of planning. Interested groups and individuals work with local theaters and other venues to rent a screen, and Ignatius provides a copy of the film with a complete promotional kit for an affordable fee.
An exclusive trailer of the film is available online now at www.MaryFilm.com. For more information or interviews, please contact Kevin Wandra (404-788-1276 or KWandra@CarmelCommunications.com).
To bring MARY OF NAZARETH to a theater in your area beginning Oct. 1, please inquire via email through Carmel Communications at screenings@carmelcommunications.
Ignatius Press will host the MARY OF NAZARETH premiere at 7 p.m. PT Friday, Oct. 11 at the AMC Metreon 16, 135 4th St #3000, San Francisco, CA 94103. Alissa Jung, the German actress who stars as Mary in the film, and Fr. Donald Calloway, author of UNDER THE MANTLE: Marian Thoughts From a 21st Century, who has endorsed the film, will attend the premiere, and be available for a Q-and-A following a screening of the movie.
About the Film
MARY OF NAZARETH vividly captures the essence of Mary’s profound faith and trust in God amidst the great mysteries that she lived with as the Mother of the Messiah, her compassionate humanity and concern for others, and the deep love that she and Jesus shared for one another. This movie underscores her special role in God’s plan for our redemption, her unique relationship with Christ, and the tremendous suffering that she endured in union with his passion and death, as well as her serene joy at his Resurrection.
Filmed in Europe, this major new epic film on the life of Mary is the first full-length feature movie on the story of this incredible woman to be shown in theaters. It was shot in English in high definition.
MARY OF NAZARETH is directed by acclaimed European film director Giacomo Campiotti (BAKHITA, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, ST. GIUSEPPE MOSCATI) and written by Francesco Arlanch (RESTLESS HEART, PIUS XII, POPE JOHN PAUL II). The original music score was written by Guy Farley.
We are very excited to announce Mary of Nazareth,
a major new epic feature film on the life of Our Blessed Mother, is
available for sponsored theatrical screenings across the country after
October 1, 2013.
MARY OF NAZARETH vividly captures the essence of Mary’s profound faith and trust in God amidst the great mysteries she lived as the Mother of the Messiah. It shows her compassionate humanity and concern for others, and the deep love that she and Jesus shared for one another. This film also underscores her special role in God’s plan for our redemption, her unique relationship with Christ, and the tremendous suffering that she endured in union with his passion and death, as well as her serene joy at his Resurrection.
Father Donald Calloway, MIC, author of the recently released Under Her Mantle, praised the film, saying, “Without a doubt, this is the most stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary on film! It will make you want to love her more than ever. An absolute masterpiece!”
Visit the website www.maryfilm.com to see
the two sneak peak clips we will be unlocking each week up to the
film's release giving you a one minute taste of this powerful film!
To learn more about the process of hosting a theatrical screening, email screenings@carmelcommunications or call 1-770-591-0045 to begin the process TODAY!
Please like and share the Mary of Nazareth Facebook Page with friends!
With reference to the third part of the secret of Fatima, [Sister Lucia] affirmed that she had attentively read and meditated upon the booklet published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [The Message of Fatima] and confirmed everything that was written there. To whoever imagines that some part of the secret has been hidden, she replied: "everything has been published; no secret remains." To those who speak and write of new revelations, she said: "There is no truth in this. If I had received new revelations, I would have told no one, but I would have communicated them directly to the Holy Father." Objection: The text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican contains no words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The part of the text where the Virgin speaks in the first person wasn't censored, for the simple reason that it never existed. The text these people talk about just doesn't exist. I am not toeing some party line here. I'm basing my statement on Sister Lucia's own direct confirmation that the Third Secret is none other than the text that was published in the year 2000. Objection: The Vatican's copy of the Third Secret contains no information about a nuclear holocaust, a great apostasy, or the satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church.
From Vatican Information Service:
• Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 or 1 Sm 1:20-22, 24-28
• Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5 or Ps 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10
• Col 3:12-21 or 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24
• Lk 2:41-52
Being lost isn’t always what it seems. People usually end up lost when they take a wrong turn or misread directions. And then we sometimes speak of “losing ourselves,” usually in some sort of pleasant diversion: reading a book, watching a movie, or taking a walk in a familiar park or garden.
Yet it takes a unique person and perspective to be lost without actually being lost in order that those who seek you will not only find you, but will find you more deeply and more truly. It takes the twelve-year-old Incarnate Word to be lost in such a way. It is rather humorous, in fact, to think that today’s Gospel reading, which is the only story about the youthful Jesus between his first weeks of life and his adulthood, is sometimes said to be about Mary and Joseph seeking the “lost” Jesus. Is he lost?
To them, yes, he is lost; they are as anxious as any parent (even a sinless mother!) would be. But the young Jesus was not lost. He purposefully, St. Luke writes, “remained behind in Jerusalem.” He had spent time in Jerusalem every year; undoubtedly he had explored parts of the city and knew some it quite well, especially around the Temple. And when he was found after three days of frantic searching by Mary and Joseph, he did not express the relief of a frightened child huddled in the woods. Rather, he matter-of-factly asked two questions: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
As Monsignor Ronald Knox observed in his Lightning Meditations (Sheed and Ward, 1959), these responses leave us “puzzled, perhaps faintly disconcerted…” Surely the young man spoke with a smile, Knox suggested, “otherwise the remark would be intolerably priggish.”
is clear is how difficult is the translating of Jesus’ words; they do not
directly refer to a “house,” but more obscurely to “the things of the Father.”
Knox muses that “the sight of Joseph hard at work makes him want to be a
carpenter already, at twelve; but then, the thought of his Heavenly Father,
tirelessly at work all the time, makes him impatient to begin his real
ministry…” After all, his words—“I must”—are as urgent as they are puzzling.
What was the work, the ministry, the things of the Father? A central part of it was teaching, especially to teach “the teachers.” The Son of God, the author of the Law, would both explain and fulfill the Law to the teachers of the Law. This focus on teaching is especially emphasized as the Passion approaches: “And he was teaching daily in the temple” (Lk 19:47; see 20:1; 21:37). After being arrested, facing the chief priests and elders, Jesus stated, “When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me” (Lk. 22:53).
Sitting in the midst of the teachers, Jesus taught by asking questions. This was, Origen observed in a homily, befitting his youth. Jesus “interrogated the teachers not to learn anything but to teach them by his questions,” he wrote, “It is part of the same wisdom to know what you should ask and what you should answer.” But Jesus also astounded the teachers, St. Luke writes, with “his understanding and his answers.” Having come to seek and save the lost, he revealed man’s need for the Messiah by both asking and proclaiming, prodding and eliciting. “For the Son of man came,” he told Zacchae'us, “to seek and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10).
When Joseph and Mary spent three days seeking Jesus, they were being drawn deeper into the mystery of salvation. They knew Jesus was the Messiah, but how could they not be astonished that he was teaching the teachers? This required further pondering, thought, contemplation. And so, also, for us. In seeking him, we will not only find him, but will find that we are the ones who have been found.
(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the December 27, 2009, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)
Seeing the Face of Christ at Christmas | Bill Maguire | Catholic World Report
Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body helps us recognize the true presence of Christ in those around us.
There was a blind man named Bartimaeus who called out to Jesus: “Son of David, have pity of me” (Mk 10:46-52). In answer to his plea, Jesus responds in the most remarkable way, “What do you want me to do for you?” In order to get some sense of just how remarkable Jesus’ response is, we must pause for a moment and consider who Jesus is: he is the all-mighty, all-powerful, eternal Son of God. Jesus’ words, then, are the words of the Word of God.
The Gospels are no mere recollection of Jesus’ words and deeds. Rather, as writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, they have a power that cannot be found in any other form of literature: namely, the power to re-call and make present to us Jesus’ words and deeds. Read prayerfully, in the Spirit, the Gospels place us in the real presence of Jesus Christ and offer us the opportunity to truly encounter him. Thus, it is not only to Bartimaeus but to us that Jesus asks: “What do you want me to do for you?” God, himself, is asking us what we want him to do for us.
Bartimaeus’ desire—“I want to see”—is one that Christians feel with particular intensity during the Christmas season. We are all touched with the deep desire to have been there, to have seen this remarkable child born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. Yet, have we taken the time to consider exactly what we would have seen had we been there on that first Christmas?
Would we have seen just one more example of what is an all too familiar scene: a poor couple bringing yet another child into the seeming endless cycle of misery and poverty? Would their example have inspired in us that brand of “compassion” which promotes, as a solution to poverty, education in reproductive rights for women and the widespread availability of contraception and abortion? Would we have been moved with such pity for Jesus that we would take steps to ensure that no more children like him would come into the world? Or would we have recognized, like Simeon and Ann later would, the face of God in this child? And, in seeing the face of God in the countenance of a human child, would we have seen the great dignity and worth of all human persons?
The Pope’s Book About Christmas | Thomas P. Harmon | Catholic World Report
Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives emphasizes that the joy of Christmas is rooted in the revelation of God’s humility.
The shadow of the Cross, therefore, also lurks menacingly throughout the early life of Jesus: the gift of myrrh from the Magi, used to anoint a corpse; the prophecy of Simeon to Mary that her heart will be pierced by a sword; the rage of Herod and the slaughter of the Holy Innocents; and the deliberate juxtaposition of Christ and Caesar, which points to the inexorable conflict between the humble Christ, who does not grasp after equality with the Father and whose kingdom is not of this world and Caesar, whose presumption makes him grasp after divine prerogatives.
The book is divided into four chapters and an epilogue. The first chapter deals with general reflections on the origin of Jesus, the second chapter is about the annunciation stories of John the Baptist and Jesus, the third chapter reflects on the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the final chapter takes up the visit from the wise men and the flight into Egypt, and the epilogue considers the finding of Jesus in the Temple when he is twelve years old. The first chapter functions as a general introduction not only to the current volume, but to the whole of Jesus of Nazareth. After all, the question of Jesus’ identity is the one Benedict is most fundamentally trying to answer with his books. It is also a perfect entry point into the question for the modern reader.
It is very hard to get a clear vision of the figure of Jesus himself using the methods of exegesis that have been dominant in the Church and the academy in recent times. Twentieth century biblical scholars are notoriously divided about Jesus’ identity, a division which somewhat belies their claim to superior rigor or accuracy. Historical-critical scholarship was born of the marriage of theology with the methods of modern science in an attempt to produce more rigorous interpretations of biblical texts. Modern biblical exegesis brings to bear powerful historical and linguistic tools, allowing the reader almost unprecedented access to the environmental, political, linguistic, and cultural context of the Gospels. They ought to be able to sharpen our view of biblical characters and themes. Instead, Jesus too often tends to disappear into the weeds of the politics of the ancient near east, comparative religion, or the speculations of cultural anthropology.
Investigating Jesus with the historical-critical method can often be like trying to understand a human being through the use of an electron microscope
• Mi 5:1-4a
• Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
• Heb 10:5-10
• Lk 1:39-45
St. Augustine, in his treatise, “On Holy Virginity,” made this profound, even startling, statement: “Thus also her nearness as a Mother would have been of no profit to Mary, had she not borne Christ in her heart after a more blessed manner than in her flesh.”
In that single line, the great Doctor anticipated the
objections voiced by many Protestants while also explaining the honor and love
shown by Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) for the Theotokos, the Mother of God. I heard and repeated, while
growing up in a Protestant home of Fundamentalist persuasion, many of those
objections: “Mary was just an ordinary woman,” “Mary was not sinless,” and, of
course, “Catholics worship Mary!” People would sometimes go to extremes to
avoid any appearance of praise for Mary. A close relative once told me that
Mary had merely been a “biological vessel” for the baby Jesus!
Two things changed my mind: reading actual Catholic teaching about Mary and re-reading Scripture. The first came from a sense of fairness toward what I didn’t know; the second came from a growing (and hardly characteristic) humility about what I thought I knew. Sure, I had read the opening chapters of the Gospel of Luke many times. But I must have read it dozens of times before I began to slowly comprehend the astonishment of the Annunciation, the wonder of Elizabeth’s ecstatic greeting, the magnitude of the Magnificat.
Today’s Gospel reading follows the Annunciation and immediately
precedes the Canticle of Mary. The young Mary, told by Gabriel that she had
found favor with God and would bear a son, eventually sets out to see
Elizabeth, also pregnant with a son. Having already been confirmed by a
heavenly messenger of God, Mary was then confirmed by her own flesh and blood
in words heard and repeated by countless faithful through the centuries:
“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
To be blessed is to have found favor with God, to be filled with the grace—the supernatural life—of God. It is to possess the kingdom by belonging to the King (cf. Matt 5:3, 10). As mother of the King of kings, Mary bore the kingdom within her. As mother of the Messiah, she is also the mother of the Church. Pope John Paul II, in Redemptoris Mater (1987), wrote that “in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church” (par. 47).
Mary and Elizabeth, bearing their sons—one a prophet, the
other the Son of God—prefigure the Church that would later be born from the
side of the crucified Lord and made manifest on Pentecost (see CCC 766, 1076).
Blessed by the Father, impregnated by the power of the Holy Spirit, and filled
with the Son, the Virgin brings joy and gladness into the dark, silent womb of
man’s deepest longing.
Like St. Augustine, John Paul II provided a profound reflection on the belief and faith of Mary. In the expression “Blessed are you who believed,” he wrote, “we can therefore rightly find a kind of ‘key’ which unlocks for us the innermost reality of Mary, whom the angel hailed as ‘full of grace.’ If as ‘full of grace’ she has been eternally present in the mystery of Christ, through faith she became a sharer in that mystery in every extension of her earthly journey” (par. 19). The miracle of Mary’s pregnancy and Virgin birth go hand in hand with the mystery of faith.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Christ child while recognizing that Christ always remains in the heart of Mary. Having given birth to the Savior at one particular moment in time, Mary has continued to give the Savior to the world ever since. It is her one desire, her unending gift of joy and life to each of us. “And how does this happen to me,” we ask ourselves, “that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the December 20, 2009, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)