Missed the first part of this series? Find St. Peter here.
Or find all the Pope series here.
Make haste, and come to me before winter. Eubulus and Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren send thee their greeting. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you, Amen.” 2 Tim. 4:21
St. Linus… was not a saint when he reigned.
I’m really excited to begin a new “learn something” series on Vatican II.
Today’s post will break down how and when the church meets and what church leaders do at the meetings.
It’s also a little bit of history of the meetings.
In the future, I’ll break down other councils, but Vatican II is a hot topic now and important to cover.
The Catholic Church has held 21 ecumenical councils since the beginning.
To decide things.
The first council, held in AD 325, was held after a discord in the church regarding the heresy of Arius.
This council decided the 20 Canons that we have now and the Nicene Creed.
Since then the church leaders have meet at random intervals whenever needed.
For a great list of the councils and what was decided, check out New Advent’s list.
(That’s a great resource for everything.)
The Council of Trent is probably the most familiar, besides Vatican II.
Opened in 1545, the Council defined several issues that Protestant groups were debating.
A direct result of this council was the creation of the roman Catechism, issued in 1566 under Pope Pius V.
Trent wasn’t followed by another council for 300 years, until Pope John XXI called for Vatican II.
It’s important to note that these councils aren’t changing Catholic doctrine.
It can’t change.
Instead, these councils cement what we already know to be true and ensure that we are all following our traditions.
It’s like corporate memory.
Nothing new comes from these meetings. Revisions yes. That’s why Vatican II is often misunderstood.
I think it’s important to read the documents and study what our church leaders are trying to teach us.
Come back every Wednesday in October for a post about Vatican II.
I can’t wait to dive into the documents!
Lord to whom shall we go?
Peter and everyone with him were completely surprised at all the fish they had caught. His partners James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were surprised too.
Jesus told Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you will bring in people instead of fish.” The men pulled their boats up on the shore. Then they left everything and went with Jesus.”
Then they left everything and went with Jesus.”
Oh, what a great example.
Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heave; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”
In case you aren’t aware, tomorrow, Aug. 15, 2013, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Yes, that’s a Holy Day of Obligation.
What’s it all about, anyway?
In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote Munificentissimus Deus, defining the Dogma of the Assumption.
It’s really the go-to guide for this feast.
Pope Pius XII said, “Since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege.”
This isn’t something new that Pope Pius XII thought would be a great idea. Cool! Let’s make a new feast day for Mary and make it a Holy Day of Obligation!
No, this has been a tradition in the Church throughout the world since “ancient times.” When the Church talks about “ancient times,” you know it’s pretty serious.
Pope Pius XII continued, “The fact that holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which ‘the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes.'”
There are even traditions that most (read: me) Catholics don’t follow… a fast before the feast day? What a great idea! I wish we hadn’t given that up. I may try that today (Wednesday). Except… usually, I fast breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner. I should work on that and what a great time to start.
There’s more from Pope Pius XII:
“The Holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ’s faithful.”
ALREADY KNOWN by Christ’s faithful. It was already in our (Catholics) corporate knowledge. It was just something that made sense to us. Of course. Mary’s body was not corrupted. She was just lifted up into Heaven. This makes perfect sense.
Pope Pius XII explains exactly what we know in our hearts.
“She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not the subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.”
Now, if you haven’t got to that part about the bodily assumption of all humans… go check out your copy of the Catechism. That’s right. We aren’t going to be angels. We’re going to be humans, perfected in Heaven. We’ll be near Christ in our human bodies, in the same way Mary is now.
Just like not bearing sin, she’s the the forerunner. She does it before us (and with us, of course). You can’t get any closer to Christ than Mary is. She’s there, walking in his footsteps. She walks so close behind her rabbi, she’s covered in the dust from his sandals.
Let me break down this quote.
ENTIRELY UNIQUE – she’s the only one that not only had an Immulate Conception, was chosen (AND ACCEPTED) and was taken up to Heaven. The only one. She’s special.
NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW – that’s right, those biological laws. she wasn’t subject to them. She didn’t have to die. God spared her from that, because she, too, sacrificed her only son.
END OF TIME FOR REDEMPTION – the rest of us have to wait until Christ returns. and oh, what a wait. Mary didn’t have to wait. She didn’t have to be away from Jesus.
Pope Pius XII said, “The august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes.”
I had to look up august in this sense. It means marked by majestic dignity. Is there any better way to describe Mary? Majestic dignity.
St. Robert Bellarmine said, “And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the though that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”
St. Peter Canisius, the Vatican’s secret agent, said, “This teaching (of the Assumption) has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary’s body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic.”
WOW. St. Peter Canisius thinks this doctrine of Mary’s Assumption is pretty serious stuff.
And we should, too.
Pope Pius XII tells us, “Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God’s law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, WE MUST BELIEVE (emphasis mine) that he really acted in this way.”
Now, Mary sits “in splendor at the right hand of her Son,” Pope Pius XII said.
Wait, the right side? So Jesus is in between Mary and God. Interesting.
It’s like… A HOLY FAMILY. Wow.
I’ll let you know how my fast goes… if it goes. Maybe I’ll give up coffee.
Yes. I’ll start with abstaining from coffee. And add on.
Check out other learn something posts:
Queen of Heaven
Why is Mary the Queen of Heaven?
Mary. Our Queen and Queen of Heaven.
Our Blessed Virgin has a lot of titles. Our Lady of Good Help, Throne of Wisdom, Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Peace, Our Lady of Mount Carmel… the list is nearly never ending.
Maybe those titles will be other posts. I do love the Blessed Virgin Mary. She really is the model for following Christ. She was there every step of the way.
But… QUEEN of HEAVEN. What does that mean? Where does that title come from?
Why is Mary our queen?
She was crowned after she was assumed into Heaven.
They don’t crown just anybody. They crown those worthy of being called King and Queen.
Diego Velazquez (link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diego_Vel%C3%A1zquez_012.jpg) painting of the crowning of the Blessed Virgin.
There are so many paintings of this. Beautiful.
We can look at all these, and just imagine that Heaven is SO MUCH BETTER than all of that. So much better.
And we can’t even imagine it. We can only know that we’ll be WITH CHRIST. There’s nothing better than that.
And we get to be with Mary.
Sometimes, when I really start thinking about my Catholic faith and our church, it just blows my mind. Our traditions and beliefs are so beautiful and wonderful I don’t know why anyone would want to practice any other religion.
Clearly, it happens, but why????? I can’t begin to answer it.
I’ve never thought about leaving the Church. I’ve had moments of not being as faithful as I am now (am I’m still not super concrete in my faith), but I’ve never thought about leaving.
ANYWAY. Back to Mary, our Queen.
Think about when Jesus was a child. Mary was there, leading him, teaching him, correcting him.
All that time, she knew, he knew, Joseph knew, that Jesus was going to go through trials but eventually overcome them and become king.
Mary played a vital role in Jesus’ life. And that’s why she should play a vital role in our lives.
It doesn’t mean we need to develop a devotion to the Blessed Rosary, though that’s a good thing that I sometimes think I should return to.
It doesn’t mean that we need to forget about our other devotions, but Mary is a huge advocate for us.
Imagine if your mom asks you to do something. She’s usually right, huh? Yes. Of course, she’s right. She’s your mom.
And you just have to do what she says, right? And it works out, right?
Moms are amazing.
Mary is even more amazing. She talks to Jesus. About us! About what we ask her.
She’s the Queen because she has power. She’s not a god. No. We don’t worship her, no. I’m not even going to really get into that. There are answers to that complaint elsewhere on the Internet that would do it better than I can do.
Mary intercedes for us with Jesus, she doesn’t do it for us.
But she’s strong and can talk to Jesus for us.
Joseph does the same thing.
But there can only be one King, and that is Jesus.
Not that Joseph isn’t an amazing intercessor as well, but let’s not get off-topic which I am so prone to do.
So by bearing Christ, she became our mother, by being crowned in Heaven, she became Queen.
Queen of HEAVEN, though.
So, the Queen of England only has power in England and the Commonwealth (I think that’s what all the countries are called when grouped together).
The Queen of Heaven, though, she has power everywhere.
There are some references to Mary, Queen of Heaven AND EARTH, but I haven’t read anything definitive on that.
But those in Heaven all have influence on what happens on Earth. They all can intercede for us if we ask.
Mary’s power extends to EVERYTHING. Heaven. Earth. Universe.
That’s not to hard to understand, I don’t think.
Mary, then, is Queen, and she should be treated like a Queen.
When we ask Mary to intercede for us, we should do so like we talk to our own Mom when we want something.
No, be respectful and honest with the Blessed Virgin. She has earned that dignity.
In 1946, Pope Pius XII sent the encyclical Deiparae Virginis Mariae to all the Bishops.
He referred to Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” in the letter.
“For a long time past, numerous petitions (those received from 1849 to 1940 have been gathered in two volumes which, accompanied with suitable comments, have been recently printed), from cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, priests, religious OF BOTH SEXES, associations, universities and innumerable private persons have reached the Holy See, all begging that the bodily Assumption into heaven of the Blessed Virgin should be defined and proclaimed as a dogma of faith.”
He asks the Church to respond to his question:
“We earnestly beg you to inform us about the devotion of your clergy and people (taking into account their faith and peity) toward the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. More especially we wish to know if you, Venerable Brethren, with your learning and prudence consider that the bodily Assumption of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith.”
It’s interesting how Catholic dogma is adopted sometimes.
And it’s cool that the Church keeps great records.
In Bendito seja, Pope Pius XII said, “He, the Son of God, relects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Matyrs in the unspeakable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. 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]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.”
In 1954, Pope Pius XII wrote Ad caeli Reginam, proclaiming the Queenship of Mary:
“From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.”
Can’t put it any better than that.