Redemptoris Mater: Introduction

Redemptoris Mater is the latest encyclical on the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was written by Pope John Paul II in 1987. Today, I am looking at the Introduction of the Encyclical, this is a short section so this will be a short post today.

John Paul begins reflecting on Mary through the lens of Paul and Vatican II in the mystery of Christ. Mary and Jesus don’t exist without each other and in turn the Church herself doesn’t as well. John Paul also wants to reflect upon Mary’s active and exemplary presence in the life of the Church, he notes that we are following a path Mary has already trod. As the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium says Mary is our beloved Mother and the model of the Church in Faith Hope and Charity. Pope Paul VI wrote a bunch about Mary after Vatican II where he looks at the veneration and devotions to Mary. Then the focus shifts to the upcoming millennium celebration (2000) of the birth of Christ and notes that some individuals have called for a celebration of Mary prior to Christ. John Paul says that Mary is like Advent. For liturgically speaking we also celebrate Mary’s birth before that of Christ, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We then go into a history lesson of Mary going back to the Council of Ephesus which Mary is named/celebrated as the Mother of God the Theotokos (God-bearer) to Vatican II where they said that the Mother of God is already the eschatological fulfillment of the Church. In spite of being the fulfillment Mary is still that paragon that those still on our journeys of faith can look to.

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