Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jesus living in Mary, Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis De Montfort. The Oxford Movement - click to read

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham and not long ago His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, made generous provision for Anglicans to join Catholic Church in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. We may remember then the Oxford Movement, "the name given to the actions and endeavors of a group of clergymen at Oxford University in the 1830s who sought to restore Catholic faith and practice within the Anglican Church. Its leaders were the professor of poetry, John Keble (1792-1866); the Regius Professor of Hebrew, Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1892); and the vicar of St. Mary’s and fellow of Oriel, John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Keble’s sermon on "National Apostasy" on July 14, 1833, is generally regarded as the movement’s beginning, and Newman’s reception into the Roman Catholic Church on October 9, 1845, as the end of its first phase.....Newman’s conversion was a "parting of friends," the leaving, for the sake of the truth, of almost every person and thing humanly dear to him. On February 22, 1846, he said goodbye to Littlemore, the retreat of his final Anglican years; to Oxford, in which he had hoped for a "perpetual residence"; and to Dr. Pusey, his once close comrade and friend. The two men were not to meet again for another twenty years. When they did, it would be in a tense atmosphere of controversy, and the name of Louis de Montfort would figure in the debate." On September 12, 1865, Newman visited Kolbe for dinner and was "taken aback to discover that Pusey was also paying a visit.....At dinner Pusey was "full" of a new book, which would soon provoke a masterly rejoinder from Newman. It was a work of high polemic with the surprising title An Eirenicon. Pusey argued that the reunion of Canterbury and Rome was impeded by the excesses of Catholic piety, not least in relation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Newman was astonished by the title of Pusey’s book. In a letter to Kelbe, he says that if Pusey "is writing to hinder his own people from joining us, well and good, he had a right to write as he has done—but how can he fancy that to exaggerate, instead of smoothing contrarieties, is the way to make us listen to him?" Pusey offers the bread of peace but delivers the stone of polemic.

In the fragments below is the example of Newman's Marian apologetics:

"The Fathers made me a Catholic, and I am not going to kick down the ladder by which I ascended into the Church." In similar fashion, St. Louis Marie regularly quotes from the Fathers and claims that his theses on devotion to Our Lady can be supported from their writings. ... "If I were speaking to the great minds of our day, I should prove at greater length from Sacred Scripture and the holy Fathers, from whom I should quote passages in Latin, all that I am saying simply. . . . But I am speaking mainly to the poor and simple, who, being of good will and having more faith than the average scholar, believe with more simplicity and more merit..." (True Devotion 26).

In his Letter to Pusey, and in several other places, Newman confirms the truth of St. Louis Marie’s central doctrine by referring to religious history: "True devotion to the Mother is the ‘easiest,’ ‘shortest,’ and ‘surest’ way to union with the Son, and when devotion to Mary grows cold or dies, faith in Jesus as Lord, God, and Saviour is certain to wither away" (TD 152).

"If we look through Europe, we shall find, on the whole, that just those nations and countries have lost their faith in the divinity of Christ who have given up devotion to His Mother and that those, on the other hand, who had been foremost in her honor have retained their orthodoxy.  In the Catholic Church Mary has shown herself, not the rival, but the minister of her Son; she has protected Him, as in His infancy, so in the whole history of the Religion. There is then a plain historical truth in Dr. Faber’s words [in the preface to his translation of TD], which you quote to condemn, ‘Jesus is obscured, because Mary is kept in the background.’"

Newman suggests that the hesitations of some Protestants about Our Lady’s role, under Christ, as intercessor and advocate betray a woefully inadequate Christology. If we take from the Blessed Virgin her intercessory mission and transfer it to Christ, we shall be diminishing, not enhancing, his glory.

"If we placed Our Lord in that center, we should only be dragging Him from His throne and making Him an Arian kind of a God; that is, no God at all. He who charges us with making Mary a divinity is thereby denying the divinity of Jesus. Such a man does not know what divinity is. ....To her belongs, as being a creature, a natural claim on our sympathy and familiarity in that she is nothing else than our fellow. She is our pride—in the poet’s words, ‘Our tainted nature’s solitary boast.’ We look to her without any fear, any remorse, any consciousness that she is able to read us, judge us, punish us. Our heart yearns towards that pure Virgin, that gentle Mother, and our congratulations follow her, as she rises from Nazareth and Ephesus, through the choirs of angels, to her throne on high, so weak, yet so strong, so delicate, yet so glorious, so modest and yet so mighty."