10 September 2008

How many Names has she got?

The three prayers for the new Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary remind us that, as well as Mary, she has the Names Aeiparthenos, EverVirgin; and Theotokos, Mother of God. The latter, of course, goes back to the determination of the Council of Ephesus to protect the belief in the Divinity of the One she bore; and the former is found in the Conciliar documents of the first Four Councils. Slipshod Biblical scholarship enjoys disputing the Perpetual Virginity of our Lady; the ARCIC document on our Lady secured agreement by saying that 'our two communions are both heirs to a rich tradition which recognizes Mary as ever virgin' ... words which, characteristically, avoid actually saying that we believe it.

Recent Roman documents enciurage those who need a festival of Our Lady of Such-and-such-a-place to select September 12. This seems to me unnecessarily unimaginative. It is fun to have special days which apply to this shrine and not to others. The whole glory of theIncarnation is specificity: that the God who was incarnate in one place (and not others) of one Woman (and not others) manifests particular graces through this place(and not others).

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