Kevin O’Brien…

…on the offensive embarrassment of Mary.

Mary is right at the epicenter of the scandal of the incarnation, when God decided to not remain in the nice, safe spiritual realm of ideas and platonic forms and instead got all gynecological with the attendant body fluids, mucus and,most of all, blood that goes with that whole project. To people offended by a God who is not ashamed to be made of meat, go to the toilet, and suffer gruesome death, it has been a huge difficulty ever since.

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  • Steve

    I’ve never found a more efficient way to end a conversation with an Evangelical than to ask, “Would you like to talk about some of the Old Testament foreshadowings of Mary, the mother of our Lord?”

    If I’d said, “Old testament types of Saint Paul” there would have been instant interest. But Mary? The reaction is like, “That name! He uttered the name of that most terrible woman!”

    • capaxdei

      Maybe “Old Testament types of the Church” or “of the coming of the Savior”? If Evangelicals recoil at Mary qua Mary, let them find out that she is never Mary qua Mary, but always Mary qua Jesus.

      Anyone who loves the Bible will come to love Mary if they aren’t careful.

    • This former Evangelical finally embraced Mary (after 11 years as a confirmed Catholic and a solid 15 as at least a Catholic wannabe) and she has been so good to him. I’ve been arguing the arguments for years and years and years, but I never before did a consecration or gave her permission to pray for me in any way she wanted. It’s been wonderful. She’s come through, big time.

  • bueller

    O’Brien refers on several occasions to the Holy Spirit as Mary’s “spouse.” I haven’t previously come across this. Is this the teaching of the Church, or is it an idiosyncrasy of O’Brien’s?

    • Caspar
      • capaxdei

        Thanks for the links. Following up on a footnote from the second one, here’s a bit from Pope Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus n. 26:

        “Examining more deeply still the mystery of the Incarnation, [some Fathers and writers of the Church] saw in the mysterious relationship between the Spirit and Mary an aspect redolent of marriage, poetically portrayed by Prudentius: ‘The unwed Virgin espoused the Spirit’….”

        The Pope goes on in n. 27 to write:

        “…it is our task to exhort everyone, especially those in the pastoral ministry and also theologians, to meditate more deeply on the working of the Holy Spirit in the history of salvation, and to ensure that Christian spiritual writings give due prominence to His life-giving action. Such a study will bring out in particular the hidden relationship between the Spirit of God and the Virgin of Nazareth, and show the influence they exert on the Church.”

        Which I take to mean that it is not as a mere historical curiosity that he quotes Prudentius, but that meditation on this aspect of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Mary will bear fruit today.

  • Tom Leith

    There’s a article in October’s First Things that may be interesting to Protestants, Evangelicals, and to Catholic apologists — Our Lady of Wheaton, by Matthew Milliner: