Mary Mother of Jesus, Mother of All Peoples
by Arthur Policarpio
In March 21, 2005, Mary the Mother of Jesus graced the cover of the prestigious and internationally-renowned TIME Magazine. TIME's cover story was simply titled, "Hail Mary." The article suggests that Protestants and Christians of all denominations are increasingly finding a place for Mary in their lives, and that we are perhaps on the verge of a great Marian reawakening and a Marian "return" among Protestants and our other non-Catholic Christian brethren.
Protestants Discover Mary the Mother of Jesus
TIME narrates several powerful stories of Marian revival among protestants, particularly among those in the leadership and theological spheres.
Early in the 1960's, Reverend Donald Charles Lacy (currently already 72 years of age), then a young Methodist minister, radically pioneered "Marian Movements'' within the Protestant sphere by forming new groups such as the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lacy was denounced by his superiors as a "priest" and was booted out as pastor by one of his congregations for his outspoken devotion to Mary. His works, largely dwelling on Marian rediscovery among Protestants, were largely rejected by Methodist publications - until four years ago, when a Methodist house suddenly printed one of his major works. Since then, Lacy viewpoints have slowly been gaining acceptance in mainstream Protestant thinking. Lacy was quoted by TIME as follows: "I stood alone for so many years. It's very gratifying to see [people] begin to come this way."
In Protestant divinity schools, icons of Our Lady adorn future pastors' walls. Evangelical publishing houses have rapidly churned out several books about Mary in recent years, among which include "God Called a Girl: How Mary Changed Her World and You Can Too", a Marian guide for teens. Protestant pastors have started giving homilies on Our Lady, particularly during her feast day. Leading Protestant theologians have openly written and complained that perhaps contrary to the original intentions of the Protestant founding fathers, Mary has for so long been kept in the dark - victim of a “Protestant conspiracy of silence.”
Conservative protestant pastors interviewed by the influential Protestant publication Christianity Today lauded Mel Gibson's treatment of Mary in The Passion of the Christ - despite the fact that there were many featured scenes not found in scripture. Protestants embraced The Passion, which drew inspiration from Catholic Blessed Catherine Emmerich's visions, and which in a powerful way demonstrated to the whole world Mary's role in Jesus' Passion, particularly in her role as Co-redemptrix.
Numerous Protestant churches have even brought Mary to their churches - statues of Our Lady have been re-incorporated in Protestant, Methodist and Baptist churches, and there are not a few churches that include in their ceremonies prayers to Our Lady, as well as Bible readings on Our Lady.
TIME suggests that we are perhaps witnessing a dramatic religious and theological revolution - a Marian Counter-Reformation in which Protestantism may unstoppably accelerate towards a “Pro-Marian tipping point on whose other side may lie changes not just in sermon topic but in liturgy, personal piety and a reevaluation of the actual messages of the Reformation.”
Worldwide Spread of Devotion to Our Lady, Particularly Under the Title of "Lady of All Nations"
In the Catholic front, despite the backdrop of general degeneration of faith and morals in many traditionally Christian countries, recent years have nonetheless witnessed a dramatic resurgence in Marian devotion. The Marian Movement of Priests, founded by Father Stefano Gobbi (who received messages from Our Lady in the form of interior locutions), has rapidly spread throughout the world, garnering a membership of 400 cardinals and bishops, 100,000 priests, plus millions of ordinary Catholic lay faithful. Members of the movement consecrate their lives to Our Lady, in the spirit of the late Pope John Paul II's own personal consecration to Our Lady, as conveyed in his personal motto "Totus Tuus!"
Devotion to the Lady of All Nations, the title used by Our Lady in the Church-approved Amsterdam apparitions to Ida Peerdeman (1945-1959), has likewise spread throughout the world. (On May 31 2002, the Bishop of Amsterdam declared the apparitions to be supernatural in origin, thereby approving the apparitions.)
The Annual “International Day of Prayer” held in Amsterdam in honor of Our Lady of All Nations continues to attract thousands of peoples from various faiths and countries (the year 2004 gathered together representatives from 70 countries) who converge in Amsterdam to pray in front of an image of the Lady of All Nations, as well as celebrate the Eucharist. Local celebrations of the Days of Prayer are likewise held in numerous dioceses in various parts of the world.
Spread of the Image and the Prayer
In the apparitions to Ida Peerdeman, Our Lady exhorts us to say this prayer every day:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now your Spirit throughout the world. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war May the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary be our Advocate. Amen.
On July 1, 1951, the former Bishop of Harlem/Amsterdam, Msgr. Huibers, gave the imprimatur to the prayer. Since then, the prayer has spread throughout the world. International Movements dedicated to the propagation of the image and the prayer, such as the Family of Mary Co-Redemptrix, Our Lady of All Nations Foundation, and others, have emerged and have been aggressively promoting the prayer and the devotion through the distribution of prayer cards. In the apparitions, Our Lady said that under this title (Lady of All Nations) and through the prayer, “she may deliver the world from a great world catastrophe” (5/10/53 message to Ida Peerdeman). Our Lady further says, "You do not know how great and how important this prayer is before God (5/31/55 Message)!" Our Lady asserts that "through this prayer the Lady shall save the world" (5/10/53).
Millions Petition for the Fifth Marian Dogma
Central to the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations is Our Lady's request that the fifth and greatest Marian dogma of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate be declared infallibly by the Pope. As of last year, more than 7 million lay faithful, 550 bishops, as well as 45 cardinals have signed the petitions. The petition campaign is unprecedented in history in terms of annual petition turnout.
With the overwhelming success of the petition campaign, the support of numerous theologians, as well as the unmistakable belief of the late John Paul II in the dogma (he used the term "Co-redemptrix" several times in his entire pontificate), it is widely expected that the dogma will soon be proclaimed.
Mary, Instrument of Unity
The whole world was witness to an unprecedented outpouring of love and support for the late Pope John Paul II. The whole world, represented by delegates from 138 countries including 70 heads of states, as well as hundreds of millions of people on television, literally united for one day at Vatican Square, in celebration of the life of John Paul II - the "Totus Tuus'' pope who dedicated his entire papacy to Our Lady. Was this show of unity, this convergence of the entire world at John Paul II's burial, perhaps be a foretaste, a foreshadowing of a coming new Marian era, where the whole world comes back to the arms of the Father through the Lady, who will unite all the nations under her fold?
The Protestants re-discover Mary, various movements in honor of Our Lady spread throughout the world, devotion to the "Lady of All Nations'' rapidly becomes global, millions petition for her new dogma, the world unites under the banner of the "Totus Tuus" pope. . . If we are to judge by these dramatic global trends, it definitely seems that Mary is slowly but surely gathering all the nations, all the peoples under her fold.
Can this be the silent work of the Holy Spirit, who may slowly be bringing his spouse into the hearts and souls of more peoples and nations? Is the Holy Spirit slowly preparing people, especially non-Catholics, to eventually accept the declaration of the fifth and greatest Marian dogma?
Far from being an obstacle to unity and a hindrance to ecumenical efforts, Our Lady is precisely the gift given by God to unite all peoples. Who better can unite us all than Mary, Mother of the Church and the Mother of All Peoples? This, in fact, is the essence of the title "Lady of All Nations'' - Mary is mother of ALL peoples, whatever religion, race, or nationality.
Our Lord said to Ida Peerdeman:
Understand well that also the Lord had need of His mother to come to life. Life comes through the mother. Therefore she must be brought back in your churches and among your nations, and you will witness the blossoming!
We close with the words of the late Pope John Paul II addressed to all Christians, East and West, as contained in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer):
Why should we not all together look to her as our common Mother who prays for the unity of God's family and who 'precedes' us all at the head of the long line of witnesses of faith in the one Lord?
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