Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Revelation 12

"This passage from the Apocalypse has reference to the Church: 'And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.' The features of the vision are borrowed from Mary; Mary is not taken merely as an ordinary example or even as a prototype of the Church, but as a prototype that is organically united to the Church and radically concerns and represents it, and also works both in it and through it.

We should note: (1) the woman brings forth a son, who is none other than Christ, 'who was to rule all nations with an iron rod.' This can be applied to Mary only. (2) Next to the woman the dragon (the serpent) appears, which persecutes her and her Son, without being able to harm them. A clear allusion to the protevangelium. (3) Then it is not in the style of Sacred Scripture to personify abstract things in any other way but through real persons, who are treated as types. (4) The typical and organic mutual relations between Mary and the Church lie, in general, and in particular also with regard to this text, in the firm and universal tradition of the Church.

Accordingly the heavenly glory of the woman, expressed in this great sign, must in the first place be traced to Mary, who is prophesied by Isaias as the divine sign. In her each single feature of the vision is of itself obvious, having almost no ground without the thought of her. The main feature is the woman being clothed with the sun, through which she receives her place in the sun, thus being in the center of the heavens, and for that very reason the moon lies under her feet, while she carries the twelve stars of the zodiac above her as a crown. These grand features find in Mary their realization in the fact that she was clothed with the sun of the godhead in the conception of the Logos. As a result of it she is exalted above the baseness and changeableness of the sublunary world and also excels its beauty. Finally, all heavenly beings and powers, the angels in particular, but also the human beings, of whom first of all the twelve apostles come to mind, gather round her, just as the apostles were also outwardly united with her during the beseeching for and receiving of the Holy Ghost.

The pains of childbirth, ascribed to the woman, find their supplication in Mary, only so far as she has cooperated through co-sufferings in the second birth of Christ, through His death and Resurrection, and at the same time in His third birth in the faithful."

-Matthias Scheeben in Mariology.

No comments: