Preach My Psalter

Province of St. Martin de Porres

I. INTRODUCTION

     During my first year as a Dominican friar in 2007 at St. Albert the Great Priory and Novitiate in Irving, Texas, I had the honor of meeting a certain female public figure I had read and heard about through the years.  Before moving to the Novitiate, I had no idea that she lived in the area and would visit regularly. She was a former non-Catholic pro-choice advocate, who had become Roman Catholic years earlier in 1998, through the help of various priests, including my Dominican brother, Father Matt (Edward) Robinson, O.P., a pro-life defender of the unborn. This woman would visit Father Matt regularly at the Priory to hear him preach at Holy Mass and to receive instruction from him through the pro-life talks and Catechism class he offered there.  She usually had many questions for him whenever she visited.  He was a real spiritual Father to her who directed her spiritually and doctrinally in Catholic faith and morals.  This especially involved teaching her about the sacred dignity of unborn human life from a Catholic understanding.  In this sense, she certainly matured in Christ as a believing, practicing Roman Catholic under the direction of Father Matt.  I, myself, witnessed firsthand the fruits of this formation in Christ.  Indeed, Christ was at work in her efficaciously.  For instance, I recall her telling me in tears one day about her sorrow for the sinful life she had lived in the past, including her sorrow for all the people she had malformed during those years, but she also told me about the happiness and gratitude in her heart for the grace of repentance that she eventually received from Christ.  Father Matt certainly had a part in helping her to open her heart to this grace ministerially.  By the mercy he offered her in his teaching, counseling, and sacramental ministry, he guided her, as a good shepherd, to become the disciple Christ created and redeemed her to be.  You may be asking yourself: Who could this female public figure be?  Who was she?  Her legal name was Norma (Nelson) McCorvey, but many of you would have first known her publically by another name. In 1970, she used the pseudonym, Jane Roe, for herself as the plaintiff who sued the state of Texas in the lawsuit, Roe vs. Wade.  In this case, she sued for the right to procure an abortion legally and safely in Texas where abortion was illegal at the time.

II. ROE VS. WADE

     In 1969, Norma, originally from Louisiana, but raised in Texas, became pregnant for a third time in Texas at the age of 22.  Her first child was raised by her mother and the second was adopted by another family. During this third pregnancy, Norma decided that she had no interest in leaving another child, once again, for someone else to raise or adopt, but neither did she have any interest in raising the child herself.  As a woman who was living in poverty and suffering from an addiction to drugs at the time, she claimed that she was neither ready nor prepared to be a mother to a child.  In her mind, how could she care for a child if she could not even properly care for herself, personally and financially?  As a result, she decided that she wanted to terminate the pregnancy.  She wanted an abortion.  The problem for her was that in her home state of Texas, as in most other states at the time, abortion was prohibited except when the life of the woman was in danger.  For this reason, after consulting and hiring Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington as lawyers to legally represent her, Norma McCorvey filed suit in 1970 under the name Jane Roe as a plaintiff against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas, for the right to end her pregnancy legally and safely by abortion.  At the same time, because Coffee and Weddington knew that Roe vs. Wade would never be resolved in time before McCorvey gave birth to her third child, they filed the case as a class-action lawsuit in Texas on behalf of all women, particularly fertile women, who wanted the choice to have an abortion if they ever became pregnant.  In this lawsuit, Coffee and Weddington argued that the abortion law in the state of Texas was unconstitutional and illegal primarily because this law denied women their right to privacy, including McCorvey herself, as protected by the United States Constitution.  McCorvey was certainly not the first plaintiff to challenge a state abortion law as unconstitutional, but she was the first plaintiff whose case, Roe vs. Wade, received a favorable ruling in a state court that worked through the appeals process and eventually reached the Supreme Court as a class-action suit on behalf of all women in the United States.

A. SUPREME COURT DECISION

     On January 22, 1973, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court finally decided by a 7-2 vote in Roe vs. Wade that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives a woman in America a right to privacy that protects her right to an abortion under the medical consultation and treatment of a physician licensed by the state.  At the same time, they also decided that this is not an absolute constitutional right for a woman, but only a relative or qualified right for her under civil law.  For them, this relative right to an abortion would have to be regulated by being balanced against the government’s interests in protecting both the health of the woman and what they call the potentiality of her unborn human life.  As such, they resolved this balancing act by legally requiring states, including licensed physicians, to define the three trimesters of pregnancy as regulatory norms or standards that would inform any decision about whether a pregnant woman could abort her potential human life.  In this sense, as a relative right for her, she would certainly have the freedom to abort this potential human person under a licensed doctor during the first trimester of her pregnancy but could be prohibited from aborting him during her second and third trimesters because of the government’s interests in protecting her health and the potentiality of human life.  According to the Supreme Court Justices, those interests that the government has in protecting both the pregnant woman and her unborn increase and become compelling at certain stages during her pregnancy as she gradually approaches to term.  In other words, in their judgment, the further a woman advances through her three trimesters of pregnancy, the more the state becomes compelled to regulate abortion as a means of protecting the aforesaid government interests. 

     As for the interest of the government in protecting the health of the woman, the compelling stage for the state to regulate abortion by prohibiting such a procedure is at the end of the first trimester, not before, because until the end of this trimester the mortality for the woman who aborts would be comparable to the mortality in normal childbirth.  That is to say, before the end of the first trimester a state would only regulate abortion by requiring that this procedure be done legally and safely for the woman by a licensed physician, but the state could not prohibit her from having the abortion during the first trimester of her pregnancy because here the procedure would be as safe or safer for her than normal childbirth.  Conversely, after this first stage, at the end of the first trimester, the state may reasonably regulate abortion by prohibiting this procedure during the second and third trimesters due to the increased dangers that both the woman and the potentiality of her unborn human life would be subjected to during these stages of pregnancy. 

     In terms of the government’s interest in protecting potential unborn human life from these dangers, the compelling stage for the state to regulate abortion by prohibiting this procedure for the protection of such life is at viability. This is from the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy.  On this basis, the Supreme Court Justices decided that a woman does not have an absolute or unqualified right to an abortion under civil law, but only a relative right that she could only use conditionally at an approved facility under the treatment and counsel of a licensed physician.

1. FIRST TRIMESTER

      First of all, in this decision, the Justices determined that during the first trimester (0-12 weeks), before viability, the government could not prohibit a woman at all from aborting the potentiality of her unborn human life under a licensed physician because at this early stage of development such a potential human life is not viable outside of her. Viability here refers to the gestational age when an unborn human life can sustain itself outside of its mother.  According to medical science, at this age, 0-12 weeks, it would not be viable under such circumstances.  It could not live as a human zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus outside of its mother during the first trimester of her pregnancy. It would die, for it would not have the required maturation as a human being to sustain itself.  As such, here the Supreme Court Justices determined that a woman has a constitutional right to abort her non-viable human life because in this first trimester it would not have the capacity to live outside of her as a normal human being.  Moreover, they also decided that the safest time for a woman to have an abortion for the good of her health would be during this first trimester of her pregnancy (0-12 weeks).  In this sense, an abortion here would neither be harmful to her health nor a danger to her life, at least not normally.  All the same, for the Supreme Court Justices, a woman’s right to have an abortion would have to be supported by the medical judgment of her physician.  In other words, she would have to receive a consultation and recommendation from her doctor who would be free to determine, without regulatory prohibition by the state, that her pregnancy should be terminated.  As such, for the Justices, requiring the involvement of a physician in the decision of whether to abort during the first trimester of pregnancy was only a regulatory safeguard for the woman because she could only procure an abortion safely and legally under a licensed physician who had the required education and training in medicine to counsel her and administer the procedure to her at an approved and certified medical facility, such as a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office.

2. SECOND TRIMESTER

     In the second place, the Supreme Court Justices also determined that because the potential unborn human life of the mother would still be non-viable during the second trimester of her pregnancy (13-24 weeks), she also had a right to an abortion here, but only conditionally, because of all the potential dangers to her health in aborting her unborn life at this gestational age.  These dangers would include cervical damage, the tearing of the uterus or other organs, heavy bleeding, large blood clots, infection and chronic psychological and emotional problems.  For this reason, the Justices decided that state governments, in promoting their interests in the health of the mother, could legislate laws that would further regulate the abortion reasonably for the good of her maternal health under the guidance and treatment of a doctor.  In this sense, she certainly retained her right to an abortion during the second trimester, but this procedure had to be judged medically safe for her in her particular case by her licensed physician, considering the increased dangers to her health.  On this basis, the doctor could say yes or no to the abortion.

3. THIRD TRIMESTER

     Finally, the Supreme Court Justices in Roe vs. Wade also determined that during the third trimester (25-40 weeks) of the pregnancy of the woman, after her potential unborn child had developed viability, the state, in promoting the interest of the government in protecting the potentiality of viable human life, could prohibit abortion only if it legally allowed exceptions for such procedures in cases when a doctor judged the life or health of the woman to be in danger if she did not abort.  In this sense, for the Supreme Court, the state would have a reasonable basis for legislating that the viable potential unborn human life of a healthy woman, during the third trimester of her pregnancy, would have a right to live because at this gestational age it could sustain itself outside of her womb as a potential human being.  In other words, the state could decide that if the potential unborn human life did not endanger the life or health of the woman, both her physical and mental health, at this late stage of human development, then she would not have a right to an abortion.  In arguing for the state’s right to prohibit abortion here because of its interest in protecting the potentiality of viable unborn life, the Supreme Court Justices determined that this is not because such life is a person.  On the contrary, according to them, the Constitution does not define a person as prenatal or unborn life, but only refers to a person postnatally.  As such, for them, human life does not acquire personhood at any time during the pregnancy of the woman, including not at viability during the third trimester, but only after birth.  For this reason, if the state decided to prohibit a woman from aborting her viable potential human life during the third trimester of her pregnancy, the basis for this prohibition would not be the theoretical or presumed personhood of such a life, but its viable potentiality to actually live or sustain itself outside the womb of the pregnant woman.  In the judgment of the Supreme Court Justices, the state would have an interest in protecting such a potential life in a woman.  At the same time, during this third trimester of her pregnancy, her licensed physician alone, acting on behalf of the interests of the state, could determine the condition of her health or the viability of her potential unborn life to protect them in such circumstances.  In this sense, he could either recommend or prohibit the abortion for her during the third trimester of her pregnancy based on these interests of the state.  Further, if he recommended abortion as a medical procedure because he determined that her life or health was in danger physically or mentally, the state could not legally require additional physicians to evaluate and confirm his decision to administer this procedure to her.

B. SUMMARY

     As such, in summary, the Supreme Court Justices in Roe vs. Wade determined that a woman in the United States certainly had a legal right to an abortion under her right to privacy in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, but this was not an absolute right for her. She could not just have an abortion under any circumstance.  On the contrary, according to the Supreme Court Justices, a woman only had a relative right to such a procedure under civil law. This right, they said, had to be balanced against the interests of the government in protecting both her health and the potentiality of human life.  Accordingly, they required state governments to legally protect those interests based on the legal norms developed from the three trimesters of pregnancy, including through the work of the licensed physician who would use his education and training in medicine to diagnose, counsel and treat a woman properly during each trimester of her pregnancy, but also her potential unborn human life, particularly after this potential life had developed viability during the third and final trimester.  In this sense, for the Justices, a woman only had a relative or qualified legal right to an abortion during pregnancy based on her health and the potential life of her unborn child as determined by her licensed physician.  For this reason, their decision in Roe vs. Wade meant that a woman could have a legal and safe abortion privately in the right circumstances under civil law.  Thus, neither the government nor the authorities nor anyone could find her guilty of a crime civilly if she procured the abortion properly under the guidance and treatment of a licensed physician.

III. PRO-CHOICE VS. PRO-LIFE

     All the same, just because the Supreme Court Justices determined that a woman in the United States could lawfully and safely have an abortion under civil law, that does not mean that every American woman has used this civil right through the years.  American women are certainly not legally required by law to abort their unborn child.  Nor are they required to procure an abortion by their political party.  In fact, many American women do not believe in abortion at all and would never abort their unborn child.  As such, these women have protested the Supreme Court decision through the years.  At the same time, many other women do believe in this right.  They believe that every woman should have the choice to abort.  For this reason, as defenders of the decision by the Supreme Court Justices in Roe vs. Wade, these women have advocated for the protection of this right to abort their unborn human life under civil law.  Indeed, many of them have made use of this right through the years.  In many cases, they believe that this decision in ’73 was merely a beginning for the abortion rights of women in the United States that still requires further advancement in civil law.  As a result, in their judgment, American women should have an absolute or unqualified legal right to an abortion during any trimester of their pregnancy, particularly during the second and third trimesters. Accordingly, women in America are either for or against a woman’s right to procure an abortion under civil law.  In other words, they are either pro-choice or pro-life. 

A. “IT IS ONLY POTENTIALLY HUMAN, NOT ACTUALLY HUMAN”

     As for pro-choice women, informed by the decision of the Supreme Court Justices in Roe vs. Wade, they believe that the unborn life in a woman during pregnancy is merely a potential human being, not an actual human being. As such, they generally use the third-person, singular neuter pronoun, it, to refer to the unborn potential human being, for they claim that such a potential being is not human, but merely a thing, merely biological matter in potentiality.  As a potential human being, this life is first conceived biologically as a human zygote and later develops into a blastocyst, an embryo and eventually into a human fetus.  In this state of biological potentiality, pro-choice women claim that this unborn potential human life in a woman is merely subhuman, less than human, for here it is underdeveloped in its human potentiality.  In this sense, according to them, during these stages of biological development, this potential being is not fully and actually human, but only has human biological potentiality.  The Supreme Court Justices in Roe vs. Wade determined that this potential unborn human life is not legally a full and actual human person under civil law.  On the contrary, in their judgment, having human biological potentiality is not the same as being fully and actually human as a person legally.  For this reason, for pro-choice women in America, potential biological human life does not bear the image of God either as a zygote, a blastocyst, an embryo or as a fetus, for such a life, in these various stages of potential human development, is not fully formed as an actual human person prenatally.  After all, for them, in all these biological stages of human potentiality, the potential human life is merely a thing, something merely potentially human. According to them, this means that potential unborn human life does not have the natural goodness or sacredness of a person, a human being, who bears the image of God personally, for a thing, something merely potentially human biologically, is not actually a person.  Consequently, they argue that a pregnant woman certainly has a legal right to abort her potential human life during her pregnancy because it is not a person.  As a consequence, any human being, religion or group that would counsel or require a woman to bear this potential unborn human life to full term against her will would be acting immorally and unjust.  This is a choice, after all, that belongs to no other human being, no other church or group, but her alone.

     Conversely, pro-life women, particularly Catholic pro-life women, believe that the unborn life conceived in the mother is not potentially a human being, but is actually a human being from conception.  For them, this means that he is conceived fully human in his mother and matures as an actual human being during all three trimesters of her pregnancy. They generally use the third-person, singular pronoun, he (she), in referring to the actual unborn human being, for they believe that he is really human from conception. In this sense, they profess a belief in his full humanity throughout the pregnancy of his mother, for as women of faith they believe that he receives from God a full human nature of body and soul from his conception as a human zygote.  This zygote, a full and actual human being, later develops in his mother as a human blastocyst, embryo and finally as a human fetus who is eventually born to his mother as a human infant.  As such, he remains fully himself as an actual or real human being during all these stages of human development.  For this reason, he is defined as fully human neither by his viability as a human fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy nor by his birth as a human infant, but by his life as an actual human being who has a real human nature created by God from conception.  In other words, he is fully and actually human because he is conceived as a full and actual human person as a zygote.  Accordingly, what is received in seminal form is fully and actually received in the receiver according to the nature of the receiver.  The receiver here is man, conceived as an actual person, who has a full human nature of body and soul, created by God, to mature naturally to full manhood. Indeed, he receives his actual personhood from conception, for he is conceived by God in a full humanity as a zygote.  According to Catholic pro-life women, this human personhood from conception means that God forms every human being personally in His image for Himself alone.  Yes, every unborn person belongs to God alone.  God alone forms him in His image that he may know Him, love Him and serve Him as a person someday.  Thus, the human being, conceived as a person from conception, has a natural right to life from God Himself, a right to fully mature in his personhood, that he may become the human person God created him to be.  As a result, Catholic pro-life women profess that the unborn child has a natural sacredness or goodness from God by reason of his personhood.  Indeed, as the image of God, he is good by nature throughout his human maturation.  Accordingly, in their defense of the natural sacred dignity of the human being as the image of God, they argue against the right of a mother to abort her unborn child, during any trimester, for God creates every man for Himself.  Every man belongs to God. This means that God alone has the authority to call an unborn child to Himself from this life.  He alone determines his length of days, not his mother or the Supreme Court Justices or the government.  On this basis, for pro-life women in the United States, especially Catholic pro-life women, abortion is morally evil and unjust, because it is against God’s will. 

B. “IF IT IS MY BODY, THEN IT IS MY CHOICE”

     In developing this argument, already suggested in the decision by the Supreme Court Justices implicitly, pro-choice women claim that as a mature person, as a rational and free person, a woman alone has a right to an abortion because, in her maturity, her body rightfully belongs to her alone.  As such, she alone may use her freedom to do as she wills to her body.  In this sense, for her, the direct subject of her abortion is her body alone.  For this reason, she claims: “If it is my body, then it is my choice.”  In other words, “If this body is mine, if this body belongs to me alone, then I alone am free to use my moral right to have an abortion.”  In using this “if, then” conditional statement, the woman is claiming that because the “if clause” is true, then the “main clause” is also true.  In doing so, she defines her statement grammatically as a zero-conditional sentence. This is a true sentence that includes a cause-and-effect relationship in the “if and main” clauses.  In such a sentence, a person uses a conditional grammatical form to state a non-conditional or general truth.  Here the woman offers the true “if clause” as the cause of the “main clause”.  She believes that if her body belongs to her alone as a mature human person, then she alone has a right to use her reason and will to procure an abortion legally and morally under civil law.  As the moral agent here, this certainly does not mean that the woman intends to abort her body completely as the direct subject of the abortion, but only partially for the greater good of herself as a mature person in her particular circumstances.  In forming this argument, pro-choice women claim that the potential unborn human life in the woman is merely a subhuman biological part of her body.  In other words, for them, it is only a female bodily organ that has no humanity or personhood in and of itself.  As a result, they argue that if this potential human life is just a subhuman part of her body biologically, then it is her choice alone to procure an abortion.  Nobody else has a legal or moral right to tell her what she may or may not do to her body, for her body belongs to her alone.  On this basis, here they use the “if, then” conditional grammatical form in their desire to establish the general truth that a woman has a right to abort a part of her body legally and morally if this is what she desires for herself as a rational and free human being.

     The problem here is that her claim is false.  Yes, the woman is the agent who wills her abortion, but she does not abort herself partially in this act.  In other words, she does not abort a subhuman biological part of her body in an abortion.  In fact, she does not abort herself at all.  She neither dies from the abortion nor does she dismember a part of herself.  For this reason, she is certainly not the direct subject of her abortion, as she falsely claims.  What she really does in this procedure is abort the life of another human being, someone real, her unborn child, who was formed by God as an actual person from conception.  Accordingly, this conception of an actual human person in the woman is not a subhuman biological part of her body.  On the contrary, scientifically and biologically, the conception of an actual person is the first stage of human life when the male gamete or sperm fertilizes the female gamete, also called the egg. Inside this fertilized egg, a membrane forms around the male genetic material, the male DNA, thereby creating the male pro-nucleus.  In this biological process, the male genetic material develops into 23 chromosomes inside the male pro-nucleus.  Similarly, the female genetic material, or DNA, stimulated by the fusion of the sperm and the egg, finishes dividing, resulting in the female pro-nucleus, which also contains 23 chromosomes.  As the male and female pro-nuclei form, their chromosomes unite into a single cell, thus completing the process of fertilization. This completed fertilization process in the single cell is the beginning or conception of human life.  In this single cell, called a human zygote, a unique genetic personal code forms determining gender, hair color, eye color and hundreds of other characteristics of this human life.  As such, this unique genetic DNA code of the conceived person, including all his personal characteristics, is certainly not the code of his mother or his father, but his code alone as an actual person from conception.  In this act of human conception, the Catholic Church teaches that God Himself introduces the life principle of the spiritual soul that informs the biological genetic material to become an actual living being, a personal life, called a human zygote, in the womb of his mother.  Hence, this first stage of the life of the human being is certainly not the life of his mother or the life of his father, but his life alone as a particular human being in himself, biologically, genetically, and spiritually.  In this sense, through his conception as a living human being, he is formed by God in a full human nature. This would include not only the biological genetic material that he receives from God instrumentally in his body through his mother and father, but also the spiritual soul that he receives directly from God Himself.  Therefore, the human being is conceived in his mother, not as a subhuman part of her body, but as a real person in himself, biologically, genetically, and spiritually.

     This means that in the zero-conditional sentence that the woman uses to argue for her right to have an abortion, she alone is the moral agent who aborts, and her unborn human life, the direct subject, is the only person aborted.  Consequently, her faulty use of this grammatical form to argue for her moral right to an abortion fails.  As the acting agent, the woman has no right, morally, to abort the life of another subject, another human being, particularly the life of her unborn child, for he is neither a part of her body nor does he belong to her to do as she wills to him.  On the contrary, this human life, an actual person in himself, belongs to God alone, but his mother is called to properly form him on behalf of God.  In God’s providence, this formation certainly does not involve her aborting her unborn child.  For this reason, the true “if clause” in her zero-conditional sentence, if this body is mine, does not cause the “main or then clause”, because she does not have a moral right to abort her unborn child.  Certainly, he is conceived and nourished by her as he develops in her body and is eventually joined to her in the placenta through the umbilical cord during pregnancy, but he is still not a part of her body.  He is not a subhuman bodily organ of hers.  He is fully the person God created him to be in himself, in and through her body, from conception.  As a result, she has no moral right to abort him.  This unborn child of hers, created in the image of God, has a natural right to live, mature and have a full and healthy life that he may know, love and serve God and neighbor.  This right that belongs to him, by nature, also naturally belongs to all people, including his mother.  This means that an act of abortion, on the part of his mother, is against the natural law because she acts against her natural maternal inclination to preserve and form the life of her son. This is neither natural nor reasonable for her.  After all, a mother is naturally inclined, by nature and reason, to nurture and defend her child that he may live a full and healthy life as a faithful and mature son of God.  On this basis, by aborting her unborn child, by ending his life prematurely, she fails to become the mother God made her to be, a mother who would faithfully raise her child to full maturity as God wills.

C. “IT IS A DISEASE IN MY BODY”

     Moreover, pro-choice women, in further developing their argument, also claim that abortion is a medical procedure that a woman has a right to use for the good of her health as a human being.  In fact, this is the same claim made by the Supreme Court Justices throughout their decision in Roe vs. Wade, but pro-choice women develop this argument in a particular manner.  According to them, such a procedure offers a woman healing from pregnancy.  In this sense, they claim that pregnancy is neither desirable nor good for all women under all circumstances.  On the contrary, for some women pregnancy is merely a bad and undesirable bodily condition, a disease or illness, that would only harm their health and lifestyle for various reasons.  For instance, if they became pregnant, they would neither be as free or as available to do as they willed in their personal life nor would they be as productive and successful professionally and financially in their careers as they had hoped. Consequently, in their judgment, they would only suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and professionally from the pregnancy.  As such, a woman, who judges the nature or meaning of her pregnancy in this manner, as an unhealthy and harmful bodily condition that she does not desire for herself, treats the life of her unborn child not as a human person, not as a son of God, but as a disease or infection in her body.  Accordingly, she argues that she has a right to heal her body from pregnancy, by removing the diseased part, through abortion.  In doing so, she defines abortion as a medical procedure that can heal her.  In her mind, to be healed means to be free of the disease in her body, including all her sufferings and difficulties, caused by this disease, in her personal life and career.  For this reason, here the woman redefines pregnancy as an illness or disease because in her heart she does not desire to be pregnant.  She does not desire a child for herself.  Conversely, if, for some reason, she did develop a desire for this pregnancy because she finally desired a child for herself, then the pregnancy itself, in her judgment, would cease to be a disease and would become something good for her.

     This argument, of course, is completely subjective and false.  Pregnancy in a woman is certainly not an illness or condition caused by a diseased part of her body.  On the contrary, pregnancy, as designed by God, is the natural gestation period of human life for nine months in the mother’s uterus.  During that time, the life of this unborn human being is fully and actually human from conception, but only gradually matures biologically, genetically and spiritually as a human being through the nutrition, oxygen and life support he receives from his mother’s body, particularly from her blood.  In this sense, in God’s design, the unborn child is naturally dependent upon his mother. For this reason, from the time of his conception as a human being in his mother’s womb, he has a natural right to receive from her all that he naturally requires to live and develop healthily during her pregnancy. For his mother, this involves eating, sleeping and exercising virtuously to preserve herself in good health, especially during pregnancy. If she does, then she will certainly be properly nourished, rested and in good condition to preserve her unborn child in good health as he matures. In other words, by caring for herself virtuously, she is also being virtuous in mothering her unborn child in her circumstances, especially in difficult circumstances. Will she suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, or professionally by becoming pregnant?  Yes, probably, but this suffering from pregnancy will not be due to her unborn child being a disease in her body, for he is not.  Being pregnant has normal but temporary side-effects for her.  Still, by caring for herself during pregnancy by eating, sleeping and exercising properly, she preserves herself and her unborn child in good health as God wills.  In doing so, she receives him as a sacred gift of God that will only help purify and sanctify her as a woman and as a mother by the grace of God.  In other words, what God offers her in pregnancy, an unborn child, neither harms nor diminishes her personhood or womanhood, but helps her to fully become the person God created and redeemed her to be. In this sense, for a woman, good and faithful mothering during pregnancy, as difficult as this may be for her, involves receiving her unborn child, not as a disease in her body, but as a sacred gift of God from conception and nourishing him to full term. Thus, abortion is certainly not a medical procedure that heals the woman of her pregnancy, because pregnancy is not an illness caused by a disease in her body.  All she does here is harm herself and destroy her unborn child. On this basis, the nature and meaning of such an act cannot be properly defined as a healing medical procedure.

D. “RELIGION CANNOT LEGISLATE MY MORALITY”

     Finally, pro-choice women claim that neither the Roman Catholic Church nor any other religious group may legislate the personal morality of a woman.  In other words, for them, no religion may morally require a woman to believe, obey or practice any religious moral teachings and rules that would morally prescribe or prohibit particular moral actions on her part, including abortion. On the contrary, in their judgment, a woman alone may decide for herself her personal moral beliefs and practices, apart from any religion.  Indeed, they argue that she has a moral right to do whatever she wills morally, including the right to abort her potential unborn human life. This means that she alone may judge for herself an action as either morally good or evil.  In this morality, every woman has a right to intellectually judge a human action as she wills.  This is her moral choice alone.  As a result, here there is no objective moral goodness or evil in her judgment of an action.  Her judgment is merely subjective.  As such, her morality, including her moral actions, has no objective basis in reality.  They are merely based on her subjective moral beliefs, for she alone may decide what is morally good or bad for her in her circumstances.  As for abortion, she claims that she has every right, morally, to use this procedure if she has no desire to have a child.  In her case, she judges the act of abortion as morally good for her.  In fact, she believes that every woman has a moral right to form this same moral judgment about abortion. This is a personal moral choice for a woman.  For this reason, according to pro-choice women in America, no religion may ever rightly legislate a moral law that would morally prohibit a woman, a free human being, from procuring an abortion for herself, because human morality, to them, is naturally relative, not absolute.  In their subjective judgment, there is no objective morality, but only subjective moralities.  Consequently, they can say, “Every woman for herself.”  On this basis, they argue, contrary to religion, including Catholic teaching, that every free woman, as a moral relativist, by nature, may do as she wills, including abort her potential unborn human life, if she really desires such a procedure for herself.

     As for Catholic pro-life women, they argue that this subjective morality of moral relativism, practiced by pro-choice woman in America, is false morally.  In forming this argument, I have heard them use a parable from Jesus’s preaching in St. Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 7:24-27). In this parable, Jesus calls His disciples to build their house morally on a true foundation, not on a false moral foundation.  On the one hand, He tells them that any man who hears His words and acts on them will be like a prudent person who acts reasonably by building his house on rock.  This is the only true foundation for building his house morally.  On the other hand, the man who hears His words but does not act on them will be like an imprudent human being who acts unreasonably by building his house on sand.  This is a false moral foundation for building his house. 

     Similarly, by practicing moral relativism, the pro-choice woman builds her house not on rock, not on the words of Jesus, but on the false moral foundation of sand like an imprudent person, for after hearing the words of Jesus, she fails to act on them reasonably.  The house that she builds for herself here is a metaphor for her life as a human being.  Consequently, when the rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted her house, her human life, it collapsed because she had built it on sand, and it was completely ruined.  This sand, of course, is a metaphor for the false foundation of her human words that she used to build her house on.  These human words that she believes in are the subjective human ideas of moral relativism.  In this sense, by building her life subjectively not on the words of Jesus, but on her human words, the false human ideas of moral relativism, she acts imprudently as a human being.  In doing so, she completely ruins herself morally. 

     Conversely, the Catholic pro-life woman, by practicing an objective morality, builds her house not on the sand of her human words, but on the rock of the words of Jesus like a prudent person. This house that she builds for herself is her human life metaphorically.  As such, when the rain fell, the floods came and the winds blew and buffeted her house, her human life, it remained standing because she had built it on rock.  The rock here is a metaphor for the true foundation of the words of Jesus that she used to build her house on.  These words of Jesus include the objective moral truths or principles of both the natural law and the Divine Law that He has revealed naturally and supernaturally in creation.  For this reason, by building her life on the true moral foundation of the words of Jesus, the pro-life woman acts prudently by practicing a true, objective morality based on the natural law and the Divine Law.  As a result, she preserves herself morally as a human being.

     In this sense, informed by Church teaching, Catholic pro-life women profess a belief that the natural law and the Divine Law for human beings, revealed naturally and supernaturally by God Himself, is a true morality legislated not by religion in general or by the Catholic Church in particular.  Neither the Church nor any other religion establishes or legislates this morality.  On the contrary, this morality is established by God Himself, the Divine Legislator, through the Wisdom of His Word, the Eternal Law, Jesus Christ.  Through this Eternal Law, God providentially governs the rational being, the human person, morally, by His Divine Wisdom, in directing his every movement and action in creation to his due end.  This due end is God Himself.  As such, the rational being participates naturally and supernaturally in the Wisdom of God’s Word, the Eternal Law.  In proceeding, after considering the natural participation of the rational being in the Eternal Law, I will consider his supernatural participation.  In Church teaching, human participation in the Eternal Law forms a single Divine plan for the salvation of all human beings.

     According to St. Thomas, the human being participates in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law through natural law, first of all, by his rationality.  This means that natural law, being a rule and measure, is in the human person because he rules and measure himself through reason.  In this sense, the natural law is in the reason or intelligence of man, for he rules and measures by this rational faculty (Summa Theologiae Ia-IIae, q. 91, a. 2).  This involves his rational capacity to habitually understand in his practical intellect the first principles of practical reasoning through the natural habit of synderesis, particularly the first principle of natural law (Summa Theologiae 1a, q. 79, a. 12).  This is the first principle of practical reasoning: “Good is to be done and pursued and evil is to be avoided.”  For this reason, St. Thomas appeals to Psalm 4:6 to argue that the light of God’s countenance, mentioned by the inspired author, is signed upon the human being, indicating that the light of natural reason by which a person understands what is good and what is evil, is a sign or effect of God’s divine light in a person (Summa Theologiae Ia-IIae, q. 91, a. 2). This first principle, the first inclination of natural law, which he naturally understands by synderesis, to do good and to avoid evil in pursuing the good, forms the basis or foundation of all other natural law inclinations.  Thus, doing good and avoiding evil in pursuing the good is the norm of every human act that directs a person to a complete and fulfilled human life. Every human being intuitively understands, by synderesis, that this first principle of practical reasoning is objectively true and good, intellectually and morally.  In this sense, through this habit of the practical intellect, a person habitually understands, not by discursive reasoning, but by intuition, that this first principle of natural law, the first principle of practical reason, is an objective moral truth for all people. Moreover, by understanding intuitively that this basic principle is naturally true, he also understands, by intuition, that this principle is naturally good for all human beings. Accordingly, he is naturally inclined to live this objective truth morally in his life by doing good and avoiding evil in pursuing a good life.  As the first principle of practical reasoning of the natural law, this moral truth is not just objective intellectually and morally, but also unchangeable and universal by nature.  In other words, this first principle, “Good is to be done and pursued and evil avoided,” is unchangeably and universally true. What reasonable person could argue against this truth?  For St. Thomas, this first principle or truth that inclines a person to do good and to avoid evil forms the basis and model of all the principles or truths of the three primary precepts of the natural law.  As a result, the human person habitually understands, through synderesis, that these primary precepts, informed by the first principle of practical reasoning, are naturally true and good for all people morally.  In this intuitive habit of understanding the truth and goodness of these three primary precepts, the person is naturally inclined to do good and avoid evil in pursuing the good in all the inclinations of these primary precepts.  This means that these primary precepts are also objective, unchangeable, and universal in nature, just as the first principle of practical reasoning.  Accordingly, by synderesis, every person has a natural, intuitive understanding that these principles or truths of the natural law habitually inform and guide him rationally in his practical intellect. Indeed, these principles of the natural law, especially the first principle of practical reasoning, habitually direct him to act reasonably intuitively.  As such, his human intelligence or reason, particularly his habitual understanding of the basic principles or truths, by synderesis, is his first participation in the Eternal Law through natural law, for, by this participation, he rules and measures himself rationally, according to the Wisdom of God.  All the same, here the human person remains underdeveloped or immature as a moral agent merely by rationally understanding the moral truth and goodness of the first principles of natural law that direct him to live a good life.  On this basis, he is called to develop morally.

     In the second place, the human being participates in the Eternal Law through natural law by the inclinations that rule and measure him (Summa Theologiae Ia-IIae, q. 91, a. 2 and q. 94, a. 2).  On the one hand, these inclinations include his rational inclinations of reason and will.  On the other hand, they also include his bodily or biological inclinations.  These bodily inclinations include his sense appetites, the concupiscible and irascible passions or emotions.  This means that the human person is naturally inclined to do good and avoid evil in pursuing the good in his inclinations of natural law.  According to St. Thomas, in ruling and measuring the human person, these inclinations of natural law direct him reasonably and naturally to three areas of life for living a good human life through virtue.  For this reason, they are also called the three primary precepts or principles of the natural law that govern him.  Through them, the human being is, first of all, naturally inclined to the good of preserving himself as a living being.  This is a good proper to all creatures.  Secondly, he is inclined to the good of procreating and educating children.  This is a good natural to all sentient beings.  Thirdly, he is naturally inclined to develop a true knowledge of God and to live in human society.  This is a good proper to human beings alone as the only rational or intelligent bodily creatures on earth (Summa Theologiae Ia-IIae, Question 94, Article 2). All these rational and bodily inclinations are subject to the rule and measure of the natural law, according to the Wisdom of the Eternal Law, by being informed by natural intelligence or reason.  As such, as a rational being, a person is naturally inclined through the inclinations of natural law to do good and avoid evil in pursuing the particular acts and ends proper to him for living a good human life reasonably and naturally. Hence, he participates in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law through the inclinations of the primary precepts of the natural law, for they rule and measure him by inclining him to live a good life. In this sense, in ruling and measuring him as primary precepts, these rational and bodily inclinations direct him reasonably and naturally to his true good.

     As he matures as a moral agent, he begins using these precepts from synderesis to develop practical moral knowledge through the cardinal virtue of prudence.  St. Thomas teaches that the human person develops an understanding through prudence that some moral actions are intrinsically evil, evil by nature, for they contradict the primary precepts of the natural law.  These evil actions include a woman aborting her unborn child (contrary to the preservation of human life), a man using artificial contraception in his Marriage (contrary to the procreation of human life), a father malforming his children intellectually by teaching them fallacies (contrary to educating his children properly), a woman slandering her neighbor (contrary to living in human society), and a young man becoming an atheist (contrary to acquiring a true knowledge of God).  Thus, the human person, particularly the Roman Catholic, educated in the moral teaching of the Church, after developing practical moral knowledge about these evil actions through prudence, prudentially forms practical moral norms or absolutes to guard the primary precepts of the natural law against such actions. This involves using prudence to direct his other cardinal virtues (temperance, fortitude and justice) in uniting his moral knowledge and rectified appetites virtuously to produce particular moral actions that conform reasonably and naturally to the practical moral norms or absolutes that he develops.  In doing so, he properly forms himself morally as a human being in his intellect, will and appetites through the moral virtues that he may participate in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law through the natural law.

     For instance, the Catholic pro-life woman, educated in the moral teaching of the Church that abortion is intrinsically evil, prudently forms the absolute moral norm, “The unborn human being may never be directly aborted during pregnancy.”  This moral absolute guards the first primary precept of the natural law established in the unborn child by God, the Divine Legislator, through the Wisdom of the Eternal Law.  This precept naturally inclines him from conception to preserve himself, his human life, by naturally acquiring from his mother all that he requires for himself to live and mature as a human being.  In this sense, for the Catholic pro-life woman, this absolute moral norm against abortion means that a woman may never intentionally abort her unborn child during pregnancy, for he has received from God a natural desire to live.  This means that every unborn child is, by nature, pro-life.  As such, the Wisdom of the Eternal Law naturally inclines his mother to bear him throughout her pregnancy, if she is morally formed by virtue.  In doing so, she acts virtuously by conforming herself morally to the moral absolute against abortion developed from the first primary precept of the natural law.  Indeed, informed by moral knowledge and rectified appetites, she uses the moral virtues to perfect her conformity to this absolute moral norm by preserving the life of her unborn child.  This means that every unborn person created by the Wisdom of the Eternal Law from conception has a natural right to live, for he has received from God a natural inclination to preserve himself through this first primary precept of the natural law. This first precept also includes a right to mature throughout his life.  As a living human being who has a right to live and mature, he will someday have a right to procreate and educate children in Marriage through the inclinations of the second primary precept of the natural law.  Finally, the third primary precept of the natural law naturally inclines the human person to develop a true knowledge of God and to live in human society.  On the one hand, his inclination to know God includes an inclination to love God, but this inclination to love Him only develops after he forms a true knowledge of God, for he can only love what he first knows. As a result, God certainly desires the human being to know Him that he may love Him.  For this reason, he has a natural right to know God and love Him as a human being.  On the other hand, this third primary precept of the natural law inclines the human being to live in human society.  This involves an inclination in him to develop a true knowledge and love of human beings.  In this sense, he has a natural right to live in society that he may form good human friendships through knowledge and love.  Accordingly, by guarding every living and maturing unborn human being virtuously from conception through an absolute moral norm that prohibits abortion, the Catholic pro-life woman guards all his natural rights that he receives naturally from God, the Divine Legislator, in creation through the Wisdom of the Eternal Law. On this basis, by bearing her unborn child to full term that he may mature and live a full life in human society someday by knowing and loving God and human beings, including a wife and children, the Catholic pro-life woman faithfully practices the first principle of practical reason in her life by doing good and avoiding evil in mothering her unborn child virtuously, according to the inclinations of the primary precepts of the natural law.

     Conversely, by directly (intentionally) aborting her unborn child, the pro-choice woman acts contrary to the first principle of practical reasoning of the natural law, for by this act she does evil and avoids doing good in pursuing an evil end morally.  Indeed, she does an intrinsically evil action, an action evil by nature, through her direct abortion.  This means the action she does is neither reasonable nor natural morally.  In doing so, she acts against the first primary precept of the natural law, the natural (bodily) inclination of her unborn child to preserve himself, by directly aborting him.  In fact, here she not only denies him his natural right to life that he receives from God through his first inclination of natural law, but also denies him all his other natural rights that God offers him in life through natural law, including his right to fully mature as a human being, his right to procreate and educate children someday, his right to live in human society and especially his right to know and love God and human beings.  As a result, she fails to participate virtuously in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law through the rule and measure of the natural law.  For this reason, God, the Divine Legislator, naturally prohibits a woman from directly aborting her unborn child by establishing the natural law through the Wisdom of the Eternal Law.  This moral prohibition is an absolute moral norm.  Accordingly, by Divine legislation, no woman, under any circumstances, for any reason whatsoever, may ever directly abort her unborn child by reason of the natural law.

     At the same time, as good as the natural law is for the human person morally, this natural morality, established in his human nature by the Wisdom of the Eternal Law, is only a natural foundation or basis for him morally.  He cannot fully and perfectly fulfill the natural law as a moral agent by nature alone.  Neither his rational inclinations of reason and will nor his natural bodily inclinations alone can direct him to the full perfection he naturally desires in this life as a human being.  Nor can he reach his final, supernatural end in the afterlife merely by his natural conformity to the natural law.  In other words, his participation in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law by natural law alone will certainly not lead him to the perfect happiness of Heaven.  He can only fully and perfectly fulfill his desire for the beatitude of Heaven supernaturally through the Divine, supernatural help of God.  He requires more than merely natural perfection.  He can only reach Heaven by being perfected supernaturally. As St. Thomas teaches, the human being participates in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law not only naturally in a manner proportionate to the capacities of his human nature, but also supernaturally in a manner that surpasses such natural capacities. 

     First of all, the human being participates supernaturally in the Eternal Law by the Divine Law he receives from God through Divine revelation (Summa Theologiae Ia-IIae, q. 91, a. 4, ad 1).  This Divine Law includes both the Old Law revealed by God through Moses in the Old Testament and the New Law, the Law of the Gospel, revealed by God through His Son, Jesus Christ, in the New Testament. In Church teaching, this Divine Law in the Old and New Testaments, a higher perfection of the natural law, reveals supernaturally that direct abortion, the shedding of the blood of human life, is a particularly grave moral evil that cries to God (Genesis 4:10), because the subject of the abortion, the unborn human being, the youngest member of the human family, is someone sacred, a person created in the image of God, who depends completely on the moral goodness of his mother to live.  Indeed, as the youngest image of God, he is destined by God to reach full and perfect maturity someday. This involves being recreated supernaturally in the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to live a holy life of virtue for God and his neighbor.  This alone will prepare him for the perfect happiness in Heaven he desires for himself.  Consequently, in light of Divine revelation, the shedding of the blood of human life, the life of the youngest member of the human family, by direct abortion, is prohibited by God through Divine Law (Genesis 9:6).  This prohibition is included in God’s commandment, “You shall not kill” the human being, particularly the innocent human being.  In fact, God proclaims this commandment eight times in Sacred Scripture (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17, Matthew 5:21, Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20, Romans 13:9, James 2: 11).  Accordingly, by being faithful to this Divine Law, this moral absolute, revealed by God through Moses and Jesus in the Old and New Testaments, the human person, particularly the mother of the unborn child, participates in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law supernaturally through Divine Law (Summa Theologiae Ia-IIae, Question 91, Article 2 and 4, ad. 1).

   Secondly, because the human person cannot fully and perfectly fulfill the natural and Divine Law by his natural human capacities alone, God offers him a supernatural means of Divine Grace to fulfill this end. In this sense, the human person participates in the Eternal Law supernaturally through the Grace of Christ, the Grace Christ merited for all people by His Passion and Death.  This Grace conforms the human being supernaturally to the Eternal Law by conforming him to the natural and Divine Law as a rational moral agent through the supernatural perfection of his human nature that rules and measures him.  This second supernatural form of participation in the Eternal Law, by Divine Grace, directs the human being to a higher end, his supernatural end, perfect happiness in Christ in the afterlife, but he can only reach an imperfect happiness in this life through Grace.  In this sense, he begins his movement to his perfect end or happiness through his perfection by Sanctifying Grace, the Grace of Justification.  He first receives this Grace from God in Baptism, including the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  On the one hand, this Grace recreates him supernaturally in the substance of his soul, because his soul is the direct subject of the Grace.  As such, this Grace, received directly in his soul, informs his body indirectly.  For this reason, in Church teaching, the Grace of Baptism recreates the human person in the image of Christ as an adopted son of God. In this adopted sonship, through Grace, he receives a participation in the Divine Nature of Christ as a member of the Body of Christ, the Church.  He becomes righteous in himself spiritually.  In this Grace of Justification, he receives the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit that he may act righteously as a moral agent. On the one hand, the infused virtues he receives include the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.  All these virtues supernaturally perfect his natural faculties and capacities, including his intellect, will and appetites, that he may live a holy life, a life of virtue, intellectually and morally in Christ.  In particular, as an intellectual moral virtue, the cardinal virtue of prudence informs and guides the human being in forming moral judgments about the morality of human actions, developing practical moral knowledge and directing him to act morally good in his circumstances.  On the other hand, by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, a person receives a higher perfection and facility in using his virtues through inspirations.  These gifts form and move him interiorly to respond virtuously to those inspirations by inclining him to do particular acts of virtue.  As such, the human person, particularly the pregnant woman, through the Grace of Christ, is moved by the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit to honor the image of God in the unborn child, indeed, to honor God Himself, morally, by saying yes to him, nourishing him, bearing him to full term and raising him to be a holy man of God according to the Wisdom of the Eternal Law. On this basis, by the Will of the Divine Legislator, the natural mother of the unborn child participates in the Eternal Law naturally and supernaturally by becoming a spiritual mother to him by the Grace of Christ.  

     Finally, the human person can only fulfill his desire for perfect happiness in the afterlife through the glory of Heaven, first in the glory of the beatific vision of God and later in the glorious resurrection of the dead.  As such, here the glory of Heaven fully perfects the human nature of man.  He finally rests perfectly in Christ.  In this sense, in Heaven, he participates fully and perfectly in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law, Jesus Christ, supernaturally through the glory of God, the Divine Legislator. 

     Accordingly, to the pro-choice women who claim that neither religion in general nor the Catholic Church in particular may legislate their morality, my response to them is that they have failed to understand the true origin of morality.  Neither the Church nor religion are the origin of morality.  In fact, as human beings, as women, neither are they the origin of morality.  As a result, not them, not the Church, not any religion may legislate morality for them.  On the contrary, God alone legislates morality, a true and objective morality for all people, by revealing a natural and Divine Law for them.  At the same time, as the only religion founded by Jesus Christ, the Roman Church alone is the Maternal Guardian or Custodian of this revealed moral teaching for the common good of all people that they may fully and perfectly participate in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law both naturally and supernaturally for their salvation as God wills. To this end, the Church has the authority to establish human or Church laws that conform to the natural and Divine Law for the good of God’s people.

IV. SACRED SCRIPTURE

A. GOD CREATES HUMAN LIFE FROM CONCEPTION THAT HE MAY BE BORN

     In Sacred Scripture the inspired authors, the authors of life, predecessors to the pro-life movement, proclaim that God Himself forms the life of the unborn person in the womb of his mother that he may be born of her.  In doing so, they profess their belief that God is the Principal Agent in creating such life in her womb instrumentally through the spousal intercourse that she and her husband have in Marriage.  In fact, in the Book of Genesis, God creates the first human beings, Adam and Eve, in His image as spouses to become the first parents of unborn human life by being fertile and multiplying through procreation (Genesis 1:27-28).  As such, this is a vocation that husband and wife have received from God to participate in His creation of human life as secondary instrumental causes.  At the same time, this call for them by God to be a mother and father to their child in Marriage begins, not postnatally, but prenatally from conception, for he is conceived as a person.  For this reason, in Sacred Scripture, the inspired authors, in announcing to husband and wife that they would receive a child from God, tell them that the life of the child begins not at birth, but at conception.  After all, their child is first conceived by God in the womb of his mother and ninth months later is born to her as an infant.  As a result, in Scripture, the inspired authors regularly announce to husband and wife that they will first conceive and will only later bear or give birth to their child, for his conception is ordained to his birth, as cause to effect.  For instance, in the Book of Genesis, Moses, inspired by God Himself, proclaims that Eve, the wife of Adam, “conceived and bore” a son (Genesis 4:1).  Similarly, in the First Book of Samuel, the inspired author, announces that Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, “conceived and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel” (1 Samuel 1:20).  Moreover, Samuel, the author of the Book of Judges, announces, under God’s inspiration, that the wife of Manoah would “conceive and bear a son” (Judges 13:3-5).  Finally, in the Book of Ruth, Samuel also proclaims that Ruth, the wife of Boaz, conceived a son and bore him (Ruth 4:13).  In all these passages, the wife, by an act of creation by God, both conceives and bears a son through the intercourse that she and her husband have in Marriage.  This means that God calls them to be good and faithful parents to their unborn son, first and foremost, from conception, but also after birth. Throughout Sacred Scripture, the people of God, inspired by God Himself, profess this belief that God creates the unborn human person from conception in the womb of his mother, through his parents, to be born of her nine months later.  In other words, he is conceived by God to be born.

     In proceeding, I will briefly consider how the human authors, under God’s inspiration, talk about this truth of faith in Scripture.  First of all, in the Book of Psalms, David, in proclaiming God’s work of creating him as a human person, first describes God as a Knitter who made him in his inmost being by knitting him in the womb of his mother, Nitzevet, from conception.  Here David speaks a literal truth through metaphor. Yes, God literally made David, but David himself proclaims this truth, or act of creation, metaphorically by saying that God knitted him in his mother’s womb as an unborn human life from conception.  For the human knitter, the act of knitting involved using needles to knit yarn together into clothing.  This was properly the work of a woman.  Accordingly, by calling God a Knitter, a Divine Knitter, David is saying that God is like a woman who knits the yarn of human nature together as the clothing of an actual human being from conception.  In other words, David believes that God literally formed him in his mother by conceiving him through an act of natural intercourse that she and her husband, Jesse, had in Marriage.  Later, in the same passage, David uses another metaphor to profess this truth of faith.  He says that God Himself made him in secret by fashioning him in the depths of the earth.  In this sense, here he uses the depths of the earth as a metaphor for the womb of his mother.  According to him, in this womb alone, in his mother’s womb, did God conceive him as an unborn person (Psalms 139:13-15).    

     Furthermore, in the Book of Job, the inspired author, Job himself, first proclaims his faith that God created him.  Indeed, he says that God’s hands have formed and fashioned him (Job 10:8).  He first speaks of this act of creation by God metaphorically, for he describes Him as a Potter, a Divine Potter, who made him from the clay of the earth.  In ancient times, forming objects or artifacts from clay on a potter’s wheel, and firing them in a furnace, was primarily the work of a man.  For this reason, by calling God a Potter, Job is saying that God is like a man who forms and fires the clay of bodily human nature from the earth in creating the human being.  In this sense, for Job, this clay is the earth that God used in forming him bodily as a person.  As such, here the clay of the earth is, once again, a metaphor for the womb of a mother, particularly the womb of Job’s mother, that God used in creating Job’s body.  This means, formed by God from the clay of his mother’s womb, Job received the same bodily human nature as his mother.  For this reason, he says that from this clay God clothed him literally with skin and flesh, bones, and tendons to form him bodily (Job 10:11).  Accordingly, this passage in the Book of Job recalls the second creation story in the Book of Genesis, for in this story the inspired author, Moses, similarly describes God metaphorically as a Potter who formed the body of the first man, Adam, from the clay of the earth (Genesis 2:7a).  In doing so, He uses this clay to form a body for Adam composed of skin, flesh, bones, and tendons.  In fact, in this story, after God created Adam’s body from the clay of the earth, He breathed His breath of life in him, thereby forming him as a living being (Genesis 2:7b).  The breath of God here metaphorically represents the soul or spirit of Adam, his principle of life.  In the passage from the Book of Job, Job also speaks of this spirit that he has received from God (Job 10:12).  This is the breath of God, the soul, that gives life to his body.  According to Job, this act by God in creating him as a living person in the womb of his mother from conception is really an act of love.  God made him because He loves him.  In fact, in His providential love for Job, He has preserved him as a living person (Job 10:12). Finally, speaking literally, Job says God brought him forth, not from the clay of the earth, but from his mother’s womb (Job 10:18).  Thus, he asks rhetorically (Job 31:15), “Did not He who made me in the womb create” also my neighbor “in the womb?”  On this basis, Job can say, “I came forth from my mother’s womb” (Job 1:21), for there God, the Divine Potter, formed him from clay by conceiving him as a person.

B. EVERY HUMAN LIFE CONCEIVED AND BORN IS A GOOD GIFT FROM GOD

     If God really is the Divine Knitter and Potter who creates the unborn human person in the womb of his mother as a fruit of the natural intercourse that she and her husband have in Marriage, then this means that every human life, every human person, from conception, is naturally a good gift from God who is eventually born as an infant.  As such, neither the mother nor the father may ever define or redefine as evil (bad) and disposable the unborn person that God Himself has created for them in His Goodness to be born of his mother.  For this reason, the human person is said to be good, by nature, not as God is essentially in Himself by His infinite Goodness, but as he is in himself, by participation, through the finite goodness of his humanity.  Indeed, every person, conceived by God in the womb of his mother, and later born, has a sacred dignity because he participates the Goodness of God in his human nature.  Indeed, he images God’s Goodness by his rational and free nature as a spiritual and bodily person.  Accordingly, in the Book of Genesis, Moses says that after creating the first human beings, God Himself proclaimed them not simply good, but “really good” (Genesis 1:31). Similarly, in the Book of Psalms, David proclaims that unborn children are a good “gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb” for their mother and father (Psalms 127:3).  Finally, in Genesis, Moses, under the inspiration of God, recalls God’s promise to Abraham that He would bless him by raising up countless descendants for him (Genesis 22:17). These descendants of his, blessings from God, would be conceived and born in the image of God.  Thus, by creating them in His image from conception, the Divine Knitter and Potter, God Himself, would establish their natural blessedness as unborn persons who would be born, in time, according to the natural design of God.  They would, in this sense, be true gifts of God by nature.  According to Moses, in Abraham all these descendants would find blessing through a descendant of his (Genesis 15:4).  This descendant alone would fully and perfectly fulfill God’s promise to bless them someday.  Through him, all the descendants of Abraham would receive God’s blessing of salvation.

C. THE SON OF GOD CONCEIVED AND BORN AS MAN

     In God’s providence, this descendant of Abraham, the Savior, would be a son of Israel, from the Tribe of Judah of the House of David.  As the Savior, He alone would be the Messiah who would fully and perfectly fulfill God’s blessing of salvation for all the descendants of Abraham, for He would be the Uncreated Son of God from all eternity.  As the prophets proclaim in Scripture, God would raise up for Himself a perfect or ideal Messiah, a Divine Messiah (Isaiah 9:5-6, 11:1-5, Jeremiah 23:5), from a virgin daughter of David’s House (Isaiah 7:14) to save the descendants of Abraham.  In the Gospels, the Evangelists, inspired by God, profess this Divine Messiah to be the Person of Jesus Himself.  According to Sts. Matthew and Luke, Jesus, the Son of God, was conceived and born as Man from the Virgin Mary, a Daughter of the House of David, by God’s Holy Spirit.  Indeed, in recalling the angel’s announcement to Joseph and Mary that Mary herself would become the Mother of Jesus virginally by the Holy Spirit, the Evangelists record, in their Gospels, that Mary’s Motherhood would include both conceiving and bearing Jesus.  In this sense, just as the inspired authors of the Old Testament proclaim that a woman becomes a mother first by conceiving her unborn child in her womb and eventually bears him, the Evangelists do the same in their Gospels.  As for St. Matthew, he recalls that the angel tells St. Joseph to receive Mary, his wife, into his home, for “it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a Son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).  Similarly, St. Luke records that the angel, in announcing Mary’s Motherhood to her, tells her, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:31, 35).  As such, as Mother, Mary first conceives Jesus, as “the fruit of her womb” (Luke 1:42), and later gives birth to Him (Luke 2:7).  For this reason, in preaching the Gospel to the Galatians, St. Paul tells them that when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, to be conceived and born of a woman under the law, to save those people under the law, that they would receive adoption as sons and daughters of God by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:3-7).  Accordingly, the Son of God, in becoming the Son of Man through the All-Holy Virgin Mother, Blessed Mary, illumined and inspired the descendants of Abraham to become adopted sons and daughters of God through the ecclesiastical Virgin, Holy Mother Church.  In doing so, they became heirs of God’s promise to Abraham.  Indeed, by their adoption as sons and daughters of God, they became beneficiaries of God’s promise to Abraham that He would bless them through the humanity of a descendant of his, the Divine Messiah, particularly by the work of salvation He would fulfill as the God-Man in His suffering and death.  This was the blessing of God’s salvation for them as descendants of Abraham, the greatest blessing they could ever receive from Him, for they would, in fact, receive the Son of God Himself, the Person of the Divine Messiah, as heirs of salvation.

    In this act of the Son of God becoming Man from the humanity of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, He is first conceived in her as a Human Zygote after her gamete (egg cell) is fertilized by the divine seed of the Holy Spirit, later He develops into a Human Blastocyst and Embryo and eventually becomes a Human Fetus.  In all these stages of human development, He remains fully and actually the Son of God in becoming fully and actually Human, the Son of Man, from conception.  This Human Life of the God-Man is neither the Life of the Virgin Mary nor the Life of the Holy Spirit.  On the contrary, this Life belongs to Him alone, for He alone receives His Human Nature of Body and Soul in His conception as Man.  On the one hand, in His conception as Man by the Holy Spirit, He receives the material substance of His Body from the body of the Virgin Mary, including His human biology and genes.  On the other hand, He also receives the spiritual substance of His Soul directly from God Himself, for God conceives Him as Man through the Holy Spirit.  In this act of conception, the act of fertilization, God, the Divine Knitter and Potter, forms the Son of God as the Son of Man in the womb of His All-Holy Virgin Mother, Blessed Mary.  In this sense, conceived as Man in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit in Nazareth, He is born to her in Bethlehem nine months later.  On this basis, in this Humanity, through the help of His Mother, He would fulfill God’s plan of salvation for the descendants of Abraham, people that descend spiritually from Abraham by faith.

D. THE JOY AND GRATITUDE TO GOD FOR CONCEIVING AND BEARING A CHILD

     In Sacred Scripture, God inspires joy and gratitude in people, including in the parents, for receiving the gift of human life.  Yes, He moves them joyfully and gratefully, by the Holy Spirit, as they learn about the conception and birth of a child.  As such, having joy and gratitude in their hearts for the gift of human life is an efficacious sign of God’s presence in their life.  For instance, in the Book of Psalms, David, inspired by God, offers praise to God joyfully and gratefully for creating him (Psalms 139:14). Similarly, under God’s inspiration, Ben Sira, in the Book of Sirach, calls parents to find joy in their children (Sirach 25:7).  He also tells them to bless God in joy and gratitude for forming human life from the womb according to His will (Sirach 50:22).  As for the Gospel, St. Luke says that the unborn child, St. John the Baptist, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, leaped for joy in the womb of his mother, St. Elizabeth, when he heard the voice of the pregnant Virgin Mary.  In this passage, the Evangelist suggests that St. John was offering praise joyfully and in gratitude to God for the unborn Divine Messiah in the womb of His Mother (Luke 1:39-45).  Right after this, in the Magnificat, Mary rejoices and offers gratitude to God for her faith in the angel’s message to her that she would conceive and bear the Son of God as Man.  In doing so, she says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.  The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49). Moreover, after the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds, telling them to rejoice that He was born to the Virgin Mary as the Messiah who would save His people.  This joy includes gratitude to God for His birth (Luke 2:10-11).  Finally, at the presentation, when the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph presented the infant Jesus to God in the Temple, Simeon and Anna rejoice and offer their gratitude to God for finally raising up a son of Abraham from the House of David, the Divine Messiah, who would save His people (Luke 2:22-32, 38). Therefore, the only proper response from people, especially from parents, for receiving the gift of human life, a child, is joy and gratitude.

V. SACRED TRADITION

A. ST. IRENAEUS OF LYONS

     Here I will briefly recall from Sacred Tradition the teachings of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, an early Church Father.  He developed some doctrines during his life that I believe are especially relevant to the subject in question.  In particular, in Against Heresies and in the Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, he develops a parallel of opposition involving the Virgin Eve and the Virgin Mary, after studying Scripture, particularly Genesis and the Gospel of St. Luke.  In doing so, he describes Eve and Mary as contrary models of motherhood for women.  After briefly presenting his parallel of opposition involving Eve and Mary, I will introduce his doctrine of recapitulation.  This parallel he develops really prepares for his doctrine of recapitulation.

1. EVE-MARY PARALLEL OF OPPOSITION

     On the one hand, St. Irenaeus recalls from Genesis the disobedience of the first woman in the first creation, the Virgin Eve (the First Eve), in the Garden of Eden.  In this act of disobedience, she disobeyed God by obeying the word of the fallen angel, the serpent.  Consequently, she incurred death for herself, first and foremost, spiritually, but also physically, for by her sinful disobedience, she lost the Divine Grace of God.  In other words, she died spiritually in her soul and would someday die physically.  As a result, by her choice to disobey God, she would become the mother of death for all her children, for they would be conceived and born to her spiritually dead and would someday die physically just as she would.  As such, by her disobedience to God, they would suffer a form of abortion, a spiritual abortion interiorly in their souls that would terminate physically in their bodies someday.  In this sense, the Virgin Eve became the first pro-choice woman, the first woman in human history who used her human will to end human life, the natural and supernatural life of the human being.  For this reason, as the mother of death, she is a bad maternal model for all mothers, for she teaches them, by her sinful choice, by her disobedience to God, that they have a right to abort their unborn child spiritually and physically.  Here she neither acts reasonably nor naturally nor supernaturally according to God’s Will.  As a consequence, she fails to conform herself to the Wisdom of the Eternal Law through the natural and Divine Law as a natural and spiritual mother.  On this basis, for St. Irenaeus, the Virgin Eve, the mother of death, is certainly not someone for women to imitate in their motherhood.  She is not a model for them morally (Against Heresies Book III, Chapter 22, Paragraph 4; Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1).

     On the other hand, St. Irenaeus also recalls from the Gospel of St. Luke the obedience of the first woman in the second creation, the Virgin Mary (the Second Eve).  In this act of obedience, she obeyed God by obeying His Word from His holy angel, St. Gabriel.  As you recall, at the Annunciation from St. Luke’s Gospel, after St. Gabriel greets the Virgin Mary, “Hail, Full of Grace!  The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28), he announces to her that she would conceive and bear the Son of God as Man, a Son of David, Jesus, by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:31, 35). According to St. Gabriel, this Son of David would offer the people of God, the children of Abraham, Eternal Life in His reign as the Divine Messiah.  As such, after hearing God’s announcement from the angel, the Virgin Mary obeyed His Word by proclaiming, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May the Lord’s will be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38).  As the Mother of the God-Man, she is a Good Model, a Holy Model, for all mothers, because she teaches them, by her obedience to God, that they are called to say yes to Divine Life by saying yes to all unborn human life. In doing so, she fully and perfectly participates in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law naturally and supernaturally, for she obeys the natural and Divine Law by the Grace of God.  As a result, all women are called by God to be faithful imitators of the Mother of Life, the Virgin Mary, the Perfect Model of Motherhood (Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1; and Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, 33).

2. RECAPITULATION

     In developing this Eve-Mary parallel of opposition, St. Irenaeus also develops a doctrine of recapitulation to describe the Virgin Mary’s participation in her Son’s work of salvation as His Maternal Helpmate. As such, in this doctrine, he teaches that the Virgin Mary, through her obedience to God, by conceiving her unborn Son, Jesus Christ, and by bearing Him, recapitulates or sums up in herself the Virgin Eve, the mother of the human race in the first creation. In other words, the Virgin Mary maternally gathers up in herself the Virgin Eve and her descendants to save them in Christ by her obedience.  Indeed, in this motherly act of obedience, she remembers God’s promise that He would save them.  Yes, by her act of recapitulation, she recalls that God would save them through a Virgin from the House of David who would conceive and bear a Child as the Messiah.  In this sense, through the angel, St. Gabriel, God reveals to the Virgin Mary that she herself is this Virgin Daughter of David’s House who would be the Mother of this Child. She believes Him.  In this faithful act of Motherly Love, she practices anamnesis, the act of remembering God’s promise, by recapitulation. In this act, God’s salvation really becomes present in and through the Virgin Mary, for she conceives and bears her Child.  In doing so, she becomes the saving Maternal “Patroness” and “Intercessor” of the Virgin Eve and her descendants by “rescuing” them from death as a true Mother (Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1; and Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, Paragraph 33).  According to St. Irenaeus, this work of salvation, by recapitulation, involved a restoration process called recirculation.  In his doctrine, this work was completed, above all, by the actions of Jesus Himself, but also secondarily by the actions of the Virgin Mary.  Here her actions as the Mother of Life, first and foremost, by her obedience to God in saying yes to the Life of her Unborn Child, “counterbalanced” the sinful action of the Virgin Eve, the mother of death, who said no to the life of her children, by subjecting them to spiritual and bodily death through disobedience (Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1).  In this sense, as the Virgin Eve lost her communion in God’s Friendship by ordering her actions sinfully against God through disobedience, the Virgin Mary did her part as Maternal Helpmate to recover this Divine Friendship by ordering her actions virtuously to God through obedience.  As such, here the virtuous actions of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Life, parallel, by opposition, the sinful actions of the Virgin Eve, the mother of death, step by step, in reverse order.  This is the work of restoration of the human race that the Virgin Mary fulfilled in obedience to God by retracing the missteps of the disobedience of the Virgin Eve as a means to undo what she did.  Indeed, by her obedience, she undid the disobedience of the Virgin Eve, including the bondage to death that the Virgin Eve incurred for herself and for all her children (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, 33; and Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1).  In doing so, she made the Life of her Son, the Divine Messiah, available to all people by conceiving and bearing Him as Man.  For this reason, she became the First Pro-Life Woman, the First Woman to say yes to Unborn Life, in the second creation of the human race.  Accordingly, by her obedience to God, she became the Mother of Life, the Mother of Divine Life, for all people to become adopted as sons and daughters of God by the Life of Grace (Against Heresies Book III, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1).  Indeed, “through the Virgin [Mary,] who was obedient to the Word of God, man (the human race) was reanimated and received life” (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, 33).  This Life that man received, through the obedience of the Virgin Mary, was the Life of the Son of God Himself, the God-Man, Jesus Christ.  Only by saying yes to God’s Gift of Life, in obedience to Him, by conceiving her Unborn Son and by bearing Him, could she participate in God’s salvation of humanity as Maternal Helpmate.  In this yes, she remembers God’s promise to save His people as a Woman of Faith.  As a result, she does her part to fulfill His promise of salvation to them by becoming the Mother of His Son in obedience to Him.  On this basis, St. Irenaeus can profess this message, “The human race bound to death by a virgin’s disobedience found salvation by a virgin’s obedience: virginal obedience counteracted virginal disobedience” (Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1). 

     I believe that this doctrine of recapitulation in St. Irenaeus is relevant for every pregnant woman, particularly for every pregnant Catholic (or Christian) woman.  By saying yes to God’s gift of life, in obedience to Him, through the act of conceiving and bearing her child, she recapitulates or sums up in herself the Virgin Mary’s conception and birth of her Son, Jesus Christ.  Here she remembers, as a woman of faith, God’s promise that He would save His people through a Virgin Mother and her Son.  Accordingly, by conceiving and bearing her child, the Catholic woman participates in this act of salvation as a mother.  In a sense, she reenacts the Virgin Mary’s conception and birth of her Child Jesus, for she really conceives and bears a created image of God, her child, in the image of the Uncreated Image of God. In doing so, she faithfully imitates her Maternal Model, the Virgin Mary, by directing her actions, step by step, in the proper order.  These steps, for her, begin from conception by being joyful and grateful to God for receiving the sacred gift of unborn human life from Him as an actual image of Himself.  This alone is her proper response to God for such a gift.  As a woman of faith, this joy and gratitude to God for human life will ideally inform her daily life of prayer, including her moral actions.  Prenatally, these actions will involve eating, sleeping and exercising virtuously to preserve herself in good health throughout her pregnancy.  In doing so, she will be properly nourished, rested and in good condition to preserve her unborn child in good health as he matures.  Postnatally, her actions will include raising her child to be a holy man of God by educating him to know and love God and neighbor virtuously in society according to Catholic faith and morals, beginning in the family.  All these prenatal and postnatal actions by her as a mother recall the actions of the Virgin Mary as she mothered her Son, Jesus Christ, before and after his birth.  This means that by faithfully imitating the Virgin Mary, her Maternal Model, in mothering her child, she really commemorates the Holy Motherhood of the Virgin Mary in mothering Jesus in perfect holiness.  In this sense, by being a faithful mother, a holy mother, to her child, throughout her life, she honors the holy memory of the Virgin Mary by recapitulating the virtues of her Holy Motherhood in conceiving, bearing and raising her Son, Jesus, to be the Holy Man of God.  Indeed, by practicing anamnesis as a woman of faith through recapitulation, she re-presents the Holy Maternity of Blessed Mary as the Mother of Jesus. This is the work of salvation in her life as a mother. Thus, by faithfully mothering her child naturally and supernaturally, she participates in the Wisdom of the Eternal Law by conforming herself to the Holy Maternity of the Virgin Mary.

VI. CONCLUSION

     In this article, after presenting the bases for the legal decision by the Supreme Court Justices in Roe vs. Wade, including the arguments of pro-choice women in America, I offered my arguments against them in defense of the unborn human being. First of all, as you recall, in 1973 the Supreme Court Justices determined that a woman had a right to have an abortion safely and legally during her pregnancy under a licensed physician, but this was only a qualified or relative right for her that had to be balanced against the interests of the government in protecting both her health and the life of the unborn based on the legal norms developed from the three trimesters of pregnancy.  At the heart of this decision by the Supreme Court Justices was the claim that the human life during pregnancy, viable or not, is not actually a human person legally, but only potentially human.  Secondly, you will also recall that pro-choice women in America have formed arguments developed from this Supreme Court decision to defend the right of a woman to procure an abortion.  These arguments include: “It is only potentially human, not actually human.”; “If it is my body, then it is my choice.”; “It is a disease in my body.”; and “Religion cannot legislate my morality.”  As I argued in this article, these claims are false.  They have no basis in reason, nature, or revelation.  They are completely subjective.  They have only a basis in the fallacy of moral relativism.  Accordingly, in arguing against these false, moral relativist claims, I argued that the unborn human being is neither a part of his mother’s body nor is he a disease in his mother’s body during pregnancy.  On the contrary, I argued that the unborn human life is fully and actually a human being, created in the image of God, from his conception.  In doing so, I developed this argument from the natural law, the Divine Law and the Divine Grace of God as revealed in human nature, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. On this basis, a woman may never directly abort her unborn child under any circumstances for any reason, for the act of direct abortion is against the Wisdom of the Eternal Law.

     At the same time, I recall a special message from 1995 that Pope St. John Paul II offered to Catholic women who had procured an abortion at some time during their life.  In this message, the Pope tells them that the Church understands the many factors that may have influenced their decision to have an abortion, including the pain they may have suffered for this decision.  In fact, he tells them that they may still be suffering in their hearts for deciding to have an abortion.  Yes, what they did was gravely immoral, but he counsels them, as a loving father, not to be discouraged or to despair for what they did.  There is still hope for them to find healing in Christ.  Indeed, He offers them His healing mercy, but they can only receive this mercy, first of all, by truly understanding that abortion is gravely evil.  Secondly, only in the light of this true understanding can they humbly open their hearts to repent for their abortion in the Sacrament of Confession.  The Pope also tells them that after being reconciled to Christ and His Church, and receiving friendly and professional help from others, they can become great defenders of the unborn by defending their right to life in human society (Evangelium Vitae, XXXI. Walk as Children of Light: Bringing About a Transformation of Culture, 99).

     This message from Pope John Paul II, published three years before Norma McCorvey became Roman Catholic in 1998, would help her find the healing in Christ that she desired in her heart as a Catholic.  As a Dominican novice in 2007, I remember Norma crying to me as she recalled the sinful life that she had lived for many years and all the people she had harmed, at least indirectly, during those years, especially women and their unborn children, by suing for the legal right to have an abortion as Roe.  This was certainly not Confession, for I was not yet a priest, but I did personally witness in her the truth and humility that Pope John Paul II talked about in his message to women that would prepare them to receive the healing mercy of Christ through repentance in the Sacrament of Confession. In the case of Norma, she never actually had an abortion, but she sued and eventually her lawsuit, after becoming a class-action suit, received a favorable decision from the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade.  As a result, abortion became a legal right available to all women in America in 1973, leading to some 47 million abortions in America by the time Norma died in February of 2017 (60 million as of March of 2021).  Norma was certainly not directly morally culpable or guilty for all these abortions that millions of women had procured through the years, but she did suffer greatly for the part that she had in helping abortion to become legal in the United States.  Thankfully, after offering her life to Christ, this suffering would become redemptive in Christ for her as a faithful defender of the unborn image of God. 

WELCOME

Greetings, dear friends!  Welcome to the page of the Confraternity of the Rosary of the Order of Preachers in the Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres.  Our Province is geographically located in the Southern United States. This provincial area includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  If you live in any of these southern states, you are welcome to consider becoming a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary through this page.  The Confraternity is an ancient apostolate of the Order of Preachers that has led countless people to repentance and maturation in Christ for centuries through the maternal intercession of His Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary.

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Membership in the Confraternity of the Rosary requires registration.  You become a member by registering in the Confraternity online.  You will then be officially enrolled in the register of the Rosary Confraternity.  There are no meetings or membership dues.

COMMISSION

As a member of the Confraternity, you are commissioned to offer at least Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary every week.  You may offer these Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary all together or separately in three groups of Five Mysteries.  You are also free to offer more Mysteries daily as the Holy Spirit moves you through the maternal intercession of Blessed Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary.  In doing so, you promise to pray for all the members of the Confraternity every time you offer a Rosary to Our Lady.  This is your only requirement as a member of the Confraternity, but the hope and prayer is that you will fulfill this requirement because of your faithful love for the Blessed Mother who directs all her children to her Son, Jesus Christ, through the Rosary.  In this act of love for her in the Rosary, you faithfully honor her as your Mother who became the Mother of God that she would become your Mother, the Mother of God’s people.  At the same time, this commission to pray at least 15 Mysteries of the Rosary for all the members of the Confraternity does not bind under sin.

PROMISES

According to Tradition, after Blessed Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, commissioned St. Dominic to propagate her Psalter, her Holy Rosary, in the early 13th Century, she revealed 15 Promises to him and later to Blessed Alan de la Roche in the 15th Century that would be fulfilled for them, and all other Catholics, who faithfully practiced the Rosary.

  1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all people who recite the Rosary.
  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
  4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means!
  5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
  6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
  7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the Rosary are my children, and brothers and sisters of my Son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

BENEFITS

  1. As a member, you are the beneficiary of the prayers of all the members of the Confraternity of the Rosary, even after death.
  2. You also receive the fruits of the prayers, Masses and apostolic ministries of the Order of Preachers.
  3. Moreover, various plenary and partial indulgences are made available to you.  On the one hand, you receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions on the day of your enrollment (as indicated in the register and certificate), on the Feast Days of Christmas, Easter, the Annunciation, the Assumption, Our Lady of the Rosary, the Immaculate Conception, and Our Lord’s Presentation in the Temple.  On the other hand, you also receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions by praying the Rosary in a Church or oratory, in a family, religious community, or in a pious association of the faithful.  If not, the indulgence is only partial.

Concerning Indulgences: An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due for sin whose guilt has already been forgiven. It is a partial indulgence if it frees you partially from the temporal punishment due for your sin, and plenary if it frees you completely. Both partial and plenary indulgences can be applied to the dead, but only by means of suffrage.  Furthermore, you can only gain a plenary indulgence once a day, unless your are near death.  Finally, these are the conditions that you are required to fulfill for receiving an indulgence: Sacrament of Confession, Holy Communion, prayer for the intention of the Pope, and freedom from all sin, even venial.  If you are not detached from such sin, or if you have not fulfilled any of the other conditions, your indulgence is partial. 

ENROLLMENT

If you are a Catholic living in any of the Southern United States, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia or Florida, I hope you consider enrolling in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary after reading this article about the requirements, promises and benefits of the Confraternity membership. You can enroll here: http://www.jotform.us/form.  Further, please only enroll yourself, not your family members or friends, or the deceased.  After your enrollment form is processed and your name is enrolled in the register, you will be mailed a hard copy of the certificate of your Confraternity membership.

In Christ with Our Lady of the Rosary

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P., Promoter of the Rosary

     Greetings, dear friends!  Today I offer you this brief article in honor and remembrance of a great lady, a holy daughter of God, Sister Olvido Galiana Grijelmo, who fully dedicated herself to God as a consecrated member of the Conceptionist Mission Sisters of Education for some 65 years, mainly in California, until her death on January 2nd, 2021.  This Congregation in the Roman Catholic Church, commonly called the (Missionary) Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in California, was founded in Spain on February 22nd, 1892, by Sister María del Carmen (Carmen de Jesus) Sallés y Barangueras (b. April 9, 1848 – d. July 25, 1911).  She was canonized a saint in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21st, 2012.  Through her holy work as the foundress, she inspired Sister Olvido to become a member of her Congregation.

     As such, here I want to briefly talk about the work of this holy foundress, Sister María del Carmen. After all, by her work, she would inform and influence Sister Olvido’s decision to join her Congregation. Sister Maria herself was a Dominican, a Sister of the Order of Preachers, in Spain.  After being formed and educated spiritually and academically in the Dominican Congregation of the Annunciation to teach children and adolescents, she remained in the Congregation for about 20 years.  During those years, as a Dominican, she witnessed firsthand the many social and moral problems that had developed in her day among children and adolescents, especially among girls of poor and working-class parents, who did not have the financial means or adequate public resources available to them in their society to help them, including education and childcare.  Consequently, these parents would leave their sons and daughters unsupervised.  Under these circumstances, they would walk the streets either alone or in small groups.  Sister María del Carmen was primarily concerned about the problems that had developed among the girls due to the absence of such parental supervision and education.  These problems for them included illiteracy, intellectual malformation, gender discrimination, alcohol abuse, rape, fornication and prostitution.  They would begin during their childhood and continue during their adolescence and young adulthood. 

     For this reason, Sister María del Carmen eventually approached her Dominican Superiors, asking them for permission to establish a female Dominican congregation or apostolate that would be dedicated to the formation and education of girls, adolescent females and young women suffering from the problems just mentioned.  She certainly had no intention of leaving the Order of Preachers or of founding a non-Dominican congregation, but after her Dominican Superiors denied her request, she and three of her Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation left the Order in 1892 to establish a congregation that would be similar to the Dominicans.  As a result, they founded this congregation on the Dominican virtues of study (through faith and reason), contemplation and action, and teaching, but their apostolate would be especially dedicated to forming and educating young females intellectually, spiritually and morally.  Moreover, this congregation would also be established under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Dominicans. In fact, in their love for St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, including the Dominican family, Sister María del Carmen and her Sisters originally named their congregation after St. Dominic himself. They called this congregation the Conceptionists of St. Dominic, but this name would not last.  I imagine the Dominican authorities in Spain and Rome objected to this name after Sister María del Carmen and her Sisters formally left the Order of Preachers.  In any case, they finally named their Congregation the Conceptionist Mission Sisters of Education.  Their apostolate eventually developed to include the formation and education of boys and male adolescents.  Through such ministry, they saved many children, adolescents and young adults from the social and moral problems of the day.  On this basis, from the beginning, Sister María del Carmen and her Sisters founded this congregation to teach the youth to live virtuously as a holy people.

     The holy work of Sister María and her Sisters in founding a teaching congregation, modeled after the Order of Preachers, for the formation and education of young people reveals the virtues that Sister Olvido desired for herself in a congregation of Sisters.  First of all, in fidelity to her congregation, she loved the youth.  The love she had for them in her heart inspired her to dedicate herself to them by being a model of holy virtue for them as a Sister.  This was the same loving dedication that the foundress, Sister María del Carmen, had for the youth. Secondly, Sister Olvido practiced her love for children and adolescents by teaching them to be the holy people God created and redeemed them to be.  In doing so, she formed them spiritually, intellectually and morally in fidelity to Sister María’s mission for the congregation.  Finally, Sister Olvido’s decision to join a Marian congregation of Sisters reveals her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.  For Sister Olvido, including Sister María del Carmen, Catholics honor the Immaculate Mother of God by loving her as Christ loves her.  This is a Marian love that Sister Olvido communicated to her students, throughout her life, as a daughter of Mary.  On this basis, these three virtues would be the primary criteria that Sister Olvido would use in forming a prudential judgment to become a Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception.

     Sister Olvido’s story begins in Northern Spain.  She was born on April 22nd, 1938, in the small municipality of Ciadoncha in the Province of Burgos in the region of Castille and León.  Her parents, Irenaeus and Elisha, in their love for God, for each other and for their four children, faithfully raised them as Roman Catholics.  In their fidelity, they also supported them as farm laborers.  Sister Olvido was the third oldest of the four children her parents had.  She had a great love for them all, especially for her sister.  They had such a loving relationship.  Unfortunately, they lost their mother, Elisha, during childhood.  As a result, they certainly suffered much because of her death, but in their suffering God would providentially bless and console them, especially through the holy vocation that Sister Olvido would receive from God.  Indeed, by the grace of God, she would become a spiritual mother to them all in God’s providence.

     As a young girl of 12 years of age, Sister Olvido, accompanied by her father, Irenaeus, visited the convent of the school of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Burgos, Spain, telling them: “I want to be a nun.”  She certainly had already learned about them.  In a sense, only after suffering the death of her mother at such a young age, did God help her understand that she could only fulfill the happiness she desired in her heart by a life of holiness as a Sister. 

     In God’s providence, He calls the members of His Body, the Church, to fulfill their call to happiness through various holy vocations in the Church.   Indeed, He calls some Church members to the single life, others to Marriage and still others to religious life, consecrated virginity and Holy Orders.  In fact, by calling them to these various vocations in the Church, God calls them to be holy as He is holy.  In Scripture, hagiazo  means to “sanctify” and hagio means “holy” or “sacred.”  In this sense, by saying yes to God’s call to holiness, people are made holy or sacred in their vocations, beginning in Baptism, by the grace of God’s Holy One, Jesus Christ.  In this sanctification, they are set apart from the profane to live their life for God in Christ Jesus.  For this reason, they are called hagioi, or saints (holy ones).  In Scripture and Tradition, this life of holiness alone will lead the members of the Church to the perfect happiness in Heaven they desire in their hearts.  This is a desire for sainthood.  In the case of Sister Olvido, God providentially called her to be set apart, to become a saint, a holy woman of God, through her holy desire to be a nun as a Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception. For this reason, she was certainly inspired by God as a young girl to fully offer herself to Him by telling the Sisters that she wanted to become a nun in their Congregation. 

     After witnessing Sister Olvido’s authenticity, her authentic desire for religious life, as a fruit of God’s grace at work in her, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception readily accepted her at the school convent in Burgos as an aspirant on November 21st, 1950.  This aspirancy was the first stage in her formation as a Sister.  Yes, in a sense, she left all her family members behind, but she was never really alone.  They all accompanied her in spirit, through the love they had for her, including her father, her brothers, her sister and especially her deceased mother.  As she began this life as an aspirant, she believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary, her Immaculate Mother and Teacher in Heaven, was providentially guiding and forming her in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, to be the religious Sister God created and redeemed her to be.  Accordingly, from an early age she fully consecrated herself to Christ, through Blessed Mary, and remained faithful to that consecration throughout her vocation.  After completing this first phase of her formation as an aspirant, she entered the postulancy in Marcilla, Spain on September 13th, 1954.  This lasted 6 months until March 14th, 1955.  The day after, on March 15th, she began her novitiate in Marcilla, and a year later, she made her first profession on March 16th, 1956.  In this act, she professed her temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for 6 years as a Sister of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.  During those 6 years, she studied in Segovia, Spain for her education in Teaching.  Later, in Madrid, the capital of Spain, she completed her studies in Singing and Piano.  At the end of this initial formation, Sister Olvido finally made her perpetual profession in Madrid on September 20th, 1961.  In this act of profession, she consecrated herself perpetually to Christ, through the Virgin Mary, by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for life as a Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception. 

     As a Missionary Sister, she had to be prepared to leave Spain for a foreign country if she ever received such an assignment from her Superiors. As a result, only a month and a half after Sister Olvido made her perpetual profession in Madrid as a young member of her congregation, only 24 years old, her Superiors assigned her to California on November 3rd, 1961. She arrived in early 1962. After moving to California, she enrolled as a student of Fresno State University and graduated in Education, obtaining her credentials in Teaching and a Master’s degree in Psychology. This education would prepare her to teach children and adolescents in California for years.  She would remain in California for 53 years and 8 months until she finally returned to Spain in June of 2016 at the age of 81.  During those years, Sister Olvido lived in all four convents that her Congregation had in Central and Northern California.  As a Sister, she faithfully and joyfully fulfilled all the virtues of this conventual religious life daily, including praying the Liturgy of the Hours in common, participating in the conventual Mass, loving her Sisters as herself in the communion of consecrated friendship; practicing chaste celibacy, poverty and obedience; and discharging prudently and charitably her canonical assignments as Secretary and Mother Superior in her Congregation’s convents for many years. 

     These four convents, located in Firebaugh, Madera, Clovis and San Francisco, all had Catholic schools.  Throughout her teaching profession, Sister Olvido educated her students in these schools to be mature as disciples of Christ.  Indeed, as a teacher, she had a desire for them to develop to full maturity in their discipleship through a life of holiness.  In Catholic Tradition, such a holy life for people includes their natural and supernatural maturation in Christ through the grace of God.  In this sense, by her teaching ministry, Sister Olvido’s students matured naturally and supernaturally as holy sons and daughter of God in their Christian discipleship.  For this reason, in no time, she defined herself as a gifted and dedicated teacher who fully prepared herself for her classes every day in her desire to offer her students a great education that would hopefully form them in holiness by God’s grace.  On the one hand, this education in holiness that she offered them involved teaching them to use natural reason in their study of the secular subjects she taught them, such as science, math, music, art, English and Spanish.  As such, through her teaching, her students learned to mature naturally as rational persons.  On the other hand, for Sister Olvido, teaching her students to be holy also involved forming them to use the theological virtue of faith in their study of the religious subjects she offered them, particularly Catholic faith and morals in Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium.  This included teaching them about the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and the Sacraments. Moreover, in the great love that Sister developed for the Virgin Mary, throughout her life from childhood, she regularly communicated Marian doctrine to her students by her Marian piety.  In doing so, she planted seeds in them that would develop in their hearts to help form them as holy sons and daughters of the Virgin Mary.  Similarly, she also educated her students about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist by her Eucharistic piety in Mass and Adoration.  Here she communicated to them her First and Greatest Love, Jesus Christ.  Accordingly, through Sister’s teaching ministry in class and in her piety, her students learned to mature supernaturally as a holy people of faith by the grace of God.  They learned from her that just as grace perfects nature in general, faith perfects reason in particular.  In fact, as she formed them in holiness intellectually, by teaching them to use reason and faith in their studies, she also formed them morally as a people of virtue.  After all, in Catholic Teaching, reason and faith in the human intellect inform the moral actions of the human will, particularly the actions to love God and neighbor.  As a teacher, especially as a religious woman of faith and reason, fully dedicated to God, Sister Olvido loved God as her Greatest Good and her neighbors as herself, especially her students, including their parents and families.  As a result, she made many friends in Firebaugh, Madera, Clovis and San Francisco during her nearly 54 years in Central and Northern California.  They all loved her in life, and will certainly love her forever.  On this basis, throughout all her years in California, Sister Olvido fulfilled her sacred ministry in education by teaching her students in the classroom, but she also became a teacher to all people in secular society, especially in the Church, through her holy life of virtue.

     During Sister Olvido’s later years in California, including her last four and a half years in Spain, after returning in June of 2016, she suffered from poor health and eye problems.  As difficult as this was for her, she spent her last months peacefully in the community of las Rozas, Madrid, offering her gratitude to God for the grace to be all the more dedicated to Him, especially in prayer, during her suffering.  As her poor health continued to decline, she became bedridden to end a difficult year of 2020. Consequently, she was eventually moved to a hospital in Madrid, but after only 2 days there, God called her to Himself.  She died on January 2nd, 2021, the first Saturday of the year.

     As I recall the holy life of Sister Olvido, including her many years in California, I thank God for having her as a childhood teacher at St. Joseph School in Firebaugh from the late 70s to the early 80s.  True, I never had her as my homeroom teacher, but she did teach me music through the first quarter of my 5th grade year.  During those 5 years, besides Sister Olvido, I also had Sister Cruz, Sister Gloria and Sister Margarita as teachers.  Sister Carmen and Sister Paulina also lived in the convent at St. Joseph School.  They all certainly had received the gift of teaching from God.  This was a gift they developed and perfected by their university education and their years of teaching in California.  All the same, as gifted and prepared as they all were as teachers, I still had a difficult time learning from them.  This, of course, was not their fault.  They did not fail me in their teaching ministry.  I failed myself as a student.  I failed them.  I alone was at fault here.  I neither studied nor did I behave in class.  I had no desire for school.  I had no desire at all to use reason or faith to study and learn about secular and religious subjects academically.  Consequently, having no desire for school, I behaved badly as a student.  Indeed, I often verbally abused and disobeyed my teachers in class, especially Sister Gloria, Sister Cruz and Sister Margarita, but not Sister Olvido.  As bad as I normally was in class, I never acted badly in Sister Olvido’s class.  Of all my teachers at St. Joseph School, she alone inspired me to be good in class, not academically by her teaching, but personally or spiritually by her particular virtues, especially her piety.  As such, I, at least, behaved in her class as a student.

     In this sense, as bad as I generally was as a student, during those childhood years, I was certainly not a bad person. For all my difficulties, Sister Olvido still believed in me as a son of God.  She still believed that God’s goodness was at work in me through the love I had for God, for Blessed Mary and for the people of God.  I participated in Holy Mass every Sunday, prayed regularly and loved helping others, especially the poor.  In fact, I first remember God calling me to be a priest at the age of 7 in 1978.  I was in the first grade at St. Joseph School.  Sister Gloria was my teacher that year.  One day, after my father, a drug addict, had finally left my mother and my family and I for good, I heard some people (acquaintances in the neighborhood, not family members or friends) gossiping about me, claiming that someday I would end up in drugs just as my father.  They based this presumption on the failures I had as a student academically and behaviorally at St. Joseph School.  As a child, who was only 7 years old, that was difficult for me to hear.  He was still my dad.  I was angry at him, but I loved him. Consequently, later that night, moved by the Holy Spirit in my suffering, I offered a prayer to God.  As I recall, my prayer included my sorrow for sin and my desire to help my father by becoming a saint in Heaven someday: “Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sins.  I am sorry for all my failures in school.  As sinful as I am, I have no desire to become a drug addict as my father, as some people claim. I offer myself to you, Lord.  I only desire to become great someday as a saint in Heaven.  Hopefully, I can then help my father.  I have heard the Sisters, especially Sister Olvido, talk about the greatness of the saints, including the great works they did in this life.  I hope and pray, Lord, you will help me become great in Heaven someday.”  Right after I offered this prayer to Jesus in my suffering, He said to me: “Be a priest. You will fulfill your desire for greatness in Heaven someday through the priesthood.”  On hearing this interiorly in my heart, I received the gift of tears from the Holy Spirit.  True, as a child, I was underdeveloped academically.  I had a difficult time learning from class lectures and by reading.  Still, does this mean that I was neither gifted intellectually nor contemplatively?  Certainly not. I often raised my mind to contemplate the greatness of God, Blessed Mary, the saints and the perfect happiness of Heaven, especially during times of suffering.  Is this not what suffering often does to the man of faith?  Certainly.  In suffering, he often raises his mind prayerfully to God in contemplation, desiring for himself the greatness of God and God’s holy people in the perfect beatitude of Heaven.  In fact, my childhood prayer here, as I later learned, was really an intellectual act of prayerful contemplation, including the Word I received from God intellectually.  Shortly thereafter, still only 7 years old, I was inspired by God to ask my maternal grandmother to teach me to pray the Rosary of Our Lady.  After the Eucharist, this Marian devotion would become my greatest spiritual practice.  As a result, I began praying the Rosary regularly.  For this reason, as bad as I was, behaviorally and academically, as a student of St. Joseph School, Sister Olvido was right.  The goodness of God was at work in me through my Catholic faith.  He was at work in me preparing me to be the man He created and redeemed me to be.  He alone would have the last Word as to who I would become in life.  He alone, in the end, would determine my vocation, not the gossip from people in the neighborhood.

     At the same time, for all the good at work in me as a Roman Catholic, I failed the first grade and did not develop adequately in my academics through the fifth grade as the Sisters had hoped.  I had not yet formed the desire or virtue to become a good student, especially not in a classroom.  Consequently, during the fall of my fifth-grade year in 1982, after determining that I would continue having a difficult time behaving and learning in the milieu of a classroom at St. Joseph School, the principal, Sister Paulina, in her patience and mercy as a faithful daughter of God, recommended to my mother and grandmother the only alternative left for me at St. Joseph School: private lessons.  She offered to teach me privately at the convent.  My mother and grandmother certainly appreciated this offer from Sister Paulina, but after much prayer, they decided that they would enroll me in Firebaugh Junior High School.  They hoped that the resources available in public school would eventually help me develop academically as a student.  On my last day at St. Joseph School, all the Sisters, especially Sister Olvido, promised me they would pray for me.  At the time, I believed their prayers, including the prayers of my mother and grandmother, and others, would someday help me fulfill the work that God had begun in me as a Roman Catholic, the work of becoming a priest.

     In the providence of God, all the prayers offered for me by the people of God, including my prayers, would eventually lead me to the Order of Preachers, also called the Dominicans, to study for the religious priesthood.  This is an Order in the Church founded by a Spanish priest, St. Dominic de Guzman (b. August 8, 1170 – d. August 6, 1221), some 800 years ago in 1216 in Southern France.  As a man inspired by God, he determined that the mission of the Order, under the maternal patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary, would be the spiritual and intellectual formation and education of men as holy friars and priests to preach the Truth for the salvation of all people, particularly the Albigensians.  In this plan, friars would discharge the ministry of preaching as university professors, researchers, authors, campus ministers and itinerant preachers. 

     In contemplating God’s will for me in a vocation, I developed three desires for particular virtues as criteria that helped me prudentially judge that the Order of Preachers was, in fact, the Order that God was calling me to join. First of all, I formed a holy desire in my heart for reading and studying Truth (Veritas).  The Order of Preachers was the first Order in the Church to define and develop a program of study for friars at the universities to prepare them for the holy work of preaching the Truth.  I wanted this Truth for myself as never before. Secondly, I developed a desire to become an itinerant mission preacher as a Dominican friar.  The virtue of itinerant ministry, practiced by St. Dominic, was modeled after the itinerancy of Jesus as a traveling preacher.  In the Gospel, Jesus moves from place to place in preaching the Truth of God’s Word to the people.  This is my ministry as an itinerant preacher. Finally, I also joined the Order of Preachers because of the love I formed in my heart for Our Lady of the Rosary, through the years, by praying her Rosary from childhood.  According to Tradition, St. Dominic was the first person in the Church to receive the Rosary in an apparition from Our Lady in a forest near Toulouse, France in the early 13th century.  After learning this many years ago, I was moved to become a son of Our Lady of the Rosary, a Marian priest, in the Order of Preachers.  I thank God that my mother and grandmother helped form this Marian piety in me from childhood.  On this basis, my desire for Truth, my desire to be an itinerant preacher and my love for Blessed Mary helped form me in Christ to become a Dominican friar.   

     After my ordination in 2015, after many years of study in the Order of Preachers, I visited Sister Olvido at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Clovis, California.  When she saw me as a Dominican friar for the first time, she joyfully offered her gratitude to God for completing the holy work He had begun in me years earlier.  He was, indeed, at work in me from childhood, just as she said, purifying and preparing me for my vocation, through my suffering in Christ, as a son of God.  After thanking God for my vocation in the Order of Preachers, she proceeded to tell me that even though I had many difficulties as a student of St. Joseph School, academically and behaviorally, she still believed that God was at work in me during those years. She said God had a plan for me, but this plan was only fulfilled because I said yes to Him, just as she did years ago as a Sister of the Immaculate Conception.  In the providence of God, during the 37 years the Sisters worked at St. Joseph School, I was, by the mercy of God, only the second student ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood, after Tony Monreal, but the first friar of the Order of Preachers.  I thank God for my vocation.  I thank Him for mercifully healing my father in Christ. I thank Him for inspiring His people to mercifully offer prayers on my behalf in their love for me, especially the prayers of my family, my friends and all the Sisters, in particular Sister Olvido. Thank you, Sister! May you rest in the peace of Christ’s love!

In Christ with Blessed Mary,

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

     En el siglo II de la Iglesia, los antiguos Padres de la Iglesia, inspirados por Dios, desarrollaron su comprensión de la revelación recibida de Dios acerca de la Virgen María, al contemplar y estudiar a la Virgen en relación con su Hijo, Jesucristo, en la Sagrada Escritura y Tradición. Específicamente, en su comprensión de la revelación de Dios, creían que Dios creó a la Virgen María en perfecta santidad como la Segunda Eva para que algún día concebiría y daría a luz al Santísimo Hijo de Dios, Jesucristo, como hombre en perfecta santidad como el Segundo Adán. Según los Padres de la Iglesia, después de que el Primer Adán y Eva perdieron su santidad, a través del pecado, en la primera creación de Dios de la raza humana, Dios finalmente comenzó Su segunda creación de la humanidad al formar a Jesucristo y a la Virgen María en perfecta santidad como el Segundo Adán y Eva. En su perfecta santidad, como Hijo y Madre, solo ellos cumplirían perfectamente la obra que Dios los llamó a hacer en su plan de salvación para todas las personas. De hecho, solo podrían completar este trabajo con total santidad. Por un lado, en cuanto a la Virgen María, en su perfecta santidad, Dios la llamó a convertirse en la Segunda Eva, la Madre de Su Hijo Jesucristo. Esta vocación, como Madre suya, implicó formarlo en santa virtud hasta la madurez plena como hombre, no solo con sus palabras, sino también con sus acciones. En esta obra de la Divina Maternidad, se convertiría en la Primera y Máxima Discípula de su Hijo Jesucristo para la salvación de la humanidad. Por otro lado, Dios también llamó a Su Hijo, en Su perfecta santidad, a convertirse en el Hijo del Hombre, el Segundo Adán, a través de la Virgen María. Esta vocación implicó predicar el Evangelio con su vida santa, con sus palabras y acciones, especialmente con su sufrimiento y muerte, para salvar a todas las personas. En la providencia de Dios, Jesús cumple esta obra de salvación no por sí mismo, sino con la ayuda de su Madre. En consecuencia, los Padres de la Iglesia creían que la base para llamar a la Virgen María la Segunda Eva era su creación por Dios en perfecta santidad para ser la ayuda maternal de su Hijo, la Madre del Salvador, el Segundo Adán. Por eso, desde la antigüedad, los Padres de la Iglesia han llamado a la Virgen María Panagia, la Santísima Mujer, o la Sanctisisima, la Santísima Mujer. Sobre esta base, providencialmente, esta perfecta santidad de la Virgen María, como Segunda Eva, la preparó para convertirse en la Santísima Madre del Hijo de Dios, Jesucristo, el Segundo Adán, para la salvación de todos los hombres.

     En este breve artículo, comentaré algunos capítulos de tres obras de San Justino Mártir y San Ireneo de Lyon, los primeros Padres de la Iglesia del siglo II que ayudaron a la Iglesia, y a través de la inspiración de Dios, desarrollaron su comprensión de la Virgen María como la Segunda Eva, la Santísima Madre del Segundo Adán, Jesucristo. Estas obras incluyen el Diálogo con Trifón de San Justino y Contra las Herejías y La Prueba de la Predicación Apostólica de San Ireneo. Aquí estos Padres desarrollan paralelos de oposición para defender la perfecta santidad de la Virgen María como la Segunda Eva en relación con su Santo Hijo, el Segundo Adán, Jesucristo. En primer lugar, en algunos paralelos, comparan a la Virgen María y la Virgen Eva como contrarias entre sí espiritual y moralmente. Al hacerlo, no llaman directamente a la Virgen María la Segunda Eva, pero ciertamente profesan que ella es esta Segunda Mujer en la segunda creación de Dios por esta comparación. De hecho, después de proclamar a la Primera Virgen, la Virgen Eva, una virgen pecadora en la primera creación de la humanidad por parte de Dios, los Santos Justino e Ireneo proclaman la Segunda Virgen, la Virgen María, una santa virgen en la segunda creación de Dios de la raza humana. En segundo lugar, en otros paralelos de oposición, también comparan a la Virgen María y Jesucristo como contrarios espirituales y morales al Primer Adán y Eva. Aquí, una vez más, no nombran directamente a la Virgen María y Jesucristo como el Segundo Adán y Eva, pero ciertamente los proclaman como este Segundo Hombre y Mujer en la segunda creación de Dios por esta comparación. En este sentido, después de profesar que el primer Adán y Eva fueron pecadores en la primera creación de Dios de la raza humana, los Santos Justino e Ireneo proclaman que la Virgen María y Jesucristo son el Santo Hombre y Mujer en la segunda creación de la humanidad por parte de Dios. Sobre esta base, al comparar, en todos estos paralelos, la Virgen María con la Virgen Eva, o la Virgen María y Jesucristo con el Primer Adán y Eva, los Padres de la Iglesia enseñan que la naturaleza de su oposición entre sí como seres humanos sigue siendo el mismo, porque permanecen espiritual y moralmente opuestos entre sí en su humanidad.

     Como los Santos Justino e Ireneo desarrollan sus paralelos de oposición para defender la perfecta santidad de la Virgen María como la Segunda Eva, la Madre del Segundo Adán, Jesucristo, basan principalmente estos paralelos en el Génesis, las Cartas de San Pablo y el Evangelio de San Lucas, mientras los estudian y contemplan, como hombres de fe.  En estas fuentes primarias de la Sagrada Escritura, los autores humanos inspirados, Moisés y San Pablo, con la ayuda de San Lucas, desarrollan allí paralelos de oposición.  Moisés, por su parte, a través de una revelación de Dios, profetiza la venida de una Mujer y su Hijo que salvará a la humanidad del mal oponiéndose a la Serpiente y sus demonios. En cuanto a San Pablo, después de escuchar el mensaje evangélico de Cristo mismo, incluida la Tradición oral de la Anunciación en San Lucas, desarrolla un paralelo de oposición de Adán y Cristo. Por esta razón, los Santos Justino e Ireneo basarían sus paralelos principalmente en las obras de Moisés y San Pablo después de leer el Evangelio de San Lucas. Como tal, estas fuentes primarias de las Escrituras informan sus paralelos. En ellos, los Santos Justino e Ireneo comparan a la Virgen María con la Virgen Eva, o la Virgen María y Jesucristo con el Primer Adán y la Primera Eva. En consecuencia, antes de comentar las obras de los Santos Justino e Ireneo, primero comentaré brevemente el Génesis y las Cartas de San Pablo, incluido el Evangelio de San Lucas, las fuentes primarias que utilizan para desarrollar sus paralelos de oposición, como bases de la perfecta santidad de la Virgen María.

     En la primera fuente de las Escrituras, Génesis, después del pecado del Primer Adán y Eva, Dios inspiró a Moisés, el autor humano del Génesis, a proclamar, a través de un paralelo de oposición, la venida de una Mujer y su Hijo que se opondrían a la maldad (Génesis 3:15). La Iglesia profesa que esta Mujer y su Hijo, profetizados por Moisés como oponentes del mal, son el Segundo Adán y Eva, Jesucristo y Su Madre, la Virgen María, del Evangelio. Este primer paralelo de oposición del Génesis, llamado el Protoevangelio, informa los paralelos que los Santos Justin e Ireneo desarrollarían más tarde.  En este paralelo particular del Génesis, Moisés primero compara al Segundo Adán y Eva con el Primer Adán y Eva.  Por eso después de que recuerda en Génesis el pecado del Primer Hombre y la Primera Mujer, el pecado de Adán y Eva, profetiza la virtud del Segundo Hombre y la Segunda Mujer, la virtud de la Mujer y su Hijo, que algún día vendrían como el Segundo Adán y Eva para oponerse al pecado del Primer Adán y Eva por su virtud.  Como tales, estos hombres y mujeres, Adán y Cristo, por un lado, y Eva y María, por el otro, se opondrían entre sí espiritual y moralmente como seres humanos. De hecho, por su oposición entre sí, el Segundo Adán y Eva serían santos, pero el Primer Adán y Eva, pecadores.

     Además, en el segundo paralelo de oposición del Protoevangelio del Génesis, Moisés, inspirado por Dios, compara la bondad de la Mujer y su Hijo, el Segundo Adán y Eva, con la maldad de la Serpiente y Sus ángeles caídos o demonios. Ciertamente, la Mujer misma y su Hijo, en su bondad, trabajarían en nombre del Buen Dios en la guerra contra la Serpiente malvada y Sus demonios. Asi, en esta guerra del bien contra el mal, se opondrían como agentes espirituales y morales. Por lo que en este pasaje, Dios proclama, a través de Moisés, que la Mujer y su Hijo, por un lado, y la Serpiente y Sus demonios, por el otro, serían enemigos entre sí espiritual y moralmente por la Voluntad de Dios. Esto significa que la Mujer y su Hijo serían santos, pero la Serpiente y Sus demonios, impíos. En consecuencia, en el Protoevangelio, Dios promete, a través de Moisés, que la Mujer y su Hijo, en su santidad como siervos de Dios, vencerían la pecaminosidad de Satanás y Sus ángeles caídos aplastando sus cabezas, porque con este acto santo, los destruirían. Sobre esta base, este versículo del Génesis es la primera fuente en las Escrituras que los Santos Justino e Ireneo usan a medida que desarrollan sus paralelos de oposición para defender la perfecta santidad de la Virgen María en relación con su Hijo, Jesucristo.

     La segunda fuente de la Sagrada Escritura que los Santos Justino e Ireneo usan para desarrollar sus paralelos de oposición es el corpus de San Pablo, en particular su Primera Carta a los Corintios y su Carta a los Romanos. Al hacerlo, utilizan la comparación de San Pablo en su paralelo del Primer Hombre, Adán, y el Segundo Hombre, Cristo, como base para comparar a la Virgen Eva, como la Primera Mujer, y a la Virgen María, como la Segunda Mujer en sus paralelos de oposición. Por esta razón, aquí comentaré brevemente las enseñanzas de San Pablo sobre Cristo y Adán que informan las obras de los Santos Justino e Ireneo.

     En la Primera Carta de San Pablo a los Corintios alrededor del año 56, primero desarrolla un paralelo de Adán y Cristo después de estudiar y contemplar la revelación de Dios sobre Adán en el Génesis y también la revelación que recibió de Cristo mismo durante su vida (Gálatas 1:12, Hechos de los Apóstoles 9:3-5), incluida la Tradición oral del Evangelio de San Lucas. Aquí compara a Adán y Cristo como creadores o padres de la humanidad. En primer lugar, cuando San Pablo comienza este paralelo de oposición en La Primera Carta a los Corintios comparando a Adán con Cristo, llama a Adán el Primer Hombre o el Primer Adán (1 Corintios 15: 45a) en la primera creación de Dios. De hecho, Dios creó a Adán a su imagen divina (Génesis 1:27) como la primera persona humana, un ser racional y libre, que se convertiría en el padre original de la raza humana por naturaleza. Al hacerlo, formó a Adán del “polvo de la tierra” y sopló su “aliento de vida” en él (Génesis 2: 7). En consecuencia, cuando San Pablo recuerda esta revelación de Dios en el Génesis, dice que el Primer Hombre, Adán, se convirtió en el primer ser humano en recibir vida “natural” por la acción de Dios (1 Corintios 15: 45-46). De hecho, Dios lo formó para que fuera una “persona natural” (1 Corintios 2:14) “de la tierra” (1 Corintios 15: 46-47). Por lo tanto, después de que Dios creó a este primer hombre a su imagen, proclamó que era realmente “bueno” (Génesis 1:31). De todos modos, a pesar de lo bueno que Dios creó a Adán para que fuera el Primer Hombre, se hizo “terrenal” (1 Corintios 15:47). Según San Pablo, esto significa que se convirtió en un hombre “de la carne” (1 Corintios 3:3). Se convirtió en pecador (1 Corintios 3:3, 15: 21-22, Gálatas 5: 16-21). Por lo que, en la enseñanza de San Pablo, como hombre de la carne, Adán perdió la gracia de Dios por el pecado. Como consecuencia, todos los descendientes de Adán en la primera creación de Dios llevan la “imagen” de Dios según la naturaleza caída del “hombre terrenal” desde la concepción (1 Corintios 15:49), porque todos han recibido la misma naturaleza humana que Adán. Por su pecado, el Primer Hombre, Adán, sometió a todas las personas a la mortalidad y corrupción de la muerte. Sobre esta base, San Pablo llama a Adán el origen o causa de la muerte de todas las personas, porque “todos mueren en Adán” (1 Corintios 15:22). Esta no es solo una muerte espiritual, una contaminación del alma, sino también una muerte corporal para todos.

     En segundo lugar, cuando San Pablo completa este paralelo de oposición en su Primera Carta a los Corintios comparando a Cristo con el Primer Hombre, Adán, llama a Cristo el “Segundo Hombre” o el “Segundo Adán” (1 Corintios 15:45, 47). Esto significa que Dios formó a Cristo como hombre para que fuera, en cierto sentido, el Segundo Padre de la raza humana espiritualmente (1 Corintios 5: 5, 15: 3-4) en la segunda creación de Dios de la humanidad. Por lo tanto, Cristo es su Cabeza o Salvador. De hecho, así como un padre es el cabeza de familia, Cristo también es el cabeza de su familia, la Iglesia. Según San Pablo, en “la plenitud de los tiempos, Dios envió a su Hijo” para ser concebido y “nacido de una mujer” como el segundo Adán por el Espíritu Santo (Gálatas 4: 4). Por esta razón, como el Segundo Adán, el Hijo de Dios, es un hombre espiritual, un hombre del Espíritu (1 Corintios 15:46, Romanos 4: 6, 29). Como tal, el Hijo de Dios se convirtió en el Hijo del hombre, a través de una mujer, por el Espíritu Santo para comunicar la vida espiritual de “adopción” a todos los seres humanos (Romanos 8:15, Gálatas 4: 5, 1 Corintios 15:45 -46). En este acto, el Hijo natural de Dios, formado como hombre, como el Segundo Adán, los llamó a ser recreados espiritualmente como hijos e hijas adoptivos de Dios por medio del Espíritu Santo (Gálatas 4: 5-6). San Pablo llama a esta segunda creación de Dios, una recreación espiritual en Cristo, para las personas humanas (2 Corintios 5:17, Gálatas 6:15). Se vuelven “santificados en Cristo” (1 Corintios 1: 2, 6:11). En esta recreación, Dios los conforma espiritualmente a la imagen de Su Hijo por la gracia de Su Espíritu (2 Corintios 3:18, Romanos 8:29, Gálatas 4: 6-7). De hecho, por esta gracia del Espíritu de Dios, “llevan la imagen del celestial” resucitado de entre los muertos (1 Corintios, 15:49, Romanos 6: 9). Como el segundo Adán, Cristo es el origen o la causa de la resurrección de los muertos de todas las personas, porque “en Cristo todos resucitarán” (1 Corintios 15: 21-22). Esto es, ante todo, una resurrección espiritual para ellos, por la gracia del Espíritu Santo, en el Bautismo. San Pablo llama a esto la gracia de la justificación (Romanos 5:17), porque todos se vuelven justos. Sobre esta base, esta gracia ciertamente los prepara espiritualmente para una resurrección corporal incorruptible de entre los muertos en el Ultimo Día, el Día del Señor (1 Corintios 15: 52-54, 5: 5).

     Además, en la Carta de San Pablo a los Romanos alrededor del año 57 o 58 (Romanos 5:12-21), desarrolla otro rasgo de su paralelo Adán y Cristo al comparar el juicio que Adán recibió por su desobediencia y el don que Cristo recibió por Su obediencia. Así como el primer Adán recibió un juicio de condenación a muerte por su desobediencia, Cristo, el segundo Adán, el justo Hijo de Dios, mereció el don de la justificación por su obediencia. En consecuencia, como cabezas o padres de sus descendientes naturales y espirituales, San Pablo dice que tanto el Primer Adán como el Segundo Adán comunicaron a su pueblo las consecuencias o frutos de sus acciones. Por un lado, esto significa que los descendientes naturales del Primer Adán, todas las personas, recibieron el juicio de la condenación que Adán recibió por su acto de desobediencia. Esta fue una condena a muerte para todos los seres humanos. Asi, por su desobediencia, el Primer Adán los engendró a todos a la muerte espiritual, la pérdida de su gracia original, desde su concepción en el vientre de su madre. Esta muerte comienza interiormente en su corazón, pero termina en su muerte corporal. Por otro lado, el Segundo Adán, Cristo, comunicó a Sus descendientes espirituales, miembros de Su Cuerpo, la Iglesia, el don de la justificación que Él merecía para ellos por Su acto de obediencia. Sobre esta base, se hicieron justos, por el don de la gracia que recibieron de Cristo, a través de Su obediencia.

     La tercera fuente primaria de las obras de los Santos Justino e Ireneo es el Evangelio. Aquí solo comentaré brevemente la Anunciación del Evangelio de San Lucas. Como recordará, este pasaje de la Sagrada Escritura narra la revelación del ángel Gabriel de la Palabra de Dios a la Virgen María. Cuando aparece ante ella, primero le proclama su saludo angelical: “¡Salve, llena eres de gracia! El Señor es contigo ”(Lucas 1:28). Según la Tradición, aquí el saludo del ángel Gabriel a la Virgen María, Dios te salve, llena eres de gracia, se refiere a la plenitud de la gracia de Dios que ella recibió de Él, mediante su concepción, como ser humano. En otras palabras, este saludo del ángel Gabriel recuerda que Dios formó a la Virgen María en la gracia de la perfecta santidad. De hecho, la palabra griega “kecharitomene” (llena de gracia) revela que Él la creó completamente santificada en su persona. Por lo que ella nunca estuvo sujeta al pecado. La base para que Dios concibiera a la Virgen María en perfecta santidad fue que Él quiso que fuera la Segunda Eva, la Santa Madre del Segundo Adán, Jesucristo. Por lo cual, ella recibió esta plenitud de gracia de Dios como la Segunda Eva para prepararla para convertirse en la Madre del Segundo Adán. Asi, después de saludarla como tal, el ángel Gabriel le revela a la Virgen María que ella concebirá y dará a luz al Hijo de Dios como Hijo del Hombre por el Espíritu Santo (Lucas 1:35). Por eso, en su fidelidad como Segunda Eva, la Virgen María cree la revelación que recibe de Dios a través del ángel Gabriel. En este acto de fe, ella ofrece fielmente su obediencia a la Palabra de Dios: “He aquí, soy la esclava del Señor. Hágase en mí según Su palabra” (Lucas 1:38). Aquí su obediencia a Dios es fruto de su perfecta santidad. Sobre esta base, en su Evangelio, San Lucas describe a la Virgen María como lo opuesto a la Virgen Eva, que desobedeció a Dios, porque ella es la Segunda Eva, la Santa Mujer, que concebiría y daría a luz a su Hijo, el Segundo Adán, en obediencia a la Palabra de Dios. Como tal, aquí la enseñanza de San Lucas sobre la Virgen María informa los paralelos de oposición que los Santos Justino e Ireneo se desarrollarían como base para la perfecta santidad de la Virgen María.

     Para continuar, ofreceré mi comentario sobre las obras de los Padres de la Iglesia, San Justino Mártir y San Ireneo de Lyon, quienes utilizaron los pasajes antes mencionados del Génesis, las Cartas de San Pablo y el Evangelio de San Lucas para desarrollar sus paralelos de oposición como base para la perfecta santidad de la Segunda Eva, la Virgen María, en relación con su Hijo, el Segundo Adán, Jesucristo. La Virgen María tenía que ser santa como mujer antes de poder concebir y dar a luz a su santo Hijo como hombre. Los paralelos de oposición, desarrollados primero en Génesis, las Cartas de San Pablo y el Evangelio de San Lucas, y más tarde en las obras de los Santos Justino e Ireneo, revelan que la santidad de la Virgen María y Jesucristo, como el Segundo Adán y Eva, nunca podría ser contaminada por la pecaminosidad del Primer Adán y Eva o por la maldad de Satanás y Sus ángeles caídos. Como resultado, estos paralelos de oposición en la Sagrada Escritura y la Tradición revelan que la Virgen María y Jesucristo, por un lado, y Adán y Eva, y Satanás y sus demonios, por otro lado, se oponen entre sí espiritual y moralmente. Los Santos Justino e Ireneo proclamaron esta verdad en sus obras.

     En cuanto a San Justino Mártir, un apologista del siglo II (100-165 d. C.), fue el primer Padre de la Iglesia en desarrollar el paralelo Eva y María en su Diálogo con Trifón (161 d. C.) después de leer el Libro de Génesis, las Cartas de San Pablo, y el Evangelio de San Lucas. Al hacerlo, San Justino considera su relación solo brevemente al final del capítulo 100, pero es el primer Padre de la Iglesia en hacer esto. Su breve paralelo aquí fue todavía un desarrollo en la enseñanza mariana en el siglo II. Este es un desarrollo en la comprensión de la revelación recibida de Dios sobre la persona y misión de la Virgen María. En su Diálogo, San Justino desarrolla este paralelo de Eva y María comparando la desobediencia de la Primera Eva, la Virgen Eva, y la obediencia de la Segunda Eva, la Virgen María. En particular, el Hijo de Dios se convirtió en el Hijo del Hombre mediante la obediencia de la Virgen María para destruir la desobediencia de la Virgen Eva. Por eso, así como la Virgen Eva destruyó su obediencia a la Palabra de Dios al obedecer la palabra de la Serpiente, la Virgen María destruyó la obediencia de la Virgen Eva a la palabra de la Serpiente al obedecer la Palabra de Dios que le fue anunciada a través del ángel. En consecuencia, por un lado, al concebir la palabra de la Serpiente a través de la desobediencia, la Virgen Eva “llevó la muerte en sí misma”. Y por ende, se convirtió en la madre de la muerte. Por otro lado, al concebir la Palabra de Dios en la fe mediante la obediencia, la Virgen María se convirtió en la madre de la vida divina a través del Espíritu Santo. Asi, en fiel obediencia a Dios, ella creyó fielmente en la Palabra que recibió de Dios a través del ángel. Esta es la Palabra de que ella se convertiría en la madre de Su Hijo, el Dios-Hombre, Jesucristo. Cuando proclamó: “He aquí la esclava del Señor. Hágase en mí según tu palabra ”(Lucas 1:38). Por esto, mediante su fiel sí a Dios, la Virgen María concibió y dio a luz al Hijo de Dios, como Hijo del Hombre, que salvaría, en primer lugar, a todos los arrepentidos, que creyeran fielmente en Él. En segundo lugar, este Hijo de Dios, que fue concebido y nacido de la Virgen María como el Hijo del Hombre, también destruiría a todos los incrédulos impenitentes por su infidelidad. Asi, todas las personas de fe arrepentidas serían salvadas del pecado y la muerte por el Dios-Hombre, Jesucristo, imitando la fe de Su madre, la Virgen María, quien obedeció fielmente a la Palabra que recibió del ángel de Dios. A la inversa, todos los incrédulos impenitentes serían destruidos por Él por imitar la infidelidad de la Virgen Eva, que desobedeció la Palabra de Dios, al obedecer la palabra que recibió de la Serpiente. Esta Serpiente, incluidos los ángeles caídos, también sería destruida por el Dios-Hombre. Sobre esta base, aquí San Justino desarrolla este paralelo de Eva y María para proclamar que la Virgen Eva, la Auxiliadora de Adán, se convirtió en la madre de la muerte de todas las personas por su desobediencia a Dios, pero la Virgen María, Auxiliar de su Hijo, Jesucristo, se convirtió en la Segunda Eva, la madre de la vida de la gracia para todos los seres humanos, por su obediencia a Dios (Diálogo, Capítulo 100).

     San Ireneo (115-202 d.C.), Obispo de Lyon, fue el segundo Padre de la Iglesia en desarrollar la comprensión de la Iglesia de la Virgen María en relación con su Hijo, Jesucristo, después de leer las fuentes mencionadas en la Sagrada Escritura, incluida la obra de San Justino. Lo hace, en primer lugar, en el capítulo 19 del Libro III en Contra las Herejías (180 d.C.). En esta obra, San Ireneo presenta a la Virgen María como la Segunda Eva, la Ayudante de su Hijo, Jesucristo, en el plan de salvación de Dios para los seres humanos. Es cierto que no menciona directamente a Adán y Eva en este capítulo, pero estos primeros seres humanos, creados por Dios, como esposo y esposa, que se convertirían en los primeros padres de la raza humana, ciertamente informan lo que él enseña aquí sobre Jesús y María. Según San Ireneo, después de que el Primer Adán y Eva corrompieron a sus descendientes humanos, a través del pecado, Dios levantó un Segundo Adán y Eva, Jesús y María, para salvarlos a través de su fidelidad a Dios. En consecuencia, para San Ireneo, Dios llamó a Jesús y María, Hijo y Madre, para ser, en cierto sentido, los segundos padres de los seres humanos, un Padre y una Madre espirituales, que trabajarían para salvarlos en el plan de salvación de Dios. De hecho, San Ireneo cree, en el plan de Dios, que esta obra de salvación de Jesús y Su Ayudante, la Virgen María, inició una segunda creación de todas las personas por adopción. Esto significa que en la providencia de Dios, llamó a todos los seres humanos a “recibir el don de la adopción” convirtiéndose en hijos e hijas de Dios a través de una “promoción a Dios”. Por esta razón, en la enseñanza de San Ireneo, el Hijo de Dios, Jesucristo, se hizo hombre para que los seres humanos fueran adoptados como hijos e hijas de Dios. Como resultado, les ofreció la inmortalidad y la incorruptibilidad, por adopción, porque era “más que un simple hombre”, “mas que todos los hombres.” Para San Ireneo, solo Jesucristo, como Hijo de Dios, pudo haber salvado a todas las personas como hombres. Solo Él podría haberlos recreado en Su imagen divina como hijos e hijas de Dios inmortales e incorruptibles por adopción (Contra las Herejías, Libro III, Capítulo 19, Párrafos 1-3).

     De todos modos, San Ireneo también enseña que debido a que el Hijo de Dios requirió una verdadera naturaleza humana que descendiera del Primer Adán, a través de la casa de David, solo Él pudo haber ofrecido este regalo de adopción a los seres humanos, por Su concepción humana. y nacimiento de una virgen hija de David. En la providencia de Dios, esta virgen, por supuesto, fue la Virgen María, la Segunda Eva, que concibió y dio a luz al Hijo de Dios. En esta obra de San Ireneo, Contra las Herejías, proclama que así como el Hijo de Dios recibió una generación divina preeminente de Dios Padre desde toda la eternidad, también recibió una generación humana preeminente en el tiempo de Su Madre, la Virgen María. Al hacerlo, San Ireneo indica que la preeminencia de las generaciones divina y humana del Hijo de Dios significa que ambos generadores, Dios Padre y la Virgen Madre de Dios, serían perfectos en su divinidad y humanidad respectivamente. Como tal, el Hijo de Dios mismo también sería perfecto como Dios y como hombre. En este sentido, en su perfección, el Hijo de Dios se convirtió en el Hijo del Hombre de la humanidad de María para salvar a todos los seres humanos como hijos e hijas adoptivos de Dios Padre y de la Virgen Madre. Finalmente, San Ireneo se hace esta pregunta: ¿Quién hubiera imaginado que el Hijo de Dios, engendrado eternamente del Padre, hubiera salvado a la humanidad por una generación temporal de una Virgen humana? ¿Quién se hubiera imaginado que podría haber concebido virginalmente al Hijo de Dios como hombre y permanecer virgen al dar a luz? Solo convirtiéndose en un verdadero hombre de una verdadera Virgen podría el verdadero Dios sufrir, morir y resucitar en gloria por la salvación de todos los seres humanos. De hecho, solo por Su concepción y nacimiento como hombre, a través de la Virgen María, podrían todos convertirse en beneficiarios de Su resurrección inmortal e incorruptible de entre los muertos. Sobre esta base, para San Ireneo, la salvación de todas las personas, por adopción, fue una obra realizada principalmente por el Segundo Adán, Cristo mismo, como Agente Principal, pero en segundo lugar por la Virgen María, Su Auxiliadora materna, como Segunda Eva, porque Él recibió Su humanidad de ella (Contra Herejías, Libro III, Capítulo 19, Párrafos 1-3).

     Adicionalmente, en el capítulo 21 del Libro III en Contra las Herejías, San Ireneo desarrolla un paralelo que involucra la creación de Dios del Primer Hombre, Adán, de la tierra virgen (Génesis 2: 7) y Su formación del Segundo Adán, Cristo, de la Virgen María. Por lo que, así como el Primer Adán no tuvo un padre natural, sino que fue creado de la tierra virgen por Dios mismo, tampoco el Segundo Adán, Cristo, tuvo un padre natural, sino que fue formado por Dios mismo de la Virgen María. En este paralelo, San Ireneo compara la moralidad del Primer Adán creado de la tierra virgen para ser un padre natural y la moralidad del Segundo Adán creado de la Virgen María para ser un padre espiritual. Por un lado, el Primer Hombre, Adán, recibió la sustancia de su naturaleza humana de tierra virgen a través de la Palabra de Dios. Como el Primer Hombre, fue creado por la Palabra de Dios en la sustancia de su humanidad de la tierra virgen para ser el origen natural o padre de todos los seres humanos en la primera creación de Dios, pero desobedeció la Palabra de Dios. Realmente, desobedeció la Palabra de Dios al pecar contra él. Por eso, con su desobediencia, el Primer Hombre, Adán, introdujo a todos los seres humanos fruto malo, el fruto del pecado, incluso la muerte. Por consiguiente, como padre del pecado, se convirtió en padre de la muerte para todos. Por otro lado, el Segundo Adán, Cristo, recibió la sustancia de su naturaleza humana de la Segunda Eva, la Virgen María, en la segunda creación de Dios. En consecuencia, formado por Dios a partir de la Virgen María en la sustancia de su humanidad, recapituló o resumió la creación del Primer Adán en sí mismo, incluidos sus descendientes. Como tal, como el Segundo Adán, fue concebido y nacido de la Virgen María, mediante la Palabra de Dios, para ser el origen espiritual o padre de todos los seres humanos, por Su obediencia a Dios mismo, en Su segunda creación. En Su obediencia a Él, presentó buen fruto, el fruto de justicia, a todas las personas. Esto significa que, como origen o padre de la justicia, se convirtió en el padre de la vida espiritual de todos los seres humanos. Según San Ireneo, Cristo, el Segundo Adán, solo podría haberse convertido en un origen espiritual o padre de justicia para todas las personas, por medio de la Segunda Eva, la Virgen María. Después de todo, como el Segundo Adán, en la segunda creación de Dios, recibió de la humanidad de la Virgen María, la naturaleza humana del Primer Adán. Como resultado, a través de esta naturaleza, recapituló al Primer Adán en Sí mismo, incluidos todos los descendientes de Adán. Sobre esta base, en esta recapitulación, los salvó como hombres, por Su justicia, en obediencia a la Palabra de Dios (Contra las Herejías, Libro III, Capítulo 21, Párrafo 10).

     Además, en el capítulo 22 del Libro III en Contra de las Herejías, San Ireneo desarrolla, por primera vez, un paralelo de Eva y María. En este paralelo, compara la desobediencia de la Virgen Eva y la obediencia de la Virgen María. Por un lado, como mujer, casada con su esposo, Adán, la Primera Eva fue desobediente a Dios como virgen en su matrimonio. En consecuencia, por su desobediencia, se convirtió en causa de muerte para ella y para todos los seres humanos. Por esta razón, se le llama la madre de la muerte, porque ella fue la madre de todas las personas para la muerte espiritual y corporal. Al hacerlo, San Ireneo enseña que esta Primera Mujer, la Virgen Eva, ató a todos los seres humanos en un nudo, el nudo de la muerte, por su desobediencia a Dios. Por otro lado, como mujer, casada con su esposo, San José, María, la Segunda Eva, fue obediente a Dios como virgen en su matrimonio. En consecuencia, a través de su obediencia a Dios, se convirtió en la causa de la salvación para ella y para todas las personas. Como tal, ella es la madre de la vida, porque ella llevó a todas las personas a la vida de salvación espiritual y corporal. Según San Ireneo, esto significa que esta Segunda Eva, la Virgen María, desató el nudo de la muerte de todas las personas por su obediencia a Dios. De hecho, a través de su obediencia, desató la desobediencia de Eva. Por eso, con su acto de obediencia, liberó a los seres humanos de su esclavitud a la desobediencia, incluida la muerte. San Ireneo llama a la obediencia de la Virgen María un acto de fe, porque ella obedeció fielmente la Palabra de Dios. A la inversa, él llama a la desobediencia de la Virgen Eva un acto de incredulidad, porque ella desobedeció infielmente la Palabra de Dios. Ella no tenía fe en lo que le decía. Como tal, la Virgen Eva se convirtió en la madre de la esclavitud de la muerte, pero la Virgen María se convirtió en la madre de la vida en libertad. Sobre esta base, lo que la Virgen Eva ató con su incredulidad, la Virgen María lo desató con su fe (Contra las Herejías, Libro III, Capítulo 22, Párrafo 4).

     También en el capítulo 19 del Libro V en Contra las Herejías, San Ireneo desarrolla aún más su paralelo Eva y María. En este paralelo, compara la influencia que los ángeles santos y caídos tuvieron sobre la Virgen Eva y la Virgen María. Por un lado, después de escuchar la palabra engañosa de la Serpiente, el mismo Satanás, la Virgen Eva creyó la mentira que escuchó de Él. En consecuencia, fue engañada por Su engaño para que huyera de Dios por desobediencia. Por otro lado, después de que la Virgen María, la Segunda Eva, escuchó la Palabra de Dios del santo ángel, San Gabriel, ella creyó que Su mensaje era verdadero. Este fue el mensaje de que ella concebiría y llevaría a Dios mismo. Por esta razón, el santo ángel la guió a Dios, a través de Su mensaje, que se convertiría en Madre de Dios por su obediencia a Su Palabra. Según San Ireneo, esto significa que a través de su obediencia a la Palabra de Dios, al convertirse en Su Madre, la Virgen María se convertiría en la Patrona (Abogada) de la Virgen Eva, incluida la Patrona de todos los descendientes de la Virgen Eva.  En este sentido, para San Ireneo, tan pecadora como lo fue la Virgen Eva, todavía fue redimida por Dios, a través del Patronato de la Virgen María, Madre de Dios. Por tanto, así como la Virgen Eva sometió a la muerte a sus descendientes por su desobediencia virginal, la Virgen María salvó a la Virgen Eva, incluidos sus descendientes, instrumentalmente de tal muerte, por su obediencia virginal (Contra las Herejías, Libro V, Capítulo 19, Párrafo 1).

     Finalmente, en su Prueba de la Predicación Apostólica (185 d.C.), San Ireneo continúa su desarrollo de su paralelo Eva y María. Al hacerlo, aplica su doctrina de la recapitulación, por primera vez, a Eva y María en relación con Adán y Cristo. Como recordará, San Ireneo primero aplica esta doctrina solo a Adán y a Cristo en el capítulo 21 del Libro III en Contra las Herejías. En esta obra, Prueba de la Predicación Apostólica, San Ireneo proclama que esta recapitulación involucra, en primer lugar, a Cristo y a la Virgen María resumiendo la creación original de Adán y Eva, a través de su formación como Segundo Hombre y Mujer, por la Voluntad y Sabiduría de Dios. Este es el comienzo de la segunda creación de la humanidad por parte de Dios. Por un lado, Cristo, el Segundo Adán, recapituló en Sí mismo Su creación del Primer Adán de la tierra virgen al formar una naturaleza humana para Él mismo de la Virgen María, la Segunda Eva, por Su Voluntad y Sabiduría. En verdad, fue concebido y nacido de ella como hombre, por la Voluntad de Dios, mediante el Espíritu Santo, el Espíritu de Sabiduría. Por otro lado, la Virgen María recapituló en sí misma la creación de Cristo de la Virgen Eva del Primer Hombre, Adán, porque la formó, en cierto sentido, de Él mismo, el Segundo Adán, por Su Voluntad y Sabiduría. Como tal, para San Ireneo, la recapitulación es, ante todo, una obra de creación. Aquí Dios mismo, por Su Voluntad y Sabiduría, formó la humanidad una segunda vez en las personas del Segundo Adán y la Segunda Eva. En este acto de creación, recapitularon la creación original de Adán y Eva. En segundo lugar, San Ireneo también proclama que la recapitulación es una obra de salvación que Jesús y la Virgen María, Hijo y Madre, cumplieron como el Segundo Adán y Eva por su obediencia a Dios. En este sentido, Cristo y la Virgen María, mediante su obediencia, resumieron espiritual y moralmente a Adán y Eva para destruir su desobediencia por la Voluntad y Sabiduría de Dios. De hecho, así como Cristo, mediante su obediencia, como agente espiritual y moral, recapituló a Adán en sí mismo para destruir la desobediencia de Adán, de manera similar la Virgen María, por su parte, recapituló a Eva en sí misma espiritual y moralmente, mediante su obediencia, para destruir la desobediencia de Eva. En esta obra de recapitulación del plan de salvación de Dios por la obediencia de Cristo y Su Madre, la Virgen María, no solo destruyeron la desobediencia de Adán y Eva, sino que también destruyeron la consecuencia de su desobediencia, la muerte. Según San Ireneo, esta obra de salvación, a través de la recapitulación, implicó un proceso de restauración llamado recirculación. En su enseñanza, esta obra se cumplió, ante todo, por las acciones de Cristo mismo, Agente Principal de la salvación, pero también en segundo lugar por las acciones de la Virgen María, como Auxiliadora de su Hijo, el Salvador. Aquí las acciones virtuosas de Cristo y la Virgen María contrarrestaron las acciones pecaminosas de Adán y Eva. En consecuencia, como el Primer Adán perdió su comunión en la amistad de Dios al ordenar sus acciones pecaminosamente contra Dios por medio de la desobediencia, Cristo, el Segundo Adán, por Su parte, recuperó esta unión o amistad divina al ordenar sus acciones virtuosamente a Dios a través de la obediencia. Asimismo, como la Primera Eva perdió su comunión en la amistad de Dios al ordenar sus acciones pecaminosamente contra Dios por la desobediencia, la Virgen María, por su parte, como Segunda Eva, preparó a su Hijo, el Segundo Adán, para recuperar esta amistad divina ordenando sus acciones virtuosamente a Dios mediante la obediencia. En este sentido, aquí las acciones virtuosas de Cristo y la Virgen María, Hijo y Madre, son paralelas a las acciones pecaminosas de Adán y Eva, esposo y esposa, paso a paso, en orden inverso. Este es el proceso de restauración de la raza humana que Cristo y la Virgen María cumplieron en obediencia a la Voluntad y Sabiduría de Dios al volver sobre los pasos en falso de la desobediencia de Adán y Eva como medio para deshacer lo que hicieron. En esta obra de restauración, Cristo ciertamente salvó a la humanidad, como Agente Principal, por Su obediencia a Dios, pero Su obediencia dependía de la obediencia de Su Auxiliar, la Virgen María. Esto significa que Él solo pudo obedecer a Dios porque la Virgen María primero ofreció su obediencia a Dios como una preparación para que Él obedeciera a Dios. Por lo tanto, la obediencia de la Virgen María a Dios al concebir y dar a luz a Cristo, el Hijo de Dios como Hijo del Hombre, lo preparó para sufrir y morir por la humanidad en obediencia a Dios. Como resultado, San Ireneo proclama que los seres humanos fueron “reanimados y recibieron vida” a través de la obediencia de la Virgen María a Dios, porque por su obediencia, el Hijo de Dios se hizo hombre, mediante ella, para ofrecer su vida inmortal e incorruptible a todas las personas en obediencia a Dios. Por esta razón, San Ireneo llama a la Virgen María la Intercesora de la Virgen Eva y su esposo, Adán, incluidos sus descendientes humanos. Sobre esta base, por su intercesión materna, como Madre del Hijo de Dios, la Virgen María trabajó como Ayudante de su Hijo para devolver a los seres humanos la comunión de la amistad de Dios (Prueba de la Predicación Apostólica, 30-33).

     En conclusión, los diversos paralelismos de oposición en la Escritura, particularmente en el Génesis, las Cartas de San Pablo y el Evangelio de San Lucas, informan los paralelos desarrollados en la Tradición por los Santos Justino e Ireneo. En estos paralelos, Dios proclama, a través de los autores humanos de la Escritura y la Tradición, la perfecta santidad que la Virgen María recibió de Dios como la Segunda Eva. Por medio de esta perfecta santidad, la preparó para convertirse en la Santísima Madre del Hijo de Dios, el Segundo Adán, Jesucristo.  Por lo que, en estos paralelos de oposición, los autores de Escritura y Tradición ofrecen tres comparaciones de personas que se oponen espiritual y moralmente.

     En primer lugar, estos autores inspirados comparan la santidad de la Segunda Eva, la Virgen María, con la pecaminosidad de la Primera Eva, la Virgen Eva. En este sentido, para ellos, la Virgen María, en su santidad, se opone a la pecaminosidad de la Virgen Eva; y la Virgen Eva, en su pecaminosidad, se opone a la santidad de la Virgen María. Por eso, como Virgen santa, llaman a María modelo de fe, mujer de obediencia, madre de vida, madre de la libertad, madre de la salvación y desatadora de nudos.  Por el contrario, en la pecaminosidad de la Virgen Eva como Primera Eva, la llaman el modelo de la incredulidad, la mujer de la desobediencia, la madre de la muerte, la madre de la esclavitud, la madre de la condenación y la atadora de nudos.

     En segundo lugar, los autores de la Escritura y la Tradición también comparan la santidad de la Virgen María y Jesucristo, el Segundo Adán y Eva, con la pecaminosidad del Primer Adán y Eva. Asi, la Virgen María y Jesucristo, Madre e Hijo, por su santidad como segunda pareja en la segunda creación de Dios, se oponen a la pecaminosidad de Adán y Eva, la primera pareja, como marido y mujer; y Adán y Eva, por su pecaminosidad, se oponen a la Virgen María y Cristo. Por lo que, en su santa relación de Madre e Hijo, Jesucristo y la Virgen María, como el Segundo Adán y Eva, son descritos, por los autores inspirados, como un padre y una madre espiritual para la humanidad, no por naturaleza, sino por la gracia. De hecho, en su trabajo como Madre e Hijo en la segunda creación de Dios, engendran hijos para Dios, espiritualmente, por adopción, a través del Espíritu Santo. Por eso se les llama madre y padre de la vida, vida divina, para el pueblo de Dios. Asi, el Segundo Adán se hizo hombre por medio de la Segunda Eva para que todas las personas serían recreadas como hijos santos de Dios a través de ellos. Por otro lado, los autores inspirados de la Escritura y la Tradición, describen al Primer Adán y Eva como la madre y el padre de todas las personas, por generación natural, según la carne. Como sus primeros padres, por naturaleza, que pecaron contra Dios, los engendraron a una vida de pecado. Esta es una generación pecadora. En consecuencia, no solo se les llama la madre y el padre del pecado, sino también la madre y el padre de la muerte, porque por su pecado, todas las personas sufren la muerte espiritualmente desde la concepción y por fin morirán físicamente.

     Finalmente, los autores inspirados de la Escritura y la Tradición comparan la santidad de la Virgen María y Jesucristo, el Segundo Adán y Eva, con la pecaminosidad de la Serpiente y Su descendencia, los demonios. Por esta razón, la Virgen María y Jesucristo, Madre e Hijo, por su santidad como el Segundo Adán y Eva, se oponen a la pecaminosidad de la Serpiente y Sus demonios; y por su parte, la Serpiente y sus demonios, por su pecaminosidad, se oponen a la Virgen María y a Cristo. Como resultado, los autores, bajo la inspiración de Dios, describen a la Virgen María en relación con su Hijo, Jesucristo, como la Auxiliadora maternal del Salvador. En su trabajo para salvar a los seres humanos del mal, como Madre e Hijo, aplastan la cabeza de la Serpiente, el Padre del mal, incluidos Sus demonios. Como tal, la Virgen María, como Segunda Eva, es llamada Patrona o Abogada de todas las personas, porque ella intercede ante su Hijo, el Segundo Adán, en su nombre, a través de sus oraciones, en la guerra contra Satanás y sus demonios. Sobre esta base, mediante su ministerio como compañera de su Hijo, el Segundo Adán, la Virgen María participa en la obra de su Hijo para salvar a los seres humanos de la maldad de la Serpiente y sus demonios.

     En todos estos paralelos, por los autores inspirados de la Escritura y la Tradición, Dios revela la perfecta santidad de la Virgen María, la Segunda Eva, como Madre del Segundo Adán, por su oposición a la pecaminosidad de la Virgen Eva y la Serpiente. En este sentido, aquí se opone a todos los pecadores, humanos y demoníacos, a través de su santidad. Según la Tradición, esta oposición a los pecadores, por parte de la Virgen María, la Segunda Eva, no es una oposición parcial e imperfecta, sino una oposición completa y perfecta. Esto significa que ella se opone perfecta y completamente, por su perfecta santidad, a la pecaminosidad de Eva y la Serpiente. Por un lado, la Santísima Virgen, ciertamente se opone total y perfectamente al pecado de Eva y sus hijos, pero también intercede en oración ante Dios por ellos por su salvación para que se arrepientan de sus pecados. Por otro lado, en su perfecta santidad, la Virgen María no reza por Satanás y sus demonios, sino que sigue siendo por toda la eternidad su enemigo perfecto y completo como Auxiliadora materna de su Hijo, el Salvador. Por lo que, en la perfecta y completa enemistad de la Virgen María con el pecado de la Virgen Eva y la Serpiente, los opone plena y perfectamente por su perfecta santidad. Como tal, los paralelos de oposición en la Escritura y la Tradición solo funcionan porque la Virgen María fue concebida por Dios en perfecta santidad a través de la gracia singular de su Inmaculada Concepción y vivió una vida perfectamente santa en la tierra como la Segunda Eva. Así que, ella nunca estuvo sujeta al pecado en absoluto, ni al pecado original ni al pecado personal o actual, porque su Hijo, el Segundo Adán, la salvó, por los méritos previstos de Su pasión, al preservarla del pecado, en creándola inmaculadamente como un ser humano, la Santísima Segunda Eva.

En Cristo con la Santísima María,

Fray Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

     In the second century of the Church, the ancient Fathers of the Church, inspired by God, developed their understanding of the received revelation from God about the Virgin Mary, as they contemplated and studied the Virgin in relationship to her Son, Jesus Christ in Scripture and Tradition.  Specifically, in their understanding of God’s revelation, they believed that God created the Virgin Mary in perfect holiness as the Second Eve that she would someday conceive and bear the All-Holy Son of God, Jesus Christ, as man in perfect holiness as the Second Adam.  According to the Church Fathers, after the First Adam and Eve lost their holiness, through sin, in God’s first creation of the human race, God eventually began His second creation of humanity by forming Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary in perfect holiness as the Second Adam and Eve.  In their perfect holiness, as Son and Mother, they alone would fulfill perfectly the work that God called them to do in His plan of salvation for all people.  Indeed, they could only complete this work by such holiness.  On the one hand, as for the Virgin Mary, in her perfect holiness, God called her to become the Second Eve, the Mother of His Son, Jesus Christ.  This vocation, as His Mother, involved forming Him in holy virtue to full maturity as man not only by her words, but also by her actions.  In this work of the Divine Maternity, she would become the First and Greatest Disciple of her Son, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of humanity.  On the other hand, God also called His Son, in His perfect holiness, to become the Son of Man, the Second Adam, through the Virgin Mary.  This vocation involved preaching the Gospel by His holy life, through His words and actions, especially by His suffering and death, to save all people.  In God’s providence, Jesus fulfills this work of salvation not by Himself, but through the help of His Mother.  Accordingly, the Fathers of the Church believed that the basis for calling the Virgin Mary the Second Eve was her creation by God in perfect holiness to be the maternal helpmate of her Son, the Mother of the Savior, the Second Adam.  For this reason, from ancient times, the Church Fathers have called the Virgin Mary the Panagia, the All-Holy Woman, or the Sanctissima, the Most Holy Woman.  On this basis, providentially, this perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary, as the Second Eve, prepared her to become the All Holy Mother of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, for the salvation of all people. 

     In this brief article, I will comment on certain chapters from three works by St. Justin Martyr and St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the first Fathers of the Church from the second century who helped the Church, through God’s inspiration, to develop her understanding of the Virgin Mary as the Second Eve, the All-Holy Mother of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.  These works include the Dialogue with Trypho by St. Justin and Against Heresies and the Proof of the Apostolic Preaching by St. Irenaeus.  Here these Fathers develop parallels of opposition to argue for the perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary as the Second Eve in relationship to her All-Holy Son, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. First of all, in some parallels, they compare the Virgin Mary and the Virgin Eve as contraries to each other spiritually and morally.  In doing so, they do not directly call the Virgin Mary the Second Eve, but they certainly profess her to be this Second Woman in God’s second creation by this comparison.  Indeed, after proclaiming the First Virgin, the Virgin Eve, a sinful virgin in God’s first creation of humanity, Sts. Justin and Irenaeus proclaim the Second Virgin, the Virgin Mary, a holy virgin in God’s second creation of the human race.  Secondly, in other parallels of opposition, they also compare the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ as spiritual and moral contraries to the First Adam and Eve.  Here, once again, they do not directly name the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ as the Second Adam and Eve, but they certainly proclaim them to be this Second Man and Woman in God’s second creation by this comparison.  In this sense, after professing the First Adam and Eve to be sinners in God’s first creation of the human race, Sts. Justin and Irenaeus proclaim the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ to be the Holy Man and Woman in God’s second creation of humanity.  On this basis, by comparing, in all these parallels, the Virgin Mary to the Virgin Eve, or the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ to the First Adam and Eve, the Church Fathers teach that the nature of their opposition to each other as human beings remains the same, for they remain spiritually and morally opposed to each other in their humanity.

     As Sts. Justin and Irenaeus develop their parallels of opposition to argue for the perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary as the Second Eve, the Mother of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, they primarily base these parallels on Genesis, the Letters of St. Paul and the Gospel of St. Luke, as they study and contemplate them, as men of faith.  In these primary sources from Scripture, the inspired human authors, Moses, and St. Paul, through the help of St. Luke, develop parallels of opposition there.  Moses, for his part, through a revelation from God, prophesies the coming of a Woman and her Son who would save humanity from evil by opposing the Serpent and His demons.  As for St. Paul, after hearing the Gospel message from Christ Himself, including the oral Tradition of the Annunciation in St. Luke, he develops a parallel of opposition of Adam and Christ.  For this reason, Sts. Justin and Irenaeus would base their parallels primarily on the works of Moses and St. Paul after reading the Gospel of St. Luke.  As such, these primary sources from Scripture inform their parallels.  In them, Sts. Justin and Irenaeus compare either the Virgin Mary to the Virgin Eve, or the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ to the First Adam and the First Eve.  Accordingly, before commenting on the works of Sts. Justin and Irenaeus, I will first briefly comment on Genesis and St. Paul’s Letters, including the Gospel of St. Luke, the primary sources they use to develop their parallels of opposition, as the bases for the perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary.

     In their first primary source from Scripture, Genesis, after the sin of the First Adam and Eve, God inspired Moses, the human author of Genesis, to proclaim, through a parallel of opposition, the coming of a Woman and her Son who would oppose evil (Genesis 3:15).  The Church professes this Woman and her Son, prophesied by Moses as opponents of evil, to be the Second Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ and His Mother, the Virgin Mary, from the Gospel.  This first parallel of opposition from Genesis, called the Protoevangelium, informs the parallels that Sts. Justin and Irenaeus would later develop.  In this particular parallel from Genesis, Moses first compares the Second Adam and Eve to the First Adam and Eve.  For after Moses recalls in Genesis the sin of the First Man and Woman, the sin of Adam and Eve, he prophesies the virtue of the Second Man and Woman, the virtue of the Woman and her Son, who would come someday as the Second Adam and Eve to oppose the sin of the First Adam and Eve by their virtue.  As such, these men and women, Adam and Christ, on the one hand, and Eve and Mary, on the other hand, would be opposed to each other spiritually and morally as human beings.  Indeed, by their opposition to each other, the Second Adam and Eve would be holy, but the First Adam and Eve, sinful. 

     Furthermore, in the second parallel of opposition from the Protoevangelium of Genesis, Moses, inspired by God, compares the goodness of the Woman and her Son, the Second Adam and Eve, to the evil of the Serpent and His fallen angels or demons.  For the Woman herself, and her Son, in their goodness, would work on behalf of the Good God in the war against the evil Serpent and His demons.  In this sense, in this war of good versus evil, they would oppose each other as spiritual and moral agents.  As a result, in this passage, God proclaims, through Moses, that the Woman and her Son, on the one hand, and the Serpent and His demons, on the other hand, would be enemies to each other spiritually and morally by the Will of God.  This means that the Woman and her Son would be holy, but the Serpent and His demons, unholy.  Accordingly, in the Protoevangelium, God promises, through Moses, that the Woman and her Son, in their holiness as God’s servants, would defeat the sinfulness of Satan and His fallen angels by crushing their head, for by this holy act, they would destroy them.  On this basis, this verse from Genesis is the first source in Scripture that Sts. Justin and Irenaeus use as they develop their parallels of opposition to argue for the perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary in relationship to her Son, Jesus Christ. 

     The second source from Scripture that Sts. Justin and Irenaeus use to develop their parallels of opposition is St. Paul’s corpus, particularly his First Letter to the Corinthians and his Letter to the Romans.  In doing so, they use St. Paul’s comparison in his parallel of the First Man, Adam, and the Second Man, Christ, as a basis for comparing the Virgin Eve, as the First Woman, and the Virgin Mary, as the Second Woman, in their parallels of opposition.  For this reason, here I will briefly comment on the teachings of St. Paul about Christ and Adam that inform the works of Sts. Justin and Irenaeus.  

     In St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians around the year 56, he first develops an Adam and Christ parallel after he studies and contemplates God’s revelation about Adam in Genesis and also the revelation he received from Christ Himself during his life (Galatians 1:12, Acts of the Apostles 9:3-5), including the oral Tradition of the Gospel of St. Luke. Here he compares Adam and Christ as originators or fathers of humanity.  First of all, as St. Paul begins this parallel of opposition in First Corinthians by comparing Adam to Christ, he calls Adam the First Man or First Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45a) in God’s first creation.  Indeed, God created Adam in His divine image (Genesis 1:27) as the first human person, a rational and free being, who would become the original father of the human race by nature.  In doing so, He formed Adam from the “dust of the earth” and breathed His “breath of life” in him (Genesis 2:7).  Accordingly, as St. Paul recalls this revelation from God in Genesis, he says the First Man, Adam, became the first human being to receive “natural” life by God’s action (1 Corinthians 15:45-46).  Indeed, God formed him to be a “natural person” (1 Corinthians 2:14) “from the earth” (1 Corinthians 15:46-47).  Thus, after God created this First Man in His image, He proclaimed him to be really “good” (Genesis 1:31).  All the same, as good as God created Adam to be as the First Man, he became “earthly” (1 Corinthians 15:47).  According to St. Paul, this means that he became a man “of the flesh” (1 Corinthians 3:3). He became a sinner (1 Corinthians 3:3, 15:21-22, Galatians 5:16-21).  In this sense, in St. Paul’s teaching, as a man of the flesh, Adam lost God’s grace, through sin.  Consequently, all the descendants of Adam in God’s first creation bear the “image” of God after the fallen nature of the “earthly man” from conception (1 Corinthians 15:49), for they have all received the same human nature as Adam.  As a result, by his sin, the First Man, Adam, subjected all people to the mortality and corruption of death.  On this basis, St. Paul calls Adam the origin or cause of death for all people, for they “all die in Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  This is not only a spiritual death, a defilement of the soul, but also a bodily death for them.

      In the second place, as St. Paul completes this parallel of opposition in First Corinthians by comparing Christ to the First Man, Adam, he calls Christ the “Second Man” or the “Second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47). The means that God formed Christ as man to be, in a sense, the Second Father of the human race spiritually (1 Corinthians 5:5, 15:3-4) in God’s second creation of humanity.  This means that Christ is their Head or Savior.  Indeed, just as a father is the head of his family, Christ is also the Head of His family, the Church.  According to St. Paul, in “the fullness of time, God sent His Son” to be conceived and “born of a woman” as the Second Adam by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:4).  For this reason, as the Second Adam, the Son of God, is a spiritual man, a man of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:46, Romans 4:6, 29).  As such, the Son of God became the Son of man, through a woman, by the Holy Spirit to communicate the spiritual life of “adoption” to all human beings (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5, 1 Corinthians 15:45-46).  In this act, the natural Son of God, formed as man, as the Second Adam, called them to be recreated spiritually as adopted sons and daughters of God through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:5-6).  Accordingly, St. Paul calls this God’s second creation, a spiritual recreation in Christ, for human persons (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15).  They become “sanctified in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11).  In this recreation, God spiritually conforms them to the image of His Son by the grace of His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29, Galatians 4:6-7).  Indeed, by this grace of God’s Spirit, they “bear the image of the heavenly man” raised from the dead (1 Corinthians, 15:49, Romans 6:9).  As the Second Adam, Christ is the origin or cause of the resurrection of the dead of all people, for “in Christ they will all be raised to life” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).  This is, first and foremost, a spiritual resurrection for them, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, in Baptism.  St. Paul calls this the grace of justification (Romans 5:17), for they all become righteous or just.  On this basis, this grace certainly prepares them spiritually for an incorruptible bodily resurrection from the dead on the Last Day, the Day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:52-54, 5:5) .

     Furthermore, in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans around the year 57 or 58 (Romans 5:12-21), he develops another feature of his Adam and Christ parallel by comparing the judgment Adam received for his disobedience and the gift Christ received for His obedience.  For as the First Adam received a judgment of condemnation to death for his disobedience, Christ, the Second Adam, the righteous Son of God, merited the gift of justification for His obedience.  Consequently, as the heads or fathers of their natural and spiritual descendants, St. Paul says that both the First Adam and the Second Adam communicated to their people the consequences or fruits of their actions.  On the one hand, this means that the natural descendants of the First Adam, all people, received the judgment of condemnation that Adam received for his act of disobedience.  This was a condemnation to death for all human beings.  As a result, by his disobedience, the First Adam fathered them all to spiritual death, the loss of their original grace, from their conception in their mother’s womb.  This death begins interiorly in their heart, but terminates in their bodily death.  On the other hand, the Second Adam, Christ, communicated to His spiritual descendants, members of His Body, the Church, the gift of justification that He merited for them by His act of obedience. On this basis, they became righteous, by the gift of grace they received from Christ, through His obedience.

     The third primary source for the works of Sts. Justin and Irenaeus is the Gospel.  Here I will only briefly comment on the Annunciation from the Gospel of St. Luke.  As you may recall, this passage from Scripture recounts the angel Gabriel’s revelation of God’s Word to the Virgin Mary.  As he appears before her, he first proclaims his angelic salutation to her: “Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).  According to Tradition, here the angel Gabriel’s salutation or greeting to the Virgin Mary, Hail, full of grace, refers to the fullness of God’s grace that she received from Him, through her conception, as a human being.  In other words, this greeting by the angel Gabriel recalls that God formed the Virgin Mary in the grace of perfect holiness.  Indeed, the Greek word “kecharitomene” (full of grace) reveals that He created her fully sanctified in her person.  In this sense, she was never subject to sin.  The basis for God conceiving the Virgin Mary in perfect holiness was that He willed her to be the Second Eve, the All Holy Mother of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.  As a result, she received this fullness of grace from God as the Second Eve to prepare her to become the Mother of the Second Adam.  Accordingly, after greeting her as such, the angel Gabriel reveals to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and bear the Son of God as the Son of Man by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).  For this reason, in her faithfulness as the Second Eve, the Virgin Mary believes the revelation she receives from God through the angel Gabriel.  In this act of faith, she faithfully offers her obedience to God’s Word: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  Here her obedience to God is a fruit of her perfect holiness.  On this basis, in his Gospel, St. Luke describes the Virgin Mary as the opposite of the Virgin Eve, who disobeyed God, for she is the Second Eve, the All Holy Woman, who would conceive and bear her Son, the Second Adam, in obedience to God’s Word.  As such, here St. Luke’s teaching on the Virgin Mary informs the parallels of opposition that Sts. Justin and Irenaeus would develop as a basis for the perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary.

      In proceeding, I will offer my commentary on the works of the Church Fathers, St. Justin Martyr and St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who used the aforementioned passages from Genesis, the Letters of St. Paul and the Gospel of Luke to develop their parallels of opposition as the bases for the perfect holiness of the Second Eve, Virgin Mary, in relationship to her All Holy Son, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.  The Virgin Mary certainly had to be holy as a Woman before she could ever conceive and bear her Holy Son as man.  The parallels of opposition, developed first in Genesis, the Letters of St. Paul and the Gospel of St. Luke, and later in the works of Sts. Justin and Irenaeus, reveal that the holiness of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, as the Second Adam and Eve, could never be tainted at all by the sinfulness of the First Adam and Eve or by the evil of Satan and His fallen angels.  As a result, these parallels of opposition in Sacred Scripture and Tradition reveal the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, on the one hand, and Adam and Eve, and Satan and His demons, on the other hand, to be opposed to each other spiritually and morally.  Sts. Justin and Irenaeus will proclaim this truth in their works.

     As for St. Justin Martyr, a second-century apologist (A.D. 100-165), he was the first Father of the Church to develop the Eve and Mary parallel in his Dialogue with Trypho (A.D. 161) after reading Genesis, St. Paul’s Letters and the Gospel of St. Luke.  In doing so, he considers their relationship only briefly at the end of chapter 100, but he is the first Father of the Church to do this.  As such, his brief parallel here was still a development in Marian teaching in the second century.  This is a development in the understanding of the received revelation from God concerning the person and mission of the Virgin Mary.  In his Dialogue, St. Justin develops this Eve and Mary parallel by comparing the disobedience of the First Eve, the Virgin Eve, and the obedience of the Second Eve, the Virgin Mary.  In particular, the Son of God became the Son of Man through the obedience of the Virgin Mary to destroy the disobedience of the Virgin Eve.  For just as the Virgin Eve destroyed her obedience to God’s Word by obeying the word of the Serpent, the Virgin Mary destroyed the Virgin Eve’s obedience to the Serpent’s word by obeying God’s Word as announced to her through the angel.  Consequently, on the one hand, by conceiving the Serpent’s word through disobedience, the Virgin Eve “bore death in herself”.  As a result, she became the mother of death.  On the other hand, by conceiving the Word of God in faith through obedience, the Virgin Mary became the mother of divine life through the Holy Spirit. After all, in faithful obedience to God, she faithfully believed the Word that she received from God through the angel.  This is the Word that she would become the mother of His Son, the God-Man, Jesus Christ.  Accordingly, she proclaimed: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  For this reason, through her faithful yes to God, the Virgin Mary conceived and bore the Son of God, as the Son of Man, who would, first of all, save all repentant people, who faithfully believed in Him.  Secondly, this Son of God, who was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary as the Son of Man, would also destroy all unrepentant nonbelievers for their infidelity.  As such, all penitent people of faith would be saved from sin and death by the God-Man, Jesus Christ, by imitating the faith of His mother, the Virgin Mary, who faithfully obeyed the Word she received from the angel of God.  Conversely, all unrepentant nonbelievers would be destroyed by Him for imitating the infidelity of the Virgin Eve, who disobeyed God’s Word, by obeying the word she received from the Serpent. This Serpent, including the fallen angels, would also be destroyed by the God-Man.  On this basis, here St. Justin develops this Eve and Mary parallel to proclaim that the Virgin Eve, the Helpmate of Adam, became the mother of death for all people through her disobedience to God, but the Virgin Mary, the Helpmate of her Son, Jesus Christ, became the Second Eve, the mother of the life of grace for all human beings, by her obedience to God (Dialogue, Chapter 100).

     St. Irenaeus (A.D. 115-202), Bishop of Lyons, was the second Father of the Church to develop the Church’s understanding of the Virgin Mary in relationship to her Son, Jesus Christ, after reading the aforesaid sources in Sacred Scripture, including the work of St. Justin.  He does this, first of all, in chapter 19 of Book III in Against Heresies (A.D. 180).  In this work, St. Irenaeus presents the Virgin Mary as the second Eve, the Helpmate of her Son, Jesus Christ, in God’s plan of salvation for human beings.  True, he does not directly mention Adam and Eve in this chapter, but these first human beings, created by God, as husband and wife, who would become the first parents of the human race, certainly inform what he teaches here about Jesus and Mary.  According to St. Irenaeus, after the First Adam and Eve corrupted their human descendants, through sin, God raised up a Second Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary, to save them through their faithfulness to God.  Accordingly, for St. Irenaeus, God called Jesus and Mary, Son and Mother, to be, in a sense, the second parents of human beings, a spiritual Father and Mother, who would work to save them in God’s plan of salvation.  In fact, he believes, in God’s plan, this work of salvation by Jesus and His Helpmate, the Virgin Mary, began a second creation of all people by adoption.  Indeed, in God’s providence, He called all human beings to “receive the gift of adoption” by becoming sons and daughters of God through a “promotion into God”.  For this reason, in the teaching of St. Irenaeus, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, became man that human beings would become adopted as sons and daughters of God.  As a result, He offered them immortality and incorruptibility, by adoption, for He was “beyond all men”, “more than a mere man”.  For St. Irenaeus, Jesus Christ alone, as the Son of God, could have saved all people as man.  He alone could have recreated them in His divine image as immortal, incorruptible sons and daughters of God by adoption (Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 19, Paragraphs 1-3).

     All the same, St. Irenaeus also teaches that because the Son of God required a real human nature that descended from the First Adam, through the house of David, He only could have offered this gift of adoption to human beings, by His human conception and birth to a virgin daughter of David.  In God’s providence, this virgin, of course, was the Virgin Mary, the Second Eve, who conceived and bore the Son of God.  In this work by St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, he proclaims that just as the Son of God received a preeminent divine generation from God the Father from all eternity, He also received a preeminent human generation in time from His Mother, the Virgin Mary.  In doing so, St. Irenaeus indicates that the preeminence of both the divine and human generations of the Son of God means that both generators, God the Father and the Virgin Mother of God, would be perfect in their divinity and humanity respectively.  As such, the Son of God Himself would also be perfect both as God and as man.  In this sense, in His perfection, the Son of God became the Son of Man from the humanity of Mary to save all human beings as adopted sons and daughters of God the Father and the Virgin Mother.  Finally, St. Irenaeus asks himself this question: Who would have ever imagined that the Son of God, generated eternally from the Father, would have saved humanity by a temporal generation from a human Virgin? Who would have ever imagined that she could have conceived the Son of God virginally as man, and remained a Virgin in bearing Him?  Only by becoming a true man from a true Virgin could the true God suffer, die and be raised up in glory for the salvation of all human beings.  Indeed, only by His conception and birth as man, through the Virgin Mary, could they all become beneficiaries of His immortal, incorruptible resurrection from the dead.  On this basis, for St. Irenaeus, the salvation of all people, by adoption, was a work fulfilled primarily by the second Adam, Christ Himself, as Principal Agent, but secondarily by the Virgin Mary, His maternal Helpmate, as the Second Eve, for He received His humanity from hers (Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 19, Paragraphs 1-3).

     Moreover, in chapter 21 of Book III in Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus develops a parallel that involves God’s creation of the First Man, Adam, from the virgin earth (Genesis 2:7) and His formation of the Second Adam, Christ, from the Virgin Mary.  In this sense, just as the First Adam did not have a natural father, but was created from the virgin earth by God Himself, similarly neither did the Second Adam, Christ, have a natural father, but was formed by God Himself from the Virgin Mary.  In this parallel, St. Irenaeus compares the morality of the First Adam created from the virgin earth to be a natural father and the morality of the Second Adam created from the Virgin Mary to be a spiritual father.  On the one hand, the First Man, Adam, received the substance of his human nature from untilled virgin soil through the Word of God.  As the First Man, he was created by God’s Word in the substance of his humanity from the virgin earth to be the natural origin or father of all human beings in God’s first creation, but he disobeyed God’s Word.  Indeed, he disobeyed the Word of God by sinning against Him. For this reason, by his disobedience, the First Man, Adam, introduced bad fruit, the fruit of sin, including death, to all human beings.  Consequently, as the father of sin, he became the father of death for all people.  On the other hand, the Second Adam, Christ, received the substance of His human nature from the Second Eve, the Virgin Mary, in God’s second creation.  Accordingly, formed by God from the Virgin Mary in the substance of His humanity, He recapitulated or summed up the creation of the First Adam in Himself, including His descendants.  As such, as the Second Adam, He was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, through God’s Word, to be the spiritual origin or father of all human beings, by His obedience to God Himself, in His second creation.  In His obedience to Him, He introduced good fruit, the fruit of righteousness, to all people.  This means that as the origin or father of righteousness, He became the father of the spiritual life for all human beings.  According to St. Irenaeus, Christ, the Second Adam, could have only become such a spiritual origin or father of righteousness for all people, through the Second Eve, the Virgin Mary.  After all, as the Second Adam, in God’s second creation, He received from the humanity of the Virgin Mary, the human nature of the First Adam.  As a result, through this nature, He recapitulated the First Adam in Himself, including all the descendants of Adam. On this basis, in this recapitulation, He saved them as man, by His righteousness, in obedience to the Word of God (Against Heresies Book III, Chapter 21, Paragraph 10). 

     Furthermore, in chapter 22 of BK III in Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus develops, for the first time, an Eve and Mary parallel.  In this parallel, he compares the disobedience of the Virgin Eve and the obedience of the Virgin Mary.  On the one hand, as a woman, married to her husband, Adam, the First Eve was disobedient to God as a virgin in her marriage.  Consequently, by her disobedience, she became the cause of death for herself and for all human beings.  For this reason, she is called the mother of death, for she mothered all people to spiritual and bodily death.  In doing so, St. Irenaeus teaches that this First Woman, the Virgin Eve, tied all human beings in a knot, the knot of death, by her disobedience to God.  On the other hand, as a woman, married to her husband, St. Joseph, Mary, the Second Eve, was obedient to God as a virgin in her marriage.  Accordingly, through her obedience to God, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for all people.  As such, she is the mother of life, for she mothered all people to the life of salvation spiritually and bodily.  According to St. Irenaeus, this means that this Second Eve, the Virgin Mary, untied the knot of death for all people by her obedience to God.  Indeed, through her obedience, she untied Eve’s disobedience.  In this sense, by her act of obedience, she freed human beings from their slavery to disobedience, including death.  St. Irenaeus calls the Virgin Mary’s obedience an act of faith, for she faithfully obeyed the Word of God.  Conversely, he calls the Virgin Eve’s disobedience an act of unbelief, because she unfaithfully disobeyed God’ Word.  She did not have faith in what He said to her.  As such, the Virgin Eve became the mother of slavery to death, but the Virgin Mary became the mother of the life of freedom.  On this basis, what the Virgin Eve tied by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary untied by her faith (Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 22, paragraph 4).

     In chapter 19 of Book V in Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus further develops his Eve and Mary parallel.  In this parallel, he compares the influence that the holy and fallen angels had on the Virgin Eve and the Virgin Mary.  On the one hand, after hearing the deceitful word of the Serpent, Satan Himself, the Virgin Eve believed the lie she heard from Him.  Consequently, she was misled by His deception to flee from God, through disobedience.  On the other hand, after the Virgin Mary, the Second Eve, heard God’s Word from the holy angel, St. Gabriel, she believed His message was true.  This was the message that she would conceive and bear God Himself.  For this reason, the holy angel guided her to God, through His message, that she would become the Mother of God by her obedience to His Word.  According to St. Irenaeus, this means that through her obedience to God’s Word, by becoming His Mother, the Virgin Mary would become the Patroness (Advocata) of the Virgin Eve, including the Patroness of all the descendants of the Virgin Eve.  In this sense, for St. Irenaeus, as sinful as the Virgin Eve was, she was still redeemed by God, through the Patroness of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.  On this basis, just as the Virgin Eve subjected her descendants to death through her virginal disobedience, the Virgin Mary saved the Virgin Eve, including her descendants, instrumentally from such death, by her virginal obedience (Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1). 

     Finally, in his Proof of the Apostolic Preaching (A.D. 185), St. Irenaeus continues his development of his Eve and Mary parallel. In doing so, he applies his doctrine of recapitulation, for the first time, to Eve and Mary in relationship to Adam and Christ.  As you may recall, he first applies this doctrine to Adam and Christ alone in chapter 21 of Book III in Against Heresies.  In this work, the Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, St. Irenaeus proclaims that this recapitulation involves, first of all, Christ and the Virgin Mary summing up the original creation of Adam and Eve, through their formation as the Second Man and Woman, by the Will and Wisdom of God.  This is the beginning of God’s second creation of humanity.  On the one hand, Christ, the Second Adam, recapitulated in Himself His creation of the First Adam from the virgin earth by forming a human nature for Himself from the Virgin Mary, the Second Eve, by His Will and Wisdom.  For He was conceived and born from her as man, by the Will of God, through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom.  On the other hand, the Virgin Mary recapitulated in herself Christ’s creation of the Virgin Eve from the First Man, Adam, for He formed her, in a sense, from Himself, the Second Adam, by His Will and Wisdom.  As such, for St. Irenaeus, recapitulation is, first of all, a work of creation.  After all, here God Himself, by His Will and Wisdom, formed the human race for a second time in the persons of the Second Adam and the Second Eve.  In this act of creation, they recapitulated the original creation of Adam and Eve.  Secondly, St. Irenaeus also proclaims that recapitulation is a work of salvation that Jesus and the Virgin Mary, Son and Mother, fulfilled as the Second Adam and Eve by their obedience to God.  In this sense, Christ and the Virgin Mary, through their obedience, summed up Adam and Eve spiritually and morally to destroy their disobedience by the Will and Wisdom of God.  Indeed, just as Christ, through His obedience, as a spiritual and moral agent, recapitulated Adam in Himself to destroy Adam’s disobedience, similarly the Virgin Mary, for her part, recapitulated Eve in herself spiritually and morally, through her obedience, to destroy Eve’s disobedience.  In this work of recapitulation in God’s plan of salvation by the obedience of Christ and His Mother, the Virgin Mary, not only did they destroy the disobedience of Adam and Eve, but they also destroyed the consequence of their disobedience, death. According to St. Irenaeus, this work of salvation, through recapitulation, involved a restoration process called recirculation. In his teaching, this work was fulfilled, first and foremost, by the actions of Christ Himself, the Principal Agent of salvation, but also secondarily by the actions of the Virgin Mary, as the Helpmate of her Son, the Savior.  Here the virtuous actions of Christ and the Virgin Mary counteracted the sinful actions of Adam and Eve.  Accordingly, as the First Adam lost his communion in God’s friendship by ordering his actions sinfully against God through disobedience, Christ, the Second Adam, for His part, recovered this divine union or friendship by ordering His actions virtuously to God through obedience.  Similarly, as the First Eve lost her communion in God’s friendship by ordering her actions sinfully against God through disobedience, the Virgin Mary, for her part, as the Second Eve, prepared her Son, the Second Adam, to recover this divine friendship by ordering her actions virtuously to God through obedience.  In this sense, here the virtuous actions of Christ and the Virgin Mary, Son and Mother, parallel the sinful actions of Adam and Eve, husband and wife, step by step, in reverse order.  This is the process of restoration of the human race that Christ and the Virgin Mary fulfilled in obedience to the Will and Wisdom of God by retracing the missteps of the disobedience of Adam and Eve as the means to undo what they did.  In this work of restoration, Christ certainly saved humanity, as Principal Agent, by His obedience to God, but His obedience depended on the obedience of His Helpmate, the Virgin Mary.  This means that He could only obey God because the Virgin Mary first offered her obedience to God as a preparation for Him to obey God.  In this sense, the Virgin Mary’s obedience to God by conceiving and bearing Christ, the Son of God as the Son of Man, prepared Him to suffer and die for humanity in obedience to God. As a result, St. Irenaeus proclaims that human beings became “reanimated and received life” through the Virgin Mary’s obedience to God, for by her obedience, God’s Son became man, through her, to offer His immortal, incorruptible life to all people in obedience to God.  For this reason, St. Irenaeus calls the Virgin Mary the Intercessor for the Virgin Eve and her husband, Adam, including their human descendants.  On this basis, by her maternal intercession, as the Mother of the Son of God, the Virgin Mary worked as her Son’s Helpmate to restore human beings to the communion of God’s friendship (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, 30-33).

     In conclusion, the various parallels of opposition in Scripture, particularly in Genesis, the Letters of St. Paul and the Gospel of St. Luke, all inform the parallels developed in the Tradition by Sts. Justin and Irenaeus.  In these parallels, God proclaims, through the human authors of Scripture and Tradition, the perfect holiness that the Virgin Mary received from God as the Second Eve.  Through this perfect holiness, He prepared her to become the All Holy Mother of the Son of God, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.  In this sense, in these parallels of opposition, the authors of Scripture and Tradition offer three comparisons of persons who oppose each other spiritually and morally. 

     First of all, these inspired authors compare the holiness of the Second Eve, the Virgin Mary, to the sinfulness of the First Eve, the Virgin Eve.  In this sense, for them, the Virgin Mary, in her holiness, opposes the sinfulness of the Virgin Eve; and the Virgin Eve, in her sinfulness, opposes the holiness of the Virgin Mary.  For this reason, as the holy Virgin, they call Mary the model of faith, the woman of obedience, the mother of life, the mother of freedom, mother of salvation and the untier of knots.  Conversely, in the Virgin Eve’s sinfulness as the First Eve, they call her the model of unbelief, the woman of disobedience, the mother of death, the mother of slavery, the mother of condemnation and the tier of knots.

     Secondly, the authors of Scripture and Tradition also compare the holiness of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, the Second Adam and Eve, to the sinfulness of the First Adam and Eve.  In this sense, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, Mother and Son, by their holiness as the second couple in God’s second creation, oppose the sinfulness of Adam and Eve, the first couple, as husband and wife; and Adam and Eve, by their sinfulness, oppose the Virgin Mary and Christ.  Accordingly, in their holy relationship as Mother and Son, Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, as the Second Adam and Eve, are described, by the inspired authors, as a spiritual father and mother to humanity, not by nature, but by grace.  Indeed, in their work as Mother and Son in God’s second creation, they generate children for God, spiritually, by adoption, through the Holy Spirit.  For this reason, they are called the mother and father of life, divine life, for God’s people.  As such, the Second Adam became man through the Second Eve that all people would become recreated as holy children of God through them.  On the other hand, the inspired authors of Scripture and Tradition, describe the First Adam and Eve as the mother and father of all people, through natural generation, according to the flesh.  As their first parents, by nature, who sinned against God, they mothered and fathered them to a life of sin.  This is a sinful generation.  Consequently, they are not only called the mother and father of sin, but also the mother and father of death, for by their sin, all people suffer death spiritually from conception and will eventually die physically.

     Finally, the inspired authors of Scripture and Tradition compare the holiness of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, the Second Adam and Eve, to the sinfulness of the Serpent and His offspring, the demons.  For this reason, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, Mother and Son, by their holiness as the Second Adam and Eve, oppose the sinfulness of the Serpent and His demons; and for their part, the Serpent and His demons, by their sinfulness, oppose the Virgin Mary and Christ.  As a result, the authors, under God’s inspiration, describe the Virgin Mary in relationship to her Son, Jesus Christ, as the maternal Helpmate of the Savior.  In their work to save human beings from evil, as Mother and Son, they crush the head of the Serpent, the father of evil, including His demons.  As such, the Virgin Mary, as the Second Eve, is called the Patroness or Advocata of all people, for she intercedes to her Son, the Second Adam, on their behalf, through her prayers, in the war against Satan and His devils.  On this basis, by her ministry as helpmate to her Son, the Second Adam, the Virgin Mary participates in the work of her Son to save human beings from the evil of the Serpent and His demons.

     In all these parallels, by the inspired authors of Scripture and Tradition, God reveals the perfect holiness of the Virgin Mary, the Second Eve, as the Mother of the Second Adam, by her opposition to the sinfulness of the Virgin Eve and the Serpent. In this sense, here she opposes all sinful persons, human and demonic, through her holiness. According to Tradition, this opposition to sinners, by the Virgin Mary, the Second Eve, is not a partial and imperfect opposition, but a complete and perfect opposition.  This means that she perfectly and fully opposes, by her perfect holiness, the sinfulness of Eve and the Serpent.  On the one hand, as the All-Holy Virgin, she certainly opposes the sin of Eve and her children fully and perfectly, but she also prayerfully intercedes to God for them for their salvation that they may repent for their sins.  On the other hand, in her perfect holiness, the Virgin Mary certainly does not pray for Satan and His demons, but remains for all eternity their perfect and complete enemy as maternal Helpmate of her Son, the Savior.  In this sense, in the Virgin Mary’s perfect and complete enmity with the sin of the Virgin Eve and the Serpent, she opposes them fully and perfectly by her perfect holiness.  As such, the parallels of opposition in Scripture and Tradition only work because the Virgin Mary was conceived by God in perfect holiness through the singular grace of her Immaculate Conception and lived a perfectly holy life on earth as the Second Eve.  On this basis, she was never subject to sin at all, neither to original sin nor to personal or actual sin, for her Son, the Second Adam, saved her, through the foreseen merits of His passion, by preserving her from sin, in creating her immaculately as a human being, the All-Holy Second Eve.

In Christ with Blessed Mary,

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

     During the season of Advent, the Church prepares herself for the coming of the messiah.  In the history of God’s people, God revealed to them that the messiah, who would save them, would be a son of the tribe of Judah from the house of David.  This is recorded not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels.  In fact, all four Evangelists, the inspired authors of the four Gospels of the New Testament, proclaim Jesus as the son of David, the messiah, who would save the people of Israel from sin and death, but only St. Matthew and St. Luke proclaim this sonship of Jesus in the house of David, His messiahship, through their genealogies and infancy narratives of Jesus. In doing so, they profess their belief that Jesus was virginally conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, His mother, through the Holy Spirit.  In this sense, Jesus, the son of David, only had a natural human mother, not a human father, according to nature. 

     All the same, in his genealogy, St. Matthew traces Jesus’ status as the son of David, through St. Joseph, not through the Virgin Mary.  The reason for this is because in ancient times, the people of Israel legally traced the descent of a son, through the genealogy of his father, especially a son of the house of David (Nm 1:18).  As such, here the basis for his legal sonship in his father’s household was generally his physical descent from his father.  In the days of Jesus, the people in general believed that St. Joseph was Jesus’ natural father, His father by procreation, because St. Joseph raised Him as his legal son in his marriage to the Virgin Mary.  As already mentioned, in his Gospel, St. Matthew professes his belief that Jesus did not descend naturally, through St. Joseph, as a son of David.  On the contrary, he believes that Jesus descended legally, as a son of David, through St. Joseph.  In doing so, he traces Jesus’ legal status, as a son of David, through His paternal genealogy, the genealogy of His legal father, St. Joseph, who was a son of David himself, through his father, Jacob (Mt 1:16).  In other words, for St. Matthew, Jesus received His legal sonship in the house of David by law, through His adoptive father, St. Joseph, a natural son of David himself, through Jacob.  In this sense, this was not a natural genealogy for Jesus, a genealogy based on physical descent, but a legal genealogy, a genealogy based on the law, for Jesus was only the legal son of St. Joseph by adoption, not by natural generation.  On this basis, in this genealogy, St. Matthew proclaims Jesus the messiah of Israel by His legal sonship in the house of David, through His adoptive father, St. Joseph, not through His natural mother, the Virgin Mary. 

     Does this really mean that the Virgin Mary, the natural mother of Jesus, was neither a daughter of the house of David nor a member of Judah’s tribe?  In other words, was Jesus really the legal son of David, through His adoptive father alone, St. Joseph, but not the son of David naturally, through His mother, the Virgin Mary? Certainly not! In the Tradition, the Church professes a belief that Jesus descended from David as the messiah, not only legally, through St. Joseph, but also naturally, through the Virgin Mary. This belief in Jesus’ natural descent from David, through the Virgin Mary, has a basis in Sacred Scripture.  Indeed, God proclaims, through His prophets and inspired authors of the Old and New Testaments, that Jesus received His natural sonship, His messiahship, in David’s house, through His mother, the Virgin Mary, who was naturally a virgin daughter of David.

     Here I will briefly consider the basis in Sacred Scripture for the Church’s belief in Jesus’ status as a natural son of David.  First of all, in the Second Book of Samuel from the Old Testament, God promises David, through the prophet Nathan, that He would raise up a son after him, from his loins, who would rule his kingdom forever (2 Sm 7:12-13).  In Scripture, the prophets use the word “loins” as a euphemism for the male and female genitals of human nature that a man and woman in marriage would use to procreate human life (2 Sm 7:12, Jdt 8:5).  As a result, the human life they procreate naturally, through genital intercourse, would be their natural son or daughter. In this first verse from Second Samuel, God tells David, through Nathan, that the messiah of Israel would be a natural son of David because he would be generated from David’s genitals, not directly, by David himself, but indirectly, after his death, through the genitals of a descendant of his (2 Sm 7:12).  This is the first basis in Scripture for Jesus’ natural sonship in the house of David by physical or biological descent, for He naturally proceeds as man from the loins of David.  Secondly, God also proclaims, through the prophet Isaiah, that someday a son would be born to the house of David who would reign from David’s throne over his kingdom forever (Is 9:5).  In human biology, human birth requires and presupposes human conception. This is a law of human biological nature.  In other words, a human person, a son, cannot be born as a biological being unless he is first conceived biologically (Rt 4:13, Jgs 13:3-5, Is 66:9).  In this biological process, he naturally acquires the biological nature of his father and mother as their son.  This means that the son in Isaiah’s prophecy, who would be born of the house of David, the messiah of God’s people, would descend from David naturally, as his biological son, through his conception and birth as a member of David’s family.  In this sense, here the natural sonship of Jesus in the house of David has a physical or biological basis.  He alone, as the natural son of David, would be the perfect or ideal messiah who would have certain divine qualities or gifts to govern the people (Is 9:5-6).  This is the second biological basis for the natural sonship of Jesus in the house of David.  Accordingly, in Second Samuel and Isaiah, God inspires His prophets to proclaim His Word about the natural sonship of the messiah in literal terms.  The literal meaning here is that the messiah of Israel would be a natural son of David by physical descent.  Thirdly, under God’s inspiration, the prophet Isaiah uses the figurative language of metaphor to proclaim that the messiah would be a natural son of David.  In particular, after all the sufferings that the people of Israel would be subjected to by their Babylonian conquerors, especially the house of David, God reveals to them, through Isaiah, that only a stump, or holy remnant, of David’s family would remain, but from this stump a branch of the Lord would sprout and blossom, a perfect son of David, who would receive the Spirit of the Lord to shepherd the people righteously forever as messiah.  This messiah, or sacred branch of the Lord, alone would save the people of Israel (Is 11:1, 4:2-3).  Similarly, God also proclaims metaphorically, through the prophet Jeremiah, that He would raise up a righteous branch, a messiah, from this stump, the house of David, who would reign and govern the people of God virtuously (Jr 23:5, 33:14-17). As such, for Isaiah and Jeremiah, this metaphor means that just as a branch proceeds naturally from a stump as a natural development, the messiah of Israel would also proceed naturally from David as a natural son.  For this reason, here they proclaim metaphorically what they already professed literally.  Finally, in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans in the New Testament, he confirms God’s revelation to the prophets about the natural sonship of the messiah in the house of David.  Indeed, he professes Jesus as this messiah of Israel who “descended from David according to the flesh” (Rm 1:3). This is a physical or biological descent from David.  On this basis, in the Church’s faith in the Word of God, she believes that Jesus certainly descended from David as David’s son, the messiah, not only legally, through St. Joseph, but also naturally, by His virginal conception and birth, through His natural mother, the Virgin Mary.

     In his Gospel, St. Luke professes this belief that Jesus was a natural son of David.  Indeed, he believes the Word of God that Jesus descended naturally from the loins of David, not directly, but indirectly, through the loins of the Virgin Mary, a daughter of the house of David, for she virginally conceived and bore Him, naturally as the son of David, by the Holy Spirit.  In this sense, for St. Luke, Jesus was the sacred branch of the Lord, the messiah, who naturally sprouted and blossomed from the stump, the holy remnant of the house of David.  Accordingly, he traces Jesus’ descent from David, not legally, through St. Joseph, as St. Matthew does, but naturally, through the Virgin Mary.  For this reason, according to Tradition, in his Gospel, St. Luke offers Jesus’ maternal genealogy, the genealogy of His natural mother, the Virgin Mary, as a basis for His natural sonship in the house of David as a member of the tribe of Judah. 

     In the study of St. Luke’s genealogy, there are some questions to ask.  These questions, hopefully, will help establish the Marian nature of this genealogy.  The first question to ask is this:  If this really is a genealogy of the Virgin Mary, why does St. Luke not mention her there?  In other words, why does he mention St. Joseph in this genealogy, but not her?  This would seem to be contrary to the traditional belief that St. Luke offers a genealogy of the Virgin Mary in his Gospel.  Consequently, people in society today, including Roman Catholics, may easily presume that the absence of the Virgin Mary’s name in the genealogy, and the presence of St. Joseph’s, could only mean that this genealogy is really not about the Virgin Mary at all, but about St. Joseph.  Yet, such a presumption would be false, for the ancient practice in the Tradition of Israel, in general, was for the people to record a woman’s genealogy in her father’s and husband’s names.  As such, a woman was generally not directly named in her genealogy.  For this reason, St. Luke does not directly name the Virgin Mary in hers.  On the contrary, he names her only indirectly, through the names of her father and husband, St. Joseph.  This was the traditional practice in such a patriarchal society as Israel.  The only time the people of God, including St. Luke and St. Matthew, would record the names of women in their genealogies was for historical or theological reasons.  Accordingly, the people used genealogies in ancient Israel, first and foremost, to establish the natural and legal descent of men as sons in the tribes and houses of their fathers.  In this sense, in St. Luke’s Gospel, he establishes Jesus’ sonship in the house of David, as a member of the tribe of Judah, not by law, or legal adoption, but by nature, or physical descent, through the genealogy of His natural mother, the Virgin Mary.  On this basis, St. Luke does not directly name the Virgin Mary in her genealogy, but only indirectly, through the names of her father and her husband, St. Joseph.

     This leads to the second question in the study of the genealogy from St. Luke’s Gospel.  The question is this: If St. Luke names the Virgin Mary indirectly in her genealogy, by calling her husband, St. Joseph, the son of her father, what, then, is the name of her father? According to St. Luke, her father’s name is Heli.  For this reason, he calls her husband, St. “Joseph, the son of Heli” (Lk 3:23) in his genealogy.  On the other hand, St. Matthew, in his genealogy, calls “Jacob the father of Joseph” (Mt 1:16). Who, then, according to this practice, is the Virgin Mary’s natural father: Heli or Jacob?  In other words, who is the natural father of St. Joseph? What is his name?  This is the first question to ask here, the question about the name of St. Joseph’s natural father.  For naming him would reveal, by deduction, the Virgin Mary’s natural father.  In this sense, for his part, St. Matthew records in his genealogy that St. Joseph was the natural son of Jacob, by physical descent, for he proclaims there that Jacob fathered St. Joseph naturally, through his loins.  The noun, father, from the verb to father means to beget or to generate.  This is the terminology that St. Matthew uses to define Jacob’s relationship to St. Joseph in his genealogy.  He professes his belief in the Word of God that Jacob and St. Joseph have a paternal-filial relationship based on nature.  As such, by deduction, this would mean that Heli would be the Virgin Mary’s natural father.  According to a tradition in the Church, after St. Joseph’s natural father, Jacob, died, Heli became St. Joseph’s adoptive father, through his marriage to Heli’s daughter, the Virgin Mary.  For this reason, St. Luke records St. Joseph as the son of the Virgin Mary’s father, “the son of Heli” (Lk 3:23), in his genealogy.  On this basis, St. Joseph was, indeed, the legal son of Heli, his son-in-law, by his marriage to Heli’s daughter, the Virgin Mary.

     The third question in the study of the genealogy from St. Luke’s Gospel is this: If the name of the natural father of the Virgin Mary is Heli, as St. Luke records in his genealogy, then why has the Church called the Virgin Mary’s natural father by the name, St. Joachim, from antiquity?  According to an ancient tradition, the names, Heli and Joachim, are not for separate persons, but for one and the same person, the natural father of the Virgin Mary.  In this sense, her father had multiple names.   In fact, these names may seem to be unrelated linguistically, but they really do have a linguistic relationship.  In particular, according to linguistic studies, the name Joachim, from the Hebrew Yehoyaqim, has a variant form, Eliacim.  This name, Eliacim, is abbreviated as Eli, a variant of Heli.  As such, the use of multiple names by people, names that had a linguistic relationship, including the names of the Virgin Mary’s natural father, Joachim and Heli, was a common practice in ancient times.  Indeed, in antiquity, many people used multiple names, a formal or legal name and a common or familiar form of the same name. On the other hand, oftentimes the multiple names that people used had no linguistic relationship.  In either case, in the New Testament, people often had multiple names, linguistically related or not.  These people included St. Peter (Simon), St. Paul (Saul), St. Thomas (Didymus) and St. Bartholomew (Nathanael).  In the case of the Virgin Mary’s natural father, Joachim was his formal or legal name, but Heli was his common or familiar name.  According to this tradition, this familiar name, Heli, would have been the name that St. Luke’s hearers or readers would have commonly known St. Joachim by. 

     In this genealogy, St. Luke establishes Jesus’ natural sonship in the house of David by establishing His mother, the Virgin Mary, as a natural daughter of David, through her natural father, Heli (St. Joachim), a son of David.  Indeed, St. Luke does this in his genealogy by naming the Virgin Mary indirectly in the name of her husband, St. Joseph, by calling him the son of her father, Heli.  In doing so, he establishes Jesus’ physical descent, as a natural son of David, the messiah of Israel, through His virginal conception and birth to His natural mother, the Virgin Mary. 

     This virginal conception and birth of the messiah, through a virgin daughter from the house of David, was first prophesied by the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament.  Indeed, God first reveals to the house of David, through Isaiah, that the sign of the coming of the messiah would be His conception and birth to a virgin daughter of David.  This prophecy reads as follows: “Hear, O house of David…Therefore the Lord himself shall give you this sign: Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is 7:14).  In this sense, according to Isaiah, the messiah would descend naturally from David, not directly from David himself, but indirectly, through a descendant of his, a virgin daughter from his house.  As such, He would be a natural son of David, by physical descent, through His natural virgin mother.  In his Gospel, St. Luke professes his belief in the Word of God that this virgin daughter of David’s house from Isaiah’s prophecy, who would naturally conceive and bear the son of David, the messiah, was the person of the Virgin Mary herself.  On the one hand, in his genealogy, he traces Jesus’ natural sonship in the house of David, through the natural genealogy of His mother, the Virgin Mary.  On the other hand, in his narrative of the angel’s annunciation to the Virgin Mary, he proclaims that the Virgin Mary would virginally conceive and bear Jesus, the son of David, as the messiah, by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:31-35).  For this reason, He would be “called holy, the son of God” (Lk 1:35).  Accordingly, in Jesus, the son of God would become the son of David, through the Virgin Mary, by the Holy Spirit, to reign as the messiah from the throne of His father, David, forever.

     Furthermore, as already mentioned, in St. Matthew’s genealogy, he traces Jesus’ legal sonship in the house of David, not through His natural mother, the Virgin Mary, but through His legal father, by adoption, St. Joseph.  In doing so, he establishes Jesus’ legal right to the messiahship as a legal son of David.  At the same time, this does not mean that St. Matthew does not believe in Jesus’ natural sonship in the house of David.  On the contrary, he does believe that Jesus descended naturally from David, through His natural mother, the Virgin Mary.  Indeed, in his infancy narrative, St. Matthew professes his belief that the Virgin Mary was the virgin daughter of the house of David from Isaiah’s prophecy who would conceive and bear the son of David, the messiah, by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20-21).  He does not call Jesus the holy son of God, as St. Luke does, but he does call Him “Emmanuel” (Mt 1:23), as Isaiah does (Is 7:14).  According to St. Matthew, the name Emmanuel means God is with His people (Mt 1:23).  In this sense, for St. Matthew, as for St. Luke, in Jesus, God is with His people.  On this basis, St. Matthew proclaims that Jesus, conceived and born of a virgin daughter of David’s house, by the Holy Spirit, would “save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21)

     According to the ancient Fathers of the Church, including St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Hesychius of Jerusalem, Pope St. Leo the Great and St. Paschasius Radbertus, the Virgin Mary was certainly the virgin daughter of David’s house who became the natural mother of Jesus. Indeed, they trace Jesus’ status as a son of David, not only legally, through St. Joseph, but also naturally, through the Virgin Mary.  In this sense, they believe that the Virgin Mary descended naturally from David based on Scripture and Tradition.  By her faithful yes to God at the annunciation, she becomes the natural mother of the son of David, the messiah, through the Holy Spirit: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). As a result, the Holy Spirit descends upon her, thereby forming her as the mother of the son of God by conceiving and bearing Him as the son of man, the son of David.  For this reason, in the person of the Virgin Mary, a virgin daughter from the house of David, God fulfills the coming of the messiah, the son of David, through the Holy Spirit, for she fully offers herself to Him by her faithful yes.  In doing so, He calls all people to become sons and daughters of the house of David, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, through their faithful yes to Him.  What about you?  Will you say yes to Him faithfully, during this season of Advent, in preparation for the coming of the messiah, the son of David?

In Christ with Blessed Mary,

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

      Today the subject of this article is the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, particularly the guarding of the sanctity and beauty of the marital act by being open to the third essential good of Marriage, the openness to the generation of human life.  This good belongs to the nature of a true Marriage.  In Church teaching, God calls the married man and woman to guard this third essential good of Marriage by being open to the generation of human life in the marital act.  This is a call to be open to the sovereign God Himself.  For this reason, in Genesis, after instituting Marriage through His creation of the first man and woman in His image as the first couple, “God blessed them and said to them: ‘Be fertile and multiply’” human life (Genesis 1:8).  In this sense, by being open to generate human life in faithfulness to God’s call, couples use their bodies in intercourse to be fruitful and multiply as God wills.  In doing so, they subject their Marriage, including their marital act, to the sovereignty of God, their Creator and Redeemer.  As a result, by being open to the generation of life interiorly in their hearts, couples guard the sanctity and beauty of the inseparable relationship of the unitive and procreative meanings of the marital act.  In this sense, they say yes to God, first in their hearts, but also in the language of their bodies.  In doing so, they welcome God to create the gift of human life through them, through their marital intercourse if He wills.  Accordingly, this faithful yes to God in their hearts prepares them to say yes to God’s gift of human life in their marital act. This means that guarding the sanctity and beauty of this third essential good of marriage begins interiorly in their hearts and terminates in natural marital intercourse.

     The Catholic Church believes and professes that marital intercourse is a sacred and beautiful act of complete self-giving which involves the love-giving and life-giving communion of married spouses. Yes, beautiful and sacred, for the act, informed by God’s Truth and Goodness, is reasonable, natural and chaste.  Marital intercourse is a sacred and beautiful gift from God for those couples who have entered the Marriage covenant.  This covenant of husband and wife in Marriage represents the sacred and beautiful love-giving and life-giving nuptial union involving the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and His Bride, the Church.  Indeed, in their nuptial union, God calls husband and wife to image the sanctity and beauty of the nuptial union of Christ and His Church through a faithful and loving marital complementarity.  In this complementarity in Marriage, the husband faithfully loves his wife as himself, just as Christ, the Head, faithfully loved His Body, the Church, by fully offering Himself for her to sanctify her that she would conceive and bear holy children for God in Baptism. In this sense, by faithfully imaging Christ’s love for the Church in Marriage, the husband, in his love for his wife, faithfully offers himself fully for her that she may be sanctified in conceiving and bearing children in holiness.  Moreover, the wife, as image of the Church, faithfully images the Church’s love for Christ by faithfully loving her husband in Marriage.  In this faithful love for her husband, she opens her heart to his love by faithfully offering herself fully to him, as his helpmate, that she may conceive and bear holy children for God through the marital act.  In this complementarity of faithful love for one another in Marriage, husband and wife become one. Indeed, as Genesis says, a man leaves his mother and father to marry his wife and they both become one, particularly in marital intercourse.  According to Church teaching, in this marital act, God calls them to faithfully participate in the sacredness and beauty of His divine plan.  In doing so, they not only open their hearts for God to perfect their love for one another as married spouses, but also open their hearts to receive from God the great gift of human life.

     On the other hand, spouses using artificial contraception would be acting contrary to the third essential good of Marriage, the openness to the generation of human life.  This would involve separating the unitive meaning from the procreative meaning in their marital act.  Their intention here would be to prevent the conception of human life.  This would be against God’s command in Genesis for spouses to be fertile and multiply through intercourse.  After all, such fertility and multiplication of children requires that they have an openness to life. Consequently, they would neither be acting reasonably nor naturally nor chastely by separating the unitive and procreative meanings of the marital act from each other.  In doing so, they would not be open to God’s divine action at all in their marital intercourse.  On the contrary, they would be completely closed to the sovereignty of God, the Creator and Redeemer, interiorly in their hearts and in the language of their bodies by contracepting artificially.  Indeed, they would be saying “no” to God’s desire to act in and through their Marriage, first and foremost for their sanctification as a married couple, but also for their participation in God’s creation and redemption of human beings.  For this reason, when spouses separate these unitive and procreative meanings from one another in the marital act, namely the language of love and life, through artificial contraception, they act as false gods or judges of the divine plan who claim to have the sovereign authority to manipulate the sacred and beautiful gift of the marital act.  As a result, the act becomes “profane” and “ugly” in a spiritual and moral sense, even physically.  For they give themselves to one another not fully and virtuously according to God’s divine will, but only partially and sinfully according to their inordinate desires, which is neither natural nor holy.  As such, their contracepted marital intercourse is not an act of total self-giving to one another.  They do not offer this gift fully to each other through a perfect or complete love-giving and life-giving union in the marital act.  On the contrary, according to St. John Paul II, by this unnatural act, the natural meaning of marital intercourse as the total self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, a language that says that they are not giving themselves totally to each other in the marital act, but only in a fragmented and deformed manner. 

     In Catholic moral teaching, couples who artificially contracept in marital intercourse commit an intrinsically grave moral evil.  This means that the object of their evil act is gravely immoral by nature. In this sense, such an act is grave materially from the evil object. According to St. Thomas, the object of the material act itself is the first and primary criterion for judging the morality of the act. In the case of contracepted intercourse, the object of the material act is judged by the Church as a grave moral evil objectively.  For this reason, for St. Thomas, this act would neither be reasonable for the couple nor ordainable to their Last End, God Himself, nor perfectible of their love for each other.  As a consequence, there could never be a good or acceptable reason that would morally justify artificial contraception.  Every reason to artificially contracept is a bad reason.  At the same time, not every grave evil act of contraception in marital intercourse is a mortal sin.  On the contrary, the gravity or grave matter of the evil object alone does not fully define the nature of a mortal sin.  For a couple to sin mortally by using artificial contraception in the marital act, they require in their intellect a full and true understanding of their immoral action, the act of contracepting in intercourse. Finally, they also have to be fully free in their will as moral agents in contracepting.  This is called full deliberate consent.  On this basis, if they have full understanding and full freedom in contracepting, they would certainly be guilty of a mortal sin.  This is called the spiritual death of the soul, because such an act destroys the grace of justification in the soul, including charity.

     At the same time, the Church teaches that there are seven factors or conditions that could diminish either their full understanding in their intellect, or their full freedom in their will.  On the one hand, one such condition in their intellect would be invincible ignorance.  This is a form of ignorance that the couple cannot remove or overcome either because they are unable to acquire all the information they need, even after a reasonable effort, or because they just do not know that there is any problem. In this sense, the couple contracepting under invincible ignorance would not have a full and true understanding of their act.  On the other hand, spouses suffering from an intrinsic grave fear of becoming pregnant because of poor health would not be fully free in their will in contracepting.  In both cases, the artificial contraception of these couples in the marital act remains morally evil, and they remain spiritually and morally malformed, but their moral guilt or culpability would be diminished or removed altogether because of their deficient understanding and freedom. This means that because they would not be culpable or fully culpable for their action, they would neither be guilty of a mortal sin.

     On this basis, by contracepting for any reason or circumstance, married couples falsify and mutilate the true nature and meaning of marital intercourse. They essentially redefine their Marriage, first in their hearts, but also in the language of their bodies in the marital act.  Their bodily contraception in martial intercourse is merely a consequence of this interior spiritual contraception. Sin, including artificial contraception, does not begin in their bodies, but in their hearts. 

     Pray that all couples will be faithful in imaging the faithful love of Christ and His Church by fully and faithfully guarding their love for each other in the marital act through their openness to God’s gift of life.  God calls them to be open to the generation of children that they may form and educate them to be a holy people, to be saints in Heaven, someday.  God help them.  They have a great calling in the Church, especially in the domestic church, the family. 

In Christ with Blessed Mary,

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

     The subject for today is the perfection of the spiritual life.  In this brief article I do not intend to say everything that could be said about spiritual perfection.  I will only consider the primary means to this perfection of the spiritual life. This primary means to this perfection is certainly love, but the human being can only love what he first knows. For this reason, for the human being, knowing prepares him to love in the perfection of the spiritual life. According to Scripture and Tradition, the Shema from Deuteronomy is a call to know and love both God and neighbor that informs Jesus’ teaching on the perfection of the spiritual life in the Gospel.

     Do you have a desire for such perfection?  Do you desire to be holy son or daughter of God? The saints certainly did.  This is the greatest mission you have in this life in preparation for perfect happiness in Heaven. God Himself desires your spiritual perfection.  Yes, He desires your sainthood.  In fact, you can only be the holy person God created and redeemed you to be by reaching spiritual perfection someday in heavenly beatitude.  In this life, the spiritual perfection of the human being is only imperfect, but in Heaven such perfection for the saint is perfectly fulfilled.  This is the perfection, the perfect happiness, that God desires for you, for everyone.

     At the same time, the perfection of the spiritual life requires maturation.  The human being can only mature to spiritual perfection gradually.  The more he moves from potency to act, as he matures spiritually, through the grace of God, the more he becomes the holy man God created and redeemed him to be. This involves the perfection of his intellect and will, including his passions, through holy virtue, throughout his life.  The human being, in this life, remains unfinished.  Only through the beatific vision of God in heaven and his glorious resurrection can he reach full or final perfection in the afterlife.  On this basis, you may have imperfections, vices and sins, as I myself do, but do not be discouraged or despair. Be patient in this maturation process to perfection.

     In the Gospel, Jesus calls His disciple to be perfect just as His heavenly Father is perfect.  This is a call to be spiritually perfect by imaging the charity of Jesus, the love He has for His Father and for His neighbor, the human being.  Accordingly, St. Thomas says that the perfection of the spiritual life primarily involves the perfection of charity in the disciple.  In his teaching, he says that the disciple can only be perfected spiritually by loving the Lord and his neighbor, as Jesus Himself does, according to the order of charity.  Consequently, the disciple could never reach spiritual perfection by loving the Lord alone or by merely loving his neighbor.  Nor could he ever be perfected spiritually by loving the Lord as he loves his neighbor or by loving his neighbor as he loves the Lord.  For the Lord and his neighbor are not the same. The Lord is God, the Creator and Redeemer; and his neighbor, the human being, is a creature.  Nor could the disciple reach spiritual perfection through a natural love proportionate to his human nature.  On the contrary, he is perfected spiritually in his humanity by the divine grace of God to love both God and neighbor supernaturally according to the order of charity.  This means loving God first and the human person second.  In fact, as St. Thomas says, Jesus Himself establishes this order of charity in the Gospel. 

     First of all, He calls His disciple to love God as his First and Greatest Good.  In doing so, he says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (MT 22:37).  In this sense, there is no greater commandment or precept of charity for the disciple than loving God above all.  Indeed, “This is the greatest and the first commandment” (MT 22:38).  In loving God in this manner, as his First and Greatest Good, the disciple images the love that Jesus has for God the Father.  This prepares him for true and lasting happiness in Heaven someday.

     Secondly, in the Gospel, Jesus also calls His disciple to spiritual perfection by loving his neighbor, not as he loves God, but as he loves himself.  “You shall love your neighbor as yourelf” (MT 22:39).  In doing so, he images the love that Jesus has for His neighbor.  After all, he is united to his neighbor in a fraternal relationship, either in anticipation of perfect happiness or in the enjoyment of such happiness in heaven.  This involves loving not just his family members and friends, but also the poor, the ill, the imprisoned, and even his enemies.  As such, Jesus calls His disciple to love his neighbor as himself that he may reach perfect happiness with him in heaven someday.  This means that loving his neighbor as himself is the second greatest commandment or precept of charity that perfects him spiritually after the image of Jesus (MT 22:39). 

     For this reason, for the disciple, the perfection of his spiritual life primarily involves loving God; and secondarily, loving his neighbor.  According to Jesus, the “whole law and the prophets depend on these commandments” to love God and neighbor (MT 22:40).  In other words, this double commandment to love is the source of the Word that God revealed to Moses and the prophets.  Indeed, in God’s love for the people of Israel, He illumined and inspired Moses and the prophets to proclaim His Word to them, including His commandments of love.  For God Himself desired that they would learn to love Him and their neighbors according to the order of charity.  On this basis, the disciple can only be perfected spiritually after the image of Jesus by loving God and neighbor faithfully.

     At the same time, St. Thomas says that the disciple cannot love what he does not know.  On the contrary, as a human being, he can only love what he knows, for knowing is the antecedent or precondition that opens and prepares him to love.  In this sense, his spiritual perfection as a disciple involves both knowing and loving. Yes, knowing that he may love. For this reason, in calling His disciple to be perfect spiritually by loving the Lord as His First and Greatest Good in the Gospel, Jesus is also calling him to know the Lord as His First and Greatest Truth.  Indeed, He calls His disciple to know the Lord that he may love the Lord faithfully.  In doing so, the disciple remains faithful not only to the order of charity, but also to the order of truth.  As such, by knowing that the Lord really is God, and not something else, the disciple learns to love Him as God.  He learns to love Him as His First and Greatest Good.  Thus, Jesus’ first and greatest commandment to love the Lord includes the call to know the Lord, for the disciple can only love what he knows.  Similarly, this is also true of Jesus’ second greatest commandment.  In commanding His disciple to love his neighbor as himself, Jesus is calling him to know his neighbor as himself.  Yes, Jesus is calling him to know his neighbor that he may love his neighbor, not as he knows and loves the Lord, but as he knows and loves himself.  Here, once again, the order of truth informs the order of charity.  This means that in the Gospel Jesus’ double commandment to love God and neighbor presupposes or implies a double commandment to know God and neighbor.

     In calling His disciple to know and love God and neighbor faithfully in the Gospel, Jesus is basing this teaching on the Shema passage from Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.  In the first verse of this passage (DT 6:4), the Lord proclaims to His people, through Moses, the Truth that He is the One True God.  “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is Lord alone!”  This is the first Truth that the Lord calls His people to know in their intellect by faith.  He is their One True God who created them and redeemed them.  For this reason, there is no God besides Him.  All other gods are idols or false gods.  Consequently, these false gods can neither know the people of God nor love them.  Only the Lord can know them and love them. For He alone is their One True God.  As a result, the Lord calls them to know Him by faith as the One True God.  Indeed, He calls them to believe in Him alone intellectually. This is the greatest act of their intellect in this life as a people of faith, for God Himself is their Highest Truth.  He alone is their God.  This is the first Truth proclaimed by God, through Moses, in the Shema passage.  In calling His disciple to be faithful to the Shema by loving the Lord as his First and Greatest Good, Jesus is also calling him indirectly or implicitly to know the Lord, as His First and Greatest Truth, as a man of faith.  In this sense, He is calling him to believe that the Lord alone is his God.

     Moreover, in the second verse of the Shema (DT 6:5), Moses also teaches the people of God to use their will to love the Lord, their God, as their First and Greatest Good. Jesus has this verse from the Shema in mind in commanding His disciple to love the Lord in the same manner.  This is the greatest act of his will in this life.  In this sense, in the Gospel Jesus calls His disciple to be faithful to the Shema as Moses does for Israel in Deuteronomy.  According to Moses, for the people of Israel, this act of loving the Lord, through their full human nature, in the Shema involves loving Him with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength.  Indeed, using all these human capacities to love the Lord, their God, through an act of their will is their greatest act of love.  In St. Thomas’s reading of the Shema, he says that loving the Lord with all their heart means intentionally directing everything to Him, all that they are and all that they have, as to their Last End.  In other words, for Thomas, the people of God can only love the Lord with all their heart by ordering their life completely to the loving service of God through the right intention.  Here their heart represents their intention to love the Lord, their First Love and Greatest Good, as their Last End.  As for loving the Lord with all their soul, St. Thomas teaches that the people of God can only love the Lord as such by loving everyone and everything in the act of loving the Lord Himself, which involves referring all their affections or passions for them to the love of God.  In this sense, for God’s people, loving the First Cause, God Himself, involves loving His effects in creation for love of Him.  Lastly, St. Thomas says that the people of God can only love the Lord with all their strength by establishing all their words and actions in divine charity.  That is to say, they can only use all their strength to love the Lord as their Greatest Good by speaking and acting with charity in loving Him.  This is their greatest act of love as free moral persons: loving the Lord, as their God, with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength, because He is their First Love and Greatest Good.  As such, this is a love they may only offer to God.  In the Shema passage from Deuteronomy, God is calling His people, through Moses, to image His Truth and Goodness by knowing Him and loving Him as their Highest Truth and Greatest Good, through their intellect and will.

     Furthermore, in the third and fourth verses of the Shema (DT 6:6-7), Moses calls the people of God to teach their children to know and love their neighbors as themselves.  In doing so, he does not use these particular words in teaching the second greatest commandment to them.  On the contrary, he pronounces this message to them only indirectly by telling them in the third and fourth verses of the Shema to teach their children what he proclaims to them in the first and second verses.  As you recall, in the first and second verses of the Shema, Moses teaches the people of God to know the Lord as their Highest Truth, their One True God, and to love Him as their Greatest Good with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength.  For this reason, in the third and fourth verses of the Shema, Moses tells the people to teach their children these words.  Indeed, he says, “These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them to your children, and you shall talk of them when you are at home.”  For the people of Israel, God’s people, this act of teaching their children to know the Lord, as their One True God, and to love Him as such is really an act of knowing and loving their neighbors as themselves in the highest or greatest manner.  After all, what greater act of knowing and loving their children as themselves could parents ever offer their children than teaching them to know and love the Lord according to the order of truth and charity?  In other words, what greater gift could they offer them than forming them to know the Lord, as their One True God, their Highest Truth, and to love Him as their Greatest Good?  There is nothing greater they could ever do for them.  Nothing.  Accordingly, for the people of God, this formation of their children is the greatest act of knowing and loving their neighbors as themselves because here they teach their children to image the Truth and Goodness of God, above all, by knowing Him and loving Him, through their rational, free human nature.  In the Gospel, Jesus calls His disciples to do the same for their children by teaching them to know and love the Lord according to the order of truth and charity.  As such, here Jesus bases His teaching on the Shema in Deuteronomy. As a result, through the formation that children receive from their parents, they learn to image the Truth and Love of Jesus by knowing and loving their neighbors as themselves in the highest manner. This involves teaching them, first and foremost, to know and love God.  This is the greatest act of knowing and loving that will lead their neighbors to Heaven.  On this basis, the perfection of the spiritual life for the disciple involves God’s grace perfecting human nature that he may know and love God and neighbor faithfully according to the order of truth and charity.

In Christ with Blessed Mary,

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

Santo Domingo Recibiendo el Santo Rosario de Maria

BIENVENIDO

Saludos, querido amigo! Bienvenido a la página de la Confraternidad del Santisimo Rosario de la Orden de Predicadores en la Provincia Dominica de San Martín de Porres. Nuestra provincia está ubicada geográficamente en el sur de los Estados Unidos. Esta área provincial incluye Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Carolina del Sur y Carolina del Norte. Si vive en cualquier de estos estados del sur, puede considerar convertirse en miembro de la Confraternidad del Rosario a través de esta página. La Confraternidad es un antiguo apostolado de la Orden de Predicadores que ha llevado a innumerables personas al arrepentimiento y a la maduración en Cristo durante siglos por medio de la intercesión materna de Su Santísima Madre, Nuestra Señora del Rosario.

REGISTRO

La membresía en la Confraternidad del Rosario requiere registro. Se convierte en miembro registrándose en la Confraternidad en línea. Luego se inscribirá oficialmente en el registro de la Confraternidad del Rosario. No hay reuniones ni cuotas de membresía.

COMISIÓN

Como un miembro de la Confraternidad, tiene la obligación de ofrecer por lo menos Quince Misterios del Rosario cada semana. Puede ofrecer estos Quince Misterios del Rosario todos juntos o por separado en tres grupos de Cinco Misterios. También es libre de ofrecer más misterios a diario a medida que el Espíritu Santo lo mueve por la intercesión materna de la Bendita Virgen María, Nuestra Señora del Rosario. Al hacerlo, promete rezar por todos los miembros de la Confraternidad cada vez que ofrezca un Rosario a Nuestra Señora. Este es su único requisito como miembro de la Confraternidad, pero la esperanza y la oración es que cumpla con este requisito debido a su fiel amor por la Santísima Madre que dirige a todos sus hijos a su Hijo, Jesucristo, a través del Rosario. En este acto de amor por ella en el Rosario, la honra fielmente como su Madre que se convirtió en la Madre de Dios para que ella se convirtiera en su Madre, la Madre del pueblo de Dios. Al mismo tiempo, esta comisión de rezar al menos 15 Misterios del Rosario por todos los miembros de la Confraternidad no nos une bajo la pena del pecado.

PROMESAS

Según la tradición, después de que la Bendita María, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, comisionó a Santo Domingo para propagar su Salterio, su Santo Rosario, a principios del siglo XIII, ella le reveló 15 promesas y más tarde al beato Alan de la Roche en el siglo XV. En esta revelación ella les dijo que se cumpliría estas promesas para ellos, y para todos los demás católicos, que practicaron fielmente el Rosario.

1. Cualquiera que me sirva fielmente al recitar el Rosario recibirá gracias de señal.

2. Prometo mi protección especial y las mayores gracias a todas las personas que rezan el Rosario.

3. El Rosario será una poderosa armadura contra el infierno, destruirá el vicio, disminuirá el pecado y derrotará las herejías.

4. Hará florecer las buenas obras; obtendrá para las almas la abundante misericordia de Dios; retirará los corazones de los hombres del amor del mundo y sus vanidades, y los elevará al deseo de las cosas eternas. ¡Oh, que las almas se santifiquen por este medio!

5. El alma que me recomendó recitando el Rosario no perecerá.

6. Quien recite el Rosario devotamente, aplicándose a la consideración de sus Sagrados Misterios, nunca será vencido por la desgracia. Dios no lo castigará en su justicia, no perecerá por una muerte no provista; si él es justo, permanecerá en la gracia de Dios y será digno de la Vida Eterna.

7. Quien tenga una verdadera devoción por el Rosario no morirá sin los sacramentos de la Iglesia.

8. Aquellos que sean fieles para rezar el Rosario tendrán durante su vida y a su muerte la Luz de Dios y la plenitud de Sus Gracias; en el momento de la muerte, participarán en los méritos de los santos en el paraíso.

9. Liberaré del purgatorio a los que se han dedicado al Rosario.

10. Los fieles hijos del Rosario merecerán un alto grado de Gloria en el Cielo.

11. Obtendrá todo lo que me pida recitando el Rosario.

12. Todos los que propaguen el Santo Rosario serán ayudados por mí en sus necesidades.

13. He obtenido de mi Divino Hijo que todos los defensores del Rosario tendrán para los intercesores toda la Corte Celestial durante su vida y en la hora de la muerte.

14. Todos los que rezan el Rosario son mis hijos y hermanos y hermanas de mi Hijo Jesucristo.

15. La devoción a mi rosario es una gran señal de predestinación.

BENEFICIOS

1. Como miembro, usted es el beneficiario de las oraciones de todos los miembros de la Confraternidad del Rosario, incluso después de la muerte.

2. También recibe los frutos de las oraciones, misas y ministerios apostólicos de la Orden de Predicadores.

3. Además, se le ofrecen diversas indulgencias plenarias y parciales. Por un lado, recibe una indulgencia plenaria en las condiciones habituales el día de su inscripción (como se indica en el registro y el certificado), en los días festivos de Navidad, Pascua, la Anunciación, la Asunción, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, la Inmaculada Concepción, y la Presentación de Nuestro Señor en el Templo. Por otro lado, también recibe una indulgencia plenaria bajo las condiciones habituales al rezar el Rosario en una Iglesia u oratorio, en una familia, comunidad religiosa o en una asociación piadosa de fieles. Si no, la indulgencia es solo parcial.

Con respecto a las indulgencias: Una indulgencia es la remisión del castigo temporal debido al pecado cuya culpa ya ha sido perdonada. Es una indulgencia parcial si lo libera parcialmente del castigo temporal debido a su pecado, y plenario si lo libera por completo. Las indulgencias parciales y plenarias se pueden aplicar a los muertos, pero solo mediante el sufragio. Además, solo puede obtener una indulgencia plenaria una vez al día, a menos que esté cerca de la muerte. Finalmente, estas son las condiciones que debe cumplir para recibir una indulgencia: sacramento de la confesión, la sagrada comunión, la oración por la intención del Papa y la libertad de todo pecado, incluso venial. Si no está separado de tal pecado, o si no ha cumplido ninguna de las otras condiciones, su indulgencia es parcial.

INSCRIPCIÓN

Si usted es católico en el sur de los Estados Unidos y está completamente preparado y listo para inscribirse en la Confraternidad del Rosario después de leer esta página sobre los requisitos, las promesas y los beneficios de la membresía de la Confraternidad, visite la página de registro aquí: http://www.jotform.us/form Solo puede inscribirse usted mismo, no los miembros de su familia o amigos, o el fallecido. Después de procesar su formulario de inscripción y de inscribir su nombre en el registro, se le enviará por correo una copia impresa del certificado de su membresía en la Confraternidad.

En Cristo con Nuestra Señora del Rosario

Fray Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.

WELCOME

Greetings, dear friends!  Welcome to the page of the Confraternity of the Rosary of the Order of Preachers in the Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres.  Our Province is geographically located in the Southern United States. This provincial area includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  If you live in any of these southern states, you are welcome to consider becoming a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary through this page.  The Confraternity is an ancient apostolate of the Order of Preachers that has led countless people to repentance and maturation in Christ for centuries through the maternal intercession of His Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary.

REGISTRATION

Membership in the Confraternity of the Rosary requires registration.  You become a member by registering in the Confraternity online.  You will then be officially enrolled in the register of the Rosary Confraternity.  There are no meetings or membership dues.

COMMISSION

As a member of the Confraternity, you are commissioned to offer at least Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary every week.  You may offer these Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary all together or separately in three groups of Five Mysteries.  You are also free to offer more Mysteries daily as the Holy Spirit moves you through the maternal intercession of Blessed Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary.  In doing so, you promise to pray for all the members of the Confraternity every time you offer a Rosary to Our Lady.  This is your only requirement as a member of the Confraternity, but the hope and prayer is that you will fulfill this requirement because of your faithful love for the Blessed Mother who directs all her children to her Son, Jesus Christ, through the Rosary.  In this act of love for her in the Rosary, you faithfully honor her as your Mother who became the Mother of God that she would become your Mother, the Mother of God’s people.  At the same time, this commission to pray at least 15 Mysteries of the Rosary for all the members of the Confraternity does not bind under sin.

PROMISES

According to Tradition, after Blessed Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, commissioned St. Dominic to propagate her Psalter, her Holy Rosary, in the early 13th Century, she revealed 15 Promises to him and later to Blessed Alan de la Roche in the 15th Century that would be fulfilled for them, and all other Catholics, who faithfully practiced the Rosary.

  1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
  1. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all people who recite the Rosary.
  1. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
  1. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means!
  1. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
  1. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
  1. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
  1. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
  1. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  1. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.
  1. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.
  1. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
  1. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
  1. All who recite the Rosary are my children, and brothers and sisters of my Son Jesus Christ.
  1. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

BENEFITS

  1. As a member, you are the beneficiary of the prayers of all the members of the Confraternity of the Rosary, even after death.
  1. You also receive the fruits of the prayers, Masses and apostolic ministries of the Order of Preachers.
  1. Moreover, various plenary and partial indulgences are made available to you.  On the one hand, you receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions on the day of your enrollment (as indicated in the register and certificate), on the Feast Days of Christmas, Easter, the Annunciation, the Assumption, Our Lady of the Rosary, the Immaculate Conception, and Our Lord’s Presentation in the Temple.  On the other hand, you also receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions by praying the Rosary in a Church or oratory, in a family, religious community, or in a pious association of the faithful.  If not, the indulgence is only partial.

Concerning Indulgences: An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due for sin whose guilt has already been forgiven. It is a partial indulgence if it frees you partially from the temporal punishment due for your sin, and plenary if it frees you completely. Both partial and plenary indulgences can be applied to the dead, but only by means of suffrage.  Furthermore, you can only gain a plenary indulgence once a day, unless your are near death.  Finally, these are the conditions that you are required to fulfill for receiving an indulgence: Sacrament of Confession, Holy Communion, prayer for the intention of the Pope, and freedom from all sin, even venial.  If you are not detached from such sin, or if you have not fulfilled any of the other conditions, your indulgence is partial. 

ENROLLMENT

If you are a Catholic living in any of the Southern United States, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia or Florida, I hope you consider enrolling in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary after reading this article about the requirements, promises and benefits of the Confraternity membership. You can enroll here: http://www.jotform.us/form.  Further, please only enroll yourself, not your family members or friends, or the deceased.  After your enrollment form is processed and your name is enrolled in the register, you will be mailed a hard copy of the certificate of your Confraternity membership.

In Christ with Our Lady of the Rosary

Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P., Promoter of the Rosary

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