Cardinal Aponte Addresses John Paul II and the College of Cardinals on the Fifth Marian Dogma
In what follows, Cardinal Aponte puts forth the fundemental principle that the gateway of the new Evangelization for the third millenium is none other than the papal definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of all Peoples, Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate. The following is the official presentation of Cardinal Aponte to Pope John Paul II and the cardinals of the world on the Fifth Marian Dogma and the New Evangelization.
by his Eminence Luis Cardinal Aponte Martinez
Your Holiness and my dear Brother Cardinals,
Who was the first to "meet Christ"(Lk. 1:38)? It was the Mother. Who was the first to "see Jesus" (Jn. 12:21) and to "contemplate his face" (Lk. 2:7, NMI. 16)? It was the Mother. Who was the first "witness to the Gospel", to live the "life of faith", to intrinsically participate in the "depth of the mystery" of the hypostatic union (NMI. 17,19,21)? It was the Mother.
The human face that most closely resembles and reveals "the Son's face" (NMI. 24) is the Mother's face. And no one more deeply experiences the paradoxical and redemptive "Face of Sorrow" at Calvary (NMI. 25) than the Mother Co-redemptrix (cf. Jn. 19:26-27).
As we are called in this Apostolic Letter to "direct our thoughts to the future which lies before us" and that "in the final analysis, this rooting of the Church in time and space mirrors the movement of the Incarnation itself" (NMI. 3), I consider that the providential role of the Mother of the Lord in the Incarnation and the First Evangelization, as divinely determined by the heavenly Father, must be acknowledged and centrally included in our pastoral program for the New Evangelization at the outset of this new millennium.
As a native son of the Americas, permit me to make reference to the heavenly Father's program of Evangelization that took place for our peoples of America. It was to send, as the first missionary, our Lady of Guadalupe to us as the motherly means of intercession in preparing the way for the Good News of Jesus Christ to reach the peoples of America, which resulted in the greatest single Christian evangelization since the first apostolic evangelization, producing as its spiritual catch the most populated Catholic continent in the world today.
Should we not imitate the Father's wisdom by inviting the Mother of the Lord as well into this great historic program of evangelization for the new millennium?
If we would formally invite the Virgin Mother to accompany us with those beautiful words, "do whatever He tells you" (Jn. 2:5), leading souls to the Heart of Christ as only the Mother's Heart can, then she will help us guide the peoples of the new millennium into a "New Holiness" (NMI. 30). She is the Mediatrix of all graces who, "taken up into heaven did not lay aside this saving office, but by her manifold intercession continues to brings us the gifts of eternal salvation" (LG. 62).
Reverend Cardinal Brothers, which one of us, reviving the memories of our priestly and episcopal vocations, does not recognize that we owe special gratitude to the intercession of the Mother of priests and Queen of apostles for our own vocations? Let us not deny that same maternal intercession for the so desperately needed vocations in the Church and of the peoples of the new millennium (NMI. 46).
And with special concern for the great ecumenical imperative of our day (NMI. 48), is this not one of the most urgent of Christian necessities and hence in greatest need of the powerful intercession of the Mother of unity? Would now not be the time to formally invite "our common Mother" (RM. 30) to fully utilize the spiritual power of her motherly Heart in unifying the sons and daughters of God in the one Body of Christ? It is now the opportune time to definitively turn to the Mother to implore the graces necessary to fulfill the yet unfulfilled "ut unum sint" pleading of the one Lord (Jn. 17:21).
The Theotokos-Mediatrix especially awaits to be formally invited to bring the air of unity to the "two lungs of the Church" (RM. 34), where her common maternal presence in East and West can truly effect a final spiritual adhesion of these churches who have both profoundly shared the Mother's love and grace.
But the Virgin of the redemptive Fiat, always obedient to the Father's will, awaits our personal invitation, to fully activate her titles and roles as Mediatrix for our sanctification.
How then do we properly and formally invite the Mother of the Lord and Mother of all peoples into the New Evangelization for the new millennium?
The past millennium witnessed the definition of two great Marian dogmas: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. Could this millennium be the moment for proclaiming Mary as Mother of all people, Mother of all grace? It is by formally recognizing the maternal gift from the Heart of the Crucified Christ to every human heart, as given on Calvary, that we would invite Mary to repeat "do as he tells you". It would be by means of this dogmatic declaration that we, those redeemed by her Son, would accept the great gift; "behold your Mother" (Jn. 19:27). It is by dogmatically declaring that we, as the people of God, do accept the maternal gift of great price, and consequent instruction of the Lord Jesus to "behold our Mother" (Jn. 19:27), that we rejoice and give thanks for that great gift of her as our Intercessor, as she is clearly called in Lumen Gentium, (LG. 61)
Is not the Christian truth of her maternal mediation (RM. III) the foundation of our Marian conciliar teaching (cf. LG. 56, 58, 61, 62), specially when it states: "Mary's maternal mission did not shadow the unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its efficacy" (LG. 60)? Can we not state the same of the Ave Maria, praying the rosary, of the acts of Marian entrustments, of the historic events of Guadalupe and Fatima, of the papal motto, Totus Tuus?
To solemnly proclaim the Virgin Immaculate as the Mother of all peoples, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate is to fully and officially recognize her titles and, consequently, to activate, to bring to new life, the spiritual functions they offer for humanity. This free act on the part of the Church, which reflects the freedom of all believers, thus releases the Mother in the order of freedom and grace to fully intercede with these spiritual and maternal roles given her by God for the sanctification of the peoples of the world. And as such, the Mother of the New Evangelization will be, so to speak, fully commissioned by humanity's exercise of free will to "bring us (once again) the gifts of eternal salvation" (cf. LG. 62), which in turn will bring to new life the Incarnation and the Gospel in the hearts of her earthly children.
The dogmatic proclamation of the Mother of all peoples, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate
would be the gateway to the New Evangelization. It would be
the "New Cana", the renewed bridge
that connects the human heart with the freshly revealed Heart of Christ through the Heart of the Mother (cf. Jn. 2:5). It would be the Star of the Sea which would serve
as the compass in the great spiritual catch of the "Duc in altum".
Let us thereby open the new millennium and its New Evangelization with a contemporary fulfillment of the Marian scriptural prophecy: "all generations will call me blessed; for he that is mighty has done great things for me" (Lk. 1:48).
Luis Cardinal Aponte Martinez
The above is reproduced with the kind permission of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici.