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Marianist Spirituality: Apostolic Mission

Marianist Spirituality: Apostolic Mission

– Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Mary's Apostolic Mission and Our Participation: The Vision of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

Father Neubert and His Marian Writing
His Approach to Mariology
Mariological Principle of Analogy
Chaminadean Background and Christocentric Foundation of His Mariology
His Pattern in Studying Mary's Apostolic Mission
The Notions of "Apostle" and "Apostolate"
The Testimony of Sacred Scripture
The Witness of Tradition and History
The Liturgy
Papal Teachings
Theological Precisions
Functions Requiring Her Apostolic Mission
The Centrality of Mary's Spiritual Maternity


The grace of baptism and the other sacraments of initiation compel us to bring all people to Christ. The sacraments of initiation commission us for apostolic service, for collaboration with Mary to complete the Whole Christ.

The spiritual sons of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850) in the Society of Mary (Marianists) seem to be the only group which has expounded the notion of Mary's Apostolic Mission in any explicit and regular manner. Their treatment is inspired mainly by the contribution of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the most noteworthy Mariologist of the first half of the nineteenth century, to this topic. They extend the doctrine of Mary's Spiritual Motherhood to its fuller meaning in the spirit of Father Chaminade's original exposition, and expand on the teaching of St. Louis de Montfort. To date Father Emil Neubert, S.M., has been the leading exponent of Chaminade’s Marian doctrine.


Father Neubert and His Marian Writing

Formerly director of the Marianist International Seminary for over a quarter-century, the late Father Emil Neubert, S.M. (1878-1967) was a member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy, and a founding member of the French Society of Marian Studies. Without a doubt he is the most renowned and most prolific Marianist writer about our Blessed Mother. Father Neubert enjoyed an international reputation as a Mariologist. Father Peter Resch, S.M., terms him, without question, the foremost doctor of Mariology among the sons of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.1

This preeminent Marianist Mariologist was well-known as the author of numerous articles and books written between 1905 and 1962. Many of his writings were translated from the original French into other languages and are still sought today. He possessed the gift of lending effective expression in clear and simple discourse to profound ideas. They reveal a life so edifying in love of God, of our Blessed Mother, and of neighbor that Father Neubert is often placed in the category of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Frank Duff (founder of the Legion of Mary), both of whom carried on a correspondence with him.

Only two years after the publication of Mon Ideal, Jesus, Fils de Marie (My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary), St, Maximilian wrote from Nagasaki, Japan, on August 22, 1935, to Father Marian Wojcik, O.F.M.Conv., in Niepokalanow, Poland: “The Marianist E. Neubert has published a book entitled My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary. The spirit that pervades this book is entirely the same as ours.” (Kolbe, Scritti, Editrice Nazionale Milizia dell’ Immacolata, Roma, 1997, 1163).

Some regard Neubert’s Marian writings – essentially spiritual, with a profound scriptural, patristic, and dogmatic base – as a harbinger of chapter eight of Lumen Gentium (Vatican Council II). He highlighted emphatically the universal call to holiness for all the people of God in language accessible to all in view of the mission entrusted to Jesus and Mary. It was the particular grace of Emil Neubert, faithful son of Blessed Chaminade, to focus on the ideal of cooperating with Mary in bringing Jesus to the peoples of all times and places, and to enable us to deepen this apostolic mission to which every baptized person is invited in the unique love of Jesus and Mary.

Father Neubert has done more than any other person to develop and to popularize the Marian doctrine of Father Chaminade. He devotes an entire book to the Apostolic Mission of our Blessed Mother and gives summary treatment to this function in more than a half-dozen others. 2 In his foreword to La Mission Apostolique de Marie et la Nôtre he mentions that he has touched upon this topic in most of his Marian books. He also states that he did not "discover" this doctrine but inherited it from Father Chaminade, who found it implicit in Christian doctrine.


His Approach to Mariology

The Introduction to Mary in Doctrine traces in broad strokes the development of Marian theology.4 In the Introduction, Father Neubert explains the method of exposition he uses in the book and gives a summary of some key ideas found in the special appendix of the first edition of Marie dans le Dogme.5 The major part of this orientation leads to the formulation of Father Neubert's principle of analogy for Mariology. Some excerpts from the Introduction will clarify his approach.

"The history of the Mariological beliefs shows that the faithful -- simple Christians with their pastors -- have professed each one of these long before the theologians busied themselves with them... St. Thomas speaks of a double manner of judging, "by reasoning and by a certain 'connaturality' (conformity of nature) with the things to be judged."6

"St. Thomas calls this connaturality with an inclination, a sympathy. Pascal makes an analogous distinction with regard to the difference between the geometrical mind and the subtle mind. ...[for example, geometricians] are lost when it comes to delicate matters in which principles are not so readily perceived. Here principles are barely seen -- rather they are felt." 7

Applying this general idea to Mariology and building up to his Mariological principle of analogy, Father Neubert continues:

"The faithful see intuitively with what love such a Child must have loved His Mother... But to love is to give. If He loved her so much He must have given her all that He could give her; all that she ...was capable of receiving. ...Every Christian feels that Jesus must have shared His own graces and privileges with His Mother, and especially so, because He Himself created her.… What, then, could be more evident to the faithful than that Jesus, perfect Child of Mary, shared all His supernatural riches with His mother in the measure in which she was capable of receiving them? The fact of Jesus' filial love ...would alone have sufficed to make the faithful understand that He would have His Mother participate in all His prerogatives."8

Father Neubert indicates that various Scriptural data -- texts and important events mentioned in the Gospels -- persuade the Christian that Jesus had wished to do for His Mother all that He could and, therefore, wished to share His privileges with her in the measure in which a woman could possess them. Such a persuasion soon becomes a conviction and guides the Christian when there is question of attributing to Mary some prerogatives not explicitly indicated in Holy Scripture.9

As devotion to the Mother of Jesus grew and as an effect of other truths related to Marian doctrine, he observes that clearer and more numerous resemblances between Christ and His mother appeared to the eyes of all; for example, the Immaculate Conception of Christ and Mary; the absence of sin, imperfection, and concupiscence in both; Christ, the New Adam, and Mary , the New Eve; and so forth.10

In its worship the Church manifests this close relation between the Son and His Mother; for example, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and similar parallels.11

"Of course," remarks Father Neubert, "the Christian instinctively realizes that the similarity between the privileges of Christ and those of His Mother is in no sense identity."12 After indicating these parallels in the mysteries of Jesus and Mary, Father Neubert cautions that the Christian realizes that Mary is only a creature, dependent on Christ for everything. Her grace is adapted to her own nature and to her special function. Mary's participation in the prerogatives of her Son is the work of the filial piety of the Son of God for His Mother.13


Mariological Principle of Analogy

Here was no formal statement of this analogy between the prerogatives of Jesus and those of Mary by the earliest teachers of Christianity, although it was "felt from the earliest times and felt clearly enough to guide the judgment of the faithful with astonishing sureness amidst often contradictory opinions. "14 In the first half of the eighth century St. John Damascene affirmed it regarding the Assumption.

"It was necessary that the Mother should have entered into the possession of all the goods of her Son, and that she should have been venerated by all creation as the Mother and Handmaid of God The Son, in fact, has submitted the entire creation to the dominion of His Mother."15

Father Neubert also cites St. Louis de Montfort, who repeats a truth already long recognized: "Whatever is proper to God by nature, is proper to Mary by grace."16

"To give this truth precision, Father Neubert formulates his principle of analogy for Mariology. To the various privileges of the humanity of Jesus there correspond analogous privileges in Mary, in the manner and in the degree required by the difference between her condition and that of her son."17

The rule has been used in this form by several theologians who have recognized its fruitfulness. 18

Theologians had earlier formulated two other rules in this regard.19 The rule of fitness states that God accorded to Mary every privilege which befits her in herself and because of her Son. The rule of the privileges of the saints given to Mary affirms that every privilege that God conferred on a saint, He must have conferred on Mary either in the same or in a more perfect form. Father Neubert takes the position that

"These two rules are valid but rather vague in their application... [They] have never helped the theologians to discover a new truth but only to confirm truths arrived at by the Christian consciousness of the faithful. On the contrary, the rule of analogies between the privileges of Christ and those of Mary is precise and fruitful. Following it, the faithful have discovered all the Marian truths implicitly contained in Scripture and known by us today.20 Father Neubert also views the principle of analogies as more comprehensive than the praiseworthy and helpful principle of consortium, virtue of which Mary is considered as the associate of Christ in His mission. The rule of analogies between Jesus and Mary applies to their functions-- as does the principle of consortium-- as well as to their other prerogatives."21

Their prerogatives are usually considered as two groups: those which are primarily social functions, and those which are regarded as personal privileges in view of, or consequent upon, their functions. However, this is not an absolute distinction, for their privileges are functions and their functions, privileges.22

But he considers the principle of analogies as only one of the lights that guide the faithful in the discovery of Mary's privileges. Because there is analogy only, there will be differences as well as resemblances in the prerogatives of Jesus and Mary. The resemblances will be indicated only in a general way by the principle of analogy. The manner and degree of the resemblances between the prerogatives of Jesus and Mary are estimated by the faithful "with the help of certain related truths furnished either by Holy Scripture or by the common teaching of Christian doctrine."23 For example, belief in the Assumption is determined by considering "not only Christ's Ascension and His place at the right hand of the Father but also the general doctrine of the resurrection of the body, together with St. Paul's teaching concerning our body, and the like." Father Neubert believes that these "related truths" have the added advantage of directing the mind toward the discovery of other Marian prerogatives. 24

Father Neubert concluded his explanation of the development of Mariology by pointing out that

"...the faithful, inspired by Scriptural data and by common Christian doctrine, deduce from what seem to be very vague Scriptural teachings on the Mother of Jesus, an increasing number of explicit statements. They are sure that they are not wrong; but, in fact, may they not be? To adhere completely to a given doctrine and to live by it, one must be certain of its truth beyond all possible shadow of doubt. We do have three criteria [of infallibility for these Marian doctrines – the same three we have for all truths of faith [the common belief of the faithful, the ordinary magisterium of the Church, and papal infallibility]."25

The stage set, proceed to Father Neubert's exploration of Mary's Apostolic Mission.


Chaminadean Background and Christocentric Foundation of His Mariology

In Life of Union with Mary, the spirituality of Father Chaminade is deftly summarized by Father Neubert in the statement that Father Chaminade insisted vigorously "on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ and on our identification with Jesus, as well as upon the Spiritual Maternity of Mary and her Apostolic Mission in the world."26

Our Blessed Mother is characterized by Father Neubert as the "Perfect Militant," the perfect apostle of Christianity.27 He recalls three reasons why she is "Queen of Militants" in his book bearing this title. First, she is the cooperator with Christ in the Redemption, and with Him must continue this work by applying to each soul in particular the fruits of the Redemption. This apostolic mission she has received directly from God. Secondly, Mary is the distributor of all graces. Finally, Mary is the mother of all.28

With this capsule survey, we have an introduction to Father Neubert's examination of Mary's Apostolic Mission.

In My Ideal he gives a terse explanation of how this apostolic mission is hers and ours. Christians are called to assist her in applying to each person the salvation merited on Calvary. The cooperation Mary gave Jesus at Nazareth and on Calvary must be continued until the end of time with our assistance.29

La Doctrine Mariale de M Chaminade devotes a special chapter of explanation and commentary on citations regarding Mary's Apostolic Mission, the distinctive trait of Father Chaminade's Mariology, and his particular contribution to the scope of Marian theology.30

To group solidly his treatment of the assistance we owe Mary, in La Dévotion à Marie, Father Neubert quotes passages from his second edition of Marie dans le Dogme (1946), establishing the fact of Mary's Apostolic Mission and our participation in it. 31

A glance at the table of contents of Our Gift from God shows that it is a treatise on the Marianist life of total consecration to Mary by a special vow of Stability. The Marianist consecration is depicted as a complete response to and participation in Mary's Apostolic Mission, the essential reason for the existence of the Society of Mary.32

Marie et Nôtre Sacerdoce lays down the two fundamental bases for the doctrine of total consecration to Mary -- apostolic filial piety after the example of Jesus, and assistance in her Apostolic Mission to crush Satan, especially in our times.33

Father Neubert founds his teaching on a Christocentric core. A good example of his exposition of Jesus as our Model is found in Life of Union with Mary.34 The first chapter is introduced by several Scriptural thoughts indicating that the most perfect Christian is the one who succeeds best in reproducing all the dispositions of Jesus.35 Like Father Chaminade, he bases himself on Johannine and Pauline doctrine. Later in this work he quoted Father Chaminade as an authority in confirming that our Blessed Mother exercises, in continuing our education, a primary influence in our spiritual transformation. She forms Christ in us.36 Because every Christian is another Christ and Christ came to save the world, Father Neubert then devotes several chapters to outlining the Apostolic Mission that follows Mary's functions as Spiritual Mother, Co-redemptrix, Distributor of All Graces, and Queen of the Universe, and our obligation to cooperate in this mission.37 His brief treatment follows the same general lines as his more lengthy expositions of our subject and establishes the essential relationship between devotion to Mary and the apostolate.38


His Pattern in Studying Mary's Apostolic Mission

In all his works, Father Neubert affirms that Mary's Apostolic Mission is the immediate consequence of her functions as Spiritual Mother, Co-redemptrix, and Dispenser of All Graces. This main pattern of his doctrinal interpretations is found in an abridged treatment in Our Mother, in expanded form in Mary in Doctrine, and in extensive development in La Mission Apostolique de Marie et la Nôtre. From these we can draw a compendium of his affirmations on the topic.

The procedure followed by Father Neubert in his investigation of Mary's Apostolic Mission is to study and relate evidence from Sacred Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, the Liturgy, the ordinary magisterium of the Church, and pronouncements by the sovereign pontiffs. But first he considers some ideas regarding the concepts of an "apostle" and the "apostolate." 39


The Notions of "Apostle" and "Apostolate"

The Gospel tells us that Our Lord chose twelve disciples whom He called "apostles," meaning "those who are sent."40 Actually, of course, Christ was the first apostle, who selected the twelve to help Him accomplish the mission for which He was sent: "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."41 In the plan of God, all the three Divine Persons intervened in the Incarnation to send the First Apostle: the Father sent; the Son was sent; and the Holy Spirit, in making fruitful the Immaculate Virgin Mary, gave the Son the humanity needed to accomplish His apostolic mission.42 The First Apostle, when He ascended into heaven, commissioned the twelve to teach and baptize and promised He would be with them until the world's consummation.43 Christ warned them of Satan's opposition, but He encouraged them and their successors with His continued presence in their prolongation of this apostolate.44

In the notion of the apostolate, Father Neubert sees three ideas: being sent by God, wresting souls from Satan to make them children of God, and dedication without reckoning on final success.45

Tradition implies that Mary has also received an apostolic mission because God made her the New Eve, the Associate of Christ. Yet her mission is identical neither with that of the other apostles nor with Christ's, although it resembles that of Christ more than that of the other apostles. The mission confided to Mary by Christ contains the twofold objective of spreading the doctrine of salvation and the practice of the Christian life. Mary's apostolic mission embraces at the same time Christian education and Christian living. 46


The Testimony of Sacred Scripture

From the Old Testament of Holy Scripture, Father Neubert interprets Gen 3: 15 in the light of Rev 12:9 in thesensus plenior of Mary vanquishing Satan.47 This enmity is proclaimed both between the woman and the serpent and between their posterities.48

St. Matthew's application of the Emmanuel prophecy in Is 7: 14 to the virginal conception of Jesus by Mary is also understood in the "fuller sense." As the human instrument in the Incarnation, Mary is clearly exercising an apostolate. To be a cause of God's presence with us is an act of universal apostolate.49

The Emmanuel prophecy (Is 7:14), explains Father Neubert, completes that of the Protoevangelium (Jn 3:15). The "First Gospel" refers to what he calls the negative aspect of Mary's Apostolic Mission: wresting souls from Satan. In the Emmanuel prophecy he sees Mary exercising a positive apostolate which is the completion or goal of the first aspect: to restore to divine life the souls won from Satan.50

What the Old Testament prefigured vaguely, the New Testament expresses with clarity. Here Father Neubert finds distinct indications of Mary's Apostolic Mission in the Annunciation, the Visitation, the first revelations of Christ to the world, the Cana nuptials, the Passion and Death on Calvary, the Pentecost retreat in the Cenacle. He also speculates concerning Mary's influence on the Gospels by St. Luke and St. John and the impact she had on the apostolic action of St. Peter, St. James, and St. Paul.51

The New Testament plainly realizes what the Old Testament foreshadows in Semitic imagery. Father Neubert explains:

"It tells us how Mary freely and knowingly performed an apostolic act of infinite significance, an act from which would flow every future apostolate and which gave us the apostle per se, Jesus Christ. It shows us or allows us to surmise Mary's action with reference to the principal persons who were to share in the apostolate of Jesus. It was through the visit of Mary that the greatest of prophets, the one who was to go before the Lord to prepare His way, was sanctified and anointed by the Holy Spirit. It was near Mary that the shepherds of Bethlehem became the first apostles of the Messiah among the Jews and the Magi among the Gentiles. It was when receiving the divine Child from Mary's arms that the prophets of the temple, Simeon and Anna, proclaimed before pious souls of Jerusalem the appearance of the Christ who was so ardently awaited. It was the miracle obtained by Mary at Cana that confirmed the faith of the first five apostles. It was to Mary that Jesus, dying, confided him who represented the twelve apostles and the apostles of all times. Finally, it was after their retreat made in union with Mary that the Twelve received the Holy Spirit, who completed their apostolic formation and sent them into the world, powerful in word and work."52


The Witness of Tradition and History

The Apostolic Mission of Mary embraces a twofold work: the apostolate of teaching Christianity and the apostolate of Christian living -- to teach the true faith and to put it into practice. Surveying Tradition in this context, Father Neubert studies Mary as "Guardian of the Faith," and as "Mother and Educator of souls."53

The apostolate of Christian doctrine includes negative and positive aspects: preserving orthodoxy against falsification and propagating it to the entire world.

Father Neubert calls Mary a logical argument against heresy whose victorious action appears under various viewpoints. Her functions and privileges present a logical opposition, an argument of reason against heresy. Especially in the battle of the early Fathers against the Christological heresies is this evident.54

He makes a general examination of the Christological heresies that plagued the early Church and examines Mary's involvement in them.55 The issues are outlined with the roles played by the great Doctors and Fathers in extirpating error. He looks into the questions of Christ's true humanity and Mary's human maternity; the divinity of Christ and the virginity of Mary; and the personal union of two natures in Christ through Mary's virginal conception, her Divine Maternity.56 The liturgical text repeated on so many feasts of our Blessed Mother is a reminder of her mission in preserving orthodoxy of faith: "Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, for you alone have vanquished all heresies in the whole world."

If Mary is a convincing argument in the refutation of heresies, for the majority she is a more convincing argument of the heart. This is examined in regard to certain heresies, Protestantism in particular.57 Father Neubert then studies this guardian of true Christianity engendering a deep spirit of faith and the dispositions fundamental to a healthy supernatural life.58 Of all the errors condemned by the Church through the centuries, never was any Marian doctrine directly implicated. She possesses perfect faith and those who live habitually in her company acquire a spirit of faith and a sense of orthodoxy.59

Several miraculous interventions of Mary in the history of the Church are marshaled before us by Father Neubert to exemplify her efficacious role in defending and propagating the true faith.60

Still more comprehensive and more constant than Mary's role as Guardian of the Faith is her mission as Mother and Educator of souls. In the intimacy of Christian hearts she teaches them the lessons of the supernatural life and forms Christ in them -- an influence of which the Christian is often only feebly conscious.61 In this regard and in the framework of Tradition, Father Neubert reviews Mary's action as a model and aid to sanctity in the Church's early times;62 her relation with the apostolic religious societies63 and the diocesan clergy;64 and to officially mandated Catholic Action,65 especially the Marian lay associations, the Sodality,66 the Children of Mary,67 the Militia of Mary Immaculate,68 and the Legion of Mary.69

In the apostolates of teaching true Christian doctrine and of teaching the practice of Christ's precepts, Mary's role is not a passive one but an active one. From the numerous examples referred to by Father Neubert, it is easily seen that preoccupation with orthodoxy finds its source in the intimate and vital relations of confidence and of love which have always existed between the Christians and their heavenly Mother. It is the love of Mary which has preserved the love of the true faith. Besides, it is undoubtedly through the graces of light and zeal that the distributor of all graces makes of her very devoted children the most intrepid and skillful defenders of the true doctrines of Christ.70 When considering the living of Christianity Father Neubert remarks:

"The missionaries notice that it is easier for them to enlighten and touch the minds and hearts of the pagans, by speaking to them first of the Mother of Jesus and by fostering among them the ordinary Marian devotional practices. Respect for Mary promotes the rights of women and of children and establishes truly Christian families. Love for Mary among these converted populations assures perseverance in the newfound faith. Thus, in vast countries which have few priests to care for the spiritual needs of the people and where Protestant missionaries are lavish with…materials, the overwhelming majority of the laity remains faithful to the Catholic Church, because to become Protestant they would have to give up the veneration of Mary."71

Though an imposing mass of testimony about the apostolic mission of Mary has been drawn from tradition, Neubert adds still more – the direct, miraculous interventions of the Queen of Apostles in modern times.72

Events and documents of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have amply verified the prophecies of St. Louis de Montfort and the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade relative to the triumphant apostolic action of Mary Immaculate in these times. But, in Father Neubert's opinion, this did not suffice for our Blessed Mother. She added further evidence of her apostolic concern for our salvation by miraculously appearing to her children. Though these appearances were made to individuals, the messages were intended for the conversion and sanctification of all the faithful. He restricts his observations to the apostolic bearing of ecclesiastically approved apparitions.73 The following appearances of Mary Immaculate are studied: St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal, Alphonse Ratisbonne, La Salette, Lourdes, Pontmain, Fatima, Beauraing, and Banneux. The significance of the Virgin Mary's appearances in the life of the Church is well presented by Louis Lochet in Apparitions of Our Lady. Lochet studies the appearances in relation to the mystery of Mary and to the Christian life.74

Father Neubert observes that it generally takes a long time for a zealous and effectively organized religious society or apostolic association to produce results in propagating a message from our Blessed Mother. But to transform rapidly a modern era which was sterile from a Marian point of view to one which is eminently fruitful, the Virgin Mother intervened directly and personally. 75


The Liturgy

When presenting the witness of the Liturgy in affirming Mary's apostolic mission, Father Neubert examines certain Marian feasts and recalls the victories which some commemorate. Special attention is given to the feasts of Mary, Help of Christians; Holy Name of Mary; Our Lady of Mercy; and Mary, Queen of Apostles. The apostolic meaning of various prayers from the office and the Mass for some feasts is recalled.76

The ancient antiphon, long used in the Liturgy, which hails Mary as the conqueror of all heresies has already been cited.

The Liturgy holds an incontestable place in clarifying the truth of doctrine. The principle of lex supplicandi, lex credendi has been employed since the origin of the Church.77


Papal Teachings

Mary's apostolic mission has never been solemnly defined by the supreme authority of the Church, a considerable number of popes, especially in recent times, have taught it as an acceptable doctrine. Before naming particular papal documents and citing appropriate texts, Father Neubert recalls the evident fact that all through the ages the Sovereign Pontiffs have recommended recourse to Mary when the Church and the faithful have been menaced by dangers.78

Father Neubert concentrates attention on Popes Leo XIll, St. Pius X. Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII.79 He quotes from each of them and comments on their thoughts.80


Theological Precisions

After a thorough review of this notion as a teaching based on Holy Scripture, contained in tradition, and taught by the ordinary magisterium of the Church, Father Neubert affirms that belief in Mary's apostolic mission is part of the deposit of Catholic faith. This accomplished, he proceeds to define exactly this notion of Mary's apostolic mission, to establish its foundations, to note its relations to the other functions of the Blessed Virgin, and to distinguish it from the apostolic mission of Christ and that of other Christians.81 These theological precisions also provide a recapitulation of the entire notion.

It was seen earlier that the mission of an apostle supposes a sending by Christ to convert and sanctify souls by one's total dedication to this end. Father Neubert shows that the sending of Mary by God, her apostolic commission to cooperate in the salvation of the human race, is founded on her predestination as Mother of the Savior and on the enactment of the Incarnation. She pronounced her fiat with the most apostolic verve and energy ever to spring from a human heart. This apostolic willingness and determination, far from weakening with the passage of time or the extreme severity of ordeals, intensified, especially when encountering trials. And her apostolic willingness endures in heaven as do all our supernatural dispositions, but incomparably more perfect than on earth, immutable in its orientation yet constantly adapting to meet new circumstances.82

On Mary's fiat depends the Incarnation of the Son of God and His state of apostle, the apostolate of the Twelve, and that of the unending succession of popes, bishops, priests, religious and lay apostles until the end of time, and, during all eternity, the Beatific Vision of innumerable myriads of blessed.83

From this viewpoint he has outlined, Father Neubert continues his exposition by studying the various functions which will show Mary in the conduct of her mission. This distinction is made regarding Mary's divers functions: some call for or demand her Apostolic Mission; others, in a certain manner, coalesce or are combined with it integrally and inseparably as particular applications pertaining to it.84


Functions Requiring Her Apostolic Mission

The social functions of Mary that call for and require her apostolic mission are her maternity in relation to Jesus, her cooperation with Jesus in the Redemption, and her association in all the mysteries of Jesus.85 Each of these functions is examined in turn by Father Neubert.

Called by God to give us Jesus in the mystery of the Incarnation, Mary's, social and apostolic role in this mystery is to bring Him to each human being. This will be her continual mission.86

Having given Jesus to the entire world in general on the day of the Incarnation, she must give Him to every creature in particular throughout the ages. With Jesus she worked at the Redemption of all; with Jesus she must work at their conversion and sanctification.87

Until the end of the world Christ must continue His redemptive mission. This is the apostolate – the application and continuation of the Redemption. Cooperating with Christ the Redeemer is Mary the co-redemptrix. Her coredemptive function necessarily assigns to her an apostolic role -- applying to each soul the grace of salvation and divine filiation which she merited for us in principle, subordinate to and with Christ. This apostolic mission must continue until the consummation of the world.88

Mary cooperated with Jesus in the Redemption of mankind. Yet the Redemption, although merited in principle on Calvary for all, is not actually accomplished until it is applied to every individual soul. The cooperation which Mary gave her Son at Nazareth and on Calvary she must give until the end of time.89

It has always been the common belief of Christians that the God-Man shared His prerogatives with His Mother as far as she was capable of participating in them. Here Father Neubert is referring to the Mariological principle of analogy which he formulated in the first edition of Marie dans le Dogme and which was cited earlier.90

Frequently in his writings Father Neubert returns to the principle of analogy or refers to it. He considers the "Mystery of Mary" to be "the participation of the Blessed Virgin in the mission of her Son, a mission God wanted her to share when He made her our Mother."91

“Mary...has always been, and continues to be, a participant in all the activities, without exception, of Christ the Redeemer. Her functions are absolutely unique. And that is the Mystery of Mary.”92

The first and true Apostle of humankind is Christ. If, then, Mary participates in all the different functions of her Son, it is also necessary that she participate in His apostolate. It is necessary that the Son share with His Mother, according to the measure she is capable of receiving, His apostolic mission which will endure as long as there are souls to save and sanctify.93


Functions Pertaining to Her Apostolic Mission

Continuing his theological summary, Father Neubert reviews the functions of Mary which pertain to her Apostolic Mission, the offices inseparable from and integral with it. These are her responsibilities as distributor of all graces and Spiritual Mother.94 Mary's distribution of all graces is an old doctrine in the Church, and recent popes have taught it on many occasions.95 These popes have frequently affirmed that it is a natural consequence of her coredemptive role. The Virgin Mary cooperated with Christ in the acquisition of all graces. It is altogether natural, then, that she cooperate with Him in their distribution. Without doubt God has willed that all graces come to us through Mary and that we should seek them through her. Every apostolic action depends absolutely on divine grace. Consequently, all activities of the apostolate stem from her, relate to her.96

Father Neubert reasons that Mary's functions as co-redemptrix and mother of mankind “ ...prove that God ought to confide to her a universal apostolic mission. Her office of distributor of all graces proves that He did confide such a mission to her."97

Like Father Chaminade, his master, Father Neubert emphasizes the importance of knowing Mary's universal mediation in order to understand the significance of Mary's role in the economy of salvation, in the life of every person. Close examination reveals that her universal mediation is combined with and correlated to her function of spiritual maternity.

Mary, the Mother of Christ, is our Mother because she merited [congruously, through and with her Son] supernatural life for us as co-redemptrix, and, as Distributor of All Graces, she gives this life to each one of us, nourishes it and brings it to fullness.98 All who reach the beatitude of heaven, without exception, owe their glory to the mediatrix of all graces.

As mother of Christ, Mary is also the mother of all the members of His Mystical Body. God did not first will the maternity of Mary in relation to His Son, and then later, almost as an afterthought, desire her Maternity in our regard. From all eternity God willed the Incarnation of His Son as head of His Mystical Body. Therefore, Mary is mother of "the Whole Christ." Here again, Father Neubert displays the mind of Chaminade in stressing these key concepts.

In a brief analysis of motherhood, Father Neubert teaches that every mother is the first apostle of her children: she has the responsibility to preserve her offspring from sin and have them baptized into supernatural life.

A fortiori Mary is the first apostle of her children. Two reasons are adduced: she is the most perfect of mothers, and she is the mother of their supernatural life.99

An ordinary mother gives physical life to her child in the natural order. But the situation is totally different with Mary. She is a supernatural mother whose maternity consists entirely in giving supernatural life. In Mary, maternity is practiced by her apostolic action, and all her apostolic action is related to her maternity.100

What, in fact, does Mary do to be so much our mother? Father Neubert succinctly states that she brings us forth in the life of Jesus, preserves and maintains this life, and aids its growth to the attainment of the stature of Christ. Mary develops the Christ-life in her children by guiding them from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. Therefore, concludes Father Neubert, Mary is essentially apostle because she is essentially mother. Either we must attribute to her a supereminent apostolic mission or we must deny her spiritual maternity.101

In this same vein Father Neubert asks:

Can we imagine that God made her mother of men and did not give her in the highest degree the greatest of all desires in the heart of a Christian mother to see her children eternally happy with her? Or, having given her that desire, would He refuse her the means of realizing it? All the reasons given to prove the eagerness of Mary to receive sinners prove likewise her Apostolic Mission....To say that God confided to Mary a universal apostolic mission is simply to affirm that He made her a worthy mother of the Savior and of humankind.102


The Centrality of Mary's Spiritual Maternity

Father Neubert finds the whole reason for Mary's role in the divine plan in motherhood, to be mother of Jesus and of us. Mary's motherhood is also the entire raison d'être of her other functions. This means that she is mother, not because she was called by God to be co-redemptrix and distributor of all graces, but she is co-redemptrix and distributor because she was called to be mother.103

The coalescent relationship of these functions to one another and to Mary's apostolic mission are summarized by this terse passage:

"Of course, to be truly their mother, she must really and truly give them this life [grace]. In other words, she had to contribute something to the mystery of the redemption, which is the cause of all grace. Hence, the very necessity of her function of co-redemptrix.

"Furthermore, this life of grace, merited in principle for all on Calvary, must now be applied individually, so that each one can be born of grace and grow in its supernatural life. Hence, Mary's role of distributor of all graces.

"And there you have the raison d'être of Mary's participation in Christ's work as Redeemer. Any other explanation leaves Mary only metaphorically, but not really, the mother of all.

"And we must admit that such would be the case if Jesus had not chosen Mary to share in the perfection of His functions as well as in the glory of His privileges."104

The centrality of Mary's Motherhood in her Apostolic Mission Father Neubert highlights in the cogency of the concluding paragraph of the statement just quoted.

Actually, Mary's participation in the activities of Christ is already implied, though indirectly, in her divine maternity. It is her spiritual maternity that directly demands the role.105

The integral and inseparable relation of Mary's social functions-- her universal mediation as co-redemptrix and distributor of all graces, her sovereignty , her sacerdotal role as associate of Christ, our High Priest, and her Apostolic Mission in the world -- centered in her function of motherhood presents the mystery of Mary as wondrously more beautiful, more fruitful, and more harmonious. For Mary's real cooperation in the mystery of the Savior, Christ, manifests a "more perfect unity and, especially, a greater love of Christ for Mary and of Mary for Christ and of both of them for us."106

Each of her social functions assumes and implies an apostolic mission. Father Neubert has already demonstrated this in regard to Mary's maternity and universal mediation. As Queen she not only guides souls in the life of Jesus, her sovereignty is also a Queenship of conquest, changing the enemies of her Son into docile and loving subjects.107 As mother and associate of Christ the priest, she fulfills a special sacerdotal mission far outranking that of any ordained priest.108

Mary's personal privileges, especially her Immaculate Conception and Assumption, also have definite relationship to her apostolic mission. Mary in Doctrine makes mention of this point.109

Mary's social functions associate her to the Son of God become Man not only with regard to certain of His personal prerogatives, but also with regard to His very mission.110 She shares in that great work, for which "the Word was made flesh and lived among us. "

The correlation of Jesus' apostolic mission to Mary's, and that of other apostles is another area analyzed by by Father Neubert.111

Christ, it was already seen, is the first Apostle, the true and only Apostle. He transmits to His disciples the mission received from the Father. As did her Son, Mary receives her apostolic mission directly from God. "... The angel Gabriel was sent from God... to a virgin... named Mary."112 In the name of the Most High the angel asked her to collaborate in the salvation of the world by giving it a Savior. Mary's fiat was an essentially apostolic act.113

Reviewing quickly the divine plan to save the world through the Incarnation, Father Neubert affirms that the apostolate of Jesus was necessary in itself to accomplish the salvation of mankind because an act of infinite value was required. But Mary's apostolate is not necessary in itself; it is necessary by God's decree to associate the action of the mother with that of the Son. Jesus' apostolic action is sufficient in itself to convert and sanctify all. Mary's apostolic action has value only in union with her Son's apostolate, from which hers derives all its efficacy.114 The sound theocentric and Christocentric orientations of this Mariology are clearly evident.

Father Neubert also notes that the domain of action is the same for both the mother and the Son. There are no reserved areas. The entire Christian apostolate is pursued at the same time by Jesus and Mary. Here, as in her other functions, Mary is the socia Christi, participating in the salvific action of Christ according to her condition of woman and mother and drawing all the efficacy of her actions from that of her Son.115 The relations between Jesus' apostolic mission and Mary's are the same as the relations between Jesus' mediatorial function and Mary's. It is natural, then, that their apostolic function is but a continuation and application of their mediatorial function.116

Jesus and Mary received their apostolic mission directly from the Father or from the Most Holy Trinity. But other Christian apostles -- the twelve, bishops, religious, laymen, the simple faithful -- receive their apostolic commission from the Incarnate Son of God. Their apostolic action continues that of Christ and is dependent on His apostolic mission. Their apostolic action is also a continuation of Mary's, as was explained earlier in considering Mary's functions of mother, co-redemptrix and distributor of all graces.117

The apostolate means

"...bringing souls to Jesus in order to be transformed into Him here on earth and to be made eternally happy with Him in heaven. But we get no grace except through Mary. Consequently, all the activity of an apostle,'s very vocation to the apostolate, come from her. She it is who inspired us and is the cause of all our success."



1. Neubert, S.M.,Ernil Mary in Doctrine, (Milwaukee. Bruce Publishing Co.,1954), Preface, v.

2. La Devotion a Marie, (Le Puy: Editions Xavier Mappus, 1942); Mary in Doctrine; La Mission Apostolique de Marie et la Nôtre, (Paris: Editions Alsatia, 1956); Our Gift from God, trans. Sylvester Juergens, S;M., (n. p. [St. Louis, Missouri], privately published, n.d. [1962]); La Doctrine Mariale de M. Chaminade (Paris: Editions du Cert: n.d. [1937]); My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary, (Kirkwood, Missouri. Maryhurst Press, 1947); Queen of Militants (St. Meinrad, Indiana. Grail Publications, 1947); Our Mother, (St. Meinrad, Indiana: Grail Publications, 1953), trans. of Nôtre Mère (Le Puy. Editions Xavier Mappus, 1941 ).

3. Neubert, La Mission Apostolique de Marie et la Nôtre, 12, n, 3.

4. Neubert, Mary .., 1-3. This exposition also appears in "The Development of Marian Doctrine," Marian Library Studies No.7: (October 1960) published by the Marian Library, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio.

5. This appendix is titled Règles pour juger des priviléges de Marie. Father Neubert did not include it in future editions because he thought it pertained more to theology properly so-cal!ed. See Neubert, Marie dans le Dogme (Paris: Editions Spes, 1946), deuxieme edition, 13, n. I. A similar treatment of the development of Marian theology is found in Emil Neubert, S.M., De la Découverte Progressive des Grandeurs de Marie (Paris: Editions Spes, 1951 ), premiere partie. The first edition of Father Neubert's Marie dans le Dogme appeared in 1933 The second edition, considerably reorganized and expanded, was published in 1946. The chapter on La Mission Apostolique de Marie was added in the second edition, See Neubert, Marie dans le Dogme, deuxieme edition, 12. Mary in Doctrine was translated from the third edition, which is dated 1953. The Introduction is not the same in the second and the third French editions of Marie dans le Dogme.

6. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 45, a. 2,. c.

7. Neubert, Mary .., 2.

8. Neubert, Mary .., 4.

9. Neubert, Mary ..,4-5.

10. Neubert, Mary .., 5.

11. Neubert, Mary .., 6.

12. Neubert, Mary .., 6.

13. Neubert, Mary .., 6.

14. Neubert, Mary .., 6.

15. Patrologia Graeca, ed Migne (Paris), 96, col. 741, quoted in Neubert, Mary in Doctrine, 6-7.

16. Neubert, Mary .., 7.

17. Neubert, Mary .., 7. Neubert, De la Découverte Progressive des Grandeurs de Marie, 56. Father Neubert first propounded this principle of analogy in the 1933 edition (premiere edition) of Marie dans le Dogme, 293, in the special appendix entitled Règles pour juger des priviléges de Marie. He also elaborates the principle in De fa Decouverte Progressive des Grandeurs de Marie, 43-62.

18. Neubert, Mary .., 8, n. 12. Neubert, De la Dècouverte Progressive des Grandeur de Marie, 58, n I.

19. Neubert, Mary .., 7. Neubert, De la Découverte Progressive des Grandeurs de Marie, 57.

20. Neubert, Mary .., 7.

21. Neubert, Mary .., 7-8.

22. Neubert, Mary .., 15.

23. Neubert, Mary .., 8.

24. Neubert, Mary .., 8.

25. Neubert, Mary .., 8-9.

26. Neubert, Life of Union with Mary (Milwaukee. Bruce Publishing Co., 1959), 26.

27. Neubert, Queen of Militants, 30.

28. Neubert, Queen .., 30-34. Chaps. III-VIII give a thorough consideration of these points.

29. Neubert, My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary, 101-108.

30. Neubert, La Doctrine Mariale de M. Chaminade, Chap. II, 21-32.

31. Neubert, La Devotion ià Marie, 124-127.

32. Neubert, Our Gift from God. See Table of Contents, 276-287.

33. Neubert, Marie et Nôtre Sacerdoce (Paris: Edition Spes, 1954), 62-63.

34. Neubert, Life .., 21-28.

35. In 13:15; Rom 8:29; Phil 2:5.

36. Neubert, Life .., 135; Spirit of Our Foundation, Vol. I, 144; Gal 4: 19.

37. Neubert, Life ..,166-181, especially 166-172.

38. Neubert, Life .., 172.

39. Neubert. Mission.., 15-17; Neubert, Mary .., 125.

40. Lk 6:12-13; Mk 3:14; Mt 10:1-2.

41. Jn 20:21.

42. Lk 1 :35. Neubert, Mission, 15.

43. Mt 28: 18-20.

44. In 16:14; Mt 28:20.

45. Neubert, Mission .., 16.

46. Neubert, Mission .., 16-17.

47. Neubert, Mission .., 19-20. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel" (Gn 3: 15). " And that great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, who leads astray the whole world; and he was cast down to the earth and with him his angels were cast down" (Rev 12:9).

48. Neubert, Mary .., 130.

49. Neubert, Mission .., 20-21 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel" (Is 7: 14).

50. Neubert, Mission .., 21.

51. Neubert, Mission .., 23-31.

52. Neubert, Mary .., 130.

53. Neubert, Mission .., 33-116; Neubert, Mary .., 132.

54. Neubert, Mission .., 33; Neubert, Mary .., 131.

55. A comprehensive study of the earliest heresies, and their relation to Mariology , will be found in Emil Neubert, S.M., Marie dans l'Eglise Anteniceemle (Gabalda, 1908).

56. Neubert, Mission .., 33-40; Neubert, Mary .., 132.

57. Neubert, Mission ..,41-48; Neubert, Mary .., 133

58. Neubert, Mission .., 49-59.

59. Neubert, Mission .., 49. Neubert, Mary .., 133.

60. Neubert, Mission .., 61.69.

61. Neubert, Mission .., 71. Neubert, Mary .., 134.

62. Neubert, Mission .., 71- 73. Neubert, Mary .., 134.

63. Neubert, Mission .., 75-107. Neubert, Mary in Doctrine, 134- 137.

64. Neubert, Mission ..,109-111.

65. Neubert, Mission .., 113-116; Neubert, Mary .., 136.

66. Neubert, Mission .., 117-122; Neubert, Mary .., 136.

67. Neubert, Mission .., 123-126.

68. Neubert, Mission .., 127-130; Neubert, Mary .., 136.

69. Neubert, Mission .., 131-138; Neubert, Mary .., 136.

70. Neubert, Mary .., 133.

71. Neubert, Mary .., 137. See also the study by Anton Freitag, S. V.D., "Mary and the Work of the Missions," Katholische Marienkunde, Vol. III (Maria im Christenleben), ed. Paul Strater, S.J. (Paderborm: Verlag Ferdinand Schoningh, 1951).

72. Neubert, Mission .., 139-169.

73. Neubert, Mission .., 139-140.

74. Louis Lochet, Apparitions of Our Lady (New York: Herder and Herder, 1960).

75. Neubert, Mission .., 139

76. Neubert, Mission .., 171-172.

77. This principle is also expressed lex orandi, lex credendi. A French rendition is telle priere, telle foi. Used from earliest times, the principle was officially formulated in the fifth century by Pope St. Celestine. See Neubert, Mission .., 171.

78. Neubert, Mission .., 173.

79. Pope John XXIII and his successors are not included because Father Neubert's writings on this subject were published prior to the death of Pius XII.

80. Neubert, Mission .., 171-182.

81. Neubert, Mission ..,183-205; Neubert, Mary .., 124-29. Neubert, Our Mother, 53-56.

82. Neubert, Mission .., 183-184.

83. Neubert, Mission .., 184.

84. Neubert, Mission .., 185-192.

85. Neubert, Mission .., 185-187.

86. Neubert, Mission .., 185-186.

87. Emil Neubert, S.M., "Mary and the Apostolate," Marian Reprints, No.3, (Dayton, Ohio: Marian Library, University of Dayton), 3.

88. Neubert, Mission .., 186-187.

89. Neubert, S.M., Emil, "Mary and the Apostolate," 3.

90. Neubert, Mary .., 7; Neubert, De la Decouverte Progressive des Grandeurs de Marie, 56.

91. Neubert, Emil, "The Mystery of Mary," Estudios Marianas, x (1950), reproduced in English translation as Marian Reprints, No. 16, I.

92. Neubert, "Mystery ..," 4.

93. Neubert, Mission .., 187.

94. Neubert, Mission .., 189-192.

95. Neubert, Mission .., 189.

96. Neubert, Mission .., 189-190.

97. Neubert, "Mary and the Apostolate," 4.

98. Neubert, Our Mother, 52.

99. Neubert, Mission .., 191.

100. Neubert, Mission .., 191; Neubert, Mary .., 127.

101. Neubert, Mission .., 191.

102. Neubert, "Mary and the Apostolate," 4.

103. Neubert, Mission .., 192.

104. Neubert, "Mystery ..," 5-6.

105. Neubert, "Mystery ..," 6.

106. Neubert, Mary .., 89.

107. Neubert, Mission .., 192.

108. Neubert, Mission .., 192.

109. Neubert, Mary .., 160, 246.

110. Neubert, Mary .., 94.

111. Neubert, Mission .., 193-195; Neubert, Mary in Doctrine, p 128-129.

112. Lk 2:26-27.

113. Neubert, Mission .., 193.

114. Neubert, Mission .., 193-194.

115. Neubert, Mission .., 194.

116. Neubert, Mission .., 194, n. 2.

117. Neubert, Mission .., 195.

118. Neubert, "Mary and the Apostolate," 4.

119. Neubert, Our Mother, 53; Neubert, Mary .., 128-129; Neubert, Mission .., 195.

120. Neubert, Mary .., 128.

121. Neubert, Our Mother, 53.

122. Neubert, Our Mother, 53.

123. Neubert, Mary ..,128.

124. Neubert, "Mary and the Apostolate," 3.

125. Neubert, Mary .., 128-129.

126. Neubert, Mission .., 197-205.

127. Neubert, Mission .., 198.

128. Neubert, Mission .., 203-204.

129. Neubert, Mission .., 203-204.

130. Neubert, Mary .., 7.

131. Neubert, Mary .., 9-12.

132. Neubert, Mary .., 129.


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