Eadmer of Canterbury (c. 1060 Ė c. 1126,
disciple of Saint Anselm),
Liber de excellentia Virginis Mariae , Chapter 5
- CAPUT V. De compassione beatae Mariae pro filio crucifixo.
English paraphrase :
The Blessed Virgin Mary was the first to witness Jesus coming into the
world as He took on flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. And it was
the Blessed Virgin Mary who first witnessed Jesus after He had rose from
the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit as He came in His new
resurrected flesh. (Romans 8:11)
Eadmer is alluding to the
principles of typology. He is not only stating that Jesus first appeared to
the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary,)
he is also providing us with a proof. It would be an insult to Jesus Christ
if anyone other than Mary was the first to witness and participate in the
celebration of His resurrection.
We need only to understand
First typology and second how Mary is the most perfected of all creatures
above all others because she is the one who was most open and therefore was
the one who received Godís grace more than any other creature.
This second principle was
known to Eadmer. Rather than refer to voluminous texts of his time, it is
shorter and easier to refer to a concise summary of those teachings in
Pope Paul VI :
Ö Christian worship in
fact is of itself worship offered to the Father and to the Son and to
the Holy Spirit ...
the Mother of the
Lord and then to the saints, in whom the Church proclaims the Paschal
Mystery, for they have suffered with Christ and have been glorified with
Him. In the Virgin Mary everything is relative to Christ and dependent
upon Him. It was with a view to Christ that God the
Father from all eternity chose her to be the
all-holy Mother and adorned her with gifts of the Spirit granted to no
one else. Certainly genuine
Christian piety has never failed to highlight the indissoluble link and
essential relationship of the Virgin to the divine Savior.(69) Ö
Examining more deeply
still the mystery of the Incarnation,
they saw in the mysterious relationship between the Spirit and Mary Ö
Delving deeply into the
doctrine of the Paraclete, they saw that from Him as from a spring there
flowed forth the fullness of grace (cf.
Lk. 1:28) and the abundance of gifts that adorned her. Ö
It is also necessary
that exercises of piety with which the faithful honor the Mother of the
Lord should clearly show the place she occupies in the Church: "the
highest place and the closest to us after Christ."
Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus
For The Right Ordering And Development Of Devotion To The Blessed Virgin
Mary, February 2, 1974
Catechism of the Catholic Church
By her complete adherence to the
Father's will, to his Son's
redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin
Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity.
Thus she is a "preeminent and . . . wholly unique
member of the Church"; indeed,
she is the "exemplary realization"
of the Church.
... "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith,
hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural
life to souls. For this reason she is a
mother to us in the order of grace."
And we need to understand
So what is a type ? A
type is a real person, place, thing, or event in the Old Testament that
foreshadows something greater in the New Testament. From ďtypeĒ we
get the word ďtypology,Ē the study of Christís foreshadowing in the
Old Testament (see
Adam, Moses, King David,
the son of David, the temple are all types in the Old Testament that
point forward to Jesus Christ, the Arch-Type, who fulfills what the OT
types point toward. The later Arch-Type
is always greater because it is a greater manifestation of the grace of
The Old Testament (O.T.)
is filled with types that prefigure the greater glory of God that is
fully revealed in the New Covenant. These O.T. types find their
perfection and completion in Jesus Christ, either in Himself or in
someone or something that manifests His grace and glory in the New
Covenant that He established. So, it is in Jesus, who is God, that we
can find the ultimate fulfillment of all these good things.
Typology in the Bible
In typology there is a
parallel between the O.T. types and the New Testament types. Eadmer now
points to a parallel of one type in the New Testament before the
resurrection that points to an Arch-type after the resurrection.
The Blessed Virgin Mary
was the first to witness Jesus coming into the world as He took on flesh
by the power of the Holy Spirit. And it was the Blessed Virgin Mary who
first witnessed Jesus after He had rose from the dead by the power of
the Holy Spirit as He came in His new resurrected flesh. (Romans 8:11)
Eadmer makes the parallel
between the first example how BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) was the first to
see the flesh of Jesus when He came by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the
2nd Arch-type how she was also the first to see Him in His
resurrected flesh, which as well, was brought about by the power of the Holy
Spirit. Eadmer shows how one example of Godís glory prior to the
resurrection points us to another post resurrection glory.
By focusing on the
Incarnation Eadmer wants us to see how with the coming of Jesus Christ there
is the fuller outpouring of Godís grace and therefore Godís glory is made
more manifest. When we go from the Old Testament to the N.T. ( New
Testament) we go from the lessor example of Godís grace to the greater
Arch-type and fuller outpouring of Godís grace in N.T. because of Who Jesus
Christ is. He is truly God, and therefore the fullness of Godís grace.
The important principle of
typology is that Jesus Christ is the sole source of all grace. So, there is
a logical progression from the lessor outpouring in the O.T. to the fuller
outpouring of Godís grace in the N.T. This is because Jesus, His
revelation, and His grace is made more completely manifest in the N.T. It
would be an insult to Jesus if someone who was less close to Jesus and who
had a greater outpouring of Godís grace or participated more fully in the
heavenly glories than someone who was closer to Jesus Christ and His grace.
But now in the example on
Mary she is the greatest of Godís creatures because she has the fullest
co-operation and participation with Godís grace. She can point to no
creature greater than herself because no creature co-operated with Jesus
more than she did. If there was a greater participation by someone other
than BVM in the Glories of Heaven such as Jesusí resurrection by someone
who was not as close to Jesus as was BVM that would be an insult to Jesus
Christ because He is the sole source of all grace.
Therefore, Mary had to be the
first to participate in the heavenly glory of Jesusí resurrection.