Fr. Peter Damien Fehlner

Mary and the Holy Spirit: According to St. Kolbe

Hayley Deschamps, a student from Steubenville, typed this from notes she took at the talk. Some editing was done.

This talk is on the uncreated and created Immaculate Conception, that is to say, the Holy Spirit and Mary according to St. Kolbe. We begin with some background on Theology. All Theology is colored, meaning, it must be carried out in a Marian model. Some may question why scripture doesn't have more about Our Lady. But, she can found in every verse of scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

And we will address the "methodological questions". These questions are related to the mystery of the Incarnation as the work of the Holy Spirit with the cooperation of Our Lady. There is a unique relationship between the Holy Spirit and Our Lady. Some take St. Kolbe's writing as systematic Theology, but they must understand what formed his way of thinking. One must make a progression from acquired contemplation to mystical contemplation as a means of understanding St. Kolbe's work. With acquired contemplation, the emphasis is on our effort by using the intellect to understand faith. This is the sanctification of our intellect so we can love and enjoy contemplation of the Trinity. Only with this process can we understand the thinking of the saints.

Some people also contest St. Kolbe about the indwelling or consecration to Our Lady in an individual. They think that for her to dwell within us would destroy the person and limit our freedom. This however is not true. There is a struggle or a war going on in which to be on Satan's side is to become a slave. Whereas, to be on Our Lady's side through consecration, is freedom and victory. To be the "possession" of Our Lady in this sense means to have communion and fellowship. The purpose of fleshing these things out in Theology is so that we can do it practically. The goal of Theology is to enjoy God and to use all these things, material and spiritual, to arrive in the company of the Blessed Trinity. Mary is the heart of the Supernatural Order.

The first part of the book explains in detail what we mean by "Theologian" and a Theology where the central object is God. God is the conclusion of science. Contemplation of God is partially in the natural order where the Blessed Trinity is perceived in "goodness". We go from the natural order to the supernatural. As Theologians, we begin with God and explain everything else in relation to Him. In order to understand Kolbe, we need to understand St. Bonaventure. The second point is that our Theology is not the same as God's. Our mode of Theologizing is different. We Theologize as Mary does, filled with the Holy Spirit and grace. We join Mary in contemplating her Son in order to know the Father in the Holy Spirit. Theology depends on the saints. The Divine Light is appropriated to the Holy Spirit and so if we think in this way, then it is contemplation. It is by God's goodness that this happens.

Now we will discuss the relationship between the Incarnation and the Immaculate Conception. The Incarnation is two natures in one person. The metaphysics is a foreshadowing of understanding Faith, transcended into mystical experience. Mary is the complement of the Trinity. Her sharing in communion is on the level of the Trinity. It is characteristic of spousal love. The Immaculate Conception is the basis of Our Lady's mediation. Mary is Mediatrix with Christ as Christ is with the Father. Why is she Mediatrix? She is Mediatrix precisely because she is the Immaculate Conception. We can only understand who Mary is with the Immaculate Conception. Her Immaculate Conception is the basis of her joint mediation. Even if Adam hadn't sinned, we still would have had a Mediator and a Mediatrix. Jesus is in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is by Our Lady. Christ is present only in the Holy Spirit.

This has implications for the approach to the crisis in our world today. Understanding Mary, who she is and her role in salvation is the solution. Marian metaphysics has to be the approach. God identified Himself as, "I AM WHO AM", just as Our Lady identified herself at Lourdes by saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception". It is who she is. Mary reveals that human nature isn't so totally corrupt that it can't become holy. The reason we have minds is to make present God's love and to love God. Mary offers Kolbe as a martyr, just as she offered her 1 st born Son. Every Christian must be prepared to do this. We must be nailed to the cross through the offering of Our Lady. The goal is always to enjoy communion with the Holy Spirit.

Now a brief discussion on the three titles, Complement of the Trinity, Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Immaculate Conception, and how these titles apply to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady. First, to discuss is the Complement of the Trinity. This is a common name of the Holy Spirit; complement meaning "fullness" of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the fullness of perfection in the Trinity. St. Kolbe says that Mary also, is the complement of the Trinity. Mary is in the Salvific Order. She is the one through whom the Incarnate Son comes to earth for our salvation. "Complement" in this sense means, first-born daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit. Mary is to the Son in nature as the Father is to the Son. Mary is the mother of the same person that the Father is. How is this possible? It is possible because Mary and the Father both love with surpassing purity. "He and she" is only one type of spousal love and it is not perfect spousal love. One can't reduce metaphysical concepts to psychology. Empirical science is not the only way of knowing. Empirical science is not enough to satisfy the desires of the heart.

There is fruit from this mystical Theology. It is the kind of love that Our Lady had for St. Francis, allowing her to reveal herself as the Immaculate Conception. The Holy Spirit is a person so that the other persons of the Trinity can be in communion and fellowship. "Holy" means, "Immaculate" or "Spotless". Why is the Church holy when its members are sinful? The Church remains holy because she is the bride of Christ and the body of Christ. Where is the Church most fully? The Church is most fully found in the Immaculate Conception, that is, Our Lady. This gives us profound insight into the meaning of "holy" and "spirit". Without an understanding of these things, you can't know the Holy Spirit. You can't understand Theology without contemplating through the heart of Our Lady.

The crisis in our world can only be remedied through consecration to Our Lady. Only the mediation of the woman can help us transcend and be victorious. To defeat the devil, we must be willing possessions of Our Lady. We think while we pray and we love while we think, which is contemplation. We go from our initiation in meditation to the initiation of the Holy Spirit in our heart through contemplation. We need to "sanctify the intellect" or discipline our minds. Science has to be re-thought. It has to recognize the persons of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It must see that the goal is to love and serve the Lord better and to love those whom He loves.

Ave Maria!