This week, I finished reading “The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity” by Dr. Carrie Gress. It contains many deep insights into: how radical feminism started (i.e., how it’s historically and ideologically connected to the warnings at Fátima), its ravaging effects on family life and society, and why we need to look at the Blessed Virgin Mary as a model for all women.
“[F]rom now on will all ages call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48b)
While Jesus would later give the world the beatitudes (“Blessed are they who…”), our Lady was given blessedness beforehand through prevenient grace. But this doesn’t undermine her cooperation in God’s plan for salvation. She still had to say “yes” throughout her life, even though a sword should pierce her heart (c.f. Luke 2:35).
Dr. Gress describes women as uniquely being vessels—for children, as well as for virtues—towards a grace-filled fruitfulness. They have a natural desire to nurture that which they contain, in order to bring forth something good. Reflect on how Mary “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (c.f. Luke 2:19). Her heart was like a vessel in which a fruitful, majestic tree could grow. Her intense contemplation of God’s Will allowed her to make her fiat—to listen first to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, then to follow them.
In her book, Dr. Gress explains that a woman’s ingrained desire can also be misused: “[We] see that Eve is every woman—she is reaching for fruit. She is trying to be fruitful. Like Eve, every woman has the option to reach for the appropriate fruit or the forbidden fruit.”
Radical feminism in its current form takes away purity, harmony, charity. It promotes barrenness through contraception, homosexuality, abortion, and divorce. In order to be empowered, a woman is taught to reject her femininity and become like men. This confuses the complementarity between men and women, how God intended each to have a special role.
Since Mary is the new Eve, she is the antidote for this confusion. Dr. Gress quotes a demon’s forced testimony during an exorcism (from the book “The Virgin Mary and the Devil in Exorcisms” by Father Francesco Bamonte): “That One was always there with tears that flowed without stopping and with eyes turned toward the face of her Son to collect every little, every little, every little suffering. She lived His Passion in her heart. The sword was piercing her Heaaaart! The blood of the Son and the heart of the Mamma flowed. She was always there, tormented by pain but most beautiful in her suffering. Ahhh! She shone with pain and prayer: ‘May Your Will be done. May Your Will be done.’ Never did she lower her face. Only when He died [did she lower it] when the whole world moved. She [in that moment] was firm. She did not move. She knew what was happening. She knew that it would happen that God would feel her pain for her Son. Her eyes were fixed on those of the Son, fixed. And she looked at Him, looked at all His wounds, looked at the blood that was flowing from His head. And she wanted to clean His face, caress His hair, kiss His wounds, that broken nose, that swollen face. And she said, ‘What have they done to You, my dear!? You Who love everyone! May Your Will be done, Father! Your Will, Father! Father, the nails! Those most beautiful hands have prayed, have healed, have blessed. Father, those holy hands! Poor hands! And the arms… See Father, what pain! He Who is your Son, Sooooon… Father, may Your Will be done! Those feet that have walked so much, those feet that have walked so much, walked so much, how they were beautiful when they were so little! How many times I kissed them! How many times I kissed them! Make me kiss them also as they are! Full of blood, Father! Tell Him that I am here! Tell Him that I love Him! That I understand Him! That I am with Him, that I suffer with Him!’ “
(Note: Demons are liars, but during an exorcism, they can be compelled by a priest to answer truthfully. For example, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort recounts an experience of Saint Dominic with demons in his book “The Secret of the Rosary”: http://catholictradition.org/Classics/secret-rosary33.htm)
Reading about the anti-Marian spirit has helped me to make sense of what’s going on in the world today. It’s not just a problem of moral relativism (i.e., “I have my truth, and you have yours”) infecting the masses. There’s a fundamental brokenness in humanity, in men and women, that specifically needs a mother’s healing touch.
Just as Mary accompanied Jesus all the way to Calvary, she will never abandon us in our suffering. She is familiar with the Way of the Cross, and offers us constant encouragement and love. As Catholics, we believe she is our most powerful intercessor before her Son. No other human being has ever loved God more. Her devotion is true, which is why demons fear her, and why she’s a light in the darkness comparable to the moon, which perfectly reflects her Son’s light.
and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.1 John 4:3
To be anti-Mary is also to be anti-Christ, because she is the “woman” whom He chose to be His Mother. Her “yes” to Him allowed for His Incarnation, Passion, Death, and Resurrection. To live for Christ is to imitate Mary in her humility, purity, self-denial, and surrender.