Tuesday, May 12, 2015

St. Leopold Mandic

St. Leopold's liturgical memorial coincides with his natural birth date, May 12, though he died July 30, 1942.

Just yesterday I read a comment from a reader on another blog who said something about light penances given by priests, explaining, "priests give us light penances because they do our penance for us."  I'm pretty sure that's not true - yet St. Leopold certainly did as much:
  • "Some say that I am too good. But if you come and kneel before me, isn't this a sufficient proof that you want to have God's pardon? God's mercy is beyond all expectation."
  • "Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I will take care of it." He once explained, "I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself."
  • "A priest must die from apostolic hard work; there is no other death worthy of a priest."
I love this little saint and pray him to obtain forgiveness for my sins and an increase in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the sacrament of penance, and a deeper devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He also wrote the following testament (which I keep posting):
"I. Fr. Leopoldo Mandie Zarevic. believe that the Blessed Virgin as Co-Redemptress of the human race is the moral cause of all grace - everything we receive comes from her fullness. " On another occasion he solemnly wrote: "The August Mother of God is in truth Co-Redemptress of the human race and source of all Grace. In fact, on the one hand we have in her the most perfect obedience to God's laws and, after her Son, the most perfect innocence: He, impeccable by His nature, she, impeccable by Grace. On the other hand we see her as Our Lady of Sorrows, as He was the Man of Sorrows. If, therefore, by eternal decree of God, the Immaculate Virgin was the moral victim of sorrow as her Son was the physical victim, and if God's avenging Justice found no shadow of fault in them, it follows: inevitably that they were paying the price of the sins of others, that is of mankind."


  1. If I told my Evangelical friend, who is considering Catholicism, that Mary was the Co-Redemptress of the human race she'd a) have kittens b) run for the hills c) disown me. HOW do I explain this to her?

    1. That is hard. St Leopold explains it simply in the quote. The Popes mention it in their writings and references to Our Lady - but the dilemma you present is perhaps why they have never found it necessary to put forward a dogma in the sense of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception. Louis de Montfort writes of Our Lady, but that too is difficult for Protestants, and even many Catholics.

      By the grace of God, it is simple for me to contemplate, but I'm not able to explain it well and I don't want to mess up theologically.

      It is one of those things that we get sidetracked by. How do you explain the Trinity. How do you explain the Eucharist. How do you explain the Virgin Birth. So many do not believe in the Virgin Birth, that Christ was born "without breaking the seals of virginity". Yet the Catechism affirms this indispensable dogma:

      The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin." - CCC

      Yet many do not believe it.

      Is it necessary for salvation? If so, perhaps we need a Mediatrix, a Co-Redemptoress then, to persuade the Just Judge otherwise? (Smiling as I say it.)

      If you read some of the converts online, be they apologists or former Anglican priests - even they do not understand Mariology and devotion to Our Lady - even for them it takes time to grow in wisdom, grace, and knowledge.

      In other words, I'm not sure it's necessary to attempt to explain the unexplainable all the time. If your friend asks, just say, 'I don't know." Just get your friend to pray the rosary and Our Lady will explain it all - without books or podcasts. LOL!

    2. I'm not a theologian, but here's how I approach all things Marian with my Evangelical and fairly-anti-Catholic family:

      1. Focus on what the terms mean because most people get them wrong (Catholics included). This is not surprising since the theological definition of words is often different than the current common usage. In this case, "co-" does not mean equal. Most Evangelicals I've talked to assume Co-Redemptress means Mary has as much to do with our redemption as Jesus--that it comes from her like it comes from Him. "Co-" here means more "along with" or "part of," not "dual source." God is the ultimate source. God created Mary. Mary was the Mother of God, but she did not create Him. She did not will Him into being.

      2. Demonstrate that the concept is something they're already familiar with. In this case, I talk about how all Christians are in some ways "co-redeemers" though our baptism and union with Christ. This is why St. Paul can say something as outlandish as "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." Christ's afflictions are redemptive and salvific. Every Evangelical should agree with that. When we unite our sufferings to Christ's (or, put another way, when a part of Christ's body on Earth suffers, those sufferings are redemptive and salvific because they're Christ's. So, in that sense, we are co-redeemers. In a more general way, we're all channels of God's grace (if we can get ourselves out of the way, of course). My parents were/are a channel for God's grace in my life. Same with my wife and children. At the heart of "Co-Redemptress" is that Mary, in a special and complete way that would be impossible for any other human, is a channel of God's grace. Why does God choose to act largely through the actions of his people? I don't know, but no Evangelical would deny that he does or that doing so somehow lessens his greatness.

      3. Remember that the Marian stuff, as much as non-Catholics focus on it (because they find it so distasteful) flows from the Church, so the first issue to deal with is the Church, not Marian doctrines. With the Church, Marian doctrines are approachable and even sensible. Without it, they're largely gibberish. Marian doctrines, like Terry so wisely points out, are very mysterious, very "high-level." Going there first is like saying "I want to study physics. For my first class, I'm going to take grad-level quantum mechanics." Thinking you need to "get" or "agree with" Marian doctrines before you can accept the Church is like taking the quantum mechanics class right out of the gate, failing so horribly your answers aren't even wrong, and then saying "I guess physics is beyond me!" No, you take Physics 101 and start with the basics. I'm convinced the best thing Catholics can do to share the Church with non-Catholics is help them ask the right questions, not provide the right answers.

      (For the record, I'm still the only Catholic in my family of origin, so don't listen to me!)

    3. That is excellent - thanks Joshua - very well stated!

      " I'm convinced the best thing Catholics can do to share the Church with non-Catholics is help them ask the right questions, not provide the right answers."

      That is the best!

    4. Both your replies are very sensible, helpful and do-able.

      Correct me if I am wrong but being a co-redemptress is kind of like being a co-worker, part of the team. I am a co-worker with God when my Evangelical friend asks me questions about the Church and I send her a book by a well-known former Evangelical that converted to the Church or introduce her to the local parish priest, etc. Mary is a co-worker in that she said yes to God, that she leads us to her son, that she prays for us, etc.

      Joshua - re: #3. Thanks for reminding me! We have to crawl before we can walk. We don't give a 6 year old a university text book to teach them to read - we start by reading to them and teaching them letters, etc.

      Sometimes (often times!) I think the language of the Church (aka Catholic-speak) turns more people off than it helps explain things. Oh well, my friend is smart and loves Truth - I know she is going to figure it out!


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