“It is unreasonable to accept some things of the Canon [of Sacred Scripture] and not some other things; since the Catholic Church, which by believing I receive this Canon, receives the whole [of Sacred Scripture] equally as certain.”
Today, November 8, we celebrate the feast day of Blessed John Duns Scotus (1265-1308), referred to both as the “Subtle Doctor” and the “Marian Doctor.” John Duns is considered one of the greatest masters of Christian theology and is the precursor of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Pope John Paul II beatified him on March 20, 1993 calling him “the bard of the Incarnate Word and defender of the Immaculate conception of Mary.”
John Duns was born in the village of Duns, in the Berwick district of Scotland, the son of a wealthy farmer. His name “Scotus” means “the Scot,” reflecting his birth and upbringing. John’s uncle, Elias, was a Franciscan who encouraged his nephew in the ways of faith, and provided him an education at Oxford. At the young age of 13, John continued his education in philosophy at Oxford, at the Franciscan school. He joined the Franciscans in 1285, at age 19, and after completing his theological studies, was ordained just six years later.
Saint Augustine, and the Muslim philosophers, and still managed to be an independent thinker. His ideas led to the founding of a school of Scholastic thought called Scotism.
Upon arrival in Paris, however, John found France to be a difficult place for a Catholic theologian at that moment in time. Following a bitter rivalry with Pope Boniface VIII, King Philip the Fair had been excommunicated from the Church. In retaliation, the king ordered all the professors at Paris University to sign a petition calling for the deposing of the pope. John refused to sign, and was immediately exiled from Paris.
Eventually, John Duns Scotus was transferred to the Franciscan school at Cologne, where he died at age 42He was buried in the Minoritenkirche (church of the Minors) near the famous Cologne cathedral. Pope John Paul II beatified him on March 20, 1993 calling him “the bard of the Incarnate Word and defender of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.”
“I see Scotus as the Doctor of the Immaculate Conception, of Christ as king of the universe, of the Church as the bride of Christ, as a defender of Christ’s vicar on earth, as a theologian of the mystery of the Eucharist.”
Father Charles Balic, OFM., the foremost 20th-century authority on Scotus, has written: "The whole of Scotus's theology is dominated by the notion of love. The characteristic note of this love is its absolute freedom. As love becomes more perfect and intense, freedom becomes more noble and integral both in God and in man." (New Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 4, p. 1105)
“Dear brothers and sisters, Blessed Duns Scotus teaches us that in our life the essential is to believe that God is close to us and loves us in Jesus Christ, and therefore to cultivate a deep love for him and for his Church. We on earth are witnesses of this love. May Mary Most Holy help us to receive this infinite love of God which we will enjoy eternally to the full in Heaven, when our soul is at last united to God for ever in the Communion of Saints.”
Heavenly Father, You filled John Duns Scotus with wisdom, and through his life and teaching gave us a witness of Your Incarnate love. May we come to understand more deeply what he taught so that we may live in ever growing charity. Amen.
Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed John Duns Scotus
O Most High, Almightily and gracious Lord, Who exalts the humble and confounds the proud of heart, grant us the great joy of seeing Blessed John Duns Scotus canonized. He honored Your Son with the most sublime praises; he was the first to successfully defend the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary; he lived in heroic obedience to the Holy Father, to the Church and to the Seraphic Order. O most holy Father, God of infinite love, hear, we beseech You, our humble prayer, thorough the merits of Your Only-Begotten Son and His Mother, the Gate of Heaven and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Day 312 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Rational and faithful thought; Acceptance of the entirety of the Church’s doctrine.
Requested Intentions: For a healthy child (L); Recovery from stomach illness of a friend (A); Employment and financial security (E); Conversion of sons (L); Freedom from financial stress, employment (C); Spiritual growth and family peace (A); Freedom to immigrate (D); End to debt (N); Restoration of a marriage (J); Complete recovery of son (P); Recovery of parish priest, health of mother, conversion of son (J); Successful employment, end to depression (J); Successful immigration and employment (S); Conversion of an unloving daughter (M); Recovery of husband, health of mother, economic freedom (R); Freedom from depression, restoration of family relationships (N); Restoration of a relationship (J); Healing of friends from cancer (J); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Healing of a father following stroke (S).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."