Marian Dispensationalism

I wonder if you might help me. I am asking about a form of dispensationalism. I am using this term to describe the perspective held by some people in which the ages of the OT and NT Church are marked by the ‘Age of the Father’ (OT), and the ‘Age of Christ’ (NT). Some people carry this further also speak of the ‘Age of the Holy Spirit’ (the current time).

My question has to do with acquaintances of mine who are seriously promoting what they refer to as the fourth ‘Age of Mary’. The argument is that God’s people did not listen to the Father (OT), so He sent His Son (NT). His people didn’t listen to the Son, so He sent the Holy Spirit. People didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit, so now He is sending His mother.

I have no problems with the role of the Mother of God in Christology or Ecclesiology. I and my family practice sincere devotion to her. I do, however, have difficulties with her having a Soteriological role. I also have difficulties with the entire notion of ‘ages’ because I am not sure whether this has ever been formally addressed by the Magesterium. The notion is not trinitarian and almost seems modalist. Can you help me?

Did these acquaintances of yours who promote this get the “Age of Mary” idea from an actual source, or did they just come up with it on their own?

I have never heard the Church teach in terms of “ages”. The teaching I have heard is that God the Father established the first covenant with Abraham and his descendants, followed by Jesus establishing the new covenant for all mankind, and then Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to be with man and help man to “spread the good news” to all peoples and prepare for Jesus’ eventual return.

God did not send Jesus solely because people didn’t listen to God the Father, He sent Jesus to save mankind from its sins. Jesus in turn didn’t send the Holy Spirit because people didn’t listen to Jesus himself. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with his people on earth and strengthen them and help them to evangelize others after he, Jesus, left the earth.

The messages from Mary in the various approved apparitions are considered private revelation and Catholics are free to choose to believe in them or not believe in them. Mary appearing as God’s emissary in private revelation is nothing new. She reportedly appeared to St. James, and has reportedly appeared many times throughout history. We can choose to believe that Mary is appearing in the last couple hundred years with a special message of urgency for mankind to reform their ways and turn more to Jesus. Or we can choose to not believe in private revelations at all. But the Church hasn’t designated a special “age of Mary”.


Does this have something to do with the Divine Will devotion? I feel like I heard something like that.

Very nice. Thanks

Yes, this is related to Divine Will and Flame of Love.

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The Church doesn’t teach this type of dispensationalism. I’m reminded of those who say Christ was going to bring the kingdom but, finding us lacking and disbelieving, delayed it and sent the Holy Spirit instead. That is NOT what the Church teaches. The Church teaches that Christ did bring the kingdom and left us with the kingdom and currently reigns as king.

I go to Flame of Love devotions a few times a month. I happen to work in the same town that the recently deceased National Director of the movement was from, and the devotion is huge in that area as you’d expect, especially given that Archbishop Chaput has approved it. I have not heard or read anything about an “Age of Mary” at any of the devotional meetings or events I’ve been to in over a year of practicing the devotions.

I can see “Age of Mary” being used briefly as a descripive term to those who are “into” all the Marian apparitions from the last 200 years, and I count myself in that group. Flame of Love events here often also include significant reference to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I love Mary and I believe in the approved apparitions, and I practice other devotions associated with apparitions where the devotions have been “approved for faith expression” by a bishop or archbishop. However, “Age of Mary” is not to my knowledge an official Church teaching, and especially not the way you’ve expressed it.


This is SO helpful. Thank you. My acquaintances are not quite so adept at explaining themselves - beautiful holy people, but not able to verbalize well. Their lack of scripture Church history knowledge has worried me because of their comparative incredible knowledge and excitement of all things Marian. I have trouble knowing how to relate to them (and they me).

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I often notice a big tension between those who emphasize scripture and those who emphasize Mary. I wish it were not that way. I don’t feel like the two things are mutually exclusive. I read Scripture about 3 times a week and there are many Marian devotees who use “Magnificat” magazine which is basically an abbreviated form of Liturgy of the Hours and contains a lot of scripture.

However, it’s good to have options and preferences for our prayers. If one person gets to heaven by saying dozens of Rosaries for world peace or for poor souls in purgatory or whatever, and another gets to heaven by faithfully reading his Bible every day, they both ended up in the same place. I think that is quite a possible outcome. I also think perhaps Mary has a special mission to reach those who perhaps are not so adept to read and follow all the scripture and Church history stuff, but understand the great love of a Holy Mother.


Seems like a very weird thing to me… 3 ages of God didn’t work, so maybe the age of a human will? Mary is unique, but certainly not the savior…

I would disregard.

Sorry to interrupt thread - had to delete this post.


Indeed, yes. 1000 likes


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