Father Fortea, is God’s greatest creation Lucifer or the Blessed Virgin Mary?
Before this question can be answered, we have to understand that Lucifer (which means “morning star”) was the angelic name of that angel before he rebelled against God and became a demon. I say “angel” because, while most theologians consider Lucifer to be synonymous with Satan, some think that he is a demon distinct from Satan. We also take as a given that Lucifer was the highest angelic nature created by God. Having made these clarifications, we return to the question at hand.
Strictly speaking, the highest nature that God has created was that of the greatest of the angels – Lucifer. The Blessed Virgin Mary, though, became the loftiest creature through her sacrifice, her works, and the grace of God (see CCC 490-493). Her exaltation was not an act of creation but of sanctification. God made Lucifer magnificent in his nature and he corrupted himself; God made Mary humble in her nature (a human being and, as such, inferior to the angels) and she sanctified herself. We can see that a sort of “inverted parallel” exists between these two figures:
-Lucifer is the most perfect creature by nature; Mary, the most perfect creature by grace .
-Lucifer corrupted himself by disobedience; Mary sanctified herself by obedience .
-Lucifer wanted to be king, refusing to serve, and in the end became nothing; Mary wanted to be nothing, desiring to serve, and in the end was crowned Queen of heaven.
There is a parallelism even in their titles – the “Angelic Star of the Morning” (Lucifer) and the “Star of the Morning of the Redemption” (Mary):
-The first star, Lucifer, fell from the angelic firmament; the second star, Mary, was elevated.
-The first star, which was spirit, fell to the earth; the second star, which was human, ascended to heaven.
-Lucifer did not want to accept the Son of God made man; the Blessed Virgin Mary welcomed Him in her womb.
-Lucifer is a spiritual being who ended up making himself worse than a beast (without ever ceasing to be spiritual); Mary is a human being that ended up becoming better than an angel (without ceasing to be human).
Now there is only one “morning star” – Mary. Not only did the first morning star fall; the second morning star shines even brighter. Mary’s radiance is much more beautiful and intense than Lucifer‘s ever was because she shines with the light of grace, not merely nature.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.
Art for this post on God’s Greatest Creation: Immaculate Conception, Peter Paul Reubens, circa 1628, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; Detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International; both Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.