Wednesday 1 January 2014
Mary, The Holy Virgin Mother of God
This is the greatest feast of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, for from this privilege of giving flesh to God on earth flows all her gifts and privileges. And they are indeed gifts: no member of the human race has a right to any grace or privilege from God. Heaven was closed to all of humanity by Adam and Eve, but by the Will of God Our Lady has been saved by the eternal grace of her Son –and in a unique manner, for while we are pulled out of the pit by the forgiveness of sins, she was saved from falling into the pit by the Immaculate Conception. Both are acts of salvation, but to be saved by being held back from the pit of sin is a far greater mercy than being pulled out from the pit. Thus Mary can say with greater thanksgiving than we, “My soul rejoices in God my Saviour!”
Truly, the Blessed Virgin was conceived Immaculate (Hail Full of grace, Lk.1v28) thus the Mother of God-made-man was never in the grasp of the enemy. Truly Our Lady is Assumed into Heaven, which is fitting because the flesh from which the God-man took His Flesh should not see corruption but should share the glory of His Risen Body. Truly Our Lady is Mediatrix of all Graces because through her and in her the source and author of grace came into the world, and saved the world. Truly Our Lady is Mother of the Church since it is the Body of Christ on earth, and as she nurtured Christ the Head she also nurtures His Mystical Body (“Son, they have no wine” Jn.2v3) until it enters the glory of its Head. Truly Our Lady is Co-redemptrix in that it was by her consent that God became man; by her obedience the knot tied by the disobedience of Eve was untied. Indeed, God defines The Virgin Mary from the very beginning as the one with whom the devil has his enmity: “I will make enemies of you and the woman” (Gen.3v15).
How unique is the Most Blessed Virgin! Though she does not equal Christ she is called by Divine Grace to cooperate with Him and to mirror Him: Christ is the source and author of Grace, Mary is filled with grace and Mediatrix of grace; Christ Ascends into Heaven by His own power and by Divine Right, Mary is Assumed into heaven by Christ’s power and gift; Christ is Sole Redeemer and Mediator, Mary is His co-operator by God’s Will and by her consent. In her privileges we see wondrous examples of God’s generosity toward man, and in her we see the perfect model of Discipleship.
At the Annunciation she is the model of perfect trust in God, love for God and obedience toward God, for having been told that she, a virgin who “does not know man”, is to be overshadowed like the Ark of the Covenant and conceive a child who is Son of God, she makes the perfect response: “Be it done unto me according to thy word”. At the Visitation she is the model of perfect humility as she recognises all the mighty things done in her, yet gives the glory to God: “My Soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for He has done great things for Me. From this day forward, all generations will call me Blessed” (Lk.1v48). She is the model of perfect trust and courage in that she goes through life with the knowledge that she and her child will suffer greatly, “He is a sign that is to be rejected, and a sword shall pierce your own heart also” (Lk.2v34-35), completing His journey with Him at the foot of His Cross. She is the model of prayer in that she ponders all things in her heart, and is with the Apostles in prayer on the day of Pentecost. Perfect faith, love, trust, obedience, humility, charity, confidence and courage –what is not to be learned from the Blessed Virgin Mother, Our Lady? Intercessor for those without the new wine of the Kingdom –what is not to be gained by taking her into one’s spiritual warfare?
Not to make a place for Our Lady in one’s spiritual life is to leave it all but barren, for there would be no Christ on earth had she not consented to give Him birth. From her alone came forth He who was to be Sovereign King and Saviour of the world. Mary’s Motherhood of her Son’s Mystical Body makes her an essential part of God’s plan for our Salvation. He had no need to give to her this place of co-operator in the Redemption of the world; He could have saved us in any way He desired. But since He has given her this role it is not for us to ignore it but to accept it (“Thy will be done”); it is for us to devote ourselves to her who is devoted to Him; to her whose only desire is to bring to the feet of her Son those souls for whom He died (“Do whatever He tells you” Jn.2v5); souls for whom He not only died, but rose again and ascended into heaven, where He lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit; God forever and ever.