Monday, December 20, 2010

A Mother for God's Son

Having created the world, having chosen the nation, and having formed the family, the Father engages in a final preparation for the coming of His Son. He selects and prepares the mother of His Son: “the virgin’s name is Mary.” The greeting of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin reveals the extent of the preparations which God undertook with regards his Son’s Mother: “Hail, Full of Grace!” Having willed that the Incarnation should take place only with the full consent and cooperation of a human being to His Divine Plan, God has exempted Mary from the destitution in sanctifying grace which afflicts all the children of Adam and Eve. He filled Mary with grace from the first moment of her conception to help her say “Yes” to his plan. Mary “is the Immaculate Conception, the one whom God made ‘full of grace’ (Lk. 1:8) and unconditionally docile to his word (Lk 1: 38). Her obedient faith shapes her life at every moment of God’s plan.” (Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 30 September 2010, 27.)

Mary’s complete openness to the will of God is, in a sense, the restoration of creation to its former beauty which was defiled by sin. The original openness of creation to the word of God was portrayed by the fact that God spoke a command and “it was made” The world is beautiful because everything in it is according to the masterful plan of God. But sin entered the world through man. “Sacred Scripture shows how man’s sin is essentially disobedience and refusal to hear.” (Verbum Domini, 26) “The root of sin lies in the refusal to hear the word of the Lord.” (Ibid.) This refusal is like covering one’s ear to prevent the word from being heard by it. Refusing to listen to God, humanity rejected God. It is not God who rejected man. Rather, it is man who rejected God. Being self-enclosed, man attempts to build for himself a world without God – but all is in vain because “unless the Lord builds the house, in vain do its builders labor.”

When Mary said “Yes” to God’s plan, she opened the door of the world so that God may enter through it. Her “yes” provided for God an opening, an access to our self-enclosure. Now, God is able to break through our stubborn hearts. “By her ‘yes’ to the word of the covenant and her mission, (Mary) perfectly fulfills the divine vocation of humanity. The human reality created through the word finds its most perfect image in Mary’s obedient faith.” (Verbum Domini, 27.) Because she listens attentively, the Word of God took flesh in her. “The incarnation of the word cannot be conceived apart from the freedom of this young woman who by her assent decisively cooperated with the entrance of the Eternal into time.” (Ibid.)

“In looking to the Mother of God, we see how God’s activity in the world always engages our freedom, because through faith the divine word transforms us. Our apostolic and pastoral work can never be effective unless we learn from Mary how to be shaped by the working of God within us…As we contemplate in the Mother of God a life totally shaped by the word, we realize that we too are called to enter into the mystery of faith, whereby Christ comes to dwell in our lives. St. Ambrose reminds us that every Christian believer in some way interiorly conceives and gives birth to the word of God: even though there is only one Mother of Christ in the flesh, in the faith Christ is the progeny of us all. Thus, what took place in Mary can daily take place in each of us, in the hearing of the word and in the celebration of the sacraments.” (Verbum Domini, 28.)

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