O Mary, Gate of Heaven, Morning Star, Ark of the Covenant, Theotokos, pray for us!
Sandro Botticelli, circa 1480
Mary was on my mind yesterday during adoration, no doubt because I was reading 33 Days to Morning Glory, and also because of the recent events related in my last post.
But it’s more than that. I’ve mentioned before that I listen to Catholic radio a lot, and during the call-in shows, Mary is often a topic of conversation. So many people simply do not grasp her sublime place in God’s Plan for our salvation, or worse yet, they think she was simply a convenient vehicle used by God to bring the Savior into the world. After Jesus was born, these individuals assume that Mary and Joseph led a normal married life and that Mary simply faded into oblivion.
What an insult to God! First to imagine that His Son would be conceived by an ordinary woman who had not been perfectly prepared by Him. Secondly, to ascribe to God such a capricious attitude of using one of His creatures for so exalted a purpose and then to essentially forget about her….to credit nothing to her for the sacrifice of her very own Son.
Scripture and the Church present us with such a very different picture of Mary’s life and Mary’s purpose.
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you….
What a great Mystery! Mary is asked, and consents to be the Mother of Jesus.
And…in a glorious silence containing all the Power of Heaven and earth, the Holy Spirit overshadows her and enters into her virginal womb to create the Body and Soul of the God-Man, that Human Nature which would be hypostatically united to the Divine Nature and Person of the Son of God.
The Incarnation is God’s greatest Work, and It took place within Mary, hidden in silence, unheralded save by Gabriel’s few words to the chosen maiden.
How holy Mary was from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception… Full of Grace, as Gabriel addressed her. But what new and unique Graces surely flooded her soul in that wondrous Instant when she became the Mother of God, and truly the Spouse of the Holy Spirit!
Can anyone really dare to think that all of this happened in an off-handed, matter of fact way? That God overshadowed Mary, and then departed, bestowing no splendor of Grace, no bond between Himself and this Woman carrying the very Son of God, now incarnate?
Mary is matchless, and we can never comprehend her holiness and her unique relationship to God. She is not Divine. God is infinitely above all of His creatures. But Mary has an exalted place which cannot be approached by even the greatest of the Saints.
She is the God-Bearer. And once you say that, what is left to say about her greatness? All that she is and all that she has was bestowed upon her because of the ineffable and most pure intimacy she experienced with the Most Holy Trinity.
Who can plumb the mysteries which passed between God and Mary in that Moment which changed everything? The Son became her Child…uniting her flesh to His Being in an act of humility and Gift for which the angels surely were rendered speechless to praise.
Yes, God defeated Satan through a humble maiden, forever raised to the heights of holiness because of her relationship with God.
If we become holy through Baptism, when The Trinity comes to dwell within us, then what is there to say of Mary’s holiness, her relationship to God, her exaltation?
O Mary, Daughter of the Most High, Mother of the Eternal Word, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us!