Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Magnificat anima mea Dominum

Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the day that we recall the ancient tradition that Our Lady's parents, Sts. Joachim and Ann, presented her as an infant to God in the Temple. Of note, the gospel reading for Mass this evening was from St. Matthew's Gospel:

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. (Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.") But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."

The interesting (and somewhat ironic in my opinion) thing about these verses of scripture is that some would use them as proof that Jesus was downplaying Our Lady's role in salvation. I disagree.

The entire life of the Blessed Mother was a lesson for all of us when it comes to doing the will of our heavenly Father. Our Lady cooperated with God in his plan of salvation in a unique way by bearing the Son of God. We are quick to point out that Jesus is the Son of God, however, we must also realize that he is the Son of Mary as well. As such, Mary gives her all for her son so that her entire life was spent in reflecting his glory. She was with him from the beginning and remained faithful to him and his mission, and as such was the first disciple in the sense of following her Son, even to Golgotha. Unlike the twelve, Mary never sought glory for herself. She never bickered as to whom would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. No, she humbly walked before God in quiet obedience to his will. Therefore, the Blessed Mother more than anyone fits the definition of his mother presented by St. Matthew's gospel. If we all could live as Our Lady lived, we would fully be brothers and sisters of Christ, for we would be doing the will of the Father. This is our call as Christians which the Blessed Virgin is exemplar.

When we delve more deeply into the role of the Mother of God, we come to interesting conclusions. At baptism, we are incorporated into Christ's mystical body, the Church, through new birth, and as members of his body, we become children not only of God the Father, but of Mary his mother. Interestingly, Mary has also been viewed since the earliest writings of the Church Fathers as an icon (or image) of the Church. She is the new ark of the Covenant, for from her womb came forth the salvation of the world. In a similar manner, the Church brings forth the salvation of the world as well, for we are the living members of his body called to proclaim the saving work of Christ. So therefore, through Mary Jesus comes to the world, and through the Church Jesus comes to the world and through each faithful Christian Jesus comes to the world. This is the will of the Father. This is why we are all the brothers and sisters and mother of Jesus just as Our Lady who was the first to be called to cooperate in God's great design.

Hail! Blessed Virgin Mary,
for so when he did meet thee,
spake mighty Gabriel,
and thus we greet thee.
Come weal, come woe
our hymn shall never vary.
Hail! Blessed Virgin Mary.

Archangels chant 'Hosanna!'
And 'Holy! holy! holy!'
Before the Infant born
Of thee, thou lowly
Aye-maiden child of
Joachim and Anna.
Archangels chant 'Hosanna!'


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