Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Immaculate Heart of Mary: Receptivity as Self-Gift

1) On August 23, 1971, the Lord wanted to show St. Josemaria Escriva the most favorable way to be heard before the Most Holy Trinity. He heard,
"Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of glory [the word "glory" substituted for the word "grace" that is in the actual verse], that we may obtain mercy..."(Hebrews 4, 16).

St. Josemaria commented: "I am going to tell you something that God Our Lord wants you to know. The sons of God in Opus Dei adeamus cum fiducia - we must go with much faith - ad thronum gloriae, to the throne of glory, the most holy Virgin, the Mother of God and our Mother, whom we invoke so many times as Sedes Sapientiae, ut misericordiam consequamur, to get mercy (...).
"Keep it very much in mind in these moments and also afterwards. I would say that is the explicit will of God: that we place our personal interior life within these words that I have just told you. At times you will hear them without any noise, in the intemacy of your soul, when you least expect it. Adeamus cum fiducia: Go - I repeat - with trust to the Most Sweet Heart of Mary, who is our Mother and the Mother of Jesus. And with Her, who is Mediatrix of all grace, to the Most Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus Christ."

Benedict XVI gives us a theological evaluation of the heart of the Virgin as the first locus of where she kept the word/Word:

“Next to John… it is above all Luke who is the interpreter of the Marian mystery. He stresses one particular feature of the picture of Mary which was important to him, and thus became important for the tradition which has come down through him, when he says three tunes that Mary kept the word in her heart and pondered it (Lk 1, 29; 2, 19; 2, 51). First of all, then, she is portrayed as a source of the tradition. The word is kept in her memory; therefore she is a reliable witness for what took place. But memory requires more than a merely external registering of events. We can only receive and hold fast to the uttered word if we are involved inwardly. If something does not touch me, it will not penetrate; it will dissolve in the flux of memories and lose its particular face. Above all it is a fact that understanding and preserving what is understood go together. If I have not really understood a thing, I will not be able to communicate it properly. Only by understanding do I receive receive reality at all; and understanding, in turn, depends on a certain measure of inner identification with what is to be understood. It depends on love.[Here is knowledge and truth as identity between knower and known achieved not by symbols but by identification in action and therefore in inner being as person]

I cannot really understand something for which I have no love whatsoever. So the transmission of the message needs more than the kind of memory that stores telephone numbers: what is required is memory of the heart, in which I invest something of myself. Involvement and faithfulness are not opposites: they are interdependent.
In Luke, Mary stands as the embodiment of the Church’s memory. She is alert, taking events in and inwardly pondering them. Thus Luke says that she `kept’ them (lit., `preserved them together’) in her heart, she `pondered’ them (lit., `put them togher’) and `kept them faithfully’ (lit., `held on to them’). Mary compares the words and events of faith with the ongoing experience of her life and thus discovers the full human depth of each detail, which gradually fits into the total picture. In this way faith becomes understanding...

[Here we have the salvation of reason by faith as an act of the believer as subject and being. The being that enlightens reason is the very being of the subject activated by the act of self-giving – an act of self-transcendence and going out of self . It is not primarily a conceptual donation, but an ontological one].

... and so can be handed on to others: it is no longer a merely external word but is saturated with the experience of a life, translated into human terms; now it can be translated, in turn, into the lives of others. Thus Mary becomes a model for the Church’s mission, i.e., that of being a dwelling place for the Word, preserving it and keeping it safe in times of confusion, protecting it, as it were, from the elements. Hence she is also the interpretation of the parable of the seed sowed in good soil and yielding fruit a hundredfold. She is not the thin surface earth which cannot accommodate roots; she is not the barren earth which the sparrows have pecked bare; nor is she overgrown by the weeds of affluence that inhibit her growth. She is a human being with depth. She lets the word sink deep into her. So the process of fruitful transformation can take place in a twofold direction: she saturates the Word with her life, as it were, putting the sap and energy of her life at the Word’s disposal; but as a result, conversely, her life is permeated, enriched and deepened by the energies of the Word, which gives everything its meaning. First of all it is she who digests the Word, so to speak, transmuting it; but in so doing she herself, with her life, is in turn transmuted into the Word. Her life becomes word and meaning. That is how the gospel is handed on in the Church"
("Seek That Which is Above," Ignatius (1986) 100-103).

Recall in this connection that our Lady is the prototype of the Church, and the faith of the Church.

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