Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012: The Visitation of Our Lady

Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist, who was scandalized by Christ’s relative “no-show” that failed to visibly confirm his preaching about the Messiah of a visible Christendom) proclaimed concerning our Lady, “Blessed is she who believed.” Mary became the mother of God because of her faith. She believed more than Abraham who was not ultimately called to kill his Son, Isaac.  She was called to say “Yes” to Christ's death and witness it. Abraham's
faith generated the Old Testament. Mary's faith generated the New.

        And now we are called to have the faith of Mary and become “mothers” of Christ by engendering Him in us in the world. Now. The Gospel text of Luke 11, 27 reads that the woman, overcome by the appearance of Christ, cries out: “Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the beasts that gave thee suck.” The Lord answers: “Yeah, rather, blessed is she who hears the Word of God and does it.” The meaning is that blood relation to the Lord does not constitute motherhood of Christ but obedience to the Word of God.

The import of the above is: If we hear the Word of God and do it – live the obedience that is faith – we will become mothers of Christ as our Lady did. The gospel text reads: “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Stretching out his hand to his disciples: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Augustine comments:  Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and  so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master”…

                 “Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? ‘Of Mother Church,’ I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism; you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.”
                The great point of the feast is: Mary is not blessed because she is the mother of God. Rather, she is the mother of God because she made the gift of herself (which is faith). And since we are called to make that self-gift, we are also called to be the mother of God and engender the God-man in us – and this in the exercise of ordinary work in the secular world.

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