Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Birthday of Our Lady 2010

Birthday of Our Lady

Importance of Our Lady:

1) The ultimate reality is the Word of God. Cf. Benedict XVI, Oct 6, 2008.

2) Our Lady is the privileged subject receiving the Word of God, and therefore the site of Its Revelation. There is no revelation without the “veil” being removed from the receiving subject. The veil is removed when the receiving subject makes the gift of self by conversion away from self. That anthropological act is the reception of the Word and renders the subject to be the “place” of revelation.

3) The Meaning of Mary’s Faith: “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 new 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 doing so 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; indeed, it is how all spiritual and intellectual growth and maturity are handed on from one person to another and within humanity as a whole. It is the only way in which men and mankind can acquire depth and maturity. In other words, it is the only way to progress.”[1]

4) The Completeness of Mary’s Faith: “Scholars are united in affirming that Mary’s final answer to the angel and, through him, to God, ‘behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word,’ is the finally fulfilled expression of the faith of Abraham and of Israel as a whole. Abraham himself had been asked for a measureless obedience of faith: on Mount Moriah he was required to return the very gift that God had given him in exchange for his faith, namely, the son of the promise. Abraham had performed the sacrifice spiritually, even if he had not had to carry it out materially. In Mary’s case, God goes to the end of this faith: on the Cross, under which she stands, no angel intervenes to save, and she must give back to God her Son, the Son of the fulfillment, in darkness of faith that she cannot comprehend or penetrate.

“But Jesus’ conception itself requires an act of faith that infinitely transcends that of Abraham (and especially that of Sarah, who laughed in her unbelief). The Word of God who wills to take flesh in Mary needs a receptive Yes that is spoken with the whole person, spirit and body, with absolutely no (even unconscious) restrictions, that offers the entirety of human nature as locus for the Incarnation. Receiving and letting need not be passive; in relation to God, they are, when done in faith, always supreme activity. If Mary’s Yes had contained even the shadow of a demurral, of a ‘so far and no farther,’ a stain would have clung to her faith and the child could not have taken possession of the whole of human nature. The freedom of Mary’s Yes from all hesitation comes perhaps most clearly to light where she also says Yes to her marriage with Joseph and leaves it to God to reconcile it with her new task.

“This quality of Mary’s Yes is wholly a function of the requirements of Christology. The same can be said of the two dogmatic propositions it entails: her virginity and her freedom from the original sin otherwise common to all men. The latter affirmation, namely, that she ‘was conceived immaculate,’ says nothing but what is indispensable for the boundlessness of her Yes. For anyone affected in some say by original sin would be incapable of such a guileless openness to every disposition of God.”[2]

5) The Gift to Our Lady: No Discouragement: Acts of Contrition: The genealogy of Jesus Christ is filled with sinners. St. Josemaria Escriva comments: “Surely the Mother of God wants us to realize that she, being all pure –Immaculate! – will accept us with our stains. When we draw close to Mary and Jesus, with a clean conscience, with an upright will, then nothing that has happened in the past matters. We can begin our life anew. And therefore through out the day we have to rectify our intention many times.”[3] The gift that we have to give to Our Lady today consists in making many – repeated – acts of contrition, and with each of them to begin again new.

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Seek That Which is Above,” Ignatius (1986) 102-102.

[2] Hans Urs Von Balthasar, “Mary in the Church’s Doctrine and Devotion,” in Mary, The Church at the Source, Ignatius (2005) 104-105.

[3] Meditation, 8 September 1966.

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