Behold Your Mother: Jesus Gives Us His Mother and Expands the Family Circle
the Word Made Flesh, Jesus the Christ, was truly both God and Man. The Incarnation was central to the Christian claim. The One whom Mary bore was and is truly God and truly man.
I studied the historic background of the proclamation and came to understand what was truly at stake. When I read this simple proclamation of the Catechism of the catholic Church years later, "What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ."(CCC #487) it all made sense.
My study of early Church history revealed the presence of Marian piety and devotion, from the extraordinary frescoes in the catacombs to the reflections of the early church fathers on the significance of her role in salvation history and her continued role in the life of the Church. As my knowledge of the lives of the saints, and their prayer lives increased, I had to decide whether all of their writings about Mary reflected some kind of "bad theology" or, perhaps, I had missed something. Fortunately, I arrived at the proper conclusion.
But, even after all that, Mary was still to me the Mother of the Lord. I could accept in concept that she was a mother to the Church, but...not yet 'my Mother". The progression continued. It was only as I prayerfully reflected on the last hours of Jesus' earthly ministry recounted in the fourth Gospel, the one attributed to the beloved disciple John, that this all began to unfold and become personal for me.
"When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother'" (John 19: 26-27). Throughout the Church's rich history and Tradition great theologians, mystics, popes and saints have all viewed John as representing you and me. The last gift Jesus gave before giving every drop of His Sacred Blood was His mother.
We who are baptized are now "incorporated" into Christ. We live our lives now in His Body. The Head and the Body are eternally joined in a communion of love. St. Augustine - and countless Saints both East and West â€" writes concerning the "whole Christ" as both head and body. (cf. Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 4:15). Everything Jesus has He has given to His Church. That includes His Mother. She is also the Mother of His Mystical Body, His Church and we are members of that family.
As the years unfolded I found that every one of the great influences in my Christian life from that communion of saints to which we are all joined was profoundly "Marian". Francis of Assissi, Bernard of Clairvaux, the early fathers, St Jose Maria Escriva, leading all the way up to my the one I call my champion, Blessed John Paul II, all had a deep love and devotion to Mary as Mother. I began to pray Blessed John Paul's prayer of consecration, "Totus Tuus" and made it my own. Then, the grace was given. This little Virgin from Nazareth whose "yes" brought heaven to earth and earth to heaven went from being the mother and a mother to - "my mother."
Our Catechism reminds us "What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ. "God sent forth his Son", but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary" (Lk. 1:26,27).
"Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos), (CCC, 495,496; Council of Ephesus, 431 AD).
For more reflections on Mary, the Mother of God, please visit our virtual pilgrimage site here. My readers can also order a book I wrote several years ago entitled "The Prayer of Mary: Living the Surrendered Life" here.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mary, Mother of God, Marian, Marian piety, rosary, marian apparitions, Hail Mary, Deacon Keith Fournier
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