Fr. Sébastien PERDRIX, o.p.
Monday 14 April 2008
"Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
Today, the day before the solemnity of Christmas, the liturgy of the Church invites us to consider more closely Mary and especially her unique role in the divine plan of our salvation. In the plan of his love by which he decreed to free mankind from the slavery of sin, the Almighty Father made a special place for his beloved creature: the Virgin Mary. Now, let us contemplate with joy and gladness how Mary was always the first one on the way to salvation from the Annunciation to the Resurrection and how she remains still the first one on our road.
Elizabeth by her greeting recognizes the incredible mission of Mary. She is the one who must prepare a body for the one who is to come. She is the one who is the dwelling of the Most High. She is the one who is to give birth to the Savior. Thus, because of this particular relationship to Christ, she is the first to be a messenger of the Good News. She is carrying in her womb the desire of the nations and that is the reason why she is the perfect way to lead us to the Lord. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of her who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation…!" How beautiful are you Blessed Virgin Mary, you who travel to the hill country in haste to bring the blessed fruit of your womb!
Mary is the first one to carry the baby Jesus in her arms, the first one to touch the mystery of the blessed body of Christ, the first one to welcome the real presence of the Lord among his people. She is the first one in a humble stable to rock with joy her child and she will be the last one to rock in silence and in pain the dead body of her son at the foot of the Cross. I think that we could say that the mystery of Mary is the mystery of a presence. As the Mother of God, she is present at the redemptive coming of Jesus in our flesh and in our weakness: it is his first birth. We can also say that Mary is present at the second coming of the Lord, the one which is hidden. This second and intermediate coming began with the paschal mystery and it is about the dwelling of Christ within our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit. She participates in this second birth of Christ by her motherhood. As a mother she intercedes for us and obtains for us the grace to welcome Jesus within us. And without doubt, Mary will be present next to her son for his third coming, the coming in Glory at the end of times. And this coming will be like a new birth, a new creation: the birth of a new world, the perfect achievement of the kingdom of heaven.
How is it possible to explain that Mary is the first one to be present and to witness the most important event of salvation? Surely, there is a fundamental reason: the grace of God which has freely chosen Mary in his love from all eternity. But there is another radiant reason: the faith of Mary. Without her faith and her obedience to the words of God at the Annunciation, there would not have been the first coming of our Lord, the Word would not have become flesh. How great is the faith of the handmaid of the Lord! How great is her obedience! "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the lord would be fulfilled."
Thus, before celebrating Christmas we can already rejoice because Mary is really the cause of our joy. Let us rejoice because our mother carries in her womb the joy of the world!
This article’s author (in French)