Last Updated:Saturday - 12/11/2010
May 15, 2000
Mary points to Jesus' central place
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
In his encyclical Mother of the Redeemer, Pope John Paul explained that Mary is our mother, given to each of us personally as a gift by Christ from the cross. "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home" (Luke 19:26-27).
The pope says that as our mother, Mary "places herself between her son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She acts as a mediatrix, not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. She knows that as such she can point out to her son the needs of mankind and in fact, she has the right to do so" (Mother of the Redeemer, 21).
Mary, he continues, "cares for the brethren of her son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties" and "her motherhood remains in the Church . . . interceding for all her children" (no. 40). In this way, Mary cooperates in the saving work of her Son, the Redeemer of the world.
If Mary is indeed our mother, how are we in the Church to respond to her? We are asked to entrust ourselves to Mary as a child would his own physical mother.
"Entrusting himself in a filial manner, the Christian, like John, welcomes the mother of Christ into his own home and brings her into everything that makes up his inner life" (no. 45).
This is a powerful statement. For if Jesus constitutes our inner life then Mary follows. One must not be afraid of approaching Mary. Her presence exists because of Christ and for Christ. As a matter of fact, the nearer one is to Mary, the "nearer Mary leads them to the unsearchable riches of Christ" (no. 45).
For when we say "Mary," she says "Jesus." We should not hesitate to entrust ourselves to this mother, because before "anyone else it was God himself, the Eternal Father, who entrusted himself to the virgin of Nazareth, giving her his own Son in the mystery of the Incarnation" (no. 39)
Mary therefore in no way takes away from the "dignity and efficacy of Christ, the one mediator," the pope wrote in As The Third Millennium Draws Near. By constantly pointing to her son, Mary affirms the central place of Christ and takes us to him.
For this reason, "the Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. She experiences it continuously and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that, encouraged by this maternal help, they may more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer" (Mother of the Redeemer, 38).
Finally, "Mary belongs indissolubly to the mystery of Christ" and "through the mystery of the Son, the mystery of the mother is also made clear" (nos. 27, 19).
Let us take the time to "sing and extol the extraordinary dignity and magnificent beauty of the Virgin Mary." In our churches and homes, images of the Virgin, together with the cross, should have a place of honour.
Let us devote ourselves to prayer, together with Mary, so that within the radius of her maternal presence, we will find a strengthening of our own faith. Let us entrust ourselves to her maternal care, asking her to show us how to trust that God's word will be fulfilled in our lives. Let us ask Mary to teach us how to utter our own personal "fiat."
(Second in a series)
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