Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 21, 2002
Blessed are you among women
By FR. JOHN SPICER
In the first article of the Hail Mary we pondered upon the words, "Hail Mary, full of grace." We go now to the next words, "The Lord is with you."
Actually the assurance of Gabriel to Mary that the Lord is with her simply draws out more clearly the nature of the great grace Mary received in being chosen to be the Mother of God's Son.
Grace, as mentioned in the first article on the Hail Mary, is a living, growing relationship with God, a relationship initiated by God.
Jesus spoke of grace to the Samaritan woman when he said to her, "those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."
God's "spring of water" in Mary raised her to the greatest height possible for a purely human person. Through God's grace, Mary became Mother of God and, as such, queen of heaven.
We are reminded here that we too have God's "spring of water" within us enabling us to continue growing as sisters and brothers of Jesus and sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.
"Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb ("Jesus," was added later).
Notice that Elizabeth's greeting to Mary has two parts. This is important to note because the latter part of the greeting gives deep meaning to the first part.
As to the first part, "Blessed are you among women," the same words were said to Judith in the Old Testament. She too received "praise above all women."
However, the second part of Elizabeth's greeting makes clear that in bearing Jesus in her womb, she was indeed favoured to the greatest degree. No greater privilege could be given to a purely human person than to be "the Mother of God."
Greatness in Mary adds much to our own greatness. For Mary filled with God's love, loves us beyond our ability to grasp.
In beseeching Mary for help, we can be assured of her assistance. For she has "the ear of God." It may not be that she will obtain for us exactly what is asked, but it will invariably be to our greatest benefit.
Thus Elizabeth's greeting to Mary with its insight into Mary's great grace from God gives us ever new heart to continue our faith journey, a journey that closely connects us with all humanity and with our unfolding universe.
Mary is indeed a great blessing to us.
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