Article by : Sr Eulalia Lobo

We are in the month of October- A month dedicated to ‘Our Lady of Holy Rosary’. All the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary invite us to reflect on the life of Mary, the most beautiful woman, whom God chose to be the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in turn gave her to be our Heavenly Mother. She is the most powerful intercessor and our spiritual teacher, who always leads us to her Son, Jesus Christ.

Today in our contemporary world, we hear many dissident voices especially from our non-Catholic brethren, who say that ‘we are obsessed with Mary and at times we place her higher than Christ through all the popular Marian devotions.’ But our answer to them should be simple: Mary stands to Christ as the moon stands to the sun. She is a pure reflection of Christ. All of the Marian doctrines and dogmas are Christological in purpose. They are meant to draw our attention in some way to Christ. Think of that moon example again, one could just barely glimpse at the sun for a moment, but one can stare the whole night at the moon. In a similar way the intensity of Christ is sometimes overwhelming but reflected in Mary we can see, meditate and contemplate on the mysteries of our salvation. This is the reason why the Church is continuously proposing Mary to us during its liturgical year.

Mary is far surpassing all the angels and saints in their holiness, in grace and in justice. She is the most precious Pearl of God the Father, the greatest of all His creations; full of grace by the power of the Holy Spirit, preserved from sin as teaches the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and preserved from the corruption of death according to the dogma of the Assumption, which culminates all what has been progressively revealed to the Holy Catholic Church regarding her beauty, her honours and her glories. Mary is chosen by God from among billions of women, to be the mother of his son, and to bring to fulfilment, through the birth of the Messiah, the long awaited expectation of the people of Israel.

In the face of evil, injustice, folly and all that maligned the beautiful creation, God resolved to form a people to shape them according to his own heart so that they would become a vehicle of his presence to the world and from this people would come the Messiah. Mary is like Israel considered in its totality, who in giving birth to the Messiah fulfills this story of a long pregnancy, preparing for the coming of Christ. In Mary we can read the story of Salvation. Eve by grasping godliness blocked the flow of Grace, which resulted in original sin. Mary, the New Eve, reversed the momentum of original sin by allowing God to plant his Word deep in her and in that fiat she became pregnant with God's own life, thus allowing Divine life to flow into the world for its salvation. Mary calls to mind the whole series of the holy Israelite women, who became mothers against all odds. Think of the nameless mother of Samson, who was infertile and yet bore a son; Hannah the mother of Samuel the prophet; Sarah, the wife of Abraham, who gave birth to Isaac in her old age; finally Elizabeth Mary’s kinswoman, who was infertile and advanced in age became pregnant with John the Baptist. The Virgin Mary against all odds “how is it possible I know not man”, now gives birth to a son and sums up, calls to mind, recapitulate all these women and preach a central Biblical truth “New life comes through a radical faith in the Lord for whom all things are possible.”

What was it that formed Mary’s faith? In his Apostolic Letter 'Porta Fidei', Pope Emeritus Benedict provides an answer that can help us in our journey. He says: “the ‘door of faith’ is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold, when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace.” Saint Luke tells us that “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart”. Literally translated, the Greek verb 'symballein' means “to toss things together in one’s heart.” Mary did this. Not that she had full comprehension of all that she held and “tossed about” in her heart. Her greatness lies in her faith in God’s Word by which she was willing to go forward with a plan she did not understand, to a place she had not chosen, for the sake of a people who would reject and torture and crucify her son. Saint Augustine tells us that the Blessed Mother conceived Jesus first in faith, then in her body. It was this faith that sustained Mary in the many ordeals of her life. She touched the obscurity of faith from her first fiat in Nazareth to her final fiat beneath the Cross at Golgotha. Through faith, she allowed God to lead her totally and unreservedly.

What a precious lesson the Blessed Mother offers to us! Our lives, too, are marked frequently by the obscurity of faith. On a personal level, some of us are afflicted by bodily sufferings or difficult relationships; on a national and global level, we face unprecedented moral challenges, which threaten our Christian foundations and the very fabric of our society; trying economic times place our livelihoods at risk and we find it ever more difficult to make ends meet; even in the Church, sins and scandals tarnish the call to holiness. Only faith in a God who ultimately triumphs can give birth to a hope that sustains us through all darkness. Precisely in the moments of doubts and difficulties, we need to let our hearts be fashioned after the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that we too will act in faith, not always understanding, but accepting and being able to ponder these things in our hearts, things that right now make no sense to us, but will make sense in time. As Pope Francis says “We must learn from Mary to receive and safeguard the Word of God, asking ourselves what it is saying to us ‘right now’ in our lives. Let us pray for the grace to receive the Word of God and keep it, and also the grace to have a heart that is fatigued in this effort, just like the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

About the Author : 

Sr Eulalia Lobo is currently pursuing BEd studies at St Aloysius Institute of Education, Mangalore.


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