In cooperating with the Father's will in a most excellent way, Mary leads us into Advent
"Come, let us climb the LORD's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths" (Is 2:3). As we enter into the sacred season of Advent, one of preparation for the arrival of the Christ Child, it is the Virgin Mary who beckons us to set our eyes firmly upon the Lord's mountain and to walk in her Son's paths.
"The Way" then became the principle driving force of the Christians as they walked in the mystery of Christ's life, and thus was not simply an ideal adopted intellectually, but rather something to which they gave of themselves without reserve. The "Way" is thus a life given freely in abandonment to Jesus, who is himself "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6).
This abandonment to Christ is one which burns away disordered attachment for the material and the worldly; it is a "new way" in the Spirit in which misplaced desires are dislodged, supplanting what is mundane with what is beautiful and pure; it is a death to self in favor of an eternal share in the supernatural and superabundant life of God.
And it is the sweet Virgin who both reveals "the Way" and urges us along in it, by the example of of her life and by her unceasing prayers for her children, which pour lovingly forth from her maternal lips. Blessed John Paul II reminds us that it is Mary who provides us with the supreme human example of trust, abandonment, openness to the impulses of the Holy Spirit, and submission to the salvific will of the Father:
"Indeed, at the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with the 'full submission of intellect and will,' manifesting 'the obedience of faith' to him who spoke to her through his messenger. She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine 'I,' and this response of faith included both perfect cooperation with 'the grace of God that precedes and assists' and perfect openness to the action of the Holy Spirit, who 'constantly brings faith to completion by his gifts'" (Redemptoris Mater 13 § 2).
Mary Opens the Way of Advent
It is the Virgin Mary who, in accordance with the Father's eternal plan of salvation, is chosen to lead us into this "Way." For Mary is known and loved by the Father from the very conception of his plan of love for humanity as the sinless mother who would carry the Child -- the Father's own Son -- in her holy womb (cf. CCC 488). Immaculately conceived without sin, redeemed from the moment of her conception and "enriched by God with gifts appropriate" (CCC 490-491) to her role as the Mother of the Lord, the feet of the Virgin Mary trod the path of perfection without fault from her earliest days, always fulfilling the Father's will in complete submission to the divine prompts of the Holy Spirit.
We might reflect on her innocent and tender childhood, seeing her quickly dash about the paths of Jerusalem toward a destination of quiet prayer in the Temple. We might imagine her bright, joy-infused eyes which deeply gazed into God's creation, recognizing there, in the work of the Father's hands, the sacred and the sublime. And always Mary's life was a life of beauty and preparation in anticipation of her singular calling as the Mother of God. For Mary is the Immaculate Conception from the beginning of her existence in her own mother's womb to the Annunciation to the Cross and beyond into eternity.
Mary opens the way of Advent. If we look into Mary's eyes, she smiles, then turns her gaze toward her Son in order that our own eyes are led in the best and most proper direction, that we look upon "the Way" and then rise up and enter into it. Always she unveils the meaning of our life by directing us along her Son's paths: we are to give our life to the Child who sacrificed his life for us.
Mary Beckons Us to Make Christ's Story Our Own
In fact, Mary is not only an example of perfect self-giving but reveals with unparalleled clarity and in every detail what it means to follow her Son. She urges us to inter into the life of her Son, to make Christ's story our story; to become as "little Christs." Indeed, there is nothing in the virtuous Christian life that cannot be found in the life of Mary, since she is not only the first Christian but the Christian par excellence. Mary is the perfect and sinless Virgin who gave birth to "the Way," the Person of Jesus the Christ, and is therefore raised above all the angels and saints as Theotokos -- the Mother of God.
Since Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of the Christ Child, if we desire to enter into this sacred time as fruitfully as possible, it is important to turn to Mary with love, to ...
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