Mary's Union with Jesus: The Pattern for Ours
By Msgr. Charles M. Mangan
The greatest title given by the Church to Our Blessed Mother and recognized by the Faithful everywhere is Mater Dei--The Mother of God. This extraordinary privilege of Mary's Divine Maternity is the foundation for all the other unparalleled honors that the Lord granted the Maiden of Nazareth.
The Almighty chose Mary among all women to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, Who is true God. She who is the Immaculate Mediatrix conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and brought Him forth while remaining a virgin.
When we reflect on this incredible mystery, we note that had Mary rejected God's generous invitation to be the Mother of the Savior, then any hope for our reconciliation with the benevolent Lord would have had to be realized in some other way. Therefore, Mary's reply was very significant.
But thanks be to God, Holy Mary said "yes." Her unforgettable fiat helped to effect our long-anticipated Redemption. Jesus Christ came to the world through Our Blessed Lady's affirmative response. Her receptivity in becoming the Mother of Christ paved the way for our reunion with God.
Our union with Jesus Christ is foreshadowed by Mary's own union with Her Divine Son. Her surrender to Him is the pattern for our submission to Christ. The fully human Mary demonstrates that it is possible for us to live united to Jesus.
Despite our multi-faceted human weakness which we experience daily, we who have been baptized were endowed with Sanctifying Grace. This amazing gift makes us friends of God.
Our Blessed Mother, too, received Sanctifying Grace at the precise moment of Her Immaculate Conception. She was preserved from Original Sin--that audacious disobedience shown by Adam and Eve to the Creator Himself. Being steeped in Sanctifying Grace, Our Lady is truly the Lord's friend.
Although we cannot boast of having been preserved like Mary from the awful Sin of our first parents, the terrible situation of our bitter estrangement with God was rectified when we received the fruits of Christ's salvific Death on Calvary. When? At the instant the cleansing water was poured on us during the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism.
Baptism effected our reunion with the Lord. It manifested in our souls the fruits won by the selfless Death of the Savior on the Cross. We left the church after our Baptism that day as friends of God. This treasured friendship is strengthened when we worthily receive the Sacraments, pray and perform acts of charity and mortification; however, this cherished friendship is notably wounded when we, sadly, commit venial sin; it is completely broken if we--God forbid--commit mortal sin.
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council stated in its 21 November 1964 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium): "Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in Her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully preserved in Her union with Her Son unto the Cross, where She stood, in keeping with the Divine Plan, enduring with Her only-begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associated Herself with His Sacrifice in Her Mother's Heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of Her." (#58) Thus, the Woman who always did the sublime Will of God, thereby remaining in intimate friendship with Him, actually helped us to enjoy that same friendship by Her singular cooperation with Jesus on Calvary. Now, thanks to Jesus and Mary, we have the opportunity to be--and remain--authentic friends of the Living God!
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