Skip to main content


Father Cantalamessa on the Mother of God

12/31/2006 - 6:00 AM PST

Advertisment

"Mary Meditated on All These Things in Her Heart"

ROME, JAN. 2, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the liturgical readings for today's solemnity of Holy Mary, Mother of God.

* * *

Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21

The council taught us to look upon Mary as a "figure" of the Church, that is, as the Church's perfect exemplar, as the first fruits of the Church. But can Mary be a model of the Church even as "Mother of God," the title with which she is honored this day? Can we become mothers of Christ?

Not only is this possible, but some fathers of the Church have said that, without this imitation, Mary's title is useless to me: "What does it matter," they said, "if Christ was once born to Mary in Bethlehem but is not born by faith in my soul?"

Jesus himself was the first to apply this title, "Mother of Christ," to the Church when he declared: "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice" (Luke 8:21).

Today's liturgy presents Mary to us as the first of those to become mother of Christ through attentive listening to his word. The Church has chosen for this feast the Gospel passage where it is written that "Mary, for her part, treasured all these words, meditating on them in her heart." How one concretely becomes a mother of Christ is explained to us by Jesus himself: hearing the word and putting it into practice.

There are two types of incomplete or interrupted motherhood. One is the old one which we know: early termination of the pregancy. This happens when a woman conceives a life but does not give birth to it because, in the meantime, either for natural causes or the sin of men, the child dies. Until a short time ago this was the only known form of incomplete motherhood.

Today, however, we know another which consists, on the contrary, in giving birth to a child without having conceived it. This happens when child is first conceived in a test tube and then inserted into the womb of a woman. In some terrible and squalid cases, the womb is borrowed, sometimes rented, to bear a human life conceived elsewhere. In this case, that which the woman gives birth to does not come from her, is not "first conceived in her heart."

Unfortunately, also on the spiritual plane there are these two sad possibilities. There are those who conceive Jesus without giving birth to him. Such are those who welcome the word without putting it into practice, those who have one spiritual abortion after another, formulating plans for conversion which are then systematically forgotten and abandoned at the halfway point; they behave toward the word as hasty observers who see their faces in a mirror and then go away immediately forgetting what they looked like (cf. James 1:23-24). In sum, these are those who have faith but not works.

On the other hand, there are those who give birth to Christ without having conceived him. Such are those who do many works, perhaps even good ones, which do not come from the heart, from love of God and right intention, but rather from habit, from hypocrisy, from the desire for their own glory or interests, or simply from the satisfaction of doing something, acting. In sum, these are those who have works but not faith.

These are the negative cases of an incomplete maternity. St. Francis of Assisi describes for us the positive case of a complete maternity which makes us resemble Mary: "We are mothers of Christ," he writes, "when we carry him in our hearts and our bodies through divine love and pure and sincere conscience; we give birth to him through holy works, which should shine as an example before others!"

We -- the saint says -- conceive Christ when we love him with sincerity of heart and with rectitude of conscience, and we give birth to him when we accomplish holy works that manifest him to the world.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Cantalamessa, Mary, Mother, God, Liturgy

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment


Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 28:1-10
The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, ... Read More

Psalm, Deuteronomy 32:26-27, 27-28, 30, 35-36
I should crush them to dust, I said, I should wipe out all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 19:23-30
Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'In truth I tell you, it is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

August 19 Saint of the Day

St. John Eudes
August 19: John Eudes was born at Ri, Normandy, France, on November 14, ... Read More