At this time of year, oftentimes non-Catholic family members accompany their Catholic spouses to Mass. Sometimes Protestants will come to take part in the ancient rituals by which the Roman Church marks the birth of the Christ. For whatever reason, at Christmastime many people who do not regularly find their way into Catholic churches come to Mass.
So I’ve decided to go ahead and try to outline why we love the Virgin Mary, almost as if she were a god.
Seriously, though: fifty years ago, the Pope and all the Catholic bishops met together, and it was called the ________________.
One of the things the Fathers did was to explain, as carefully and thoroughly as they could, the Catholic doctrine regarding the Church.
In order to do this, they had to focus on the one whose faith began the life of the Church.
At Mass, we hear St. John the Baptist’s mother Elizabeth say to Our Lady, “Blessed are you who believed what was spoken to you by the Lord.”
In the beginning, the human race had a mother. The eternal Word of God established our mother Eve, and her husband, our father Adam, in a paradise lit up by the splendor of God’s own truth.
Eve, however, did not believe what the Lord spoke to her. Rather, she believed ____________. And, of course, Adam did, too.
So Eve believed Satan. But Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Believing him leads not to immortal glory but to ruin. Satan falsely promised our First Parents god-like knowledge, if only they would disobey the Creator, Who asked for one simple act of obedience. But what did the human race get out of this swindle? Seemingly endless ages of darkness, suffering, confusion, and death.
Rough, yes. But God is good. Also, He is no fool. In the end, it turned out to be Satan who was most thoroughly deceived. Because Eve had a daughter, a child of Abraham’s people, of the house of David.
The Lord sent a messenger to this quiet girl, asking for one simple act of obedience. Unlike our First Parents, who could have obeyed God in the undying light and clarity of the Garden of Eden, Mary had to obey in the cloudy obscurity of blind faith.
She had no way at all of seeing how the angel’s message could be true. Nonetheless, everything turned on her consent. If Mary did not freely choose to believe in the Incarnation, then the Incarnation would not have occurred in her virginal womb.
Now, the devil has always imagined mankind to be weak, timorous, pusillanimous, and lame in our relations with our Creator. From the beginning of time until the spectacle of the New Agers humming and crooning in the breeze, waiting for aliens to descend on the Mayan temples—in every human generation, Satan has taken our spiritual mediocrity to the bank. It seems to be something he can count on.
The angel laid out the scenario. Mary forthrightly inquired as to how she shall know that a son can come along without a human father. The angel replied, in so many words: You shall not know it. You shall believe it!
And she said: [W]ell, yeah! Turn it up! Right on. [W]ell, yeah! Sounds good. Sing that song!
No, she really said: Behold, _________________________________.
So the Fathers of Vatican II solemnly declared:
The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body…, embracing God’s will, devoted herself totally to the person and work of her Son.
God used her not merely in a passive way, but as freely co-operating though faith and obedience. [Thus,] she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. (Lumen Gentium 56)
Wait! Christ is the cause of salvation. There is no cause of salvation other than Christ!
Amen. But let’s think about this:
The Blessed Mother freely obeyed God, and that caused what to happen? Christ. The God-zygote began growing towards babyhood in her uterus. By faith, Mary became the cause of the only cause of the world’s salvation. To say that Mary caused the world’s salvation is to say that Christ caused the world’s salvation. And vice-versa.
Let’s put it like this: You gonna try to visit Bethlehem spiritually, and meditate on the infant with a manger-bed, and meanwhile try to separate the Blessed Virgin Mary from Jesus Christ?
You might as well try to separate music from dancing, or flowers from the smell of flowers, or cake from ice-cream. Cannot do it, man. Ad Iesum per Mariam. Nunc et semper.
…Click HERE for the final Gaudium et Spes notes.