Jan 1 – Mary the Mother of God
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
In the beginning, God created a virgin, and she, like the Virgin Mary was created in grace, immaculate in her soul, and endowed by her Creator with all the natural and supernatural gifts to enable her to become in the fullest possible sense, the mother of all the living. Indeed, according to the Bible, that virgin was named Eve because she became the mother of all the living; the whole human race came from her. And yet, we also know that this first virgin did not become the mother of all the living in the fullest sense of “life.” Tragically, because of the sin of our first parents, death also entered the world, and so Eve was at once the bearer of life and the bearer of death, for all the living who came from her would be condemned to die.
But then there is this second virgin who is by the divine dispensation also created immaculate, free from all sin, and endowed with all the supernatural gifts, though not all the natural endowments possessed by the first virgin, for the first virgin was not subject to suffering or to death or to human ignorance, while the second virgin was subject to all these things because she inherited her human nature from the human line descending from that first virgin. Hers was a nature which, because of that original sin which she was preserved from inheriting was nonetheless subject to sickness and suffering and to the darkening of the intellect which caused her to ponder “these things in her heart,” and finally to death itself. So Mary, simply on the level of human nature itself, was inferior to that first woman who was created with marvelous gifts of a preternatural character. But, on the level of supernatural grace, we know by Church doctrine that Mary was endowed by God with supernatural graces much greater than that of Eve, for Mary was prepared by God’s gifts to be the mother not simply of the living, but the Mother of Life itself, the Life that was in the beginning the source of all things including natural and supernatural life. That Life has now become man to rescue the endless generations of the offspring of that first Eve, not simply from the death that ends this earthly life, but the death that lasts forever, the death of eternal damnation, what the Book of Revelations refers to as the second death that never ends. Mary gave that Life His humanity and in doing so became the Mother of all who to be redeemed by Him.
In the end, these are the things that the feast of the Nativity is ultimately all about, life and death, two virgins, and two Adams. The second virgin and the second Adam are far greater than the first Adam and the first virgin, even though their offspring by nature. The first two brought death along with life; the second two bring life without end. The first two, our first parents, transmitted natural life to us, but natural life which because of their sin would end in death. The second Adam and second Eve bring us eternal life, a supernatural life that originates, as all life does, from the second Adam, the Word made flesh. The Second Eve conceived and gave birth to the Second Adam, who makes His humanity the source of Eternal Life for mankind. So by bearing Her son she becomes the mother of all the living, but in a much deeper sense than the first Eve, for all her children inherit Eternal Life through that second Adam who is the Lord of Life Himself.
The birth of a child is always a two-fold event, a double celebration for the mother and the child. Never was this more wonderfully true than in the birth of the Savior and his Blessed Mother. He is the savior and new origin of the human race, she is the mother through whom this gift of life is given to the human race. They are one inseparable intertwined mystery forever, the child who is God, and the Mother who is mother of her Creator. She said yes and reversed the course of history as Eve had once said no and reversed the course of history and life itself. Her faith was greater than Eve’s, and so she triumphed where that first virgin failed; as Elizabeth said, filled with the Holy Spirit “Blessed are you who believed 15 that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Yes, Mary believed, and the whole world was blessed, and now all generations call her blessed who believed and brought Life Himself into the world for our salvation.
We really cannot begin to imagine what this world would have been like had that first Eve believed and said no to Satan and yes to her Creator. We cannot imagine what a marvelous paradise, what a peaceful world this would have been had that first Eve helped that first Adam, who loved her so much, to say no to sin and yes to God. Today we pray for peace because we celebrate the Prince of peace and His Mother who are the only hope for peace. And yet we know how fragile and passing any peace is on this earth because mankind still does not respond with faith in the Son and His Mother.
But still we pray for and hope for the peace that is sure to come one day just as God has promised. Indeed Mother and Son are our hope, but today we honor the Son in the Mother and look to her for hope. Just as the second Virgin was so much greater than the first in her faith and gifts of grace, so we know by faith that the world that will follow her Son’s final triumph over death, the world which will be transformed by His power and grace, that new creation he has begun even now, will be oh so much greater that our world now. That will at last be the absolutely perfect new world of God in which we will live forever in the joy and peace of heaven. There we will no longer speak of the beginning which failed man, but we will ponder forever, like Mary, that new beginning in the soul and body of Mary where a new world was born in Him who was made flesh, He who had created the world and then redeemed it in his virginal flesh received from her whom all generations unendingly call Blessed. How prophetically did the angel speak when he said that this would happen to Mary and that nothing is impossible with God.