Friday, November 7, 2008

Marian Musings II

Mary in Scripture

The first prophesy in which Mary is mention is in Genesis. Adam and Eve have just been tossed out of paradise. God has described the burdens they will now carry because they have turned their backs on Him. But God does not let the tempter who had lead them into sin go unpunished, and in this punishment is a prophesy and a promise:

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for his heel.

Now the serpent represents Satan. The woman is not Eve, who has just been banished from the garden and promised the pain of childbirth and death, but Mary, whose seed is Jesus Christ. So just as Jesus is often called the New Adam so too is Mary called the New Eve. Where Eve said no to God, Mary said Yes. Just as through Eve's no were we all cursed with the burden of sin so through Mary's yes were we saved.

The second prophesy about Mary is from Isaiah:

The Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel .

The Third prophesy about Mary is in Micheas:

And thou, Bethlehem, Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Judah: out of thee shall be come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel, and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.

In the Gospels Luke says more about Mary than anyone else. He starts with the genealogy of Christ. Then St. Luke describes the Annunciation, the coming of the Angel Gabriel to Mary in her home in Nazareth. The Angels words are echoed in the Hail Mary. “Hail Mary, full of grace the lord is with you.” Mary responds to the Angel's announcement with the words “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to Your will.”

After the Annunciation Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth in a city of Judah. This is called the Visitation.

Elizabeth's words to Mary are the basis for the next stanza of the Hail Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of you womb.”

Mary's answer to Elizabeth is recorded by Luke in 2:46-55. This canticle, the Magnificat, is said every evening as part of the Liturgy of the hours. In it Mary points to the Lord God “who has done great things for me.”

The evangelists tell of Mary's betrothal to Joseph. The trip to Bethlehem in fulfillment of the prophesy in Micheas. The Presentation in the Temple and the flight to Egypt. The last we see of the holy family is in Luke when the boy Jesus becomes lost in the temple.

Two events during Jesus public ministry concern Mary directly. The first records the last words said by her in Scripture and are recorded by John.

On the third Day there was a wedding at Cana and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When the Wine ran out the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me. My hour has not yet come” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Once again Mary points to God. Her words directed to us as much as to those first century waiters.

We see Mary for the final time in the Gospels in John standing at the foot of the cross.

Meanwhile standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clo'pas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” and from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

So Mary become our mother and mother of the Church.

In Acts it says that Mary stayed with the eleven in the upper room awaiting the appearance of the Advocate on Pentecost. Mary does not appear explicitly again, Like John Paul never mentions her by name in any of his Epistles.

In Revelations John tells of the Woman

...a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in agony of giving birth.

The woman of Revaluations is at once both Mary and the Church, who both share Jesus' messianic mission. Mary is the symbol of the triumphant Church that awaits and intercedes for us. She is also the first disciple. The first to say yes to Christ.

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