Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Mother of God! Words most chilling and yet most sublime, for she – a mere human like we are – is our mother and yet holds the divine love and mercy of her son, Jesus, Son of God and the fruit of her womb, before us.
“Another Mary feast,” a relative complained to me.
“Aren’t we supposed to give praise and honor to our mothers? To your mother and mine? So why not Mary?”
He had no answer. The conversation gave me an occasion to meditate on this, however. And, not so surprisingly, the thoughts included Fatima.
Lately, our Scriptures have concerned the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel appearing to a virgin named Mary. “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High…” (Luke 1:31)
But Mary said to the angel, “How shall this happen since I do not know man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 34-35).
The power of the Most High. It sounded familiar. In reading and writing about Fatima this past year, I was struck by the visits of the Guardian Angel of Portugal to the children of Fatima in 1916, and how they were described. As Lucia recorded in her Fourth Memoir (1941),
“Kneeling down on the ground, [the Angel] bowed down until his forehead touched the earth. [The] supernatural atmosphere which enveloped us was so intense, that we were scarcely aware of our own existence…The presence of God made itself felt to intimately and so intensely that we did not even venture to speak to one another. Next day we were still immersed in the spiritual atmosphere, which only gradually began to disappear.”
In second apparition, the angel’s words “were indelibly impressed upon our minds. They were like a light which made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, He grants the grace of conversion to sinners.”
In the third apparition, the Angel gave Holy Communion to Lucia – she said she felt the Host on her tongue – and gave the Chalice of Precious Blood to Francisco and Jacinta to drink from.
“The force of the presence of God was so intense that it absorbed us and almost completely annihilated us. It seemed to deprive us of all our exterior actions as though guided by the same supernatural being who was impelling us thereto. The peace and happiness which we felt were great, but wholly interior, for our souls were completely immersed in God.”
If these young shepherds, ages 9, 8, and 6 were flooded with the presence of God which led them to make countless heroic acts of sacrifice for sinners, why would it not be the same for Mary of Nazareth, chosen for a greater privilege as the Mother of mankind’s redeemer? Why would she not be overcome in such a way as well, that her life became holiness incarnate?
It is often said Mary “pondered these things in her heart,” the coming of the shepherds, the words of Simeon. Mary didn’t journal unceasingly every thought and feeling as some do today. All we have is that she pondered in her heart…meditated? All we have is that the power of the Most High overshadowed her. And that was the source of her strength, fleeing in the middle of the night to a foreign land; “losing” her son in the temple at age 12; hearing of the way the people of the town mocked her Son when He told them the Scriptures had been fulfilled by His presence; the Passion; the meeting on the way to Calvary; Cross; the hours beneath the cross and the entombment. The power of the Most High, something we cannot even comprehend because our lives have become so distant from Him.
Dusk is falling as I write. I think of the picture of St. Dominic, the one in which our Blessed Lady is handing him the rosary, her peace prayer for the world, her sharing of the power to reach the Most High. And I think of us silly mortals slapping her hand away, perhaps the greatest sorrow she has ever had to endure.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
This article, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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