MOSAIC Spring 2014 - Page 11

Leaping for Joy From Scripture we see that Mary not only rejoices in God her Savior (Lk 1:47), but she also causes joy in John the Baptist, who leaps in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, at the sound of Mary’s greeting (Lk 1:41, 44). Just as King David danced with joy before the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sm 6:14-16), so the infant John leaps for joy in the presence of Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant. Mary is the cause of our joy because “God ineffable . . . from the beginning and before the ages chose and ordained a mother for his only begotten Son” (Ineffabilis Deus, Denz.-H, 2800). She is the cause of our joy because she reversed the disobedience of the first Eve. Just as the first Eve cooperated with Adam in bringing death and condemnation to the human race, so Mary, the New Eve, freely cooperated “in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience” (Lumen Gentium, 56). As St. Irenaeus writes, “She, being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race” (Adv. Haer. III, 22, 4; cited in Lumen Gentium, no. 56). Representing the Human Race The Blessed Virgin is the cause of our joy became she freely consented to being “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38). As the Lord’s handmaid, however, Mary was not a mere passive instrument. As Pope Leo XIII taught, The eternal Son of God, about to take upon himself our nature for the saving and ennobling of man and about to consummate thus a mystical union between himself and all mankind, did not accomplish his design without adding there the free consent of the elect Mother, who acted in some way in the role of the human race itself, according to the illustrious and most true opinion of St. Thomas: “Through the Annunciation, the consent of the Virgin, in the place of all human nature, was awaited.” Octobri Mense, Denz.-H, 3274; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae III, q. 30, a.1 “She is a living example of what God can do to a human creature.” When Mary said to the angel, “Let it be done to me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38), she spoke on behalf of the entire human race. As St. Louis de Monfort (1673–1716) writes, “God the Holy Spirit formed Jesus Christ in Mary but only after having asked her consent through one of the chief ministers of his court” (True Devotion to Mary, 16). Icon of Womanhood Pope Francis concludes his recent apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, with a beautiful prayer to Mary, whom he calls the “star of the new evangelization” and “Mother of the living Gospel.” The Holy Father finds in the Blessed Mother a model of joy and hope. He reminds us that Mary “brought joy to John the Baptist, making him exult in the womb of his mother” (cf. Lk 1:44), and, “brimming with joy,” she herself “sang of the great things done by God” (Lk 1:49). Mary is also the cause of our joy and a sure sign of hope because she is our spiritual Mother. Pope Francis speaks of Mary as “Jesus’ gift to his people” (no. 285). He reminds us that, At the foot of the cross, at the supreme hour of the new creation, Christ led us to Mary. He brought us to her because he did not want us to journey without a mother, and our people read in this maternal image all the mysteries of the Gospel. The Lord did not want to leave the Church without this icon of womanhood, Mary, who brought him into the world with great faith, and also accompanies “the rest of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12:17). Evangelii Gaudium, no. 285 “Save Us from Every Danger” We should give thanks to Jesus for the gift of his mother who is our mother, as well. Mary is a “cause of our joy” and a sure sign of hope in the power of Christ over sin and death. The ancient prayer to Mary, Sub Tuum Praesidium, dating from around 300 AD, manifests hope in Mary’s po ݕəհ)