08 September 2007

BVM: First stone, first step

The Nativity of the BVM: Micah 5.1-4 and Matthew 1.18-23
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
Albert the Great Priory, Irving, TX

Listen here!

Feasts of the Blessed Mother should do what Mary herself did all her life and continues to do even now: exalt the Lord, prod us all to say YES to the Lord’s will for us, and point us constantly and consistently to Christ. We go to the Blessed Virgin in order to go through her to Christ. St. John Damascus preaches it well when he says, “Today a virginal gateway draws near: through her the God who is above all creatures will come bodily into the world. . .Eternal light. . .takes His body from this woman and, like a groom, comes forth from His bridal chamber. . .”

Lest any of us are tempted to hear this description of our Blessed Mother as an irreverent diminishment of her work for our redemption, listen again to Matthew’s gospel: “Listen up! The virgin will become pregnant and she will give birth to a son, and she and her husband, Joseph, will name their son Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” We cannot diminish or downplay or in any way minimize the obedient YES of Mary, her loving assent to the Holy Spirit’s embrace nor can we but help to turn to her as she herself turns to Christ, her son. We celebrate the Blessed Mother’s nativity this morning so that we may celebrate the Lord’s nativity. . .and then his baptism and then his public preaching and healing and then his suffering, his death, and his resurrection and ascension.

Truly, then, Mary is our gateway, our door; she is not our path nor is she the Way, but she is the first foot stone, the first step; in our history as a holy nation, a royal priesthood, she is for us our Mother in grace, the Mother of the Church; she spoke then and speaks now the most primitive YES, offering her body as the first sacrifice of a new covenant, giving herself to the Spirit and giving us our Savior.

All of this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through His prophet: God has been with us. God is with us. And God will never abandon us. Mary is our promise of God’s presence. Her son, Christ Jesus, is that promise made good.

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