Mary the Mother of God, is the exemplar par excellence in faith, hope and love

by May Tam

On this the last day of the Christmas Octave and the first day of the New Year, we celebrate the divine motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is kind of odd, especially to non Christians, that we call Mary the Virgin-Mother. But Mary is no ordinary woman; these privileges were hers by virtue of her indispensable role in the Mystery of Salvation.

Today's solemn feast of Mary as the Mother of God is the oldest of all Marian feasts and it celebrates not only Mary's unique role in the mystery of Christ but also our share in this mystery. As Jesus became a brother to us by taking our humanity through Mary, so Mary too has become a mother to us all in the order of grace, a gift which Jesus gave us when He was on the cross (rf Jn 19:26-27). Since Jesus is truly man and truly God, so Mary, being the true mother of Jesus, hence, is truly the mother of God.

We cannot overstate the importance of Mary, not only in the Mystery of the Incarnation but also in the life of the Church and by extension, in our own spiritual life. Mary reveals the true identity of the Church as servant of the Word of God and she is also our teacher in our own individual spiritual journey. It is therefore opportune to reflect upon our life's journey on earth.

As followers of Christ, our earthly journey is a pilgrimage of faith, hope and love. It is but proper, that we look upon Mary as one who goes before us. We can look at her with confidence because she has already crossed the threshold to be with God forever. She is the Maris Stella (the Star of the sea) on the journey of faith – she believes and obeys the angel's message from God and brought forth on earth the Son of God (rf Lk 1:38). She is the beacon on the journey of hope – she remains silent yet meditating trustingly on the ways of the Lord and what these entail for her as the events of Jesus unfold before her eyes (rf Lk 2:19, 51; Jn 19:25; Acts 1:14). She is the model on the journey of love – she is the one who hears the word, embraces it with a generous and good heart and so bears fruit (rf Lk 8:15; 11:28).

St. Louis Marie de Montfort, a fervent devotee to the Blessed Mary, says in his book The Secret of Mary, that “if we would go up to God and be united with Him, we must use the same means He used to come to us to be made Man” (no. 23) and that is, through Mary. In faith and obedience she cooperated in the work of human salvation and like Mary, we too are drawn into the saving work of Christ through faith and obedience and that is what we are called to do as Christians. “It is part of the grandeur of Christ’s love not to leave us in the condition of passive recipients, but to draw us into his saving work . . .” (Incarnationis Mysterium, 10; Bull of Indiction of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000). Mary, being the Mother of God, is the exemplar par excellence for she conforms most perfectly with Christ.

As we go forward in the New Year, let us invoke the Mother of God to accompany us, to point out to us the right direction and conduct us surely to Jesus as she once said, “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).