Wednesday, 21 April 2021
FOR Catholics, and many other Christians, May is the month of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In the month of May the blossom on our trees and in our hedgerows is at its best, the sky is at it bluest and the birds and the bees have nested. Nature is full-stretched, most beautiful and fruitful — symbolic of Mary.
English-speaking Catholics refer to her as “our Lady”, as do the French — “notre Dame”, while the Italians say “my Lady” Madonna.
It is easy to understand this fascination with her if you look at the key moments in her life, beginning with her initial consent to do God’s will when asked by the angel Gabriel to be the mother of His Son.
Then, aware of her own fertility, she asks: “How can this be since I have no knowledge of man?”
The angel replies: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”
Nine months later in a stable, she gives birth to her child.
As a theologian might say, the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, is the father of the Second Person of the Trinity from all eternity as God, and in time as God Incarnate, Jesus Christ; and the Third Person of the Trinity is the Agent of the Father in bringing this about.
Mary was a virgin, her pregnancy a miracle, the birth being the entry of God into his own creation as a member of it.
To escape the child’s slaughter by King Herod, she fled with him and St Joseph to Egypt, returning to Nazareth after Herod’s death.
When Jesus was 12 years old, anxious again, Mary lost him for three days before finding him in the temple.
His youth and early manhood are hidden from us but we next meet Mary just after the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus at a marriage feast at Cana in Galilee where the wine ran out.
“They have no wine,” she says to her grown son.
“So what?” says he.
But she knows him too well and nods to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
They draw water from the well and he turns it into wine.
When Mary and Joseph had presented the child in the temple when he was a baby, an old man named Simeon predicted that a sword of sorrow would pierce Mary’s heart.
After three and half years of public ministry, Jesus was arrested, tried, condemned to death, flogged and crucified. Mary stood at the foot of the cross while her son was dying, her tears flowing, her heart breaking as that sword of sorrow pierced it.
The young apostle John stood there with Mary. From the cross, Jesus said to her: “Mother, behold your son”, then to John: “Son, behold your mother.”
From then on, John looked after Mary.
Tradition tells us that this means that Jesus shares his mother not only with St John but also with all of us, both in time and eternity.
So, she is special, and May is her month.
18 May 2020
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