MARY – THE PERFECT CHRISTIAN
I would like to avoid such an approach and begin by basing our deeper devotion to Mary on the fact that God has given her to us as a realized type of the perfect Christian. Mary, in her continued process of growing into a greater fullness of grace, even in her glorified relationship to Jesus Christ, to the members of His Body, the Church, and to the whole created universe, stands as the model of what we are destined to become by cooperating with God’s divine energies operating in our lives as they operated in her life.
There is a danger in seeking one principle to the exclusion of others as the fundamental touchstone. Whatever principle is chosen, such as the divine motherhood, Mary and her prerogatives are all too often seen separated from her dynamic growth as a human being. A static representation of her physical motherhood of Jesus Christ or of her spiritual motherhood of all Christians is given that prevents any deeper growth in loving devotion between us and the living Mary, Mother of God and our Mother.
THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY
If Mary is the prototype of the fully realized Christian, let us begin to see how, before she becomes the Mother of God, she unfolds as a seed does toward her fuller fruition. Mary becomes physically the virgin and Mother of God because she first consented to be spiritually dominated by God, her Lord and Master.
St. Luke tells us that Mary stored up all these things in her heart (Lk 2:50). Mary early in life contemplated God as the center of her life. She knew by experience in prayer that God had freely created her and breathed His divine life into her from the first moment of her existence. God’s Holy Spirit was upon her much earlier than at the time of the Annunciation, impregnating God’s Word in her heart.
Because she had, earlier than her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, all her life experienced the wonderful things that God had done in freely creating her and breathing His divine life into her, she was able to sing her Magnificat and proclaim that He who is mighty has done great things to her (Lk 1:46).
She knew in a more profound way than all other Christians that God was outpouring love, seeking entrance into her heart, and so she constantly surrendered herself in prayer and in her prayerful life to His holy designs. If God loved her so greatly, she also desired only to live for His love, to serve Him with every fiber of her being. Because Mary had contemplated and experienced God so deeply as energizing love in her life, she was able to give her fiat: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Thy word” (Lk 1:38). Mary the contemplative accepted the gift of God’s love-His Holy Spirit-and in the power of that loving Spirit she strove to love all mankind. God’s power within her drove her to aid her cousin Elizabeth in her pregnancy, but only because it had driven her outwardly toward all whom she met in her daily life at Nazareth before the Incarnation.
What Mary contemplated as God dwelling actively and lovingly within her she allowed to flow outwardly into daily acts that reflected a person totally living “in” God. Mary, not only in the Incarnation but also in her heart through contemplation, yielded her whole being to serve God’s Word.
~ George A. Maloney, Mary: The Womb of God