One of my favorite questions for Protestants is, “You couldn’t have Jesus without Mary, so why do you want to have Jesus without Mary?”
Catholics have for ever insisted that there was a unique bond between Jesus and Mary. Galatians 4:4 says, “In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son born OF a woman.” Not “through” a woman but “of”. Prepositions are important.
We believe that the Blessed Virgin was not just a conduit or channel for the Son of God to come into the world. Instead he took his human flesh from his human mother. In other words Jesus would have looked like Mary, and Mary would have resembled Jesus. I guess if you want to see what Mary looked like you would have to imagine the man of the Shroud of Turin, but in female form and not so beat up.
Catholics have always insisted that this close bond between Jesus and Mary means that she shares in his joys and sorrows–indeed in his whole life in an intimate way. Indeed, in a far more intimate way than any other child and mother since he took his whole human flesh from her. So St Paul says in I Corinthians, “Man cannot be without woman nor woman without man.” First Adam and First Even and Second Adam and Second Eve. Man and Wife one flesh. Man and Mother. One flesh.
Now there is this very cool research that has been done to show that the child’s stem cells remain in the mother’s body. Not only do some of them remain in the mother’s body, but they remain active. They do stuff. It’s kind of like they are alive in her. Mothers–the bond with your child is more literal and real than you think. You can read the article here that explains this beautiful reality.
What are the implications for the incarnation? It means Jesus remained in Mary in a real and amazing way. “A sword shall pierce your own heart also.” Mary the sorrowful mother identified with her son’s passion and with all his works because he remained in her and she in him.
This is a physical sign of a greater truth we believe about the Mother of God–that her union with her Son is a sign of the spiritual reality that we all experience through the life of grace: that Christ is in me, the hope of glory–that he is the vine and I am the branches–that for me to live is Christ–that I am baptized into him–that he is in me and I am in him.
When I am born again what was a physical reality for the Blessed Mother becomes a spiritual and ontological reality in me.
Yes. Christ is in me…the hope of glory.
Takes my breath away!
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