Monday, March 26, 2012

The Sign of the Woman

The church must relearn her ecclesial being from Mary. Only a conversion to the sign of the woman, to the feminine dimension of the Church, rightly understood, will bring about the new opening to the creative power of the Spirit, and so to Christ’s taking form in us, whose presence alone can give history a center and a hope.

Mary, the Church at the Source, 59

Reflection – A happy feast of the Annunciation to you all! Well, we launched the parish mission here in Herring Cove, Nova Scotia last night to rousing success, and I talked precisely about this feast and this mystery of Mary that Ratzinger so eloquently reflects on in this passage.

This truly is the heart of the matter for him and for us: we have to live like Mary lived, if we want to be the Church Christ wants us to be. This is the main theme of my book She is Our Response, that Mary is the icon of humanity redeemed by Christ, the icon of humanity receiving God first before we can give Him to anyone, and that without this dynamic Marian reception of God we are doomed to mere programs, agendae, bright ideas and politics. Towards the end of the book, reflecting on various themes I have explored earlier at length, I write:

The Marian witness—Mary’s presence in the Church’s proclamation of the Good News to humanity and her presence to the Church itself in its own acceptance and penetration of this Good News—is necessary to show forth the truth of this Gospel on the level of the individual concrete historical being who receives it and strives to live it. Mary’s presence to the Church in the modern world is necessary for the Church’s proclamation to be certain and unhesitating, as Mary alone shows forth the fullness of the dynamic of God in man. Her presence is also necessary for the Church to persevere in its own integrity—its own truth to itself and to the God who constitutes it.

We do not offer a product or project or ethos or program; we receive the Word so as to speak the Word. We receive God to give God. We become a new creation (in contemplative receptivity) so as to live the life of the new creation (in compassionate love) and to radiate the goodness of this new creation (with joy) to all.

Mary, who lived this, teaches the Church how to live it; Mary, who embodies this in her virginal maternity, continues to bear Christ in the world by making the virgin Church fruitful through her maternal solicitude and intercession; Mary, who in her immaculate being is humanity in its integrity, thus prevents the image of God in man from being utterly effaced from the modern age; Mary, who in her assumed glory shows forth the goodness and end of creation, draws all creation after her through her queenly mediation and prayer.

So this is our feast. As we contemplate this little girl standing before the angel and saying a bold and total ‘yes’ to God’s invitation, we contemplate our own mystery—what God wants each of us individually, and the whole Church collectively, to become. Without this becoming, this ‘yes’ coming from each of our hearts, the world is doomed to continue its path of darkness and negation. But if and as we say ‘yes’ to God, the light of Christ breaks through here and there, and hope is reborn on the face of the earth.

This is the most urgent task of our times. There are political and programmatic things we need to do, but unless they are coming from hearts that have deeply and totally said ‘yes’ to God they will be of no avail. This is what Madonna House is all about; this is what Pope Benedict is all about, and this is what this little blog is all about. Say yes to God; the world needs your ‘yes’ so desperately.

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