As we begin our final movement in the fourth week of Advent, I would like to reflect a moment on Mary, as she is present in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium: ‘the sign of true hope and comfort for the pilgrim people of God.’
“Mary, the Mother of Jesus walks with us on our journey of faith from conception to resurrection she is present to us-by her life example and through her powerful intercession-she is a model for our own call to holiness. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the birth of the Church we value this model of virtue because it is through our meditation on her life that ‘the Church reverently penetrates more deeply the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like Christ. (LG-65)” .
Mary is present at the birth of the Church in the manger. She is present at the first manifestation of the Church in Cana. She is present at the birth of the Church under the Cross-on Calvary. She is present still in the fear and the fire of Pentecost. But now we stand with her, watching and waiting. We anticipate her great anxiety and joy, her fear and her confidence. We are expectant with her Word made Flesh in our own humanity.
Throughout the long history of Incarnation, Mary stands ready to pray with us, and to pray in supplication for us as Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
It is Mary who helps us understand our humanity and how it has been transformed, given dignity and respect. She teaches us how to wait patiently and expect joyfully the Birth of Jesus in our own lives. She teaches us that each life is significant to God, and because of that significance, how we can manifest it to a lonely and shadowy world. Karl Barth once wrote: “Anyone who has really understood that God became human can never speak or act in an inhuman way.”
In her action, through her wondrous ‘yes’ ‘May Mary continue to intercede for us, in fellowship with all the saints, as close as she is to her Son-the Church, until all families of people, be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into One People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity” (LG-22)