As we begin our final movement in the fourth week of Advent, I would like to reflect a moment on Mary, ‘the sign of true hope and comfort for the pilgrim people of God’ (Lumen Gentium).
Mary, a simple woman of faith, an example of virtue in her Son, is our mother as well. She walks with us everyday in our effort to become a truly virtuous parish. She is present to us through her 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 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 anxiety and joy, her fear and her confidence. We are expectant with her Word made Flesh in our own humanness.
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 through her Son. She shows 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).