11 December 2008
What Hope! An Eden Prophesied.
I love Mary, in no small part because as the new Eve she enjoys even now the fulfillment of hope all women will one day receive. I also love her because as Mother of our Lord she teaches us—the daughters of Eve—what it means to be humble, what it means to trust, receive, and bear fruit in the Word of God. And I love her because she, or, rather, the thought of her, helps me through my pregnancies.*
In today’s Memorial Moment, Father Murray writes: “How impossible to conceive that the corpus of death becomes pristine through the incarnation of the Virgin. Humanity is made fully new in Mary by Mary's Son. In her womb humanity is re-created. So the angel says to Mary: "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God"(Luke 1:31, 32, 35). The Garden of Eden is replanted when the divine messenger breathes upon her the message of the Life in his promise that the holy One to be born of her would be the Son of the Most High. Mary becomes the new Eve, and Christ the new Adam. Her womb is the ark of the Lord.”
Just as Christ’s death on the cross was so Once, so final, so redemptive that our death can be called but sleep in comparison, so, too, His birth—holy, perfect, final—redeems the births of His people. His birth gives mothers cause to forget their anguish in joy that a child has been born into the world. His birth alone does this, for without it there is only anguish—bad soil giving birth to the dead.
But in Mary, from whom Christ received His flesh, we see the new land in which the Garden of Eden was replanted. God made flesh created for Himself a perfect soil in which to grow. As daughters of the promise, we, too, are recreated as clean soil. We bear fruit; our fruit is good. Our pain is to a purpose. Because of His birth women are saved, not condemned, by childbirth for His good birth makes the dirt of our wombs—be they prolific or barren by the standards of death—fruitful, living, good. Unlike Mary, our offspring will achieve by themselves no deliverance upon the earth; but through her Son, by His blood and according to His will, they do not fall. Christ began His good work in the womb of the Virgin, a womb made holy by His presence there, a mother made perfect by her Son. He is coming to complete this good work in us. No one can take away our joy.
Come Jesus, come Messiah, Lord, Lost Paradise restore; Lead past the angel’s flaming sword— Come, open heaven’s door.
And thank God for it. Without this news, thoughts about my impending (DV) “birth experience” leave me a dysfunctional mess. Better for those around me if I think on Christ and His Mother, and leave the future to itself. :P
*No saint invoking around these parts, though we do hang their pretty pictures on our walls.