+JMJ+ Welcome to Day 7 of the Octave of Christian Unity. In Conversation with God, volume 6 (ICWG, 6) by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal, is what I’m using as a jumpstarter for this series of posts. Keywords for tonight are, well, in the title: Mary and Mother of Unity. Notes and links will be at the end of the post.
“The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus.”ICWG, vol. 6, p. 57.
“The Church believes that the cause of unity is intimately related to the spiritual maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary over all men and women, especially those who have been baptized.”See Leo XIII, Encyclical, Auditricem populi, 5 September 1895.
“We Christians form one Body, and Mary is the Mother of the Mystical Body” (ICWG, 58). St. Bernard wrote that creation was praying that Mary would pronounce her fiat.
“Heaven and earth, the sinners and the just, the past, the present and the future come together in that epochal event in Nazareth.”St Bernard, Homilies on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Sin shattered the unity of the human race, but Mary’s fiat was in a sense a cause (not the cause, but a cause) of Christ’s savng work. Fr. Carvajal says that the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ “finds its primary reason for unity in the Incarnation, in the womb of Mary.” (ICWG., 58.) What kind of unity? The kind that “cannot be rent asunder by differences of race, nationality, language or social condition” (Ibid., 59).
The Blessed Mother’s union was extraordinarily deep from the beginning. I can only think that it must have grown ever deeper over the years they were together on the earth. And as she was the most faithful disciple of all, she would have put no obstacles in the way of her union with her Son, Who was and is God the Son, with God the Father, and with God the Holy Spirit. The depth of that union is something that we cannot begin to imagine, really. What she is, is beyond difficult for us to comprehend. For those who think she is just like us, I have to say, No, she’s not. In a certain sense she is like us in that she is human and not divine. But she is unlike us utterly in her openness to divine grace and the amount of charity she was able to receive in her soul, and then able to share with others. No, not “just like us” at all in that sense.
“When the Apostles gathered together at the Cenacle to receive the Holy Spirit, it is no mere coincidence that Our Lady was with them.”Ibid., 61.
The Blessed Virgin Mary may only appear in the Bible explicitly a few times, but those few times are immensely important. It is a grave error to minimize her place in the Church and in our own spiritual lives. I grew up in a Methodist family and wandered into many dead end paths before I found the Church. Nowhere else did I find a proper understanding of the Mother of the Savior. I pray that others will find their way, too. I pray that she will lead them ever onward until they come all the way home.
Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and become who you were meant to be: a saint! May the Lord bless and keep you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- In Conversation with God, by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal. 7 volumes, vinyl cover with dust jacket, boxed. I’ve used these since my early days of conversion. And I always see something new and/or come to a deeper appreciation of it. (Amazon affiliate link. See Full Disclosure below.)
- Not to be confused with that other set of books, Conversations with God, a very New Age set of books. I always need to point this out because there’s always someone who looks at me sideways when I say mention the Catholic books.
- Leo XIII, Encyclical, Auditricem populi, 5 September 1895.
- Three sources (of many) for the homily:
- Homilies on the Blessed Virgin Mary, by St. Bernard. For this particular homily see this post at Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s Crossroads Initiative. It’s an excerpt and seems to be a condensed version of the homily which I think I’ve identified as the number IV in
- this free PDF from archive.org. The excerpt at Crossroads can be found on page 68, but the homily itself begins on page 60. There are two PDF files in the download list, I recommend the black and white one, smaller file size. Other options are there as well.
- An excerpt of the homily is also included as the second reading in the Office of Readings for Advent for December 20, which can be found at Liturgies.net.
- If you thirst to read more about St. Bernard after that, I just found this homily by a former Episcopal priest, now a convert and priest serving in North Dallas. I wish I’d found all of this during Advent but if I’m around for Advent next year, the Good Lord willing, I’ll keep it in mind. The homily he’s referring to in his homily is the first one in the free PDF I shared above. Look for Sermon on the Six Circumstancesbeginning on page 3.
- My first podcast interview. An audio version of my conversion story and more in a conversation with a fellow member of Catholic Twitter on her podcast, Living the Gospel of Life, episode 75.
Images: In the banner: The Last Supper, by Philippe de Champaigne. From Wikimedia Commons, public domain. Pentecost, by Jean Restout. From Wikimedia Commons, public domain. The Annunciation, by From Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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