And Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;
Let it be done to me according to your word.
– Luke 1:38
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Scholars speculate that Mary was likely a teenager
when Gabriel came from Heaven with God’s message
of salvation. That day, God revealed to Mary her
vocation, and her role in the salvation of the world.
Heinto the world to save all people from sin, death, and
the dominion of Satan. God asked Mary, the New
Eve, to be the virgin mother of his eternal Son. His
plan depended on her “Yes!” God willed to open the
floodgates of mercy for the human race through Mary’s
consent to be the virgin Mother of God-made-man.
God, who needs no one to accomplish his purposes,
willed to send his Son to us through Mary’s assent of faith.
Mary stood before God as representative of the People
of Israel and, indeed, of the entire human race. At that
moment, everything depended upon her fiat; her Yes,
let it be done unto to me according to your will. At the
Second Vatican Council, the Church stressed Mary’s
active participation in the redemption of the world.
The Council Fathers recalled the words of St. Irenaeus
of Lyon, a bishop of the 2nd century.
Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine
Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and
only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with
a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted
herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the
person and work of her Son, under Him and with
Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the
mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the Holy
Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a
passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work
of human salvation through faith and obedience.
For, as St. Irenaeus says, she, “being obedient,
became the cause of salvation for herself and for
the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the
early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching,
“The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by
Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound
through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened
by her faith.” Comparing Mary with Eve, they
call her “the Mother of the living,” and still more
often they say: “death through Eve, life through
Mary” (Lumen Gentium 56).
Through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit Mary
embraced Christ first in her mind through faith, then in
her heart through hope and charity, and finally in her
body by a miracle that only God could accomplish.
She eagerly consented to her virginal motherhood
with the full awareness that her child would be named
Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins
(Matthew 1:21). Through her fiat, Mary gave us Jesus
and is, therefore, in God’s plan, the human cause of
our salvation. We owe everything good in our lives to 22 23
Mary, the Cause of our Joy.
God, Almighty Father, when Mary surrendered herself
to your Word, she conceived Christ first in her mind
through faith, in her heart through hope and love, and
finally in her body through the marvelous operation of
your Holy Spirit. By her eagerness to be the mother
of your Son, she opened the floodgates of your
merciful love for all men and women. May she help
all people to live by faith, hope, love, and obedience
to your will. May she remind us always that you want
to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters through
our faith and good works. Help us to accept fully our
responsibility to combat the culture of death and foster
the culture of life in our American society. We ask this
through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.