When speaking about the Scriptures, St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.” As faithful Catholics, we must come to know the Word of God in a way that it helps us to know Jesus Christ in a deeper and more complete way. As Catholics, we should look to Mary of Nazareth as the perfect example of knowing God’s word. Her fiat at the Annunciation should be our “battle cry” when it comes to the Word of God. We all should have the same zeal and affirmation that our Blessed Mother had when the Angel of Gabriel came to her declaring that she would bear a son through the power of the Holy Spirit. In regards to the Scriptures, we need to say, YES, as Mary said yes to God.
If we embrace the Scriptures as Mary embraced God’s will in her life, then there is no saying what Our Lord will give to us through his sacramental grace and knowledge of the Holy Word of God. Reading the Scriptures on our own is beneficial, but it is in the Liturgy that the Scriptures are awakened for us. The primary reason the Scriptures were canonized was for use in the Liturgy.
In his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord), Pope Benedict XVI speaks about the relationship between Mary and the Word of God. Personally, I really like what the Holy Father says here because as one who has studied Mariology and continues to write on Mary (“Mondays with Mary”), I think the studying of Mary helps us understand the word of God more clearly. My faith has grown and is more mature now since studying about the Blessed Mother. My relationship with her as helped me grow my relationship with Jesus. As a good Queen Mother, she has led me to her Son, the Davidic King – Jesus Christ.
Pope Benedict XVI says…
“In our day the faithful need to be helped to see more clearly the link between Mary of Nazareth and the faith-filled hearing of God’s word. I would encourage scholars as well to study the relationship between Mariology and the theology of the word. This could prove most beneficial both for the spiritual life and for theological and biblical studies. Indeed, what the understanding of the faith has enabled us to know about Mary stands at the heart of the Christian truth. The incarnation of the Word cannot be conceived apart from the freedom of this young woman who by her assent decisively cooperated with the entrance of the eternal into time. Mary is the image of the Church in attentive hearing of the word of God, which took flesh in her. Mary also symbolizes openness to God and others; an active listening which interiorizes and assimilates, one is which the word becomes a way of life.
Here I would like to mention Mary’s familiarity with the word of God. This is clearly evident in the Magnificat. There we see in some sense how she identifies with the word, enters into it; in his marvelous canticle of faith, the Virgin sings the praises of the Lord in his own words: “The Magnificat – a portrait, so to speak, of her soul – is entirely woven from threads of Holy Scripture, threads drawn from the word of God. Here we see how completely at home Mary is with the word of God, with ease she moves in and out of it. She speaks and thinks with the word of God; the word of God becomes her word, and her word issues from the word of God. Here we see how her thoughts are attuned to the thoughts of God, how her will is one with the will of God. Since Mary is completely imbued with the word of God, she is able to become the Mother of the Word Incarnate.”
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I love the Holy Father’s words here and how well he expresses the importance of Mary’s relationship with the Word Incarnate. Mary would have known the Old Testament Scriptures well. That is why her Magnificat is a reflection and fulfillment of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel. To understand this better, I would encourage you to read my post on Mary’s Magnificat.
Like Mary, we must all come to have a relationship with the Word of God and of course, the Word Incarnate.