The following words are from a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella, Abbot. This was the second reading in Saturdays Office of Readings. One of the priests I work for at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Fr. Chad, texted me about this great reading and told me to check it out if I had time. I was moved after reading this excerpt from Blessed Isaac of Stella and decided at that point that I would use it for this week’s “Mondays with Mary.” Instead of saying too much at this point – just read and re-read the words of Blessed Isaac today and allow them to penetrate your heart this day.
“The Son of God is the first-born of many brothers. Although by nature he is the only-begotten, by grace he has joined many to himself and made them one with him. For to those who receive him he has given the power to become the sons of God.
He became the Son of man and made many men sons of God, uniting them to himself by his love and power, so that they became as one. In themselves they are many by reason of their human descent, but in him they are one by divine rebirth.
The whole Christ and the unique Christ – the body and the head – are one: one because born of the same God in heaven, and of the same mother on earth. They are many sons, yet one son. Head and members are one son, yet many sons; in the same way, Mary and the Church are one mother, yet more than one mother; one virgin, yet more than one virgin.
Both are mothers, both are virgins. Each conceives of the same Spirit, without concupiscence. Each gives birth to a child of God the Father, without sin. Without any sin, Mary gave birth to Christ the head for the sake of his body. By the forgiveness of every sin, the Church gave birth to the body, for the sake of its head. Each is Christ’s mother, but neither gives birth to the whole Christ without the cooperation of the other.
In the inspired Scriptures, what is said in a universal sense of the virgin mother, the Church, is understood in an individual sense of the Virgin Mary, and what is said in a particular sense of the virgin mother Mary is rightly understood in a general sense of the virgin mother, the Church. When either is spoken of, the meaning can be understood of both, almost without qualification.
In a way, every Christian is also believed to be a bride of God’s Word, a mother of Christ, his daughter and sister, at once virginal and fruitful. These words are used in a universal sense of the Church, in a special sense of Mary, in a particular sense of the individual Christian. They are used by God’s Wisdom in person, the Word of the Father.
This is why Scripture says: I will dwell in the inheritance of the Lord. The Lord’s inheritance is, in a general sense, the Church; in a special sense, Mary; in an individual sense, the Christian.
Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. He will dwell forever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.”
As we approach the coming days of Christmas, it is important to reflect on Mary as not only Our Mother, but also her role with the Church that her Son established. In the Church, we see Mary; and in Mary, we see the Church. The Church is there to guide us just as a mother. Our Blessed Mother guides us closer to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. One cannot separate Christ from the Church nor the Church from Christ – they are one in the same. Neither can you separate Christ from the rest of the Body for he is the Head of the Body.
The Body of Christ is an amazing mystical concept where we are all united as one body under the head – Jesus Christ. At this moment in time, the Body of Christ is hurting here in the United States. On Friday, the senseless killings of 26 victims were heard through the Kingdom of God. 20 of the 26 were children. During this time when the Body of Christ is hurting, let us turn towards Our Blessed Mother under her title – Our Lady of Sorrows. She knows full well what it was like to lose a child.
Join me in praying for the victims, their families, the Catholic community, and all involved in Newton, CT. May they find healing and strength from such a tragic event. Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Rose of Lima…Pray For Us!