During the month of November, I taught a class for men studying for the permanent diaconate here in the Diocese of Phoenix. One of the texts we used for the short 5-week course was Verbum Domini, the Apostolic Exhortation written by Pope Benedict XVI on the Word of the Lord. This document essentially picks up where Dei Verbum leaves off. Dei Verbum is the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council.
As we studied this document, the men found the text to come alive, which made them desire the Holy Scriptures even more. There are many great teachings that come from this text, but for today I would like to focus on paragraphs 27 and 28 – Mary, “Mother of God’s Word” and “Mother of Faith.” As we know, Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mary, plays an integral role in Salvation History. Her “Yes” at the Annunciation does more for humanity than any human person before her and after her. Not only is she the highest created creature in all of Heaven, she is also truly the Un-Tier of Knots, the Immaculate Conception, Ever-Virgin, Advocating Mother, Mediatrix of All Grace, Mother of Fairest Love, Morning Star, and the Theotokos.
As is the case with Mary in all of Salvation History, she does not lead us away from Jesus Christ, but brings us to closer to him. She is our Queen Mother who brings our petitions to the King. Just as with our prayers, Mary leads us closer to the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures. In her Magnificat, she embraces the Word of God, which was always close to her heart.
To help us reflect on Mary’s role in relation to the Holy Scriptures, below are seven quotes from Verbum Domini. Read through them, then read them again, and reflect this week on how Mary can help bring you closer to the Word of God in the Sacred Scriptures –
1. “From the Annunciation to Pentecost she appears as a woman completely open to the will of God. She is the Immaculate Conception, the one whom God made “full of grace” (cf. Lk 1:28) and unconditionally docile to his word (cf. Lk 1:38). Her obedient faith shapes her life at every moment before God’s plan.”
2. “A Virgin ever attentive to God’s word, she lives completely attuned to that word; she treasures in her heart the events of her Son, piecing them together as if in a single mosaic (cf. Lk 2:19,51).”
3. “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.”
4. “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.”
5. “Our apostolic and pastoral work can never be effective unless we learn from Mary how to be shaped by the working of God within us: “devout and loving attention to the figure of Mary as the model and archetype of the Church’s faith…”
6. “As we contemplate in the Mother of God a life totally shaped by the word, we realize that we too are called to enter into the mystery of faith, whereby Christ comes to dwell in our lives.”
7. “Every Christian believer, Saint Ambrose reminds us, in some way interiorly conceives and gives birth to the word of God: even though there is only one Mother of Christ in the flesh, in the faith Christ is the progeny of us all. Thus, what took place for Mary can daily take place in each of us, in the hearing of the word and in the celebration of the sacraments.”