“Mondays with Mary” – ‘Mary and Pentecost’ with Romano Guardini and Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Throughout the Gospels and the life of Jesus Christ, in those very significant events, we witness the Blessed Virgin Mary playing an integral role. From the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Wedding Feast at Cana to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and even in the feast of Pentecost, after Our Lord had ascended into Heaven, we see the strength of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she faithfully and obediently accepts all that God has designed for her life.

As the Church is born and unfolds on the Pentecost Sunday, Mary in the life of the Church begins to take shape. She is the fundamental figure in the life of the early Church.

For this year’s “Mondays with Mary” focusing on Pentecost, I turn our attention to two great 20th century theologians – Romano Guardini and Hans Urs Von Balthasar. This excerpt comes from the book, Mary For Today, by Hans Urs Von Balthasar.

“Here we should trust ourselves to the wisdom of Romano Guardini:

There must have been something divinely great when by the light of the Spirit everything became clear to her who “kept all these things in her heart”: the context and interconnection of Jesus’ existence were revealed. Throughout the years of Jesus’ public life she had to maintain her confidence in heroic faith: now she received the answer, resplendent, and solving everything.

It is easy to think that she must always have understood the Lord, better than anyone else. Humanly speaking – to the extent that in this context one can talk of the human – without a doubt this was so. Historically no one else was able like her to provide information about him. But on the other side it is not without purpose that the Gospel says that she “did not understand the saying which he spoke to them”. Probably she could just not have borne a real, complete understanding. The way of genuine experience of life lived in faith and love is greater than the anticipation of things which in God’s guidance have their place only later.

To recognize that the child, the boy, the youth, the man who lived in her company was the Son of God in the sense that became manifest after Pentecost would probably have put her in an intolerable situation. That security without which existence as a mother is not possible would have disappeared. Now however God’s mystery can be revealed, to the extent that this is possible on earth.

She does not any longer need any protection against what is too great for human understanding. She is able to carry together in her mind the two statements, ‘He is the Son of the eternal Father’ and ‘He is your son’, without breaking down or merely becoming confused. Indeed, is this unity she recognizes the ineffable content of her vocation.

This description by Guardini of the effect of the Spirit on Mary at Pentecost, when, as innumerable medieval representations of the event portray her, she becomes the center and focus of the Spirit-enlightened Church, does her perfection no harm but rather enables it to be seen as something genuinely human. What is unique about her is the Spirit of Pentecost basically does nothing other than to present to her the content of her own experience as her memory had retained it: a memory that contains all the central dogmas of revelation in their complete unity and interwovenness.”

As we conclude this Easter Season, let us, like Mary, keep the memory strong in our minds of the message of Jesus Christ and our duty in being missionaries to the world we encounter each day. As we stand against those who dislike Jesus Christ and His Church, let us ask Mary for her motherly intercession to always guide us in our words and actions.

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