Over the past four weeks on Sunday nights, I have been teaching a class titled, A Catholic Understanding of the Bible, for the Institute of Catholic Theology at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona. As I was finishing up last night’s class, in the back of my mind was today’s “Mondays with Mary” since I said to the participants, as Catholics, we should look to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the perfect example of knowing God’s word. Her fiat at the Annunciation should be on each of our lips 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 sacramental grace and knowledge of the Holy Word of God.
To drive this point home of Mary’s relationship and role to the Word of God, here are four quotes from Redemptoris Mater, the encyclical written Pope St. John Paul II, which focuses on the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Pilgrim Church –
1. “Is not Mary the first of ‘those who hear the word of God and do it’? And therefore does not the blessing uttered by Jesus in response to the woman in the crowd refer primarily to her?”
2. “Without any doubt, Mary is worthy of blessing by the very fact that she became the mother of Jesus according to the flesh (‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked’), but also and especially because already at the Annunciation she accepted the word of God, because she believed it, because she was obedient to God, and because she “kept” the word and “pondered it in her heart” (cf. Lk. 1:38, 45; 2:19, 51) and by means of her whole life accomplished it.”
3. “The Church ‘becomes herself a mother by accepting God’s word with fidelity. Like Mary, who first believed by accepting the word of God revealed to her at the Annunciation and by remaining faithful to that word in all her trials even unto the Cross, so too the Church becomes a mother when, accepting with fidelity the word of God, ‘by her preaching and by baptism she brings forth to a new and immortal life children who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God.’”
4. “Following the example of Mary, who kept and pondered in her heart everything relating to her divine Son (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51), the Church is committed to preserving the word of God and investigating its riches with discernment and prudence, in order to bear faithful witness to it before all mankind in every age.”
Mary’s role in Salvation History is fundamentally important for the life of the Church, however, her role in relation to the Word of God is just as important. Next time you read the Scriptures on our own, read them in the daily missal at Mass, or just listen to them at Mass, ask that the Blessed Mother help you to take the Word of God to your heart and say – “Yes!”
Mother of the Word Incarnate…Pray for Us.