by Jayson M. Brunelle
Luke 1:26: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Reflection on the Gospel Passage
Today, March 26, 2012, we celebrate and liturgically commemorate the great mystery of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She, “full of grace,” has “found favor with the Lord,” and is being invited to accept the Father’s invitation to become the “New Eve,” Mother of all the spiritually living. This she shall accomplish through a profoundly intimate, wholly unique participation in the work of redemption to be accomplished by her Son and her God, the Eternal Word of the Father, who, upon Mary’s fiat, shall descend into her holy womb, therein beginning the profoundly mysterious work of redemption; for, it is in Mary’s womb that Christ kenotically empties Himself of His divinity and forever grafts a true human nature to His Divine Person, thereby reconciling in His very person, humanity and divinity. This moment of Christ’s conception, the Annunciation of St. Gabriel to Mary, and Mary’s perfect “yes” to the Will of the Father, not only begins Christ’s perfect work of redemption, which will be brought to its completion on Calvary, but additionally begins Mary’s role as the “New Eve,” or the Co-redemptrix. As such, she, unlike any other created being, participates in Christs perfect work of redemption. For, as the early Church Fathers so eloquently stated, just as the first Eve participated in the fall of humanity from grace by providing the first Adam with the fruit – the instrument of the fall, so too would God will that Mary, the New Eve, would participate in the redemption of humanity by providing the New Adam, Jesus Christ, with His Body, the instrument of the redemption. What is more, Mary imitates and collaborates with Christ in a wholly unique and profound fashion. Just as Christ’s work of redemption is begun at the moment of His conception in the mystery of the Annunciation, Mary’s work as Co-redemptrix is simultaneously begun at this same pivotal moment, the moment toward which her whole life, up to this point, had been directed. Additionally, like her Divine Son, just as His perfect work of redemption is accomplished and brought to perfection, completion and fulfillment on the wood of the Cross, where Christ serves as both High Priest and victim, offering Himself as the perfect oblation to the Eternal Father in the place of poor, sinful humanity, which He purchases with the very price of His divine Blood, so too does Mary’s role as the Co-redemptrix reach its completion and fulfillment as she stands at the foot of her Son’s cross, enduring with Him, in a wholly mystical and mysterious fashion, all the intensity of his agonizing sacrifice. Her participation in Christ’s redemption, something which each of the Baptized has been called to, is utterly unique and merited more grace than any other created being. She was mysteriously, mystically associated in His profound agony and passion, in such a way that she literally would have died right there, under the cross of her Son, had it not been for a singular grace bestowed upon her, enabling her to endure the radical intensity of her divine Son’s physical, psychological and spiritual anguish – having taken upon Himself the sins of the entirety of humanity. Still more, it is precisely for this reason that among Christ’s dying words are included those most important words concerning His Mother’s new role as Spiritual Mother of all humanity, as Christ states to Mary, “Woman, behold your son,” and to John, “Behold your Mother.” It is precisely at the foot of the cross that Mary becomes the Spiritual Mother of all of humanity, for it was at that moment that she participated with her divine Son in giving birth – Spiritual life and grace – to the human family, the adopted brothers and sisters of Christ, Mary’s firstborn. Thus, Mary truly is our mother in the order of grace, as is stated in the Conciliar document, Lumen Gentium.