VATICAN - AVE MARIA -
How great is Mary!
Mgr. Luciano Alimandi
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Next Sunday we will celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, and today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady at the Temple: the purest of creatures is offered to God, she is consecrated to Him to prepare the way for the King of kings! Our Lady offered her whole self to the Father, every fibre of her totally pure, spotless and immaculate being. In a mysterious manner, year after year, without her knowing it, Divine Providence prepares Mary to become the Temple of the Son of God, His virginal dwelling place on earth, the One who was to give Him as the Saviour, to the world!
A most holy child was consecrated for ever to Almighty God who was to work great wonders in her for the benefit of all peoples. The King will come and He has come because the Queen was ready to welcome Him!
Only most holy Mary was able, thanks to divine grace, to become the Mother of God and therefore to be elevated to a dignity which St Thomas Aquinas describes as almost “infinite”: “the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Mother of God, has a dignity which in a way is infinite, since it comes from God, who is infinite goodness” (St Tommaso d'Aquino, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 25, a. 6). Do we meditate enough on these words of the Doctor of the Church?
The Holy Spirit came only upon her to work the greatest miracle of all times: “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us ” (Jn 1, 14). Those who look to Mary, filled with pure and simple faith as Jesus wished her to be, contemplating the mystery of the Incarnation of God, cannot fail to be amazed at the greatness of the Virgin Mother. In the plan of salvation God gave her a unique role: to be the Mother of the Redeemer and therefore the Mother of all the redeemed.
This universal role of Mary is gradually discovered and we Christians of the 21st century have certainly not reached the “end stop" in knowledge of Mary; nor can our praises ever be sufficient to exalt her greatness. “De Maria nunquam satis”, goes a famous saying, and this is true also in our day! The Church's bi-millennial experience says clearly that the prophecy of the Magnificat comes true regularly, in every century, in a very evident manner: “All generations will call me blessed".
Like Elizabeth who exclaimed “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?” (Lk 1, 42-43), because she recognised in Her the unique dignity of the Mother of the Saviour, so too the pilgrim people of God, discovers in Mary ever new wonders and, filled with the Holy Spirit and under the guidance of the Church's Teaching, sings her praises, and tirelessly invokes her and bears witness to her greatness.
To call Mary “blessed" means not only to venerate her but also to know the depth and breadth of the graces contained in her vocation which are poured out into the heart of every person on earth. Every true mother gives all she has to her children, communicating her very life to them; how much more then, the Mother of mothers! Authentic Marian devotion is nourished with loving knowledge of the Mother of God which cannot fail to generate filial witness of our belonging to her. Yes, Mary is great and powerful because she is the Mother of our Redeemer who entrusted us to her from the cross: “woman behold your son”!
“Donna sei tanto grande e tanto vali / che chi vuol grazia e a Te non ricorre / sua disianza vuol volar senz’ali”. These poetic verses which Dante dedicated to Our Lady in the Divina Commedia, clearly express Mary's maternal mediation: those who wish to experience miracles of grace should turn with confidence to the Mother of God and, as at Cana, Jesus will transform the events of our fragile existence changing their quality and turning them into events of mercy.
Our Lady walks beside her Son on the paths of the world and along the mysterious ways of the Spirit, she introduces Him in community and personal history, into our banquets, urging him to work the miracle which seems impossible, but which, with Her is achieved: the miracle of holiness. This power of Mary is revealed in those who turn to her and say with joy: “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?"
(Agenzia Fides 21/11/2007; righe 52, parole 764)