This is the seventh of a series of nine articles about the Immaculate Conception and other related themes that will be published daily from December 1 through 9. This article was previously published on July 28, 2014.
Some have pointed at the necessity that two perfect human beings should collaborate in mankind’s salvation because two human beings (our parents Adam and Eve) got us in this sinful mess. Scripture gives us hints of the order of Heaven if we read it and carefully meditate it in prayer. Something that often appears in Scripture are certain theological models that I –in my ignorance and for lack of a better term– call “bookends” or “counterpoints.” What jumps at us when considering Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary is this:
Eve listened to a bad angel and sin entered the world. In the Annunciation, Mary of Nazareth listens to an angel of God, and as a result salvation enters the world. Most important is to observe that the bad angel made Eve envy God’s position. Subtly she was seduced to join in the sin of Lucifer who envied God and wanted to “make himself like the Most High.” When God decided to fix that terrible offense He arranged history in such a way that it would lead mankind to an exact reversal of that original sinful action. Jump centuries ahead to Calvary and there is Mary, as perfect as Eve. There hanging on the Cross is her Son. Mary then perfectly does what any mother does when one of her children is suffering: she desires her Son’s suffering for herself. That is the “counterpoint” to Eve’s foolish envy. Two trees: the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the Cross. Curiously enough in Greek they are both translated using the same word xylon (tree, stake, trunk.)
God the Father is light, and so is Christ. In the Creed we express it as “Lumen de Lumine” Light from Light. Many have seen in Christ’s life the perfect expression of the solar myths so common to all the peoples of antiquity. In the words of C. S. Lewis “a myth that really happened once.” So Lucifer envied the light of the Father but — what is the counterpoint to that divine light? Through the desire of the Mother of Sorrows we find that what Christ is radiating from the Cross is His suffering. That suffering will give life to the world just like the sun gives life to everything on earth. Mary is there to “envy” the suffering of the Cross with the purest of motives: the maternal love for her Son. Many saints have tried to reach that kind of perfection but no one ever will take the Cross of Christ as Mary did.
When considering these things one can easily see that Mary could not have been just like anyone. She had to have an insuperable degree of human perfection because through her actions angels were judged, and obedient humans were saved. That is why –this is my personal opinion– I call Mary my co-redemptive Mother working mysteriously with Jesus to give me a family in Heaven that one day – if God allows – will wash away all my sins and receive me as a son, finally at home in the Garden of God.
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On December 8 we are going to celebrate the day of the Immaculate Conception. These days the world seems to be fraught with danger and unspeakable acts of violence and hate. Yet we present to the world the banner of Mary. Miraculous events will soon happen just like in biblical times. We should not be afraid and wait for the moment when Mary makes herself visible to all before her Son turns His attention to the affairs of this world.
A tiny part of my mission was to write this article so you are aware of Our Blessed Mother’s interest in you and every human being alive today. Let us join in praying the Novena of the Immaculate Conception, asking Our Mother for peace in the world, and the prompt return of Her Son, Jesus.