Blessed Virgin Mary: March 2012 Archives
A rose among thorns. Well, almost. Man and woman always want to give an expression of love and affection to another. In the course of history you will notice the gifts of love's sentiment and reality given to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. Visit a shrine where healings are reported and you'll notice tokens of gratitude: lockets, flowers, chalices, artwork, and the like. One beautiful gift of love was given by Pope Benedict Monday evening to the Virgen de la Caridad de Cobre in Cuba: a golden rose. The papal gift of a golden rose dates back to the middle ages when a pope held a golden rose in a procession on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. It was Pope Eugene III who called the rose a sign of Christ's passion: the gold symbolizing the resurrection and the thorns the suffering.
Over time the golden rose was given to Church dignitaries thus expanding the meaning: a personal honor and a reminder: do not forget the responsibilities and duties that come with being a Christian. Beyond the human honor given to royalty, the rose was given to abbeys and sanctuaries of the Virgin Mary. Pope John Paul II gave a few these roses to shrines and Pope Benedict XVI is fond of the custom and so he's given roses to Altötting, Mariazell, Fatima, Aparecida, USA and now to Cuba.
The mystery of the annunciation to Mary is not just a mystery of silence. It is above and beyond all that a mystery of grace.
We feel compelled to ask ourselves: Why did Christ really want to be born of a virgin? It was certainly possible for him to have been born of a normal marriage. That would not have affected his divine Sonship, which was not dependent on his virgin birth and could equally well have been combined with another kind of birth. There is no question here of a downgrading of marriage or of the marriage relationship; nor is it a question of better safeguarding the divine Sonship. Why then?
We find the answer when we open the Old Testament and see that the mystery of Mary is prepared for at every important stage in salvation history. It begins with Sarah, the mother of Isaac, who had been barren, but when she was well on in years and had lost the power of giving life, became, by the power of God, the mother of Isaac and so of the chosen people.
The process continues with Anna, the mother of Samuel, who was likewise barren, but eventually gave birth; with the mother of Samson, or again with Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer. The meaning of all these events is the same: that salvation comes, not from human beings and their powers, but solely from God--from an act of his grace.
Co-Workers of the Truth Meditations for Every Day of the Year (1992), 99-100.
Mary would never see the world in the same way again because she had conceived beneath her heart, The Word, the Son of God made flesh within her. The Word from the mind of God now in her being...She would now have to see everything through the eyes of that Word and everything would change. "Nothing would again be causal and small, but everything with light invested," (J. Duffy, "The Annunciation"). Christ, the Light of the World.
That's what happens when we come to know Christ, to possess Christ, to bring Christ into our very being, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. When our heart beats with Christ's heart we see the whole world differently. We look into the womb of every mother and see the image of the Son of God.
John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor
8th Archbishop of New York, 1984-2000