Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Mother of God and the Holy Spirit.

Veni Sancte Spiritus, Veni Per Mariam.

So I pray, many times during the course of the day. It is an invocation worth pondering on the eve of Pentecost. At the very center of the mystery of salvation, there is a woman.

It was the Holy Spirit who preserved her from original sin and from all sin. It was the Holy Spirit who dwelt within her heart from the first moment of her conception, who taught her from her first thoughts to seek God's will and ponder His word, and who inspired her to consecrate herself wholly to the Divine plan. It was the Holy Spirit who gave her a sense of wonder in the presence of God, and that dedication and self-abandonment which she expressed when she called herself the "lowly servant" the "handmaid" of the Lord.

It was the Holy Spirit who came upon her in that first, secret Pentecost that occurred in her heart and in her womb when she said "Yes" to the word of the angel Gabriel, when her loving obedience overcame the selfish disobedience of Eve. The Word, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. And it was the Holy Spirit that sustained and deepened the "Yes" of Mary's heart all the way to the Cross, a "yes" that accompanied the redeeming love of Jesus offered for the whole human race, and therefore a "yes" that embraces each of us personally.

So it is no surprise that we find the Mother of God in the upper room with the disciples praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit and receiving Him anew in the birth of the Church. And now the Virgin Mary, reigning in glory with her Son, prays for us to receive the gift of the Spirit. We receive the grace of the Spirit because we receive Jesus Christ. Jesus became man in the history of the world through the maternal mediation of Mary, and so today He takes flesh in our lives through the maternal mediation of Mary. Jesus comes to us in the invitation to love that shapes the moments of our lives, a shaping that passes in a mysterious but deeply human, attentive, and motherly way through the heart of Mary.

Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. Thus her involvement in our lives is not just a distant fact of the past. It is a reality of the present, a reality of this moment, a living reality for my life. Mary, my Mother, my Mother. Through her Christ makes Himself present in our lives now, and so through her, the lowly servant of the Lord, we receive the gift of the Spirit in Christ, now, each of us, in all of our many circumstances.

How can I imagine such tenderness, so extensive and yet so personal? And yet it is Love that makes it possible. And so I turn to Mary, always, with confidence. She is my Mother.

Veni Sancte Spiritus, Veni Per Mariam.
Come Holy Spirit. Come through Mary.