, I talked about how a friend’s visit inspired me into the “passive active-ness” needed to prepare for God this Christmas.
But there’s someone else who inspires me. On a regular basis. A woman just like me -- Mary.
Mary makes me proud to be a woman. I feel as if I can have such an intimate relationship with God just by being a woman. Because God calls us to prepare a home for him in our lives, in our hearts, and that’s what Mary did, physically and spiritually. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body explores this mystery theologically and philosophically. Philosophy professor, writer and speaker Peter Kreeft, in his 1986 article, describes Mary’s gift articulately as well:
The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence the holy offspring to be born of you will be called Son of God” (Luke 1:35). But we are addressed by the same angelic news. Our soul, like Mary’s body, is to receive God Himself if only we, like her, believe, consent and receive; if only we speak her truly magic word fiat, “let it be.” It is the creative word, the word God used to create the universe.
If we speak Mary’s word, then the Word of God is born in our souls just as really as He was in Mary’s body and just as really as He is in the Eucharist. What happened in Bethlehem, what happens in our souls and what happens when we receive the Eucharist is the same event under three different modes. It is simply the most important thing that ever happened or can happen. It is the Incarnation. ……
But Mary is a woman; how can a man identify with her? Because as the saints say, to God we are all feminine. Even the Latin word “soul,” anima, is feminine. Woman symbolizes the soul in its relation to God better than man does. We do not impregnate God; God impregnates us with His life.
The very receptivity, the very secondness, of the feminine is thus raised to privileged status, as the Magnificat shows. The lowly, quiet, womblike, receptive power of the soul, the response to the divine husband’s initiative — this is the highest and most precious thing in us. Mary is our true self.
-- Kreeft, Peter. “The Meaning of Christmas: Look Deeper.” National Catholic Register (December 1986).
May all of us take Christ into our lives this Christmas, and take Mary as our primary example of how to do this. Or more specifically, how to “be” this receptacle for Christ during this Christmas season and in the new year.
To read the rest of Peter Kreeft’s article, go here
CNS photo/Jerry L. Thompson, Art Resource: Mary holds the Child Jesus in "Virgin of the Lilies" by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.