Last time, I wrote to you all concerning the first Christian Evangelist- our mother Mary, little did I know that in discussing those elements of the faith with you, I was delving into the first two joyful mysteries of the Holy Rosary!!! Since we considered ‘conversion’ and ‘evangelization’ the last time, it seems to me that there is a pattern in these mysteries which relates how our Lord was born into the world to how he is born into our lives. So I feel compelled to follow this pattern to where it leads. I have done something of this kind in a previous article while focusing on the account in St. Matthew’s gospel in How Christ comes to be with us
Since it is after we learn about Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth that we meditate on the mystery of the birth of Christ Jesus to the world, born of woman- the Blessed Virgin Mary, It would seem that the fruit or consequence of evangelization is the birth of Christ in a soul. And like we said before, evangelization becomes a necessary precedent to the birth of a new Divino-human life on earth;a new Christ, every day in the world. For when we received the faith, believed and received power to be children of God in Baptism, we ceased to be merely human; we became ‘conformed to the image of Christ’ (Romans 8:29)-we became divine as well for divine life dwelt within us. And this was made possible by the action of the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ on the cross. So what are you waiting for? Being ‘Christ‘ , you have a ‘mission‘ to ‘Christen‘ others- to be a ‘fisher of men’.(Luke 5:10)
Again, we see that when Our Lord was born, he wasn’t born a man, he was born a baby-one of the ‘scandals‘ pf the incarnation; omnipotence was a baby!!! But, so is divine life in a newly baptized, though capable of great things, it is fragile. it needs to be cared for, looked after, ‘wrapped in swaddling clothes‘ (Luke 2:7,12), safe from ravenous wolves, safe from herodian attacks, safe from harm. Also, divine life in a newly baptized needs to be nurtured, bred, for it to blossom and achieve its full potential. So just as our Lord needed a Mother when he came into this world, so too, the newly baptized needs a mother, to nurture this new life that he/she has received or has been borne into. Make no mistake, just as our Lord faced many persecutions when he came into this world, every newborn life in God faces a lot of persecutions, attempts to stifle that life while it is still fragile, to prevent it from reaching its full potential and from fulfilling its mission. In the past, these persecutions came in the form of physical attacks and in many parts of the world still does come in that form. But for the great majority, it is an attack on the mind, a war of ideas, an attack on values, on society, on family-and these I’d say, are its worse forms, for like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it creeps in, may even be welcomed, until after a time it unveils its true colors.
My dearest friends, needing a mother means needing guidance, protection, nourishment, nurturing and needing someone to tell you what to do-an authority. Our Lord did not mind this, even when the person in question was his creation. So why do you listen to the devil and run away from authority? The thing is, eventually, there has to be an authority and he will lead you away from your true mother only for him to assume that role-for he has led you, you have listened to him instead.
We are told that Mother Mary laid him in a ‘manger‘ after she had wrapped him in swaddling clothes. As many forerunners in the faith have pointed out, this indeed is very significant. For the word ‘manger‘ means in French – ‘to eat’ and indeed so in many other languages, and was a ‘plate’ used to feed the stable animals. (Luke 2:7,12,16). This is important as later on our Lord whose life was born to be an offering-a ‘sacrifice‘, would later say of himself, ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread bread which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh…so the one who feeds on me will live because of me’ (John 6:51,57). Bethlehem, where Jesus was born literally means ‘house of bread’. The Eucharist was indeed not just a part but central to his mission of sacrifice. Same goes for the newly baptized, it is then that they should ‘placed in a manger‘, groomed for their Christlike mission of sacrifice, of offering themselves for others. And this is also the role of a Mother to the newly baptized.
Finally, as the angels in heaven rejoiced and gave glory to God on the birth of Christ, we would soon find out that this happens, when the Divine life of Christ is born into any soul.
In case you are looking for that Mother, The Blessed Virgin Mary is your Mother, The Church- of which Mary is a type, is your Mother. Hurray!!! We have many-a-one Mother!!!
image from thefamousartists.com