My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
My spirit rejoices in God my savior
As the Mother of God, Mary holds a most unique place in the salvation history. No human has entered more closely into the drama of salvation than Our Lady. No one has ever been more singularly graced, more generously blessed, or more closely aligned with the Holy Spirit than this ordinary Jewish girl from a tiny village in a forgotten part of the world. Yet, Mary is not so much a break in the pattern of humanity as she is a portrait of that to which all mankind is destined. She is redemption in fast-forward. The graces of baptism were given to her before her birth, that her body would be a fitting Ark for the Word of the Covenant made flesh. The body that nurtured the infant Savior was not allowed to experience corruption, but received glorification without having to wait for the end of time. All that was achieved through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ was given to Our Lady first that she might be the portal through these graces came to the rest of humanity. When we gaze upon Our Lady, we see not a figure from the past, but a woman alive in the present tense. She is a figure of hope in the deepest sense, showing us what the Father has planned for even the most insignificant and forgotten person.
In addition to being a prefigurement of the plentitude of graces awaiting all of us, Mary is also the one who first carried the Lord in her body, something we all do when we receive Holy Communion. In the Gospel of Luke, after conceiving Our Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary went in haste to help her cousin Elizabeth and, on the way, burst into the song of thanksgiving which the world has come to know as the Magnificat. In this simple act of joy, we find Our Lady once again becoming our pattern for perfection. After receiving Our Lord, she not only makes a profound act of thanksgiving, telling of her humble joy in all that the Lord has given and done for her, but she also carries the graces which accompany that unique communion out into the world, putting her thanksgiving into action by going in haste to help her cousin. Accordingly, when we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, the Church asks us to spend time in joyful thanksgiving, and then to carry the graces of our communion with Him into our world, translating the wordless sense of union with Our Lord into the vernacular of active charity. Our world can be small or large, important or seemingly insignificant, but the mandate is the same: like Our Lady, we should carry the Christ we receive to others, becoming for them an Ark of the Living Word.
As the Mother of God, Mary was privileged and graced beyond measure. However, her chosen place in salvation history was not a lonely one. She who was full of grace was chosen to be such that she might show a fallen humanity its original and still intended destiny. She who bore the Savior and followed him in her faithful maternity to the foot of the Cross was not forging a solitary trail, but rather setting the example of discipleship to which all of us are called.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!