Mary: “Central Component” of our Faith in a Living God

Underscoring the importance of Mary’s role in the Incarnation, Luke’s account of the Annunciation is the Gospel reading for both today and tomorrow. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (before he became Pope Benedict XVI) wrote this abut Mary’s role:

Without Mary, God’s entrance into history would not achieve its intended purpose. That is, the very thing that matters most in the Creed would be left unrealized – God’s being a God with us, and not only a God in and for himself. Thus, the woman who called herself lowly, that is, nameless (Lk 1:48), stands at the core of the profession of faith in the living God, and it is impossible to imagine it without her. She is an indispensible, central component of our faith in the living, acting God. The Word becomes flesh – the eternal Meaning grounding the universe [Sinngrund der Welt] enters into her. He does not merely regard her from the outside; he becomes himself an actor in her. It needed the Virgin for this to be possible, the Virgin who made available her whole person, that is, her embodied existence [Lieb], her very self as the place of God’s dwelling in the world. The Incarnation required consenting acceptance. Only in this way do Logos and flesh really become one.

As we reflect on Mary’s role in the Incarnation, it is good to remind ourselves that the Incarnation continues to require consenting acceptance…our consenting acceptance. In the words Meister Eckhart quoted in the sidebar, “What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the son of God fourteen hundred years ago, if I do not also give birth to the son of God in my time and in my culture?”

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