January 7, 2012
In the fullness of grace the Blessed Virgin pondered the words of the Angel Gabriel. Who told her she was to be the mother of the Messiah. As young woman or girl she received God’s Word into her heart, and shared the gift of God’s love with all people when the Christ came into the world.
In this season of Christmas and Epiphany, during which time we reflect upon the events of Our Lord’s coming into the world and was first revealed to the nations. His parents encountered the Wise Men and took flight into Egypt making ready to later share the life of their child, Jesus, with the world in a way that they did not entirely understand. They possessed the gift of faith in God. They looked forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises. We too are called to walk by faith, and to use our lives well and lovingly.
Recently our own parish family acquired a new image of the Blessed Virgin Mary for our worship space. The image is simply that of a young woman folding her hands over her heart. She seems to be pondering deeply the mysteries of God.
The artist used also a reference to Genesis which states that her offspring would crush the serpent which had tempted humanity at its beginning. The statue shows the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on the orb of the world and crushing the serpent and therefore what is evil. She became the “New Eve” of the New Covenant. She is a model of holiness for those who follow her Son.
The mantle created by the artist covering her is of a heavenly sky blue and indicates the spiritual in her life. The lightness of her garments indicates her purity and holiness. The Angel Gabriel said that she was “full of grace”. The Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is the patroness of the United States of America.
The image of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, therefore stands in the sanctuary and gives silent testimony to her Son. The statue stands in the midst of the altar, pulpit, baptismal font, and choir area. The Gospel of Luke tells us that Mary praised God “because He had done great things” for her. She continues to enliven the followers of her Son by her prayer.
The artist who carved our new image was from the Demetz Studio in Italy. The image is carved of linden wood. The same studio carved the crucifix that hangs behind our altar. The Men’s Club assisted greatly in covering the primary cost of the project.
Since very early times the Church has invoked the intercession of Mary the Mother of God. The Second Vatican Council also recommended devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she is a model of holiness and faith. The simple “Hail Mary” prayer asks the Blessed Mother to pray for us. This prayer evokes both the words of the Angel Gabriel and those of Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist as found in the Gospel of Luke. In our Liturgy we pray that what is said of Mary should also be said of the Church. We look forward to living our faith now, and to being with God forever.