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Thursday, August 5th, 2021

She Who Makes Things New

Salvation history constitutes a series of renewals. Since the fall of man, Divine Providence has continually intervened to re-fashion man, and indeed, all of creation with him. The various covenants are particular high marks in this process of renewal. The history of the patriarchs, the interventions of the judges, the establishment of the dynasty of King David, the preaching of the prophets, are also prominent examples of God’s renewing interventions in the Old Dispensation. With Christ and the establishment of his Church, these interventions become decisive and full.

The Incarnate One took flesh of a Mother; and in the Blessed Virgin Mary, the renewing action of Divine Providence reaches its full intensity. This is so because the mysteries of Christ’s birth, life, and death are inconceivable without her. The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, her Nativity, the Annunciation, and so forth—all the Marian mysteries are joined in her very person. Tu gloria Jerusalem; tu lætitia Israel; tu honorificentia populi nostri! [1]

This explains the spontaneity of true Marian devotion in the Church. It is a theological instinct, not a superstitious or idolatrous one.

Therefore, each time a Marian feast comes around—which, thanks be to God, is often—the Catholic people ought to be reminded of the renewing power of grace. Each festival of the Virgin Mary brings with it an especially powerful incentive and force for us to begin again; to take courage, to give ourselves permission to shed whatever depresses the soul. How could it not be so? Because, put in this way, grace is the flourishing-presence of God in the human person, which presence purifies, strengthens, and perfects. Thus we call Our Lady ‘Mother of grace.’

At every Lady Day, the Catholic people must repeat the words of St Paul:

forgetting what I have left behind, intent on what lies before me, I press on with the goal in view, eager for the prize, God’s heavenly summons in Christ Jesus. [2]

To receive this renewing grace takes a certain will and intention; it must be decided for and cultivated by self-forgetfulness and supernatural faith. But so it is. Our Lady is the One Who Renews All Things, and this with unspeakable fairness.

 

 


[1] Judith 12, 9.

[2] Philippians 3, 13-14.

{Art credit: Jerónimo Esquerra (1660-1733), The Visitation; Carmen Thyssen Museum.}

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